By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 55)
Taped August 24, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio at Wolstein Center
Aired August 26, 2022 on TNT
Jim Ross welcomed everyone in and introduced the commentary team of Tony Schiavone, Excalibur and Chris Jericho, along with himself. We had no introductions and we straight to the ring.
1. Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews vs. Alex Reynolds, Jon Silver, and 10 in an AEW Trios Titles tournament match. King and 10 started the match. After going back and forth, Silver and Murphy tagged in. Murphy had control, but Silver came right back and tried to back Murphy into a corner. Silver came off the top rope and Murphy caught him and before long, the two were on their feet staring at each other.
Black tagged in and Silver kicked Black and tagged in Reynolds. Black went for a roundhouse, but Reynolds ducked and things came to a halt. The action broke down and everyone was outside the ring. We then got our first PIP of the night [c].
Back from break, Reynolds was on the receiving end of an elbow from Black. Murphy tagged in and stomped Reynolds’s arms. Eventually, Reynolds landed a spinning elbow and got the tag to 10, who cleaned house. 10 went for the full-nelson, but the House Of Black attacked him. Dark Order countered by taking care of everyone in House of Black. Black, being the big guy he is, punched the hell out of everyone, but 10 clotheslined King out of the ring.
10 went for a full-nelson on Black, but Black went to take the brace off 10’s knee. As a result, Black kept working 10’s knee, but then Miro’s music hit and the House went to attack Miro. Miro stood his ground and Reynolds rolled up Black for the win.
Alex Reynolds, Jon Silver, and 10 defeated Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews via pinfall in 9:03.
After the match, The House beat the hell out of Miro until Darby Allin and Sting came to the ring. Without any physicality, The House left the ring and Sting gave a stare-down to Miro. We then went backstage to an interview with Hook. Hook actually spoke and said he doesn’t care about a video but then Cool Hand and Daddy Magic came into the frame. They made their intentions clear about about wanting the FTW title.
2. Wardlow vs. Ryan Nemeth for the TNT Title. After Wardlow made his way to the ring, Sonjay Dutt and his dudes walked onto the stage. While Nemeth was running his mouth, Wardlow headbutted Nemeth to shut him up and landed a power-bomb. He then did did it again. He then did it again. He then did it again. Surprisingly, that was it.
Wardlow defeated Ryan Nemeth via pinfall in 1:29.
After the match, Wardlow posed and we went to the commentary table, which talked about Draft Kings and to a break, we went.
McGuire’s Musings: Let’s work backwards. I had no idea Wardlow was from Cleveland. That was fun to learn. That match was what anyone with two feet and a heartbeat expected it to be. Kudos to Nemeth for trying to make it entertaining with the constant jabbering. The rest of the heels coming out on the stage made little sense to me because … well … they didn’t do anything. Anyway, the opening bout was much better than I anticipated. Putting the Dark Order through to the second round is a welcome twist and probably sets up a six-man between Sting/Darby/Miro and The House Of Black. I won’t complain, but I also won’t celebrate. A lot of wrestlers in that equation could have much higher-profile matches at All Out, but I digress. That said, the match was pretty good and 10, especially, looked very good.
Back from break, the Andrade Family Office confronted Private Party backstage in an interview segment. Andrade warned them that everything has consequences. We went back to the ring for Powerhouse Hobbs and his entrance.
3. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Ashton Day. Hobbs hit a strong clothesline to open things up. Hobbs kept roughing Day up and mocked Ricky Starks. Hobbs landed a spine-buster for the win.
Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Asthon Day via pinfall in 59 seconds.
After the match, QT Marshall came on the big screen with his boys and Marshall punched Starks in the head with his watch. Hobbs seemed happy while he left the ring. We went backstage again for a Jade Cargill interview. Cargill kicked Leila Grey out of her crew and called out Athena for All Out. In response, Athena attacked Cargill before we went back to the ring and Sammy Guevara’s entrance.
4. Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo vs. Ortiz and Ruby Soho. Melo and Soho started the match and Melo grabbed control instantly. Soho ultimately fought back and hit a series of shots to the midsection. Melo tried to come back, but Soho punched Melo, who then tagged in Ortiz. Guevara got the best of Ortiz to begin the exchange, but Ortiz hit a slam and and dropped Soho onto Guevara for a two-count. Ortiz was pushed into the ropes and Melo caught him long enough for Guevara to take back control as we went to our second PIP [c].
