AEW's initial sojourn into Toronto, Canada, continues on Friday's edition of Rampage with four matches.
The show opener will see AEW World Champion Jon Moxley team with Blackpool Combat Club teammate Claudio Castagnoli against The Butcher & The Blade.
Butcher & Blade are looking for a fight after how they felt Castagnoli treated their friends Private Party last week.
Chris Jericho & Daniel Garcia will attempt to explain their actions from Wednesday's Dynamite in a promo segment.
The Pinnacle (multi-promotional tag team champions FTR & the returning Shawn Spears) will be in trios action against The Embassy's Brian Cage and Gates of Agony, set in motion on Wednesday's Dynamite.
The Firm's with stipulations for both on the line. If Page wins, Matt Hardy must join The Firm while a Kassidy win will set Private Party free from their recently sold contract to Stokely Hathaway's Firm.
Nyla Rose will "put up" her stolen TBS title against Anna Jay A.S. who wants Jade Cargill's belt for herself.
From Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Jim Ross are on commentary, along with William Regal for the opening match.
AEW World Champion Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli defeated The Butcher & The Blade (w/ the Bunny) (8:40 aired)
Regal does not agree with Moxley taking this match so close to his World title defense with Adam Page on Tuesday. After a brawl in and around the ring to start the match, it settled into Moxley and the Balde in the ring. Moxley rocked Blade with a german suplex while Adam Page watched from the back. Claudio got the tag and Butcher took the fight to him, but Castagnoli countered a suplex attempt with one of his own. Blade tried a chop on Castagnoli and he responded with a pair of European uppercuts. The Bunny (dressed in Toronto Maple Leaf red) ran into the ring to cut off a charging Castagnoli, and the Butcher attacked Castagnoli to take control.
After the split-screen break, Butcher held up Castagnoli for a suplex while Blade dove off the top with a spear for a near fall. Moxley got the tag and took out Blade with a cutter and Butcher with a tope on the floor. Back in the ring, Moxley hit a superplex and a stuff piledriver on Blade for a near fall. Moxley went to kick Blade’s head off, but Butcher broke it up with a diving crossbody. Butcher and Blade tried to Dredge the Lake, but Claudio broke it up and there was a stalemate between both teams. Mox and Claudio took their opponents out with clotheslines, then kicked their heads off. Claduio hit a Riccolo bomb on Butcher while Moxley gave the Death Rider to Blade, and Castagnoli got the pin.
Moxley and Castagnoli cut a brief promo after the match.
– Backstage, Renee Paquette interviewed Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee. Strickland tried make light of the plight of the Acclaimed losing “scissoring” to Mark Sterling, but Lee took issue to how Strickland had to cheat to beat Billy Gunn on Wednesday. On the plus side for Rene, no one has interrupted her interviews so far, so she's doing better than Lexi Nair.
– In the back again, Renee Paquette’s interview with The Dark Order is interrupted by someone's assistant, Jose. #10 challenged Rush for next week, and if #10 wins then Rush and Jose have to leave the Dark Order alone. The, Stu Grayson returns for at least one night because the Dark Order is in Canada!
– The Jericho Appreciation Society cut an in-ring promo, together again (but without Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo). They got huge babyface heat since it’s Toronto. Daniel Garcia explained his actions, but he doesn’t blame the fans for making him do it like a real sports entertainer would. The fans chanted “you’re a wrestler!” at Garcia anyway. When Jericho hit Garcia with the belt (on Dynamite in Washington), Garcia learned it was better to be a sports entertainer.
Jericho then promised to beat all the former ROH World champions, which brought out former ROH World champion and ROH six man champion Dalton Castle. The fans chanted for Castle and he looked like an immediate star. Castle called Jericho “a stupid silly naive little goose” and said he broke he back for the ROH championship. Castle is pumping peacock power into this building! (Shouldn’t Castle be at HBOMax power for corporate synergy?). Castle challenged Jericho for the ROH title for Dynamite next Tuesday, and Jericho accepted. All honor the Ocho!
– Hikaru Shida and Toni Storm talk up their Interim Women’s World title match in a pre-taped promo.
