AEW Rampage (July 8, 2022) emanated from Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. The show featured Eddie Kingston packing a big hit, Tully Blanchard down to his old deviated stuff with Jonathan Gresham, a busting feud for the ROH Women’s World Championship, and Orange Cassidy winning his bet.
Let’s start straight with a recap of the show followed by reactions.
Excalibur, Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone were commentators. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.
Eddie Kingston vs. Konosuke Takeshita
The match started with a respectful grappling. Takeshita spiced it up when he delivered a cheap forearm kick on a rope break. Kingston fired back with an angry chop and suplexes. Takeshita retaliated with clotheslines and a Blue Thunder Bomb. The stock exploded back and forth. Spinning back elbow from Takeshita, Siato suplex from Kingston, German suplex from Takeshita, enzuigiri from Kingston, then a running knee from Takeshita to close the sequence.
The fight spilled out. Takeshita blocked a suplex on the apron to counter a German suplex. Kingston blocked a suplex on the ground to counter a Saito suplex. Back inside the ring, Kingston hit a heavy lariat and a Liger Bomb. Takeshita blocked a spinning backfist to beat Kingston with strikes and execute a brainbuster.
Kingston and Takeshita took turns throwing punches. Takeshita varied his high and low strikes. Kingston returned for neck chops and a suplex. Takeshita landed a lariat then dodged a back fist to blast Kingston with an elbow strike. Kingston dodged a jumping knee to crush a spinning backfist. Takeshita took the force and retaliated with a jumping knee. Kingston absorbed the strike and used that opening to hit Takeshita with a spinning second back fist. This one did the trick for Kingston to win.
Eddie Kingston defeated Konosuke Takeshita.
Athena and Kris Statlander had a message for Jade Cargill. They believe that Jade has been avoiding real competition, as she is afraid of losing the TBS Championship. Athena and Statlander aren’t going anywhere until they get the title they both deserve.
Crochet highlight package.
AEW used ROH’s representation for the upcoming fight with Bobby Cruise as ring announcer and Caprice Coleman as commentary.
Gates of Agony vs. Jonathan Gresham and Lee Moriarty
Toa Liona and Kaun were flanked by Tully Blanchard. The Gates of Agony attacked before the bell. They isolated Moriarty using a big boy attack and suplexes. When Moriarty had an opening to score Gresham, the Octopus was distracted by Blanchard. It seemed strange that Gresham would allow this mistake to happen. The Gates of Agony have regained control. Moriarty created space for a dive beacon. Gresham withdrew his hand. It was no coincidence. Something was wrong.
Gresham jumped to the ground to drop Moriarty. The ROH World Champion then hugged Tully. The Gates of Agony completed the job on Moriarty with a discus lariat from Liona and a fireman’s carry gutbuster from Kaun.
Gates of Agony defeated Jonathan Gresham and Lee Moriarty.
Kingston was given promotional time backstage. He gave Takeshita props as a rising star. Kingston turned his attention to Chris Jericho for a barbed wire challenge. Every drop of blood shed by Jericho will be a reward for Kingston’s friends. The last straw before passing out will be for Ruby Soho. It was later announced that Kingston vs. Jericho would be a Barbed Wire deathmatch with the Jericho Appreciation Society banned from ringside and locked in a shark cage. This fight is reserved for the July 20 edition of dynamite.
Serena Deeb and Mercedes Martinez vs. Kayla Sparks and Christina Marie
Deeb dominated while talking trash to his partner. Martinez tagged herself to kick ass. Deeb got back into place to secure the victory with the Serenity Lock.
Serena Deeb and Mercedes Martinez defeated Kayla Sparks and Christina Marie.
Deeb refused to let go of the submission hold. I felt like the referee was about to overturn the win due to lack of sportsmanship. Martinez forced Deeb to back down so the decision wouldn’t be overturned. As the referee raised his arms in victory, Deeb charged to connect on a cheap clothesline to Martinez. Deeb then applied the Serenity Lock to the ROH Women’s Champion.
Gresham and Blanchard discussed their new partnership. Gresham is the foundation of ROH. He signed a (Tony Khan) contract in March and has been sitting at home waiting for the call. When Blanchard rang, Gresham would have been foolish not to listen. Blanchard laid out the plan for Gresham to return to action. Due to their duplicity, Moriarty earned a title shot against Gresham the next week.
