AEW Rampage Review (October 8, 2021)

This is AEW Rampage from The Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA. It was taped after Dynamite this past Wednesday night. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The AEW Rampage video (“This is Rampage”) aired to welcome us to the show.

Mark Henry was backstage for a split-screen interview with CM Punk and Daniel Garcia with 2.0 tag team. Mark mentioned Garcia and 2.0 attacked Punk in Chicago several weeks ago. The 2.0 guys said that Punk is a phony that took his ball and quit seven years ago. Daniel Garcia wondered what 23-year-old CM Punk would have done and he will put an end to Punk tonight. Punk said he didn’t come back to the world of wrestling and he said that wrestling came back to me. Punk made a joke about 2.0 looking like the Nasty Boys. Punk said that Garcia tried to jump him in Chicago, so he’s going to beat him in Philadelphia.

CM Punk entered to a huge pop wearing an AEW sweater on his way to the ring. Punk is 2-0 in his AEW career. Daniel Garcia was next with Matt Lee and Jeff Parker of 2.0 with Garcia sporting a 6-5 record with noting he’s won four matches in a row. The announcers were Excalibur, Taz and “The Screamer” (sometimes) Chris Jericho as well.

CM Punk vs. Daniel Garcia (w/Jeff Parker and Matt Lee)

Punk was wrestling in tights instead of trunks. Big age difference with CM Punk at 42 years old (43 later this month) and Garcia is 23 years old. Punk did some mat wrestling to use his experience followed by a shoulder tackle to get a takedown. Punk went for a heel hook submission, Garcia managed to get to the ropes and that led to a break. Garcia tried a cheap shot, so Punk slapped him hard and hit two body slams in a row. Garcia avoided a body slam, then a forearm to the back as well as stomps in the corner. Garcia charged, Punk with a back elbow, which led to Parker and Lee on the apron to distract, so Garcia pulled on Punk’s leg against the ring post. Lee rammed Punk’s leg against the ring post as well. They did a good job of distracting the referee. They went to a break for 90 seconds.

(Commercial)

Garcia was in control against Garcia as he worked on the right knee of Punk, who hit a headbutt. Garcia with a takedown on the right leg and then he jumped on the right leg. Garcia stretched Punk’s injured right knee again. When Punk got up again, Garcia caught the right leg and pulled back on the right leg. Punk with punches, then shoulder tackles and a suplex attempt, but then Garcia did a chop block to the right leg. Garcia did some taunting/stalling, then a charge, so you know Punk would move and Punk did while Garcia hit a dropkick into the turnbuckle. Garcia charged in, Punk with a rising lefty knee. They exchanged strikes with Punk busting out the Mongolian Chop, then Punk blocked a kick with the left leg and hit a roundhouse right kick to the head for two. Punk with leg lariat with the right leg followed by the neckbreaker while Punk punched the right leg to get some strength in it. Punk with a rising knee, but then Garcia came back with an Olympic Slam for two. Garcia went for a move, Punk with punches, Punk with a clothesline and then stiffer clothesline after hooking the arms. When they got back up, Garcia got a takedown leading to a Sharpshooter that was near the ropes, so Punk touched the bottom rope. Punk kicked his way free, then he kicked Garcia into Lee on the apron and then sent Garcia into Lee on the apron. Punk went up top leading to a cross body block onto the three guys on the floor. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Punk sent Garcia back into the ring leading to Punk hitting a springboard clothesline. Punk hit a piledriver. No pin attempt. Punk applied the Anaconda Vice for the submission win with Garcia tapping out after 14 minutes.

Winner by submission: CM Punk

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match that was competitive the whole way through. They went longer than I thought they might go, but it is also AEW’s willingness to put these young guys like Garcia in the ring for a competitive match with a top guy like Punk. Some people might say Punk shouldn’t take that long to beat Garcia, but that’s how you can put over Garcia saying he went nearly 15 minutes with Punk. Good job by Punk selling the right knee injury throughout the match. Garcia continues to impress with a lot of technical moves. I like how they set up the finish with Lee/Parker doing some bumps off the apron, then Punk took them all out with a cross body block and it was Anaconda Vice time for the win.

Post match, Punk used the ropes to get back up to his feet while continuing to sell the right leg injury. The fans cheered.

Analysis: I hope Punk gets an interesting storyline leading into a match at Full Gear next month. Being the happy veteran wrestler that can still go is fine, but I want to see more.

