By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 58)
Taped September 14, 2022 in Albany, New York at MVP Arena
Aired September 16, 2022 on TNT
MJF was in the opening video. So, there’s that. Jim Ross said hello and introduced the commentary team of him, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho. No entrances were televised and we went right to the ring.
1. Darby Allin vs. Matt Hardy. The two locked up and Hardy took control before Allin worked a side head-lock. Hardy landed a shoulder-block and did his “delete” thing, but Darby came back with a roll-up and got a two-count. From there, Darby went for a dive onto Hardy, who was on the floor, but Hardy caught him. Even so, Allin ran Hardy into the ring steps.
Back in the ring, Darby went for a Senton onto Hardy, who was on the apron, but Hardy moved and Darby hit hard. On the outside, Hardy ran Allin into the ring post, back-first. Hardy then stretched Allin around the ring post. As Hardy got back into the ring, we got our first PIP of the night [c].
Back from break, Hardy had control, but Darby ultimately came right back and hit a series of splashes. Hardy hit a Side Effect for a two-count. Hardy did the “Delete” thing. Hardy went for his finisher, but Allin countered into a back-slide for a two-count. Allin then hit a Scorpion Death Drop and the wrestlers stayed down. Allin went to the top, but Hardy cut him off and worked Allin’s back. Hardy hit a BT Bomb for a two-count. Hardy went for a moonsault, but Allin moved. Allin then hit a Code Red and a Last Supper for the win.
Darby Allin defeated Matt Hardy via pinfall in 9:58.
After the match, the two fist-bumped. As Darby walked through the tunnel, the lights went out and when they came back on, Brody King and Julia Hart were in the ring. King called out Darby and Sting and Darby and Sting walked through the tunnel. King said it’s not over and challenged them to a tag-team match at Grand Slam without DQs. The lights went out again and when they came back on, the House Of Black was gone.
McGuire’s Musings: It was a fine enough match. Hardy, bless him, isn’t 25 years old and I really don’t say that to be mean. I just sort of … say that. He works slower, which is OK, but the crispness is gone. Still, Darby did a good job working with him and getting a good match out of him, and kudos to both guys for going 10 minutes and taking some stiff bumps in the process. I’m not a fan of Jeff coming back sooner rather than later (which was reported in the last day or two), so perhaps my prejudice is showing and my lens through which I see Matt is blurred. Even so, the tag match on Grand Slam should be fun.
Back from break, we got a promo from Eddie Kingston, who made his match with Sammy Guevara official for next week’s Rampage. Claudio made his entrance and got into the ring, where Schiavone was waiting for him. Claudio said his championship represents honor. He said the Blackpool Combat Club is the symbol if excellence. He said the BCC is a team and is a family and they make each other better. Claudio said Wheeler Yuta will win back his ROH Pure Title. Claudio said nice things about Dax Harwood and said he’s pumped that two members from the BCC will wrestle for the AEW World Title next week.
Chris Jericho cut Claudio off and said the JAS is something everyone should pay attention to. Jericho said he’s a seven-time world champion. Jericho said he didn’t tap out, but Claudio corrected him and the crowd chanted “You taped out!” Jericho listed the titles he’s won. Jericho said he’s “going for the ocho,” and that’s why he’s gunning for the ROH world title. Jericho challenged Claudio for Wednesday. Claudio accepted the challenge.
Backstage, Jade Cargill was being interviewed, but Diamanté interrupted them. Diamonte challenged Cargill for the TBS title at Grand Slam. Penelope Ford then made her entrance for the next match.
2. Penelope Ford vs. Willow Nightingale. The two locked up and Ford first got control, but Nightingale came right back and worked Ford’s arm. Ford backed Nightingale into the ropes and kicked her. Nightingale went for a series of roll-ups to no avail. Nightingale landed a loud chop and then hit a diving cross-body for a two-count. Nightingale went for her shoulder-block, but Ford moved and then landed a dropkick to the Nightingale’s back. Ford hit a knee-drop onto Nightingale and we went to our second PIP [c].
