By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 8)
Taped September 29, 2021 in Rochester, New York at Blue Cross Arena
Aired October 1, 2021 on TNT
The commentary team of Excalibur and Taz checked in. Bryan Danielson’s music hit and here we go.
1. Bryan Danielson vs. Nick Jackson. The two settled in before locking up. Excalibur explained that Chris Jericho was not on commentary because of the attack he suffered from Dan Lambert’s people. Jackson toyed with Danielson and flipped to the outside before Danielson landed a Tope Suicida on the outside. Back in the ring, Danielson hit a shotgun dropkick from the top rope.
Danielson took down Jackson and worked a bow-and-arrow, which turned into a Dragon Sleeper, but Jackson raked the eyes to get out of it. Danielson hit some tough-sounding uppercuts. Jackson then landed a lariat to take control. Before long, Danielson hit a butterfly suplex and started working on Jackson’s arm. Danielson then hit a series of elbows before going back to Jackson’s arm.
Slowing things down, Danielson sunk in some mean-looking submissions on Jackson’s arm. Danielson went for chops and kicks and got every bit of them. Jackson lured Danielson into going for a kick in the corner and Jackson moved. Danielson went to the outside and Matt Jackson attacked Danielson as the action went to a PIP. [c]
Back from the break, Jackson had control and hit a bulldog. Jackson went into his own version of the Yes! kicks and it fired Danielson up. Danielson no-sold all the kicks and spit in Jackson’s face before launching into chops and kicks of his own. Danielson hit a flying clothesline before going into kicks to Jackson’s chest and ultimately his head. That got Danielson a two-count.
Danielson hit a pair of running knee strikes, but Jackson caught him with two super-kicks for a good near-fall. Jackson went to the top rope and went for a 450, but Danielson got the knees up and transitioned that into the LaBelle Lock, but Jackson made it to the ropes for a break. Danielson hit some kicks on the apron, but Jackson ultimately moved and Danielson hit his shin on the post.
Jackson landed a German Suplex on the apron and rolled into the ring. After rolling Danielson back into the ring, Jackson sunk in a Sharpshooter, but Danielson made it to the ropes for a break. Danielson rolled outside and Jackson went for a kick, but accidentally hit Brandon Cutler. Danielson then landed a release German Suplex on Jackson outside the ring.
Back in the ring, Danielson went after Matt Jackson, who was on the apron, and Nick rolled Danielson up for a two-count. Danielson hit a Tiger Suplex for a two count. Danielson landed a bunch of elbows before sinking in the Cattle Mutilation for the submission win.
Bryan Danielson defeated Nick Jackson via submission in 15:38.
After the match, the Elite came to the ring, but Jungle Boy, Christian Cage and Luchasaurus came out to have Danielson’s back. The factions then brawled. Omega and Danielson locked up and Danielson sunk in a LaBelle Lock on Omega. Omega tapped out while Adam Cole tapped out to Jungle Boy’s Bear Trap. A vignette from Ricky Starks aired and Starks called out Brian Cage.
McGuire’s Musings: Man, Danielson looks like a new man. He’s got edge, he’s got passion and boy, he’s not afraid to lay it in. Granted it’s only been two matches in AEW, but there’s a lot to like about his work. You can tell he’s most comfortable working that NJPW style and all told, it was refreshing to see Nick Jackson work a slower pace. The only question now is who’s next for Danielson? Matt?
Back from the break, Ricky Starks joined the commentary team. Excalibur threw to a video from CM Punk. Punk put over Will Hobbs, saying he feels like he slipped one over on Hobbs. Punk said there will be a time to get down to business and he’s got a target on his back. He said he’d rather choke to death on greatness than starve on mediocrity. Punk then essentially issued an open challenge.
2. Jade Cargill vs. Nyla Rose vs. Thunder Rosa. Rosa came out to a big ovation and Rosa took control of the match. Rosa went for a cross-body from the top, but Rose caught her, slammed her, and got a two-count. Rose and Cargill then traded blows and Cargill hit a pump kick to take Rose down. Cargill then clotheslined Rose over the top rope. Rosa then landed a missile dropkick on Cargill, who was posing. [c]
Back from the break, a trash can was in the ring and Rosa hit a dropkick into Cargill’s back. Rosa hit another one to Cargill’s chest. Rosa hit a third one, this time with the trash can on Cargill’s face. Rose then ran in to break up Rosa’s pin attempt. Cargill hit a spine-buster on Rose, but Rose regrouped and hit a kick and a neck-breaker on Cargill. Rose sunk in a single-leg crab on Cargill.
