By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 13)
Live from St. Louis, Missouri at Chaifetz Arena
Aired November 5, 2021 on TNT
The commentary team of Excalibur, Taz and Ricky Starks checked in. Bryan Danielson’s music hit and Danielson made his way to the ring.
1. Bryan Danielson vs. Anthony Bowens. Max Caster made a joke about Johnny Ace and the WWE cuts during his rap as he and Bowens walked to the ring. The two locked up to begin and Bowens hit an arm-drag. Bowens landed another one. Danielson came back by working on Bowens’s arm, but Bowens got in a crucifix for a two-count.
Back on their feet, Bowens eventually landed a shoulder-block and a pair of kicks before Danielson fired back with a kick of his own. Danielson went back to Bowens’s arm. Danielson hit some chops and Bowens returned the favor. Bowens went for a vertical suplex, but Danielson countered and went for his cross-arm-breaker, but Bowens made it to the ropes for a break. Danielson then hit a kick, forcing Bowens to the ground outside the ring. Danielson went for a running kick, but Bowens caught him and slammed him. A PIP then popped up [c].
Back from break, Bowens had control inside the ring. Danielson fired up and hit a series of European uppercuts. Danielson eventually landed a running elbow, taking Bowens down. Danielson then hit a series of what used to be known as Yes! Kicks for a two-count. Danielson landed a running boot, but he went for another one and missed. As a result, Bowens hit a draping DDT.
Running the ropes, Danielson took out Caster on the outside before landing a back-body-drop, taking Bowens outside. Danielson hit a splash from the top on both guys and rolled Bowens back inside the ring for a missile dropkick from the top rope. Danielson stomped on Bowens’s head, sunk in the LeBelle Lock and that was enough for the win.
Bryan Danielson defeated Anthony Bowens via submission in 9:04.
After the match, Tony Schiavone interviewed FTR and Andrade backstage. MJF then showed up and called FTR the greatest luchadores of all time. MJF asked Andrade for money and got it. FTR called Pac a “British Bitch.” CM Punk’s music then hit and Punk made his entrance. Excalibur threw to break [c].
McGuire’s Musings: The match was fine, but it was just kind of there. It was nice to see Bowens get some shine, but you kind of have to wonder if the bout was put on the card only so Caster could get in the WWE dig during their entrance. One thing I continue to enjoy is that no matter who the opponent and what the match, Danielson does one thing and that is constantly focus on the arm. It’s subtle but so logical and makes you wonder what the hell happened to professional wrestling over the last few decades. MJF making his cracks was as entertaining as ever.
Back from break, Punk called out Eddie Kingston. Kingston’s music was cut off and Punk wondered if Kingston was in the building. With no music, Kingston walked to the ring with purpose and grabbed a microphone. Kingston mocked Punk in the ring. Kingston said Punk wanted an apology. Punk said Kingston interrupted him last week. Kingston said, “Oh, I interrupted the great CM Punk. Oh, no! Oh, God!”
Kingston said he would apologize for sitting at home because he was afraid he had COVID-19. Kingston said the world’s smallest violin was playing for Punk. Kingston asked Punk who he was. Punk fired up and the two talked over one another. Kingston said Punk was once a hero of his. Kingston cited Punk, Samoa Joe, Homicide and Amazing Red as people who inspired him. Kingston called Punk a two-face narcissistic bitch.
Kingston said all Punk did was judge him. Kingston wondered if it was because he was fat or he didn’t make friends with the booker, among other things. Kingston said Punk was wrong. “Eddie” chants broke out. Punk said Kingston was lumping baggage onto him. Punk said it wasn’t just him who judged Kingston; it was everybody. Punk said everybody saw potential in Kingston and Kingston fell short. Punk said Kingston could blame him, but it’s not his fault. Punk said he was a fool to hold Kingston to a standard and expect greatness because Kingston is a bum. Kingston threw off his hat.
Kingston asked if a bum would main event Full Gear. Kingston called AEW the only professional wrestling company in the world today. Kingston said he doesn’t want Punk there and nobody wants him there. Kingston challenged Punk to a match at Full Gear. Punk said Elevation or Dark was more Kingston’s speed, which drew boos. Kingston called Punk a coward and kept saying “Fight me!”
Punk asked the crowd if that’s what they wanted and the crowd cheered. Punk said he’d see Kingston on the 13th. Kingston said he was going to beat Punk up at Full Gear, but Punk head-butted him and a brawl ensued. Referees pulled the two apart. The two guys kept breaking free and the locker room kept emptying.
Backstage, Schiavone interviewed Christian Cage and Cage called out The Young Bucks for calling themselves “tough guys.” Cage called The Bucks sad sacks of shit. Jungle Boy hopped on the mic and challenged the Super Kliq to a match against Jungle Express and Cage at Full Gear. The Bunny then made her entrance.
