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Grand Slam II - Rampage - 9/23/2022


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The show was awesome, booking was quirky, let's see:

Sting gets the pin off of his long term rival's interference and in the process kills Julia Hart inadvertedly. Darby Allin also dies once again. Where is Sting's title shot?!?

Hook & Bronson vs JAS.0 was perfect, but now we have 2 undefeated tag teams who should face each other to see who gets The Acclaimed first?

Wardlow & Joe vs Woods & Nese was just a way to get Smart Mark killed. The knee selling with Wardlow on the outside was weird and scary, but I guess he was ok? I thought the spill outside looked smooth enough all things considered, but was thinking that I'd probably tear something trying a similar thing so when he started checking his knee I was worried.

So, Jungle Boy has an amazing match with Fenix and gets a huge win and the reason the match happened in the first place was the angle afterwards. That's a very satisfying angle advancement match, but one of those nonetheless.

Did Jade hurt her knee badly on that cross body spot? And the rap artist turned on Diamante after the loss. I guess that's why she wasn't at ringside during the match.

Eddie Kingston lost by kicking too much ass!!!!

Starks gets revenge and a huge victory that doesn't count in any ways that matters!

Adam Cole...no, that's Page (sorry)gets the huge win and a long-awaited rematch with the champ who dissed him... wait what? Well, fuck!

Edited by Shartnado
It was Page, not Cole
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Made it through. Wasn't spoiled. It's 8:12 on a Friday morning. The 10 year old is up watching Doctor Who. I did make her eggos. The 4 year old turned 5 today. There are cakes upstairs that look like Bluey that my wife spent hours and hours on over the last few days. She's still asleep. We're doing ok here.

  • Sting/Darby vs HOB was wild. Julia went full Sherri, down to the bumps. Hopefully she's ok. I've been spending a lot of time with 86 Muto so it was charming to see 2022 Muta. Sting laughing isn't a well they should go to every day but once and a while we can get Joker Sting. It makes this stand out against some of the other no DQ stuff we've seen out of him. Matthews was amazing eating that Dragon Screw. I really liked the hanging spot with King too.
  • Bronson/Hook vs 2.0 was good for what it was. Bronson had some size and he was on the apron for most of it but past getting knocked off once when he was hyping up the crowd, there was no sense that 2.0 were better than him in any way. It was nice to hear Taz on commentary for it as I think he wasn't for Parker singles match. This was good in letting us see Hook sell a bit and 2.0 make quick tags and cut off the ring. The double redrum got a huge pop so you can't really fault any of it. If having Bronson there creates even a handful of fans for AEW and makes the people in the building feel like they saw something special, then it worked.
  • War-Joe vs Nese/Woods: Woods screwing around was good. Wardlow's suplexes looked good. Hopefully his leg is ok because Joe finishing off Nese on his own felt weird. Joe just moving out of the way never, ever gets old.
  • Jungle Boy vs Fenix: Urgh, let me say this. My favorite parts of the match were in the two commercial breaks, so DEAN has that to look forward to. I liked some of the holds and the escapes and the pressure being on in the first and I wasn't sold on the strike exchange in the second, until the fans started to really get behind it. Then it had me too. Overall, giving the one cold match on the show so much time felt like a bit of a booking error, but AEW is about wrestling for wrestling's sake sometimes. I'm glad Christian's still a part of things despite the injury. This is where we needed more of a Luchasaurus explanation though.
  • Kingston vs Sammy: Loved it. So smart on how it started. Very smart on how it ended. He should have torn through Lynn too. That's all. I thought the transitions were good, that Sammy being in control when he was felt believable. Forget suspending Kingston. Force him to be a ref like Ronnie Garvin and have him ref all of Sammy and Jericho's matches. That's the angle!
  • Jade vs Diamante: Hopefully Jade was just selling. The strength spot was impressive. Jade comes along with specific spots and exchanges, but the overall timing remains off. She doesn't know how much to let things breathe. It's not her fault. I'm glad Trina smiled at the end because she was a total cipher out there before that.
  • Battle Royal was a very, very good Battle Royal. I loved the chaos outside during the break. Lots of great little character moments throughout. Almost every elimination had something interesting or compelling underlying it. They snuck in all sorts of things, whether it be Danhausen cursing people or the Best Friends hug or the payoff to the Hardy/Private Party stuff or Moriarty going after Garcia, or bits with the Boys and Singh. Mox is probably one of the only guys on the roster who can get a good match out of Page because he'll eat up all of his bullshit. I don't think he was nearly as over against Rush as he would have been two months ago though, so doing it in Cincinnati is probably a big mistake. I think that crowd is going to eat him alive?
  • Hobbs vs Starks was a hell of a thing and it was good to see the crowd go up for Starks on the comeback. Some of those bumps were nuts. I loved Starks kissing hands and high fiving early. That was such a him thing and he should lean into that if he can marry it with intensity. This was really good at snatching hope away at every point right until the end. If the neck thing is still a huge part of Starks' matches two years down the line, he's done. That has to get cycled off at some point for people to really get behind him. It can be a (true) crutch for him to use to help structure his matches for a while, but not forever.

