The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 09.24.21

The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 09.24.21

Tonight I am residing in Belgium for my VPN journey via Fite.TV. I’ll say hi to Jean Claude Van Damme if I see him. Also, I know I’m late with this, I’m old and need my sleep.  Honestly the blog is doing amazingly well lately anyway, which I grudgingly admit is due to the NXT reviews catching fire the last two weeks.

Oddly, the show is broken up into “Part 1” and “Part 2” on the Fite replay.

“Rampage Grand Slam!  PART ONE!”

Taped from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, New York.

Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz & Ricky Starks

CM Punk v. Powerhouse Hobbs

I will say, Hobbs has some sick gear, very reminiscent of Harlem Heat. Punk comes in with the leg kicks at the bell and beats on him in the corner, but Hobbs rakes the eyes to escape. Punk takes him down with a drop toehold and goes back to the leg again while Taz attempts to be “Even Steven Jones” on commentary by calling it down the middle. And then Punk FLIPS OFF HOOK, drawing the ire of the crowd. Some lines you just can’t cross. Hobbs spears him for two and I think we can all agree he had that one coming. Hobbs goes to work on the neck while Ricky notes that not many people know that Hobbs is one of the most powerful guys in the promotion. His name is POWERHOUSE Hobbs! I think we all know. It’s right in his name! Hobbs beats on Punk and tries a suplex, but Punk rolls him up for two, so Hobbs clobbers him down again. “That’s called getting trucked”, notes Taz. Hobbs chokes him out on the ropes and we take a break, but not for us Belgians. Hobbs carries on and beats on Punk on the apron with elbows, and Hook gets some revenge for Punk’s earlier disrespect, getting a forearm to the back of the neck that shakes the ring. Like the song says, it’s the Hook that brings you back. Back in, Hobbs goes to a bearhug, but Punk fights out and they slug it out until Punk comes back with a leg lariat and neckbreaker. Punk with the running knee in the corner and he goes up with the flying elbow for two. Seven years away and he still hasn’t learned to do that one properly I see. Punk with the GTS, but Hobbs reverses to a belly to belly, and that gets two. Punk tries a sleeper and Hobbs escapes with a backdrop suplex and hits Punk with an Oklahoma Stampede for two. Excalibur dubs this the “Oakland Stampede”. That’s pretty clever. Pretty, pretty, clever. Hobbs goes up and Punk cuts him off and brings him down with a rana, and Hobbs lands on his head on that one in a scary bump. Punk goes for the cross-armbreaker and then turns it into a triangle, but Hobbs powers out of that with a slam for two. They slug it out again and Punk wins that battle with a high kick. Hook tries to get involved, but Hobbs knocks him off the apron by mistake, sending him flying to the floor in a horrific bump that may have messed up his hair, I’m not sure, and the GTS finishes at 13:35. SOMEONE CHECK ON HOOK ALREADY! Actually it looks like he’s OK. Now I can finish the show. This was way better than it had any right to be, with Punk fighting from underneath and treating Hobbs like the giant that needed slaying. ***1/4

