AEW Rampage (August 19, 2022) originated from the Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, WV. The show featured Claudio Castagnoli issuing an open challenge with an interesting answer, two title fights and the best friends proving they were built for the trio tournament.
Let’s jump straight into a recap of the show, followed by reactions.
Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho commented. Justin Roberts assumed ring announcer duties.
Claudio Castagnoli issued an open challenge for the ROH World Championship next week. Dustin Rhodes took the stage to respond. He promised to give Claudio the best Dustin Rhodes of his life. Claudio recognized the burning desire to become world champion and accepted the match.
Ortiz and Ruby Soho have pending deals with Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti. They’ve wanted to get their hands on her for months.
AEW World Tag Team Championship: Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee (c) vs. Private Party
Isiah Kassidy stepped up to Keith Lee and Limitless threw him over the ring. However, Kassidy landed on his feet. He fired off a few quick attacks, but Lee knocked him out. day to avoid. Kassidy matched Swerve’s skill on the exchanges to land a slingshot tornillo to the outside. Swerve is controlled by a private party. Hot tag to Lee to steam through the competition. Lee crushed Marq Quen with a huge shoulder tackle. Tag to Swerve for a kick to the back of the head. Quen didn’t want to stop, so Swerve killed a JML driver.
Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee def. Private Party.
After that, it was clear that Private Party’s performance that night earned Lee’s respect.
QT Marshall and the Factory lounged around playing cards and dominoes. Will Hobbs stomped in to knock over their table. Hobbs was upset that the Factory didn’t care about Ricky Starks. For Hobbs, word is a bond. QT reassured his troops and then promised to get the job done.
FTW Championship: Hook (c) vs. Zack Clayton
Clayton wiped his lips about being an entertainment superstar during his performance. When the bell rang, Hook ducked a clothesline to secure a redrum choke for the win.
Hook defeated Zack Clayton.
Backstage, Daddy Magic and Cool Hand were impressed by Hook’s performance. Daddy Magic asked if the tough guy would like a taste. Cool Hand presented the FTW title as rich in pro wrestling history, then wondered what if the belt was held by a sports entertainer.
Billy Gunn warned his sons that their attack on him was at the wrong time for the wrong person. He’ll spank their ass as a lesson. Billy brings friends. Everyone loves the celebrated.
At the end of Dynamite, footage of Andrade’s attack on Dragon Lee aired. Andrade and Rush tore the luchador’s mask apart. Los Ingobernables blamed Dragon Lee for the loss. Nick Jackson entered the ring for the save.
With Hook winning his match so quickly, a stand-by fight was on the agenda.
Pal Matthews vs Serpentico
Julia Hart was ringside. Matthews quickly mauled Serptentico. The masked man lunged for a flying Hurricanrana, but Matthews caught him to counter a powerbomb into the corner. Matthews ended up with a pumphandle maneuver of death.
Pal Matthews defeated Serpentico.
After the match, Miro’s horns roared. He came on stage wearing Malakai Black’s skull mask. Commentary wondered if Black was captured. Miro rushed to the ring to crush Matthews. A jab knocked Matthews out of the ring.
dr Britt Baker DMD, Jamie Hayter and Rebel left as they played no part in the All Out PPV. Baker tried again to sow discord between Thunder Rosa and Toni Storm. Baker will watch and wait for the winner.
Penelope Ford vs Athena
Athena was adept at ducking and dodging, but Ford eventually controlled the pace with aggression. Ford also had a nifty Matrix reverse bridge into a stunner. Athena ended up getting the win by dropkicking Ford into the barricade and then flying to a diver stunner.
Athena defeated Penelope Ford.
Immediately afterwards, Kiera Hogan and Leila Gray ambushed Athena. Jade Cargill was onstage with a sledgehammer to smash Athena’s wing gear. Athena tried to free herself, but Jade hit her in the middle with the hammer. Athena lay down on the mat while Jade stood upright.
