AEW Rampage Power Rankings: Trust in the Trust Busters

This week’s Rampage introduced us to multiple new wrestlers, including somebody brand new even to me, the mega wrestling nerd, new titles from other promotions and new alignments for existing wrestlers. So let’s get to ranking it all! 

Honorable Mention: Swerve In Our Glory. We saw Andrade in the back with Rush, Butcher, Blade and Private Party. He told Private Party that while he’s going after the trios titles they need to step up and get the tag titles. Isiah Kassidy gets in his face and says they will and people have been sleeping on them for too long. Later Swerve in Our Glory were being interviewed. They’re asked about Andrade sending Private Party after the tag titles and Lee says he dismantled both of them individually and if they didn’t stand a chance against him why would they ever think they’d stand a chance against he and Swerve together? Swerve says he’s not good at math but crunched the numbers and Private Party aren’t even ranked in the top 5. But they’ll entertain them because nobody in the top 5 is willing to step up right now. This was a nice reminder of how dominant Keith Lee is and I’l never complain about Private Party getting more TV time.

5. Hook. Hook comes out in a hoody with the FTW belt to talk to Tony Schiavone. Tony says he understands the FTW Championship is always an open challenge, right? To which Hook simply responds “Yup!” “The Reality” Zack Clayton who I had never seen before comes out and cuts off Hook and he says he was a reality TV star from New Jersey and he’s going to take that title off the wannabe tough guy New Yorker Hook and bring it to “God’s country” New Jersey where it belongs. Hook does the “Just bring it” hand motion and Clayton must have been thinking “Thank God it’s Friday night and I just-just-just-just…got paid!” because he would but he’s getting new boots and they aren’t ready yet and being a Jersey guy he likes to do things on his terms. So what about next week on Rampage? Hook holds up the title to signify his acceptance and Excalibur calls Hook “El Diablo Guapo” which honestly rolls off the tongue better than the English version.

4. The Gunn Club. Billy’s boys took on the unlikely pairing of Danhausen and Erick Redbeard tonight. Danhausen was his usual comedic self doing to “Owwww!” motion and holding his hand after shaking Redbeard’s hand during their entrance. Redbeard sent both Gunns outside early and Danhausen tagged in and tried to curse Austin Gunn but got cut off with a shot from Austin. In the picture-in-picture I saw Danhausen do his most impressive actual wrestling move since his debut as he locked Colten in a modified tarantual stretch in the ropes. Colten Gunn recovered and stretched the back of Danhausen’s neck over the bottom rope in the corner as Austin distracted the ref. Redbeard gets in and takes both Gunns out. On the floor he double running crossbodies both Gunn’s and back inside he does the Brodie Lee rolling senton over the ropes on to Austin and then the spinning heel kick but Colten breaks up the cover. The Gunns try to double team suplex Redbeard but he double suplexes them instead and tags Danhausen. Danhausen grabs Austin in a Russian legsweep position and has Erick run towards the ropes but Billy Gunn pulls the rope down to send Redbeard to the floor. Austin is able to land the Fameasser on Danhausen for the win. After the match Billy grabs the mic and runs down his sons saying no wonder why they call them “Ass boys” and he misses The Acclaimed. He says they have to toughen up and maybe next week on Dynamite they can prove themselves because they have a match but he doesn’t say who it is against but later we find out it’s The Varsity Blondes and that sure is a match I have no interest in. After the match Stokley Hathaway is in the front row and tries to give the Gunns his business card but they don’t take it. Once again I’m all for Stokley growing his stable and even if I’m not crazy about The Gunn Club it is more guys so I can’t complain.

3. Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo. My first thought was I still have no idea why Tay became Tay Melo after we were told her and Sammy got married. If she can’t use Conti anymore why not go Tay Guevara? But regardless the newlyweds defended their AAA Mixed Tag Team Championship against Dante Martin and Skye Blue tonight. Dante, like Daivari in the main event is from Minnesota and like Daivari he also took a loss at home. We had a lot of the high flying action you’d expect from Sammy and Dante but the fun here came with the use of the intergender spots. Tay caught Sammy against the ropes when Martin whipped him against them and tagged in. Skye Blue sized on the distraction from Tay kissing Sammy post-tag to hit a big crossbody off the top. Sammy grabbed Blue when she hit the ropes and Tay capitalized on it and went on the offensive. The highlight of the whole match was a sequence where Dante did his flipping side dodge to an incoming Tay to send her outside followed by a tope suicida on Sammy but after he rolled Sammy in Tay grabbed Dante’s boot and clung to it as Dante got in the ring. Dante tried to kick Sammy who caught it and flipped Martin backwards, narrowly missing Tay laying on the mat but landing on his feet. Sammy sent Martin off the ropes but Dante vaulted off a kneeling Tay’s back to hit a Canadian Destroyer on Sammy but only got 2. Sammy attempted a GTH but Martin tagged Blue. Tay hit a tornado DDT on Dante and Blue hit a flying hurricanrana on Sammy but Tay hit Blue with a TayKO to retain their titles.

