8/19 AEW Rampage Results: McGuire’s Review of Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee vs. Private Party for the AEW Tag Titles, Hook vs. Zack Clayton for the FTW Title, The Trustbusters vs. Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor in a Tournament Match AEW Trios Titles, Penelope Ford vs. Athena

By Colin McGuirestaff member of ProWrestling.net (@McGMondays)

AEW Rampage (Episode 54)
Recorded August 17, 2022 in Charleston, West Virginia at the Charleston Coliseum
Broadcast on August 19, 2022 on TNT

Jim Ross said hello to everyone and introduced Tony Schiavone, Excalibur and Chris Jericho as the commentary team along with himself. Claudio’s music then hit and Claudio Castagnoli went to the ring with Wheeler Yuta. Castagnoli called Ricky The Dragon Steamboat as one of his idols. The crowd chanted “Ricky!” Castagnoli has stated that he wants to defend his ROH title and therefore he is issuing an open challenge. Dustin Rhodes cut Castagnoli and said he would accept the challenge.

Dustin took to the ring and said he had dreamed of holding a world title for 34 years. Dustin said winning his title was one of his dreams. Dustin said he would give Castagnoli the best Natural Dustin Rhodes he had ever seen. Castagnoli responded by saying the two have a lot in common and that Dustin had his best run in AEW. Castagnoli said Dustin still had the same fire and accepted Dustin’s challenge for the next week. The two shook hands and Castagnoli raised his belt. From there we went to a promo with Ruby Soho and Ortiz and Ortiz screamed a bunch, which was a lot of fun. We returned to the ring.

1. Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee vs. Private Party for AEW Tag Titles. Lee and Kassidy started the match and Lee tried to recreate where Lee threw Kassidy a thousand miles away, but Kassidy landed on his feet. Swerve scored and hit an uppercut before leaping off the top to come up against a back elbow. Swerve found himself on the outside and Kassidy landed a tornado dive on Swerve on the outside. We then got our first IP [c].

Coming back from the break, Private Party was in control, but Lee quickly got the hot tag and cleaned the house. Lee inevitably threw Kassidy a thousand miles. Lee landed a touch lariat for a two count. Quen scored and Lee wrinkled it. Swerve scored and hit a kick for a good near drop. Swerve then hit the JML driver for the win.

Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee beat Private Party by pinfall in 5:58.

After the match, Lee shook hands with both guys in Private Party. We then went backstage, where we had a promo from QT Marshall and The Nightmare Factory. Powerhouse Hobbs interrupted everything and called QT, saying he would eliminate Ricky Starks. QT said he would do the job, then we went back to the ring.

2. Hook vs. Zack Clayton for the FTW Title. Clayton took to the ring with a microphone and said he was West Virginia’s biggest star. Clayton said it was too bad he had to win the FTW title in the “sinkhole” that is West Virginia. Clayton said he would take the title back to a state people respect, which is New Jersey, and we can all laugh about that. Hook’s music hit and to the game we went. Hook choked Clayton and that was it.

Hook defeated Zack Clayton via referee stoppage in 13 seconds.

From there, we went behind the scenes at Daddy Magic. Papa Magic said that was a hell of a win. He asked if the FTW title was owned by a sports artist, and then we had a commercial break.

McGuire’s thoughts: A lot here. First, let me officially say that Dustin Rhodes and Claudio Castagnoli will have Match of the Week next week, and yes, that includes everything from the AEW World Title Unification Match. Second, the tag match kind of surprised me because I thought Private Party would have a bit more sparkle, but that’s the way it is. A sub-six minute match wasn’t what I had in mind, but even so it moved the storyline between Swerve and Lee forward a bit given the way Lee shook hands and not Swerve. Third, I’m so glad the Hook match went the way it did. I talked about how Clayton’s presence annoyed me last week, both with my Rampage review last week and Monday’s column from my McGuire. All in all, it was a very solid and very busy first 15 minutes of the hour.

Back from the break, we had an interview with Billy Gunn, who said he was picking up his sons with The Acclaimed on Dynamite. From there, because we had “such a short Hook match,” we had a pending match that included Buddy Matthews.

3. Buddy Matthews vs. Serpentico. Murphy kicked Serpentico to start the match. The action spilled outside, where Murphy threw Serpentico into the railing. Back in the ring, Matthews hit the snap of the pump handle for the win.

Buddy Matthews beat Serpentico by pinfall in 1:08.

