The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 08.05.22
LIVE from Grand Rapids, MI
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur & Tony Schiavone
Jon Moxley v. Mance Warner
I’m not particularly familiar with Mance but I’m assuming I’ve seen him before in MLW or something. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Moxley is going to bleed here, though. They immediately brawl on the floor and Moxley runs him into the railing before hitting a suplex onto an open chair. Back in after a chop exchange, where Warner throws his own chops to take over. Moxley dropkicks the knee and gets a figure-four, but they fight to the floor again and Moxley goes into the stairs. Back in, they quickly change their mind and head to the floor again, where Moxley tries a suplex off the stairs and then switches to a DDT on them instead. Back in, Moxley appears to have taken the worst of that one and Mance puts him down with a running boot and gets his own figure-four. Moxley fights out of that and Warner clips the knee and goes to work on it. Moxley fights back and walks into a spinebuster for two. Mance throws some chairs into the ring, but Moxley slugs him down and busts him open in the process. Moxley with a superplex, but Warner gets a lariat and they’re both down. Moxley is up first with the head stomps and follows with a piledriver before choking him out at 12:14. Crowd was pretty dead for this one, probably because no one knows who the hell Mance Warner is, and it was mostly a generic Moxley brawl with not much going on. **
Meanwhile, Ricky Starks meets up with the Factory after getting laid out on Dynamite, and they offer him protection, but he storms off.
Konosuke Takeshita v. Ryan Nemeth
Takeshita hits him with the Warrior clothesline right away and follows with a running boot in the corner before slugging him down. Pretty Peter trips him up to allow Nemeth a cheapshot and he tries the neckbreaker, but Takeshita hits him with the Blue Thunder Bomb. And the knee strike finishes at 1:34. Man I say every week that they need to do something with this kid and maybe that’s putting the ROH title on him? Glad to see him completely squash someone, too.
Meanwhile, Orange Cassidy and Best Friends are pretty bummed about how things are going lately, but Dr. Danhausen pops in to cheer them up. He’s a doctor AND a lawyer? Huge if true.
Madison Rayne v. Leila Grey
Leila gets ZERO crowd reaction for her entrance. Probably because she’s a literal jobber and I have no idea what the storyline with Jade Cargill is supposed to be. Like, again, am I supposed to know or care who Leila Grey is or why she’s involved with Jade? They’ve done nothing to build her up as a threat or give her any kind of actual character. They trade takedown attempts to start and Rayne rolls her up for two. Stokely manages to distract Rayne and Leila shoves her off the apron to take over. Grey with a suplex on the floor, and back in for two off that. Grey chokes her out on the ropes and goes to a chinlock that goes through the entire PIP break. Rayne escapes that and makes a comeback with a northern lights suplex for two. Grey with a Side Effect for two and they do a bad slugfest before Grey tries a facebuster and Rayne blocks it in an ugly spot. Rayne finishes with the Crossroads at 8:34. This was BAD. Even by AEW Women’s division standards. ½* And then Jade shows up and invites Madison to accept her open challenge for Dynamite. Sooooooo…the weeks of Athena and Statlander challenging Jade basically led to nothing, then?
Street Fight: Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland v. Tony Nese & Josh Woods
Everyone fights on the floor to start and the champs double-team Woods, but Nese throws protein powder in Lee’s face. Swerve finds a toolbox under the ring and tosses it at Nese, but it misses and smashes on the steps instead. Woods hits Swerve with a twisting suplex into the stairs and that looked like it SUCKED for him. Back in the ring, the heels load up with plunder and Nese runs Swerve into a trash can for two. Swerve beats him down in the corner, but the heels double-team him on the apron while a table looms on the floor. Lee makes the save, but Nese hits Swerve with a spinkick for two. Lee makes a comeback in the ring and throws Nese into Woods, but Mark Sterling uses a chair to distract him. Lee gives him a stern talking-to, but the heels dogpile him for two. Swerve saves with a 450 and everyone is out, so Sterling sends another table into the ring. And then he uses a wrench on Swerve, but Lee takes out both heels outside. So Sterling puts Swerve on the table and goes to the top rope himself, but Lee tosses him through his own table. This was set up to be the big spot of the match but the crowd is just so dead tonight. Woods and Lee fight over a suplex on the apron and Woods manages to put him through the table with a german suplex. But back in the ring, Swerve backdrops Nese onto a chair and finishes with the Swerve Stomp at 12:54. I have no idea why they would put Nese and Woods into a match like this, which doesn’t play up any of their strengths. For me it was a complete mess, just smoke and mirrors and the same table-breaking brawl we’ve seen a million times, with absolutely nothing of substance to it. *1/2 Plus we already had a crazy brawl to start the show!
This was a dead show with a deader crowd, probably one of the worst Rampages I can remember. Hopefully Battle of the Belts III can redeem the taping tomorrow night.