Great stuff overall. I wish they'd announced more for next week. I want something like Danielson/Claudio vs Jericho/Garcia pretty soon. Someone should book that.

Edited by Matt D
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One of my favorite finishes ever is the Best Hart vs Jerry Lawler epic bloodfeud DQ from SummerSlam 93, so seeing it revitalized for Eddie and Sammy (perfect 2022 avatars for Bret and Jerry in terms of the feud dynamic) was an unexpected but very welcome surprise. 

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Seeing this back reminded me of Cactus Jack Nesta Plunge, what La Resistance did to Spike Dudley and Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara at AEW All Out 2020. Hope we get an update Julia Hart's okay.

Edited by The Natural
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I was surprised to see Hangman win the battle royal. I mean, he was clearly the biggest star in it, but as Matt alluded to, running him against Mox in Mox's home town seems like a mistake. Unless they're turning him heel.

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TBH, before everything kicked off at the press conference, the Trios Finals match kind of felt like they might be inching in that direction, since he seemed more focused on protecting the Bucks and Kenny than trying to win the match for his supposed partners - and then in the end cost his team the match.

Now normally that angle probably would have led to a DO/Hangman split with DO as the heels for daring to want to win a match. But it felt to me at least like it was being treated as an actual flaw in Hangman's character - and it wouldn't be that hard to pivot that into full blown heeldom if they need to. Dark Order was always there for him while the Elite treated him like garbage, but in the end he valued the Elite more because they were cool and he's too preoccupied with his own low self worth.

This is one of the downsides of long-form narrative in the professional wrestling world. Page's character arc was neatly wrapped up when he finally overcame his doubts and won the big one... but unlike a movie or a novel where that would have been The End, he still has to stick around after his journey was resolved. And so you wind up retreading the same ground with diminishing results.

Edited by kafkonia
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12 minutes ago, kafkonia said:

This is one of the downsides of long-form narrative in the professional wrestling world. Page's character arc was neatly wrapped up when he finally overcame his doubts and won the big one... but unlike a movie or a novel where that would have been The End, he still has to stick around after his journey was resolved. And so you wind up retreading the same ground with diminishing results.

This is kind of my concern with Starks’ neck. 

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I would like a Miro/Page match before he turns heel, but he really probably should go heel for a year or so because he feels directionless since losing the title. It'd be interesting if nothing else because he's such a good babyface. I didn't think Tay Melo would be a good heel or at least it would be stupid to turn her because she's such a great babyface.

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Excellent opening. The House of Black with opponents looming photo posted on page 2 tells a thousand thrilling words. Loved this opener. I need a Buddy-Darby singles battle. Small detail, but I wish sudden debuts could happen without a bad 'tron video. Maybe without music too - be creative. Seeing as it's a spontaneous moment in the middle of a match the production oughtta meet the purpose. Just a thought, certainly not a complaint on this fantastic opener. Great 'overbooking'. THAT JULIA FUCKING BUMP!!! And then Menard and Parker beautifully lead the 'Dream Partners' tag match. That was near perfect. These guys are tremendous foundational talents for this company. WarJoe-Nese/Woods follows and wholly delivers. Gimme some more Josh Woods v Wardlow! And then no big deal just a Rey Fenix-Jungle Boy classic! Jungle Jack's getting some good 'classic-match-run-rehab' after a couple side steps. I felt the same about Jade here. I really liked how Diamante ate her offense in this. This whole Trina angle ranks up there on the AEDub whack shit list. Obviously a small offense compared to the wackiest of shit - see being forced to listen to Jim Ross every week. Kingston v Sammy was a near perfect set of segments. I thoroughly loved this match and everything about it. These two are both incredible! All that said... why the fuck is Tay playing 'Miss Elizabeth' while Kingston has Sammy locked in the submission? Talk about illogical shit!? And where is the JAS, why is Jericho sitting on commentary still? If this plays out with Sammy acknowledging his being fucked over by his wife and all his friends then sure - makes sense! ANYWAY, I loved this finish! Reminded me of Bret-Lawler. Kingston-Guevara is truly a match I wanna see them run back sooner than later. I was feeling burned out watching the Battle Royal. I'm glad my exhaustion wasn't whilst seated in Queens at whatever ungodly hour. I had to skim thru some of this match. I liked hearing Jericho and Show have a genuine moment over comparing Dalton Castle to Leaping Lanny Poffo. Not a fan of - if your partner catches you it doesn't count as an elimination. Tho, both Castle and Lethal worked very well with this silly caveat. Dean totally nailed them setting up a bunch of ROH storylines here. I loved the finish. Great battle on the outside. I look forward to an Elite reunion. And the visiting team v Moxley 'Championship' bout! The idea that ppl would be excited for Starks and Hobbs as a Main Event after their silly PPV match seems like poor strategy. But so does trying to film so late into the night. All things considered, the match completely delivered! These two both looked as good as they've ever looked. Hobbs' powerslam into the chairs ought to have been the finish. The Starks back bump on the standing chairs was absolutely brutal looking. Great main event. I do hope Tony is learning something from the crowd exhaustion that is happening so clearly on PPVs and these Grand Slam shows (he's not). Sometimes less is more. Regardless, the show was pretty fucking fantastic! 