The trio of Lio Rush, Matt Sydal and Dante Martin were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Sydal said that Rush sounds like a “junk bond salesman.” Rush said that what he has with Dante is real and what he is selling is real. Rush said that Sydal is the one in this group to prove his value. Rush said that Sydal can face CM Punk next week and Sydal was excited to have a moment with CM Punk. It’s on for next week. Poor Dante never got to say a word. Let the kid speak!

The tag team titles are next.

(Commercial)

The Acclaimed duo of Max Caster and Anthony Bowens made their entrance with a 17-3 record. They were the number one ranked tag team. Caster had some good lines for his rap-like “packing heat like Arn Anderson” and a shot at Ben Simmons, who wants to leave the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Caster ripped on Rocky Balboa saying he was a fake champion. Lucha Brothers were next as the AEW Tag Team Champions with Alex Abrahantes. They are also the AAA Tag Team Champions, so they had two sets of titles. They are 12-0 in 2021.

Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix & Penta El Zero Miedo) w/Alex Abrahantes vs. The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens)

The Acclaimed attacked Lucha Bros on the apron before the match began as a cheap shot. They went back into the ring to start the match. Penta with a kick on Caster, then Fenix and Penta each hit kicks to the head. Bowens got beat up by both champions as Lucha Bros each hit superkicks. Penta slammed Fenix onto both Acclaimed guys. Caster held onto Penta’s leg. Fenix tried a dive on Bowens, but Bowens hit him with the boombox while the referee was looking on the other side of the ring. Caster caught a charging Penta and hit a vertical suplex for two. Acclaimed hit a double team legsweep, Caster with a senton and Bowens got a two count. Penta fought out of the heel corner with a kick on Caster followed by an impressive DDT. Fenix tagged in with a pump kick, then a corkscrew kick and a spinning kick. Bowens charged into Fenix, who hit a Cutter for two. Bowens with a superkick on Fenix. Penta in illegally with a kick, Caster with a kick on Penta and then Fenix hit a double Cutter, so all four guys were down. Jericho was screaming about stars are being born on a weekly basis in AEW. Bowens with a lifting slam on Fenix, Caster up top, Penta knocked him down and Penta with a dropkick to the groin while Fenix held Bowens. The referee allows double team moves illegally at all times because it’s AEW. Anyway, Lucha Brothers hit an assisted DDT for the pinfall win. They went about six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix & Penta El Zero Miedo)

Analysis: **1/2 This was an average tag team match. The heels were in control for a few minutes until the champs came back to put them away. Every match in AEW doesn’t have to go 15 minutes, so sometimes you need to book champions strong and give them decisive wins like this. Fenix and Penta are so much fun to watch. I like Bowens/Caster a lot as a young team with a bright future. Lucha Bros matches are always fun to watch. Love those guys.

There were highlights shown from Adam Page’s big win earlier in the week.

(Commercial)

A video aired about the introduction of the Women’s TBS Title.

Jade Cargill (w/Smart Mark Sterling) vs. Skye Blue

Cargill is 16-0 in AEW. Blue did not get an entrance and this was her AEW Rampage debut. Cargill caught Blue in her arms followed by a fallaway slam. Blue tried a move off the ropes, Cargill moved out of the way and Cargill hit a pump kick. Cargill got a hold of the charging Blue and hit a move called Jaded that is like a Glam Slam. It went about one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Jade Cargill

Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over Cargill as a dominant threat.

Post match, Cargill punched Blue a few times. Thunder Rosa ran out with a steel chair, so Cargill left with Sterling.

Next week AEW Rampage is live on Friday night in Miami and then AEW Dynamite is live on Saturday night in Miami. They are pre-empted on TNT due to NHL coverage. Here’s a rundown of what’s advertised.

Rampage next Friday, October 15:

* CM Punk vs. Matt Sydal

* Ruby Soho vs. The Bunny

* The Inner Circle’s Chris Jericho, Jake Hager & Sammy Guevara vs. Ethan Page, Scorpio Sky and Junior Dos Santos with Dan Lambert & Jorge Masvidal.

Dynamite next Saturday, October 16:

* Dante Martin vs. Malakai Black

* Luca Brothers defend the AEW Tag Team Titles vs. “A Masked Tag Team Known Only To Be Close Friends of Andrade El Idolo.” That’s what it said on the screen.

* Bryan Danielson vs. Bobby Fish

* World Title Eliminator Tournament bracket announced with the finals taking place at Full Gear.

Ricky Starks vs. Brian Cage was up next.

(Commercial)

Mark Henry got to work twice this week for a split-screen interview with Ricky Starks (with Powerhouse Hobbs & Hook) and Brian Cage. Starks said that he will whoop Cage’s ass. Cage said that he can stick it to Team Taz while adding that Ricky hasn’t proven a damn thing. Cage said that Starks has ducked him week after week. Cage said nobody is better than Brian Cage…especially Ricky Starks. It’s time for the main event.

