By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 48)
Taped on July 6, 2022 in Rochester, New York at Blue Cross Arena
Aired July 8, 2022 on TNT
The broadcast team of Tony Schiavone, Excalibur and Jim Ross checked in and we went right to the ring for our first match.
1. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Eddie Kingston. The two felt each other out to begin the match. Kingston took control by working Takeshita’s back, but Takeshita reversed it. Kingston came back, but ultimately, Takeshita elbowed Kingston in the midsection. Kingston came back with a knee and a gut-wrench suplex. The two traded strikes, Kingston with chops and Takeshita with forearms. Everything ended with an eye-poke from Kingston, who then worked the machine gun chops. Kingston kept control with a headbutt.
Before long, Kingston landed an echoing chop, but Takeshita came back with a leaping clothesline. Takeshita hit an elbow and another lariat. Takeshita landed a Blue Thunder Bomb and got a two-count out of it. Takeshita kept control and we got our first PIP of the night [c].
Back from break, the two were fighting on the apron. Kingston teased an Exploder, but Takeshita countered with a German Suplex, which rolled the two onto the floor. While on the floor, Kingston landed his Exploder. Both wrestlers barely beat the count and got back in the ring. The two hit dueling clotheslines a few times. Kingston won the exchange with a hell of a lariat, but Takeshita kicked out at one.
Kingston then hit a Liger Bomb and got a good near fall. Kingston went for the back-fist, but Takeshita blocked it and landed a teardrop brain-buster for a two-count. While on their knees, the two traded elbows. Once they got to their feet, Kingston slapped the hell out of Takeshita, who came back with a string of strikes. Kingston hit some strikes, but the two traded knee/fist attempts and Kingston won that struggle, hitting Takeshita with a spinning back-fist and getting the win.
Eddie Kingston defeated Konosuke Takeshita via pinfall in 11:56.
From the match, we went directly to a promo from Athena and Statlander. Both made their case against Jade Cargill. The promo finished with Athena saying they aren’t going anywhere until they get what they deserve, which is a shot at the TBS title.
McGuire’s Musings: That was every bit the match you would expect it to be and God bless it for it. Kingston has a well-documented, very loud respect and love for Japanese wrestling and you could tell that influence was in there as the two laid this match out. Takeshita continues to look great in AEW, so much so that I don’t even understand why he’s not under a full-time contract with the company. Kingston, meanwhile, is a complete star in the AEW world. Fans love him and why shouldn’t they? He represents them in the best ways. This was a great way to open the show. Also, I very much like this commentary team on Rampage. It gives the show a bigger feel than it’s had in the past.
Back from the break, we got a video package from Hook. And there isn’t much else to say about that.
2. Jonathan Gresham and Lee Moriarty vs. Kaun and Toa. Kaun and Moriarty started the match and Kaun took control. The Gates of Agony worked a few double-team moves on Moriarty. Moriarty went to tag Gresham, but Gresham was distracted and Toa worked over Moriarty. The heels kept control of the match as we went to break [PIP].
Back from break, Moriarty was still taking a beating. Before long, Moriarty cleared the ring of his opponents and went for a tag and Gresham pulled his hand away. Gresham then hugged Tully. The Gates of Agony kept beating the hell out of Moriarty and Toa got the pin.
Kaun and Toa defeated Jonathan Gresham and Lee Moriarty via pinball in 7:27.
After the match, we went directly to a promo from Kingston. Kingston referenced Ruby Soho and then called out Chris Jericho yet again. Kingston called out Jericho, saying he wants barbed wire everywhere. We then went back to the ring for our next match.
3. Serena Deeb and Mercedes Martines vs. Kayla Sparks and Christina Marie. Deeb started the match with Marie and dominated her. Sparks tried to come in and help, but Deeb kept control. Martinez made a blind tag and came in with a sliding knee strike. Martinez hit a forearm to the back of the head before Deeb got a blind tag and sank in the Serenity Lock for the win.
Serena Deeb and Mercedes Martines defeated Kayla Sparks and Christina Marie via submission in 2:23.
