By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 10)
Live from Miami, Florida at James L Knight Center
Aired October 15, 2021 on TNT (Pre-Show via AEW YouTube)
Excalibur checked in to begin the Buy-In along with Chris Jericho, Taz and I think Ricky Starks (?). The team ran down both cards. This looks like a small building with the way they have it lit.
Pre-Show Buy-In Results
1. Tay Conti vs. Santana Garrett. The two locked up to begin the match. Garrett went for a kick and missed. Garrett hit a pair of arm-drags, but the two ultimately squared back up, stared each other down and Conti worked Garrett’s leg. Garrett worked her way out, however, and sunk in a head-lock. Conti eventually took back control with a tough kick.
Garrett applied a bridge neck-breaker, but Conti kicked her way out. Conti went for a pump kick but missed and Garrett hit a kick. Conti fired up and hit a series of pump kicks on Garrett. Conti then landed the DDTay for the win.
Tay Conti defeated Santana Garrett via pinfall in 4:39.
A video then aired recapping the America Top Team vs. Inner Circle feud.
McGuire’s Musings: This was everything anyone would expect it to be. It felt like the two worked slow while wanting to kick into second gear … but never quite got there. Garrett took more of the match than I thought she would, so maybe that means she’ll be more of a presence moving forward. Elsewhere, I’m still trying to figure out if the broadcast team is a three or four-men booth tonight.
2. Bobby Fish vs. Lee Moriarty. The crowd chanted “Bobby” to begin the match and the two went for some strikes before battling for position. Fish landed a knee to knock Moriarty down, but Moriarty grabbed Fish’s ankle before Fish returned the favor and both wrestlers grappled back and forth. Moriarty eventually went to Fish’s arm and hit a standing cross-body for a two count.
Fish hit a dragon-screw leg-whip while the crowd offered dueling chants. On their feet, Fish hit a series of kicks and a Senton for a two-count. Fish hit a snap-suplex for a two-count. Fish landed a chopping kick to Moriarty’s knee before sinking in a top wrist-lock. Moriarty fired up, however, and hit a clothesline before going for a jumping uppercut and getting it. Moriarty hit a jumping stomp for a nice near-fall.
Dueling chants ensued again while the wrestlers traded blows on their feet. Fish landed a loud roundhouse kick, which turned into a back suplex for a two-count. Moriarty it a back below and went back to Fish’s arm before hitting a suplex of his own for a two count. Moriarty tried to get the crowd fired up. Moriarty picked up Fish, but Fish countered into a choke. Fish hit a knee and that led to a very close near fall. Fish hit an Exploder into the ropes. Fish then hit a knockout kick for the win.
Bobby Fish defeated Lee Moriarty via pinfall in 7:55.
After the match, a video package on Bryan Danielson and Minoru Suzuki aired.
McGuire’s Musings: This was very similar to the match these two worked at the MLW tapings two weeks ago, and as I said in my spoilers for that show for this site, Fish looked better and happier in 10 minutes here than he did in at least the last 10 months of his WWE run. If there’s a difference between the two matches, I actually think Moriarty looked better here and Fish gave a little bit more to him, which was good. But I don’t know, man. Like I felt two weeks ago, I feel now: These two need 18 minutes a main event slot to produce what we all know they can produce together.
3. Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki. Goodness, the crowd was alive for this one. The match opened with a test of strength. Suzuki worked Danielson’s fingers, but Danielson worked Suzuki’s neck. The crowd chanted “This is wrestling.” Suzuki worked a series of submissions before Danielson went for a knee bar, but Suzuki got to the ropes for a break and was booed.
Danielson looked like he couldn’t help himself from smiling before going for Suzuki’s leg. Suzuki went for a Dragon-Screw leg-whip, but Suzuki blocked it. Danielson, in return, kicked Suzuki’s thigh and Suzuki asked for more. Suzuki face-palmed Danielson. Danielson hit a forearm. Suzuki hit a chop. Danielson hit a kick. Suzuki hit a chop. The two played to the crowd, which became quiet. Danielson hit a kick. Suzuki hit a forearm that looked like it knocked Danielson out. The crowd obliged with a “Holy shit” chant.
Danielson got up and went at Suzuki with kicks and the hammer and anvil strikes. With Suzuki on the apron, Suzuki worked an arm bar on Danielson over the top rope. Outside the ring, Suzuki hit a series of punches on Danielson. Suzuki worked over Danielson’s arm. Back in the ring, Suzuki kept his focus on Danielson’s arm. The action spilled outside and Danielson ran Suzuki into the ring post before hitting a running knee strike.
