WrestleDream is upon us and Friday’s Rampage was in preparation for the big show. The pay-per-view is a tribute show to the late Antonio Inoki, who died one year ago this Sunday, October 1. Khan mentioned on this week’s media call that it will likely be a yearly show. He also chose Seattle as the location since it’s easy for New Japan’s talent to fly to.
The opening match saw The Acclaimed and Daddy A** successfully defend their AEW Trios Championship against Hardy Party (The Hardys and Brother Zay). After their match, it was announced that they’d be defending their titles against TMDK (Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste, and Bad Dude Tito) on Zero Hero.
Eddie Kingston put his NJPW STRONG Openweight title on the line against Rocky Romero. This match was originally scheduled for last Saturday at DEFY Wrestling. Kingston has announced that he will stop doing independent shows for the foreseeable future due to his commitments to ROH and NJPW as well as to manage an ongoing lower back injury.
Romero and Kingston had a fantastic match. While it didn’t happen for the DEFYance crowd, they showed out for a national audience. After the match, Katsuyori Shibata came to the ring to shake Kingston’s hand and officially accept their match. Kingston is putting both of his titles on the line (Shibata will not be defending the ROH Pure Championship).
The Righteous got a little bit of pre-WrestleDream action in against local wrestlers, Gunnar and Caleb Crush. Due to Adam Cole’s injury, MJF has stated that he will defend the ROH Tag Team Championships in a handicap match against The Righteous.
A Nick Wayne backstage promo aired; he suggested that he and Luchasaurus finish their “unspoken business”. Wayne says that a father figure told him when he was younger to “never leave your debt unpaid. And Luchasaurus, I have a debt on you. Back at Wembley Stadium when you chokeslammed me onto that skateboard, I never forgot it. I’ll pay back that debt this Sunday when I face you on Zero Hour and I’ll handle you your receipt as well.”
The main event between Ruby Soho and Hikaru Shida is the only match on Rampage that had nothing to do with Sunday’s show. Saraya walked out with Soho but left her and allowed her to compete without interference. Of course with The Outcasts, there’s always interference.
When Soho couldn’t use Shida’s kendo stick against her (Shida did use it), she tried to use spray paint on her opponent. This led to a ref bump. Luckily, referee Aubrey Edwards filled in for Paul Turner. Shida got the win and will face Saraya on “Title Tuesday” on October 10 (Dynamite is getting bumped for postseason baseball).
On AEW Countdown, it was revealed that Christian will be defending the TNT Championship against Darby Allin in the main event of WrestleDream. Seattle is Allin’s hometown. Could we see a new TNT Champion at the end of the night? Perhaps we’ll see more clearly what Tony Khan meant by Sunday being a “new era”.
Zero Hour begins at 7 PM ET on YouTube. WrestleDream will start at 8 PM ET.