By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 44)
Taped on June 8 in Independence, Missouri at Cable Dahmer Arena
Aired June 10, 2022 on TNT
The opening video aired and then Excalibur checked in, running down the commentary team while the wrestlers were in the ring. We got right to the action.
1. Eddie Kingston vs. Jake Hager. Hager had control early but once the action spilled outside, Kingston fought back with some chops. Hager cut Kingston off with a strike and the two got back into the ring. Hager worked Kingston’s back. Hager threw Kingston outside and then landed a suplex. Hager threw Kingston back into the ring and worked over Kingston’s back more with forearms.
Kingston tried to fight back, but Hager cut Kingston off again with a belly-to-belly suplex. Hager worked an arm-bar. Kingston came back with a slap and then followed that up with more open-hand strikes. Hager cut Kingston off then a knee to the gut. Kingston fired up with a series of chops and then a kick to Hager’s head. Kingston came at Hager, but Hager suplexed Kingston and the first PIP began [c].
Back from break, Hager had control, but Kingston came right back with a DDT. When the two got back to their feat, Kingston did the machine gun chop spot. Hager came back, taking Kingston down and landing a Hager Bomb for a two-count. Before long, Kingston hit a pair of Exploders for a two-count. Hager came back with a slam and then he sank in an ankle lock. Kingston made his way to the ropes for a break. Hager was pounding on Kingston in the corner, but Kingston came back with a powerbomb and then landed two spinning back-fists for the win.
Eddie Kingston defeated Jake Hager via pinfall in 11:23.
After the match, we went backstage for an interview with Dr. Britt Baker, who called out Toni Storm. Baker said she doesn’t know who Toni thinks she is, but it was arrogant for Storm to put her hand on the women’s world title (which Storm did on Dynamite). Baker said Storm thought she could skip the line and go straight to the top. Baker said the title is missing Baker more than Baker is missing it.
McGuire’s Musings: The match reminded me of the Big Damo/Tomohiro Ishii match from last week’s NJPW Strong episode. Damo dominated the hell out of Ishii, but then, wouldn’t you know it, Ishii hit a few moves and got the win. That’s pretty much what happened here, with Hager playing the role of Damo. There wasn’t much to it, as the offense here from the guy who was given the offense wasn’t all that varied. Kingston took a beating and then got a couple back-fists in, and that was it. Not much to it. The Baker promo was intriguing in that I didn’t quite think she’d be back in the women’s title picture this quickly, but we’ll see where all that goes. My hope was that we get a straight Storm/Rosa match at some point, but if Baker’s involved … we’ll see.
Back from break, we got a video package for the Jericho/Ortiz hair vs. hair match set for Wednesday. Jay Lethal and Satnam Singh then made their entrance.
2. Satnam Singh and Jay Lethal vs. Davey Vega and Matt Fitchett. Lethal began, but Singh then tagged in, stepped over the top rope and landed a slap. Singh then hit a cross-body onto both Vega and Fitchett. Singh held both guys as Lethal landed the Lethal Injection on both guys for the win.
Satnam Singh and Jay Lethal defeated Davey Vega and Matt Fitchett via pinfall 1:37.
McGuire’s Musings: Boy, Singh is big. And boy, I feel bad for Fitchett and Vega.
After the match, Singh beat the two poor guys up. We then went back stage for a Danhousen interview. Hook then pulled up after Danhousen left and shot Lexy Nair a look before driving off. Red Velvet then made her entrance for her match.
3. Red Velvet vs. Kris Statlander. Velvet tried to jump Statlander, but Statlander hit a snap powerslam on the outside. Statlander rolled Velvet inside and hit a pair of running knees. Velvet went to the outside and Statlander follower her with some strikes. Velvet came back with an eye-poke and then Velvet jumped on Statlander’s back. Statlander climbed to the second rope and threw Velvet. Statlander jumped at Velvet, but Velvet moved. It didn’t matter, but Statlander lifted Velvet, but Velvet wiggled out of it and chop-blocked Statlander to take control of the match and Statlander’s knee. We then went to break [c].
Back from break, the two were trading blows in the middle of the ring. Statlander lifted Velvet by the neck and slammed her against the turnbuckle before working her over with elbows. Statlander hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count. Statlander lifted Velvet and the two traded pin attempts. Statlander eventually hit a roll-through German Suplex before landing a suplex for a two-count. Statlander ran at Velvet, but Velvet tripped her and landed knees to the back of Statlander’s head. Velvet hit a cutter off the middle rope and then landed a kick for a two-count. Velvet went for another kick, but Statlander caught her and landed Friday Night Fever for the win.