Nyla Rose (w/ Marina Shafir and Vickie Guerrero) defeated Anna Jay A.S. (w/ Angelo Parker & Matt Menard) to sort of keep TBS Championship (5:25)
Rose is carrying around the TBS Championship belt she stole last Friday, and if Anna Jay A.S. wins she will get the belt. Jay avoided a cannonball in the corner and took control on Rose as the show went to break.
Back from break, Rose set up a contrived spot where she hung up Jay A.S. in the ropes then went to the top to drop a knee, but Jay A.S. moved out of the way. Jay went for the QueenSlayer, but Rose countered. Jay dove onto Rose, but Rose caught her and delivered the sit-out powerbomb for the pin.
After the match, Guerrero held up a 1-0 sign. The Baddies and Jade Cargill tried to come out and retrieve the belt, but security goobers ran interference and Rose and her crew were able to sneak away with the TBS belt.
– In a pre-taped segment, Ari Daivari explained his offer to Hook wasn’t to join the Trustbusters, but $50,000 for Daivari to buy the FTW belt. If Hook isn’t interested in selling the belt, Daivari will just beat him for it.
Ethan Page (w/ Stokley Hathaway) defeated Isiah Kassidy (w/ Marq Quen & Matt Hardy) (2:10)
This was basically a squash. Kassidy missed a senton, Page hit a Twist of Fate and then the Ego’s Edge to get the pin. As a result, Matt Hardy has to joing Hathaway's crew.
– In another pre-taped segment, Orange Cassidy was pretty happy he’s won the All-Atlantic Championship, but now he and the Best Friends want to challenge Death Triangle for the AEW World Trios Titles. How about Tuesday on Dynamite? “Dynamite’s on Tuesday this week?” Orange Cassidy is apparently the only one who didn’t get the memo.
FTR & Shawn Spears defeated Brian Cage and Gates of Agony (w/ Prince Nana) (10:29)
Shawn Spears called Cage a “900 pound charisma vacuum” in the pre-match promo. Spears also called himself the “perfect ten” in his pre-match promo.
Bishop Kaun and Spears started the match and the crowd chanted for FTR while Spears and Kaun exchanged holds. Spears played off his “10!” persona a lot more than I ever remember him doing before in AEW.
Most of the heat segment on Spears took place during the split-screen commercial. Kaun dropped Spears back first on the top turnbuckle in an ugly spot, and Toa Liona flatted Spears with a senton on the ring apron. Cage suplexed Spears into the ring from the middle rope. Kaun cut off Spears from the hot tag once, but Spears kicked Kaun away and got the tag to Harwood. Harood took Kaun down with a spinebuster but got caught with a spinning lariat from Cage. Cage came off the top with an elbow on Harwood for a near fall. Spears awkwardly dumped Liona over the ropes. FTR and Spears put Cage, Kaun and Prince Nana in triple sharpshooters, but Liona broke that up and chokeslammed Harwood. The fight moved to the floor, where Liona missed a charge into the stairs and Spears caught Cage with a superkick and a DDT. Back in the ring, FTR hit Kaun with the Hart Attack and Spears followed up with the C4 for the pinfall.
The babyface celebration was cut short by the debuting Maria Kanellis-Bennet and the Kingdom, Matt Taven and Mike Bennet. Maria claimed they built up the ROH and IWGP tag team titles first, and the Kingdom never got the credit they deserved. The members of the Embassy jumped FTR and Spears. The Kingdom joined in to make it a 5-on-3 beatdown, until Wardlow and Samoa Joe ran in to chase off the heels.
Tuesday is a loaded episode of Dynamite. Added for the show tonight:
- Chris Jericho v. Dalton Castle for the ROH Title
- Death Triangle v. Best Friends for the AEW Trios Title
This was an uncharacteristically hot episode of Rampage that still felt fresh despite being a taped show. I think that at least partly has to do with the fact they weren't taping it immediately after two hours of Dynamite late in front of a burnt out crowd. If AEW doesn't want to do live Rampages every Friday, they might want to consider more Thursday night tapings to see if that improves the quality of the show.