AEW Rampage results (6/2): Powell’s review of Championship Friday with El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Komander vs. Dralistico for the AAA Mega Championship, Willow Nightingale vs. Emi Sakura for the NJPW Strong Women’s Title, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Action Andretti for the NJPW TV Title, Katsuyori Shibata vs. Lee Moriarty for the ROH Pure Title

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

AEW Rampage (Episode 95)
Taped May 31, 2023 in San Diego, California at Viejas Arena
Aired June 2, 2023 on TNT

The Rampage opening aired… The broadcast team of Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone checked in while the wrestlers were already in the ring for the opening match…

1. El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Komander vs. Dralistico (w/Jose) for the AAA Mega Championship. There were fans blowing horns in the arena, which Excalibur noted is commonplace at lucha events. The broadcast team marveled over Vikingo holding his championship for 548 days.

Dralistico got Komander over the middle rope and then hit him with a top rope double stomp, causing both men to fall to the floor. Vikingo performed a big top rope dive onto Dralistico. Back inside the ring, Vikingo stood on the outside of the middle rope and performed a twisting Phoenix Splash onto Dralistico. Vikingo went for the pin, but Komander broke it up.

Vikingo picked up another near fall on Dralistico heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C] Kommander ran across the top rope and then performed a top rope dive onto both opponents on the floor, which drew “This is awesome” chants from the live crowd. Komander got Dralistico back inside the ring and hit him with a 450 splash, but Vikingo broke up the pin.

Vikingo performed a wicked looking corkscrew Poison Rana on Komander, who then rolled off the apron and onto a table set up on the floor. Vikingo hit him with a 630 splash. Vikingo sold low back pain. Dralistico rushed Vikingo back inside the ring and went for a powerbomb, but Vikingo countered into a huracanrana and held Dralistico’s legs while pinning him…

El Hijo del Vikingo defeated Komander and Dralistico in a three-way in roughly 10:00 to retain the AAA Mega Championship.

Powell’s POV: Vikingo continues to dazzle with his acrobatic high spots. Komander’s rope walking is impressive, but Vikingo is sensational.

Highlights aired from AEW Double Or Nothing of Karen Jarrett hitting referee Aubrey Edwards with a guitar…

Backstage, Lexi Nair spoke with Karen, Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh and said the talk all week had been that the group would be suspended. Dutt said the company deserves to be suspended because they were backed into a corner and came out swinging. Lethal said something needs to be done about Edwards. Jeff said they are fire breathing heat.

Mark Briscoe showed up and said there would be no suspensions. Briscoe said he spoke with Tony Khan, who agreed not to suspend them. Briscoe said that if they were suspended, then they couldn’t get the ass kicking they deserve. Briscoe said “we” were talking to the Jarretts. Karen asked who “we” meant.

Aubrey Edwards entered the picture. Karen said she didn’t see anything but air and opportunity between them. Edwards choked Karen, who returned the favor. Jeff and Dutt pulled Karen back while other officials pulled Edwards back… [C]

Powell’s POV: While it obviously won’t be a mat classic, I think there will be a lot of fans who get a kick out of Jarretts vs. Briscoe and Edwards match if that’s where this is going.

Entrances for the NJPW TV Title match took place. Darius Martin walked out with Action Andretti, but he did not accompany Andretti to ringside. Zack Sabre Jr.’s entrance followed while the TMDK logo appeared on the big screen…

2. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Action Andretti for the NJPW TV Title. Excalibur explained that the NJPW TV Title matches have a 15-minute time limit and if they go the distance, the winner will be decided by a time limit. He said the rules are meant to create a sense of urgency.

Powell’s POV: Please tell me that Toru Yano has stalled during an NJPW TV Title match and taken his chances with the coin flip.

Sabre caught Andretti on the apron and hooked him in a brief submission hold over the ropes. Sabre targeted the left shoulder with that submission hold and then continued to attack it with additional holds.

Ross mentioned the idea of Sabre facing Bryan Danielson. Excalibur recalled the match was scheduled for the first Forbidden Door event, but Claudio Castagnoli had to replace Danielson due to injury.

Andretti rallied and hit Sabre with a springboard kick and got a two count. Sabre grabbed the left arm and then hit Andretti’s bad shoulder with an overhead kick. Sabre tried the move again, but Andretti stuffed it. Andretti placed Sabre on the top rope and joined him on the ropes, but Sabre wrenched his bad arm and eventually knocked him off the ropes.

Sabre sat on the top rope and played to the crowd. Andretti shot up and kicked Sabre. Andretti followed up with a huracanrana from the top rope for a near fall. Andretti hoisted up Sabre in Torture Rack position. Sabre hooked his arm around the neck of Andretti and escaped the hold. Andretti countered into a pin for a two count.

Sabre threw a couple of kicks and then charged Andretti, who superkicked him. Andretti performed a Poison Rana and then followed up with a shotgun dropkick. Andretti performed a springboard moonsault for a two count. Andretti went for another springboard move, but Sabre caught him in a submission hold. Sabre hooked both arms and eventually used his leg to apply added pressure, forcing Andretti to submit…

Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Action Andretti in 10:15 to retain the NJPW TV Title.

