AEW Rampage (Jan. 28, 2022) emanated from the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, OH. The Championship Friday show featured Jon Moxley bringing violence, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard tussling, Jade Cargill muscling up to defend the TBS Championship, and Jurassic Express rallying hard to retain the tag titles.
Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show followed by reactions.
Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks, and Chris Jericho were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.
Jon Moxley vs. Anthony Bowens
Max Caster rapped about Moxley’s wife not calling him back, sending Mox back to the indies, Mox’s boring book, and censorship of Moxley’s foul mouth.
As the Acclaimed entered the ring, Bowens instructed referee Aubrey Edwards to keep on eye on Moxley, because he’s nuts. Once Bowens turned his back to preen to the crowd, Moxley pummeled Caster then grabbed Bowens for a German suplex.
Moxley mauled Bowens early inside and outside of the ring. Bowens gained momentum after pulling Mox into the ring post. Bowens focused on weakening the neck with neckbreakers and head shots. Bowens hit a superplex driving Moxley down to the mat.
Mox rallied by taking out Caster on a suicide dive. As he reentered the ring, Bowens snatched him for a twisting DDT through the ropes.
The bout erupted into heated fisticuffs. Moxley won the exchange with a piledriver. Bowens continued fighting hard to connect on a rolling suplex.
Bowens dug into his bag of tricks by grabbing his boombox. Referee Edwards spied the situation and took away the foreign object. It was all a ruse for Caster to toss in a chain. Moxley was no fool though. He sprang up for a cutter to Bowens and clotheslined Caster out of the ring. Moxley mowed over Bowens with a lariat and finished with a Paradigm Shift.
Jon Moxley defeated Anthony Bowens.
Afterward, cameras showed Bryan Danielson backstage watching the match with a smirk.
Nyla Rose is not done with Ruby Soho. They will meet once again in a match on Dynamite.
Andrade opened the door to Sting’s locker room looking to make a deal. He found little boy Darby Allin sitting in the corner. Andrade inquired about the whereabouts of Allin’s boss. Allin snickered. Andrade handed over a contract to acquire Allin. Darby was amused at the idea that Andrade thinks he works for Sting. Allin respects Andrade’s talent as a wrestler, but this conversation was a waste of time. Money doesn’t mean a lot to Allin. Andrade can buy many things but not Allin’s dignity. Allin pulled out a bat to send the message it was time for them to leave. Andrade calmed the situation with a comment that he will talk to Allin’s boss.
FTR vs. Brock Anderson & Lee Johnson
Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson were ringside supporting their respective teams. Johnson was on fire early with a multitude of aerial attacks.
FTR gained control through tag team tactics to isolate Johnson. Hot tag to Brock. BrockLee went on a roll with a gutwrench bomb, catapult into a kick, DDT by Brock, and a rotating frog splash by Lee. Cash Wheeler was savvy enough to put his foot on the ropes for a break from the cover.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The intrigue was if Arn and Tully would throw blows. Brock was outside walking down Tully. Blanchard backed into papa Anderson. Arn let loose with a hefty forearm smash to knock Tully on his keister.
For the beginning of the end, I think Dax Harwood took out Brock on the floor. I can’t be sure, because the cameras missed it. Lee fought slippery to give FTR a scare, but they caught him for a spike piledriver to win.
FTR defeated Brock Anderson & Lee Johnson.
Thunder Rosa and Mercedes Martinez continued their war of words, and they have an official date for the fight. It’s on next week on Rampage.
Serena Deeb had a mini montage of running steps and roaring with a muscle flex as a statement to Hikaru Shida.
TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (c) vs. Julia Hart
Julia came to the ring shoving her jacket at Griff Garrison like a cheap valet. She still wore the eye patch for the title out. Mark Sterling accompanied his client while wearing a neck brace.
Cargill powered through Hart and hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. The champ took a break for calisthenics with pushups, sit-ups, and a kip-up. Hart took advantage of the arrogance for a roll-up. Hart kept on the pressure with corner attacks. As she screamed with energy, Cargill picked her up for a seat on her shoulders. Hart countered for a hurricanrana. Cargill exploded out of the pinfall and blasted Hart with a pump kick. The Jaded Glam Slam earned the victory.
Jade Cargill defeated Julia Hart.
Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Matt Hardy spoke about Private Party having the formula to defeat Jurassic Express. Christian Cage didn’t put much stock in Hardy’s tutelage. Isiah Kassidy spoke up about a celebration, so Jungle Boy chimed in that they’ve run through every configuration of the HFO. This bout will be no different. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”
AEW World Tag Team Championship: Jurassic Express (c) vs. Private Party
Andrade was in the skybox observing his AHFO tag team. The Ass Boys were in the front row watching the action. They distracted Jurassic Express, and Private Party pounced to take advantage.
