AEW Rampage (Aug. 5, 2022) came from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. The show featured Jon Moxley battling Mance Warner, Madison Rayne lining up for a title shot and Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland fumbling in a tag team street fight.
Let’s start right away with a recap of the show, followed by reactions.
Excalibur, Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone were on comment. Justin Roberts performed the ring announcer’s duties.
AEW Interim World Eliminator Championship: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Mance Warner
If Warner wins, he earns a title shot. Warner is here for a fight. Blackpool Combat Club coach William Regal commented. Excalibur wondered if it was smart for Moxley to wrestle so close to his title defense against Chris Jericho next week. Dynamite. Regal replied that Moxley is a proud fighting champion.
Moxley was the first to leave. Warner came out second and urged Mox to meet him on the ramp to fight. Moxley required for floor brawls. Mox put Warner in an open chair.
Later, Warner printed a receipt to suplex Moxley in an open chair.
More fights caused Moxley to aim for a pile driver on the ring stairs. Warner countered for a DDT on the sample. Warner picked up a chair with bad intentions, so Moxley slammed the chair in Warner’s face. Both men were bleeding at the time.
Moxley shifted into high gear for a suicide dive, superplex and hammering elbows. Warner blocked the elbows to come back for a running knee. Moxley ate the ignition and continued to drive forward for a double wrist lock. He proceeded to stomp on Warner’s head. Mox hit a pile driver and continued to stomp his head.
The champion writhed in a standing bulldog suffocation for the win when Warner passed out.
Jon Moxley defeated Mance Warner.
QT Marshall offered The Factory services to protect Ricky Starks from Will Hobbs. Starks told QT to kiss his ass and bumped through QT on his way out. Anthony Ogogo took an exception, but QT calmed him down.
Konosuke Takeshita vs. Ryan Nemeth
Takeshita handled business despite interference from Peter Avalon. Nemeth was so busy spinning his hips that Takeshita escaped a neck buster to jump on a Blue Thunder Bomb. A running knee strike sealed the deal.
Konosuke Takeshita defeated Ryan Nemeth.
Then Avalon attacked, but Takeshita quickly drove Pretty Peter out with a running knee.
Best friends were in the training room, tending Orange Cassidy’s aching knee. By not being in the singles or tag team top 5, they realized that they are better as a trio. The Best Friends crew decided to chase the new AEW Trios Championship. At the hurrah hand gesture, Dr. Danhausen also reached into his hand.
Madison Rayne vs. Leila Gray
Rayne had momentum early on in her AEW in-ring debut with waistlocks, backslides and arm drags. Stokely Hathaway stomped on the steps of the ring as a distraction for Gray to knock Rayne off the apron. Gray followed with a suplex on the floor. The Baddie recruit worked on grinding Rayne to maintain control. The former Knockouts champion rallied with a Northern Lights suplex. Gray escaped a ripcord lineup to counter a side slam. Haymakers were switched back and forth. Rayne scored a sliding lasso to finish with the Cross Rayne rolling cutter.
Madison Rayne defeated Leila Grey.
In the aftermath, Jade Cargill announced an open challenge for the TBS Championship on Dynamite. She encouraged Rayne to accept so she could beat that ass. Kiera Hogan was ambushed. Rayne turned the tables for a rolling knife. Jade vs. Rayne in a TBS title fight was later made official for next week.
Hype Promo Pack for Lucha Bros vs Solve Ingobernables Dynamite. Show it or shut up. Time to fight. Luke reigns. Swear words everywhere.
Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Mark Sterling has incited Tony Nese and Josh Woods. Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee thought it was a foolish choice to arrange a street fight. Nese and Woods went to the wrong people. They will become nothing more than a footnote in the champion’s path to defend against a properly ranked tag team. Enough talk. Henry concluded with, “It’s time for the main event!”
