AEW World Tag Team Champions The Acclaimed def. Varsity Athletes in a Titles vs. Trademark Match
Yes, this whole mini feud over the tag titles has been incredibly dumb. I guess adding "stakes" made it marginally more interesting, but that's about it. Tony Nese and Josh Woods going by Varsity Athletes now is not good news for Varsity Blonds, who may or may not be done. The match itself was what you'd expect, but one thing you can't deny is that The Acclaimed are incredibly over at the moment and I'm glad AEW is riding that wave of momentum.
FTW Champion Hook def. Ari Daivari
We're coming up on the one-year anniversary of Hook's first match in AEW. That means he's been facing solely scrubs for that long (Ricky Starks aside). I hate to sound like a broken record, but can he please move on to more credible competition? It's exhausting at this point. This was a glorified squash, and while I'm glad it wasn't more competitive, it also felt like a waste of time where nothing was accomplished. Hook is over. Do something meaningful with him! Feuding with The Trustbusters is a terrible use of his popularity.
Willow Nightingale def. Leila Grey
Nightingale was supposed to face Penelope Ford in a rubber match on this show, but Ford wasn't cleared to compete I believe and Grey replaced her. I'm happy they didn't bump Nightingale off the show, but this was Dark/Elevation worthy. I'm actually surprised they got as much time as they did since Grey isn't great and Nightingale couldn't carry her, but at least it was physical. Nightingale finally getting the "All Elite" graphic was the big takeaway here and it's well deserved. Meanwhile, Nyla Rose has been entertaining in her feud with Jade Cargill, but who is the crowd supposed to cheer for?
AEW All-Atlantic Champion Orange Cassidy def. Preston "10" Vance and Rush in a Three-Way Match
Vance vs. Rush was originally advertised as the main event of this show, but Cassidy was added at the last minute on Thursday night to make it a title match. Okay, then. Hey, Cassidy's addition definitely made it a better bout, especially since Vance vs. Rush didn't have anything on the line as far as I know. They all worked well together and had a fun main event, even though the outcome was never in doubt. It's a bummer Andrade El Idolo had to get himself suspended (?) because I assume Vance would've been unmasked by now and that's a long overdue development.
Despite there being three title matches, it really felt like I was watching an edition of Dark from the Daily's Place pandemic era. Don't get me wrong, the crowd was lively for the entire hour and it helps having the show air live (I'll be in attendance for next week's live show in Connecticut), but this was a completely inconsequential episode where nothing of note happened and nothing is worth seeking out. Would you be wasting your time tuning in live? I wouldn't go that far, but Rampage feels like a televised Dark at this stage and that's not territory AEW wants to be approaching.