By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 79)
Taped February 8, 2023 in El Paso, Texas at El Paso County Coliseum
Aired February 10, 2023 on TNT
Jim Ross welcomed everyone in to begin the show. He was joined on commentary by Tony Schiavone, Excalibur and Chris Jericho. There were no introductions and we went straight to the ring, where the bell rung.
1. Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta vs. Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade. Sabian and Yuta started the match and Yuta quickly sunk in a submission. Yuta ran at Sabian, but Sabian threw Yuta to the outside. Claudio then came in and the Butcher tagged in as well. The two locked up and traded shoulder blocks and forearms. Moxley tagged in and kicked the hell out of Butcher. Yuta then tagged in and Butcher hit a high back body-drop.
Sabian tagged in and kicked Yuta. Sabian hit a stunner and mouthed off to the BCC. Blade and Butcher worked over Yuta after the Butcher tagged in. From there, Butcher chopped Yuta and then tagged in the Blade, who worked some boots. Sabian tagged in and hit some forearms until Yuta landed a shotgun dropkick from the second rope onto Sabian. Moxley tagged in and chopped the gray out of Sabian’s hair. Moxley then bit Sabian. Moxley hit a series of suplexes until Moxley worked over Sabian’s arm and hit the hammer and anvil strikes. Butcher and Blade interfered and ran Moxley’s junk into the ring post. Butcher set up Moxley on the outside until Sabian landed a moonsault onto Moxley on the outside. From there were got our first PIP [c].
Back from break, Sabian had Moxley on the top rope and the whole thing ended with Moxley hitting a powerbomb on Sabian from the top rope. Butcher tagged in, but Moxley hit a lariat to even things out and ultimately got the hot tag to Claudio. Blade tagged in, too, and Claudio threw Blade across the ring. Weirdly, Penelope Ford stopped Claudio’s momentum with a … rotary phone? Anyway, Claudio kept going and landed a bunch of uppercuts. Claudio went off the swing on Blade, but Sabian broke it up and as a result, Claudio did the swing on Sabian. Claudio then locked in a sharpshooter, but Butcher broke it up with some kicks and an elbow.
Moxley can in and hit a cutter, but then Sabian landed a dropkick on Moxley. Butcher and Blade hit their signature combination, but Yuta broke up the pin attempt. Yuta suplexed Butcher before Yuta was thrown to the outside via the Blade. Claudio landed a suplex for a pin attempt, but Sabian broke that up. Yuta climbed to the top and leapt onto the Butcher, who was on the outside. Sabian went for a springboard move, but Moxley broke it up with a Cutter. Claudio followed that up with his finisher on the Blade for the win.
Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta defeated Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade via pinfall in 13:23.
After the match, we got a video from Darby and Sting and Sting said they are going to go out in a blaze of glory, which was ominous. From there, we got a tease of an interview between Adam Cole and Renee and we will see all of it on Wednesday.
McGuire’s Musings: That was a fine opening match. It actually felt like Yuta was going to take the middle of the match, because him getting the hot tag to either Claudio or Moxley made the most sense, but it was refreshing to see Moxley take the bulk of it. From there, it broke down (as these matches do), but it wasn’t entirely insane. My biggest question, combined with what happened Wednesday, is why didn’t anyone in the BCC come out to help out Danielson on Dynamite? I suppose that’s conversation for another day. Until then … why the hell is Sting yelling about going out in a blaze of glory?! Color me intrigued.
Back from break, we got a backstage promo from Ricky Starks, who said he’s going to go through all of the JAS and he’s starting with Daniel Garcia next week. In the ring, the Impractical Jokers were introduced via Justin Roberts. They had Jericho’s bat. Jericho was seen standing at the commentary table. The joker guys made small dick jokes (via euphemisms) and Jericho said he has big balls. Jericho said he’s not taking his bat back because his friends will take it back instead. On cue, JAS came out and Daddy Magic gripped the bat. The JAS beat the jokers down. The jokers were put through a table.
Lexi caught up with Dustin Rhodes in what looked like an empty warehouse. Dustin said when Swerve mentioned the Rhodes name, he crossed the line. Dustin told Serve to listen carefully and he said Swerve will not tarnish his family’s name. Dustin said he’s coming for Swerve’s blood and soul and Swerve’s dudes appeared. There was some cussing and Swerve’s dudes beat up Dustin. Swerve then stood over Dustin and said next week, Dustin vs. Swerve next week and then, “Happy Black History Month!”
2. Ruby Soho vs. Marina Shafir. The match began without introductions and Shafir took control right away. Soho fought back with some chops and elbows. Soho landed some knees and took Shafir down before we got our next PIP [c].
Back from break, Soho slammed Shafir and got a two-count. Soho went for a stomp from the top, but Shafir moved and then blocked a No Future attempt. Soho landed a headbutt and Destination Unknown for the win.
Ruby Soho defeated Marina Shafir via pinfall in 6:36.
After the match, Saraya interrupted Soho’s celebration. Saraya said she wanted to have a chat, but Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter ran out to attack Saraya and Toni Storm. Soho stood in the ring and watched everyone brawl. We went backstage for an interview with Mark Briscoe, who said he’s feeling really good. Smart Mark interrupted Mark and asked Mark if he wanted to work with him. Briscoe said no. Briscoe put hands on Smart Mark and Josh Brooks stopped Briscoe. We then went right to the ring.
3. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry vs. Ryan Nemeth. They jumpstarted the match and Perry hit a splash on Nemeth. The two battled on the top rope and it ended with Nemeth turned a splash into a pin after a roll-through and that earned him a two-count. Perry rebounded well and landed an elbow strike to the back of Nemeth’s head for the win.
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry defeated Ryan Nemeth via pinfall in 1:22.
Brian Cage walked onto the stage and embarked on a stare down with Perry. Ortiz then got a vignette and Ortiz called out Eddie Kingston.
McGuire’s Musings: The women’s match was fine, but because of the PIP, we actually got less women’s wrestling than normal. I continue to think Soho is going to join the Saraya/Storm group and her standing around during that post-match angle only made me feel more confident in that thought process. The Jungle Boy match was fine, but it is kind of sad to see Nemeth, who is a kind of/sort of AEW regular, be the victim of a squash when AEW has no problem running through indie talent each week on any one of their shows. Either way, I guess we’re getting Perry/Cage and I’ll withhold judgment on how that works out.
Back from break, we got the Mark Henry segment, which was pre-taped again. Danhausen spoke for Cassidy. From there, we got a Hangman Page backstage interview with Renee. Hangman called out the fact that Renee is the one interviewing him. Hangman said the next time Renee sees Jon … but then Kip Sabian interrupted everything and called out Hangman for moaning while Sabian takes it like a man. Sabian said Hangman should grow up. Hangman said he was getting out before he beats Sabian’s ass.
4. Orange Cassidy vs. Lee Moriarty for the AEW All-Atlantic Title. Danhausen was the only person to accompany Cassidy to the ring. Cassidy went for the pockets spot to open things up and Moriarty blocked it before putting on Cassidy’s glasses. Cassidy worked a go-behind and got his glasses back. Moriarty came back and worked his own go-behind. Cassidy got out of it by putting his hands in his pockets. Moriarty went for multiple stomps, but Cassidy moved and then hit his weak leg kicks. Hands stick in pockets,
Cassidy ran at Moriarty and then rammed Moriarty’s head into the turnbuckle. Cassidy went to the top, but missed an elbow. Moriarty capitalized on that, and threw Cassidy into the corner. The two found their way to the apron. As they fought on the apron, Moriarty slammed Cassidy on the apron and got Cassidy’s sunglasses back via Stokely. We got our final PIP [c].
Back from break, the two were fighting on the top while the crowd chanted “Stokely sucks.” Eventually, Cassidy hit a Michinoku Driver for a two-count. Cassidy took control for a brief moment and hit the Stungun Millionaire. Moriarty lifted Cassidy and went for an arm submission, but Cassidy blocked it, so Moriarty kicked Cassidy out of the ring. On the outside, Stokely went to interfere, but Danhausen broke it up and cursed Stokely. Danhausen punched Stokely’s cast, which was funny.
Cassidy jumped to the outside and hit a Tornado DDT. Inside the ring, Cassidy followed it up with a Diving DDT. Cassidy went for the Orange Punch, but Moriarty countered with a lariat. Almost immediately, Cassidy came back with the Stungun Millionaire. Cassidy then landed the Orange Punch, but he couldn’t immediately pin Moriarty. As a result, Moriarty came back with his version of the STF. The two rolled around for a second and that resulted in Cassidy pinning Moriarty.
Orange Cassidy defeated Lee Moriarty via pinfall in 11:27.
After the match, Jeff Jarrett’s music hit and Jarrett and Lethal came out to attack Cassidy and Danhausen with a Golden Globe. Jarrett’s crew cleaned house, but the Acclaimed’s music hit and the Acclaimed cleaned house to end the show.
McGuire’s Musings: I’m OK with making Orange Cassidy the face of Friday nights and I guess that’s where we are. The match was pedestrian for what it was and I can’t say I’m entirely happy that Moriarty working comedy spots if only because he’s such a good wrestler, but again … I guess that’s where we are. This was clearly set up to forward the Acclaimed/Jarrett story, but I’m not so sure that makes everyone happy on a few different levels. But that’s for a different day. In all, this was an OK episode of Rampage, but for the second week in a row, it was pretty much nothing-happening. I understand wanting to further the Jarrett story, but it’s coming at the expense of the Acclaimed’s heat and if the crowd’s reaction the title change on Wednesday was any indication … I’ll have more to say during my audio review.
They’ve given up trying.
Why is Jeff Jarrett on any TV show in 2023 other than NWA powerr.
Nothing happened? Did you read what you typed? Storylines were moved forward all show….
Having wrestlers randomly interrupt promos on Friday that lead to mostly throwaway matches on Wednesday isn’t advancing stories. Same with wrestlers showing up after another wrestler’s match and staring them down. Or even when wrestlers attack other wrestlers after their matches. These are just quick ways to set up matches for the next show. It’s something, but it’s not even moving stories forward as much as it is coming up with quick reasons to have a match. There are a couple of cases of where it was more than that, just not enough.
Greatest, why bother jumping on every AEW recap just to bash it? Stick to WWE.
Now, you’re dismissed.
I’ve “bashed” the last 2 episodes of Rampage by using a total of 5 words. A dolt like you couldn’t make a valid point using 500.