Private Party hit their Gin & Juice finisher on Jungle Boy right after the opening bell. JB kicked out on the cover. Jungle Boy used his shifty quickness to break free for a hot tag to Luchasaurus. Private Party bailed from the ring to prevent the dino from wrecking shop.
Luchasaurus went after them, so Matt Hardy whacked his leg with a chair. Private Party seized on the assist to damage the big man’s leg. Luchasaurus dug deep to march toward his corner as Private Party hung on his legs like anchors. The dino was inches away from Jungle Boy, but Private Party prevented the tag. Luchasaurus fired up for clotheslines then reached his partner. Jungle Boy knocked Private Party out of the ring. He followed for a pair of suicide dives and a flipping cannonball.
Jungle Boy was on Marq Quen’s shoulders for a tag team attack, but Luchasaurus saved his boy to place JB atop his shoulders. Luchasaurus kicked Quen in the chest. Kassidy took flight for a flying crossbody, but JB countered for flipping slam off Luchasaurus’ shoulder.
The match broke down into chaos. Private Party went for Gin & Juice again. This time, Jungle Boy countered for a destroyer. JB trapped Quen in the Snare Trap. Quen made the save on a shooting star press.
Jurassic Express found their groove for a pop-up kick and teamwork powerbomb. JB pinned Quen to retain the tag titles.
Jurassic Express defeated Private Party.
Immediately after the victory, the Gunn Club rushed the ring to attack the champs. The Ass Boys clipped Luchasaurus’ knee. Billy Gunn took care of Christian. Austin Gunn walloped Jungle Boy in the head with the title belt. Colten Gunn joined his brother for a double whammy double title belt shot to Luchasaurus’ head. The Gunn Club stood tall to close the show.
The main event tag title bout was fire. The story in the ring got off to a hot start with Private Party hitting their finisher right at the opening bell. That sowed the seed of doubt all match long for Jurassic Express to keep their gold. The oversight of Matt Hardy paid off with strategic advice and the attack on Luchasaurus’ knee. It was smartly done how Private Party avoided the dino’s hot tag fury. That is Luchasaurus’ bread and butter to pop the crowd. The whole contest built up to provide an exciting moment for Jurassic Express to overcome adversity and prevail. They had me on the edge of my seat throughout.
The pre-match interview was a hoot with all the talk of ass pounding. This match might as well have been for the unofficial Ass Pounding Championship. It’s fitting that the Ass Boys stood tall holding the Ass Pounding belts.
Jon Moxley is the perfect opening act for Rampage. His name is a major draw, and his intense physicality sets the mood for the show. It leaves a good taste in the mouth ready for the next bout. Anthony Bowens shined again in a match with a major star. I enjoyed how the contest unfolded. Moxley pummeled Bowens early, because it began with a sneak attack. Once Bowens got his wits back, he took control with shady tactics and cool moves. The fan favorite overcame the odds to win in the end. Simple recipe executed well.
FTR and BrockLee complemented each other nicely as opponents. FTR embraced being rapscallions, while Brock Anderson & Lee Johnson elevated their game as youngsters to give FTR a run for their money. The match kicked off with an amusing subplot of Dax Harwood claiming to be the son Arn Anderson never had. When Dax faced off with Brock, they wrestled to a stalemate as clones of Arn. Johnson was the star of the match with a ton of flashy dives. Best of all, Arn clobbering Tully was outstanding. That put a huge smile on my face.
Jade Cargill continues to be money. Her presence exudes power, and her performance follows through on that. Julia Hart was pretty much a random challenger, so this match was all about showcasing Cargill. The champ played to her strengths well. The pump kick had a nice touch of landing on the side Hart’s blind eye.
Andrade’s promo with Darby Allin was hilarious. I love that ridiculous story. I’m also pumped that we have a date for Thunder Rosa versus Mercedes Martinez. All the little teases in prior weeks have built up enormous anticipation. I’m not quite sure what was going on with Serena Deeb’s vignette, but I’m always intrigued by a training montage. TRAINING MONTAGE!
This was one of those shows right up my alley of entertainment with physicality in the opener, a legends skirmish in the second bout, Jade powerhousing in the third, and a wild and woolly main event setting up a future clash. None of the results were a surprise. That didn’t matter though, because the action was engaging.
Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?