After the match, Miro’s music hit and Trio came out wearing Malikai Black’s mask. Murphy and Miro brawled. Miro and Murphy fought in the ring, but it was mostly Miro stopping Murphy. Miro kept yelling about the pagans and eventually super kicked Murphy out of the ring. From there, we had a behind-the-scenes segment with Britt Baker and her crew. Baker said Thunderstorm was the most toxic tag team in all of wrestling. Baker mocked Thunder Rosa and Toni Storm.

McGuire’s thoughts: I like the idea that we can add a match at any time if a match is shorter than expected. While it’s a little corny to some, I think it pays homage to the realism that pro wrestling always hopes to convey. That said, Matthews beat Serpentico, but Mrio beat Murphy. I’m curious about two things there. First, the CJ Perry/Julia Hart stuff could be a lot of fun, but I’m not sure how that could pan out because Julia is gaining momentum as a badass gothic wrestler and CJ Perry is… Miro’s wife? Would Perry make the most of it? I do not know. Second, there was no paint on Miro’s eye, so I guess we’re done with the haze leaving permanent damage to the wrestlers who endure it. In some ways it’s sad. In others, it’s easy to understand.

4. Penelope Ford vs. Athena. Athena taunted Ford, then landed an arm to take control. Ford ran into a knee from Athena. Eventually, Ford hit a dropkick on Athena’s back. With Athena on the apron, Ford kicked a leg and continued to slam Athena’s head on the apron as we went to the next PIP [c].

Back from the break, Athena covered Ford for the win. Yes, that sounds generic, but that’s what happened.

Athena beat Penelope Ford by pinfall in 5:40.

After the match, The Baddies came out and Jade Cargill had a hammer. Cargill ruined Athena’s wings and then went to the ring to attack Athena with it. The heels were high and we went to see a video between Moxley and Punk. Excalibur has gone through Dynamite and All Out maps, including the return of the Casino Battle Royal at All out. We then went to take a break.

Back from the break, we had the Mark Henry segment. Ariya Daivari spoke up and said they would become the first-ever AEW Trios Champions. Chuck Taylor and Trent spoke on behalf of their team and Trent said the belts were for them. Orange Cassidy interrupted Henry saying “It’s main event time” was his line, which was funny.

5. The Trustbusters vs. Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, and Chuck Taylor in an AEW Trios Titles Tournament match. Daivari and Taylor started the match, but Slim J and Trent scored. Trent slammed Slim J for a pin. Parker Boudreaux scored and beat everyone. As the Trustbusters took control outside the ring, we went to our final commercial break [c].

Coming back from the break, Slim J went after Orange Cassidy, but Trent landed a half and a half on Slim J before Cassidy scored and hit the low kicks. Cassidy landed a cross-body on Slim J then took out Daivari with a DDT. Boudreaux came in and took Cassidy down, but Trent and Taylor followed. It didn’t matter because Boudreaux beat all best friends. The three best friends hit a triple dropkick on Boudreaux.

Cassidy and Slim J faced off and Slim J was in control. Slim J went to the top and hit a tornado on Best Friends outside. Daivari got a blind tag and landed a frog splash on Cassidy for a two count. Outside the ring, Taylor and Boudreaux fought before Cassidy hit the Orange Punch on Boudreaux. Inside the ring, Sonny Kiss stepped in to give the Trustbusters the upper hand and Slim J landed a reverse DDT for a good near fall on Cassidy. Out of nowhere, Danhausen scared off Kiss and Slim J. The Best Friends trio hit their finisher for the win.

Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor defeated the Trustbusters by pinfall in 10:32.

After the game, Best Friends and Danhausen posed to close the show.

McGuire’s thoughts: It was a pretty fine main event, but nothing particularly special. I know last week’s Rampage was The Trustbusters Show, but you should have known that Best Friends weren’t going out in the first round of that tournament. The star, coming out, was Slim J, who was the best Slim J a Slim J could be, and of course him for that. Danhausen’s spot came as a slight surprise to me, but even so, I guess that means we should start to wonder when he’ll become an official member of Best Friends. It would make sense, and don’t tell me it wouldn’t be fun. Either way, the most intriguing thing here is what happens next for the Trustbusters. They had a hell of a week last week, but this week they took the loss. Is it back to Dark and Elevation now that some of the superstars are back? Or are the Trustbusters here to stay? I’ll have more to say in my audio review.

Listen to “11/18 Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast With Jason Powell (Episode 136): Court Bauer on MLW Reboot, Pandemic Precautions, & More” on Spreaker.

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