Kris Statlander defeated Red Velvet via pinfall in 8:51.
After the match, Kiera Hogan attacked Statlander, throwing Statlander to the outside, where Jade Cargill hit a pump kick. Anna Jay then ran down for the save, but Hogan and Velvet double-teamed her. Athena then ran down to help, but referees stopped her and held her back. Athena and Jade jawed at each other. We then got a video on Miro. Ian response, Ethan Page was interviewed back stage. Page called out Miro and said Miro would blame someone for his downfalls. Page said the only person he looks up to and prays to is himself. Page said he’s going to wave the flag of Canada in the upcoming tournament.
McGuire’s Musings: The women’s match was good and Statlander looks better every time she steps back in the ring since her return. This was no exception and the anticipation for her eventual showdown with Cargill gets more intriguing by the week. Is Statlander the person to finally dethrone Cargill after all this time? I wouldn’t complain. And however the hell she got into the Friday Nigh Fever here was all types of impressive. As for the Miro/Ethan Page stuff … there’s really no question who’s going to come away a winner on Wednesday, is there?
Back from break, we got the Mark Henry segment. Ospreay talked first and said he wants to separate the sheep from the goats. Trent chimed in and said he never liked Ospreay. Trent called his boys “nerd-asses.” Cash then spoke and said he and Dax are the ROH tag-team champions. Dax said the attack from the other night didn’t sit well with him and Top Guys Out. Mark Henry said it’s time for the main event.
4. Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher, and Mark Davis vs. Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler, and Trent Beretta. Dax and Ospreay began the match. Ospreay landed a hard chop and Dax came right back with a chop of his own. Cash tagged in and hit a shoulder-block, but Ospreay popped right back up. There was some miscommunication, but Ospreay took Cash down and then tagged in Fletcher. Fletcher landed a strike and Davis tagged in before Trent then tagged in.
The two locked up and Trent landed a couple chops. The exchange of chops kept coming. Ospreay then tagged in and landed a chop on Trent, but Trent came back with a tornado DDT. FTR ran into the ring and cleaned house. Trent then hit a moonsault onto both Aussie Open guys, who were on the outside. Back in the ring, Trent went to the top, but Fletcher cut him off and Excalibur threw to the final commercial break of the night [c].
Back from break, Ospreay and Trent were going at it, but Ospreay got the tag to Fletcher, who tried to stop Trent, and then Davis tagged in and landed a Senton for a two-count. Fletcher tagged in and ran at Trent, but Trent moved and then got the hot tag to Dax, who fired up against both members of Aussie Open. Ospreay then ran in, but Dax just kept going. Eventually, Ospreay made his way back to Dax, but Dax landed a clothesline and both FTR guys worked over Fletcher for an eventual two-count.
Cash went for a pin on Fletcher, but Ospreay ran in to break it up. Ospreay tagged in and hit a 450 splash for a two-count that was broken up by Trent. Ospreay landed the Os-Cutter on Cash for a good near-fall. Fletcher tagged in, but Cash tagged in Trent and Trent hit a chop. Fletcher came back with a strike of his own. Trent responded with a back-drop suplex and a lariat. Ospreay ran in and hit a springboard splash onto both FTR guys, who were on the outside. Inside the ring, Fletcher went for a power-bomb, but Trent countered into his finisher for the win.
Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler, and Trent Beretta defeated Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher, and Mark Davis via pinfall in 13:57.
Trent and Ospreay gave each other some looks as the show went off the air.
McGuire’s Musings: The best match of the night and it lived up to the mildly high expectations I had for it. Ospreay is a polarizing figure in pro wrestler, it seems, because of things that have little to do with his work in the ring, but I really enjoy watching him wrestle, and this was no exception. Also, Aussie Open is one of the best tag teams in the world, so seeing them interact with FTR was a treat. I’m not sure if this sets up Trent vs. Ospreay at some point, considering the way the show went off the air, or if we’re going to get a massive 10-man tag at Forbidden Door or something of the sort. Either way, I was happy to see the United Empire fellas on national television in America.
Overall, outside of the main event, this wasn’t much of a memorable Rampage episode. The opening match was a bit too one-note for me and while the women’s match was good, we didn’t see much of it because it landed in the longest commercial break spot of the night. That said, we’re also on our way to a loaded Dynamite this Wednesday, so AEW can be forgiven for somewhat of a forgettable Rampage. I’ll have more to see in my audio review.