Rosa broke everything up with a kick to Rose and got a two-count on Rose. Rosa then fired up the crowd, but missed a dropkick on Rose. On the apron, Rose and Rosa fought before Rose perched Rosa on the top rope, but Rosa rolled out and power-bombed Rose from the top rope through a table on the outside and wow. Rosa tried to roll Rose into the ring, but Cargill hit Rosa with a chair multiple times. After the chair hits, Cargill covered Rosa and that was it.
Jade Cargill defeated Thunder Rosa and Nyla Rose via pinfall in 8:58.
After the match, Cargill posed over Rosa. A Malakai Black video aired with Black calling out Cody again. Black dismissed the Nightmare Family and said something about collecting a toll.
McGuire’s Musings: Well, that was a little disappointing. The commercial break in the middle of the match felt like it lasted half the match and by the time we got back to the action, weapons were introduced and perhaps I missed it, but I don’t recall this being a no DQ match beforehand. Either way, Cargill going over Rosa was a surprise and winning via a combination of weak and stiff chair shots was even more of a surprise. Rosa will be fine because that AEW crowd loves her, and this obviously helps build Cargill as a monster that will be a tough out, but the headline here is that power-bomb on Rose to the outside. Yikes, that looked like it hurt. Kudos to Rose for taking it.
Pac, Andrade, Moxley, Lance Archer, two entrants to be named and the Joker were announced for Wednesday’s ladder match. Mark Henry then did his split-screen interview for the main event between Cassidy and Evans. Hardy talked a lot. Cassidy responded by asking what he was doing. He said he didn’t know what it was. Henry said it was a hair vs. hair match. Cassidy said he guessed he wasn’t going to lose and walked out of the frame.
3. Orange Cassidy vs. Jack Evans in a Hair vs. Hair match. Cassidy made his entrance first, but then Evans made his entrance and the graphic said Evans’s record was 18-40. Yikes. Matt Hardy ran into the ring for a distraction to start the match and Evans rolled Cassidy up for a two-count. Cassidy took off his sunglasses and put his hands in his pockets before doing the kicks spot. Cassidy caught Evans for a backslide and got a two-count out of it.
Cassidy grabbed Evans’s hair and twirled him around. Hardy pulled Cassidy outside and punched Cassidy. Evans then landed a corkscrew kick on the outside of the ring. Evans followed that up with a 450 splash from the apron onto Cassidy outside and it looked like Evans hit his face hard. A PIP then commenced. [c]
Back from the break, Cassidy fired up and landed Tope Suicidas to Evans and Hardy on the outside. Cassidy hit a cross-body from the top rope, but Evans rolled through for a two-count. Cassidy went for a DDT, but Evans hit a Michunoku Driver for a two-count. Evans hit a kick and a standing sky-twister for a two-count. Evans went to the top rope and went for a sky-twister, but Cassidy rolled out of the way. Cassidy then landed a DDT.
Cassidy went to the top rope and hit a diving DDT for a very close near-fall. The Hardy Family then came out from the back. The Best Friends were also out there, somehow, maybe through the crowd? The Dark Order then ran out to support Best Friends. Cassidy hit the Orange Punch and that was enough for the win.
Orange Cassidy defeated Jack Evans via pinfall in 8:56.
After the match, Angelico tried to run in but the Dark Order beat him down. Hardy then told the family to not attack, saying he was sorry to Jack, but he was taking everyone to the back. Cassidy started to chop Evans’s hair and Excalibur announced that Orange Cassidy and Matt Hardy will be two more participants in the ladder match on Wednesday. Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta took turns shaving Evans’s head. The show ended with Negative One putting on a mustache and everybody hugging before Cassidy lifted Negative One on his shoulders.
McGuire’s Musings: Well, that was very feel-good. The outcome really couldn’t be in question because … well, as I said at the beginning of the match, Jack Evans is 18-40 and Orange Cassidy is one of the company’s biggest stars. In that sense, I kind of feel bad for Evans, who is clearly a great sport. But, business is business. Adding Hardy and Cassidy into Wednesday’s ladder match does little for me, because for my money (pun intended) this Cassidy/Hardy program could have ended yesterday and it would have been two days too late.
Overall, outside of the Danielson vs. Jackson match, this was a fairly miss-able episode of Rampage. There wasn’t much by way of storytelling (unless you care about Matt Hardy vs. Orange Cassidy’s ice cold endless feud), but the wrestling was good. I would have liked to see more of the women’s match, but what can you do? I’ll be at Dynamite Wednesday. See you there?