By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 36)
Live from Garland, Texas at Curtis Culwell Center
Aired April 15, 2022 on TNT
The opening video aired and the commentary team of Taz, Excalibur and Ricky Starks checked in. The Gunn Club were already in the ring and Bryan Danielson’s music hit. William Regal came to the commentary desk for the match.
1. Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Wheeler Yuta vs. Billy Gunn, Colten Gunn, and Austin Gunn. Yuta began the match to a wildly loud Yuta chant. Austin punched him hard and then took his legs out. Austin went for a neck-breaker, but Yuta came back and worked Austin’s arm. Colten then tagged in and went for a dropkick, but Yuta pushed it aside and started to pummel Colten.
Danielson tagged in and worked a Romero Special. Danielson then hit a series of forearms. Billy then tagged in and stared down Danielson. Billy backed Danielson into a corner and Irish Whipped Danielson into a corner, but it backfired and Danielson hit a series of boots before Billy cut him off with an elbow. Our first PIP began [c].
Back from the break, Colten had the upper hand on Danielson. Cotlen posed a little and ran at Danielson, but Danielson tripped Colten into the second turnbuckle to turn things around. Danielson got the hot tag to Moxley, who took out the entire Gunn Club. Moxley landed a half-and-half on Colten and then a back elbow on Austin.
Moxley put Austin on the top rope and hit a super-plex. Moxley then landed a double DDT on Colten and Austin. Moxley landed a lariat and tagged in Yuta, who hit a cross-body from the top for a two-count. Things broke down and Moxley hit a Stunner. Billy then hit a double clothesline on Danielson and Moxley. That left Yuta to go face to face with Billy and the two traded blows. Billy hit a wild suplex, but Yuta kicked out. Billy went for a knee, but Yuta rolled through and pinned Billy for the win.
Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Wheeler Yuta defeated Billy Gunn, Colten Gunn, and Austin Gunn via pinfall in 9:07.
McGuire’s Musings: Wow, AEW is all in on Wheeler Yuta and I’m all here for it. That guy is receiving some special treatment from every side — the booking and the dudes around him. It’s so much fun to see. In all, this was a typical AEW six-man match, which isn’t bad. Actually, it was probably better than usual because the Blackpool Combat Club makes everything they do infinitely more interesting by just being them. This is a hot crowd and it will be awfully interesting to see if they remain up for the main event.
2. The Butcher vs. A Dude. The match started with Someone trying a dropkick from the top, but Butcher threw him aside. The Butcher hit some chops. The Butcher then hit a powerbomb for the win.
The Butcher defeated A Dude via pinfall in 55 seconds.
After the match, Dustin Rhodes cut a promo backstage. Rhodes said he’s been on one last ride for quite some time. Dustin said he took Lance Archer out of the top I’ve and he proved that he still has it after five decades in the business. Dustin said he is making a challenge to one of the greatest professional wrestlers on a planet. Dustin called it a dream match and then called out CM Punk, challenging him to a match on Dynamite. Dustin said it’s the Best In The World vs. The Natural. Ruby Soho then made her entrance.
3. Ruby Soho vs. Robyn Renegade in a women’s Owen Hart tournament qualifier. Renegade face-palmed Soho and taunted Soho. Renegade pushed Soho to the canvass and Soho fired up with some headbutts. Soho then hit an ankle-sweep. Soho did a headstand on the top rope and Renegade hit a kick to Soho’s face for a two-count. Renegade sank in a camel clutch. We went to our second PIP of the night [c].
McGuire’s Musings: The Butcher match was just kind of there. I’m not sure that we needed it and I guess I missed something because I don’t think we caught his opponent’s name. Color my naive, but I actually think the Dustin/Punk match might content for match of the week in all of wrestling next week. Dustin has been on a roll, and to be fair, so has CM Punk. It has the feeling of a “both guys really wanted this match before one of them stops wrestling for good” feel, but I kind of like that. My guess is that thing delivers beyond expectation.
Back from the break, Soho landed a backdrop suplex on Renegade. Soho hit some slaps and a roundhouse kick on Renegade. Soho drove Renegade’s head into the middle turnbuckle. The ref pulled Soho off Renegade and Renegade’s twin sister Charlotte rolled into the ring. Soho went to the top rope, but Renegade got her knees up. Charlotte Renegade lifted Soho, but Soho worked her way out of it and rolled outside and underneath the ring. Robyn rolled back in and tried a roll-up., but Soho kicked out. Soho then hit her finisher and that was enough for the win.
