Dustin Rhodes def. Lance Archer
This was a rematch from the semifinals of the AEW TNT Championship Tournament nearly two years ago. I assume the only reason this match happened is because both guys are Texas natives and that's where this episode emanated from. They had a good match, but based on what happened afterward with Archer attacking Rhodes and his students, it seems like they intentionally held back so they can have a better bout at some point. It's a fine feud, but Archer losing again after already failing to win the AEW World Championship from Adam Page last month isn't exactly ideal.
House of Black Attacked Fuego Del Sol
Fuego cut a brief promo about always being overlooked and taking some of his opponents to the limit. Although the crowd rallied behind him a bit, there was one awkward moment where he paused for them to chant and the chant wasn't very loud at all. House of Black then showed up and kicked his ass, which salvaged the segment. Fuego will team with two members of The Dark Order next week on Rampage to take on (and lose to) House of Black.
reDRagon def. The Dark Order (Alan "5" Angels and Preston "10" Vance)
I feel like we haven't seen a whole lot of reDRagon in standard two-on-two tag team matches, which is where they can really work their magic. I know Kyle O'Reilly was on paternity leave for a few weeks and they've been in a few multi-team matches, but I hope we get to see more of what they can do going forward. This received more than a few minutes, but a majority of it took place during the commercial break. The best thing I can say about it is that reDRagon won.
Nyla Rose def. Madi Wrenkowski
A pre-taped promo from Rose aired beforehand that was probably longer than the match itself. I wish we got this promo from Rose on Wednesday's Dynamite instead of that awful segment we got with Thunder Rosa and Vickie Guerrero. Wrenkowksi had been a regular on the Dark shows for a while and is a natural heel (I think she was briefly aligned with Rose at one point), but this was a total squash. Wrenkowski was obviously chosen to be her opponent since she's one of Rosa's students.
Hook Declined QT Marshall's Certificate of Accomplishment
Hook is obviously popular, which is why he desperately needs to move the hell on from feuding with Marshall and the rest of the Factory fools. Yes, he's getting easy wins out of it, but it's impossible to care about The Factory. Plus, Hook already beat Marshall at Revolution, so I don't know what is being accomplished. This was a simple segment and the crowd clearly loved seeing Hook, but I don't think this needed to waste television time. Also, I love Danhausen, but him "cursing" Hook was random and unnecessary.
FTW Champion Ricky Starks def. Swerve Strickland
As I've said several times in the past, the FTW Championship means absolutely nothing and I don't think having it defended in the main event of Rampage changes that. However, it was obviously the best match on the show and they were in Starks' adopted hometown of Austin, Texas, so it made sense for it to go on last. Unsurprisingly, they had a very entertaining outing. I'm not hot on Swerve already losing in his second AEW match, but this was excellent enough to where he doesn't lose much in defeat, not to mention that Powerhouse Hobbs factored into the finish. Keith Lee making for save for Swerve afterward indicates we're heading toward a tag team match between them two and Team Taz soon.
One of the biggest criticisms of AEW programming nowadays from fans is that they attempt to cram way too much into Dynamite and Rampage. That's been the case with Dynamite for a while, but I didn't feel that way as much about Rampage until this episode. Good lord, a lot of stuff was rushed. I realize everything is done with purpose, but they desperately need to work on their timing issues. Some segments and matches are so short that it's hard to remember what happened by the time the evening is over. This was one of the weaker editions of Rampage in recent memory, but definitely make time for that main event. Starks and Swerve killed it.