AEW rampage (Nov. 18, 2022) came from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. During the live show Eddie Kingston got his dream match, Athena beating up a referee, Ricky Starks going through in the world title eliminator tournament and many more.
Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show, followed by reactions.
Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho were on commentary. Justin Roberts did ring announcer duties.
World Title Eliminator Quarterfinal: Ricky Starks vs. Lance Archer
Cameras were backstage to watch Archer choke Starks against the steel garage door. Starks pushed Archer over some boxes. Archer pushed Starks back into the steel. The action went to the ring through the fans. Archer jumped over the guardrail to crush Starks.
Both men were finally in the ring to officially begin the match. The action spilled out again with Archer strangling Starks on the platform. Starks rallied for a tornado DDT from the ropes. Archer kicked out. The Murderhawk monster tightened the ropes for a crushing shoulder tackle. Starks rolled with the contact to avoid maximum damage. Starks let the ropes dip under a clothesline. Starks kept running to land a spear as Archer lifted his leg for a big boot. Starks failed to make clean contact, so he switched for a roll-up to take the win.
Ricky Starks defeated Lance Archer.
Starks moves forward to face Brian Cage in the semifinals at the Full equipment preshow. Following the success of Starks, Cage took the stage flanked by Prince Nana. Archer punched Starks from behind and strangled him on the ring stairs.
Hype video for Jon Moxley defending the AEW World Championship against MJF at Full equipment. Mox sets the standard in AEW. The champion was not concerned about MJF’s threats. Moxley almost lost his family and his life. What is MJF going to do to him in comparison?
Chris Jericho was confident that the ROH World Championship would stay with him. The egos of the Blackpool Combat Club will cause them to beat each other up. Jericho suggested that it was Sammy Guevara’s job to make sure Le Champion keeps. After Jericho left, Sammy shook his head with other ideas.
FTW Championship: Hook (c) v Lee Moriarty
Hook started strong with suplexes. Stokely Hathaway was at ringside to help Moriarty gain control. The challenger took aim at Hook’s elbow. Hook gained momentum with body punches, judo throws, tripping, and a fisherman suplex. Moriarty retaliated for a submission from Kimura. The referee ruled that Hook’s foot was under the ropes and ordered a break. Moriarty went for the Border City Stretch submission to finish, but Hook counterposed for back control and the Redrum choke. Moriarty fainted in defeat.
Hook defeated Lee Moriarty.
Jon Silver chuckled for costing Rush his game last week. Jose The Assistant called Silver a clown and more or less challenged Silver to tag team action. Silver assumed 10 would be on his side, but the masked man was not on the same wavelength. 10 left Silver hanging. Rush plans to wipe the stupid smile off Silver’s face and squash him like a cockroach.
Athena vs. Madison Rayne
Rayne had no respect for Athena’s recent disrespectful treatment of opponents. Rayne had momentum and knocked Athena out of the ring early on. Rayne gave chase to a cazadora on the floor, but Athena caught her swinging into the guardrail. As the race progressed Rayne went for the Cross Rayne finisher. Athena turned it into a blast. The Fallen Goddess exploded with aggression to pound Rayne to the mat. Athena ended up cruelty for a facebreaker variant.
Athena defeated Madison Rayne.
Drama got juicy after the game. Athena kicked Rayne. When referee Aubrey Edwards grabbed Athena, the response was a blow to the kisser. Edwards was cold. Athena crossed Rayne. That’s when Mercedes Martinez arrived on the scene as a surprise return. Athena backed away.
Best Friends challenged the Factory 5 vs 5 on the Full equipment preshow. Rocky Romero stepped forward and a creepy video revealed Danhausen in the game. QT Marshall was not afraid of Danhausen at all.
House of Black vignette about forbidden knowledge hidden from the devil’s sight.
Mark Henry interviewed the main participants of the event. Eddie Kingston was in the concentration zone. Ortiz talked about Kingston’s dream of wrestling Jun Akiyama. They train every day for opportunities like this. Konosuke Takeshita wanted to turn Kingston’s dream into a nightmare. Enough talk. Henry concluded with, “It’s time for the main event!”
Konosuke Takeshita & Jun Akiyama vs Eddie Kingston & Ortiz
Kingston was serious. No clown act. He wanted to start against Akiyama, but Takeshita didn’t feel like it. Kingston and Takeshita locked in and Kingston landed a belly-to-belly suplex. Tag to Ortiz. Kingston pulled a punk move as he sprinted across the ring for a cheap shot at Akiyama on the platform. When Akiyama entered, he returned the favor to Kingston.
Akiyama and Takeshita isolated Ortiz. Ortiz hit a cutter on Takeshita and then tagged Kingston. The Mad King hit moves on Takeshita as he faces Akiyama. The action progressed to a final showdown between Kingston and Akiyama to exchange chops.
The match broke down into moves all around. Kingston and Akiyama exchanged exploder suplexes. A jumping knee from Akiyama knocked Kingston out of the ring. Akiyama landed a running knee to Ortiz and finished with an exploder suplex for the win.
Konosuke Takeshita and Jun Akiyama defeated Eddie Kingston and Ortiz.
Update after the show: Kingston called out Tony Khan to demand a singles match with Akiyama. Khan agreed, and part two of the dream match is scheduled for the Full equipment preshow.
This episode of rampage was good in the ring but really excelled at storytelling. The teases, surprises and angles pumped up the energy.
The main event featuring Eddie Kingston, Ortiz, Konosuke Takeshita and Jun Akiyama was well laid out to set up Kingston’s dream one-on-one duel. Instead of just trotting Akiyama for the fight, AEW built up a reason to have the match. Akiyama played great strategy in mind games and only took on Kingston when necessary. The exchanges between Kingston and Akiyama left fans drooling for more.
Takeshita looked good carrying the burden for his team. He also showed more personality in the promo and action than ever before. Back in the day, Takeshita was just a random Japanese dude with skills in the ring. This time he begins to bond. For example, I liked that he didn’t give in to Kingston’s demands.
Athena bangs Aubrey Edwards made me pop. Attacks on referees in AEW are so unusual that this came as a shock. As with Takeshita, I enjoyed Athena showing more personality in the ring with taunts and mischief. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a Mercedes Martinez performance. She was an excellent choice to confront Athena. The OG Badass is one to command respect. I hope this is a setup for Martinez to defend the ROH Women’s title at the upcoming ROH PPV. Athena’s aggression should provide an intriguing challenge to Martinez’s toughness.
Hook against Lee Moriarty was the best fight on the card. The variety of suplexes was useful. It was fun to watch Hook get into deep waters. His short matches are explosively fun, but it’s time to move on. I’m glad we saw Hook showing gut strength. Moriarty struggled to make me want more. That’s a plus in his case, as he was losing again. Moriarty’s wrestling style makes him unique enough to look beyond his recent high-profile defeats for now.
The brawl between Ricky Starks and Lance Archer was an interesting idea, but it didn’t quite captivate me. It felt like a smart way to protect Archer as a dominant ass-kicker. I think it fell short on half of Starks. Starks is a performer with energy to make the crowd pop. He didn’t get those moments in this match to make it special. The finish was a creative way to slip out with the win. Starks showed that he’s not just a pretty face. He has the insight to create profit opportunities.
The show’s MVP was Stark’s tailor. I thought for sure his tight fashion pants would rip during the fight. The stitching held tight. That master craftsman deserves a raise.
Share your opinion rampage. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?