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Jeremy’s AEW Rampage Review 9.29.23

September 29, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
AEW Rampage Hikaru Shida Image Credit: AEW
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Jeremy’s AEW Rampage Review 9.29.23  

Hello AEW fans! It’s Friday night and we know what that means — it’s time for AEW Rampage! I’m Jeremy Thomas, and Lee Sanders is feeling a bit under the weather so you’re stuck with me tonight. We’re less than 48 hours away from WrestleDream, and tonight we’ll see The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn defend the AEW World Trios Championships against The Hardys and Isiah Kassidy. Plus Eddie Kingston defends the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship against Rocky Romero, while Hikaru Shida and Ruby Soho will face off to see who gets a shot against Saraya for the AEW Women’s World Championship on the October 10th episode of Dynamite. And the The Righteous will be in action as well. Should be an fun little show, so let’s jump right in.

As a reminder, the GoFundMe for Larry’s daughters is still active and if you can make a donation, that would be awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who’s done so thus far.

THIS IS RAMPAGE, BABY! (aka Theme Song)

AEW World Trios Tag Team Championship Match
The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn vs. The Hardys & Brother Zay

Bowens and Zay start off with a lockup, Bowens with a wastlock but is put on the mat. Bowens switches into a wristlock, Zay counters into a headlock, into the ropes and Bowens runs Zay over. Back into the ropes, Zay with an armdrag, Bowens fires back with the same. Zay into the ropes with an armdrag and then a rana. He catches a kick, Bowens catches a kick and flips Zay, kick to the gut and a leapfrog Rocker Dropper.

Caster tags in, Zay into the ropes but holds on. Bowens over the top, Matt tags in and they take Caster down. Jeff with a splash off the middle rope, cover gets two. Jeff with a leaping snapmare and then goes for the Twist of Fate, Max counters but Jeff kicks him.

Billy Gunn tags in, as does Matt. Matt signals Delete, Billy says “Suck It!” They go into a Delete/Suck It-off (that doesn’t sound right). Billy with a headlock, shot into the ropes and runs Matt over. He charges at Matt in the corner but eats an elbow, Matt slams Billy into all the turnbuckles and tags in Jeff, who hits a splash off Matt’s back as does Zay. The Acclaimed run in and dump the Hardys, Scissor Me Timbers to Brother Zay. Billy covers for two as we go to PIP break.

We’re back as Zay is put in the hostile corner for a shot. Billy goes after Zay and stomps him down, then talks trash to Matt. He knocks Matt off the apron and charges for the splash, but Zay moves!

Things break down into chaos as Jeff comes in hot, he clears the ring and hits a Russian legsweep on Bowens. Double legdrop cover, broken up by Caster. Jeff goes up top for Whisper in the Wind! Billy in now and goes for a Famouser, Jeff ducks it and Matt hits Twist of Fate on Gunn. Jeff up top, Swanton! Cover gets two but Bowens breaks it up.

Bowens whips Matt across the ring and he and Max charge in to take him out. Powerslam by Caster to Matt, discus elbow to Jeff. Bowens and Zay come in hot, Zay hits a spinning DDT off the second rope, Zay dumps Billy and Asai moonsaults onto him from the apron. Springboard off the ropes but he gets caught by Bowens and Caster for shots — double team lifted slam for three.

Winner: The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn (10:33)
Rating: ***
Thoughts: Very solid match all in all. The Hardys aren’t what they used to be, that’s no secret. But they worked fine here and we got a solid opening match with the right result.

* Eddie Kingston is backstage and says tonight it’s him and Big Rock for the STRONG Openweight Title. He respects Rocky and says it’ll be an honor to face him. He starts talking as Lethal and company come in and Lethal says Kingston has two titles, but one is the ROH World Championship. Lethal says he worked for years to make sure the ROH World Title belonged to athletes and Eddie’s no athlete. He says Eddie isn’t fit to be champion. Eddie laughs and walks off.

* Andrade El Idolo is asked last week at Collision about Juice Robinson interfering in his match. He says everyone saw he had that win, and he wants to know if Juice has a problem with him. He says “See you Saturday in Seattle.”

NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship Match
Eddie Kingston vs. Rocky Romero

Rocky with a kick attempt to start that gets dodged. They feel each other out and lock up, Eddie with a waistlock. Rocky breaks it and locks in a wristlock, which Eddie reverses. Rocky escapes and hits a dropkick. They circle again and go into the test of strength, but Romero with a kick to the gut and headlock.

Rocky shot into the ropes and runs into Eddie, who doesn’t get knocked down. Rocky with a slap to Eddie and comes off the ropes with a rana. Eddie to the outside, Rocky off the ropes with a tope suicida! And back into the ring for a second. He goes for a third — but Eddie catches him and hits a suplex on the ringside mats! We’re onto PIP break.

We’re back as Rocky blocks a Northern Lights Bomb and hits a knee strike on the champion. Kick to the chest by Rocky and he goes to climb, but Eddie asks if that’s all he’s got. Rocky with the slap, Eddie fires back but Rock with a kick to the gut followed by a second turnbuckle stomp for two.

Rocky goes for Sliced Bread but Eddie counters and puts Rocky in the corner. Fast chops to the chest, Eddie puts Rocky on the top and climbs. Rocky is fighting back, he grabs Eddie and hits an Avalanche Sliced Bread for a nearfall!

