August 13th, 2021
Commentators - Excalibur, Taz, Chris Jericho, & Mark Henry
THE FIRST EVER EPISODE OF AEW RAMPAGE
1) Kenny Omega (c) vs. Christian Cage - IMPACT World Title Match
As of this writing I haven’t even posted my review of this week’s episode of Dynamite, but in that review, I voiced my disinterest in Christian being the challenger for Kenny and the AEW Title at All Out. I mentioned it even moreso in my review of the Homecoming Dynamite on 8/5. But this past week, I mentioned that although I’m uninterested in the moment, my trust in this promotion to deliver is what leaves me with hope. And tonight, that was displayed because this delivered beyond any expectations I had. 2 weeks ago, I didn’t even want to see one Christian/Omega match. So, when they announced a prelude to their AEW Title PPV match here, I was confused and also just meh. Now? I am insanely excited for that All Out match and so happy we get to see these two go at it again because this absolutely ruled. This had a big fight feel from the jump that I didn’t anticipate to translate onto a new show especially since there’s not a lot of heat on this story, but I was dead wrong, this all came together perfectly. They start slow and work a match that definitely leans more towards the style of Christian Cage early. Just a slow, brooding heat segment with Christian fighting from underneath and it fucking ROCKS. Christian looks exhausted and outwrestled by the younger champion and it garners so much sympathy that explodes into his tremendous comeback off a sunset flip powerbomb from the top rope. A bump Kenny takes better than anyone. Things shift into chaos from here with both men throwing bombs. Kenny destroys Christian with some snap dragons. Several great false finishes here down the stretch. The Bucks run down and try to slide a chair in after Christian kicks out of a few pin fall attempts. It backfires and Christian hits Omega with the killswitch on the chair while the ref is distracted and 1..2..3.. CHRISTIAN IS THE NEW IMPACT WORLD CHAMPION AND KENNY OMEGA HAS BEEN DEFEATED. Wow. Awesome match and shocking finish. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus join Christian to celebrate. I feel like that will be used in story later as Jungle was there when Christian beat Omega, doing what he couldn’t do.
Match rating - ****
Mark Henry is backstage to interview Christian Cage with his new titles. JUNGLE BOY IS POPPIN BOTTLES. This rules and Orange Cassidy is watching from a distance. Could we see OC thrown into this title mix after being screwed at Double Or Nothing? He did say he wasn’t done with Kenny..
2) Miro (c) vs. Fuego Del Sol - TNT Title Match
Great video to recap us on this little feud before the match. Fuego hits Miro before the bell with a swinging DDT. MIRO IS STAGGERED BUT TELLS THE REF TO RING THE BELL. Fuego with a leg scissors and more DDT’s. MIRO IS REEEELING ON THE FLOOR. Fucking fantastic opening moments of this squash. Miro sold like a maniac for Fuego before destroying him and retaining his title.
Match rating - **3/4
After the match, Fuego brings himself to his feet with an ovation from the crowd. Sammy Guevara comes out and Tony Khan meets him on the stage with a contract. Sammy, being Fuego’s best friend, gets the honor of presenting him with the news that he is finally ALL ELITE. Fuego gets so emotional and it almost makes me tear up. Great moment. HE FINALLY GOT SIGNED.
They show a hype video for next week’s episode of Rampage in Chicago which also replays Darby’s “best in the world” promo from Charlotte. MANNNNN. PUNK HAS TO SHOW UP NOW AND IF HE DOES I WILL CRY. The cameras then cut to Sting & Darby hanging out in the rafters looking COOL AS FUCK.
3) Britt Baker (c) vs. Red Velvet - AEW Women’s World Title Match
They do a three split screen interview thing pre-match hosted by Mark Henry then we cut to commercial and things get going when we return. Britt’s entrance was phenomenal yet again. Just a beautiful scene with her hometown crowd going nuts for her. Bell rings and the ladies work holds and I LOVE IT. The wrestling tonight has been the best. Britt has a forreal broken wrist that’s in a cast so that makes these opening holds and limb work mean something. Plus, Britt’s finisher is the lockjaw so on her end the story is her setting up for that. This really was such a good title match. The vibe was there with Britt being in her hometown and the story was simple and kept to the basics (for the most part) as they told the story with their action in the ring. This was my favorite Britt match since the Thunder Rosa bloodbath and it was the total opposite of it. I need more of Britt in technical matches like this and shit, I need more of Red Velvet in general! This is the second big match she’s been thrown into with little notice and she killed it just like she did in the Cody/Shaq/Jade match. Britt hits a fuckin Adam Cole style brain buster on the knee then winks at the camera!!! I popped. Velvet gets a great near fall off a moonsault after the ref throws Rebel out. They trade submissions on the mat with Britt struggling to keep the lockjaw on as Velvet ripped her cast off earlier. Eventually Britt locks it in using her other hand and Velvet submits. Britt retains!
Match rating - ***1/4
Post match, Britt attacks Velvet some more. Kris Statlander hops in only to be attacked by a returning Jamie Hayter. I admittedly didn’t know who she was, but apparently she was on some early Dynamite’s in the fall of 2019. Britt curb stomps Velvet on the title then poses with it and Hayter to close the show. BRITT’s BACKUP HAS ARRIVED. Career highlight of a match and night for Britt. What a year this has been for her.
Final thoughts: Well, well. It’s in the books. The debut episode of AEW’s second nationally televised program on TNT. I really loved this. It was an all killer, no filler show and because of the time restraints of being an hour instead of two, it felt a lot more focused than most Dynamite’s. They focused solely on the three advertised matches, which all delivered greatly, and built towards next week. You got a nice moment with Fuego being signed and a hot crowd that gave the woman who will lead your women’s division for the next decade yet another unforgettable career night. No complaints here, yall. See you next week for THE FIRST DANCE. I am gonna squeal if CM Punk shows up.