Powell’s POV: I’m a big fan of Sabre’s style, so it’s always a treat to see him. Andretti more than held up his end and this was an enjoyable match. The only bad thing about Sabre holding a title is that he wins his matches and I’m deprived of watching his post loss meltdowns.

Ross hyped CM Punk’s return for the June 17 debut of AEW Collision… Entrances for the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship match took place…

3. Willow Nightingale vs. Emi Sakura for the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship. There was a battle of shoulder tackles to start. Willow got the better of it by knocking Sakura down. Sakura came back and knocked Willow off the apron and then followed her to the floor. Sakura tossed Willow to the mat and then performed a running crossbody block against the barricade heading into a PIP break. [C]

Willow executed a missile dropkick from the middle rope and got a two count. Sakura came right back with a neckbreaker. Sakura performed a twisting Vader Bomb and got a near fall. Willow rolled through a pin attempt and performed a crossbody block for a near fall. Sakura came right back and got a two count of her own.

Willow and Sakura threw simultaneous clotheslines. Sakura ducked a clothesline and connected with one that knocked Willow down, but Willow’s foot struck Sakura, leaving both women down momentarily. Sakura threw chops at Willow and then tried to send her to the opposite corner.

Willow performed a pounce and then performed a cannonball in the corner before covering Sakura for a two count. Willow lowered the straps of her gear and went for her powerbomb finisher, but Sakura stuffed it and slapped her a few times. Willow dropped Sakura with a lariat clothesline and then powerbombed her for the win…

Willow Nightingale vs. Emi Sakura in 9:50 for the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship.

Willow celebrated briefly while Excalibur hyped the main event… An ad for Collision spotlighted the return of CM Punk… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good match. Willow continues to connect with live crowds. I didn’t expect her title reign to end here, but it will be interesting to see how long she keeps the title. After all, it was supposed to go to Mercedes Mone, but they called an audible when Mone suffered an injury while facing Willow in the finals of the tournament that crowned the first NJPW Strong Women’s Champion.

Mark Henry hosted a brief video package that set up the ROH Pure Championship match. Yes, it’s time for the main event…

Excalibur entered auctioneer mode and listed the following matches and segments for AEW Dynamite: MJF speaks, Ricky Starks vs. Jay White with FTR and Juice Robinson banned from ringside, Jack Perry and Hook vs. Dralistico and Preston Vance in a Texas Tornado match, and Orange Cassidy vs. Swerve Strickland for the AEW International Championship…

The ROH Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view was announced for Friday, July 21 in Trenton, New Jersey… Entrances for the main event took place. Big Bill walked onto the stage with Lee Moriarty and then headed backstage…

4. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Lee Moriarty for the ROH Pure Title. Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels, and BJ Whitmer were the judges and sat at a table set up on the side of the stage. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor by shaking hands prior to the match. Excalibur noted that any wrestler who interfered in a Pure Rules match would have their contract torn up.

Powell’s POV: I would caution against having any ROH Pure Championship matches while Andrade El Idolo is in the building.

Moriarty put the boots to Shibata and then pressed his foot against this face in the corner. When both men stood up, Moriarty threw and elbow strike and then dropkicked Shibata’s knee heading into another PIP break. [C]

Moriarty was forced to use his second rope break (three are allowed, I missed the first one). Shibata threw a big kick at Moriarty in the corner and then followed up with a series of forearm strikes. Shibata followed up with a running dropkick in the corner. Shibata suplexed Moriarty and covered him for a near fall.

Shibata forced Moriarty to use his third rope break. Moriarty came back with the Border City Stretch submission finisher. Shibata rolled on top of him in a pin to break the hold. Shibata put Moriarty in a sleeper and then released it. Shibata ran the ropes connected with a PK before pinning him.

Katsuyori Shibata defeated Lee Moriarty in 9:10 to retain the ROH Pure Championship.

Daniel Garcia made his entrance after the match. Excalibur noted that Garcia is a former ROH Pure Champion and assumed he wanted his title belt. Garcia entered the ring and stared down Shibata, who held up his title belt while Ross wrapped up the show on commentary…

Powell’s POV: A solid main event that lacked any sense of drama regarding the finish. The post match angle was really basic. It’s tough to get excited about Garcia trying to take the title back from the man he lost it to when he’s still playing a goofy sidekick for Chris Jericho. They really need to get Garcia and Sammy Guevara out of Jericho Appreciation Society or, better yet, put the faction out of its misery.

Overall, the Championship Friday format gave the show some needed juice. There were no title changes, nor were there realistically expected to be any, but it was still an improvement over a standard edition of Rampage. In fact, it was like a Battle of the Belts without the name. I will have more to say about the show in my same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).


Readers Comments (2)

  1. THEGREATESTTHREE June 3, 2023 @ 2:28 am

    I guess “Battle of the Belts” gets kicked to the curb now with 5 hours of television happening soon?

  2. How many of these “Great” commenters are there here?

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