The final stop before Sunday's Double or Nothing pay-per-view has arrived with Friday's AEW Rampage — back in its normal time slot due to how the NHL playoff schedule has worked out.
The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn will be in action against Rush, Dralistico & Preston Vance in a bout that might play into an AEW Trios title shot Sunday.
Former AEW Women's Champions Britt Baker & Hikaru Shida will team up to take on former AEW Women's Champion Nyla Rose & Marina Shafir.
Ahead of their challenge of The Hardys & Brother Zay Sunday for Ethan Page's contract, Page and former AEW Tag Team Champions The Gunns will be in trios action.
In a preview of Sunday's 21-man Blackjack battle royal for the AEW International title, Lee Moriarty & Big Bill will battle Best Friends (Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor).
The pre-show matches for Sunday's PPV are also expected to be announced.
Taped in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jim Ross, Chris Jericho, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur were on commentary.
The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn defeated Rush, Dralistico & Preston Vance (w/ Jose the Assistant) (9:38)
Max Caster gave his chain to a young fan at ringside. It's always a solid babyface move to make nice with the youngsters. Bowens and Dralistico started out by exchanging chops in the corner. Dralistico hit a nice step-up rana, but Bowens came back with a Fameasser. During the match, it was announced that the House of Black will have an open challenge for the World Trios titles at Double or Nothing Sunday. 59 year old Billy Gunn manhandled Preston Vance with a fallaway slam. The match broke down into a six way brawl on the floor. The heels triple teamed Caster back in the ring,
The heels dominated throughout the split screen break. Caster took punishment from the heels in the corner while Rush taunted the fans. Billy Gunn got the hot tag and sent Rush to the floor with a clothesline. Rush sold more for Billy Gunn that he did for Jack Perry.
Gunn got a near fall on Vance with a Fameasser, but Jose put Vance’s foot on the ropes to break up the cover. Gunn and Bowens pulled Jose in the ring and hit him with Scissor Me Timbers. Rush came back to take out Gunn. Dralistico came in with a springboard codebreaker, but Bowens hit him with the Arrival, and Caster hit the mic drop to get the pinfall.
After the mic, Bowens grabbed the house mic and more or less challenged AEW Trios Champions House of Black for Sunday.
Later, it was announced that the AEW Trios Champions will defend the titles in an open challenge under their house rules.
Ethan Page & The Gunn Club defeated Frescomatic, Watson & Jeaux Braxton (2:34)
The Firm Deletion should have been the end of this thing with Page and Matt Hardy. Isaiah Kassidy is out of the six-man for Sunday after getting Pillmanized last week. This was a complete squash. I'm not even sure the enhancement team got an introduction. Page hit an Iconoclasm on Watson and the Gunns hit the 3:10 to Yuma to get the pinfall.
After the match, Page gloated about taking Kassidy out. Kassidy came out with a neck brace. He’s not cleared, but he found a replacement… Hook. The Hardys and their new partner run Page and the Gunns off. This six man is for the Buy In.
– Lexi Nair interviewed Dustin Rhodes and Keith Lee about the Blackjack Battle Royal. Rhodes promised he and Lee would eliminate Swerve Strickland and Brian Cage, then eliminate everyone else, all for the International Title.
A battle royal for a shot at the title would make more sense than Cassidy defending the title in the battle royal.
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Britt Baker & Hikaru Shida defeated Nyla Rose & Marina Shafir (7:47 aired)
Baker and Jericho (at the commentary desk) exchanged dirty looks on Britt’s way to the ring. This was the typical Rampage women’s match where over two minutes of the heels getting heat on the babyface (in this case Baker) during the split-screen break.
After the commercial, Rose missed a dive in the corner and Shafir missed a kick, which allowed Shida to get the hot tag. Shida dominated Shafir and hit a dropkick off the top for a near fall. Baker gave Shafir a neckbreaker and went for a cover, but Rose broke it up by slamming Shida onto Baker. Baker and Shida dumped Rose to the floor. Baker went for the Lockjaw, but Shafir countered with a judo throw and both women struggled on the mat. Shida hit a spin kick on Shafir and Baker maneuvered her into the lockjaw to get the pinfall.
After the match, the big screen in the arena showed the Outcasts standing over an injured Jamie Hayer, who was clutching her arm.
Lee Moriarty & Big Bill defeated Best Friends (Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor) (10:41)
Orange Cassidy will make his 23rd defense of the International Title in the Blackjack Battle Royal. Not for nothing, but 23 is a bust in blackjack. Also, what kind of friends are Beretta and Taylor to take advantage of Orange Cassidy by participating in this match?
The commentators put over Big Bill’s size and strength. The Best Friends gave Moriarty a delayed vertical suplex, and Bill stormed in with a double clothesline. Bill clotheslined Taylor to the floor, then whipped Beretta over the turnbuckle and to the floor.
After the split-screen break, Beretta hit a pair of suplexes on Moriarty, but Bill cut him off with a chokeslam on the ring apron. Many of the other participants in the Blackjack Battle Royal were shown watching in the audience. Well at least we know they didn’t have to pay for tickets. Bill missed a splash in the corner, and the Best Friends hit the Soul Food/Half-and-Half. Then the Best Friends had to give the people what they want!
The Best Friends tried to hit the Strong Zero on Bill, but he powered out and took down Beretta with a spinning Boss Man slam. Bill went to the middle rope for a double team, but Taylor sent Moriarty into Bill. The Best Friends hit Bill with a massive superplex, but Bill kicked out at two. Taylor set up Bill for a piledriver, but Moriarty broke it up. Taylor hit Moriarty with a stuff piledriver. Bill hit Taylor with a big boot, then gave Taylor a chokeslam and got the pinfall. Great showcase for Bill, who looked real strong. Hopefully they don’t forget about him for six months.
After the match, Bill got into Bandido’s face at ringside, and Bandido jumped over the guardrail, starting a brawl between all the battle royal participants around ringside. The intention was there, but it felt like a perfunctory brawl that made me less excited for the match. Orange Cassidy ran in to help the Best Friends, but really just posed there with his belt. Brian Cage, Keith Lee and Dustin Rhodes, and finally Swerve Strickland all made entrances to join the fight, although Strickland turned around and left once he saw Lee coming for him.
This show didn’t really do much to get me excited for the pay-per-view Sunday.