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AEW Friday Night Rampage


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Yeah, really excited for this. Product I’m invested in, one hour, three quality matches announced. Great stuff.

It won’t happen. I know it won’t happen. Sure would make for a memorable first episode if Bryan Danielson’s smiley face made an appearance though, wouldn’t it? With Punk the following week? Gangbusters.

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Okay let's start with the bad:

I really didn't like the four man commentary team. It just didn't work for me. Excalibur was fine. Jericho and Tazz have done a lot better. And while I love Mark Henry I really didn't think he brought anything and I don't particularly like him as a backstage interviewer either. He doesn't sound nearly as comfortable as anyone else. I'd go to a 3 or 2 man next week.

The belt situation - I get that they're AEW so they want to seem the best but when two guys are competing over a belt I don't want to hear how there's a more prestigious one up for grabs in a few weeks. It just undermined the match and the moment a bit and took me out of it. Like they were fighting over something that didn't matter. That's just me being picky though.

Jamie whatshername at the end? That just felt so off and so random and if you're going to do something like that then it really needs to be someone I don't need to Google after the show.

And the good..

Everything else really.

Quality match between Christian and Omega. Yeah I'm still not a big fan of them working together twice in such a short space of time but they're doing everything they can to make Christian a legit threat. Crowd were into it which always helps.

Miro looked strong and we still got a nice feel good moment after. A genuine one which is rare these days.

Britt is a megastar. Her matches have improved a lot and while I think there's still quite a few women out there that are better in-ring performers, that just doesn't matter when you're that over and people are loving it.

Next week I'm pretty sure the roof might actually come off the venue.

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Great debut match on the new show. Even despite the massively bloated commentary team. Both guys were brilliant and the crowd made them stars. 

Not sure on the finish, honestly. A clean-ish Christian win wasn't something I considered. If they are main eventing All Out then I guess it has to be done, I just don't love it. It doesn't do long term damage, remember Luger beat Hogan in 97 and everyone was still hot in December for the Sting match but it's just not something I want particularly. 

Commentary team was better with three but one is still Jericho. The people who told us he was great 18 months ago were fucking liars. I blame them for this.

Love Miro. Nice moment for Sammy and Fuego though. 

Reaction to Britt Baker was amazing again. Genuinely had Goosebumps. Match was alright. Decent showcase for Red Velvet and a good story of the injured hand. Think I just didn't love the comms. Post match was another one of those classic "Who the fuck is that?" AEW moments. Just leave it as a mystery, lads. 

Bring on next week. And sack Jericho.

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Agreed on the commentary team. The booth felt very crowded, and Excalibur could barely get a word in. Henry felt very uncomfortable in the role, and while he may grow into it, I feel like he’d be better served as a manager who is also capable of getting physical. He’d be a fun back-up for the Ethan/Scorpio tag team, for example, or The Acclaimed, when Max Caster is allowed to appear on TV again.

I quite liked Jericho on commentary though. He needs to let other people talk, but he had some good lines.

Overall I really enjoyed the show, and the opener was a load of fun. I’m stunned that we’re getting Christian on PPV, and I can only assumed that he was promised a PPV main event when he signed with the company. There are so many better options than Christian. Heck, having Dante Martin get an upset win over Kenny on Dynamite, before having a PPV rematch would have been better. I’d have quite liked that, actually.

Miro, as usual, was the highlight of the show for me, and I hope he has a run with the AEW title in the near future. He’s the most terrifying character I’ve seen in a long time.
 

The Fuego moment was nice, but would have been better if it had come on the back of some main shows storyline build. I’m sure he’s featured on Dynamite in the past, but I just can’t recall seeing him. 

The reaction to Britt was fantastic, but the post-match was a bit odd. Is Hayter any good? 

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That hour flew by. Considering you have 1 hour shows still like NXT UK this didn’t feel as long as that despite the same length.

4 man booth was as expected too bloated. Everyone was floundering. The It’s Friday Night and you know what that means was a nice carry over. Tony K said that it was not always going to be 4 men, Jericho maybe in the ring, Mark maybe more backstage, and I hope that’s the case.

Genuinely enjoy that opener, thought they worked well and the finish was great, never seen Christian do that on an open chair, looked nasty.

