By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Rampage (Episode 119)
Los Angeles, California at the Kia Forum
Aired live November 17, 2023 on TNT
The Rampage opening aired… Chris Jericho made his entrance to “Judas” and joined Tony Schiavone and Nigel McGuinness on commentary… Ring announcer Dasha delivered the introductions for the TNT Title match took place…
1. Christian Cage (w/Luchasaurus, Nick Wayne) vs. Trent Beretta for the TNT Championship. Cage delivered an early slap to Beretta and then worked him over. Beretta came back with a leaping meteora. Cage rolled to the floor. Beretta dove over the top rope and hit Cage with a crossbody block on the floor.
Back in the ring, Cage pulled the referee in front of him while Wayne climbed on the apron and took a cheap shot at Beretta. Cage ran Beretta through the ropes and into the ring post, causing Beretta to tumble to the floor heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Beretta caught Cage with a spear through the ropes. Cage avoided a tornado DDT and hit a fulcrum kick in the corner. Cage sat on the top rope and held Beretta, who broke free and hit him before biting his forehead. Beretta executed a huracanrana and covered Cage for a near fall.
Cage came back briefly and set up for a spear, but Beretta caught him with a knee strike. Beretta put Cage down with a tornado DDT and covered him for a near fall. Beretta hit the Strong Zero move that won him the four-way match on Collision, but Cage kicked out.
Cage went to the apron. Luchasaurus distracted Beretta from the other side of the ring. Cage wrenched Beretta’s neck over the top rope. Cage stomped the back of Beretta’s neck. Jericho said Cage vowed to break Adam Copeland’s neck and might break Beretta’s first. Cage ran Beretta into the middle turnbuckle and then hit the Killswitch and pinned him.
Christian Cage defeated Trent Beretta in 10:15 to retain the TNT Championship.
Afterward, Luchasaurus put Cage on his shoulders as part of the post match celebration that included Wayne…
Powell’s POV: The expected win for Cage. I like the storytelling with Cage targeting the neck of Beretta.
Schiavone hyped AEW’s daily fantasy sports partner, and then an ad from the DFS site aired… [C]
Powell’s POV: AEW ran a local ad during Rampage and earlier during Collision for the upcoming AEW Dynamite/Rampage show in Minneapolis. The ad features a bunch of clips of the company’s top stars, but it does not list any matches, nor does it state which wrestlers will actually appear. For comparison sake, WWE typically lists at least one dark main event during its local ads. But there was no telling whether the dark main event would actually play out as advertised back when Vince McMahon was still in creative control.
Jericho stood up at the broadcast table at ringside and delivered a quick promo for his tag match with Kenny Omega against The Young Bucks. Jericho said the Bucks are one of the greatest tag teams in the world, but they are not Omega and they sure as hell are not him. Jericho referred to himself as The Demo God and Le Champion…
Emi Sakura made her entrance, and then Toni Storm made their entrance in black and white…
2. Toni Storm (w/Luther) vs. Emi Sakura. The color returned once Storm was in the ring. Storm handed Sakura a script. Sakura tore up the script. Storm tried to pick up the pieces and then Sakura attacked her to take offensive control. Storm regrouped and knocked Sakura off the apron with a hip attack.
Luther picked up Storm and gently placed her down on the floor where she attacked Sakura. Luther put Storm on his shoulders and she played to the crowd before he set her on the apron. Sakura knocked Storm off the apron and then hit her with a running crossbody block against the ring steps heading into a PIP break. [C]
Sakura performed a tiger driver for a near fall. Sakura held up Storm and then executed a backbreaker for another two count. Storm came back and the camera shifted to black and white before she hit her hip attack in the corner. It went back to color when she performed a Storm Zero piledriver and got the three count.
Toni Storm defeated Emi Sakura in roughly 7:30.
The black and white look returned for Storm’s post match celebration…
Powell’s POV: An enjoyable match. It was more competitive than it needed to be with Storm challenging for the AEW Women’s Championship tomorrow night, but at least she went over strong. I like the way they are incorporating Luther into Storm’s act.
Backstage, Renee Paquette stood backstage with ROH Champion Eddie Kingston, Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, Karen Jarrett, Satnam Singh, and Sonjay Dutt. Paquette stated that everyone agreed there would be physicality.
Jay Lethal told Eddie Kingston that he has one day left as ROH Champion. Lethal said they spoke to Stokely Hathaway, who made it official that Lethal will challenge Kingston for the ROH Championship on the Full Gear pre-show. Kingston asked Lethal why he was speaking like the others in his group.
