AEW Rampage: Championship Friday sees 4 titles on the line


AEW: Rampage was STACKED. It’s the most stacked it’s been in a very long time. Every single match had title implications. Each title that was defended came from a different company. Not one match was for an AEW championship.

The show started off en fuego with El Hijo Del Vikingo putting his AAA Mega Championship on the line against Dralístico and Komander. On paper, this match looked incredible. The match itself was even better. All three men understood the assignment: put lucha libre on full display. Fans were expecting crazy spots and each luchador delivered. They garnered several “this is awesome!” chants and had fans have been closer, some probably would’ve thrown money in the ring.

Komander and Dralístico tried their best to defeat Vikingo but to no avail. Vikingo has now held the AAA Mega Championship for 547 days.

The next match saw Zack Sabre, Jr. make his AEW television debut. He faced Action Andretti with his NJPW World Television Championship on the line. For those who aren’t familiar, matches for the TV Title have a 15-minute time limit. If there’s no winner after 15 minutes, the match ends in a draw and the champion retains their title.

This was an interesting matchup, as ZSJ is one of the premier technical wrestlers and Andretti is a high flyer who has been spending a lot of time In ROH teaming up with Darius Martin. Andretti was able to tie in some of his high-flying abilities.

Andretti looked good against ZSJ, but he couldn’t outsmart the champion. Sabre forced Andretti to tap out and continued his 149-day reign. On Sunday, ZSJ will face Jeff Cobb at NJPW Dominion. Cobb and ZSJ ended in a time-limit draw at Dontaku.

The action kept going with the newly crowned NJPW STRONG Women’s Champion, Willow Nightingale. She faced Emi Sakura in her first title defense. Sakura is a veteran who has trained many women, including Hikaru Shida. She also owns CHOCO Pro Wrestling in Japan. While most of her time in AEW has come on the now-defunct Elevation and Dark, Sakura has had impressive matches on television.

Nightingale has been a rising star in AEW for months and many think she should’ve dethroned Jade Cargill to become TBS Champion. Tony Khan handpicked her to be in the NJPW STRONG Championship tournament. Nightingale proved on Rampage that she was the right choice. She more than held her own against Sakura. The women had an excellent, hard-hitting match and I hope they get to run it back.

The show was closed out by none other than Katsuyori Shibata. The ROH Pure Champion put his title on the line against Lee Moriarty. TAIGASTYLE (all caps, no spaces) vs. pure rules. On TV. Moriarty is a rising star in AEW and in technical wrestling. He got to put his skills to the test against one of the very best.

Moriarty tried picking up the speed against “The Wrestler”. Shibata made Moriarty use all three of his rope breaks, as he did on Thursday to Alex Coughlin in ROH. Shibata is a master and is always two or three steps ahead. He put Moriarty to sleep to retain his title. Afterward, Daniel Garcia came to the ring to look Shibata in the eyes. He didn’t need any words to convey why he was there.

This episode of Rampage brought back fans who gave up on it long ago. Gone are the days when it was as must-see as Dynamite. It’s had its good episodes here and there, but it’s nowhere near what it used to be. If Rampage was booked this strongly every week, it would be can’t miss.

It doesn’t need to be a mini Battle of the Belts every week, but it needs four matches that are strong. They can still use the show as a vehicle to move stories forward, but putting on must-see matches regularly will draw fans back in.

Next. Potenial challengers for House of Black's Trios title. dark