My boy Fuego. It actually felt for a tiny second we could see an impossible upset, and it was played beautifully as was the post match angle. Give the people what they want and they did!

Great showing by both in the main. Not even the random surprise could dampen it, though their was a WTF element to it for me. Overall a great way to kick off a Saturday morning for me, roll on Chicago. 

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Overall an incredibly easy and enjoyable hour of wrestling for a Saturday morning. 

Loved the intro video and graphics throughout. Felt really big time and different from Dynamite, although I'd add a few more things just to differentiate the shows. Like give Rampage orange ropes instead of the same black, small things like that.

Opener was a great match and the crowd were molten hot all night. If this was at any other time I would be completely happy with everything but with the Hangman angle on the periphery it's hard to get too excited about it. Perfectly acceptable and good story just at the wrong moment. I'm looking forward to their rematch, going by this one it should be an absolute cracker.

The commentary was a complete mess. At one point in the first match Henry, Jericho and Taz all made the exact same point that Christian is calm and collected in a row. I love Mizark but he talks quite slowly so I don't see how he can fit in on commentary. I enjoy Jericho's commentary but without a strong presence like JR or Schiavone to bounce off he's just going to completely dominate which is exactly what he did here. He has no chemistry with Taz (who was fighting to get a word in all night) and basically ignores Excalibur.

On the list of greatest matches under 5 minutes, Miro vs Feugo Del Sol definitely belongs on there. Absolutely incredible. The post match stuff was genuinely heart warming and lovely. Tony Khan though, Jesus. Every time he's on TV he's wearing that ugly fucking furry spotty jacket. Put a suit on for Gods sake, lad.

Main event was fine but not good. Red Velvet is still green as grass and while Baker is understandably booked as a strong babyface in her hometown I think her act has got a bit confused and muddled the past month or so. Jaime Hayter is a great talent so I'm glad she's back but debuting her here felt super weird and out of place. I'm not even sure why Britt needs extra back up, she's been pretty dominant for a while now. And how does Rebel fit in? Is Baker a heel? Not clear on any of this.

Next two shows look like they're going to be fairly huge. Exciting times.

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Anyone who said Jericho was good on Comms must have been the same ones who said JBL was good, Christ his shrieking and annoying voice almost took me right out of the finish of the opener. 

Although I have no clue who Fuego Del Sol is, outside of Malakai Black kicking his head off, even I got a little emotional at his face when he realised what was going on. Tony Khan had to get in there with the awkward hugs first to show how much of a nice guy he is, though. Sammy could have just come straight out and referenced what Tony agreed.

Again, another emotional moment for Britts entrance and what a star she is. Absolutely head and shoulders above anyone else in the company in the same way as Becky Lynch. The lass at the end though, no clue. I presumed she was someone from Dark or that's been out injured recently, but when Jericho said she's not been seen in 2 years and I presume wasn't a well known person then, the hat reveal seemed daft.

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2 minutes ago, Nick James said:

Anyone who said Jericho was good on Comms must have been the same ones who said JBL was good, Christ his shrieking and annoying voice almost took me right out of the finish of the opener. 

He definitely needs to tone it down and talk less, but he had enough in the way of good lines and points to make me feel like he’ll do just fine. He seemed to be having a lot of fun watching the show, and probably got a little carried away at times.

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I didn’t think it was possible to hate Chris Jericho more but Christ he was excruciating. And Henry was absolutely shit in a totally different way. Taz and Excalibur are great together. Just let them do it. No one isn’t going to watch because Jericho isn’t on commentary.

Everything else was fine to great although, and I’m shocked I’m saying this, one hour isn’t enough. One hour is great if you’re the worst wrestling show in television history like Raw, but if you actually make great TV I actually want to watch more of it. Especially with a great crowd.

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What a fantastic hour of pro-wrestling. The perfect chaser after Smackdown.

Great opener. I’m still not convinced this direction is working, and I think when all is said and done we’ll be agreeing Kenny Omega’s first big loss should have been to Hangman, but in the moment this was a great match with a fun, heart-warming finish. That they likely held stuff back for the PPV bodes very well, too. But yeah. Christian Cage going from retirement, to returning at the Royal Rumble, to winning the Impact Title from Kenny Omega on TNT. Mental. It’s the maddest year ever.

