3 Big Takeaways from AEW Rampage - Jan 13, 2023
AEW Rampage featured a title match, a Street Fight and so much more as the action continued from the West Coast
AEW Rampage followed up a terrific episode of Dynamite with a fast-paced hour of its own this week. Aside from a TNT Championship match and a Women's Street Fight, there was also plenty on the schedule for All Elite Wrestling on Friday night.
Like the flagship show, Rampage was filmed in Los Angeles, so there were certainly no shortages of west coast references. But for the most part, action and not words ruled this episode. After a few weeks of being criticized for his booking decisions, Tony Khan has come out firing in 2023.
The two shows this week were very illuminating of that. There seems to be a concerted focus on wrestling and building storylines more with in-ring action instead of an over-reliance on promos.
AEW is on a bit of a winning streak right now, and they kept that going on with their Friday franchise. Here are three things that stood out on this week's episode of Rampage:
#3 - AEW Rampage opened with a terrific title match between Juice Robinson and Darby Allin
Allin has been one of the staples of the promotion since its inception, and unlike many of AEW's stars, he still has all the same momentum. Now in his second reign as the TNT Champion, he's back on top of his game. He displayed that in this title bout against the spectacular Juice Robinson.
The Ring of Honor and New Japan star took a lot of this match, dominating the smaller Allin for much of the contest. However, as per usual, Darby rallied back to get the win. Once again, it's an act that the audience never seems to tire of, and it's what's made Darby Allin an AEW mainstay.
Hopefully, this isn't one of those scenarios where we see Juice in a promoted television match, only to have him disappear from the programming. He's a uniquely gifted athlete who has been waiting for a long time to wrestle in a spotlight like this. He should be someone who (hopefully) stays in the mix for both the TNT and All-Atlantic titles.
#2 - The Acclaimed continue their hijinks... and the fans love every minute of it
Is there any act in wrestling more over with their 'home crowd' than The Acclaimed? These two young stars have the AEW audience in the palm of their hand, and everyone laughing all the way.
It's hard not to smile when you see these guys on TV every week alongside the always-entertaining Billy Gunn. They have a special chemistry, and in many ways, have fueled each other's careers. The rub from a WWE Hall of Famer has certainly been a huge favor for Max Caster and Anthony Bowens, but it's also been a resurgence of the Bad Ass One's career as well. All three men are very personable and very marketable. That;'s probably why their merchandise is all over the arena during AEW programming.
They once again had fun at the expense of The Gunn Club, who chastised their father for choosing The Acclaimed over them - once again. They insisted that they were the real stars and that THEY should be getting their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Luckily, Gunn and the boys already had some wet cement there and offered for Austin and Colten to be 'immortalized' with their hands in it. Instead, Caster and Bowens 'pantsed' them, and Billy pushed them into the muck. Needless to say, it was another successful and comical night for the AEW World Tag Team Champions.
#1 - Jeff Jarrett attacks yet another celebrity
Following in his long tradition of attacking/fighting anyone with any level of mainstream fame, Jeff Jarrett smashed a guitar over the head of Golden Globe winner Paul Walter Hauser. The actor was attempting to give the award to Danhasuen, who received no physical trophy for being AEW's top merchandise seller of 2022.
Hauser agreed that he deserved something, and was about to hand him the Golden Globe. However, Jarrett and his crew soon interrupted.
Known for his role in 'Stingray' on the Cobra Kai Netflix series, Hauser was, unfortunately, unable to put any of his karate skills to work in this situation. Jarrett drew back his trusty guitar and delivered an El-Kabong to his head.
Hauser follows in a long list of celebrities who have felt the sting of Double J's six-string. Such hallowed names as Toby Keith, Cindy Margolis, and Beetlejuice from the 'Howard Stern Show'. It sounds almost like a list of castmates on The Surreal Life.
Eventually, Orange Cassidy and Best Friends made the save, and the 'TNA Faction' was sent running. No word on whether or not Jarett started roaming the Sunset Strip afterward, looking for any other Hollywood types to smash with his guitar.
Other notes: The main event Street Fight with Willow Nightengale and Ruby Soho vs. Tay Melo and Anna Jay was brutally brilliant. If you haven't seen the show yet and watched none of the highlights above... at the very least, go back and watch this battle. It almost defies explanation just how much guts the four women displayed in this showdown.
It's a definite must-watch and another example of the effort that the ladies are putting in to make the often-maligned Women's Division a true success.