AEW Rampage Preview for November 18, 2022
Just two nights ago on DYNAMITE, the athletes of All Elite Wrestling started on the home stretch to FULL GEAR 2022 with a wild night of in-ring action! The four men who will face off for the ROH World Championship collided in tag team action with The Blackpool Combat Club duo scoring the submission victory directly on “The Ocho”.
With FULL GEAR 2022 less than 24 hours away, RAMPAGE is coming to you LIVE from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ this Friday night! With one last night to prepare for the pay-per-view extravaganza, fans will finally bear witness to the last Quarter-Final match in the Men's World Title Eliminator Tournament when “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer has to face the man who tried to take out of action last week, “Absolute” Ricky Starks! Plus, we will all watch one man's dream become reality when Eddie Kingston and Ortiz face Konosuke Takeshita and the legendary Jun Akiyama in tag team competition!
Catch all the RAMPAGE action LIVE on TNT starting at 10pm ET/9pm CT, or at AEWPlus.com for our international fans, and get prepared for the final night before FULL GEAR 2022 at the official AEW YouTube channel for DYNAMITE highlights, AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, COUNTDOWN TO FULL GEAR, and the CONTROL CENTER with Tony Schiavone!
DREAM TAG TEAM MATCH...
Eddie Kingston & Ortiz vs. Jun Akiyama & Konosuke Takeshita
In March of 2019, Japanese legend Jun Akiyama competed in his only match ever in the United States, a very unique Trios bout taking place in California, but never again did Akiyama compete in the States, that is until this Friday night on RAMPAGE when he unites with Konosuke Takeshita to fight Ortiz & Eddie Kingston. See this is a bout that means far more than just the unsung 5th Pillar of All Japan Pro Wrestling returning Stateside for the first-time in over three years, this is about the dream of one man finally coming true...
For Eddie Kingston, this opportunity to get in the ring with Jun Akiyama was first born in the late 90's when Eddie watched Akiyama team with Takao Omori, and face off with the likes of The Fantastics, The Holy Demon Army of Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa, as well as Rob Van Dam & Sabu, and carry the All Japan Pro Wrestling All-Asia Tag Team Titles for an amazing 1076 days. As tape trading became more accessible, Eddie would devour footage of the wars between Super Generation Army and Tsuruta-Gun, battles with Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi, and Akiyama's eventual partnership with Misawa that led to AJPW World Tag Team Championship success. He would also win those championship titles on two occasions with Kobashi, make multiple unsuccessful bids to win the Triple Crown Championship, and win AJPW's Real World Tag League in both 1998 and 1999 with Kobashi as his partner.
Akiyama would also make history as one of the men who left AJPW when Misawa formed Pro Wrestling NOAH in August 2000, and that would led to some of the biggest success of Akiyama's career to that point. At NOAH's debut event, in a 2 Out Of 3 Falls tag pitting Akiyama and Kobashi against Misawa and Akira Taue, it was Akiyama who won two consecutive falls for his team, one over each man, to get the victory. He would defeat Misawa to win the first of his three GHC Heavyweight Championship titles, he would win the GHC Tag Team Championship on three instances, and he even created the GHC Hardcore Openweight Championship.
His return to AJPW in 2013 led to further championship success, including Akiyama finally winning the Triple Crown Championship that eluded him years earlier, adding additional AJPW World Tag Team Title and All-Asia Tag Title reigns to his resume, and even the GAORA TV Championship. Akiyama would even branch out into DDT Pro Wrestling, the place he has called home for the last two years, where he reigned as their KO-D Openweight Champion for 188 days.
Akiyama, at 53 years of age and with 30 years of experience inside the squared circle, is as good now as he's ever been, and with a top tier athlete like Konosuke Takeshita at his side, he is going to be a problem for Eddie Kingston and Ortiz this Friday night on RAMPAGE. Those two men may be on a five match winning streak, but they are running into a duo consisting of one of the greatest professional wrestlers to come out of Japan, and one of the best young athletes that country has seen in years. It's an interesting pairing, Akiyama and Takeshita, given that they have spent most of their shared time in DDT on opposing sides of the ring, including Takeshita being the one to end Akiyama's KO-D Championship reign.
