AEW Rampage (May 27, 2022) emanated from Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The go-home show to Double or Nothing featured Bryan Danielson in action, the Young Bucks cosplaying the Hardys, Billy Gunn being a daddy, and Ruby Soho using questionable tactics to advance in the Owen Hart tournament.
Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show followed by reactions.
Excalibur, Taz, and Ricky Starks were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.
Matt Sydal vs. Bryan Danielson
William Regal joined commentary to cheer his beloved student. He also brought jokes. Regal ordered octopus seafood for supper. He was told it would take four hours. The octopus are cooked live, and they keep reaching out to turn off the gas.
Danielson worked to pound Sydal on the mat. When the pace quickened, Sydal shined. Danielson always had a trick up his sleeve though. Sydal connected on a Meteora flying double knees, but Danielson rolled through on the contract to snatch a limb for a single-leg crab in the center of the ring. Danielson transitioned to a knee bar and heel hook, then Sydal reached the ropes. Danielson set Sydal up on the turnbuckles, but Sydal countered for a sunset flip powerbomb.
Aggression intensified from Danielson. Sydal used that against him for a back slide. When Danielson kicked out, Sydal delivered a jumping knee strike. On a second attempt, Danielson ducked and clobbered Sydal with a running knee. Danielson elbowed Sydal’s head in to set up a choke for victory. The American Dragon rubbed it in with a bicep flex.
Bryan Danielson defeated Matt Sydal.
Young Bucks Vs. Jon Cruz & Taylor Rust
The Young Bucks entered for their match as Hardy cosplayers. Gangrel joined them with Brandon Cutler as Lita. Matt Facts stated that Matt Jackson believes the cure to Matt Hardy’s “Jimmy legs” is a perfectly applied figure-four leg lock.
The Bucks mimicked Hardy mannerisms and moves, but they relied on a superkick party to crush the underdog rally. Matt Jackson put Cruz down on a twist of Fate, then Nick Jackson added a Swanton Bomb for victory.
Young Hardys defeated Jon Cruz & Taylor Rust.
Afterward, the Bucks turned on Gangrel for a BTE Trigger, but the Hardys arrived on stage before they could execute. Cutler tried to attack the Hardys. He was handled by Gangrel for an Impaler. As the Bucks retreated, the Hardys harmed Cutler with a Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb.
Darby Allin challenged Kyle O’Reilly for a PPV match as payback for hurting Sting. If O’Reilly doesn’t accept, then Allin will interfere in Undisputed Elite matches to make their night a living hell at Double or Nothing. Later, Allin versus O’Reilly was officially announced.
Dante Martin vs. Max Caster
Caster was joined by the Gunn Club and Billy pushing Anthony Bowens in a wheelchair. Bowens led an Ass Boy chant then scissored with Daddy Billy.
Martin interrupted the fun with a springboard crossbody. Billy picked up Martin to smash into the apron and ring steps. As soon as Billy rolled Martin under the ropes for the opening bell, referee Aubrey Edwards ejected the whole crew from the ringside.
Caster worked the knee to keep Martin grounded. Martin found his groove to rally with high jumps and a flying crossbody. Martin finished with a double springboard moonsault.
Dante Martin defeated Max Caster.
Hype package for Samoa Joe versus Adam Cole in the Owen Hart men’s tournament final. Cole is a world-class professional wrestler. He is a franchise player for years to come, and it starts by winning the tournament.
Dan Lambert and Ethan presented a new TNT Championship belt to Scorpio Sky. The gold and purple design honored Sky’s love of the Los Angeles Lakers. Sammy Guevara, Tay Conti, and Frankie Kazarian interrupted on the big screen. They barged into the American Top Team gym for a smash and grab job to steal a few UFC title belts. If Lambert wants them back, then give them the mixed tag match. Sky was furious and accepted. Sky, Page, & Paige VanZant versus Guevara, Conti, & Kaz is official for Double or Nothing.
Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Ruby Soho needs to win the Owen Hart tournament to build confidence. It can be a turning point in her career. Chris Statlander angrily mocked the idea that Soho needs it. Statlander has been in AEW since the start and has no championships. Losing friends and blowing out her knee are all she has to show for it. Statlander will not let this opportunity slip away. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”
Chris Statlander vs. Owen Hart semifinal tournament: Ruby Soho
Statlander started with a serious tone. Soho tried to be friendly. Her intensity increased during the bout to gain en edge. Statlander showed strength on a delayed vertical suplex. Soho came back by elbowing her way out of a fireman’s carry on the turnbuckles to counter with a super hurricanrana. Momentum swung the other way when Soho ran into an alien powerbomb. Soho kept her wits to stun Statlander with a No Future kick. The contact knocked Statlander out of the ring, so Soho could not capitalize with a cover.
Back in the ring, Soho attacked Statlander’s tender shoulder with a flying armbreaker maneuver then a kimura lock. Statlander reached the ropes with her foot for the break. Statlander dug deep to counter Soho in the corner with a wheelbarrow swing into the turnbuckles. The alien rolled through for a powerful German suplex. Statlander had victory in her grasp on a spinning fisherman’s driver. 1, 2, Soho got free on a dramatic kick-out.
Statlander attempted a spider crab submission. Soho kicked her way out and tripped Statlander with a boot to the knee leading to a roll-up win.
Ruby Soho defeated Chris Statlander.
Afterward, Dr. Britt Baker DMD came out on stage to hype the Owen Hart women’s tournament final for Double or Nothing. Soho didn’t want to hear the dentist speak. Boos rained down from the crowd. Soho explained that she did what she had to do to win. If Soho can do that to a friend, imagine what she will do to someone she hates.
Ruby Soho and Kris Statlander wrestled a good main event. The false finish was executed very well. They had the fans and myself in the palm of their hands for Soho’s kick-out. It was such an emphatic train of moves that the crowd became a little disgruntled when Statlander didn’t win. I don’t think it helped that Soho emerged victorious on a weak roll-up.
The loud showering of boos during Soho’s post-match promo threw me off guard. It took me awhile to piece together why. I believe the answer is that Soho kicked Statlander’s previously injured knee during the match when claiming to be the alien’s friend. Soho also kicked the knee for the winning roll-up. Soho’s promo actually turned me against her and in favor of Dr. Britt Baker DMD to win at Double or Nothing. At least with Baker, we know she is a conniver. She doesn’t hide it. With Soho, she talks sweet then resorted to a questionable tactic to win against a so-called friend. That is pretty shady. It reeks of desperation from when Soho said she needed to win. Time will tell if this night has any lasting effects on fan reaction towards Soho.
The Young Bucks cosplaying the Hardys brought great joy. It is up there for the funniest thing the Bucks have done in their AEW careers to date. Adding in Brandon Cutler with the Lita thong put it over the top. Gangrel was nice to see as a surprise. All that was missing was him spitting blood in Cutler’s face.
The Acclaimed and the Gunn Club continue to be hilarious. I love how Billy has adopted Max Caster and Anthony Bowens as if they came from his own loins. Billy used dad strength to protect his boys after the sneak attack from Dante Martin. It was funny to see Billy pick up Caster with a hug while leaving his actual sons on the ground. What wasn’t funny was referee Aubrey Edwards horribly overstepping her bounds to abuse her officiating power. Martin caused the ruckus, and Billy dealt with him appropriately. His ramming of Martin was completely legal. They didn’t deserve to be ejected. This isn’t the first time Edwards has unfairly enforced her authority. AEW needs to open an investigation into her behavior.
Bryan Danielson and Matt Sydal had a hot opener. Scorpio Sky’s red suit with a black shirt was fire. As was his promo. The Lakers colors are a cool fit to personalize Sky’s new TNT title belt. The Sammy Guevara part was cold as ice. That seems to be the standard operating procedure at this point. I’m a little sad that Sammy and Tay Conti dragged down Frankie Kazarian into their antics. Stealing the BMF belt makes me wonder if Jorge Masvidal will have a cameo to collect at the PPV.
Solid wrestling and amusing comedy to provide enough entertainment to make Rampage worthwhile.
Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?