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    Sunday, January 30, 2022

    The Rampage Report (1/28/22): Apply the Formula

    Jon Moxley and The Acclaimed's Anthony Bowens

    Happy Royal Rumble weekend, wrestling fans! If you didn't like what WWE had to offer this weekend, there's always the promise of a fun little hour of wrestling care of All Elite Wrestling. Rampage, as always, is a solid hour of decent to good wrestling. Let's get to it, shall we?

    Happy Moxley

    For the second week in a row, Jon Moxley opens Rampage with a match against a midcarder in the Acclaimed's Anthony Bowens. 

    Some fans may not like this because they want Mox in a big role, but it's clear that they're slow-burning what looks like an explosive feud with Bryan Danielson. What they're missing out on is that Mox is obviously just having a lot of fun in there wrestling the matches he wants to wrestle; he's wrestling the way he wants to, in a more Japanese-inspired style that seems to be the influence of Eddie Kingston.

    For his efforts, Anthony Bowens also wrestles the best televised match of his AEW career so far, and that's no small feat. For now, Bowens gets fed to a conquering Moxley who's slowly building up his momentum, which isn't a bad thing (for posterity, last week I said he should've lost to Ethan Page, but only because I want the Men of the Year to get a push). 

    They're not in a rush to do something big—the pay-per-view is still more than a month away—so I respect these little Rampage openers to make the show more must-watch.

    Grandpa fight

    The match between FTR and the Nightmare Family (Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson) gets moved to this week's episode, but the real highlight of this match was really just the grandpa fight between Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard.

    The kids of the Nightmare Family (well, only Shotty Lee) get their licks in on FTR in a quick match, and I'm not quite sure we really needed this on Rampage. Felt like it could've easily been on Dark, and the resulting minutes be given to Jade Cargill and Julia Hart and the main event.

    Title defense #2

    This episode follows the same formula as last week's, which I hope doesn't carry over to the next week: a Jon Moxley opener, then an AEW Tag Team Championship defense with the next tag team contenders in line. This week, it's Private Party in a fun little sprint.

    There's personally nothing to complain about, but I imagine some fans will take issue at how both teams kick out of some pretty brutal double-team moves (including Jungle Boy kicking out of Private Party's Gin 'n' Juice finisher early in the match). I can let it slide as it's a championship match, and you generally have to step up and break your limits when the stakes are high—yes, even when the match is in AEW's B-show. 

    That's the kind of dramatic stuff that makes your minor TV show more must-watch; Jurassic Express is doing a pretty good job of being fighting champs thus far, but I genuinely hope they switch it up next Friday.

    Rampage 1/28/22 Report: Last week's top-to-bottom great episode is better, but this episode is also a pretty good watch. Certainly a better hour of wrestling than the Royal Rumble premium live event. B+

    Little rampages

    • Julia Hart and Jade Cargill have a quick TBS Championship defense (which also follows the formula set by last week's episode) and as always, Jade plays her part well. It's hard not to, as this match is pretty fast. The bigger intrigue is that Julia seems to be readying a heel turn to join the House of Black, or else she wouldn't get a random title shot where she shows a bit of an edge.
    Photo from AEW


    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor-in-Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast. He gets by in this hard-knock life through working in advertising. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, and he likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account. 

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    Item Reviewed: The Rampage Report (1/28/22): Apply the Formula Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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