11th Oct2021

‘AEW: Rampage’ Review (Oct 8th 2021)

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this review of Friday’s AEW: Rampage, the bite-size (compared to a LOT of AEW’s other shows) chunk of AEW wrestling that usually ends the wrestling week on a high. Let’s see if that’s the case this week!

Match #1: CM Punk def. Daniel Garcia

The following is courtesy of allelitewrestling.com:

Buffalo, NY’s Daniel Garcia entered this bout on a four-match winning streak. Garcia and Punk began the match with a test of strength. Punk won that battle and transitioned to a chin lock on Garcia, but Garcia spun out and wrenched a headlock on Punk. CM Punk fired back with a shoulder tackle, maximizing his size advantage. Garcia chopped at Punk but Punk slapped him back in the face. Punk followed up with a textbook scoop slam. Garcia snuck behind with a kidney shot to Punk. Garcia closed the distance but Punk connected with a back elbow. Garcia distracted the referee while 2point0 worked over Punk’s legs on the ring post! Garcia dropkicked Punk’s knee. Garcia was trying to take out Punk’s legs, perhaps to neutralize Punk from being able to use his GTS finisher. Punk tried for a suplex but Garcia escaped and chop blocked Punk’s leg. Garcia charged in for a corner dropkick but Punk dodged it. Garcia shot for a single leg but Punk countered with a vicious knee strike! Punk blasted Garcia with a Mongolian chop and then a roundhouse kick for a near fall! Punk rolled through with a neck breaker on “Red Death”! Punk hit the Pepsi Twist on Garcia for a near fall! Punk signaled for the GTS but Garcia rolled through and sat down with a sharpshooter! Punk pushed off with an up-kick! Garcia collided with 2point0! Punk jumped off the top rope to the outside with a body press to all three men! Punk nailed a springboard clothesline on Garcia and then followed up with a piledriver! Punk locked on the Anaconda vice and forced Garcia to tap out!

My Score: 4 out of 5

This was a GREAT opener for this weeks Rampage and another instant classic for the veteran CM Punk. Out of the three matches he’s had – Darby Allin, Will Hobbs and now Daniel Garcia – this was easily the best. Garcia was a perfect foil for Punk and vice versa; with both men delivering a technical match that saw Garcia look really strong in his offense and Punk sold well for the up-and-comer. The “story” of Garcia taking out Punk’s legs was a solid one and even though he was the heel in this match you couldn’t help but root for Garcia to get a huge win on one of AEW’s flagship shows. The fact that Punk has to resort to a submission to get the win was a the cherry on top of this one – Punk showing a more technical side to his moveset (that we’ve seen so far in AEW).

Match #2: AEW World Tag Team Championship Match – The Lucha Bros. def The Acclaimed

The following is courtesy of allelitewrestling.com:

#1 ranked The Acclaimed attacked The Lucha Bros before the bell rang. Rey Fenix fired back with a jawbreaker to Max. The Lucha Bros used stereo thrust kicks on The Acclaimed! Bowens smacked Rey Fenix with a boombox outside the ring as Fenix tried a tope suicida! Bowens nailed Penta El Zero Miedo with a running knee strike! Penta El Zero Miedo rolled out of the corner and spiked Caster with a DDT! Rey Fenix tagged in and dropped Bowens with a corkscrew kick! Rey Fenix surprised Bowens with a cuter for a near fall! Rey Fenix managed to catch both members of The Acclaimed with a double cutter! Rey Fenix and Anthony Bowens traded shots in the center of the ring. Bowens set up Rey Fenix for the Mic Drop but Penta El Zero Miedo knocked Caster off the top rope and then connected with a flying headbutt to Bowens! The Lucha Bros finished off Bowens with their stuffed package piledriver finisher!

My Score: 3.5 out of 5

The outcome of this one was never in doubt but it was still a great pairing and a fast-paced one too. The Lucha Bros. hit the gas from the get-go and The Acclaimed managed to keep up with them successfully. Bowens took a lot of punishment here – maybe Max Caster was still suffering from yambag issues from his match earlier in the week? This one went five minutes but there was a LOT crammed into that time!

Match #3: Jade Cargill def. Skye Blue

The following is courtesy of allelitewrestling.com:

Skye connected with an elbow strike but Jade caught her with a fall away slam! Skye ate a pump kick from Jade! Skye Blue was in the clutches and quickly got Jaded, with Cargill pinning her! Jade kicked at Skye Blue after the match, sending her a message. Thunder Rosa ran out with a steel chair and Jade and Sterling retreated!

My Score: 1 out of 5

Poor Skye Blue gets a TV match and is thrown to the wolves in a squash match that only existed to further the Cargill / Thunder Rosa feud, which is obviously going to culminate during the TBS Women’s Championship tournament. I would’ve loved to see Skye Blue give Cargill a run for her money but alas, Cargill is the golden-child of AEW’s women’s division (though I’m still not a fan) and it was not to be for Skye.

Match #4: FTW Championship Philly Street Fight – Ricky Starks def. Brian Cage

The following is courtesy of allelitewrestling.com:

No count-outs, no DQ’s, anything goes. Starks entered the ring with a steel chair but Cage put a stop to it, stepping on the chair. Cage suplexed Starks! Cage walloped Starks across the spine with the steel chair! Cage chopped away at Starks on the outside of the ring, then throwing him face-first into the steel barricade! Cage pulled a trash can out from beneath the ring. Starks grabbed a pool cue and wacked Cage in the head with it! Starks vaulted off the top rope and smashed Cage with a DDT! Starks was driving a steel pipe into the throat of Brian Cage! Starks was taking pleasure in dismantling his opponent. Starks wedged a steel chair into the corner of the ring. Starks grabbed a steel chain and smacked Cage with a running right hand! Starks got rocked by a thrust kick to the jaw from Cage and the momentum shifted in Cage’s favor! Brian Cage used a pump handle slam and pancaked Starks onto the trash can for a near fall! Cage was going for the Drill Claw when Team Taz’s Hook sprinted out to the ring! Hook swung the FTW belt at Cage but Cage ducked and nearly decapitated Hook with a lariat! Next out was Hobbs! “The Machine” Brian Cage caught Hobbs in the jaw with a thrust kick! Ricky Starks got to his feet and smashed the FTW title into Cage’s cranium! Starks speared Cage and Cage landed right on a steel pipe! Brian Cage struggled to his feet and whipped Starks into the steel chair that was set up in the corner! He followed up with a discus lariat for a near fall—luckily Hobbs was there to pull Cage off Starks before the three-count. Cage climbed the turnbuckles but Hook was there and smacked Cage with a low blow! Starks, busted wide open, dropped Cage with the Roshambo and pinned him!

My Score: 4 out of 5

You knew, given the Street Fight stipulation, that Starks and Team Taz were going to play dirty and they did but Cage really lived up to his “The Machine” moniker in this match too – giving as good as he got. Eventually the numbers game meant Starks got the win… but not before a nasty looking chair shot almost took him out!

Final Verdict: 4/5

Two championship title matches on one show?! What is this, professional wrestling? This was a fantastic episode of Rampage, let down only by the women’s squash match. In fact between the quality of matches and the shorter running time I’d dare say that this is the must-see the show of the week, every week, for AEW. Dynamite’s got some catching up to do!

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