By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 54)
Taped August 10 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
Aired August 12, 2022 on TNT
Jim Ross welcomed everyone and Bryan Danielson’s music hit. Danielson made his way to the ring. Tony Schiavone was in the ring. Tony asked Danielson about being 100 percent and reminded him that Daniel Garcia now calls himself the dragon slayer. Danielson said he doesn’t know if he’ll ever be 100 percent. Danielson said there’s nothing that makes him feel more alive than being in the ring. Danielson said he will never willfully stop wrestling. Danielson said someone’s going to have to end his career because he’ll never leave wrestling on his own.
Garcia made his way through the tunnel with a microphone. Garcia called Danielson his hero. Garcia said his hero is prepared to lose and he’s coming up with excuses. Garcia said he doesn’t know how many times he can put up with Danielson retiring and coming back. Garcia said it hurts him and that makes him want to hurt Danielson. Garcia said he’s going to hurt Danielson so bad, he’s going to end Danielson’s career. Danielson said he’s OK with people saying they’re going to end his career. Danielson called sports entertainment bullshit.
Danielson said Garcia is one of the first people he mentioned when he started the Blackpool Combat Club. Danielson said at 21, he thought Garcia was one of the best talents he’s seen in years. Danielson asked Garcia if he wants to be the best technical sports entertainer on the planet, or he wants to know if Garcia wants to be the best technical wrestler in the world. Danielson threw the mic down and left. We then got a recap of CM Punk’s return on Wednesday.
1. Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo vs. Dante Martin and Skye Blue for the AAA Mixed Tag Titles. The two teams brawled to begin the match. Martin beat the hell out of Guevara while the women wrestled outside. Eventually, things calmed down and Martin and Guevara traded chops. When Sammy ran the ropes, Melo caught him and tagged him, meaning Blue tagged in, too. Blue came in with a cross-body off the top rope. Melo slapped the hell out of Blue. Blue returned the favor. Melo worked an inverted neck crank, but Blue came back and hit a series of kicks on Melo. Blue hit the ropes, but Sammy tripped her and Melo landed a pump kick before we got our first PIP [c].
Back from break, Martin almost immediately got the hot tag and went after Sammy. With Sammy on the outside, Martin hit a tope on Sammy. Martin tried to get back into the ring, but Tay grabbed his boot. As a result, Martin and Sammy had a fun exchange with Tai in between them, ending with a destroyer from Martin. Sammy hit a knee strike and went for the GTH, but Martin got out and tagged in Blue. Still, the women hit takedowns on both men. Melo then hit the Tay-K-O for the win.
Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo defeated Dante Martin and Skye Blue via pinfall in 7:15.
After the match, we got a promo from the Lucha Bros., who were speaking on the trios titles. They said the Death Triangle will be reunited on Wednesday for their match in the trios tournament against United Empire. We went to break.
McGuire’s Musings: I’m always a fan of AEW mixing it up and opening the show with an in-ring promo, which is something WWE does far too much and AEW never does. So the change in pace was very much welcome. As for the promo content … it was fine. Nothing noteworthy, really. Here’s hoping the next Garcia vs. Danielson match is the last one because I think we’ve squeezed as much as we can out of it. When it comes to the match … right, we’re supposed to believe Sammy and Tay are actually going to drop their mixed tag belts to Martin and Blue? No disrespect to either Martin or Blue, but come on, guys. Meanwhile, I continue to think that Tony Khan and the minds behind AEW know they have something there with Conti (or Melo or whatever) and Guevara, but they just don’t quite know what to do with it yet. It’s like having 95 percent of a puzzle done and losing the last 15 pieces. In the meantime, it’s hard to get up for seeing them on TV.
2. Parker Boudreaux vs. Sonny Kiss. Kiss got a nice ovation for his in-ring entrance. Boudreaux swung hard and wild to begin. Kiss came right back with an uppercut, but Boudreaux caught Kiss by the throat and choke-slammed Kiss. Boudreaux hit his finisher and that was it.
Parker Boudreaux defeated Sonny Kiss via pinfall in 0:58.
From the squash, we went right to an Andrade promo with Butcher, Blade and Private Party. Andrade said they will win the trios championship. Private Party got in Andrade’s face, but Andrade walked away after talking more about the trios titles. We then went back to the ring.
3. Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn vs. Erick Redbeard and Danhausen. Redbeard and Colten began and Redbeard threw Colten, so Austin tagged in, but Redbeard kept up his dominance. The Gunn boys rolled to the outside and Danhausen tagged in, trying to curse the Gunn Club, but that just led to the second PIP [c].
Back from break, Danhausen was taking a beating, but Redbeard got the hot tag, who hit a dropkick on Colten. Redbeard threw everyone outside and hit a cross-body on everybody. Redbeard then hit a spinning kick and went for a pin, but Colten broke it up and tried to hammer on Redbeard. It didn’t quite work because Redbeard just hit a double-suplex on both Gunn boys. Danhausen tagged in and Redbeard ran the ropes, but Billy pulled down the rope, so Redbeard fell to the outside. Meanwhile, Austin hit a Famouser for the win.
Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn defeated Erick Redbeard and Danhausen via pinfall in 7 minutes.
