By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 65)
Atlantic City, New Jersey at Boardwalk Hall
Aired live November 4, 2022 on TNT
Jim Ross welcomed everyone to Dynamite (whoops) and introduced the commentary team of himself, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur. Mine Tyson’s music hit and he walked to the commentary table. A video package aired on Katsuyori Shibata…
1. Orange Cassidy vs. Katsuyori Shibata for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship. Shibata grabbed a headlock and took Cassidy down. Shibata worked Cassidy’s ankle and tried a kick, but Cassidy moved and then elbowed Shibata off the apron. Outside the ring, Shibata threw Cassidy into all the guardrails. Shibata went into the ring and sat down before going back out for Cassidy, who threw Shibata into a guardrail. The two fought and there was almost a double count-out so they got back into the ring and we got our first picture-in-picture break [c].
Back from break, Cassidy had control. Cassidy hit a dropkick to Shibata’s head and then got in the soft kicks until Shibata grabbed Cassidy’s leg. Shibata kicked Cassidy’s back. Shibata then hit soft kicks of his own, mocking Cassidy. Cassidy followed that up by sitting on the mat, Shibata-style and Shibata joined him. Cassidy hit soft chops on Shibata and Shibata slapped the piss out of Cassidy.
Shibata hit an under-hook suplex and went into a sleeper hold. The two traded back suplexes and hit double slaps to take each other down. Cassidy landed a PK, but Shibata sat right up. Cassidy hit more kicks. Shibata fired up and landed a leaping elbow strike. Shibata worked an abdominal stretch. Shibata sank in an Octopus, but Cassidy made it to the ropes for a break.
Shibata lifted Cassidy, but Cassidy hit the Stundog Millionaire. Shibata lifted Cassidy and hit a Death Valley Driver, but Cassidy landed a stunner and planted Shibata. Cassidy hit a Beach Break for a two-count. Cassidy landed an Orange Punch, but Shibata didn’t go down. Shibata sank in a sleeper hold, but Cassidy got out and hit another Orange Punch for the win.
Orange Cassidy defeated Katsuyori Shibata via pinfall in 11:08 to retain the AEW All-Atlantic Championship.
After the match, the two shook hands and Cassidy put sunglasses on Shibata. From there Toni Storm cut a promo backstage, calling out Jamie Hayter, saying Britt Baker manipulates her.
McGuire’s Musings: That was so much fun. Even if you aren’t a fanboy of Shibata (like, cough, um, me), there was a lot to love here. Shibata looked like as much of a monster as he can look and Cassidy protected the hell out of him, which felt both respectful and necessary. I’m only mildly disappointed that Shibata didn’t come away with the title (because how much fun would that have been?), so I can’t complain too much, especially considering how well these two worked together. The only other match Shibata said he wanted was with Danielson. Do we get it at Full Gear.
Back from break, we got an interview with Bryan Danielson and Claudio, who called out Chris Jericho for attacking non-wrestlers. Claudio said he’s a former ROH champion, so Jericho shouldn’t look any further than Claudio. Danielson said he’s a former champ, too. Danielson said if Jericho gives him one more opportunity, he’d stomp Jericho’s face in. Regal stepped in and said the ball’s in Jericho’s court.
2. Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter (w/Rebel) vs. Madison Rayne and Skye Blue. Hayter and Rayne began the match. Blue tagged in quickly and worked Hayter’s arm. Hayter ran at Blue, but Blue moved and Hayter ran into a corner. Blue then landed a cross-body from the top, but Hayter came right back and took control with a series of strikes. Hayter kept the momentum as we went to our second PIP of the night [c].
Back from break, Hayter was on the offensive, but Blue landed a super-kick. Baker and Rayne tagged in and Rayne tried to fire the crowd up, but it didn’t quite work. Rayne hit a series of strikes and covered Baker for a two-count. Rayne hit a Cutter, but Hayter came in and landed a back-breaker. Things broke down and Baker landed a swinging neck-breaker on Rayne for a two-count. Baker and Hayter landed double thrust-kicks and Baker went for a Stomp on Range, but Rayne moved and went for a crucifix bomb, but Hayter came back with a Ripcord Lariat for the win.
Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker defeated Madison Rayne and Skye Blue via pinfall in 7:19.
