IN LAIMAN’S TERMS #407
Support: Donate here
Greetings once again from Madison, Wisconsin. I have a feeling I’ll be saying that a lot on Friday nights for a while. Speaking of night though, this 6pm start time for Rampage? More of that, please.
It’s NBA All-Star Weekend, so go Spida!
Thoughts on Rampage – February 17th, 2023
1. Speaking of the NBA, as a 90s kid, anytime they want to bring back “Roundball Rock” and use it, it’s a better day.
2. Of course we’re starting off with Top Flight and AR Fox vs. The Elite again, why wouldn’t we? That’s not a complaint either, that match from last week was legendary. Since I’ve been corrected on the segment from Dynamite, the weird flash was a House of Black stinger. Sometimes brief moments like that are hard to pick up when you’re trying to watch and write at the same time.
3. Thanks to Will Washington this week, I learned that NBA Twitter is apparently ridiculously active and popular. Given that I haven’t been on Twitter in about six years, I had no idea. And given my reluctance to deal with mostly any social media anymore, it’s likely staying that way.
4. I’m sure those numbers on the back of their ASG promo shirts mean something. And I’m sure someone will tell me how obvious it is, so I’m always keen to learn on something about which I’m clueless.
5. They open up with a jump ball after giving the ref a whistle. That is fantastic. Tie-ins are tie-ins and I’ll take ones where it looks like they’re having fun and know the subject material any day. Even the crowd is getting into it with the “de-fense!” chant. I’m loving every second of this, and I’m a casual basketball fan at best. To be fair, until recently, the Cavs have either had LeBron or been slightly worse than the Washington Generals, and that still made them the second best team in the city most of the time. I’m convinced the Browns could get Jim and Paul Brown in their prime and draft the starting lineup of both the Chiefs and the Eagles and still find a way to go 8-9. But I’ll take that over having no team like when I was a kid any day. The problem is, they know that too.
6. The crowd seems to have woken up after the funeral dirge between shows where everyone pronounced the end of AEW Dynamite… again…
7. This match is exactly what it was last time, plus the basketball theme thrown in. Much like their battles with Death Triangle, they’ve taken something awesome and added a completely new dynamic to it. I expect it to be a completely different vibe if Malakai and the Stoic Gang are their Revolution opponents, but that’s totally okay too.
8. I make it a point to never read the YouTube comment section, nor mostly any other, but I saw the most laughable thing today. Someone called Kenny Omega and MJF “failures of WWE developmental.” Wow, say that you just hate anything that’s not your preferred brand of the big two without saying you hate anything that’s not your preferred brand of the big two. I may prefer AEW but that has nothing to do with (most of) the wrestlers, and the Zayn/Rhodes/Heyman promos of the last few weeks have been some of the best work in any company in years. Like what you like, but not everything that isn’t your thing sucks, and if you think that Omega and MJF are failures, I feel pretty sorry for you.
9. The agility meters in this match after we’re back from the break are through the roof. I agree Laredo, this is awesome. Maybe we should’ve had this start the show on Dynamite if this is what it took to get them loud and fully invested.
10. The Elite win in quicker fashion than last time, but JBLdamn that was fun. The basketball incorporation was built up over the last few weeks and didn’t feel forced. The commentators ask who is better in the world than Omega and the Young Bucks. Just hit the lights now, we know what’s coming.
11. Ohai, Frank the Bunny. It gets a hell of a pop too, and then they go ninja vanish. Fair enough, book it for Revolution.
12. Moving from the Trios to the Cullen Bohannon Fan Club, at least based on their theme, they continue to be massive dorks in the ways they do. I talked about retiring a phrase on Wednesday, can we add “X might not even MAKE IT to Y Event!” It was tired 25 years ago.
13. Backstage, Wheeler Yuta suddenly is super aggro to Orange Cassidy. Orange Cassidy: Fighting Champion continues, and we’re heading toward Yuta/Cassidy for the AA title.
14. Next, the JAS/Starks saga continues with Garcia vs. Starks. Will Garcia be annoyed with Guevara or all on board with BBJas this week? Who cares, Starks is neon, let’s just not have the announcers pretend they don’t know who the guy hitting the Judas Effect is again.