Ruby Soho defeated Robyn Renegade via pinfall in 8:26.
Excalibur ran down the cards for Battle Of The Belts 2, Dynamite and next week’s Rampage. We then got the Mark Henry segment. Henry said this is the biggest match in Rampage history. Page said Cole has been a thorn in his side for way too long. Page said tonight he ends Cole’s obsession with him. Cole responded by saying it’s the worst night of Page’s entire career. Cole said he’s better than Page and Page is a dead man in the process. Henry said it’s time for the main event and we went to commercial.
McGuire’s Musings: All right. Color me silly, but I actually like the twin gimmick. Granted, I would have been disappointed if Soho didn’t win, because I’m not so sure AEW has done a good job with making her a bigger deal, but I kind of/sort of liked it. Especially considering how it was out of nowhere (to my knowledge, at least). It sets up Renegade to stick out from the others and they could have some fun with that. Anyway, I’m glad to see Ruby Soho advance. I hope she gets a nice run in this tournament.
3. “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Adam Cole in a Texas Death Match for the AEW World Championship. Cole came out in pants. Excalibur explained that the only way to win is by knockout or submission. Page threw two chairs into the ring before getting into the ring. The two stared each other down to begin the match and picked up the chairs. Page hit Cole with a chair. The action spilled outside and Page hit Cole with a boot.
Page threw Cole into the guardrail and then the ring stairs. Page went for a powerbomb, but Cole worked his way out. The action then spilled into the crowd. Page took a beer from a fan and hit Cole with it before drinking some of it himself. Cole staggered his way back into the ring and Page followed. Page went to the top with a chair and hit a moonsault while landing on his feet and hitting Cole with the chair. Page threw Cole into a chair in the corner. Page set up the chair and sat on it in the middle of the ring for cheers. When the camera caught up with Cole, Cole was bleeding. We then went to another PIP [c].
Back from break, Cole had a chain, but Page came back with some strikes. Cole then clotheslined Page with a chain. Cole set up two chairs. Cole lifted Page, but Page eventually countered into a Death Valley driver onto those two chairs. Page went under the ring and threw a bunch of chairs into the ring. Page created a pile of chairs in the middle of the ring, and even though Cole went for the Panama Sunrise, Hangman came back with a Dead-Eye.
Cole rolled to the outside and Page followed him. Page went to the top for a moonsault, but Cole caught him with a super-kick, but then Page landed on his feet and wow that was a spot. Page was down, but rolled back into the ring at 6. Cole then hit the Panama Sunrise. Page was bleeding. The two went to the top. Page hit a headbutt and then threw Cole onto the chairs. Page set up a chair and sat Cole on it. Page elbowed Cole. Page set up a chair across from Cole.
Page sat across from Cole and the two traded blows. Cole went for a super-kick and that led to the two trading super-kicks. Cole said Page is a joke of a champion. Page came back with the Buckshot Lariat. Page then tied Cole to the rope with his belt. Page then went underneath the ring to grab a chair with barbed wire wrapped around it. Page was conflicted when it came to hitting Cole with it. Page threw the chair down and untied Cole. Cole then hit a low blow. Colege then landed a bunch of super-licks, but Page came back with a lariat. Page pulled off the barbed wire, but Cole cut him off. Page put the barbed wire on Cole’s head and hit the Dead-On, onto a table on the outside. Cole didn’t get up.
“Hangman” Adam Page defeated Adam Cole in a Texas Death Match to retain the AEW World Championship in 20:12.
McGuire’s Musings: The right finish. In my eyes, at least. I bristled at the notion of Cole taking the belt off Page here to be a transitional champion only to have CM Punk get his title moment. There are lots of ways for Page and Punk to get to where they need to be, if that’s where they’re going. Adam Cole is so good at what he does, and I do think he should be a champion someday, but this match didn’t have a lot of juice and this program, after Revolution, felt like it kind of stalled. So I’m all for this. As for the match, it was the brawl you think it would be. And a very good one, at that. I was curious as to how much color these guys might get, being in an earlier time slot on TNT. And to that, they didn’t get as much as we’ve seen from AEW wrestlers in the past. But they also didn’t need it. Both guys worked really hard to make this a memorable match and they deserve a ton of credit.
As for the show, live Rampages will forever and always be far and away better than taped Rampages. The thing that stuck out most about this was precisely how much AEW can edit in one hundred thousand things if they want to if they have a few days to edit a show. This was a simple four match show with a squash. Or, in other words, this was a very good pro wrestling show. I’ll have more to say in my audio review, which will come a bit later tonight.