11/18 AEW Rampage results: McGuire’s review of Eddie Kingston and Ortiz vs. Konosuke Takeshita and Jun Akiyama, Lance Archer vs. Ricky Starks in an AEW Eliminator tournament first-round match, Hook vs. Lee Moriarty for the FTW Title, Athena vs. Madison Rayne


By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)

AEW Rampage (Episode 67)
Newark, New Jersey at Prudential Center
Aired live November 18, 2022 on TNT

Jim Ross welcomed everyone into the show. He was joined on commentary by Tony Schiavone, Excalibur and Chris Jericho. Ross said it was Wednesday night and welcomed everyone to Dynamite again, which was kind of unintentionally funny. We cut to the back and Ricky Starks and Lance Archer were brawling. They ultimately brawled into the arena, through the crowd and the crowd cheered. As all of this happened, the bell did not ring to officially start the match. They got in the ring and the bell rang.

1. Lance Archer vs. Ricky Starks in an AEW Eliminator tournament first-round match. Archer went for a punch, but Starks moved and hit some strikes of his own before clotheslining Archer to the outside. From there, Archer chokeslammed Starks on the apron before we got to our first PIP [c].

Back from break, Archer had control inside the ring and slapped Starks in the face while Starks was on the second rope. Starks fought back with a series of strikes and hit a diving shoulder-tackle. Starks landed a lariat and fired up. Starks went for a tornado DDT, but Archer countered and hit a tough-looking lariat for a good near-fall. Starks came back to successfully hit a tornado DDT for a two-count. Starks went for a sunset flip and Archer grabbed him by the throat. Before long, Starks hit a spear and won because of it.

Ricky Starks defeated Lance Archer via pinfall in 5:24 to advance to the semifinals of the AEW Eliminator Tournament.

After the match, Brian Cage walked out while Archer attacked Starks. Archer slammed Starks’s head onto the ring steps. Archer then chokeslammed Starks onto the side of the steps. We then got a video about the Moxley/MJF match at Full Gear.

McGuire’s Musings: That was a fun opening brawl. The in-ring stuff was a little suspect at times, including what seemed like a weird miscommunication near the finish. Either way, Starks got the spear and the win, which was somewhat expected as AEW delayed the match in order to make sure Starks could be cleared to compete, and that company ain’t delaying matches for someone who ain’t winning. I’m not saying, but I’m just saying. The post-match beatdown was short but effective and it obviously sets Starks up to look better as he battles through injury, perhaps both in story and in life. I continue to be a little baffled at how AEW uses Archer. He’s a beast. He can work. He’s believable. Why not use him more and why not use him in more prominent roles?

Back from break, we got an interview with Jericho and Sammy via Schiavone. Jericho said he has no doubt that Danielson and Claudio will beat the hell out of each other. Jericho said he’s the best champ in ROH history. Jericho walked out of the frame and Sammy gave him another weird look, furthering the low-key tension between the two.

2. Hook vs. Lee Moriarty for the FTW Title. The two locked up to begin the match and Moriarty hit an elbow to Hook’s head, so Hook took Moriarty down and went for a knee-bar, but Moriarty backed away and the two reset. Hook took Moriarty down and went for a wrist-lock, but Moriarty countered it and got in a wrist-lock of his own. Hook suplexed Moriarty and sunk in a submission, but Moriarty fought his way out. Hook hit a gut-wrench suplex on Moriarty, but Stokeley Hathaway distracted Hook and Moriarty landed a boot to take Hook out. From there, we got our next PIP [c].

Back from break, Moriarty had control and was hitting a series of strikes on Hook’s head. Moriarty ran the ropes and Hook hit a lariat. Hook hit a series of punches to Moriarty’s midsection. Hook threw Moriarty across the ring and then landed a Fisherman’s Throw. Moriarty slammed Hook’s face into the second turnbuckle. Moriarty hit a diving knee drop for a two-count. Moriarty rolled up Hook for a two-count. Moriarty sank in a submission, but Hook countered into the Redrum for the win.

Hook defeated Lee Moriarty via submission in 8:38 to retain the FTW Title.

After the match, we went directly to a video chronicling the Bandidio/Rush match from last week’s Rampage. We went backstage for an interview between John Silver, Rush and Jose The Assistant. Rush said he’d wipe the stupid smile off Silver’s face. Rush set up a match with Silver for next week’s Rampage. During her entrance, we got a pre-tape from Madison Rayne, who said she doesn’t appreciate the way Athena has been treating her opponents.

3. Athena vs. Madison Rayne. Athena jumpstarted the match and cut off the pre-tape, which was odd. Rayne came right back with a couple elbows to take control. The action spilled to the outside and Athena rammed Rayne into the guardrail before rolling Rayne back inside. Athena did some flips and slapped Rayne. There was a weird spot where I think Rayne countered into a DDT from a suplex? Or at least it was sold as such.

Anyway, Rayne landed an elbow and went for her finisher, but Athena countered with a Stunner and a vicious elbow. Athena hit a new finisher (maybe?) and that was it.

Athena defeated Madison Rayne via pinfall in 2:45.

After the match, Athena beat up Ref Aubrey and continued to attack Rayne until Mercedes Martinez came in to stop Athena from her attack. We went backstage to an interview with Best Friends and The Factory. Orange Cassidy said he wants to fight The Factory at Full Gear. Chuck Taylor gave Renne a VHS and she played it. On it was footage of Danhausen with his teeth.

