The fourth-ever AEW meeting between former TNT Champions Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin headlines is one of two headlining matches on Friday's Rampage.
The stakes are raised as the match is part of the Tournament of Champions to crown a new AEW World Champion. The winner will move on to face Jon Moxley on Wednesday's Dynamite in the semifinals.
ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli will look to continue his reign as he defends against multi-company tag team champion Dax Harwood of FTR.
This week, Castagnoli defended against Ari Daivari on Dark. Harwood has been impressive in all his singles matches this year against Dax Harwood, his partner Cash Wheeler and others.
In a battle of former title challengers, former NWA Women's Champion Serena Deeb will take on former Impact Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne.
ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe will speak for the first time since his return at All Out.
Taped from Buffalo, New York. I hear they have a pretty good football team.
Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho were on commentary.
Sammy Guevara (w/ Tay Melo) v. Darby Allin (w/out Sting) to advance in the Tournament of Champions (11:03)
Guevara did not honor Allin’s challenge to leave all hangers-on in the back. Some excellent mat wrestling from both guys to start. Allin worked a side headlock. He missed a charge in the corner, and Guevara punished him with a hard chop. Guevara set up a superplex, Allin battled to avoid it, but Guevara got the move from the top rope. He attempted a chain of vertical suplexes, but Allin countered the third one into a suplex over the top ropes, and when both men landed on their feet, Allin suplexed Guevara on the floor. Allin went for his high speed tope, but Melo put herself in the way. Allin hesitated, then went for the tope anyway… and dove right into a cutter from Guevara on the floor. Hot action in the opening segment before the show headed into a split-screen break.
Back from the break, Allin caught Guevara with a Code Red. The fight went to the floor, and Allin caught a superkick. He stopped to make out with Melo, and Allin caught him with the high speed tope. Back in the ring, Allin took off Guevara’s wedding ring. Melo demanded the ring back, and Guevara caught him with a high knee. Guevara hit the double jump cutter for a near fall. Guevara went for the Coffin Drop, but Allin got out of the way. Anna JAS ran in to distract the ref as Allin went up to the top for a Coffin Drop. Melo hit a low blow on Allin and Guevara powerbombed Allin onto Allin’s skateboard – wheels side up. OUCH. Guevara hit the GTH and the victory was academic for that point. This was a great match. Guevara advances into the AEW World Title Tournament.
– Recap of the second most interesting interview from AEW this week… MJF’s promo from Wednesday. MJF looked more like a babyface than a heel in this recap. They mentioned the idea of him taking the title and "the bidding war of 2024" but it didn't feel like they hammered it hard, and the last image of the recap was the fans chanting along with MJF's catchphrase.
– A commercial for AEW Dynmaite aired right after this, which might be worth mentioning because while there was no footage of the Young Bucks or C.M. Punk in the promo, there was a brief shot of Kenny Omega.
– Samoa Joe cut an in-ring promo. He’s happy to be back in AEW with the ROH TV title. ROH really needs its own show. Joe promised violence, which brought out Smart Mark Sterling’s crew. Because Josh Woods saved Sterling from an attack from the AEW TNT champion, Sterling believes Woods has earned a shot at the ROH Television champion. Joe’s was agreeable to answer the challenge tonight in Buffalo, but Sterling insisted the match take place in Albany next week.
– Miro cut a promo on God. He's angry that the devil snuck out the back door, and his gold (the TNT title) is around the waist of "lesser men." And he's not in the World Championship tournament, either. “Belt the Redeemer now!”
Serena Deeb defeated Madison Rayne (3:53)
Rayne counted the Detox from Deeb into a cradle for a near fall. Aggravated that she was outwrestled, Deeb floored Rayne with a clothesline and rained down fists on Rayne. The crowd chanted for tables, which Deeb brushed off. Deeb hit a neckbreaker for a near fall. Rayne came back with weak punches and a sliding lariat for two. Rayne got a front facelock, but Deeb threw her off, then locked in the Serenity Lock for the tap out. They need to stop putting Dark matches on Rampage.
– Lexi Nair interviewed Jade Cargill and the Baddies about her win over the Athena at All Out. Cargill is officially 37-0, but you might as well call it 50-0. Athena now moves to the back of the line.
– Lexi Nair interviewed Powerhouse Hobbs about his “surprising win” at All Out. He’s ready to open up the “Book of Hobbs.”
I’m just shocked Nair managed to have not one, but two interviews without someone interrupting her!
On Dynamite Wednesday:
- Britt Baker & Serena Deeb v. Hikaru Shida & Toni Storm
- Jon Moxley v. Sammy Guevara in the World Title Tournament.
- Chris Jericho v. Bryan Danieson in the World Title Tournament.
On Rampage Friday:
- ROH World TV Champion Samoa Joe v. Josh Woods
ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli (w/ William Regal) defeated Dax Harwood to retain the championship (19:00 aired)
Caprice Coleman joined the commentary team for this match, and immediately won the night when he cut off Jericho screaming on commentary by saying, “do you realize the rest of the class is using their inside voices?”
Castagnoli struck Harwood with a forearm, and Harwood came back with a chop. Harwood hit a short-arm clothesline. They fought over a vertical suplex, which ended with both guys going over the top rope to the floor. A nice high spot, but also nearly identical to a spot in the opener.
After a commercial break, Castagnoli tossed Harwood into the post which sent him tumbling to the floor in an ugly bump. Harwood and Castagnoli brawled back in the ring, then Claudio locked in an abdominal stretch. Harwood escaped with a hip toss. Castagnoli set up Harwood for a superplex. Harwood fought out of it and chopped Claudio down to the mat, then came off the top with a diving headbutt for a near fall.
Harwood hit Claudio with some pretty left jabs, then countered a Neutralizer attempt with a piledriver for anear fall. Harwood went for the top again, but Castagnoli flew in with an uppercut. Claudio hit a top rope superplex for nearfall.
After a split-screen break, Harwood countered a pop-up uppercut attempt with a backslide. Claudio went for a boot but Harwood got him up into the slingshot Liger Bomb for another near fall. Castagnoli went for a charge in the corner, but missed and Harwood got him with a pair of german suplexes. Harwood went for a top rope back suplex, but Claudio countered into a crossbody. However, Harwood rolled through and got a near fall. This match is great but I don’t sense any heat from the crowd.
Both men exchanged forearms, and Castagnoli got the upper hand. Now the crowd started to get behind Claudio, who gave Harwood the Giant Swing, then locked in the Sharpshooter. Harwood went for the ropes, Claudio countered with a crossface, but Harwood rolled though that into a Sharpshooter of his own! Castagnoli escaped the hold, brought a vicious series of elbows and forearms down on Harwood, and then locked in a Sharpshooter to get the submission.
Ross on commentary called this the best match he’s seen all week which is ridiculously high praise. It was a fantastic match though.
Jericho also let it be known that he’s never been ROH World champion, and if that’s planting a seed for Jericho to go after the ROH title, that would be a great way to establish the title as something more meaningful.
After the match, Regal helped Harwood up to his feet, and Castagnoli and Harwood shared an embrace as the show ended.