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AEW Rampage: Grand Slam- September 24, 2021
by Scrooge McSuck
Taped on Wednesday, September 22nd, from Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NY. Excalibur, Taz, and Ricky Starks are calling the action unless otherwise noted. This is a special TWO-HOUR EDITION of Rampage, with a loaded card including the first televised match of CM Punk since January 2014. Quick comments for Dynamite, just to throw my worthless opinion out there: I absolutely loved Omega/Danielson and would go full Monty with it, Sting/Darby vs. FTR was a fun slice of blending the eras, Cody needs to embrace the crowd reactions and turn heel (which might happen with the mystical powers of mist) and I don't know, but Ruby Soho hasn't done it for me in her few appearances in the ring.
CM Punk vs. Powerhouse Hobbs (w/ Hook):
With a start-time of 10 pm ET, it only makes sense to open with the biggest attraction. We recap Taz taking offense to CM Punk name dropping his men in various media appearances that led up to All Out. “Cult of Personality” will never get old, by the way. I can listen to that song day after day until the end of time. Punk is back in his traditional tights. Punk opens with a dropkick and throws kicks to the lower leg. Hobbs rattles Punk with a right forearm but gets caught with a drop toe hold. Punk with more strikes and a Russian leg sweep, followed by a middle finger for Hook. YOU DON'T MESS WITH HOOK. Punk teases GTS, but a distraction from Hook allows Hobbs to bulldoze Punk with a low body press. Hobbs cuts Punk off with a knee lift and sends him chest-first into the turnbuckle. Punk counters a suplex with a roll-up for two. Hobbs regains control, bulldozing Punk with a body block and clips his head across the middle rope. We come back from commercial (this is the TNT Drama version, so no picture-in-picture) with Hobbs in control with a bearhug. Punk escapes with elbows to the side of the head and connects with a jumping heel kick. He ducks a clothesline, countering with a swinging neck breaker. Punk with the high knee in the corner, followed by a short clothesline. The Macho Elbow connects but it only gets a two-count. Hobbs counters GTS with a spine-buster for two. Punk counters the pump-handle slam with a rear choke, and Hobbs counters that with a back suplex. Oklahoma Stampede for two. Punk cuts Hobbs off on the top turnbuckle but a flying hurricanrana is blocked. Punk gets it on the second try in a sloppy spot that saw Hobbs land on his head. Punk with a cross arm bar into the triangle choke but Hobbs counters with a sit-out slam for two. Punk rocks Hobbs with a roundhouse kick, takes advantage of a miscommunication on the apron, and GTS finishes at 12:05 (shown). Punk played the greatest hits and Hobbs with a believable if unremarkable style. There was the one scary botch, and anything involving someone spiking their head takes a little bit away. ***¼
Thunder Rosa, Nyla Rose and Jade Cargill all have words for each other.
Christian Cage, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus (w/ Marko Stunt) vs. The Superkliq (w/ The Good Brothers and Brandon Cutler):
The Superkliq is the trio of Matt and Nick Jackson and Adam Cole (BAY-BAY). Don Callis sits in commentary, giving us THREE heels in the booth. Christian and Cole start. No, sorry, Cage thinks twice and lets Matt Jackson start. Christian wrestles him to the canvas and gives him a slap across the face. Matt fires back, hotdogging for the camera. Christian avoids a charge into the corner, lighting Matt up with chops. Diving elbow from the middle rope for two. Whip and a double hip toss on Matt. Nick charges into a flapjack and Jungle Boy comes off the ropes with a sliding boot. Matt goes to the throat to cut Jungle Boy off. Jungle Boy fights off the double-team and springboards off the ropes with a double arm drag that sends both Jackson's to the outside. The action spills to the floor, with Jungle Boy laid out with a Super-Kick while Luchasaurus foolishly goes 1-on-3 with the Superkliq. Back inside, Cole hooks a Camel Clutch while the Bucks dick around before hitting a pair of basement dropkicks. We return from commercial with Jungle Boy stuck in the wrong neighborhood. He fights out of the corner after a series of teases and tags in Luchasaurus. He runs wild with right hands and sends Matt Jackson crashing face-first to the canvas. Double clothesline for the Young Bucks, but the double Chokeslam is interrupted by Cole. Luchasaurus ducks a double Super-Kick and pump-kick from Cole and chokeslams Cole across the chest of Matt. Nick gets caught going for a springboard and planted with a chokeslam for two. Christian with a reverse DDT to Cole, but the Killswitch is blocked. Matt with a Super-Kick to Christian and a juke-DDT for Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy avoids More Bang for Your Buck. He takes Matt off the top with a hurricanrana and Christian adds a diving headbutt for two. Gallows hops on the apron to draw Jungle Boy's attention. Matt with a Super-Kick and Jungle Boy bounces off the ropes with a lariat. Luchasaurus and Cole trade blows until we get a double-down from a pair of pump kicks. Heck breaks loose (again) with all six men in the ring. Bodies are laid out on the LED ramp. Christian and Jungle Boy get dumped off the stage. Cole clips the knee of Luchasaurus and hits a Shining Wizard for two. Panama Sunrise and BTE Trigger finishes at 10:55 (shown). This was non-stop action and if you know what these guys are capable of, you know if you'll like it or not. I loved it. ****