After the match, Deeb attacked Martinez and sank in the Serenity Lock. Deeb picked up the ROH Women’s World Title…
Backstage, Tony Schiavone interviewed Jonathan Gresham, who said he’s been sitting at home for so long until he got a call from Tully Blanchard. Schiavone announced that Gresham will face Moriarty next week on Rampage for the ROH World Title…
McGuire’s Musings: Boy, the pacing of this week’s episode is something else. The Gresham turn was unexpected and I’m not quite sure about it yet. It shakes the Ring Of Honor story up and draws attention back to the brand, which it needs after being stagnant for a bunch of weeks. It will still be hard for a lot of people to root against Gresham, no matter how hard they try with Tully and whatever else might come. I know that Moriarty is an easy person to root for as a young underdog, but I’m not so sure this turn for Gresham will ultimately be met with a shoulder shrug in the long run. Meanwhile, the women’s match was what it should have been. Two dominant women being dominant. It looks like we’re working toward Martinez vs. Deeb, which should be a hell of a match.
Back from break, we got the Mark Henry segment and Danhausen showed up. Nese said Cassidy doesn’t take anything serious. Henry then said it’s time for the main event. Excalibur ran down the card for Fyter Fest on both Dynamite and Rampage. We then went backstage for an interview with Moriarty, who said he’s going to take Gresham’s title.
4. Orange Cassidy vs. Tony Nese. Cassidy kept trying to put his hands in his pockets, but Nese kept cutting him off. Eventually, Cassidy got his hands in his pockets and hit his usual spectrum of moves. Nese came back with a back elbow to take back control. Cassidy came back with a thumbs up and a head-lock, and went to the top, but Nese cut him off with an uppercut. Nese hit a gut-buster for a two-count. The action spilled to the outside and we went to our last PIP [c].
Back from break, Nese was working a body-scissors. Nese threw Cassidy into a turnbuckle. Cassidy went for a DDT, but Nese countered into a suplex and a two-count. Nese backed Cassidy into a corner and Nese went for a suplex off the top-rope, but Cassidy fought back. The two traded blows and Nese fell off the top. Mark Sterling tried to get involved, but Danhausen helped out and Cassidy came back with a Stun Gun and a Michinoku Driver for a two-count.
Nese came back with a German Suplex and a kick to the side of the head for a two-count. Nese went for a Pump-Handle, but that resulted in a pair of DDTs from Cassidy. Another DDT occurred, but Nese kicked out at two. Sterling got not he apron and Cassidy worked his soft kicks. Nese came back and hit that Pump-Handle for a close near-fall. Nese went for a running knee but Cassidy moved. Sterling tried to come into the ring, but Danhausen stopped him by kicking him in the nuts. Cassidy landed the Orange Punch for the win.
Orange Cassidy defeated Tony Nese via pinfall in 15:01.
After the match, Danhausen and Cassidy celebrated, somewhat, in the ring to the close the show.
McGuire Musings: A lot of nonsense here. Which is to be expected, so we can’t hate on that, right? I think Danhausen’s funny. I think Orange Cassidy’s funny. So, what’s the problem? I can’t quite answer that question just yet. Anyway, 15 minutes is about six minutes too long for a match like this, even if the match has a lot of garnish on top of it. Still, the two wrestlers worked hard, and obviously, Cassidy is so much more than a gimmick in that he can wrestle. Nese, on top of that, is a good worker and probably gets less than what he deserves in AEW. Perhaps the marriage with Sterling will add some sizzle to his act, but only time will tell that, because for now, he keeps losing.
In all, this was a good episode of rampage. It was book-ended nicely with two very good matches for very different reasons. It still moved at a pace that isn’t necessary for this viewer, but I’m just one viewer. Either way, the Gresham turn was something very noteworthy for those of us who still stand by the Ring Of Honor flag. Where that goes and what will happen, we don’t know. But we do know that you have our attention. I’ll have a lot more to say in my weekly Rampage audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons) on Saturday.