History was made on Dynamite this past Wednesday, but certainly not in the fashion in which anyone thought it would take place. In just three minutes and ten seconds, Jon Moxley smashed CM Punk to unify the AEW World Title and AEW Interim Title, and become not only the one, true undisputed AEW World Champion, but also the first-ever two-time World Champion as well. It was shocking to say the least, and came about in part due to Punk injuring his left foot after delivering a head kick to Mox, leaving “The Best In The World” wide open for Mox to just run right through him. What the future now holds for the AEW World Title, especially with All Out 2022 right around the corner, remains to be seen but that wasn’t the only news coming out of Wednesday night.
AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa is unable to defend her championship due to an injury of her own, thus necessitating an Interim Champion be crowned at All Out 2022 when Dr. Britt Baker, Hikaru Shida, Jamie Hayter, and Toni Storm battle to fill the void. Swerve In Our Glory agreed to defend their World Tag Titles against The Acclaimed on 9/4, while Christian Cage and Jungle Boy became official for the PPV event, and Chris Jericho agreed to fight Bryan Danielson at All Out 2022 as well!
On top of that, Kip Sabian assaulting All-Atlantic Champion PAC directly lead to Death Triangle losing their Trios Title Tournament bout to United Empire, which in turn led to Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks…well mainly Omega…having words for IWGP United States Champion Will Ospreay, while Ricky Starks had passionate words of his own for former friend and ally Powerhouse Hobbs.
This Friday night the excitement continues when Claudio Castagnoli defends the ROH World Title against “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes, TBS Champion Jade Cargill addresses her actions last week, The House of Black and The Dark Order meet in the next Rampage bracket Semi-Final match of the Trios Title Tournament, and Cleveland’s own Wardlow puts the TNT Title on the line against a man who has renounced the city, Ryan Nemeth! It kicks off at 10pm EDT/9pm CDT on TNT, and on AEWPlus.com for our international audience, and head over to the official AEW YouTube channel, the AEW Twitter feed, and the official Facebook page to catch up on Dynamite highlights, and watch Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, Road To, and the Control Center with Tony Schiavone.
Following that soul-crushing defeat at the hands of Jon Moxley on Wednesday night, we will see exclusive backstage footage of what took place following CM Punk’s Undisputed AEW World Title loss. For as ready as Punk seemed to be one week ago, his body had other ideas, and all it took was one wrong turn to bring his dreams crashing down around him for the second time in as many months. What happened afterwards? Tune into Rampage on Friday night to see what AEW cameras captured!
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH…
Claudio Castagnoli(c) vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes
Sixty matches, there are at least sixty match situations in which Claudio Castagnoli and Dustin Rhodes have been in the same ring, and yet in all of that, in rings from Phoenix to New York City to Cincinnati to Philadelphia, they have never fought one-on-one. Across the Buckeye State, they’ve even fought in Cincy, Canton, and Columbus, but never once in Cleveland. This is a match with a whole lot of history, in a city where both men have experienced their fair share of wins and losses, where championships have been at stake, and now the meet in one of the most unimaginable ROH World Title Matches of all time!
Twenty years ago, when the first ROH Champion was crowned inside the Murphy Rec Center in South Philly, before Samoa Joe ever fought to get the championship recognized as a World Title, before men like Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, Adam Cole, or Jay Lethal fought for the right to be recognized as the best wrestler in the world, no one could ever have imagined “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes coming for the ROH World Title.
It may not be the most unexpected ROH World Title defense in history, that certainly sits with Bryan Danielson defending against Kamala in 2006 (https://youtu.be/RpcZoKhTwCk), but a legend like Rhodes challenging Claudio is right up there. That being said, the reality of Rhodes fighting Castagnoli is a far cry from “The Ugandan Giant” facing “The American Dragon”; it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Dustin, during his AEW tenure, has looked better than he ever has in his career. Dustin’s Match of the Year fight against his brother is testament to that fact, and the bouts against men like Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, and Lance Archer are just further evidence of Rhodes aging like fine wine.
Whereas too many competitors cannot let go of their glory days, and continue to fight well beyond the point their body is willing to cooperate, Dustin Rhodes has been an example of a veteran who not only can still go, but has continued to improve, to learn, to adapt, to the ever-shifting landscape of professional wrestling. For all the skill Claudio Castagnoli brings to this ROH World Title fight, Dustin has the knowledge, the experience, and this hunger to finally claim the World Champion status that has evaded him for way too long.
Will Dustin Rhodes finally achieve this dream he’s held dear for over thirty years, or will Claudio Castagnoli continue living the dream he has fought for since shaking up his entire life over twenty years ago when he came to America to puruse his wrestling dream?