Back from break, Ortiz got the hot tag to Soho, and Soho came in to fire up on Melo. Soho landed a side-suplex and a boot to the face for a two-count. With Melo perched on the top, Guevara put Soho on his shoulders, but Soho landed a Poison Rana. As a result, Melo hit a cross-body onto Soho for a two-count. Soho ran at Melo, but Sammy stepped in the way. Melo responded by going for a DDT and a kick, but Ortiz caught her and Soho landed the No Future, but Sammy broke up the pin attempt.
Soho tagged Ortiz and Guevara ran to the corner. Anna Jay ran down tot he ring and attacked Soho by throwing her into the steps while the ref wasn’t looking. Guevara then hit a cutter on Ortiz for the win as Ortiz was bleeding.
Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo defeated Ortiz and Ruby Soho via pinfall in 9:36.
Right after the match, we went to a CM Punk/Jon Moxley video. Punk said backstage he didn’t know what it meant for his foot to feel like it did and I guess that was the “backstage footage” they advertised.
McGuire’s Musings: Well, again, I guess, let’s work backwards. The mixed tag was fine. The action wasn’t something to remember, but Guevara constantly messing with Soho was a bit annoying and I guess that speaks to any issues I might have with a mixed tag to begin with. I don’t understand the point/rules if we’re just going pull this kind of stuff. I can comprehend the heel dynamic and why Sammy can get away with it, but at this point, I’d rather just see either Ruby vs. Melo or Sammy vs. Ortiz. The match itself devalued all four wrestlers. Meanwhile, it appears we’re going to get Athena vs. Jade at All Out, which is the right way to go, as far as I’m concerned. The way it’s gone, Athena is in AEW solely for challenging Cargill – or at least so her story has said thus far. As for Powerhouse Hobbs? He looked every bit the powerhouse he should.
Back from break, we got the Mark Henry segment and Claudio called Dustin a legend. Dustin, meanwhile, said these are the things dreams are made of. Caprice Coleman sat in on commentary for the main event.
5. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Dustin Rhodes for the ROH Title. The two went back and forth to start out until Dustin landed an arm-drag for a two-count. They slowed down and Castagnoli worked a side head-lock. Castagnoli shoulder-blocked Dustin to the outside. Back inside the ring, Castagnoli went for a pin and mocked Dustin with the two-count result. Dustin kicked Castagnoli for a one-count. Castagnoli knocked Dustin to the outside and we went to our final PIP of the night [c].
Back from break, Castagnoli was working over Rhodes, but Rhodes came back with a side-suplex. Castagnoli hit an elbow and that started both guys hitting elbows. Dustin clotheslined Castagnoli over the top and then hit a cannonball onto Castagnoli on the outside. Back in the ring, Dustin hit a lariat for a two-count. Dustin landed a Code Red for a two-count. Castagnoli lifted Dustin and landed him on the top rope before hitting a lariat for a two-count.
Castagnoli called for the spin and went for it. He had a good amount of rotations before going for a ping and getting a two-count. Castagnoli sunk in a cross-face. Dustin rolled through for a two-count and went directly to his snap-powerslam. Dustin hit a pile-driver that looked more like a power-bomb. Dustin went for something, but the two ran the ropes and Castagnoli ran into Dustin’s crotch. After some editing, Castagnoli hit an uppercut on Dustin and that was enough for the win.
Claudio Castagnoli defeated Dustin Rhodes via pinfall in 12:24.
To end the show, Castagnoli raised his title.
McGuire’s Musings: I had high expectations for this and the match did not live up to those expectations. Don’t forget that Dustin has surprised us all in recent months with some very, very good matches, and therefore, I thought this one might surprise everybody. That didn’t happen, but the guys worked hard. I’m not sure if that crotch shot was planned or if those were just two very professional wrestlers calling an audible on the fly, but whichever one it was, the spot didn’t need the weird editing that followed it. Still, good on Dustin for getting a shot like this and good on Claudio for respecting him in the pre-match promo. Also, good for AEW/ROH for booking something like this. It could have been better, but everything can always be better.
In all – and honestly, I’ve said this the last few weeks, so I know I sound inauthentic, but it’s true – this was a missable episode of Rampage. From what I read, Rampage is going to go live throughout all of October and I’m going to go ahead and start this prayer circle right now saying that it kicks up the quality of the shows, as a result. Only time can answer that hope, but for now, this really wasn’t a pro wrestling TV show that you had to see. I’ll have more to say in my audio review.