McGuire’s Musings: A lot to catch up on, so let’s back up. That’s one of the longest matches we’ve ever seen Hook work in AEW and he held his own. Moriarty is a good wrestler to do that with, and it was clear Hook has advances his character in tiny ways (for instance, this was the first time I can recall him explicitly playing to the crowd at one point). Where Hook goes from here, I’m not quite sure, but I’d like to see him in something meaningful because he’s been in the young undefeated badass role for a bit too long. The women’s match, meanwhile, was exactly what it should have been. For reasons I can’t even understand, I’ve actually been watching Dark and Dark: Elevation episodes lately and this change for Athena has been welcome and a lot of fun to see unfold. I’m happy to see them bring it to the bigger stage on TV now, and I’m even more excited to see what they do with Athena and Martinez because that could be a hell of a match. Pissed-off Athena is the best Athena. Then, finally, the Best Friends/Factory bit was really sort of funny. It’s hit or miss with me, but I got a kick out of this go-around.

Back from the break, we got the Mark Henry segment. Ortiz yelled a lot and Kingston didn’t talk. Takeshita said the match won’t be a dream match for Kingston and instead, it will be a nightmare. Neither Kingston or Akiyama spoke as Henry said it’s time for the main event.

4. Eddie Kingston and Ortiz vs. Konosuke Takeshita and Jun Akiyama. Kingston and Takeshita began the match, but Kingston told Takeshita he wanted Akiyama, but Takeshita stayed in the ring and they worked a greco roman knuckle lock. Takeshita worked a head-lock and tried for a shoulder block, but Kingston didn’t move. Kingston hit a belly-to-belly suplex. Ortiz tagged in, but Takeshita hit a strong elbow before tagging in Akiyama, who took Ortiz down and went after Kingston. Akiyama hit a piledriver on Ortiz, but Kingston stepped in the ring to break it up. Takeshita tagged in and landed a stiff forearm before tagging in Akiyama. We went to the final PIP [c].

As the action returned, Ortiz hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Takeshita for a two-count. Kingston tagged in and Takeshita tried to fight back, but Kingston hit a DDT for a two-count. Kingston asked for the back-and-forth chop spot with Takeshita. The sequence ended with Takeshita hitting his signature leaping lariat. Akiyama and Ortiz then tagged in and Akiyama hit a boot and a jumping knee. Akiyama went for an Exploder, but Kingston came into the break it up and Kingston and Akiyama traded chest chops.

Things broke down a bit and Takeshita hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Ortiz, but Kingston fought back for Ortiz and all four men were on the mat. Akiyama and Kingston traded shots again and the two hit Exploders on each other. Akiyama and Kingston took each other out of the match but Akiyama got up and hit a knee to the back of Ortiz. Akiyama hit an Exploder on Ortiz for the win.

Konosuke Takeshita and Jun Akiyama defeated Eddie Kingston and Ortiz via pinfall in 12:18.

The episode kind of abruptly ended after that.

McGuire’s Musings: You know, AEW keeps having these moments that on paper seem like they’re going to be a big deal, and then when the lights go down and the wrestlers come up the moment feels … ordinary? Normal? Uneventful? Use any one of those words and you won’t be wrong. The same happened here as Kingston, noted Japanese wrestling historian and fanboy, got to share a ring with Jun Akiyama, who he’s been said to idolize. But you want to know what happened (and you want to know what happens more often than not?)? I feel like the crowd let them down.

Nobody seemed to care about the chest chop spot that Akiyama helped popularize. And Akiyama’s knee has always been built as devastating, but the crowd felt oblivious to it. I don’t know. The main event was supposed to be more than it was. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, but it is to say that perhaps the honeymoon period between AEW fans and, say, Takeshita might be over because his presence felt a little flat, too. I don’t know. The only word that comes to mind is underwhelming.

And, if we’re being honest, the hour of wrestling tonight was fairly underwhelming. I enjoyed getting the show off to a hot start with Starks and Archer brawling in the back, and I think it was good to see Hook swim into deep waters as he continues to grow as a performer. On top of that, I thought the women’s segment served its purpose, too, as it introduced bad-ass Athena to the masses after bad-ass Athena initially came into the AEW universe on YouTube.

For that matter, the main event was fine; it just wasn’t earth-shattering, and I think the expectation was to land somewhere between “fine” and “earth-shattering.” It’s an important weekend for AEW (as you’ll hear Jason and I talk about on this week’s episode of the Pro Wrestling Boom podcast), and I’m not so sure if this was the absolute best the beginning of the weekend could be for the company. I’ll have more to say in my weekly Rampage audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. The issue with talent from other continents, a talent not built up on tv to mean anything, is that most people don’t follow wrestling all over the world.

    NJPW has been on AXS TV for years and as far as I know, hasn’t picked up any traction. The audience following that program is probably lower than the audience following Impact.

    Akiyama, may mean something to 100000 people or so in the USA, but those people cannot all be in the same building at the same time. People need to know why somebody is important.

  2. Hook plays to the crowd often.

    I don’t think “the fans let them down” in anyway during the Ortiz/kingston tag match, its just sometimes AEW goes TOO deep and not everyone knows the history of wrestling in the organizations in other countries.

    I really like AEW, but for some reason, I literally have no interest in the PPV tomorrow. Not going to pay for it and will be satisfied to read the results after it’s over. I think, MAYBE, we need some ongoing storylines sooner than later.

  3. “I feel like the crowd let them down.”

    The crowd, even the AEW crowd, knows when shit is too stupid to care about. The crackhead trust fund dipshit booker let them down by putting that garbage on TV with no explanation of why it might be important.

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