By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 75)
Taped January 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California at Kia Forum
Aired January 13, 2023 on TNT
Jim Ross welcomed in everybody watching and introduced the broadcast team of him, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho. Nobody got entrances and we went right to the ring.
1. Darby Allin vs. Juice Robinson for the TNT Title. Juice slammed Darby and sat on his back. Juice then backed Darby into the ropes and we started again. Darby grabbed a headlock and didn’t let go, no matter what. Juice went for a Senton, but Darby got the knees up and worked another headlock. Juice eventually lifted Darby over the top rope and onto the outside in a dangerous spot. Juice threw Darby into the guardrail and then the steps. Juice posed and rolled into the ring before heading back out. Juice slammed Darby onto the steps and posed on the second rope as we got our first PIP [c].
Back from break, the two were in the ring and Juice punched and slapped Darby. Juice ran at Darby, but Darby moved and ultimately landed a shotgun dropkick, which took Juice to the outside, where Darby ran to hit his suicide dive. Back in the ring, Juice came back with a kick for a two-count. Juice landed a trio of heavy Sentons for a two-count. Juice went to the second rope and tried for another Senton, but Darby moved. It didn’t quite matter because Juice hit a gut-buster for another two-count.
Juice went for a cannonball, but Darby moved and hit a Code Red for a good near-fall. After that, Darby went to the top, but Juice cut him off and swept out the legs. Juice then chopped the hell out of Darby. With Darby draped across the top rope, Juice hit a lariat and a jackhammer for yet another two-count. Juice continued to chop Darby and he placed Darby on the top rope. Juice went for a super-plex, but Darby turned it into a Scorpion Death Drop from the top. Darby went back up, hit the Coffin Drop and that was it.
Darby Allin defeated Juice Robinson via pinfall in 10:50.
After the match, Sting walked out. Sting celebrated with Darby and we got the next chapter of the Book of Hobbs (and damn, this seems to be a big book).
McGuire’s Musings: A fine opening match. One of the most entertaining things about Juice – at least in recent years – has been his constant jawing during his matches. Or, well, that was the case in New Japan recently, at least. If he’s going to get over in AEW, they’re going to have to let him do that, and I’m not sure if he’s toning it down because he was told to or if it’s because he feels like he doesn’t need to, but it can sure add a lot to his act. Meanwhile, Darby was generous as hell here as Juice dominated 10 minutes of the 10:50 match. This was OK, but nothing special.
Back from break, we had Renee Paquette, who said The Acclaimed was getting a Hollywood Star on the Walk Of Fame. The tag team came out and Max Caster rapped about Joe Biden, Saudi money and more. Bowens yelled “scissor me daddy ass,” and the, “Oh, scissor me, daddy,” chants broke out. Bowens told everyone to throw their scissors into the air. Bowens said tonight, they cement their legacy. Caster, Bowens and Billy Gunn put their fingers in cement … but the Gunn brothers broke it up. They called LA a bum-ass city. Colten and Austin said the only reason The Acclaimed is popular is because they sole their dad away from them. Billy said they’re right and asked the brothers to put their fingers in the cement, but The Acclaimed pushed the Gunns into the cement and as someone sitting next to me said, “That’s a Vince McMahon trick.”
We got an interview with Serve and his crew backstage. A lot of names were shouted out. Swerve said 2023 will feature his most-violent gruesome group that anyone has ever seen. We went back to the ring and the House of Black entrance commenced.
2. Eddie Kingston and Ortiz vs. Malakai Black and Brody King. Kingston and Ortiz didn’t seem happy with each other as they made their way to the ring. Ortiz and King started the match and Ortiz tried, but King manhandled him for a minute. Ortiz worked a headlock on King and Kingston tagged in, asking King to tag in Black, who obliged. Kingston chopped the hell out of Black and the two walked around each other. Kingston went for the spinning back-fist and Black went for the spinning back-kick. Neither landed, they both sat down and then we went to the second PIP [c].
Back from break, King hit a cannonball on Kingston in a corner. King went for a cover, but Ortiz broke it up. King clotheslined Kingston, but Kingston came back with a half-and-half. Kingston teased tagging Ortiz, but didn’t. Even so, Ortiz DDT’d Black, who tagged in. Kingston then hit an Exploder for a two-count. Kingston went for the back-fist again, but Black ducked and then hit a knee strike. Ortiz came off the top, but Black hit a knee on him. Kingston then suplexed black and landed a lariat for a two-count.
Buddy Matthew and Julia Hart ran to the ring. Kingston welded a chair at Julia and Ortiz yelled at Julia. Black hit his spinning back-kick on Kingston and pinned him for the win.
Malakai Black and Brody King defeated Eddie Kingston and Ortiz via pinfall in 9:46.
