AEW Rampage recap & reactions (May 6, 2022): Be afraid of Jay Lethal

AEW rampage (May 6, 2022) emanated from Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore, MD. The show featured Jay Lethal establishing his power, Eddie Kingston threatening Chris Jericho, and excellent women’s wrestling.

Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show followed by reactions.

Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks, and Chris Jericho were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter vs. Toni Storm & Ruby Soho

Reba was ringside. The pace was constant movement with teamwork from both sides. When Baker was in trouble in the corner, Reba provided a referee distraction for Baker to gouge the eye of Storm. That led to a butterfly suplex from Baker. Hayter didn’t miss a beat to connect on a sliding lariat as soon as Storm sat up. Baker followed with a curb stomp. Baker went for the cover, but Soho tackled Hayter on top of the pile to break the count. Soho shoved Hayter out of the ring. Baker clocked Soho with a thrust kick. Storm took advantage of the melee for a roll-up on Baker to win.

Toni Storm & Ruby Soho defeated Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter.

Eddie Kingston called in to the broadcast to threaten Chris Jericho. For the first time in 20 years, Kingston’s wife feared for his safety from him. That image is burned into Kingston’s soul of him. He will make Jericho feel fear and pain for the feelings his wife had.

Tony Nese was upset that he had to force his way on the show, even though, he is the hottest free agent signing in AEW. Mark Sterling formally requested a match for Nese against the undefeated phenom. (Hook?) Nese called out Danhausen.

Hook vs. JD Drake

After a takedown from Hook, Drake foot-faced him on the referee separation. Drake chopped Hook hard in the chest. Hook didn’t back down and asked for another one. Drake chopped away, but Hook headbutted his hand. Hook then executed a magnificent suplex.

Drake went for a reverse DDT, but Hook countered for the Redrum submission on Drake’s back. Hook refused to release the choke after victory.

Hook defeated JD Drake.

Afterward, Danhausen came out requesting Hook as backup against Nese and Sterling. As Hook contemplated, Danhausen lost his patience and poked Hook. The cold-hearted, handsome devil shoved Danhausen down to the mat. Danhausen made a peace offering to present a bag of chips. Hook picked up the snack then tossed it down to the mat upon exit.

Dax Harwood respects Adam Cole as an athlete, but he has no respect for the man as a human being. FTR enjoys the positive reception from fans. In the past, they were rightfully booed, because they were nasty ruffians. Harwood is going to bring back that attitude against Cole in the Owen Hart tournament.

Owen Hart tournament qualifier: Yuka Sakazaki vs Riho

Riho entered wearing black gear for the first time in AEW. She almost scored an early victory off a flying crossbody. Sakazaki barely beat three to kick out. The Magical Girl came alive using a cartwheel as an evasive maneuver to strike with a dropkick. She followed with a cannonball senton to the outside. Sakazaki focused on damaging Riho’s leg from her. When Sakazaki went for her springboard splash finisher, Riho put her knees up. Riho went on the attack with a dragon suplex. Sakazaki ducked a running knee to counter with a roll-up exchange. Riho exploded up for a double knee strike. 1, 2, Sakazaki barely kicked out again.

Sakazaki gained the upper hand dueling on the turnbuckles for a super maneuver driving Riho’s face into the mat.

The match continued with both women throwing blows in the center of the ring. Sakazaki wound up for a discus strike. Riho dropped low for a takedown transitioning to a roll-up victory.

Riho defeated Yuka Sakazaki.

The women’s Owen Hart tournament bracket was revealed:

  • Tony Storm vs. Jamie Hayter
  • Dr. Britt Baker DMD vs. Joker (mystery wrestler)
  • Riho vs. ruby-soho
  • Red Velvet vs. hikaru shida

Shawn Spears took credit for building Wardlow’s ego into a false sense of invincibility. Wardlow has become AEW’s #1 giant, and Spears has the remedy with his Giant Killer chair from him.

Dan Lambert insulted the Baltimore crowd. Ethan Page did not think Sammy Guevara was a person who keeps his word about him, so neither will he. The mixed tag bout with Paige VanZant is off. Frankie Kazarian interrupted to request the TNT Championship match that Scorpio Sky promised. Sky vowed to be a dominant champion. He will bring respect back to the belt as a fighting champion. That means Lambert has to put his strap back in the trophy case. Lambert and Page were confused by Sky’s attitude towards him. The champ continued on the mic to accept Kaz’s challenge.

Jungle Boy confronted Ricky Starks on stage. Fisticuffs ensued. JB held the FTW gold to hype their title clash on dynamite.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Konosuke Takeshita respects Jay Lethal, but he is not afraid. Lethal will give Takeshita a reason to be afraid. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Jay Lethal vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh were ringside. Lethal strut after a dropkick. Takeshita strut after hip tosses. Takeshita took charge with a jumping shoulder tackle and slingshot iron. Singh stepped over as a distraction, so Lethal could hit a suicide dive. Lethal was in control with a catapult into the corner, tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, kneebreaker, and dragon screw leg whip. Lethal went to finish with a Lethal Injection, but Takeshita dropkicked him when upside down against the ropes.

