Junior Dos Santos got the full pro wrestling experience in his in-ring debut at Friday night’s AEW Rampage in Miami, Florida.
For weeks, the former UFC heavyweight champion, alongside American Top Team coach Dan Lambert, Paige VanZant, Austin Vanderford, Dalton Rosta, and Jorge Masvidal, have appeared in a program supporting the “Men of the Year” — Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky — opposite Chris Jericho and his Inner Circle faction.
Lambert has played an old-school heel (that’s bad guy, in wrestling parlance), criticizing AEW fans, the in-ring product, and owner Tony Khan as soft, in comparison to “real” men like Page and Sky. But after being the hired muscle in previous weeks, Dos Santos finally got involved in an actual match Friday. Only to end up put through a table at ringside by a fellow MMA fighter, Bellator’s Jake Hager.
Hager’s membership in the Inner Circle has been running since the group began, and he got the bulk of the ring time with the ex-champ. JDS also had a change to wrestle Chris Jericho, considered at this point one of the best wrestlers of his generation. Aside from his pulled punches looking perhaps a little too soft, and being out of his corner and watching the action a bit too much, Dos Santos acquitted himself well, getting to pull off a power slam and a few other moves before his part of the match ended care of a table.
That moment earned a “holy sh*t” and some “this is awesome” chants from fans in Miami, who booed the hometown ATT posse on their way to the ring.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 16, 2021
Dos Santos also got to share in the win, which came care of a Jorge Masvidal flying knee on Chris Jericho, the second time “Gamebred” has executed the move on the Fozzy singer and wrestling legend. After Paige VanZant ran interference and Masvidal landed the knee, the “Men of the Year” earned the pinfall victory.
Is it what fight fans want to see in this latest chapter of Junior Dos Santos’ career? Maybe, maybe not, but he appeared to be having a blast at Rampage — and it appears ATT’s feud with the Inner Circle will continue.