Back in the ring, Suzuki invited more punishment and Danielson brought some kicks. Danielson got in a series of stomps and went for the Cattle Mutilation and got it. Suzuki tried to roll through and that resulted in a pin from Danielson for a two-count. In a corner, Danielson hit a chop and kicks. Suzuki’s chest was bleeding. Danielson hit an uppercut, but Suzuki landed a kick of his own to take control … but it wasn’t so, as Danielson kept firing up. That ended with a two-count from Suzuki onto Danielson.
Suzuki stomped on Danielson’s face. Back on their feet, the two traded elbows and uppercuts. Danielson tried to get Suzuki up, but Suzuki countered and went for an arm bar. Danielson made it to the ropes for a break. Suzuki took the ref, moved him and went back to Danielson, but Danielson got the LeBelle Lock. Suzuki made it to the ropes for a break. A “fight forever” chant ensued.
The two traded elbows and forearms again. Suzuki put his arms behind his back and asked Danielson to hit him. Danielson did it. A lot. Suzuki came back with a hell of an elbow. The two went at it, and that included a simultaneous slap that took both to the mat. “If you’re watching TV and not watching this on YouTube, you’re a dumb ass,” said Taz. The two went back to trading blows. Suzuki went for his pile-driver, but that ended up with Danielson landing a running knee and by God, that was enough.
Bryan Danielson defeated Minoru Suzuki via pinfall in 19:14.
The commentary team (which does not include Chris Jericho — sorry about that) ran down the card for Rampage proper. A video package on the Punk/Sydal match aired.
McGuire’s Musings: I don’t know if I’m allowed to use the s-word, but I’ll try and the powers that be can fire me if they so choose … holy shit. Hello, AEW Dark. Meet NJPW Strong. Now go on a date. Oh, you had a fun time? Cool, because in three months, you’ll be married, because you will be perfect for one another. OK, enough with the metaphors. I said it on Twitter twice, so I’ll say it here. I don’t know how I’m supposed to cover Rampage proper after that. This was incredible. At this age, to see Minoru Suzuki be able to go — and I mean go — like that is absolutely mind-blowing. I quarter-thought he might go over, because we all know Danielson likes to lose and you have to think Danielson has all the respect in the world for Suzuki. But whatever. It doesn’t matter. This was a slug-fest and a tremendous ball of fun. If you watch one match this week from anything anywhere, my guess is this should be it.
4. CM Punk vs. Matt Sydal. The crowd was hot with CM Punk chants to begin, but I don’t even know how they can chant after that final Buy-In match. Anyway, both wrestlers shook hands to begin and Sydal worked Punk’s arm. Punk fought his way out, hit a shoulder-block and the two locked up again. Punk gained control with a single-leg takedown. Eventually, Excalibur accused Sydal of trying to blow Punk up, which was funny and maybe too insider. As a result, Taz explained it. Anyway, Punk and Sydal locked up again.
Sydal sunk in a bow-and-arrow. Punk got out, however, and hit a bodyslam. Sydal took control with a dropkick. Sydal hit Punk with kicks and worked a neck-breaker/leg-breaker combination. Punk tried to lift Sydal up, but it wasn’t going to happen, so Punk hit a dropkick for a two-count. The two traded counters and Sydal landed a spinning back-kick. Sydal hit knee strikes onto Punk in the corner. Punk body slammed Sydal onto the apron, which slowed things down.
Punk hit a Senton back in the ring and smiled about it. The crowd chanted “GTS.” Punk hung Sydal in the corner and hit some kicks. Punk slid at Sydal, but Sydal moved. The two then climbed to the top tope. My feed then crashed for a second, so I apologize for missing a couple minutes. Everything was back up when Sydal worked a submission, but Punk worked his way out. Sydal hit a kick and went for the Lightning Spiral, but Punk kicked out at the last millisecond.
Sydal went to the top rope, but Punk got to his feet. Sydal went for a crucifix, which turned into the GTS and that was the end.
CM Punk defeated Matt Sydal via pinfall in 14:44.
After the match, the two shook hands and embraced in the ring.
McGuire’s Musings: The list of CM Punk’s AEW matches now goes like this: 1, Darby Allin. 2, Matt Sydal. This was very good and it speaks to how good it was that it was this good even after having to follow the Danielson match on the Buy-In. Sydal has not looked better in AEW and I’m not so sure that Punk has even been as tested as he was here. Correct me, please, but I think this might be the longest of his matches in AEW. On television, at least. A very good opener and a very smart choice for AEW, considering the competition.