TRIOS TITLE TOURNAMENT RAMPAGE BRACKET SEMI-FINALS…
The House of Black (Brody King, Buddy Matthews, & Malakai Black)
The Dark Order (Alex Reynolds, John Silver, & Ten)
The winner of this bout will go onto face The Best Friends in the Rampage Bracket Finals of the Trios Title Tournament, but just who will it be? The House of Black is undefeated as a trio, having won six consecutive matches since Malakai brought Brody King and Buddy Matthews into the fold, including two against members of The Dark Order (albeit teaming with Fuego rather than a true DO trio). Their undefeated streak has made them one of the most feared units in this tournament, and one of the most successful trios in All Elite Wrestling despite only having had their first bout at Revolution 2022 during the Buy-In.
As for The Dark Order, their numerous combinations over the last several years have produced a wide variety of results, but the unit of Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and Ten has been utterly dominant in Trios competition. Since their first bout together nearly two years ago, these three men have won 10 of their eleven trios bouts and are second only to The Gunn Club in terms of overall success, but given the state of that family unit, it’s conceivable this Dark Order trio could surpass their 24 wins before too long.
With Evil Uno overseas in support of AEW’s upcoming Fight Forever video game, we know Hangman Page has promised to be there in support of his friends, the men who have supported him over the last couple years, but will that be enough to push The Dark Order beyond The House of Black? Can their bond of friendship and support prove stronger than the doctrine of violence that Malakai preaches to his House? Who will move on to face The Best Friends in the Rampage finals next week?
TNT TITLE MATCH…
Wardlow(c) vs. Ryan Nemeth
Ryan Nemeth has stepped up in response to Wardlow’s TNT Title Open Challenge this week in Cleveland, and it’s a battle of two hometown boys who have fought to make their mark on professional wrestling. Well, hometown in the case of Wardlow; Ryan Nemeth has essentially renounced his ties to Ohio, planted his flag in Hollywood, and would be happy to never be associated with The Buckeye State again. His joy would come not from winning the title in his place of origin, but rather winning it there from a fellow Ohioan, and then taking it back to the West Coast.
On the other hand Wardlow is proud of his roots, and will no doubt have his family front-and-center for this title bout. For him, this is giving back to his home, showing those with similar roots that they too can achieve something great in their lives, and also staying ready for what’s to come on September 4th at All Out 2022.
The Motor City Machine Guns, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champions, former ROH World Tag Team Champions, former 2-Time IMPACT World Tag Team Champions, and one of the most influential duos of the last 20 years, are on their way to AEW to reunite with Jay Lethal in a fight with FTR and Wardlow, and the TNT Champion is aiming to send them all a message at Nemeth’s expense!
MIXED TAG MATCH…
Ortiz & Ruby Soho vs. Sammy Guevara & Tay Melo
Sammy and Tay are insufferable, of that there is no question, no doubt, and yet what makes them even more intolerable is the successes they have achieved in the process. Currently reigning as the AAA Mixed Tag Champions, these newlyweds have managed to raise the ire of two individuals that you do not want coming for your blood: Ortiz and Ruby Soho.
Ruby’s hand, Ortiz’s hair; Sammy and Tay are directly responsible for what has happened to those, and now these rabid dogs want some revenge for the transgressions perpetrated by AEW’s most nauseating couple. Can Ruby and Ortiz get it this Friday night, or will fans bear witness to some more J.A.S. shenanigans?
JADE HAS SOMETHING TO SAY…
The TBS Champion is officially the most dominant champion in All Elite Wrestling history following her victory over Madison Rayne two weeks ago. It marked her tenth successful defense, breaking Jon Moxley’s World Title record & Hangman/Omega’s World Tag Title record of nine defenses, and propelled her into sole possession of the longest winning streak in AEW’s history with thirty-six consecutive victories. She’s beaten Tay Melo, Anna Jay, Thunder Rosa, Ruby Soho, and Skye Blue during this undefeated run, to name drop just a few, and welcomed almost any challenge to her TBS Title, key word being almost.
“The Fallen Goddess” Athena seems to be the exception to Jade’s Open Challenge as, no matter how many time Athena has said she wants her shot, no matter what she has done to demonstrate her purpose her in AEW, the defending TBS Champion does not seem to want to defend against her.
And that 3-on-1 assault on Athena following her victory over Penelope Ford last week, one that including a sledgehammer of all possible weapons, that just served to further demonstrate just how much Jade appears to not want to fight “The Fallen Goddess”. Well this week on Rampage, we will hear from the record-setting TBS Champion one week removed this wanton assault on her most persistent challenger.
This Friday night, with All Out 2022 just over a week away, Rampage is bringing the heat! The Trios Title Tournament continues with The House of Black and Dark Order colliding while TNT Champion Wardlow puts his championship on the line in an Open Challenge! Plus, TBS Champion Jade Cargill will be heard, the ROH World Title will be on the line, and a Mixed Tag between Sammy/Tay and Ortiz/Soho will go down! It all begins at 10:00pm EDT/9:00pm CDT on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, and you can get caught up on what came before at the official AEW YouTube channel to get caught up with Dynamite highlights, Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, Road To, and this week’s Control Center with Tony Schiavone!