Mark Henry interviewed key event attendees. Mark Sterling explained that if Tony Nese defeats Orange Cassidy, then OC will sign the People Against Swerve Strickland petition. Danhausen, as a lawyer, opposed it. Cassidy didn’t care. Nese was furious that OC didn’t take anything seriously. Nese warned that not signing PASS would be the biggest mistake of Cassidy’s life. Enough talk. Henry concluded with “It’s main event time!”
Matt Sydal was upset with Gresham’s disrespectful actions towards Moriarty. There will be repercussions. Moriarty was confident of winning the next ROH title fight.
Tony Nese vs. Orange Cassidy
Mark Sterling and Danhausen had front row seats. Cassidy played her games to avoid Nese’s attacks and get under her skin. Nese managed to hit a gutbuster and throw Cassidy out of the ring for Sterling to stomp. Nese went back to work smashing the OC to a pulp.
Cassidy blocked a superplex to knock Nese down with punches. Sterling jumped on the apron to distract himself. Danhausen shot down the Esquire. Before Danhausen could curse Sterling, Nese landed a sliding dropkick. Cassidy capitalized for a stunning rally and Michinoku rider. Nese athletically dodged a superman punch to pop up for a barrage of kicks and a transitional German suplex.
Cassidy found her groove to hit two rocking DDTs and a flying DDT. 1, 2, Nese expelled. Sterling jumped on the apron again. OC kicked the shin. Sterling collapsed in excruciating pain as a ploy to take legal action. Nese took advantage of the distraction for a pump driver. 1, 2, Cassidy expelled.
Nese lowered his knee cap to attack. Cassidy pulled away and Nese collided with the turnbuckle. Sterling entered the ring with his petition clipboard. Danhausen hit Sterling Square in the nuggets. He cursed Nese, then Cassidy landed a punch from Superman for the win.
Orange Cassidy defeated Tony Nese.
Tully Blanchard is a genius. This is not a revelation, but it must be said after the devious events of Carnage. Not only did it convince Jonathan Gresham to line up with Tully Blanchard Enterprises, it instantly injected the ROH scene with some interesting backstory. Gresham has been given a difficult task to overcome as a babyface who pops up from time to time for pure wrestling. With Blanchard by his side, fans have immediate curiosity about what’s to come.
Gresham’s turn came out of nowhere given his honorable character in ROH, but he backed up the turnoff with a reasonable explanation. Looking at the bigger picture for Gresham and the ROH World Championship, I think a duel with Blackpool Combat Club might be in order. Gresham previously mentioned Bryan Danielson as a future opponent to determine technical superiority. If the American Dragon is still on the injured list for the ROH PPV, then it would make a lot of sense for Claudio Castagnoli to fill in once more.
Eddie Kingston and Konosuke Takeshita delivered a slobberknocker. It looked like a video game fight. Both men took a massive punishment and kept pushing until the loser’s power gauge was empty. The counter game added layers of fun to the story. Takeshita was the show’s standout wrestler. His style makes me want to root for his success. I really liked its high and low striking burst. It’s not a tactic we see every day in an AEW ring.
The contest between Orange Cassidy and Tony Nese was equal parts action and comedy. Nese looked great with his attacking arsenal. Cassidy performed as he always does. Either you like it or you don’t. Mark Sterling and Danhausen added a burlesque side. Although it was silly at times, Nese and Cassidy hurt me on a few close drops to make it satisfying.
The explosive relationship between Serena Deeb and Mercedes Martinez has exploded as expected. Ever since they formed a tag team, it was clear that this was the direction of a future ROH women’s title fight. Deeb and Martinez played their part well in the simple story to stoke the fire of anticipation for a showdown.
This episode of Carnage was a “mileage may vary” kind of show. The strong-style opening, ROH PPV build, and Orange Cassidy main event are all things that may have mixed reception. Despite this, I felt the show as a whole was well executed with purpose. The spread of Tully Blanchard and Jonathan Gresham provided the “anything can happen” vibe to keep viewers tuned in every Friday night.
Share your thoughts on Carnage. How would you rate it? Who stole the show?