15. I am totally on board with long-term booking, but this feud doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Maybe the mistake was having Starks beat Jericho to begin the feud, and then have Starks have to fight to get to face him again? I don’t know. It just lost steam after that terrible bad 90s insult promo a few weeks ago. I just want Ricky to move on to bigger and better things.
16. Bonus HAM to Jericho after Starks does the rope walk for making a comment about “undertaking.”
17. Garcia was working the leg during commercial break and Starks is doing a brilliant job selling. I think both of these guys are world class wrestlers, I just dearly wish I gave even the slightest of shits.
18. Starks wins, so… yay I guess. Guevara immediately grabs the mic and he demands a match. From… Jericho? Jericho has booking powers now? Okay.
19. Next, Evil Uno getting more screentime than he has all year before he has an unfortunate encounter with Mox next week. Good for him, I’m sad how what’s left of the Dark Order has been confined to Dark, if even that, but I suppose they have to change things up sometime.
20. Next, Jade Cargill is out to get her next win, and hey, a Jazz reference (no Utah.) I’m a fan of Vertvixen’s aesthetic and color scheme, but not her chances in this match. To the point that the match was over by the time I finished that sentence, and I type very fast.
21. Now we’re headed toward Swerve and Dustin, which I’m very excited to see.
22. Now the live interviews are back, but Mark Henry doesn’t have a little screen in the middle. Swerve is taking this super seriously, and Dustin’s makeup is amazing. I like this anti-nepotism angle. Swerve’s beef with the Rhodes family remains implied mostly, but Dustin also turns up the HAM to 11.5. I’ll take this over the pre-tape any day.
23. I really enjoy AEW’s music as a whole, but I feel like Dustin’s just doesn’t have that “gets a big pop if it hits out of nowhere” vibe. Then again, when you have to live up to the Goldust theme, maybe that’s just forever doomed by comparison.
24. I only became familiar with Swerve after he showed up in AEW, but the more I see of him, here and elsewhere, the more impressed I am.
25. Speaking of Goldust, there are still some subtle references thrown in there. I appreciate Dustin Rhodes so much in every capacity, I’m so grateful he continues to help others learn by his mere presence and experience. The fact that he can still go like he does after how long he’s been in the business is extraordinary.
26. JR mentions Swerve’s 9-match winning streak. I like that, but I really hate how they’ve de-emphasized the records and statistics. I’m a nerd for that kind of thing, so it may just be a personal annoyance, but all the same, I like even the illusion that wins and losses (outside of Jade/Hook’s undefeated streaks, respectively) matter.
27. We’ve got blood in an AEW match. Why? Because it’s a day.
28. Emphathic kickout from Dustin after a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron. I don’t say this often, but Rampage was better than Dynamite this week and it’s not even over yet.
29. Attitude Era finish with the DQ after interference, but the cinder block gets brought out to put someone else under the Warrior’s Way. Badass shot reminiscent of Samoa Joe rising behind Kurt Angle in his TNA debut as Keith Lee makes his surprise return behind Parker and Swerve. Keith Lee has a new look, and he’s back and improved. What a fun way to end the show.
30. Rampage stepped it up after a throwaway Dynamite, or if you’re like comment guy, after the worst thing in the history of anything because it’s not my thing. I’ll be watching the PPV tomorrow night, though I don’t cover that company. I’ll be reading Hustle’s running diary with everyone else, but I will cover Revolution, even though I’ll be either at the theatre or in another group setting at a party. I hope you all are well, and I’ll see you Wednesday.
1/4/23 – The Gunns
1/11/23 – Daddy Magic
1/13/23 – Danhausen
1/18/23 – Sonjay Dutt
1/20/23 – Stokely Hathaway
1/25/23 – Tony Schiavone
1/27/23 – Danhausen
2/1/23 – Jade Cargill
2/3/23 – Ethan Page
2/8/23 – MJF
2/10/23 – STIIIIIIING
2/15/23 – Ruby Soho
2/17/23 – Dustin Rhodes
I never thought when I invented the HAM Award in 2011 that I’d be giving it away to Dustin Rhodes 12 years later, but here we are.