Chris Jericho & Jake Hager vs. Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page (w/ Dan Lambert):
We've finally found a match on this super-sized Arthur Ashe Stadium super-card that doesn't do much for me on paper. I don't mind Lambert's Jim Cornette impression, but it feels like Sky and Page have no footing in the company, and randomly getting challenged by Jericho and Hager seems like “a match for the sake of having a match.” Jericho and Sky start. Remember when Sky was being groomed as a possible top tier babyface? Lockup and Sky with an arm drag. Jericho throws chops and drops Sky with a snap back suplex. Jericho with ten short clotheslines in the corner. Whip and Sky gets bulldozed with a double shoulder block. Sky cuts off Hager with a jaw breaker, but Page can't take advantage and gets thrown into the corner. Jericho gets rocked with a standing roundhouse kick and Page unloads with mounted right hands. We come back from commercial, with Hager and Page out on the floor. Back inside, Sky keeps Hager from his corner with a mounted chin-lock. Hager forces a break in the corner but has the knee clipped before he can tag out. Whip to the corner, Hager puts on the breaks and lays Page out with a clothesline. Jericho with the hot tag, coming off the ropes with a pair of shoulder blocks and hitting Page with a springboard dropkick. VINTAGE JERICHO. Jericho comes off the top with a double axe-handle on Sky and hits the Lionsault for two. Hager with a Biel across the ring, followed by the Hager Bomb for two. Hager hooks the Ankle Lock while Jericho traps Page in the Walls of Jericho. Lambert hops on the apron to draw Hager's attention, allowing Sky to roll him up for a two-count. Hager with a uranage for two. Jericho sends Page out of the ring and follows with a plancha. Hager plants Sky with a slam and comes off the ropes with a boot. Lambert picks the ankle of Hager and Sky cradles him for three at 7:29 (shown). Post-match, Hager and Jericho promise to do some damage to Lambert until he's saved by representatives of America's Top Team. Hager and Jericho get wrecked, though asking shoot fighters to throw convincing worked strikes is asking a lot. This did nothing for me, and the finish was straight out of the WWE playbook. **¼
The Lucha Brothers (w/ Alex Abrahantes) & Santana and Ortiz vs. Private Party, The Butcher, and The Blade (w/ Matt Hardy & The Bunny):
More super-sized tag team action? OK. The quartette of babyfaces is over like Rover, and the HFO... well, everyone gets a polite response at least. All eight men go at it once the bell rings. The Lucha Brothers cut off Private Party with Super-Kicks and get dumped over the top rope. Santana and Fenix with moonsaults to the floor while Penta and Ortiz hit synchronized tope suicidas. Back inside, the Blade gets hit with stereo Thrust Kicks and Butcher makes the save. Private Party take out Santana and Ortiz on the floor as there's chaos everywhere. Butcher plants Fenix with a powerbomb and wastes time trash talking. Meanwhile, Hardy teases cutting the hair of Ortiz, but Orange Cassidy shows up and randomly KO's JACK EVANS with the Orange Punch. Over-booking much? We come back from commercial, with Santana getting the hot tag and hitting Blade with a rolling cutter. Ortiz in with the Lung Blower and the Blade gets turned inside out. Marq Quen in with a head-scissors that sends Ortiz and Satana into each other. Isiah Kassidy hits Santana with a flying Stunner. Penta catches Kassidy hanging upside down with a Super-Kick and plants him with a back breaker. Butcher with a low body press to cut off Penta, then snatches Fenix off the ropes, only to get nailed with a roundhouse thrust kick. Blade turns Fenix inside-out with a lariat and the action finally settles down. Is the referee even keeping tabs on who the legal men are? Penta hits Quen with a sling-blade. Fear Factor and Street Sweeper finishes Quen at 5:54 (shown). This was a wild spot-fest, so milage will vary. **
Tony Schiavone is with Matt Hardy. He challenges Orange Cassidy to a hair-vs-hair match... but Orange won't be facing Matt, he'll face Jack Evans.
Sammy Guevara (along with Fuego del Sol) shows up with his signs and gets ambushed by Miro. They'll do battle for the TNT Championship this coming week on Dynamite.
Andrade El Idolo is standing back, challenging Pac to a rematch, and promises Pac won't have an excuse next time when he loses.
