By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 53)
Live from Grand Rapids, Michigan at Van Andel Arena
Aired August 5, 2022 on TNT
im Ross checked in and introduced the commentary team of himself, Excalibur, William Regal and Tony Schiavone. Jon Moxley’s music hit and Moxley made his way through the crowd. We got a short video from Mance, which was also played in the arena to the crowd. He said he wanted a fight and he was going to become The Man. Mance then made his way to the ring.
1. Interim AEW World Champion Jon Moxley vs. Mance Warner in an eliminator match. Moxley ran out of the ring and met Mance in the aisle. The two brawled around the ring. Moxley suplexed Mance onto a chair and the two traded chops before Mance crotched Moxley. The two got into the ring and Mance hit a bunch of loud chops. Moxley came back with chops of his own and then dropkicked his knee.
Moxley worked over Mance’s leg with a figure-four. Mance got out of it with an eye-poke and the hit a series of punches to Moxley’s face. Moxley turned around and returned all of the punches. Mance took back control when he whipped Moxley into a corner. The two rolled outside and Mance threw Moxley into the ring steps. Mance then hit a tough suplex onto a chair. Mance landed a DDT on the ring steps and we went to break [c].
Back from break, Mance was stomping on Moxley’s leg. Moxley flipped off MAnce and Mance went to the outside to grab chairs. Moxley ran at Mance and elbowed the chair into Mance’s face. Mance came up bleeding and Moxley hit a suicida onto the outside. They went to the second rope and Moxley landed a super-plex. Moxley bit Mance, but Mance came back with a lariat. Moxley went for a cover and then transitioned into a double wrist-lock. Moxley stomped on Mance and then hit a piledriver. Moxley choked Mance and Mance passed out for the win.
Jon Moxley defeated Mance Warner via ref stoppage in 11:36.
From the match, we went to the Ricky Starks segment from Dynamite and then commercials.
McGuire’s Musings: You knew they were going to work a Mance Warner-style match and, for cable television, at least, they did just that. Which was good, because that style fits the best of Moxley. I’m really beginning to like these ref stoppage/tap-outs that everyone in the Blackpool Combat Club uses to win. It gives everything a more realistic feel. There were some wild bumps here, though, and I’m beginning to worry about Moxley more and more each week that he has these matches. He already has a lot of wear and tear on him and wrestling this style every week or every other week can easily catch up. Either way, a hot and good opening match.
2. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Ryan Nemeth. Takeshita came out hot with a boot and a series of punches. Peter Avalon interfered and Nemeth took control. Takeshita came back quickly with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Takeshita then landed the knee for the win.
Konosuke Takeshita defeated Ryan Nemeth via pinfall in 1:38.
After the match, we got a replay of the Orange Cassidy/Best Friends backstage segment from Wednesday. Madison Rayne made her entrance.
3. Madison Rayne vs. Leila Grey. The two locked up and struggled back and forth. Eventually, Rayne worked an arm-bar and kept working on the arm. Grey began to fight back and Stokely Hathaway started stomping on the steps to distract Rayne. As a result, Grey knocked Rayne to the floor outside and we went to commercial [c].
Back from break, Rayne was on the offensive and hit a Northern Light Suplex for a two-count. Grey came back with a side slam for a two-count. The two got to their feet and traded blows. Grey went for a face-buster, but Rayne countered and ultimately hit the Cross-Raynes for the win.
Madison Rayne defeated Leila Grey via pinfall in 8:27.
After the match, Jade Cargill made her entrance. Cargill said she should have handled Rayne on her own and Cargill invited Rayne to fight her at her open challenge on Dynamite. Out of nowhere, Kiera Hogan attacked Rayne, but Rayne wasn’t having it and landed a Cross-Raynes on Hogan before smiling at Cargill. From there, we went to a promo from the Lucha Bros and Rush/Andrade. It looks like we’re going to get those two teams facing off on Dynamite Wednesday.
McGuire’s Musings: Congrats to Takeshita, who got his first win on AEW TV – and it was a squash, to boot. If he has to go back overseas soon, which is what is being said, this was a great way to say goodbye for now to everyone. Meanwhile, the women’s match was kind of rough in spots, and not the best first outing for Madison Rayne. Her match with Cargill should be interesting, considering how Rayne’s the new coach and Cargill has been the unofficial leader (or at least one of them). Wednesday night is turning out to be quite a card.
Back from break, there were tables set up. Nese hit a spinning kick on Swerve for a two-count. Lee broke up the pin and beat up both Lee and Nese. Lee went to run the ropes, but Sterling hit Lee with a chair and celebrated. Lee grabbed the chair, then, but Woods and Nese attacked Lee. They hit a double DDT on Lee and went for a pin, but it was broken up via a 450 splash from Swerve. A table was set up in the ring, and Sterling hit Swerve in the back of the head with a wrench.
Woods put Swerve on a table, but Lee pulled Woods outside. Lee landed a headbutt on Nese and it knocked them both out. Sterling climbed to the top rope, but Lee cut him off while Serve moved off the table. Lee threw Sterling through the table. Woods tried to German Suplex Lee through the tables on the outside, but Lee hung onto the ropes. Ultimately, Nese super-kicked Lee and the suplex happened through the tables and wow. Nese threw a bunch of chairs into the ring. Nese and Swerve exchanged blows. Swerve then landed a high back-body drop onto the chairs. Swerve went to the top and hit the Swerve Stomp for the win.
Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland defeated Josh Woods and Tony Nese via pinfall in 12:57.
The champs posed to end the show.
McGuire’s Musings: That German Suplex spot was nuts. Let’s get that out of the way first. My goodness. Keith Lee is all types of man and Josh Woods is a tough dude, but damn. That was a hell of a spot. This was more competitive than I thought it would be, but I’m certainly not complaining. Sterling has really settled into The Manager Who Takes Bumps All The Time and it fits him well. His spot through the table here was a lot of fun. In all, this was probably the match of the night. Without question, it was the most entertaining, at least. I’d like to see Woods stick around. If you aren’t familiar with his work, check out some of his Ring Of Honor stuff, especially his match against Jonathan Gresham at Death Before Dishonor 18. Anyway, this was a fun match and a fun episode of Rampage. The live episodes far outweigh the taped ones and this outing was no exception. I’ll have more to say in my same-night audio review.