That being said, this is about their mutual pride in representing DDT against AEW, it's about Eddie Kingston getting to fulfill a life-long dream in fighting Jun Akiyama, and ultimately it's about who will be the best professional wrestling team on Friday night in Newark!
MEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATOR TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINAL...
“The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer vs. “Absolute” Ricky Starks
Lance Archer did his best to make sure this match didn't happen, that he would put Ricky Starks on the shelf and skate into the Semi-Finals of the Men's World Championship Eliminator Tournament against “The Machine” Brian Cage. But all Archer's assault accomplished was delaying the inevitable by a week as this meeting between “Absolute” and “The Murderhawk Monster” will now take place on the eve of FULL GEAR 2022!
With the finals of the tournament originally slated for Saturday night's PPV event, and Ethan Page already a lock after defeating Bandido, there's still a matter of settling this half of the brackets! Be it Archer or Starks, the winner of this battle still has to contend with “The Machine” in the Semi-Finals before they can even think about the Finals, and AEW GM Tony Khan announced on Thursday that the second Semi-Final bout will now go down on Saturday night in Newark during FULL GEAR: ZERO HOUR, with the Finals taking place Wednesday in Chicago!
Lance Archer's actions last week on DYNAMITE created a lot of questions and monkey-wrenched tournament plans, but one more question will have a resolution after Friday, that being whether it's “The Murderhawk Monster” or the former FTW Champion Ricky Starks who survives their RAMPAGE battle and heads to FULL GEAR:ZERO HOUR to battle Brian Cage!
FTW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
HOOK(c) vs. Lee Moriarty
Lee Moriarty's battle with Jon Moxley several weeks ago may not have ended in his favor, but it certainly stoked a fire that was already burning inside the purveyor of #Taigastyle! As can be heard in the interview Lexy Nair conducted, Moriarty stated his desire to face any champion in All Elite Wrestling, and it seemed the FTW Champion HOOK was in earshot given how quickly he arrived on the scene.
So it will be that this Friday night, in response to Moriarty's desire to face champions, The Firm member will have to contend with the undefeated “Cold-Hearted Handsome Devil” HOOK with the FTW Championship on the line! It's been almost a year since HOOK's in-ring debut, and in that time no one has been able to touch him, will Lee Moriarty be the first man to figure out the key to victory over the FTW champ?
Madison Rayne vs. Athena
There has clearly been a shift in the attitude of “The Fallen Goddess” Athena over the last several weeks, and it has resulted in an ultra-aggressive approach to her matches, this barely restrained rage that can be seen in the video embedded above, and while it has resulted in few battered opponents, it has also led to nine consecutive victories since DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM 2022's championship loss. So while there have been many who have physically suffered from this new approach to her profession, Athena herself has experienced nothing but success from the shift.
This Friday night on RAMPAGE, “The Fallen Goddess” will try to push the same tactics on the veteran Madison Rayne and see if she gets the same results. With Rayne's AEW career consisting of split time between coaching and competition, she has seen first-hand the battered bodies that have come out of Athena's last few matches, and she's not about to let the same thing happen to her. Friday night will see a battle of two well-traveled competitors slugging it out to see who is the better woman!
Will Athena's winning streak continue on, or will Madison Rayne survive the onslaught and hand “The Fallen Goddess” a bit of her own medicine?
Tune into TNT at 10pm ET/9pm CT for the final RAMPAGE before FULL GEAR 2022 featuring the legendary Jun Akiyama's AEW debut when he teams with Cinnabon's favorite wrestler Konosuke Takeshita to battle Eddie Kingston and Ortiz! Plus Ricky Starks finally gets his World Title Eliminator Tournament bout against Lance Archer, and plenty more on tap! Get prepared for the festivities over at the official AEW YouTube channel for DYNAMITE highlights, AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, COUNTDOWN TO FULL GEAR, and the CONTROL CENTER with Tony Schiavone!