AEW Rampage featured the start of the #1 Contender Tournament for the AEW World Championship with Powerhouse Hobbs taking on Orange Cassidy. The show also featured PAC vs. Andrade el Idolo II and Britt Baker vs. Anna Jay.
Hobbs and Cassidy made their way down to the ring for their match.
Orange Cassidy (The Best Friends) w/ Chuck Taylor vs. Powerhouse Hobbs (Team Tazz) w/ Hook
Orange Cassidy had his ribs taped up from taking a legdrop off a ladder from Matt Hardy in the Casino Ladder match a few weeks ago. Powerhouse Hobbs hit a spinebuster right away, driving Cassidy onto his injured ribs. Hobbs hit a backdrop onto the guardrail which looked brutal. Matt Hardy was in the crowd cheering on Hobbs.
Hobbs hit a few sidewalk slams on Cassidy, driving him to the mat. Hobbs continued to work over Cassidy’s ribs with knees and other strikes before locking on a half crab, but Cassidy escaped. Hobbs applied a Torture Rack, and continued to beat on Cassidy in the corner several times.
The referee tried to get Hobbs out of the corner, but he picked the referee up and brought him to the other side of the ring. As Hobbs was arguing with the referee, Cassidy rolled Hobbs up with the Mouse Trap and scored the pinfall.
Result: Orange Cassidy
Really simple match that established Hobbs as a killer. Hobbs had the match completely in hand, but his hot-headedness is what got him into trouble, getting him nearly disqualified. That will play into the story of Hobbs going forward, as it was clear he had Cassidy beat if it wasn’t for that.
Penta El Zero M came out for a promo, but before he could say anything, he saw two people in the crowd wearing the green masks that FTR wore last week when they won the AAA Tag Team Championship. FTR then rushed in, attacking Pentagon from behind and beating on him until PAC made the save.
Non-Title Match: Anna Jay (The Dark Order) vs. Britt Baker w/ Rebel (not Reba) & Jamie Hayter
Anna Jay and Britt Baker exchanged attempts at their submission finishers right away, but neither were able to lock them in. Anna Jay stepped over Baker’s arm and hit a kick to her face, hit a hard forearm, and then an arm drag. Baker hit a flatliner into the middle turnbuckle, starting to turn it around on Jay.
Baker blocked a kick and hit a hard forearm to Jay before hitting the ropes and hitting the Sling Blade. Baker hit a Twist and Shout, and then grabbed her glove from Rebel before indicating she was going to put the Lockjaw on Jay. Jay replied with a kick to Baker and a dropkick for a 2-count.
Anna Jay reversed a pinfall attempt into the Queen’s Slayer, but Jamie Hayter distracted the referee and Baker escaped, but Anna Jay kicked out a roll-up and locked the Queen’s Slayer again. They tried the Bret Hart/Piper finish, but Baker didn’t quite get over to get the pin, so they adjusted and Baker hit a superkick and got the submission with a Lockjaw.
Result: Britt Baker
Solid match here that was moving towards quite good, but was hurt by the botched finish a little bit. That said, they recovered very well and just went with it, which I liked. It’s a sign that they can improvise, and shows how much both women have actually improved since their first match over a year ago.
Baker continued her assault after the match, putting the Lockjaw on again, but Tay Conti made the save and posed with the AEW Women’s World Championship, indicating she wanted Baker next.
AEW then announced the brackets for the TBS Championship tournament, and it starts tomorrow on AEW Saturday Dynamite.
PAC and Andrade El Idolo cut the split-screen promo AEW always does before the main event, as Tony Schiavone informed the crowd that everyone is barred from ringside, ensuring that this match is one on one. Both men cut some quick promos, with PAC saying that he was going to win and make sure that Idolo is done with him and the Lucha Brothers.
PAC (The Death Triangle) vs. Andrade El Idolo
PAC hit a snap German suplex right away, then hit a dive over the top rope onto Idolo, which had the crowd going crazy right away. PAC went for the Black Arrow from the top rope, but Idolo cut him off and then signaled for his double knees in the corner, but PAC dodged and started kicking the legs and face of Idolo.
Idolo hit a huge Yakuza kick in the corner before hitting a corkscrew plancha to the floor, which was awesome. PAC rolled to the apron after some more offence but ate a basement dropkick that sent PAC to the floor. Idolo sent PAC crashing face-first into the apron. PAC continued to eat stomps from Idolo until he dodged a corner charge and went for a suplex.
Idolo hit one instead and transitioned into the Three Amigos for a 2-count. Idolo hit another running boot, but missed a slingshot legdrop and crashed onto the floor hard after PAC dodged him. PAC hit a flying hurricanrana on Idolo. PAC climbed the top rope and hit a huge moonsault off the top to the floor.
PAC hit a slingshot cutter into the ring, and Idolo got spiked on his head for a 2-count. PAC went for the Brutalizer, but Idolo made it to the ropes to break it quickly. Idolo hit a GTR on the apron on PAC, driving him back first into it. Idolo hit a DDT onto the apron by slingshotting himself over the top rope. Holy cow.
PAC knocked Idolo off the top rope and then hit a superplex for a 2-count. PAC and Idolo exchanged several strikes, with PAC hitting a Poison Rana, then Idolo going for another Yakuza kick, but PAC countered. Idolo countered that and both went for several pinfall attempts, but PAC caught him with a roll-up and pinned him.
My goodness, what a match. PAC and Idolo left it all in the ring, with PAC barely outwrestling Andrade El Idolo. After the match, the lights went out, and Malakai Black attacked PAC. As they were double-teaming PAC, Arn Anderson came out and pointed a finger gun at Black, and Cody Rhodes ran in and attacked both men, making the save.
The show went off the air with the crowd cheering the more aggressive Rhodes, and this was a very good segment.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Really solid episode of AEW Rampage tonight, setting up the title tournament, the women’s tournament, and hyping Black vs. Rhodes, along with announcing more matches for the shows heading into AEW Full Gear. Rampage remains a super easy-to-watch show, and this was a fine example of it.