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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Jan. 26, 2024): Jon Moxley gets beat down

AEW Rampage (Jan. 26, 2024) emanated from Enmarket Arena in Savannah, GA. The show featured Jon Moxley on the receiving end of a beatdown, Anna Jay cutting ties with her wrestling family, Konosuke Takeshita looking like a star, determining Orange Cassidy’s next challenger, and more.

Let’s jump right in with a recap followed by reactions.

Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Daddy Magic were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Jon Moxley vs. Lee Moriarty

Shane Taylor was on the outside proving to be a nuisance. Moriarty was actually the better technical wrestler targeting the left elbow, however, Moxley relied on buzzsaw offense when in control. Moriarty sniffed the upset when he planted Mox on a lifting flatliner. The tide turned when Moxley unloaded a stiff shot to intercept Moriarty springboarding through the air. Mox proceeded with stomps, a piledriver, hammering elbows, and a rear naked choke. Moriarty passed out in defeat.

Jon Moxley defeated Lee Moriarty.

After the match, Moxley suffered the rare beatdown. When he went shake Moriarty’s hand out of respect, Taylor popped a sucker punch to the jaw. They didn’t need Mox’s pity or respect. Taylor and Moriarty stomped Moxley into oblivion. It was later announced that Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli will wrestle Taylor and Moriarty on Collision.

Cool Hand Ang asked Anna Jay to promise she had nothing to do with the Harley Cameron kiss. Slap! Anna was insulted that Ang even had to ask. They have been through a lot as family, but she’s done with those boys. Anna was tired of nobody having her back. She was fighting against Ruby Soho to defend Ang’s honor, but now she’s only fighting for herself.

AEW announced that the stars of CMLL are coming soon. Mistico, Mascara Dorada, Hechicero, and Volador Jr. will be in the house for an upcoming show.

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Christopher Daniels

This bout stemmed from Takeshita punching Daniels last week in a skirmish with Chris Jericho. Takeshita was the ace in the ring dominating his opponent. Daniels rallied to make it respectable, but Takeshita went to a higher gear for a pildedriver into a German suplex. Takeshita finished with a running knee.

Konosuke Takeshita defeated Christopher Daniels.

After the match, Don Callis spoke his mind on Jericho. The Callis Family plans to take everything from El Ocho. Callis threw out the challenge for Takeshita versus Jericho in two weeks time to finish him off for good. Kyle Fletcher interrupted with bravado to demand a piece of Jericho for himself. Callis appreciated the moxie, so he arranged Fletcher versus Jericho for next week.

Top Flight will get their rematch with Private Party next week. Action Andretti wants to be ringside to make sure there is no funny business, such as Marq Quen using the ropes for leverage in the last win.

Ruby Soho vs. Anna Jay

Saraya and Harley Cameron were ringside to physically interfere. Saraya landed cheap blows, and Harley grabbed Anna’s foot during a Queen Slayer choke. Anna had enough and popped a punch at Harley. The Outcasts grabbed Anna with bad intentions, but referee Bryce Remsburg spotted the mugging. He ejected Saraya and Harley. Ruby pounced for Destination Unknown, however, Anna kicked out on the cover. Anna rallied for a flying blockbuster and the Queen Slayer submission to win. In the moment between moves, Anna shouted her innocence in regard to the plot to keep Ruby and Ang apart.

Anna Jay defeated Ruby Soho.

Eddie Kingston isn’t bothered by the lack of respect from Bryan Danielson. He doesn’t respect Danielson either. Kingston is moving forward by offering an opportunity to someone who deserves it. Willie Mack! If Mack can beat Kingston on Collision, then Hot Chocolate will receive a triple crown title shot.

Serena Deeb is ready to return. The time is almost here for her match on Collision.

Enough talk. It’s time for the main event.

Hijo del Vikingo vs. Komander vs. Kip Sabian vs. Butcher

The winner of the freshly squeezed four-way earns a shot at Orange Cassidy for the AEW International Championship on Collision. The story of the match was a loose alliance between the sex idol and the meat man. Sabian and Butcher worked together to pound luchadores, but they also backstabbed each other going for pins. In the end, the match broke down into moves all around to systematically incapacitate contenders. The finish came down to Komander and Sabian. The luchador countered his adversary for a hurricanrana pin to win.

Komander defeated Kip Sabian, Butcher, and Hijo del Vikingo.

Cassidy arrived on the scene for a staredown with Komander to hype the title bout.

Grade: B+

A peak show all the way by Rampage standards. The matches were solid with storyline connections. The promos added juice to the squeeze.

It looks like Jon Moxley found his next feud. Even though Shane Taylor and Lee Moriarty both lost singles matches to him, their attitudes are still hot. Moriarty was a stud on this evening. He showcased smart strategy and nifty skills. If there was ever going to be an upset on Moxley, Moriarty performed so well that this would have been the moment. I was genuinely impressed by Taiga Style. Alas, it was not meant to be for Moriarty. Moxley is just 100% badass. The post-match activity took me by surprise. Taylor showed no qualms about throwing hands. Moxley is rarely on the downside of a beatdown, so that scene has me pumped to see him go for payback with Claudio Castagnoli by his side. The intensity is going to be boiling. This is a great example of a mini story arc to add heat to a matchup.

The love story with Ruby Soho and Cool Hand Ang continues to demand my attention. I wasn’t expecting the latest wrinkle with Anna Jay dumping Ang as family. That slap was a splendid choice of reaction to be offended at his question. And then Anna went out to earn the win in her hometown. Another good touch was her adamant denial of treachery right before slapping on the Queen Slayer choke. We know the real deal as viewers, but it’s fun to watch the hints drop to clue Ruby in on Saraya’s wicked ways.

Konosuke Takeshita was an absolute stud. Christopher Daniels is no pushover, but Takeshita treated him like a child. I appreciate how the alpha athlete worked methodically for big strikes. The pace created emphasis on his power. Takeshita earned a dominant win over a respected veteran. The one thing I would have added is a quick promo from Daniels demanding the match. Something like a picture-in-picture rally cry during entrances. This matchup was based of last week’s encounter. A promo could have added a zesty explanation for why Daniels was so agitated to start. That would have been better than commentary rehashing the brief angle.

Quick thoughts on the rest. The main event was a nice blend of flippy moves from the good guys and character work from the bad guys. I like the side of Eddie Kingston out to give others a chance. Willie Mack is a perfect choice for that. Thumbs up on the matchmaking. I also enjoyed seeing Kyle Fletcher step up to challenge Chris Jericho. The Aussie has been on a roll as ROH television champion, so it makes sense that he demands to prove himself in that way. Fletcher’s bravado makes me want to find out if he has the chops to back it up. These simple details add up to a richer world.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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