It’s Friday night, and you know what that means? It’s time for another AEW Rampage review. Two former Pro-Wrestling EVE stars face off this week as Emi Sakura takes on AEW’s Jamie Hayter.
The commentary does a tremendous job putting over Sakura, who hasn’t appeared on live TV for AEW since All Out 2021. Before stepping foot in the ring, we get Sakura’s lineage as an All Japan, Ice Ribbon, DDT Pro-Wrestling, and JPW Joshi Puroresu champion.
This matchup can be summed up in one word: chops. Hayter and Sakura take turns beating each other with vicious chops. From the onset, though, Sakura dominates. Everything that Hayter throws at her, Emi has an answer. Sakura shows innovation by throwing Hayter back and forth from the ring apron to the barricade wall. Again, later in the match, when she clings to the second rope to avoid an attack from Hayter.
However, Hayter is almost giving to a fault. Emi is someone who spends most of her time wrestling on Dark and Elevation. Logic would dictate that the champ would plow through someone like Sakura in a few minutes. Instead, we get a lengthy competitive match where Sakura gets most of the offense. While I am not knocking the chance to see Sakura on TV or Hayter, who at this point is a firm fan favorite, who knows what impact matches like this may have on Hayter’s reign as champion? There is potential for both positive and negative effects.
Sakura keeps control of the situation, using multiple comebacks to choke Hayter and several near falls, including an impressive, delayed Tiger Driver and moonsault, to keep Hayter from getting away. Ultimately, Hayter steals a victory after a running lariat sets up her short-arm clothesline, the Hayterade. The champ walks away the victor, but just barely, all thanks to her devastating clothesline.
An excellent TV return for Emi Sakura and another standout performance for Hayter. Both women put in an outstanding performance. Hayter, at times, seemed a little too giving, but it had little effect on the crowd, which was firmly in the champion’s corner. Overall, this is a hard-hitting match that taps into the strong Japanese style that Daniel Bryan is more likely to display than the women’s division. If you are a fan of that tough Joshi style, go out of your way to watch this match.
That wraps up another AEW Rampage review. But what do you think of this episode of Rampage? Do you want to see more of Emi Sakura? How do you feel about Hayter’s title reign so far? Let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you.