For the second week in a row I was in the building for AEW Rampage and this special expanded Grand Slam edition really *puts on David Caruso glasses* hit it out of the park. Yes, I know the event had the name after the tennis Grand Slam not the baseball one but let me have this. So let’s jump right into it!
Honorable mention: Penelope Ford. She won so she is probably deserving of a spot on this list but the match was forgettable and post-match was only slightly more memorable. Orange Cassidy. He got one of the biggest pops of the night when he took out Jack Evans and anyone who can stick it to Matt Hardy deserves mentioning. Paige VanZant. Kayla Harrison who was with the ATT contingent in Newark is the far scarier woman in MMA but VanZant being more well known is a good get for AEW and her doing Roman Reign’s fist cock before unloading on body shots to Jericho was a fun visual.
5: C.M. Punk: This match reminded me of how amazing C.M. Punk can be…on the mic. In his first TV match and second match period in 7 years you’d think Punk would be placed higher but this was not his best showing. This match struggled to get out of second gear for most of it but did pick up near the end with Punk landing a gnarly looking hurricanrana off the top rope to Hobbs and finally finishing him off with the GTS. The order of this feud still feels a bit off as I’d think Hobbs would be the last member of Team Taz to conquer because he’s the most physically imposing but nevertheless I’m excited for the impeding mic battle with Starks and Punk and to see what Hook can do in the ring. This was far from a bad showing for Punk I think I just had my expectations up too high.
4: Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston and…HOMICIDE: The meeting between Suzuki-Gun and the Survivors of the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch was an old fashioned brawl that saw Moxley choked, whipped and bound in ways Wall Street types usually have to pay good money for. We got vintage Suzuki-Gun as Archer beat up extras at ringside during the madness to give Moxley some people to land on. Despite Kingston eating a table and Moxley being 50 Shades of Grey’d most of the match our heroes were able to make the comeback and get the win thanks to the surprise first AEW appearance from NY (and indy wrestling on a whole) legend and Eddie Kingston running mate Homicide! This was a great way to end what was a very long and tiring but very fun night and send us home happy.
3: The Lucha Brothers, Santana and Ortiz: As pointed out on commentary 3 teams in this match were from New York (Santana, Ortiz & Private Party are all from NYC and Butcher & The Blade are from Buffalo) and they all performed like this was a homecoming. This match went from 0 to 60 at the ring of the bell and never let off the gas. Being in the building I can tell you the crowd was starting to lose a little interest 3+ hours into the show but these 8 guys brought us back! The highlight of the match was a simultaneous double monnsault and double tope suicidas all to the same side from Fenix, Pentagon, Santana & Ortiz. The chemistry these teams had shown through when they hit the Hardy Family Office with tag moves typically reserved for their full time tag partners. Santana & Ortiz cosplayed as the Baseball Furies from The Warriors and it was fitting because these teams all came out to play!
2: The SuperKliq: Last week Adam Cole told us “The SuperKliq is back Bay-bay!” and this week they proved it. Their trios meeting with Christian and Jurassic Express was an absolute blast from start to finish. People give Sting credit for still going strong at 62 but it’s about time we give Luchasaurus his flowers. He’s over 65 million years old but wrestles like a guy in the prime of his career. AEW’s resident dinosaur pulled out an impressive showing, as did the boy millions of years his junior but ultimately it wasn’t enough to topple the SuperKliq.
1: Jorge Masvidal: “But John, this was a great 2 hour show and you’re putting an MMA fighter who hit one move in the #1 spot, is that necessary?!” Super necessary. Whether it’s Ben Askren or Chris Jericho it’s become apparent that Gamebred has no problem putting wrestlers to sleep with his signature move of the flying knee. Masvidal has felt destined to be involved in pro wrestling since somehow getting the UFC to actually issue a BMF title belt in the most throwback pro wrestling angle I’ve ever seen in the “real” sport of MMA, so it’s great to finally see that happen! The entire ATT crew was great in their roles even if it still feels weird to boo Junior Dos Santos who genuinely came across as the nicest man in the world during his UFC tenure.