The Young Bucks & Adam Cole v. Christian Cage & The Jurassic Express

The ADAM COLE BAY BAY is pretty epic here. Holy cow. They’re not gonna be able to keep this guy a heel for long. Cole teases starting the match and then brings in Matt instead as the announce team adds Don Callis and poor Excalibur gets overrun by heels. Matt slugs away on Christian and offers a hip swivel, but Christian fires back with chops and chokes him out on the ropes. Diving uppercut gets two and it’s over to JB, as the babyfaces double-team Matt and then Nick while Adam Cole runs away from the conflict. Jungle Boy gets caught in the corner and the Bucks work the arm, but JB comes back with a double armdrag to chase them out, and Cole still wants no part of this. Everyone brawls on the floor and the Bucks catch JB with a double superkick from the Superkliq, and Luchasaurus gets sent into the railing. Back in, Cole puts JB in a camel clutch while the Bucks ham it up and we take a break. Sadly even us native born Europeans go to a break here, too. Back with Luchasaurus running wild as he clotheslines both Bucks, but he goes for a double chokeslam and Cole saves. So Luchasaurus does high kicks on the heels and chokeslams Cole onto Matt, and then slams Nick for two. Cole and Nick get a double superkick on Jungle Boy, but Christian comes back in from the void and tries the inverted DDT, only for the Bucks to break that up. Bucks try More Bang For Your Buck on Jungle Boy, but he escapes that and hits a german suplex on Matt into a diving headbutt from Christian, and that gets two. JB with the Snare Trap on Matt, but Gallows takes the ref and allows Matt to escape, and both guys are down. Back to Luchasaurus and he beats on Adam Cole as we get triple slugfests and JB dumps the Bucks and dives on Matt. But Nick hits him with a superkick on the ramp, and then Christian spears Nick, but Matt hits a low blow and sends Cage into the railing to get rid of him. Jungle Boy soon joins him, leaving Cole alone with the dinosaur, and the superkick and shining wizard get two for Cole. Panama Sunrise, BTE Trigger, Last Shot, good night at 13:52. The right guy pinned the right guy there and this was exactly what it should have been, a nutty Bucks match to get everyone over. ***1/2

Chris Jericho & Jake Hager v. Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page

Starks notes that “Judas” is actually about Jericho turning on the fans, and then he’s so proud of his analysis that he dubs himself “Analyzer Jones”. He’s pretty good on commentary already. Jericho hits Scorpio with corner clotheslines and Hager comes in for the double team, but Sky cuts him off with a jawbreaker. Page comes in and the Inner Circle double-teams him in the corner and Hager gets a suplex for two as Taz keeps talking about the Gable grip. They’re already naming moves after Gable Steveson? Page hits Jericho with an elbow and chokes him out on the ropes as you sad Americans go to a break, but us OUTRAGOUS Antwerpians stay with the action. The heels double-team Jericho in the corner and Scorpio takes him to the top, but Jericho fights him off and hits a crossbody for two, while Starks and Taz debate whether it’s more Rick Martel or Ricky Steamboat. Excalibur: “Ethan Page reaching for the tag like Starks was just reaching for the metaphor!” Hager gets a tag and runs wild on Page with a corner clothesline and slam out of the corner, and a lariat gets two. Sky pulls Hager to the apron and yanks him off, and Page hits a flying shoulder to the floor to take over, however. Back in the ring, Sky goes to a chinlock, but Hager fights out and hits a lariat out of the corner. Hot tag Jericho and he dropkicks Page off the apron and goes up with a double axehandle on Scorpio. Lionsault gets two. Back to Hager with the Hagerbomb for two. Hager with the anklelock and we are DESPERATELY OUT OF TIME ON PART ONE, FANS!

“Rampage Grand Slam! PART TWO!”

OK, we’re back. Hopefully everyone got some waffles. Jericho and Hager try double submissions, but Dan Lambert takes the ref and gets them to break it up, then trips up Hager and allows Scorpio to get the small package for the pin at 11:10. Lambert is having way too much fun at this. **1/2 Jericho and Hager try to get their revenge, but American Top Team hits the ring in his defense and I probably wouldn’t mess with them. Especially Jorge Masvidal, which is a pretty big get for AEW. The MMA guys take down the babyfaces and beat on them and even Paige Van Zant gets some bodyshots on Jericho before Masvidal puts his lights out with his running knee. I mean, this has gotta be leading to a match, I’d imagine.

Private Party & Butcher & Blade v. The Lucha Bros & Santana & Ortiz

I imagine this is going to be our patented “party atmosphere” match of the week. The heels all get dumped to the floor and we QUADRUPLE DIVES to the floor as Santana & Ortiz are pretty popular here in New York for some reason. Penta and Santana mix and match with a splash on Blade for two, but they all brawl on the floor again and Private Party gets a double DDT on Ortiz to take him out. Back in the ring, Butcher and Blade double-team Fenix with a powerbomb, and Matt Hardy goes for Ortiz’s hair, which brings out Orange Cassidy to make the save and take out Jack Evans for good measure. And we take a break. Back with Kassidy running wild on the babyfaces and hitting a stunner on Ortiz out of the corner, but Penta comes in with a backbreaker and then beats on Butcher with leg kicks until Butcher takes him down with a crossbody. Fenix comes in and takes out Butcher with the spinkick, but Blade gets a clothesline out of the corner and they’re both out. Quen comes in and misses the Shooting Star Press, so the Luchas double-team him with the Fear Factor and then Santana & Ortiz finish him with the Street Sweeper at 8:52. A very fun party match as promised, although a big chunk of it took place during the break. ***