Rocky is up now and psyching up as Eddie gets to his feet — Forever Clotheslines in the corner, but he only gets two before Eddie hits two spinning back fists! Stretch Plum and Rocky taps.

Winner: Eddie Kingston (8:57)
Rating: ** 3/4
Thoughts: Good, strong match between these two as expected. It didn’t quite get to that next level, but it made for a good win for Eddie ahead of WrestleDream.

Show of respect with a handshake and hug after the match. Rocky heads out — and here comes Katsuyori Shibata! Shibata comes down to the ring with the ROH Pure Championship. Shibata offers a hand and Eddie takes it.

* Aussie Open are backstage and they say they’re tired of FTR showing their hubris and saying they’re the best in the world. They say everything they’ve done has been to get back here. They want to make FTR feel the pain they felt and Sunday they’re taking the titles and burning down the legacy of FTR.

The Righteous vs. Caleb Crush and Gunnar

Vincent starts off — or not, as he distracts the scrubs while Dutch runs them down! Vincent beats on Crush and slams him into the corner, Dutch tagged in — Crush thrown into a sidewalk slam. Dutch grabs Gunnar and throws him into a shot from Vincent, who whips Gunnar into a sidewalk slam.

Vincent tags in, they showboat, Vincent floats into a cutter for the pin.

Winner: The Righteous (1:23)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: RIP Caleb Crush and Gunnar.

* We get a vignette that lays out the long history between Mike Santana and Ortiz. We hear Konnan talking about their split and issues.

* We’re back with a vignette hyping Christian Cage’s match with Darby Allin at WrestleDream.

* Nick Wayne is backstage and says he knows Darby has a lot to say about Christian and will let his actions speak at WrestleDream. He isn’t supposed to be there and he says he won’t, but he has business with Luchasaurus. He talks about how he once had a father figure and he was taught not to let a debt stay unpaid. He hasn’t forgotten being choke slammed onto the skatebord at All In, and he’s going to make Luchasaurus pay on the Zero Hour show.

* Excalibur runs down the Collision and WrestleDream cards.

* Renee Paquette asks Zack Sabre Jr. about his match with Bryan Danielson at WrestleDream. He asks if Sabre is worried about acclimating after his tour and trip. He says he’s feeling fresh as a daisy and doesn’t know where Danielson is. He says at this point a strong gust of wind will knock Danielson over, much less him. He asks if he’s supposed to be honored to be part of Danielson’s retirement tour, and says he’s going to give Danielson the final retirement in Seattle.

AEW Women’s World Championship Match On the Line
Ruby Soho vs. Hikaru Shida

Ruby and Shida go face to face, and Soho shoves Shida. They collide in the ring, Soho with a headlock. Shot into the ropes, Shida follows and runs her over. Soho into the corner, Shida goes for the turnbuckle punches but Soho escapes to the outside.

Soho back in and gets a cheap hair pull on Shida, then puts her in the corner for shoulders to the ribs. Soho charges, Shida moves and hits a forearm. She climbs up and gets two shots before Soho escapes. Soho charges and gets hit, Shida gets Soho back in the corner and gets six before Soho pulls her down. Shida off the corner for a crossbody, puts Soho in the corner and finally gets ten! Soho staggers to the center of the ring and Shida with a leaping kick as we go to PIP.

We’re back as Soho has taken over during the break until Shida hit a double clothesline, and both of them are down. Slow to get up, Shida is up and nails Soho. Soho fires back and they’re trading shots in the center of the ring. Shida takes over and whips Ruby into the ropes for a jumping knee. Brainbuster, cover gets two.

Shida is looking hypes and goes for a spin kick, but Ruby ducks to the outside. Shida follows after, up on the stops for a leaping dropkick! Shida picks Ruby up on her shoulders — she’s carrying Soho to the ramp! Ruby escapes and they start trading blows, the ref is counting. Ruby with headbutts, ref gets to nine before they make it back to the ring.

Ruby blocks a kick and hits a rising knee, Saito suplex follows it up for two. Ruby grabs Shida’s kendo stick but the ref grabs it. Soho goes for the spraypaint, they jostle over it and the ref gets sprayed! Destination Unknown by Ruby, cover gets a lot but the ref is down.

Ruby grabs the kendo stick and swings — Shida catches it! She cracks Ruby with it! Spinning kick, cover but still no ref. Aubrey Edwards runs down, two-count but Ruby kicks out!

Shida goes up top, she leaps for the Meteora but Ruby moves. Shida charges in but gets slammed down. Soho up top, senton but Shida gets the knees up! Falcon Arrow! Cover gets a nearfall. Soho goes for No Future but it hits the shoulder, Shida takes out Ruby for the pin!

Winner: Hikaru Shida (12:01)
Rating: ** 3/4
Thoughts: Perfectly fine match. These two work great against each other they put together something fun here. The whole shenanigans bit wasn’t really necessary and didn’t lead to much which feels a bit gratuitous, but otherwise I have no complaints.

Saraya comes out to talk shit with Shida.

And with that, we’re done for the night!

The final score: review Good
The 411
This was a very acceptable episode of AEW Rampage. We had three good (but not great) matches, one squash to get The Righteous some more TV time before WrestleDream, and a number of backstage interviews and vignettes building to the PPV. It was Go-Home B-Show 101, and it worked; sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel. I can't say anything on this was must see, but neither was anything a particular waste of time either.

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AEW Rampage, Jeremy Thomas