After the match, Billy went into the ring and cut a promo on his sons and left. While the boys were leaving ringside, Stokely tried to give them his business card. From there, we got an interview with Swerve and Keith Lee. Lee said Private Party doesn’t have a chance against them. Swerve said they’ll allow Private Party into their world and that was kind of the end of the promo. Hook’s music then hit. Hook made his way to the ring.
Tony Schiavone was in the ring with a microphone. Schiavone asked Hook if the FTW title is always an open challenge. Hook said “Yup.” Zack Clayton’s music hit and he came out saying he’s from the great state of New Jersey. Clayton said he’d take the title form Hook and bring it to God’s Country, New Jersey. Clayton challenged Hook to a match next week and Hook held up the title, which meant he accepted the challenge.
McGuire’s Musings: Ruby Soho, Eddie Kingston and who else didn’t get TV time this week on AEW programming. But Zack Clayton does? Make all the excuses you want about how you have an overloaded roster, but I’m not so sure throwing this guy on TV, even if it’s only for a minute, backs up your conundrum. I digress. The Boudreaux squash was what it should have been, even if Kiss is over with literally the entire AEW fanbase and for whatever reason, can’t get any TV love. Boudreaux is one of the most curious cases in wrestling to me anymore. I’m of the belief that WWE messed him up big time. As in, a lot. A real lot. So what happens here, in AEW, should be awfully interesting. On the other end of it, I don’t get the Billy Gunn being a dick thing to his kids if he turned with them. I don’t know who they’ll face on Wednesday, but hopefully it’s noteworthy.
Back from break, we got the Mark Henry segment. Daivari heeled on his hometown of Minneapolis, which was fun. Cassidy started Henry’s tagline, but Henry interrupted him to finish it, which was also fun. We then got a run of the cards for Dynamite and Rampage, neither of which felt particularly appealing, and the main event entrances began.
4. Orange Cassidy vs. Ari Daivari. Even though the bell rang, Daivari grabbed a mic and offered Cassidy a spot in the Trustbusters. Daivari said all Cassidy had to do was lay down. Cassidy laid down. When Daivari went to pin him, Cassidy kept rolling away until he got to the outside, where Cassidy put his hands in his pockets. Best Friends then hugged Cassidy. Before long, the two got in the ring and started to wrestle. Cassidy wrestled with his hands in his pockets, but Daivari landed a neck-breaker on the ropes before hugging the rest of the Trustbusters. We then went to our final PIP [c].
Back from break, Daivari worked a sleeper hold. Cassidy fired up by putting his hands in his pockets, but things came to a halt when we got a double lariat. Cassidy went to the top, but Daivari cut him off and landed a bunch of chops. Cassidy came back with a cross-body and went for a DDT, but Daivari blocked it and then hit a kick to the back of Cassidy. Daivari then landed a hanging neck-breaker, but Cassidy came right back with a suplex. Cassidy hit soft kicks on Daivari before landing a super-kick. Cassidy went for the Orange Punch, but Daivari caught him and slammed him for a two-count.
Daivari set up his finisher, but Cassidy came back with a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Cassidy went to the top and landed a diving DDT, but Daivari kicked out. Cassidy threw down his elbow pad, but Slim J tried to interfere. As a result Parker tried to take care of things, but Cassidy took everyone out. Daivari ultimately hit the Iconoclast, but only got a two-count. Daivari went for the Hammerlock Lariat, but Cassidy countered and hit the Orange Punch for the win.
Orange Cassidy defeated Ari Daivari via pinfall in 12:04.
After the match, Best Friends threw Slim J out of the ring. Parker responded by beating the hell out of Best Friends. Cassidy was going to fight Parker, but Sonny Kiss came out for the save. But whoops. It wasn’t a save and she kicked Cassidy in the nuts. As it turns out, Kiss is now part of Trustbusters. That ended the night.
McGuire’s Musings: Good for Sonny Kiss. You have to remember that Kiss was one of the AEW originals that didn’t have much of a name coming in. Some colleagues have since parted ways for one reason or another, but Kiss has stuck around and made a name for herself on the YouTube shows. With that addition to the Trustbusters, I think they might be onto something. Between Boudreaux and Daivari alone it’s like the Island Of The Misfit Toys – and I say that one million percent in a complimentary manner. Those were guys that WWE didn’t know what to do with, but had a bunch of talent and promise. Now, perhaps, all of that can be realized in AEW. Throw in Slim J, who is another person who’s been slept on, and Sonny Kiss, who, again, is another person is has been slept on, and you have a recipe for something intriguing. I liked the way this episode ended. A good job for everyone, all around.
That said, we are in the dog days of summer … or, er, I mean pro wrestling TV. WWE wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if it didn’t have its mess going on right now, but it does, so therefore, attention must be paid. AEW, meanwhile, had a hell of a show on Wednesday, but the announcements for this coming week’s Dynamite doesn’t inspire much and Rampage continues to settle into its role as the B-show, despite what other more important people want to tell you. And you know what … ahh, never mind. I’ll save that for a McGuire’s Mondays. For now, I’ll have a bunch more to say in my audio review.