Miro and Fuego was pitch perfect. Brilliant hope spots, a count-out tease that I completely fell for, super hot crowd considering most of the story hadn’t even been told on Dynamite, Miro proceeding to clear the cobwebs and murder another fucker, and then another nice moment when he got the contract anyway. I’m assuming he wasn’t aware Tony and Sami were coming out? Felt genuine to me. Lovely stuff. I’ve said it before but the way AEW operates makes you realise how much pro-wrestling had lost its way. A company trying to put out simple, happy content that genuinely makes you smile shouldn’t feel this novel and different. Wait? You’re not trying to troll or piss people off and punish them for watching? What is happening?!

Similarly, anyone who’s ever booked someone to lose or turn heel on the crowd in their home town needs to throw themselves directly into a bin. In what’s seemingly becoming a weekly occurrence AEW are going into someone’s hometown, capitalising on the reaction, giving them a big win and making them look like the biggest stars of all time. Each show looks like the most fun you could ever have attending, too. The reaction to Britt, particularly that visual of everyone swinging the towels, was absolutely magical. Goosebumps. The match was okay, a bit clunky in parts, but who the fuck cares when you’re making superstars.

I remember when AEW first started and the women’s division was a meandering mess, Jamie Hayter stood out massively as someone with a tonne of potential. The difference between her and someone like Bea Priestley was stark. That Hayter’s ended up back in AEW just as it’s about to kick off, whilst Bea has fucked off to NXT UK, is perfect. Balance has been restored.

But yeah. Wrestling’s just dead good right now, isn’t it? I love it. Like it saved itself and was the most boring wasteland for decades just to go bonkers in 2021.

2586AB20-80A6-4A9F-B2B5-64F2CA491B39.jpeg.d609740c07c195f8d4f0d6aafd93340e.jpeg

“In 2018, nothing happened. In 2019, nothing happened. In 2020, nothing happened. In 2021, everything happened.”

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2 minutes ago, Yakashi said:

one hour isn’t enough. One hour is great if you’re the worst wrestling show in television history like Raw, but if you actually make great TV I actually want to watch more of it. Especially with a great crowd.

My thoughts exactly, despite myself. I don't watch Dark or Elevation and they're nowhere near ever present as a company yet for me to see any real problem with two hours of Dynamite and two hours of Rampage a week. I'm still going to vote against my instincts though and not crib about a wrestling show only being one hour. They're bound to go into quieter holding pattern period sooner or later, and I'll be thankful for it. I can see them getting the second hour by end of year though. 

That was a perfectly fine show, but I'm so excited for everything else that I almost can't be bothered discussing it much. The TV start dates and arena bookings might have conspired to make Rampage effectively start a week early, but the fact that next week's show is called 'The First Dance' tells you all you need to know. As much as Hangman eventually needs to get the belt, next week has to be the opening riff of Cult of Personality, doesn't it? I've built it up in my head - along with everybody else - to the point where Punk coming through the crowd or being previewed in a package two months ago would have seemed perfectly fine, but now it has to be the tune and the pop. 

I wish the show had more of an identity but that's fine. I'm giving AEW concessions I wouldn't give to WWE admittedly, here, but for these guys I'm going to say having your generic set with you everywhere is no problem as there's bigger and better things to grow right now. Maybe just change the ring ropes a bit - as has been said. 

The commentary was piss but didn't bother me too much. Jericho's going to be Jericho, and it's something they'll need to simply solve with levelling the audio for his headset as I don't think you're going to tone him down with half a bottle of grey goose inside of him. I'll give them time. I'm pretty okay with messy commentary so long as it's at least spontaneous and genuinely excited. 

The opener was really good. I think they held enough back to work what was a very good TV match, with a better sequel in store. Can't be arsed getting my head around the booking for it at this stage. 

Miro, I don't know. I'm getting Good Brother vibes from him now. I'm sure he's a cheeky boy in real life with plenty to love, but he's getting more generic by the week for me in AEW. I have no interest in anything he's doing. 

The rest was good to great. Bring on next week etc. 

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