Kingston told Lethal to look in his eyes and then told him that he was becoming a coward like they are. Kingston jawed at the heels and mocked them for saying he has no friends. When the heels exited, Kingston turned and Ortiz was standing in front of him… [C]
Schiavone hyped the mystery person who will sign with AEW at Full Gear (he used the same wording that Tony Khan used in his tweet)…
Roderick Strong was wheeled down the ramp by Matt Taven and Mike Bennett. Once at ringside, Strong stood up from his wheelchair and entered the ring before having his neck brace removed. Action Andretti made his entrance to a flat reaction…
3. Roderick Strong (w/Matt Taven, Mike Bennett) vs. Action Andretti. The referee rewarded Strong for attacking Andretti by then calling for the bell to start the match. Andretti came back quickly. A short time later, Strong awkwardly slipped off the shoulders of Andretti and then that was followed up an awkward roll into a pin for a two count. Andretti came back with a sit-out slam for a near fall going into another PIP break. [C]
Andretti performed a handspring into the ropes and then hit Strong with a flying elbow. Andretti tossed Strong to ringside where Taven and Bennett helped him up. Andretti hit them all with a kick through the ropes.
Back in the ring, Andretti hit a horrific looking standing Spanish Fly that resulted in Strong landing on his head and neck. The referee immediately stepped in and didn’t count the pin. Andretti got off of Strong and then the trainer entered the ring and checked on Strong. Fortunately, Strong was able to continue his sidekicks played up the “neck strong” gimmick. Strong caught a leaping Andretti with a knee strike and then hit a backbreaker before scoring the pin…
Roderick Strong beat Action Andretti in 9:35.
Powell’s POV: That was really scary. Strong’s finishing sequence looked really off, but I’m just happy that he seemingly dodged a bullet. I hope he feels okay once the adrenaline wears off.
Renee Paquette’s sit-down interview with Jay White aired while White highlights aired on a big screen behind them. She asked who White thinks the Devil Mask attacker is and whether he’s afraid that the person will get involved in his title match.
White, who had the AEW Championship with him, said he knows it’s MJF. He also said Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn will dismantle MJF in the ROH Tag Team Title match on the pre-show. White said once he wins, you’ll get more of the Bang Bang Gang.
MJF crashed the set and attacked White. MJF picked up his title belt for a moment, but White recovered it. MJF took the brawl into a hallway. Juice Robinson showed up and attacked MJF and threw him into a room and shut the door behind him.
They cut to the broadcast team briefly and then went backstage when White entered the room. MJF was standing over a bloody Robinson with a television monitor in hand. MJF tossed the monitor toward White and then chased him out of the room.
MJF chased White into the arena and then inside the ring. MJF worked over White with punches. Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn ran out to help White. MJF fought the Gunns off and threw them out of the ring. MJF put the boots to White. MJF picked up his title belt and kissed it.
MJF set up to hit White with the belt, but the Gunns returned and attacked MJF from behind. White and the Gunns put the boots to MJF. White took the AEW World Championship belt back. The Gunns held MJF while White taunted him with the belt and then set up to hit him with it.
Samoa Joe’s entrance music played and he ran to the ring. White and the Gunns exited the ring. The fans chanted “Joe” while MJF got to his feet. Joe approached MJF and went face to face with him. Joe extended his hand. MJF looked to the crowd while Schiavone reminded viewers that MJF would have to give Joe a title shot if he shook his hand. MJF shook Joe’s hand while McGuinness said MJF just made a deal with the devil.
They cut to the broadcast team at ringside where Jericho cut a brief promo about his pay-per-view tag team match, and then Schiavone ran through the Full Gear lineup. MJF’s music played while he played to the crowd while Joe stood on the apron. MJF jawed at White and the Gunns, who were on the stage. Schiavone said the Full Gear countdown special was up next…
Powell’s POV: They never showed an updated match graphic, but it looks like Joe will be teaming with MJF to face the Gunns on the Full Gear pre-show. This was a good angle and it was nice to see something meaningful involving main event players on Rampage for a change. I just hope Strong is going to be okay after taking that terrible landing on the Spanish Fly spot.
Will Pruett will be by with a late night audio review of Collision and Rampage for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the two shows by giving a letter grade in our combined poll below.
Join me for my live review of AEW Full Gear on Saturday night.