Friday Night Street Fight: Tony Nese & Josh Woods vs. Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee
The AEW World Tag Team Championship was not at stake. Mark Sterling was like a plague all through ringside. Brawl to start with Nese throwing protein powder in Lee’s face. As Nese shoved it, Swerve kicked the bottle in Nese’s face. Swerve threw a toolbox into the ring staircase that Nese narrowly missed. Nese used that object to bash Lee. That was pretty much the end of the brutality. The rest of the game was mostly serious action.
Highlights include Woods performing a twisting brain teaser to swing into the ring stairs.
Nese and Woods hit a double DDT to Lee on a chair. Piling on top for a pin, Swerve took flight for a 450 splash to make the save.
Nese and Woods put Swerve on a table, but Lee kept those fools out of the ring. Sterling saw his chance for a flying attack on Swerve. After Smart Mark climbed into the corner, Lee pushed him off the table.
Woods attempted a German suplex to get Lee off the platform via tables, but Lee used his strength to grab the ropes as a defense. Nese gave Lee a super kick and Woods knocked the big man through the woods.
That ensured the finish between Nese and Swerve. Nese piled up a pile of loot, only for Swerve to drop the body backwards and let him fall on the objects. Swerve seized the moment for a flying double punch for the win.
Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee defeated Tony Nese & Josh Woods.
Thank goodness Jon Moxley is a buzzsaw of violence. Mance Warner wanted a fight, and a fight he got. That was a downright donnybrook of entertainment. The action paid off, but it was their salivating personalities that convinced me. The eagerness to throw punches and rebellious middle fingers in the face of pain eventually made Moxley turn up the heat. He broke Warner so much I’m super excited about his title fight against Chris Jericho Dynamite. Jericho was strong on Wednesday and Moxley was strong on Friday. Both gentlemen peak at the right time to create an extra layer of anticipation. As fast as the build has been, AEW hits all the right notes for a mega match feel.
AEW often presents new faces against stars on an equal footing, and the star ends up hitting a special move for the win. It feels like the star is escaping with a win against a wrestler we may not see on TV for a while. When I say I prefer a more emphatic finish for the star in those scenarios, I mean Moxley versus Warner. They went toe-to-toe making Warner look tough, then Mox upped his game to crush the competition. Warner was impressive and Moxley was even more impressive. Win win.
Damn, that Friday Night Street Fight main event was way better than I expected. I went in thinking it would be a showcase for Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee, but Tony Nese and Josh Woods beefed up their physique as competitive threats. Even Mark Sterling contributed positively to the experience. He may be cartoonish, but he does well to tempt emotions to get a kick in the ass. And when that happens, Sterling takes a hard thump to produce instant gratification for the viewers.
The German suplex table spot was great. They did well with the Woods Plague to build anticipation of the move. I thought Lee would provide a counterbalance to take control, and that added a pleasant element of surprise that the heels actually achieved success during the maneuver. It was a true Holy shit moment.
I’m all on board for Madison Rayne to challenge Jade Cargill for the TBS Championship. It’s about taking advantage of the buzz of Rayne’s arrival. Her share of AEW may never be higher, especially if she will be more focused on her backstage role as a coach. AEW might as well give Cargill the squeeze. Jade’s feud with Athena comes dangerously close because he hasn’t pulled the trigger yet on booking that match-up as a title fight. At this point I assume AEW is saving it for the Everything out PPV. Jade vs Rayne can help extend the shelf life of Jade vs Athena as AEW stops until: Everything out.
Quick thoughts to close. The possibility of Ricky Starks versus Anthony Ogogo has me intrigued. Nick Comoroto looked with his candy man lollipop, white hat, blue jumpsuit and fat chest. Konosuke Takeshita built quality momentum heading into ROH World Championship match against Claudio Castagnoli Battle of the Belts III on Saturday night. Commentary did their best with hyperbolic praise to build the hype for that fight.
Solid show that exceeds expectations. The action was rowdy for the opener and main event. Payouts were anticipated at Battle of the Belts III and Dynamite.
Share your opinion about rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?