Edited by HarryArchieGus
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18 hours ago, Phantom Lord said:

Yeah we were out of the building and I think almost at the ramp to the train when we heard another match was going on. I like Ricky Starks and Hobbs, but it was all ready late as hell when that battle royal started.

It was sort of funny to hear people justifying it to themselves on the way out, I heard a lot of "You already know who's winning..." and "It's not a big guy company" and things like that. I should also mention, I told my girlfriend earlier in the week we'd split after Sting's match (not expecting it to open) so the way I see it is that everything after that was a bonus anyway, and getting to see every match but one was a double mega bonus (again, all respect to Starks and Hobbs). We're going to two more shows in the next two months so I'll definitely catch one or both soon.

17 hours ago, The Green Meanie said:

I know some folks have compared Chris Jericho, ROH Champion to Big Show's ECW run, but I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far. "There's no honor in low blows, Tony!"

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Big Show's ECW run was awesome! Jericho's been on fire lately, so he might very well surpass it, but if you asked me a year ago I'd have said Jericho should hope/wish to have a run as dope as The Extreme Giant. 

Edited by Zakk_Sabbath
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9 hours ago, kafkonia said:

This is one of the downsides of long-form narrative in the professional wrestling world. Page's character arc was neatly wrapped up when he finally overcame his doubts and won the big one... but unlike a movie or a novel where that would have been The End, he still has to stick around after his journey was resolved. And so you wind up retreading the same ground with diminishing results.

His losing the title to Punk exacerbated the problem. I'm pretty sure the fans who watched his rise to the top would have been fine with his just being your standard ass-kicking top wrestling babyface for a year or so while they thought of something meatier to do next. But when he lost the title, he was left in limbo.

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I’m a Hangman fan, but probably a bigger Punk fan. I was definitely being pulled in two directions with that title match at Double or Nothing, but like I’ve said before - it was a situation where you either put it on Punk now, or lose the chance to do it, because most likely he won’t be around for a long time (obviously this was pre-Gripebomb). People like Danielson and Mox will be here until the wheels fall off, but I could’ve seen Punk retiring after a lengthy title run that was probably originally planned. Doing the honors for MJF one last time to drop the title, then a retirement match against Danielson.

But he blew that all up after he left the scrum table. Might have been salvaged if the locker room fight didn’t happen, but, yeah.

Anyways, I have a long weekend at work so I think I might watch Dynamite/Rampage while I’m here. All I’ve seen is Saraya’s debut.

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1 hour ago, tbarrie said:

His losing the title to Punk exacerbated the problem. I'm pretty sure the fans who watched his rise to the top would have been fine with his just being your standard ass-kicking top wrestling babyface for a year or so while they thought of something meatier to do next. But when he lost the title, he was left in limbo.

I'd argue that running two defenses against Cole was the first sign he was in limbo[1], since there was no real reason for the rematch, especially in a company that generally runs fewer rematches than the WWE. Although at that point the writing may have been on the wall about him dropping the belt.

Then the build to his match with Punk was weird - who knows now how much of that was because of backstage issues? - with him being positioned as "defending the company from Punk" when there'd been no indication (outside of Eddie's promo, and he's Eddie so of course he'd say it) that there was any such problem. It made him seem out of touch and almost felt like he was leaning heel, since he seemed to be telling a different story than everyone around him.

From the meta side, the Elite/Punk debacle has also hamstrung him, obviously. If people take Punk's side, then obviously they'll be less inclined to cheer Hangman. If they think the Elite were in the right, then they might think Hangman let them fight his battle for him. And if they're like me, they're just tired of all that nonsense and he's collateral damage.

[1] Confession: The Cole feud was so bland that when I was first writing this I completely blanked on all of Page's other defenses.

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22 hours ago, Shartnado said:

And the rap artist turned on Diamante after the loss. I guess that's why she wasn't at ringside during the match.

I don't know anyone that's heard of that lady and I still have no idea who she is. She was at ringside during the match, she just did literally nothing. Then, she turned on the person that brought her out after mentioning her like three times previously. Diamante looked like a huge idiot.

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