AEW Rampage opened with Bryan Danielson against Anthony Bowens. Bowens made some comments about being unhappy with Tony Khan, so he gave Bowens a match against Danielson.
The Acclaimed came out and Max Caster did a rap, saying he was going to end Danielson’s career faster than his father-in-law ends careers. That was great.
Bryan Danielson vs. Anthony Bowens w/ Max Caster
Bowens hit several arm drags in the opening of the match. Danielson hit a kick off the ropes and then went to work on the arm of Bowens. Bowens went for a suplex, but Danielson kneed him in the face on the way up and then transitioned into an armbar, which was awesome. Caster managed to take Danielson down on the outside of the ring behind the referee’s back.
Bowens hit an Olympic Slam in the ring for a 2-count. Bowens picked Danielson up, and Danielson replied with hard European uppercuts and hit the ropes so fast that Bowens couldn’t keep an eye on him, and Danielson nailed him with a flying forearm and then his buzzsaw kicks for a 2-count.
Danielson missed a corner dropkick, and then Bowens hit The Arrival out of the corner. It was a twisting Flatliner/DDT style move while the opponent is facing away from him, and it looked cool. Danielson kicked out, and then hit a dive to the floor on both Caster and Bowens. Danielson climbed the top rope again and hit a big missile dropkick.
Danielson grabbed both wrists of Bowens, stomped on his face several times, and then rolled through into the LeBell Lock for the submission.
Result: Bryan Danielson
This was an excellent opener, with Danielson giving lots to Bowens, but still making it clear he was the better man for now. Great stuff.
Andrade el Idolo was with The Pinnacle, and Idolo was shown to be paying off FTR, who have a history with Cody Rhodes. They also seem to be targeting PAC, along with the Lucha Brothers, so their partnership seems to be dealing with common enemies between the two.
CM Punk came down and invited Eddie Kingston out to come face to face with him. Kingston’s music hit, but he didn’t come out. Punk said that Kingston might have needed to interrupt him, so he was going to keep talking, and on queue, Kingston made his way down to the ring.
Punk insisted that Kingston interrupted him, and owed him an apology. Kingston said he was home last week because he thought he might have COVID, and he was sorry that the fans didn’t get to see Orange Cassidy vs. CM Punk in the tournament in a mocking tone. Kingston claimed that Punk, Samoa Joe, Homicide, and Amazing Red were heroes to him, but Punk was a lowlife who judged him.
Kingston said he came to the locker room for friendship, brotherhood, and getting off the streets, and Punk looked down on him. Punk said that he heard Kingston lumping a lot of baggage on him, and it wasn’t just Punk judging him. Punk said he, Homicide, Joe, Danielson, and others held him to a standard that he didn’t meet.
Punk said he wasn’t wrong for seeing greatness in him 15 years ago, but he was a fool for holding him to that standard now, and he was a bum. Kingston asked if a bum would main event AEW Full Gear last year, and would a bum nearly sell his house in the pandemic and give up everything for a shot in AEW.
Kingston then said no one wanted Punk in AEW, and Kingston challenged him to a match at AEW Full Gear. Punk said he was thinking Elevation or Dark, as that was at Kingston’s level. Kingston called Punk a coward and demanded him to fight at AEW Full Gear. The crowd roared when Punk accepted. Kingston said he didn’t care if he won or lost at AEW Full Gear, but when they fight he better quit afterwards for another seven years.
Punk headbutt Kingston and they immediately started brawling. Kingston and Punk brawled all over the ring as referees and agents tried to separate the two of them, and the crowd went even more crazy as they kept breaking free. This was an awesome segment. Both Punk and Kingston feel so real with every promo they give, and this was no exception. I can’t wait for their match at
Christian Cage, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy were backstage with Tony Schiavone, and he talked about wanting to find out just how tough the Super Elite was. Jungle Boy laid down the challenge for a falls count anywhere match between them and the Super Elite.
The Bunny (Hardy Family Office) vs. Red Velvet
Red Velvet ran down to the ring going right after the Bunny, as Bunny has knocked Velvet out with brass knuckles a couple of weeks prior. Velvet hit a clothesline on the floor and came face to face with Jade Cargill, who was scouting her potential opponents. The Bunny stomped Velvet’s face into the steps and turned around to face Cargill.
The Bunny dropkicked Velvet into the corner. Velvet hit a heel kick and then a running stunner on Velvet. Bunny kicked out, dodged some kicks, and rolled Velvet up with a handful of tights for a 2-count. Bunny hit a Death Valley Driver and a thrust kick. Velvet managed to catch the arm of Bunny and hit the Final Slice for the pinfall.
Result: Red Velvet
This was a decent match. Fast-paced and lots of action before the finish, with Bunny taking most of it, but Velvet standing tall.
Red Velvet and Jade Cargill yelled at each other as the show went to break, setting up their match in the next round of the tournament. Both women have a history, so this has a built-in story already.
Mark Henry was in the back with John Silver and Adam Cole on the split-screen. Cole claimed Silver was trying to make a mockery of Cole’s career, and Silver reminded him that he beat Adam Cole last week. Silver reminded Cole that he got a con-chair-to last week, and Cole said that him wrestling hurt was nothing new, because that is what he does.
John Silver (The Dark Order) vs. Adam Cole (The Elite) w/ The Young Bucks
Cole attacked Silver for instigating some “Budge” chants, but sold his head a bit as he did, showing he was still rocked from the con-chair-to a few days before. Silver pressed Cole into the top rope and hit a flying elbow on Cole. Silver ate a pump kick on the apron, but responded with a kick on his own.
Cole hit a snapmare on Silver and then did a camel clutch on the floor, and the Bucks kissed Cole on the cheeks. Taz and Ricky Starks were excellent here talking about the power of the kiss from friends, and it was hilarious. Cole did his fisherman’s neckbreaker across the knee. Taz also complained that John Silver was sitting next to him on a plane the last two times they travelled, and blamed Excalibur or Colt Cabana for giving him an upgrade.
Cole got hit with a backdrop and both started exchanging forearms in the middle of the ring. Cole looked dizzy every time he got hit in the head, but still hit a pump kick. Silver rolled through a backslide and hit several kicks, but Cole immediately grabbed him and hit a ushigoroshi.
Both men exchanged a ton of moves with Silver hitting a lariat and a huge running knee, but the Young Bucks pulled Cole’s foot onto the ropes when Silver went for the pin. The Dark Order ran down and chased the Young Bucks away. Adam Cole went for a lowblow, but Silver blocked it, punted Cole low and hit a spinning Liger bomb for a 2-count.
Silver blocked the Panama Sunrise but ate a superkick, then a second one, and the Boom from Cole for the pinfall victory.
Result: Adam Cole
This was an awesome main event. John Silver and Adam Cole were excellent here, both with their selling and in getting the crowd to buy that Silver could pin Cole. Cole losing the fall to Silver in the tag match last week really helped sell the possibility, and they had the crowd with every near fall. This was awesome.
Show Rating: ***1/2
Excellent edition of AEW Rampage as they set up a lot of things with AEW Full Gear, and delivered a homerun promo segment with Eddie Kingston and CM Punk. That segment was part of why I am a wrestling fan because it was so perfect. Punk and Kingston bring a sense of reality to every single promo they have, and it’s why it is so easy to invest in what they are doing.
I don’t think Kingston is going heel, like some suggested online. I think Kingston and Punk are both babyfaces who just don’t like each other, and there is nothing wrong with that. The wrestling on this show was very good, but that segment is what people are going to be talking about going forward.