Mark Henry interviewed the main event attendees. Ari Daivari believed this trio tournament match would be a walk in the park as the Trustbusters progressed. The Best Friends shot back that these new belts were made for them as a real trio. Enough talk. Orange Cassidy interrupted Henry for stealing his line. Henry argued that it was his line, and Cassidy complied. Henry concluded, “It’s Main Event time!”
AEW World Trios Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Trustbusters vs. Best Friends
Sonny Kiss was ringside. Best Friends treated Ari Daivari and Slim J to strong moves early on. It was different when Parker Boudreaux was in the ring. Boudreaux smashed with ease. Trustbusters isolated Trento. Hot tag to Orange Cassidy Putzhaus by Daivari and Slim J.OC called Boudreaux. OC has been googled and smashed. Best Friends hit Boudreaux with a double clothesline and a triple dropkick.
The Trustbusters were close to victory on a Frog Splash from Daivari to Cassidy, but Best Friends broke the cover. The good guys worked to eliminate the menacing threat known as Boudreaux. Trent impaled Boudreaux in the guardrail. Cassidy followed with a Superman punch. They threw Boudreaux over the railing.
Kiss interfered with Cassidy. Slim J hit a DDT dive reverse. Cassidy kicked out at the pinfall. Danhausen appeared out of nowhere from behind the barricade to curse the Trustbusters. That distraction earned Slim J. a double chokeslam. Cassidy connected with a Superman punch to Daivari on the apron. Best Friends finished Slim J with a raised pyramid shaped splash.
Best friends defeated Trustbusters.
Best friends were right. They’re built for trios action. Using Orange Cassidy’s Hijinks in small doses for Trent and Chuck Taylor to carry the physical burden is quite entertaining. This saves Cassidy’s explosiveness for the role to swing momentum. Her Pyramid Splash maneuver was great to finish. I’ll generally pass on Cassidy as a solo act, but I can follow along to cheer on the Best Friends as a trio. Their teamwork attacks have good rhythm and creativity to host fun games.
At the back of the line with the Trustbusters. The last few weeks of exposure have done enough to make me curious as to how they are shaping up. Parker Boudreaux did well with his power smashes. Unleash him in Hoss battles!
The AEW tag title fight had cool moves for a big reaction. Keith Lee’s power was explosive to be the star of the game. Private Party never really had the moment to make me believe they could win, but they gained Lee’s respect. That seems to be the seal of approval for Private Party to rejoin the good side.
Hook was hook. The match was so short that we didn’t learn anything new. Hopefully Cool Hand or Daddy Magic will go up a notch in difficulty. With Hook’s quick win, I like how AEW leaned towards real esports with the standby match. Buddy Matthews destroyed Serpentico and was able to boast as a reminder of his abilities. Too bad for Matthews that Miro recklessly ran him over. Miro in singles matches against the House of Black is going to be awesome.
Penelope Ford looked good in her first serious test after injury. The closing flow felt fast in terms of the story within the game. Athena was down, then boom. Two moves and victory. Granted, they were impressive moves. Jade Cargill hammered home that this feud is about to run down and get dirty.
Dustin Rhodes’ response to Claudio Castagnoli’s open challenge was a great way to use Rhodes as a special attraction. I emerged as my favorite moment of the show. It was a totally unexpected surprise. The quick promotion exchange convinced me. Fighting Spirit will be off the charts. Claudio’s verbal offer of an open challenge is also a much better way to book his opponents than giving wrestlers golden opportunities on televised losing streaks.
The promos were very enjoyable, especially the surprise from Dustin Rhodes. This makes the most of the Open Challenge gimmick. There were no games this week. The sizzle popped with a variety of cool moves, but the steak was below average. There is not much to say about two pumpkins. The tag team title fight and women’s fight never reached that second gear of competitiveness. The main event trio fight was the best of the group.
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