Meanwhile, Big Money Matt freaks out on Tony Schiavone because Orange is stopping him from cutting people’s hair. So Matt challenges Orange to a hair v. hair match…against Jack Evans. Jack was sadly not aware that was coming. Matt remains pretty funny in this role.

Meanwhile, Sammy Guevara and Fuego del Sol are doing their cue card gimmick, but Miro sneaks up and WRECKS THEM. Redeemer 1, Dorks 0. Del Sol gets HURLED off the stage and through a table, and Sammy takes the Game Over, which hurts more on the hard stage.

Meanwhile, we hear from Andrade, who buries Chavo again and challenges Pac to a rematch.

Anna Jay v. Penelope Ford

Anna attacks on the ramp before the bell, which offends Taz. Jay with a back elbow and back kick, and she goes right for the choke sleeper until Bunny comes out and runs interference. This allows Ford to escape and suplex Jay on the ropes to take over as we take a break. Back with Anna trying the sleeper again, but Ford runs her into the corner to escape as Bunny takes the ref and throws in the brass knuckles, allowing Ford to use them for the pin at 6:09. This was fine but it feels like they’ve done the same finish a lot. ** The heels try the beatdown and Tay Conti makes the save, but the knuckles turn the tide again while the Hardy crew blocks the Best Friends from saving. So then the Dark Order gets called in and they make the save, apparently back on the same page. Sadly, Uno and Grayson aren’t ready yet. Can’t you crazy cultists just work it out?

Lights Out match: Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer v. Eddie Kingston & Jon Moxley

Sadly the pre-match interview betrays the taped nature of the show, as Kingston tears up his gear during the promo there but he’s miraculously back in one piece for the match. So they all go fighting right away and Moxley has a chair swinging duel with Suzuki on the ramp. This leads to a slugfest between Eddie and Suzuki, which amuses Suzuki. Eddie takes him down and grabs a table for the corner, but Suzuki won’t cooperate with that and boots him through it. Moxley and Archer slug it out, so Archer gets frustrated and goes to beat up on some poor ring crew, which is like when the shark consumes chum to refill its energy in Maneater. So Lance gets all pumped up and chokeslams Moxley off the apron and onto the geeks. Back in, Moxley and Suzuki trade shots while Archer retrieves a strap and chokes Moxley out as we take a break. Back with Suzuki-Gun taking turns whipping Moxley like a dog, as Mox appears to be bound by duct tape for good measure. Archer beats on him with a can lid and Suzuki uses a kendo stick. So Moxley spits on him and that just makes him even more pissed off, resulting in Moxley getting bitten. They continue beating on Moxley in the corner, but Eddie returns and makes a comeback with an enzuigiri on Suzuki that slows him down, and then the chops in the corner on Archer. Suzuki pops up and catches Eddie with the sleeper, into the spinning slam from Archer. So they set up the back to back chairs and go for the finish, but Homicide makes a surprise appearance from the crowd to save, freeing Moxley from the duct tape. So he hits Suzuki with the DDT on a chair while Eddie gives Archer the backfists, and Moxley DDTs Archer on the chair as well. So Eddie puts a trashcan on Archer’s head and beats on it with the kendo stick for a wacky but harmless spot, and that’s enough for the pin at 14:50. I still want to see more Moxley v. Suzuki and I’m pretty sure we’re getting it. This was another fun death match, although it seemed very toned down compared to their usual bloodbath standards, and that’s sometimes a good thing. ***

This one didn’t have a five star opener like Dynamite, but in a lot of ways I actually liked this one even more, as it overdelivered as compared to a tremendous but slightly disappointing Dynamite. Another one that was PPV quality and would have slotted in as the main show on Dynamite just fine if needed. Either way, it’s the fans who win! Good night from Belgium!