The go-home AEW: Rampage before Full Gear was hot from the first match until the final bell and then some. Fans saw a debut, a return, and matches set for Zero Hour.
Ricky Starks vs. Lance Archer kicked off the show with action all over the arena before the match actually started. Archer came for Starks while he was still in his street clothes. All the early offense from Archer didn’t matter, as the speed of Starks was no match for Archer. Starks speared “The Murderhawk Monster” to advance to the semi-finals of the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament. He will face his former Team Taz cohort, Brian Cage, on Zero Hour.
Athena has been on a rampage lately (no pun intended). Friday was no different, as she ran through Madison Rayne in less than three minutes. Making quick work of her opponent didn’t mean she was done beating her up. Referee Aubrey Edwards tried to stop her and Athena took her out, too. The only person who could put a stop to Athena was the ROH Women’s World Champion, Mercedes Martinez. Martinez has been out with an injury and was just cleared on Wednesday. Perhaps this sets up a title match next month at ROH Final Battle.
In a backstage segment, Orange Cassidy said that he and the Best Friends wanted to face The Factory in a 5-on-5 match. QT Marshall pointed out that there were “only three of you”, Trent Beretta moved aside to reveal their fourth member, Rocky Romero. Chuck Taylor then handed Renee Paquette a VHS tape. When she asked what she was supposed to do with it, Beretta told her that he had emailed it to her and directed The Factory to watch the TV. A clip played of a very evil Danhausen. That match will also take place on Zero Hour.
The main event saw the highly anticipated return of Konosuke Takeshita and the debut of Japanese legend Jun Akiyama. Eddie Kingston has wanted to face Akiyama for years and finally got to be in the ring with him with Ortiz by his side. Takeshita kept Kingston from starting off the match with Akiyama. In fact, Kingston and Akiyama didn’t go one-on-one until the closing minutes. Akiyama pinned Ortiz for the win.
After Rampage went off-air, Kingston made an impassioned plea to Tony Khan to let him face Akiyama in a singles match. Khan granted “The Mad King” his dream match and it will take place at Zero Hour.
Zero Hour airs on AEW’s YouTube channel at 7 PM ET. Full Gear begins at 8 PM ET on Bleacher Report, pay-per-view on cable and satellite providers, and select movie theaters in North America. Internationally, it’s available on FITE and PPV.com.
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