AEW Rampage: Championship Friday Preview for June 2, 2023
Wednesday night was AEW's first step after a wild DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 last Sunday, and it sawcomes this Friday night when RAMPAGE is back at its regular time of 10:00PM ET/9:00pm CT on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences! Before fights, make a point to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from recent episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest editions of ROAD TO, THE CONTROL CENTER, and much, much more!
AAA MEGA CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
El Hijo del Vikingo(c) vs. LFI's Dralistico vs. Komander
Back in April, El Hijo del Vikingo and Dralistico collided in singles competition with the AAA Mega Championship at stake. The bout was beyond expectations, rocking the fans in attendance in Pittsburgh as well as all those watching on RAMPAGE that night, and it culminated with Vikingo retaining his championship for the 11th time during a reign that first began on 12/4/21 with a match designed to fill the vacancy left by Kenny Omega's injuries.
Now July 15th at TRIPLEMANIA XXXI: TIJUANA is scheduled to be a DYNAMITE rematch between Kenny Omega and Vikingo for this championship, but there is still a long way to go before that bout, and plenty of potential defenses along the path. One of those defenses will go down this Friday night on RAMPAGE when El Hijo del Vikingo faces TWO competitors simultaneously for his coveted championship. This will be the 5th time in his nearly 550-day reign that Vikingo has defended against multiple challengers in one match, and he has defeated both Komander and Dralistico in previous title defenses. But even the strongest competitor is going to wear down under the grind of title defenses, then factor in the international travel and Vikingo's reign as champion seems ever close to the end. All it takes is one of these two amazing challengers to string together the right moves, and Kenny Omega may be facing an unexpected foe next month in Tijuana!
NJPW WORLD TV CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
TMDK's Zack Sabre Jr.(c) vs. Action Andretti
Fresh off a championship defense against Rocky Romero this past Thursday night during ROH ON HONOR CLUB, Zack Sabre Jr. is right back in action...pun slightly intended...when he faces Action Andretti in singles competition with his NJPW World Television Championship on the line! For ZSJ this will mark his 9th defense in just under 150 days, his first in All Elite Wrestling, and by far the biggest fight in the career of Action Andretti.
Yes he beat Chris Jericho, a tremendous accomplishment in the annals of his career, but imagine if that had happened while “The Ocho” held the AEW or ROH World Championship; it would have been a massive moment in the young man's career. That is what this opportunity represents for one of AEW's most promising young talents...the opportunity to capture an international championship from one of the most prestigious professional wrestling companies in the world, and just a few weeks before AEW and NJPW jointly present FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023 on June 25th in Toronto.
Imagine what a boon it would be for Andretti's career to carry the NJPW World Television Championship into Canada and represent All Elite Wrestling on that pay-per-view event! This could be the most significant moment of Action's career to date, and it goes down this Friday night on RAMPAGE!
NJPW STRONG WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Willow Nightingale(c) vs. Emi Sakura
On May 21st, at NJPW STRONG's RESURGENCE event, Willow Nightingale defeated both Momo Kohgo and Mercedes Mone to become the first-ever NJPW STRONG Women's Champion. It is an honor that means the world to the 29 year old athlete, and one she aims to defend at every possible opportunity moving forward.
Well, the first of those opportunities presents itself this Friday night on RAMPAGE when Willow faces the challenge of a veteran that she's encountered multiple times over the last year, but never in one-on-one competition! For the very first-time, Emi Sakura will face Willow Nightingale in singles competition, and the stakes could not possibly be higher for either woman as the NJPW STRONG Women's Championship will be at defended for the very first time!
In the history between Emi and Willow, five of their six encounters have ended with Nightingale's team on the winning side, but this is a whole new ballgame given they've never battle one-on-one, and Emi, despite her years in the game, has never fought for anything stemming from New Japan Pro Wrestling. Both women are known to bring the fight, and when this historic championship is at stake there is no doubt both will step up their game this Friday night on RAMPAGE!
ROH PURE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Katsuyori Shibata(c) vs. Lee Moriarty
It has only been a couple months since Katsuyori Shibata dethroned 2-Time ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta and began his reign atop the most unique division in professional wrestling today. Since that night, “The Wrestler” has successfully defended the title on two occasions, against Christopher Daniels several weeks ago as well as his own student Alex Coughlin barely twenty-four hours ago, and has looked incredibly vicious in each situation.
This Friday night on RAMPAGE, he will step up to the challenge of Lee Moriarty, a man who grew up in the business looking towards the Pure Wrestling style as inspiration, and despite his allegiances over the last several months, still aims to prove himself the best Pure Wrestler in the game today. As seen on Honor Club, Moriarty may have recently come up short against Rocky Romero in a Pure Rules match, but that doesn't deter his drive to claim this crown once held by the very men who inspired him to become a wrestler in the first place.
It's a crown once held by AJ Styles, Doug Williams, Samoa Joe, and Nigel McGuinness before it was unified with the ROH World Championship by Bryan Danielson, and held by fighters like Jonathan Gresham, Josh Woods, The J.A.S' Daniel Garcia, and The BCC's Wheeler Yuta since its resurrection. No matter the era, it is a championship that has defined the best pure wrestlers of the day, and that is a label Lee Moriarty has aspired to from the moment he first set foot inside a wrestling ring.
Can “TaigaStyle” succeed against “The Wrestler” when the stakes are this high? Or will Shibata continue the dominance he's exhibited since returning to the ring after so many years away? We will find out this Friday night on TNT!
Fans witnessed the fallout from DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 on Wednesday night with that amazing mixed tag main event, Kris Statlander successfully retaining her TBS Championship for the first time, The BCC decimating another trio in The Lucha Brothers and Bandido, Orange Cassidy and Darby Allin victorious yet again in tag team action, that major announcement for Collision embedded below, and so much more! It was a tremendous way to follow-up AEW's pay-per-view extravaganza, but this Friday night it will be all about championship bouts!
RAMPAGE: CHAMPIONSHIP FRIDAY comes to you starting at 10:00pm ET/9:00pm CT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for AEW's international fans, and it will feature FOUR title fights with championships outside of AEW on the line! El Hijo Del Vikingo puts his AAA Mega Championship on the line in a Three Way Bout, Willow Nightingale makes her first defense of the NJPW STRONG Women's Championship, Zack Sabre Jr. defends the NJPW World Television Title against Action Andretti, and Katsuyori Shibata puts his ROH Pure Championship up against Lee Moriarty! Before the action gets underway, be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from this week's episode of DYNAMITE, as well as the latest editions of ROAD TO, THE CONTROL CENTER, and much, much more!
If you missed out on DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 last Sunday night, the replay is now available to fans everywhere through your pay-per-view provider. And if you're in the Tupelo, MS or Huntsville, AL area, be sure to join AEW at our HOUSE RULES events this Friday and Saturday night!