You know it, surely, by now. I’ve been banging on about it for long enough.
Good Rampage first match. Good Rampage last match. Soggy Rampage middle.
After a couple of weeks of better, this week Rampage didn’t even offer that.
Started Off So Well
You’re not going to have a bad Rampage time with the returning Bucks and Kenny Omega, are you, Even if they were facing a Firm frankenteam of Ethan Page, Matt Hardy and Isiah Kassidy.
And it showed just what we’d been missing in Rampage recently : action galore with nothing crowded out. The Bucks have a really wonderful way of adding moves, multiple moves which happen at the same time but all mean something and advance the action.
So here is some of that rather good action; Page stealing his partners’ thunder is a nice move and one guaranteed to irk. I did like Cassidy’s thumbs up to the camera as Hardy guillotined Matt Jackson, whilst Omega’s Victory Roll into immediate Moonsault on Page deserved a long 2 count, but then so did the Kassidy and Nick Jackson stereo Sentons seemed to prompt a ‘this is awesome’ chant.
They were right.
Kassidy then hit a sweet Canadian Destroyer whilst on the move and the ending came from an Omega V Trigger to the back of the head, One Winged Angel and then BTE Trigger from all three for the pin – Kassidy really went through it.
What a match.
Rampage Faction Factor – when one goes, another replaces it, so the Trustbusters are no more, but Swerve Strickland’s Mogul Affiliates fills a gap that isn’t there.
Swerve has apparently targeted 2nd generation wrestlers – no idea why – but that’s brought unused Brian Pillman Jnr out to fight him.
Ooh, I wonder who’ll win this?
Well, early on naughty Brian showed some swag, turning his back on Swerve after a move and bringing a sharp tongue from Jim Ross and a slap from his opponent.
The match hinged on a rather splendid move from Swerve, a sort of sitting Dragon Screw which he underlined by standing on the knee. After faction help, Swerve unpacked a Death Valley Driver on the apron and then the end came back in the ring with his double stomp off the top, as Pillman appeared to wait for it, grinning beatifically.
It didnt really gel and Dustin Rhodes making an appearance at the end wasnt going to change that. Not ideal, but it was a Rampage faction angle, so what did you expect?
JJ, Lethal, Singh and Dutt had a terrible time with their promo. They took a Golden Globe, if you remember, so this nefarious act meant they had to keep laughing, becoming less sure of this as the promo went on. Spare a thought for Sonjay Dutt though, having to keep looking in the box which apparently housed the purloined award, chortling as if his reputation depended on it…
The Renegade Twins, Robyn and Charlette, tried their best to make this Rampage match with Toni Storm and Saraya less like a squash. They tried to fight back, even after a nasty Saraya knee on the outside, with Charlette taking them both on before a Storm Hip Attack and the nasty short Piledriver, the Storm Zero, caused the pin.
It was better than a squash, and that’s at a premium here. The winners did of course then do the spraypaint on the body wrestling trope, spraying L for loser; sadly, it was in bright green – anyone knows heels spraypaint in black!
Now Look, I Like Christopher Daniels…
I do, I’ve followed him for years, even going to the International show in Coventry just to see him. He’s done it all and has a stupendous understanding of wrestling style and wrestling work. And Curry Man is great.
Credit; Giant Bomb
But he isn’t as much of a full-timer these days and, as much as I love his work, is this really a main event for Rampage, the supposed 2nd programme in AEW; particularly when Dark Elevation had Castagnoli and Yuta as its main event.
And remember, I really like Daniels. He didn’t half go through it with Rush, after a Neckbreaker and Clothesline to the back of the head from Fallen Angel Daniels – Preston Vance, the ex-10 of the Dark Order, got involved of course, then the green flex came out, he wants to use that bright green cord to choke on the outside. It looks a bit ridiculous anyway, but to have it thrown into the shot was even more ridiculous.
After the ex-10 kickdown Jose by mistake, Daniels was back with an Inzegueri and a lively Blue Thunder Bomb; he even fought through a Superkick to land a Death Valley Driver and Koji Clutch, which had to be broken by a helper putting Rush’s foot on the rope.
Daniels got a bit ahead of himself and met nothing but knees on his Best Moonsault Ever, Rush then hit a Belly To Belly Buckle Suplex and whilst Daniels was in the corner, The Bull’s Horns for the pin.
It was good, of course it was, but was it a main event?
Some Good, Some Bad
Isn’t this the usual way, with Rampage? There was a time when it easy fun, spontaneous, easy to watch.
As Wrestling Headlines revealed;
‘Friday’s Rampage ranked #28 for the night on the Cable Top 150 with the 0.11 key demo rating. This is down from the previous week’s #22 ranking.’
How I wish it wasn’t such a gear-changing grind.