Anna Jay vs. Penelope Ford:
Again, I'm not complaining, but if you're putting as many big names on the show, WHY THESE TWO when there's other more obvious choices on the women's side of the roster, especially considering Anna Jay missed about 8-months with an injury? Hell, why not do another big tag team match since there's so many of them on the show already? I'm surprised we don't have the Bunny or Tay Conti at ringside to start. Anna Jay attacks Ford on the ramp. They trade blows in the rig, with Ford getting the upper hand. Whip to the ropes, Anna hangs back and sends Ford over the top rope. Anna follows, sending Penelope into the post. Back inside, Anna with a spinning elbow into the corner. She hits another elbow and a standing heel kick. The Bunny shows up to distract Anna from finishing Ford off. Ford leaves Anna Jay out to dry and nails her with a running boot. We come back from commercial with a nose-to-nose showdown. They trade shoves and slaps, and Anna goes for the Queen Slayer again. Ford forces the break in the corner as the Bunny hops on the apron. Ford gets the brass knuckles and nails Anna on the “chin” for three at 3:06 (shown). Looked like the chest, but whatever. Post-match, they do a 2-on-1 assault until Conti makes the save, only for her to get laid out as well. Here comes Orange Cassidy, Kris Statlander and the entire Dark Order to clear out the HFO. The Dark Order still aren't on the same page however, as Uno walks away from the handshake of Alex Reynolds. *
THIS WEEK ON DYNAMITE: Miro vs. Sammy Guevara for the TNT Title! Dante Martin and Matt Sydal vs. Cody Rhodes & Lee Johnson! Tay Conti & Anna Jay vs. The Bunny & Penelope Ford! Jungle Boy vs. Adam Cole (Bay-Bay)! NEXT WEEK ON RAMPAGE: Orange Cassidy vs. Jack Evans in a Hair-vs-Hair Match!
Lights Out Match: Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki:
Final match of the night. Kingston went from selling his boots to pay his rent to working into front of 20,000 fans in Queens. If that doesn't inspire you and cheer for these men and women, I don't know what to tell you. So, two weeks ago on Dynamite, AEW rushed through the Moxley/Suzuki main event, which meant Suzuki's music (Kaze Ni Nare) was cut short before the crowd could play sing-along, and they somehow turned that into an angle (“The Suzuki Incident”)! Lights Out Match means anything goes, but the win/loss doesn't count against anyone's record. Lance Archer lays waste to random geeks on the way to the ring. There's no time wasted getting to the ring for Mox and Eddie. Archer and Suzuki attack first, with Eddie/Archer and Mox/Suzuki pairing off. Suzuki grabs a pair of chairs, sliding one to Moxley for a duel. Suzuki wins the battle, getting a clean shot to the midsection before Kingston saves. Suzuki withstands three huge chops and laughs it off. Kingston takes three chops from Suzuki and sweeps the leg. Eddie brings a table into the ring, setting it up in the corner. Suzuki blocks the whip and throws a flurry of rights and lefts before knocking Eddie backwards and through the table and a forward stomp. Moxley comes in to try his luck and gets double-teamed by Suzuki and Archer. Archer runs wild with more ringside attendants. He throws them all into one section and chokeslams Mox onto the pile of bodies. Mox and Suzuki trade blows. Suzuki gives up a sleeper to allow Archer to hang Mox over the top rope with a leather strap!
We return from the final commercial break of the night, with Mox having his hands duct-taped behind his back. Archer and Suzuki take turns lashing Moxley with the strap. Suzuki grabs a choke and turns Mox over with a single-leg crab. Archer brings in a trash-can lid, which feels like going from college to kindergarten when it comes to level of weapons and abuse. Eddie tries to save but Archer keeps him on the outside of the ring. Mox spits in Suzuki's face despite being in a compromised position. Suzuki responds with a measured right hands and biting. Mox keeps fighting but can't do much with his predicament. Kingston finally makes his way back in the ring, throwing right hands and chops. Archer no-sells the chops, so a poke of the eyes will do. Machine gun chops in the corner from Kingston, followed by an exploder suplex. Suzuki comes from behind with a sleeper and feeds him into the spinning Boss Man Slam from Archer. Suzuki positions a set of stairs in the ring, but here comes HOMICIDE to lay into Archer and Suzuki with chair shots. He cuts Mox loose before Suzuki dumps him to the floor. Moxley surprises Suzuki with a Paradigm Shift onto a chair. Eddie with a pair of spinning back-fists on Archer and Mox with another Paradigm Shift. Eddie wraps a trash can around the upper body of Archer and beats the piss out of it with a kendo stick to make sure he doesn't get up at 11:46 (shown). Again, mileage varies with matches like this, but keeping it from disgusting levels of brutality like Nick Gage is always a positive for me, and there wasn't unnecessary bloodshed. ***½
Final Thoughts: While I think they could've cut a tag match in favor of another singles star showcase, there's little to say about the quality of the work. The women's match wasn't much, but it was short and was more of a teaser for next week, and I don't get this Dan Lambert angle, but everything else is sure to please someone, coming off like a Pay-Per-View quality event. Whether you view this as a stand-alone or combine it with Dynamite as a single event, AEW running Arther Ashe is nothing less of a success, and the hard work put forth by all involved was clear. It's a good time to be a wrestling fan.
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