Outside, Matthews choked out Ortiz until Black spoke to Ortiz. Ortiz was pissed at Kingston as the segment ended and we went tot he back for an interview with Jade Cargill. Cargill said “who,” when it comes to Red Velvet. Cargill said Velvet is finished. We went back to the ring, where Renee and Paul Walter Hauser were in it. Hauser said he loves pro wrestling. Hauser cited Jon Moxley and said again that he loves pro wrestling. He then said he bypasses Connecticut to go to Jacksonville, which was fun. Danhausen came out and said he was the No. 1 merchandise seller in AEW, but he wasn’t given a physical award, so he should get the Golden Globe from Hauser.
Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal’s music hit to interrupt everything. Hauser told JJ to shut up because LA is Hauser’s turf. Hauser said JJ looks like a woman who runs a Crunch Fitness, among other insults. Sanjay Dutt punched Hauser and JJ grabbed the guitar and hit Hauser over the head with it while Danhausen was pinned in the corner by Singh. Lethal was going to hit Danhausen with the Golden Globe, but Best Friends saved the day. Lethal and Dutt stole the Golden Globe. From there, we went to break.
McGuire’s Musings: Maybe it’s just me, but this Kingston/Ortiz stuff just isn’t clicking. It’s much of the same on top of the same. I thought we’d get some forward movement here, but we didn’t, so at this point, I’m just read for it to be over (and that’s said a little too much about AEW stuff, as far as I’m concerned). I love Kingston. And I even really like the pairing with Ortiz. But they had five minutes together and now we’re taking 10 to get them apart. The Hauser segment was a ton of fun and Danhausen trying to fight his way out of Satnam Singh blocking him made me actually laugh out loud, which doesn’t happen a lot these days. Kudos to Hauser, too, for being a good sport, taking the guitar bump and giving up his Golden Globe. A true fan.
Back from break, it was the first time in history we didn’t get a live split-screen segment with Mark Henry. Instead, we got pre-taped segments from both teams and Henry did his line from a soundstage.
3. Ruby Soho and Willow Nightingale vs. Tay Melo and Anna Jay in a street fight. Soho and Willow jumpstarted it and the teams fought their way to the ring. Soho was put into a garbage can and Anna Jay made her bleed from the head before we went to the final PIP [c].
Back from break, Willow was slammed into a garbage can. Melo reached under the ring and got some barbed wire. Jay put the wire on her arm and choked Willow. Ruby climbed to the top and broke it up with a chain on her arm. Melo then hit Soho with a garbage can top. Melo then put a bunch of chairs on the mat before both Melo and Jay went for a super-plex, but Willow cut if off and power-bombed everyone onto the chairs. Soho, meanwhile, was bleeding like hell.
Willow tried to throw Jay, but Jay kind of collapsed. Melo hit Willow with a chair and Melo ran at Willow, but Willow landed a spine-buster before hitting a Senton on Jay, who had the garbage can on her head, in the corner. Willow slammed Jay onto the apron, but Melo broke things up from there with the trash can lid. Jay and Willow crawled up the ramp and fought. Soho put a table up by ringside. Willow Power-bombed Jay through a table off the ramp and it was nuts. Melo hit a Gotch-style pile-driver on Ruby through a table on the outside, but Ruby kicked out. Melo got the bag of thumbtacks. Melo went for another pile-driver, but Ruby fought out and threw tacks in Melo’s face. Soho then hit Destination Unknown on Melo on the tacks and that was it.
Ruby Soho and Willow defeated Tay Melo and Anna Jay via pinfall in 12:35.
The winners got on the second rope to close the show.
McGuire’s Musings: My god, Ruby nicked herself right good. She was still dripping blood after the pin went down. This was a good street fight, but I am getting into the mindset that says, “Well, AEW is gonna do a women’s brawl once a quarter and the women will bleed and it will be wild.” And even if it’s wild, wild can be good. I’d just love to see the women get a regular wrestling match in the main event without having to sacrifice their blood, skin and well-being. But I digress. I’m not sure if this is going to be the blow-off, but it sure does feel like it. Those four women worked hard as hell and while Ruby will get a lot of attention for the blood, Jay seemed to completely miss the table on the final power-bomb from the ramp, so I hope she’s OK.
In all, this was a good episode of Rampage. We had some good action and maybe even some story development (depending on where a couple of these stories go). All high-fives to the women, who demanded everyone’s attention and got it (or at least should have). I was happy to see Juice, as always, and the Golden Globe winner, it turns out, is actually a true wrestling fan (just kidding; we already knew that). I’ll have more to say in my audio review.
Can we get someone who isn’t set on being overly negative to do these reviews? I was actually surprised when he called it a good show at the end. Dude can’t even find something to laugh about these days lol.
When the review says “McGuire,” don’t bother clicking.
Heaven forbid a reviewer not mindlessly ride Tony’s dick I guess? He said it was a good show, but also pointed out it’s flaws…which a reviewer should do.
“Willow Power-bombed Jay through a table off the ramp and it was nuts.”
No, that talentless fat fuck jumped through the table ass first and power bombed Jay directly onto the concrete. It wasn’t nuts, it was an untrained indie hack with possibly the worst botch we’ll see all year.