2. The Trustbusters. Earlier in the night Parker Boudreaux made short work of Sonny Kiss with a chokeslam and his modified falling eurinagi after Sonny had refused an offer from Ari Daivari on AEW Dark to join The Trustbusters. Later on during the pre-match interview for Daivai v. Cassidy Ari Daivari says Orange Cassidy is one of the most talented wrestlers on the AEW roster and Cassidy he doesn’t see what he’s done for Parker Boudreaux and Slim J he’s going to have to beat some sense into him in Ari’s dump of a hometown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Orange Cassidy starts to say “Well it’s looks like there’s been enough talk…” but Mark Henry cuts him off and say that’s his line and says it himself. I don’t know if it just changed or if I only noticed tonight but Cassidy’s tron says “Put a cool move here” on one of the slides which is hilarious to me. Daivari grabs the mic when Cassidy goes to put his hands in his pockets and gives Cassidy one last chance to join The Trustbusters if he’d just lay down and let him pin him. Cassidy gives the ref his glasses and lays down but rolls over when Ari starts to bend down. He does it 2 more times until he gets to the floor where he starts to do the pockets spot but Daivari comes out causing him to run back in the ring where he lays back down and rolls to the other side of the floor and The Best Friends double hug him. Back in the ring Cassidy pops out of a wait lock by putting his hands in his pockets. Cassidy hits his signature roll, dropkick and kip-up all with his hands in his pockets. Cassidy sends Daivari towards the corner but Ari goes up and over, shoulders Cassidy’s gut and neckbreakers Cassidy over the middle rope and hugs Parker and Slim J outside. They seesaw backslide attempts a few times before Sterling finally relents ans hits a big eurinagi like attempt with a lot of air under it for just 2. He tosses Cassidy to the floor as The Best Friends and Trustbusters stare down. Ari sends Cassidy into the barricade and back into the ring. Cassidy gets caught in a Million Dollar Dream but makes it to the ropes just as he’s starting to fade but Ari double chops his arms off the ropes and pulls him in to lock in the hold again. Cassidy’s hand drops twice but on the 3rd he stops and puts them in his pockets. Daivari looks for the Iconoclasm off the top but Cassidy kicks him off and shoves him again before hitting a diving crossbody. He tried to follow up with a tornado DDT but Daivari had that scouted and countered it. He also kicked Cassidy in the gut during an up and over attempt and ran with Cassidy off the ropes to nail a running hanging neckbeaker on Cassidy. He tries to follow it up with a suplex but Cassidy blocks it and hits a brainbuster followed by the lazy kicks to the back of Daivari. He tried to Orange Punch Daivari who flattens him with a Rock Bottom. Daivari tries to go an arm trapped lariat but Cassidy turns it around and hits a hits a tornado DDT followed by a diving DDT for 2. Cassidy throws down the elbow pad with some fire as Chuck Taylor pulled Slim J off the apron. Bourdreaux grabs both of them by their neck but Cassidy hits a tope suocida to Boudreaux on the floor. When he gets back in Daivari cuts him off on the top and lands the iconoclasm but it only gets a 2 count. Daivari went for the hammerlock lariat again but Cassidy ducked, rolled under a thrust kick attempt and hit an orange punch for the pinfall win to send The Best Friends into next week’s trios match with The Trustbusters with momentum. After the match The Trustbusters attack The Best Friends and Boudreaux double lariats The Best Friends and hits corner splashes on Chuck and Trent. He turns his attention to Cassidy but Sonny Kiss runs down to, we assume, help Cassidy, but instead Sonny kicks Cassidy squarely in his orange basket allowing Boudreaux to hit his finisher on Cassidy. Kiss stands tall with The Trustbusters to close the show. Sonny wasn’t in this match or even involved for most of it but has been somebody I’ve been high on since I first saw them main event a W.O.W. show against Justin Gabriel back in 2018 so I’m glad Sonny might finally be getting their first real story on AEW TV proper (I know Kiss and Janela had a strong feud on Dark) since they debuted. Kiss v. Cassidy in a 1 on 1 match, whenever it happens, should be a great match!

1. Bryan Danielson. Did I give my top 2 spots to people who didn’t wrestle tonight? You bet I did. Danielson opened the show with an interview with Tony Schiavone in the ring. Danielson said he’s been wrestling almost 23 years and doesn’t know if he’ll ever be 100% again but he doesn’t need to be 100% he just has to feel 100% alive and nothing makes him feel more alive than wrestling so he will never willfully stop wrestling. Daniel Garcia says he wants to end Bryan and somebody has to but Bryan says that won’t be Garcia this Wednesday. Daniel Garcia comes out and says Bryan was his hero but it sounds like his hero is prepared to lose and already looking for excuses. He says Bryan can’t keep retiring and coming back. It hurts Garcia too much and when Garcia feels hurt he wants to hurt the person who hurt him. Garcia says he’s going to end Bryan’s career and when he does they won’t have to just call him “The Dragon Slayer” but “The Best Technical Sports Entertainer On The Planet” Bryan is furious and says “That sports entertainment bullsh*t” Jericho has been putting in Garcia’s head is what he hates. He said Garcia was one of the first names he ever mentioned when the Blackpool Combat Club was first discussed because he saw Garcia go 60 minutes at 21 years old in front of 250 people and show people the best wrestling talent Bryan had seen in years. On Wednesday while Bryan is stomping Garcia’s face Garcia will have to ask himself if he wants to be on of the best “Technical Sports Entertainers” in the world or (and he grabbed Garcia’s face and shouted at Daniel to look at him when he’s talking to him) if he wants to be the best “Technical WRESTLER” He’ll leave that up to Garcia and he walks out. I think “Sports entertainment v. pro wrestling” can be a very eye roll-inducing story. When wrestlers try to go too “inside baseball” with the “guys up North” potshots it can make me groan but Bryan and Garcia toed the line perfectly here and I can’t wait for Wednesday!

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