As the match progressed, Takeshita unloaded a wicked lariat as both men were on the turnbuckles.

Lethal escaped a dragon suplex to counter for a figure-four. Takeshita was able to reach the ropes for a break. Lethal went back to the figure-four, but Takeshita countered for a brainbuster. Lethal kicked out on the pinfall.

Lethal picked up steam for a Lethal Injection, but Takeshita clobbered with a clothesline and jumping knee strike. Lethal was dazed with his shoulders flat on the mat. Dutt hopped onto the apron distracting the referee. That gave Lethal enough recovery time to kick out at 2.

Lethal scored a roll-up. Takeshita forced his way out sending Lethal into the ropes. Lethal used that momentum to bounce back for the Lethal Injection cutter to win.

Jay Lethal defeated Konosuke Takeshita.

Afterward, the bad guys put the boots to Takeshita. Best Friends ran down, but they were handled by Singh. Orange Cassidy teased a confrontation with Singh only to clear the way for Samoa Joe to arrive. Security kept Joe from entering the ring as the show closed.

Jay Lethal and Konosuke Takeshita had a dandy of a match in the main event. Takeshita made a name for himself in AEW with that performance. The counter movement from both men were slick. The finish was a creative way for Lethal to strike with his finisher. It flowed smoothly making it seem like a spur of the moment reaction. Lethal is doing quality work after a somewhat slow start to his AEW career. He is right that wrestlers should be afraid, especially with Satnam Singh by his side. Singh continues to do well as an imposing force. Smashing Chuck Taylor on the mat looked brutal in a good way. After Samoa Joe said he was coming for Lethal, it made me think Joe would be getting physical. When that didn’t happen, it made for a lackluster appearance to finish the show.

Toni Storm, Ruby Soho, Dr. Britt Baker DMD, and Jamie Hayter started the show with a firecracker of a contest. The action was hot and never slowed down. I don’t think AEW needs women’s tag titles, but this was the type of match that makes me curious about a fully developed division. The flow in teamwork was excellent. For example, I loved how Hayter was already running the ropes for a sliding lariat before Baker lifted Storm for a suplex. That made it a nifty bing, bang, boom moment. Give me more of that, and I can be easily persuaded to be on board for AEW introducing women’s tag team gold.

Riho and Yuka Sakazaki produced high-octane action. The back and forth exchanges popped and kept me on the edge of my seat. The finish was a creative setup showing strategy and skill from Riho. The Owen Hart women’s tournament should be a good time. I like how Storm and Baker are on the same side of the bracket to prevent an obvious ending. I can envision Storm, Baker, Riho, Soho, or Hikaru Shida winning the whole thing. That’s a testament to how strong the field is. That’s not even considering who comes in as the joker entrant. For now, I’m picking Storm versus Soho in the final.

Hook rocked the house. His suplex on JD Drake was such a cool visual. Controlling the weight for a slow rise over the top and arching down for maximum impact was a thing of beauty. The story with Hook and Danhausen has taken a pleasant turn of delightfulness. It originally seemed like cheeky shenanigans for comedy sake, but it has now progressed into something with feeling. Even though Nese’s punchline calling out Danhausen was seen coming a mile way, I still laughed hard when it was delivered. That is a smart match by AEW to book to coerce Hook into saving Danhausen. And when it happens, the roof is going to blow off the building.

I don’t know what to make of the ever-evolving alignments with this Sammy Guevara/American Top Team story. Fans started booing Sammy and Tay Conti when I don’t think that was the original plan. Ethan Page and Dan Lambert were garnering some fan support by default, however, they were both clearly rude dudes on this evening. Sky seems to be shifting gears to a babyface, but then he makes a joke about Conti being passed around the locker room. I give this segment a shoulder shrug for now. I have no idea what’s going on. Sky defending against Frankie Kazarian is a match I want to see, so that’s a plus.

Eddie Kingston’s sob story on that phone call is an example of why I find it hard to root for him as a wrestling character. So, his wife feels bad, and that’s not right. But, he’s cool with hurting Jericho so bad that he ca n’t play with his children of him anymore, which was a threat from Kingston long before the fireball wizardry. That reeks of hypocrisy. Does Jericho deserve painful payback? Absolutely. Am I emotionally invested in rooting for Kingston to succeed? Absolutely not. Maybe it’s my fault for thinking Kingston is supposed to be a good guy these days. His troubled character from him has been pretty consistent from the start, and it’s not like Kingston is asking to be cheered. With that said, will I still enjoy seeing the story play out? Give me a hell yeah. Also, give me more Daddy Magic. And wizard tricks. And sparkly boots from Jericho. Is there any way to turn this feud into the Wizard of Oz?

Grade: B+

rampage had really good action with high-energy contests. The comedic moments felt natural to bring genuine chuckles. Throw in a little story progression to round out an enjoyable episode.

Share your thoughts about rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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