AEW Rampage results (4/20): Murphy’s review of Rob Van Dam vs. Komander vs. Isiah Kassidy vs. Lee Johnson in a High Flying 4/20 four-way elimination match, Yuka Sakazaki vs. Emi Sakura


By Don Murphy, Contributor (@DonThePredictor)

AEW Rampage (Episode 141)
Peoria, Illinois at the Peoria Civic Center
Aired April 20, 2024 on TNT

The show opened with a backstage Jon Moxley promo. Moxley said that things just got more interesting as the IWGP Heavyweight Championship will be defended for the first time on Dynamite. He said that Don Callis must have one powerful cell phone but he wasn’t planning on losing the title and he likes it better when the stakes at their highest, the clock is ticking down to zero, there is no room for error and it is do or die. He added that if he gets struck by lightning in Jacksonville and Hobbs shocks the world, it will be quite the story.

Moxley said Don Callis would sit next to him on the plane back to Japan and at the press conference but wondered if Callis had been where he’d been. Moxley said he would be in the ring with him next week, not Don Callis. He said he always knew that Hobbs had something inside of him and that it’s not about championships, contracts and fancy cars. He added that if by next week, Hobbs hasn’t found that “something inside of him,” he will find it and give him a gift. He said the gift will be a bitter pill to swallow and that in pro wrestling, anything can happen. He ended with a final piece of advice, “Don’t hesitate.”
Don’s Take: Moxley does these pre-taped backstage promos so well. The match graphic also listed that Dynamite will air live “coast to coast” on Wednesday.

1. Rob Van Dam vs. Komander (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Isiah Kassidy (w/Marq Quen vs. Lee Johnson in a High Flying 4/20 four-way elimination match. Rob Van Dam received a nice ovation from the crowd.
Don’s Take: An RVD match on 4/20. Get it?

Komander, Kassidy, and Johnson exchanged moved while RVD sat on the second rope. He eventually got involved and landed some kicks before being taken down by Kassidy. Kassidy mocked RVD with the double thumb point but missed a rolling thunder. Komander and Johnson were outside the ring. RVD hit a monkey flip and a rolling thunder for a near fall. Johnson emerged and threw RVD out of the ring. He then back dropped Komander over the top rope and dove onto him and Kassidy on the floor.

Back in the ring, Johnson hit a blue thunder bomb on Kassidy for a near fall. Johnson picked up Kassidy, but Kassidy grabbed at his eyes and rolled him up for the pin.

Isiah Kassidy eliminated Lee Johnson at the 3:10 mark.

The show went to a picture-in-picture break. [C]

Back from the break, Kassidy was working over Komander. Komander back dropped Kassidy out of the ring while RVD rolled in. Komander hit a flying forearm on RVD on the corner, followed up by a top rope moonsault onto Kassidy on the floor. RVD’s power bomb attempt on Komander on the floor was reversed into a huracanrana. Komander hit a Swanton Bomb on Kassidy for a near fall. Komander tried to walk the ropes but Kassidy crotched him.

Kassidy appeared to offer RVD a joint. RVD turned his back for a second and was rolled up for a near fall. RVD knocked Kassidy down with a kick from the corner. He went for the split-legged moonsault but was pulled to the outside by Marq Quen. Kassidy was still down in the ring. This allowed Komander to hit a top rope swanton bomb for the pin.

Komander eliminated Isaiah Kassidy at the 9:00 mark.

RVD and Komander exchanged near falls. Komander followed up with several additional near falls on Van Dam. RVD attempted a superplex but Komander slipped out. RVD kicked him to the mat and landed his leg drop variation. RVD then hit the five star frog splash for the win.

Rob Van Dam eliminated Komander at the 12:00 minute mark to win the four-way match.

RVD celebrated with Komander after the match. [C]

Don’s Take: For someone who enjoyed Van Dam’s work in ECW back in the day, this was fun. He’s older but can still go as long as he’s deemed healthy. I often complain about these Rampage matches not meaning anything, but an attraction match once in a while is fine. I could have done without the obvious pot humor, but….it’s Rob Van Dam.

2. Yuka Sakazaki vs. Emi Sakura. Sakura attacked Sakazaki at the bell, rolled her up for a near fall and followed up with a sit-out power bomb for another near fall. Sakazaki retaliated and performed a clothesline on Sakura while Sakura was seated for a near fall. Sakazaki applied the cross face. Sakura bit Sakazaki’s hand. Sakazaki climbed to the top rope but Sakura pushed her to the floor. Sakazaki got up limping. Sakura threw a Kenny Omega figure into the crowd and then danced with some empty cans of the Woo! energy drink. Sakazaki and Sakura then proceeded to jog around the ring.

Don’s Take: Um – what is going on?