5. Ruby Soho vs. The Bunny. The Bunny didn’t get a televised entrance. Soho went after the Bunny’s arm and then hit a knee strike for a one-count. The Bunny took control with a knee-lift and posed for the camera. The Bunny threw Soho into the second turnbuckle and hit a dropkick for a two-count. The Bunny hit a chop, but Soho hit a kick and a back heel trip. Soho went to the top, but Bunny sprung up and pulled Soho down. Bunny landed an elbow and to a commercial we went. [c]
Back from break, the two wrestlers were on the outside and a highlight of Soho hitting a Flatliner on the outside aired. Back in the ring, Soho kept hitting Bunny. The Bunny eventually hit a German Suplex from the ropes, but before long Soho got in a backslide and that was enough for the win.
Ruby Soho defeated The Bunny via pinfall in 9:48.
After the match, Penelope Ford came out to attack Soho. Ford got out the brass knuckles and hit Soho. Ford and Bunny posed for the camera.
The commentary team ran down the card for Dynamite on Saturday. Next week on Rampage, the men’s world title eliminator tournament begins, plus the women’s bracket for the TBS title will be revealed. We then went to the Mark Henry split screen interview for the main event. Dan Lambert said the Inner Circle needs to look over their shoulder. Chris Jericho talked up Santos’s debut in AEW. Jericho said Santos’s grandmother can bake him a cake in celebration. Jericho called Lambert a fat-faced dip shit.
McGuire’s Musings: The women’s match went longer than I thought it would, but the commercial break made it feel like it didn’t. I’m not complaining, of course, considering how I whine that I don’t feel AEW gives women enough time on Rampage. But I digress. My guess is this will move Soho into a match with Ford, but are we not getting a little formulaic with this now? Bunny pisses someone off, loses, Ford comes out to attack someone … and loses to the same person? I don’t know. I guess I’ll just say I’m looking forward to the TBS tournament.
6. Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager vs. Junior Dos Santos, Scorpio Sky, and Ethan Page (w/Dan Lambert, Jorge Masvidal). As America’s Top Team walked out, Dan Lambert cut a promo, demanding the crowd sing his guys into the ring. I can say this from being in Philly last week, Lambert has nuclear heat. Guevara and Sky began the match and that resulted in Guevara hitting a dropkick after a back-flip.
Jericho tagged in and hit a clothesline on Sky. Santos then tagged in and the two exchanged punches. Jericho took Santos down with boots, but then Santos hit a boot and started pounding on Jericho. Hager tagged in and Hager flipped Santos off after the two tried to get at each other. Hager took Santos down, but Santos then got on top before hitting a knee strike on Hager.
Sky tagged back in, but Hager hit a clothesline and tagged in Jericho. Jericho rolled to the outside and got in Lambert’s team’s face. Page then attacked Jericho on the outside. Excalibur threw to a PIP. [c]
Back from the break, Santos and Jericho were in the ring. Santos picked up Jericho and hit a powerslam. Page tagged in and landed some kicks on Jericho, but Jericho hit an Enziguri before getting the hot tag to Guevara. Guevara hit a springboard cutter, a Spanish Fly and a standing moonsault. Jericho tagged in almost immediately and Jericho hit a double sledge-hammer from the top, as well as a Lionsault for a two count.
Something happened that was missed by the camera crew while Santos and Hager fought outside. Hager put Santos through a table, but the crowd was still chanting “holy shit” from the spot we didn’t see. In the ring, Sky and Jericho traded forearms. Jericho sunk in the Walls Of Jericho, but Paige Van Zant jumped the rail, distracted the ref and Masvidal hit a knee, which led to Sky pinning Jericho.
Junior Dos Santos, Scorpio Sky, and Ethan Page defeated Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager via pinfall in 11:25.
America’s Top Team attacked Jericho in the ring after the match. But then Santana and Ortiz’s music hit, and they cleared the ring. Excalibur said AEW is the home of professional wrestling and that took us to the end of the show.
McGuire’s Musings: Well, it’s good to see the Inner Circle back together and in full form. I had been wondering about Santana and Ortiz, and while that sounds glib, I promise it’s not. The match was fine. Call me dumb (and you have every right to), but I think Santos looked pretty good for his debut, considering everything around it. He could bump a little better, but it’s clear he knows the wrestling craft and if he wants to spend more time on it and invest more of himself in it, he could have another career. But this isn’t about him. It’s no shock that the heels went over because if the Inner Circle has committed to anything over the last year or so, it’s been losing until they absolutely, positively cannot anymore (read: Jericho), so I can’t complain.
In all, taking the CM Punk debut episode out, this might be the best episode of Rampage to date. So, it was a curious week to write what I did for my Monday column. But let’s see if Rampage can sustain it. Plus, live shows will always trump taped shows. The Punk/Sydal match was very good and even though the final match was more an angle than a match, it delivered. If you’re going to watch a Rampage, this is one of the best to watch.