McGuire’s Musings: Whew. It’s good to see Punk get a program with some intensity. The only other thing that’s been comparable for him in AEW was the initial program with Darby Allin, but even that was done with a wink and a nod to everyone. This feud with Kingston, though, takes things to another level, albeit not quite the level I was hoping for when it became clear these two would work together. We all knew both guys could talk, but the bigger takeaway from that segment came in the crowd reaction, which was sort of hard to gauge. I’m not sure who’s rooting for whom here, but I do know that the more Punk smirked – and he smirked a lot – the more the crowd was inclined to get behind Kingston. And thank God for Kingston calling it out, too, because there’s smug, and then there’s the way Punk came across here.
2. Red Velvet vs. The Bunny in a TBS Championship tournament match. Red Velvet ran to the ring to jumpstart the match. Velvet hit a leg lariat, but Bunny rolled to the outside. Velvet hit a clothesline and jawed at Jade Cargill, who was sitting in the front row. The Bunny ran Velvet into the guard rail and looked at Cargill. The Bunny kicked Velvet’s face into the outside stairs.
Back in the ring, The Bunny hit a dropkick to the back of Velvet, running her head into the second turnbuckle. The Bunny hit some forearms and a knee, but Velvet came back with a running kick of her own. Velvet hit a stunner and that was good enough to warrant a two-count. The Bunny rolled Velvet up and held the tights for a two-count. The Bunny landed a Death Valley Driver for another two-count.
The Bunny hit a thrust kick and went for her finisher, but Velvet countered and hit the Final Slice for the win.
Red Velvet defeated The Bunny via pinfall in 3:34 to advance in the TBS Championship tournament.
McGuire’s Musings: I feel like I say it every other week, but give the women more time, damn it. This was a tournament match and it got three and a half minutes. The story was fine, with The Bunny dominating only for Velvet to get the comeback and the win, but it could have been even better with three or four more minutes to establish some tension. There’s no way Velvet beats Cargill in the next round. Nope. Not a chance.
Back from break, Mark Henry held the split-screen interview for the main event and focused on the BTE storyline between Cole and Silver. Cole told Silver to shut up and said Silver would never have half the career Cole has had. Silver said he beat his guys last week and taunted Cole while Cole talked. Cole said he’s not somebody to mess with. Henry threw it to the ring for the match.
3. Adam Cole vs. John Silver. The crowd chanted “Budge!” after the bell rang. Silver mocked Cole’s “Baby” gimmick and instead shouted “Budge Baby!” Cole kicked Silver in the face. Silver lifted Cole, slammed him, hit an elbow and flexed. Silver threw Cole across the ring and posed again. The two wound up on the apron and Cole slammed Silver. Outside the ring, Cole and the Bucks did their Kiss Adam Cole spot before the final PIP commenced [c].
Back from break, Silver and Cole were exchanging blows. Silver fired up and landed a back-body-drop before flexing again. Silver caught Cole for a power-bomb, which got him a two-count. The wrestlers traded elbows. Silver turned that into slaps and a kick, but Cole eventually countered one of Silver’s kicks with a suplex onto his knee. Cole went for a running knee, but Silver caught him with a tough lariat.
Silver hit a snap German Suplex and a hard knee, but the Bucks put Cole’s leg on the rope for a break. The Dark Order came out to even the odds. During the commotion, Cole went for a low blow, but Silver hit one of his own. Silver got in a Liger Bomb for a super close near-fall. A “Holy Shit” chant broke out. Silver perched Cole on the top rope and went for a super-plex, but Cole fought his way out, which led to a Panama Sunrise attempt, but Silver caught him and hit some forever elbows, until he ran into a super-kick. Cole then hit The Boom (a running exposed knee) for the win.
Adam Cole defeated John Silver via pinfall in 11:03.
McGuire’s Musings: Whoooooaaaaaa doggy, they had me at Silver’s low blow into a Liger Bomb. I truly did think they were ready to tell a fun story raising Silver’s profile, but perhaps Cole is too new to the company and they didn’t want him taking a singles loss just yet. Still, that was the moment of the night for me. Overall, the match itself had its moments. I can’t quite understand why Silver poses after every single move he does – especially considering how that’s more often a heel move than it is a babyface quality – but so it goes. I’m sure it calls back to BTE, but as Jason Powell often points out on this site, there aren’t enough people who watch that to get the joke, so it’d be great if we got some type of explanation for these things sometimes.
In all, this wasn’t a must-see Rampage, which is a shame and somewhat of a surprise, if only because this was one of the few live episodes we’ve received. The card didn’t look all that hot on paper and in execution, the heat was lukewarm. Even a late addition featuring Danielson couldn’t heat things up. Punk and Kingston were good, sure, but as is the case with a lot of AEW angles, the feud feels rushed, even if those two did a hell of a job trying to turn the temperature up tonight. I’ll have more to say in my members-only audio review in a few minutes.