After the match, Baker got a mic and said Hayter would win the interim world title at Full Gear, but Storm’s music hit and Storm took out Rebel and Baker. In the ring, Storm and Hayter brawled. Storm sank in a Texas Cloverleaf, but Baker ran in and hit Storm in the head with the women’s belt. Hayter stood tall with the belt…
Instantly, we went to a recap from Dynamite, where Chris Jericho said he’d whip Lamar Jackson’s ass…
Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara were interviewed by Tony Schiavone in the backstage area. Jericho wondered about how honorable Regal was and then said he’d take on both Danielson and Claudio at once. Jericho said he wanted to bring in Guevara for a four-way match. Jericho called Sammy “little buddy” and walked away while Sammy looked confused…
Ricky Starks then made his entrance. Starks said he heard all week that people wanted to see Ricky Starks on TV. Starks said the people know that he’s good and he doesn’t have to tell the people that he’s good. Starks said he put in the work in AEW since day one. Starks entered himself into the eliminator tournament for the AEW championship. Starks said he was going to hold AEW up on his back and it’s going to start at Full Gear. Starks said he’s walking out of Full Gear as the No. 1 contender. Starks spoke to Moxley and MJF to a pretty silent crowd. He ended the promo and walked out of the ring…
McGuire’s Musings: The women’s match was pretty OK. I continue to be suspect of the reality that the women’s matches always seem to be the ones that get the long mid-show commercial break, but that’s a conversation for another day. The thought, of course, is that Baker isn’t happy that Hayter is getting a title shot, so which way does this go? Baker turns on Hayter, costs her the belt and then becomes the next in line? Or Hayter wins and Baker wants the first shot at the belt? I can’t imagine Storm dropping the title so quickly, but I’ve scratched my head harder for other AEW decisions. Either way, the match on this night was fine enough for what it was, even if we in the States only really saw 60 percent of it. The Starks promo, meanwhile, was kind of basic, but effective. It’s not surprising he’ll be in the tournament, but I could have used an opponent he had in mind.
Back from break, Sammy was interviewed and challenged Bryan Danielson to a 2 out of 3 falls match on Dynamite…
The Mark Henry segment aired with the main event players. Wardlow said he and Samoa Joe weren’t there for talking. Wardlow dared Powerhouse Hobbs to attack him later tonight, so there’s that. We then got the Excalibur quick reads for upcoming matches on future shows (see the main page for the updated listings)…
3. “Gates Of Agony” Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona (w/Prince Nana) vs. Wardlow and Samora Joe. Wardlow and Bishop Kaun began the match and Wardlow bull-rushed him. Kaun came back and hit a splash in a corner. Wardlow came back with a clothesline and worked a ground-and-pound. Joe tagged in and Toa did the same. Toa backed Joe into a corner, but Joe punched his way out. Joe hit a leaping kick, but Toa started biting Joe’s ear. Kaun clotheslined Joe and Toa pinned Joe for a two-count. We got our final PIP of the night [c].
Back from break, Joe slammed Kaun and crawled toward Wardlow for the hot tag and got it. Wardlow hit a series of German Suplexes on Kaun. Toa ran in to break things up and Wardlow hit a German Suplex on Toa. Wardlow slammed Kaun, but before long, Joe pulled Loa outside and sank in the Cocina Clutch. Inside the ring, Wardlow hit a lariat on Kaun and punched Prince Nana. As a result, Kaun rolled up Wardlow for a two-count. Wardlow headbutted Kaun and hit a power-bomb. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat. That ended the match.
Samoa Joe and Wardlow defeated Gates of Agony via pinfall in 9:07.
After the match, Powerhouse Hobbs’ music hit. Hobbs walked out and stood on the ramp. Wardlow pushed Joe and Joe looked like he might turn on Wardlow. Wardlow and Hobbs jawed at each other from afar to end the show.
McGuire’s Musings: Two Gates of Agony main events on Rampage is about three too many for me, but that’s beside the point. I’m intrigued by the Wardlow/Samoa Joe tension because I was damn convinced Joe was about to clock that guy right upside his head to end the show, but that’s for another day, it seems. The thing I don’t get about Rampage anymore is that AEW insists it’s not the B-show, and that’s not new, but if you’re trying to build Rampage, can you please answer this simple question: Why did you not announce the match that ended up being the main event of the show until three and a half minutes before the show? That’s an exaggeration, of course, but you have a title match here. I understand you want to put Tyson on early because it’s 10 p.m. on the east coast and you want to keep viewers, but you could also keep viewers by teasing him and that match for the end of the show, could you not?
In all, this was still just another episode of Rampage, which isn’t the most enthusiastic thing I could say. For a company that gets Shibata’s official in-ring return (remember, Shibata called the audible on the Narita match in New Japan earlier this year … or at least so they say) and a live crowd (which isn’t always promised), this turned out to feel ordinary. It should be better than this. I’ll have more to say in my audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
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