Sakura raked the eyes and attacked Sakazaki on the floor. Sakazaki hit a huracanrana from the apron as the show went to a picture-in-picture break. [C]

Back from the break and the two ended up on the floor again. Sakura splashed Sakazaki against the ring steps. Back in the ring, Sakura hit a double underhook back breaker for a near fall. Sakura climbed the ropes and mocked Sakazaki. Sakazaki kicked her off the ropes and positioned her to sit on the second rope. She then flipped her over in what looked like a mini-German suplex for the win.

Yuka Sakazaki defeated Emi Sakura in about 8:00.

Don’s Take: And here I thought the Van Dam match was the tribute to 4/20. This was all kinds of strange. Sakura is fun and has been on AEW programming before but unless you’re in the one-eighth of the audience that knows Sakazaki, this was just another match.

We went to a “Rampage Exclusive” where Angelo Parker was in the ring. He said this last year was a roller coaster personally and professionally. He added that he lost a mentor (Chris Jericho) but gained the love of his life. He said that because of some of his actions, he’s lost that too and that going into last week’s match with Zak Knight, it was “must-win.” He said the only thing he had left was beating Zak Knight and he lost. He added that he went home and reflected and said that all he wanted to do was make his dad happy. He said his dad is no longer with us, but he thinks he’s accomplished that over the years. But, after the last year, he realized he has nothing left to fight for and was about to announce his retirement when…

Ruby Soho came out. She said she can’t let Parker do this and that it breaks her heart to hear Parker say he has nothing to fight for. She said she’s out here to tell him that he has something very important to fight for. She then told Parker that she’s pregnant. She said she knows that they just started dating and that she disappeared but she didn’t know how to tell him. Parker stopped her and kissed her on the lips and on the stomach. The two embraced to end the segment. [C]

Don’s Take: Here’s wishing the best to both Soho and Parker on their upcoming arrival. As an aside, this was a good promo from Parker. He came off as real and relatable and he may be someone to watch down the road. The former Jericho Appreciation Society members have had a hard time finding their footing, but maybe this is the start for Parker.

3. Kyle O’Reilly, Rocky Romero, and Matt Menard vs. Roderick Strong, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett. O’Reilly started out with Bennett but asked for Strong to be tagged in. Strong tagged in and teased squaring off with O’Reilly but quickly tagged out to Bennett. O’Reilly held the early advantage and tagged out to Menard.

Menard worked on Bennett’s arm. Taven tagged in and was taken down with two arm drags. Romero tagged in and took Taven down with a huracanrana before hitting a series of running clotheslines in the corner. The heels gained the advantage on Romero and worked on him through the final picture-in-picture break. [C]

Back from the break, the heels held the advantage on Romero as O’Reilly had been knocked to the floor. Romero fought back on both Taven and Bennett and made the hot tag to Menard, who cleaned house for a bit. Menard went for a Boston crab on Bennett, which was broken up by Taven.

The heels were back on the advantage over Menard. Menard hot tagged O’Reilly who squared off with Taven while fending off Strong and Bennett. O Reilly locked Taven and Bennett in a triangle choke and ankle lock simultaneously. Strong broke this up and tagged in. The two exchanged chops and kicks. Strong hit a back breaker. O’Reilly locked Strong in an arm bar. Strong tapped but was not the legal man. Strong hit a rebound clothesline on Bennett and a brain buster for a near fall. Strong locked in the arm bar on Bennett for the tap out win.

Kyle O’Reilly, Rocky Romero, and Matt Menard defeated Roderick Strong, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett in about 10:30.
The babyfaces celebrated in the ring. O’Reilly took the mic and told Strong to take a lot of pictures with the AEW International Title because in 24 hours, O’Reilly would rip his arm off, smack him around and win the title.

Don’s Take: A good main event to Rampage and a nice tease for the Strong-O’Reilly match. While this will be a fine match, I feel like this and several other matches on the pay-per-view had rushed builds. I’d like to chalk that up to Tony Khan needing experience in booking more than four-pay-per-views a year, but even when that was the case , he wasn’t great at long-term storytelling – with some exceptions of course.

I’m appalled that we didn’t get our usual fourth Rampage match and will be writing a strongly worded tweet to Tony. Of course I’m kidding and I continue to say that maybe cutting some things back and making some wrestlers exclusive to Rampage might make the show a tick more relevant. But again, who knows what the AEW landscape will look like with the new TV deal that we’re all patiently waiting for.

That will do it for me for now….until next time!


Readers Comments (2)

  1. Yuka got injured, hence the stalling in that match. She was also on the very first AEW show (plus quite a few since), so I’d imagine most AEW fans know who she is.

    • Thanks. I watch way too much wrestling so Yuka being on the first show five years ago went right over my head.

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