It’s Friday night, and you know what that means? No, not to take a trip to Crystal Lake, or sign up for a death match with Jason the Terrible. It’s time for AEW Rampage, and the big match of the night has Scorpio Sky being a man of his word as he defends the TNT title against his former SoCal Uncensored stablemate, Frankie Kazarian.
Coming to your early (because of something called the NBA Playoffs which I could care less about, since my Utah Jazz is not in it, so who cares who wins? Don’t @ me!) from the UBS Arena in Elmont on Long Island, NY. Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho have the call, and we head to your First Match of the night…
The Death Triangle (PAC, Penta Oscuro, and Rey Fénix, with Abraham Abrahantes) vs The Butcher, The Blade and Marq Quen (with Allie)
Well, folks, the band is back together, and they’re ready to test the Power of The Lucha Trio™. Penta starts off and he’s able to dull the Blade early on. A tag to PAC and there’s no ring rust on him, but Butcher pulls him out of the ring, and he slams him back first to the ring apron. The Butcher gets in and faster than you can say Every Time I Die, He’s able to overpower the Bastard, but PAC gets a missile dropkick to send him to the outside. A tag to Quen and Fénix, and The Lucha Bro is a step behind the Private Party member, but he manages a tornillo arm drag and a double foot stomp. Quen kicks Fenix to the outside, and during Picture in Picture, Rey is a Fénix in Peril, and all three isolate him in the corner.
Blade has Fenix in a headlock, but he pushes towards his corner, but all three former HFO members knock out the Triangle. A 450 splash by Quen to cover, but PAC breaks the count. Quen goes outside with a somersault senton to PAC and Penta on the outside and Butcher nails with a vicious lariat that gets a close two count.
Blade is back in, and he delivers a desperation huracanrana as Fenix crawls to his corner. Blade sends Fenix to the ropes and rebounds for a roundhouse kick that knocks him loopy. A hot tag to big Lucha Bro, and Penta and he is Cero en Fuego Oscuro, cleaning house. Now PAC joins the fun, and he is a Bastard to Quen with a deadlift German suplex, then he sends to the ropes with a snap release German Suplex. Time for the Power of The Lucha Trio™ and Quen gets The Fear Factory by The Lucha Bros (Package Piledriver/double foot stomp combo), and PAC delivers the coup de grace with the Black Arrow to score the win.
Your Winners via Pinfall: The Death Triangle
As all three men (and Abrahantes) stand tall in the ring, the lights go out, and House of Black show up for a stare down. Malakai Black says something to the effect that the Triangle’s time is up, but before they can attack the Black members, the lights out again and they disappear.
It ain’t Undertaker mind games, but it comes pretty close in the modern era of professional wrestling.
Now for something different, here’s…
Shawn Spears vs Bear Boulder
Boulder starts dominating Spears throughout the match and showcase his power with a gorilla press to Spears. I’ll be honest, I was deciding if I needed to do a Haiku or a song reference for this squash match (as in “Papa Was a Rolling Stone), but then the unthinkable happened.
I paid attention.
At least at the end when Spears impressively picks up the over 330-pound Boulder on his shoulders for a fireman’s carry and nails the C4 (Death Valley Driver) finisher to end the match.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Shawn Spears
This was basically a warmup for Spears to send a message to Wardlow that he’s ready for him. Well, okay June bug. Good luck with that.
Lexy Nair is backstage with “Smart” Mark Sterling (complete with neck brace) and Tony Nese and they’ll be facing Hook-Hausen at the AEW Double of Nothing Buy-In show. Sterling doesn’t want to do this, but Nese says he’s a Premier Athlete and he’ll beat both by himself. Bet on that, says Nese. Yeah, that screams 80-1 odds. Not even *I* want to make that foolish bet.
But now it’s time for the women to strut their stuff, especially since it’s for the…
Owen Hart Foundation Women’s Tournament Quarterfinal Match: Ruby Soho vs Riho
(Author’s Stupid Dad Joke Rant: I don’t know why, but this match made me think of that time David Letterman tried to introduce Uma Thurman to Oprah Winfrey at the Oscars. I was hoping Justin Roberts would have done, “Riho? Soho. Soho? Riho.” Ask your parents about that moment, kids.)
Anyway, as Ruby Soho plays, Riho doesn’t like the punk music (Hey not everything can be J-pop). They shake hands and they go to a collar and elbow, and Riho gets the better of Soho, as Riho looks at her opponent like she’s got her number.
They tie up again and Soho now able to outwrestle the former AEW Women’s champion. There’s a series of pin attempts but no clear advantage from either female combatant. Riho hits with a huracanrana and a double foot stomp to Soho, but Soho with the turnbuckle Meteora into the middle turnbuckle and goes to a top rope foot stomp but misses and tweaks her knee. She nails a head butt and goes to the signature No Future, but Riho grabs her leg and gets it in a bridging single leg carb that’s almost a STF variation, but Soho gets to the ropes to break the submission. During Pictures in Picture, Riho is in control keeps Soho down and targeting the bad leg. Soho starts to fight back, but Riho still on attack that leads to…
Ads. (Author’s Mirthful Musing: Again, I’m stuck on “Riho? Soho.” Dunno why that’s funny but it makes me chuckle, and I got a nice Mezcal break in the action. Plus, it beats me complaining about the use of Picture in Picture cutting to an actual ad, thus defeating the purpose in the first place. Also, is it me, or does it happen more with the women’s matches?)
We come back, and Riho nails the Northern Lights Suplex with a deep bridge to cover Soho but gets a two count. She goes up top, but Soho stops her at the pass. They fight at the top, but Riho knocks her back to the mat and a crossbody gets another two count. Soho tries to end it with a huge crucifix bomb for another two count, and she’s getting frustrated. Soho returns the receipt with a backdrop suplex and Riho lands hard on her neck for a two count. After that, it’s academic as Soho delivers the Blade Runner and now gets the definitive pin, so play her music.