McGuire’s Musings: Claudio vs. Jericho should be a lot of fun. The card for Wednesday feels pay-per-view-ish with all the title matches, and I think it works in this context. AEW needs a boost on top of a boost on top of a boost and perhaps Wednesday could be it. Also … looks like Sammy and Eddie really did patch things up, right?
Back from break, Nightingale had control and landed a spine-buster for a two-count. Nightingale went for a clothesline, but Ford ducked and landed a cutter for a two-count. Ford was named the Sports Entertainer Of The Week, but then Nightingale actually hit her shoulder-block and got a two-count. Ford sunk in her finisher and Willow tapped out.
Penelope Ford defeated Willow Nightingale via submission in 8:24.
We went right to the back to get an interview with Dark Order and Hangman Page. Page apologized for how All Out went. John Silver the battle royal will be his golden ticket. Rush and Jose The Assistant appeared. Rush called out Page. We went back to the ring.
3. Ethan Page vs. Danhausen. Danhausen was going to curse Page, but instead smiled. Page came back with a boot and punched Danhausen a bunch of times. Page mocked Danhausen’s curse and Danhausen slapped Page, but Page hit a shoulder tackle. Page hit his Edge for the win.
Ethan Page defeated Danhausen via pinfall in 1:26.
We went right backstage to Ricky Starks, who said Hobbs threw off his trail. Starks said Hobbs has his full attention. Starks said he will see Hobbs personally in New York City.
McGuire’s Musings: I was happy to see the women go longer than eight minutes and I thought both wrestlers looked good coming out of it. Ford was the obvious choice to come out the victor, but Nightingale got a lot out of it, too, and I can’t for the life of me, understand why she doesn’t have a full-time contract with AEW yet. But that’s just me. The Page squash was what everyone thought it would be. At this point, most everyone knows that Page and Danhausen and real-life close friends because of the former’s YouTube series, so it was kind of fun to see both of them in the ring together. Here’s a question: Where’s Dan Lambert anymore?
Back from break, we got the Mark Henry segment. Joe said he would come after Mark Sterling after beating Woods, and that was really the only noteworthy thing that happened. Excalibur ran down all the cards next week and we went back to the ring for the main event.
4. Samoa Joe vs. Josh Woods for the ROH TV Title. Ian Riccaboni sat in on commentary. The two roughed each other up to begin the match. Joe worked a side head-lock, but Woods came back with an elbow and the two traded blows. Woods worked Joe’s arm and we went to our final PIP [c].
Back from break, Woods still had a submission sunk in. Woods kept going for Joe’s arm, but Joe came back with a sleeper hold. Woods ultimately countered with a belly-to-back suplex for a two-count. Joe came back with a boot and a Senton for a two-count. Woods tried to work Joe’s arm, but Joe landed a snap power-slam for a two-count. Joe placed Woods on the top rope, but Smart Mark distracted everyone and Woods hit a kick and a modified GTS for a two-count. Woods tried to lift Joe and then ran at Joe, but Joe caught him and landed the Muscle Buster for the win.
Samoa Joe defeated Josh Woods via pinfall in 10:10.
After the match, Tony Nese attacked Joe and the team beat up Joe until Wardlow’s music hit. Joe grabbed Sterling’s leg until Wardlow was going to power-bomb Sterling, but Nese pulled Sterling out. Wardlow and Joe had a stare down and toasted their TV titles and we ended the show like that.
McGuire’s Musings: I’m a big, big fan of Samoa Joe. Followed him through a lot of years and I know for a fact he could kill me with his pinky in a matter of seconds. But damn if he wasn’t blown up here after about seven minutes. Hats off to Josh Woods, who carried so much of the match toward the end, and who honestly deserves more television time, but it ROH or AEW. For my money, this was the match of the night, if only because these were two bad dudes acting bad. Woods’ stuff looks so good and Joe, gassed or not, is still such a presence in the ring. I can’t say I’m super excited for the tag match pairing Joe with Wardlow against Nese and Woods, but I’ll reserve judgment until it comes by. Speaking of coming by, my audio review will do that sooner than later, and on it, there will be oh, so much more to say.