The Young Bucks def. The Lucha Brothers
You can't expect anything less than excellence any time these teams are sharing the ring. The commentators noted that this was their eighth match overall (in any promotion) and only their second time facing off without a title on the line. Unsurprisingly, this was a tremendous match. Their chemistry was off the charts and the California crowd was super hot for their hometown heroes The Young Bucks, who are slowly creeping toward title contention and needed the win more than Lucha Brothers. This was a wildly got opener.
Team Taz (FTW Champion Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs) def. Local Athletes
Starks and Hobbs are coming off an impressive performance at Double or Nothing where they came close to capturing the AEW World Tag Team Championship. I'm all for them winning matches, but this felt like a waste of time considering it was so short and the picture-in-picture promo lasted almost as long as the match did. If nothing else, this helped get them back on track following their loss at the pay-per-view.
Athena def. Kiera Hogan
Damn, Athena looks more motivated than I've seen her in years, which shouldn't come as much of a shock considering what she was doing toward the end of her WWE/NXT run. She's always been very talented, but it'll be nice to see what she can do without the WWE limitations. If this outing was any indication, she'll be an excellent addition to AEW's women's division. Hogan, to her credit, also played her role well. Between Kris Statlander and Athena, I'd personally prefer the latter beating Jade Cargill for the AEW TBS Championship.
AEW World Champion CM Punk Revealed He's Injured
Punk wasn't advertised to appear beforehand (at least not until a few hours before the episode aired), so you knew he wasn't going to be delivering positive news. The fact he suffered an injury on Wednesday's Dynamite is so damn depressing seeing as how he just won the title less than a week ago at Double or Nothing. Punk was obviously upset about it as he had tears in his eyes here and winning title must have meant the world to him, and now he'll have to miss Forbidden Door in Chicago as well. On the bright side, it was made clear that an interim AEW champ will be crowned, and no, Punk is not relinquishing his title despite what Chris Jericho said on commentary.
AEW TNT Champion Scorpio Sky def. Dante Martin
I know Sky is a California native and it must have been cool for him to headline this show in his home state, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that not many people cared about this coming off the Punk promo, which deflated the crowd. This was well-worked, but most of it is a blur and I can tell you for a fact that nothing stood out. That's a shame because both of these guys are good and are certainly capable of more, but this ended up being a fairly average outing. It doesn't help that the TNT title means next to nothing right now.
The Punk announcement obviously made this a newsworthy edition of Rampage, more newsworthy than anything we've seen on this show in a while. I just wish it was under better circumstances. The show died a death after that and there was confusion over what the status of the AEW World Championship, but a majority of this show was hot and worth checking out, specifically Young Bucks vs. Lucha Brothers which was arguably one of the best bouts in Rampage's short history.