The main event is a Philly Street Fight with no disqualifications, no countouts and anything goes. Brian Cage was up first with a record of 28-5 in AEW. Taz called Cage a heathen and a bum and he never should have had him in Team Taz. Ricky Starks made his entrance alone with the FTW Title. Starks is 13-2 in 2021.

Philly Street Fight for the FTW Championship: Ricky Starks vs. Brian Cage

Starks tried to attack with a chair, but Cage stepped on the chair and hit Starks with clotheslines. Cage with a belly to belly overhead suplex. Cage with a stiff chair shot to the back two times in a row. Starks left the ring, so Cage worked him over with chops followed by a whip into the barricade. Cage with a belly to back slam onto the edge of the ring apron. Cage tossed a trash can into the ring. Starks went for a takedown, Cage blocked and Starks got a pool cue that he used to hit Cage in the side of the head. Starks with a boot to the ribs followed by a DDT off the ropes. That led to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Cage getting in some offense with a fallaway slam. Starks with a forearm to the head and then punches to the jaw. Starks hit a running leg drop with a trash can as an assist for a two count. Starks took a long time to set up a spot with a trash can, so Cage was able to come back with a superkick. Cage with the dreaded trash can shot to the head. Starks with a pumphandle slam like move with Ricky’s ribs hitting the trash can and Cage got a two count. Taz screamed “Send Hobbs” and Jericho yelled “Send Hook” so then Taz and Jericho were both screaming. Hook (Taz’s son) went down to the ring with a weapon, but Cage fought him off. Powerhouse Hobbs went into the ring, cage with a superkick. Starks with a belt shot to the head and a Spear onto the pipe for two. Good nearfall there with Starks freaking out about it. Taz was shocked and wanted Starks to focus. Cage sidestepped a charging Starks and sent him into a steel chair that was against the ropes. Cage hit a discus lariat for two with Hobbs breaking up the pin. Starks was bleeding from the head after the bump into the chair. Hobbs and Hook got involved with Hook hitting a low blow on Cage. Starks got a hold of Cage on the ropes and hit the Rochambeau powerslam for the pinfall win. This won 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ricky Starks

Analysis: *** A pretty good match here with some big spots towards the finish. The blatant interference hurts, but is fitting for Starks and his crew. The crowd barely reacted to Cage at some points when you would normally expect them to care about the babyface that was getting beat up. That makes me think Cage is probably miscast as a babyface on his own and he should have stayed as a heel. The best spot of the match was the nearfall after the interference and it only got a two count. Shortly after that, Starks got the win thanks to more interference. Starks has earned and deserves more screen time.

Team Taz including Taz celebrated on the ramp while Cage was upset. Jericho wondered what was going on with Hook’s hair. Nobody questions Hook, pal. Anyway, that was the end of the show.

After the show, AEW President Tony Khan did a promo with former ECW wrestlers Taz, Chris Jericho, Jerry Lynn and Dean Malenko in the ring with him. Taz did a great job of comparing the AEW fans for being as passionate as ECW fans were. I think he’s right about that. Tony used to go ECW shows in Philly because his rich dad flew him on a private jet from Chicago to Philly to go to shows. Must be nice. Anyway, you can check that video below.

Tony Khan also tweeted this about how there’s a 2 hour, 30-minute Smackdown next week on Fox Sports 1 (pre-empted on Fox due to MLB Playoffs), which means the last 30 minutes of Smackdown will be up against the first 30 minutes of Rampage, which is on TNT. Both shows will be live. Here is what Tony tweeted.

Yes, congrats on going head to head on the worst night of television in a terrible timeslot while Smackdown is on a channel that it is not regularly on. Good luck, pro wrestling shows.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. CM Punk
  2. Ricky Starks
  3. Daniel Garcia/Brian Cage

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 7 out of 10

Last Week: 6.75

 

Final Thoughts

A pretty good show with some solid in-ring action as usual. Some weeks on Dynamite they have an in-ring promo segment, but this week it was all about the matches.

Punk/Garcia went the longest with Garcia impressing before Punk put him away. The main event was solid for a ten-minute match with weapons and blatant interference. The Tag Team Title match was a decisive win by the champions while the women’s match was just a squash.

As a reminder, next week Rampage is live on Friday and Dynamite is live on Saturday, so Rampage before Dynamite. It will be like that the following week too.

Thanks for reading. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

 

 

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