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    Sunday, May 8, 2022

    The Rampage Report (5/6/22): Finally, Some Progress

    This week on Rampage, we get two (!!!) women's matches, and they get more ring time than the men! Is this... progress?

    Women's tag team action!

    As if to make up for having only one women's match on Dynamite last Wednesday, which wasn't even AEW's women's match, they're doing two of them on Rampage. This is the result of having more women on the roster than they used to have, and I'm not complaining. We start off this week's episode with Toni Storm and Ruby Soho versus Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter:

    Honestly, this could've easily been the episode's main event (it does have Dr. Britt, one of the company's biggest stars, after all) and I wouldn't have complained. Toni Storm and Ruby Soho, the former WWE alumnae, get to show off what they're really made of, and so does Jamie Hayter. In fact, the match kind of exposes Britt as one of the more inexperienced women they have, but we're not really holding that against her.

    Toni Storm and Ruby Soho pick up the win in a hard-hitting match that hypes up the women's Owen Hart tournament bracket, and I'm looking forward to seeing one of them go deep in the cup.

    Riho's back!

    The second women's match is the final qualifier for the women's Owen Cup bracket, with Riho making her comeback from an injury a few months ago against fan favorite (and girl we really need to see more of) Yuka Sakazaki.

    I don't know if Riho's taking it a little easy as she gets back in the ring from injury or they were told to wrestle something closer to the Western style, but this match felt a step slower from what we usually see from the joshi matchups in AEW. Riho's still Riho, and seeing Yuka feels like a breath of fresh air; the ring time they got is more than enough to honor what both women can do in there.

    Of course, Riho takes the final spot in the Owen Cup, as she should. That leaves the female Joker left to be announced, and I haven't the slightest clue as to who it could be.

    Jay Lethal solidifies himself

    This week's main event honestly should've started the show, but I guess they're really pushing for anything involving Satnam Singh to be a big deal. Jay Lethal goes up against DDT standout and import Konnosuke Takeshita, who has been tearing it up on the Dark shows for the past few weeks.

    Takeshita isn't like most Japanese imports who tend to focus on the strong style or Japanese flavor of match; instead, he's a Western-ready "less is more" type of athlete who easily fits in American programming. This has been what's made his matches on Dark watchable and not awkward at all, and when you put him in there with someone as good as Jay Lethal, you know you're in for a solid bout.

    This matchup is nothing more than a tuneup for Lethal and a way to put on a good main event for this week's episode—all the important stuff happens after the match, where the Best Friends and Samoa Joe somehow come out against Lethal, Singh, and Sonjay Dutt (I'm not even sure I missed the part that explains why they're the ones helping Joe out against the trio). You could've easily done this to start the show and have the women's Owen Cup hype close it out.

    Rampage 5/6/22 Report: Pretty fun episode that packs in a lot of good action and storyline advancement. I just feel like the ROH stuff is second-tier to any AEW storyline, even though Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal are involved, and I don't know how to shake this stigma. A-

    Little rampages

    • AEW really makes the most out of their hour of Rampage, as on top of the four matches (one of which is a Hook squash) they get out two segments. This is smart use of TV time, and Rampage would feel like a consistently bigger show if they kept frontloading it with stars like the time they used the Blackpool Combat Club for two weeks last month.
    • Scorpio Sky continues his slow-burn face turn by having a change of heart against Dan Lambert and (to a smaller extent) Ethan Page, and now I can tell that the endgame is a Sky/Page breakup, not the Sky/Frankie Kazarian dream-ish match that they're now doing for next week's Dynamite. I can live with this, as Scorp has always been pretty over.  

    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 (5/6/22): Finally, Some Progress Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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