Your Winner via Pinfall, and advancing in the Owen Hart Women’s Tournament: Ruby Soho
After the match, Soho raises Riho’s arm in a classy sportswoman move.
Backstage, The Acclaimed is with the Gunn Club, and Billy (maybe now can be called Gunn) says he’s knows a little about factions. They need hand gestures, and Austin raises his hand for “Daddy” Gunn and was about to suggest crotch chops, but Billy nixes that (Ha!). Max Castor suggest The Acclaimed double scissor gesture, and Billy thinks it’s great. Now for a catchphrase, and Austin suggests, “I got Two Words for ya…!”, but again Billy shoots it down saying, “It won’t get over. (double Ha!)” Castor makes another suggestion in “Yo, Listen…”, and Billy loves it! As for their next match, Billy excitedly tells all four men that they’ll be in AEW next week, but not on Dynamite, Or Rampage, or Dark…But on Elevation. Castor does a spit take…and all four men are excited for this.
Whatever the purpose behind this backstage promo, I was invested in this more than I should have. Go figure!
Tony Schiavone is in the ring to interview the TBS Champion, Jade Cargill, alongside The Baddies Red Velvet and Kiera Hogan, with Sterling limping along to bring up the rear.
After the champ tells Schiavone and the cammeraman to recognize her Baddies at ringside, Schiavone announces Hikaru Shida was injured this week and will be out of the Owen Hart Women’s Tournament. Cargill thinks it’s great since it allows Velvet to advance in the tournament. Schiavone notes that Tony Khan managed to get a replacement and it’s Velvet’s old tag partner…Kris Statlander. As both women eye each other, you can’t help but wonder if Velvet’s sweating at this prospect.
Mark Henry is backstage with former tag champs Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian as they give final words before the match. Page and Lambert answer that Kazarian has no chance tonight and he should pack it in, but Sky barks back and says his word will mean something as TNT Champion. Kazarian is tired of Page and Lambert and reminds both that the match is with Sky in one-on-one competition. Sky agrees and tells them to take the night off but reminds Kazarian that *he* is the face of TNT.
Mark Henry surveys the room and says, “Looks like there’s been enough talk, ‘cause it’s time for the Main Event!” So, let’s do what the man says and go down to ringside for the…
TNT Championship Match: Scorpio Sky (c) vs Frankie Kazarian
We see shots of Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti at ringside, and both are with AAA belts (if you missed AAA TripleMania: Monterrey, they won the AAA Mixed Tag Team belts. So…that’s a thing, and now you know the rest of the story)
As the bell rings, both men slap hands and it’s on. The former SCU teammates match hold for hold, and they know each other so well there’s no clear advantage. The veteran Kazarian gets Sky with a fisherman’s suplex for a two count, but then the champ sends out the Heavy Metal Rebel to the outside and launches from ring to floor with a somersault plancha to wipe out Kazarian. During Picture in Picture Sky is in full control with a double stomp to Kazarian’s back. He then goes for an abdominal stretch, transitioning into a standing bow and arrow, but Kazarian gets out of the submission.
Sky continues to wear down his former stable mate and sends him hard to the corner turnbuckles. Sky rushes, but Kazarian dodges through ropes and hits a guillotine leg drop. Kazarian ramps up the offense with a lariat that takes out champ.
Sky gets back up to set up with the TKO, but Kazarian counters with a body slam and springboard leg drop for a two count. Then Kazarian goes for a chickenwing crossface, but Sky counters with a jawbreaker. However, the vet has a few tricks up his sleeve as he gets Sky on the outside of the ring, and then launches the TNT champ with a slingshot cutter that’s like a spike to Sky’s head. He covers and it’s a close two count. Now Kazarian cinches the chickenwing crossface, and Sky tries to break submission but he’s fading fast. At that point, Lambert sprints down the ring to dispute what’s happening to his meal ticket. The ref has no choice but to divert his attention to deal with Lambert on the ring apron, and Page sneaks in with the title belt and clocks Kazarian. He collapses, and Sky lays on him, also out cold from the submission. But it’s a pin attempt, and now the ref turns around to count for one, two…Kazarian just kicks out. Sky gets his second wind and adds the exclamation with the TKO finisher to Kazarian and now gets the one, two, and three.
Your Winner via Pinfall, And Still AEW TNT Champion: Scorpio Sky
Sky has no idea what happened. He gives props to Kazarian for the fight, but he pushes off, explaining the cheap shot by Page. Once Sky realizes what happened, he confronts Lambert and Page, and his Men of the Year teammate asks who’s team he’s on. Sky gets in his face…and clocks Kazarian with the belt again. Looks like the Men of the Year were playing the long game in suckering in Kazarian as Sky and Page put boots to the Heavy Metal Rebel As Lambert crows about the plan coming together. Now Guevara and Conti rush the ring to clear the heels out…to a chorus of boos as the show closes out.
TOP PHOTO: PAC suplexes Marq Quen at AEW Rampage at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York, taped on May 11, 2022 and airing on May 13, 2022. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com
Again, solid action in the First Match and the Main Event. I don’t understand the appeal of Cargill, but I’ll go along with it at this point. Spears showed promise leading up to his showdown with Wardlow. Oh, and I want to see how the Acclaimed/Gunn faction will play out.
Give me Death Triangle/House of Black sooner than later, Khan! Finally, I am more invested in the TNT title picture after Sky triple crossed Kazarian, but Guevara’s involvement at the end was very meh-tacular, and the fans also expressed that fact vocally.
Until then, see you in seven!