By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 3)
Taped August 25, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at UWM Panther Arena
Aired August 27, 2021 on TNT
The opening video aired and the broadcast team of Excalibur, Taz, Chris Jericho, and Mark Henry checked in. Jericho was back this week after being out last week. Jericho said, “Yeah, I’m yelling! That’s what I do!” so at least we know he’s self-aware…
1. “Lucha Brothers” Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix vs. “Jurassic Express” Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy in the AEW Tag Title eliminator tournament final. The Lucha Brothers didn’t get a televised entrance. The Young Bucks made their entrance to watch the match from the ramp. Jungle Boy and Fenix began with Jungle Boy grabbing a side head-lock. After chasing Fenix, Jungle Boy knocked Fenix down to applause from the crowd.
Fenix took out Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy at the same time with a series of impressive high spots. Fenix and Jungle Boy shook hands before Jungle Boy tagged in Luchasaurus. Penta then tagged in. Penta stalled and took his glove off before landing some kicks and headbutts, but Luchasaurus caught him slapped Penta to the ground. All four men ended up in the ring and a Superkick Party ensued. Milwaukee Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo was shown in the crowd and Taz mispronounced his name. [c]
Back from the break, Jungle Boy rolled up Fenix, but the two hit stereo Tope Suicidas on their opponents outside the ring. Penta and Luchasaurus tagged in, but Fenix almost immediately came in. Luchasaurus took both brothers down with a double clothesline. Luchasaurus hit a choke slam on Fenix and a standing moonsault onto Penta for a two-count.
Back on their feet, Fenix tagged in and worked over Luchasaurus. Fenix hit a jumping spinning kick in the corner and fired the crowd up. Fenix went to the top and hit a frog splash for a very close near-fall. Fenix kept doing the Eddie Guerrero dance. Jungle Boy tagged in and landed a lariat followed by a poison-rana for a good near-fall. Jungle Boy sunk in the Bear Trap. Penta came in and hit a tough kick to Jungle Boy’s head to break it up.
Penta picked up Jungle Boy and hit a back-breaker into a Made In Japan for another wildly close near-fall. Jungle Boy escaped the Fear Factor and the action spilled outside. Fenix walked the ropes and hit a huracanrana on Jungle Boy from the top rope to the outside. Penta rolled Jungle Boy inside and got a two-count.
Fenix tagged in, but Jungle Boy hit a kick and tagged in Luchasaurus. Fenix and Jungle Boy fought on the apron. Penta ran up and landed a Canadian Destroyer on the apron on Jungle Boy. Fenix then landed one on Luchasaurus and Luchasaurus kicked out at one. The brothers then kicked Luchasaurus into oblivion. The brothers hit their finisher on Luchasaurus, which was good enough for the win.
“Lucha Brothers” Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix defeated “Jurassic Express” Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy via pinfall in 12:47 to win the eliminator tournament for a shot at the AEW Tag Title shot at All Out.
After the match, the Young Bucks ran into the ring and attacked the Lucha Brothers. Jurassic Express came back in for the save. The Express and the Lucha Brothers all grabbed hands and took a bow.
McGuire’s Musings: Oh, wow. I guess I could be cynical and call it just another usual spot fest from these types of teams, but my God that was a hell of an opener. And thank goodness I stayed away from the spoilers because I genuinely did not see that coming. The Lucha Bros vs. The Young Bucks inside of a cage has every right to steal the show at “All Out.” This was one of the best Jurassic Express matches I’ve ever seen – if not the best. Go out of your way to see this.
A video package featuring CM Punk’s return to wrestling aired. Punk said 15-year-old CM Punk would think Darby Allin is his favorite wrestler because he’s punk rock. They then teased how the story will continue next Friday with the All Out Countdown special…
TNT Champion Miro made his entrance, dragging Fuego Del Sol with him. Once in the ring, Miro said Fuego accepted something he shouldn’t have. Miro tore off Fuego’s mask and kicked him in the head.
Eddie Kingston’s music hit and out he came with a microphone. Kingston put down a microphone, ran to the ring and Miro pounded Kingston. Kingston fought back with chops and an Exploder. Referees then came in to break it up. The crowd chanted “Eddie! Eddie!” Jericho called Del Sol Fuego Del Sol Fuego Del Ass.
McGuire’s Musings: The Punk package was a bit disappointing because I was under the impression we were getting new content from Allin and Punk, but maybe not. For now, that just felt like a “Road To” segment. The angle to set up Miro and Eddie Kingston was simple, but fine. Not having Eddie talk might not have been the smartest move because if they need to heat this thing up quickly, Kingston is a master at that. Hopefully we’ll get more in the coming week, assuming those two will meet at All Out.
2. Tay Conti vs. The Bunny (w/The Blade). Taz pointed out how Conti is on a 15-match winning streak. The Bunny went after Conti before the bell rang. The Bunny stomped a mud hole in Conti before hitting an elbow, which got her a two-count. The Bunny landed a lift-up knee for a two-count. The Bunny hit a chop, but went for another one and missed.
Conti then took control with some chops, but it was short-lived because The Bunny raked the eyes. The Bunny hit the dreaded back-rake. The Bunny then sunk a knee into the back of Conti’s head as she was draped over the bottom rope. The Bunny hit a running clothesline for a two-count. Conti took control with some arm-drags and a knee to the face.
Conti hit a Bossman Slam and fired up. Conti hit a pump kick in the corner and then another one and then another one. Conti hit the Tay-K-O, but Penelope Ford came out to distract Conti. The Bunny got brass knuckles from The Blade and hit Conti for the pinfall win.
The Bunny defeated Tay Conti via pinfall in 4:30.
After the match, Ford and The Bunny posed together.
McGuire’s Musings: Here’s a dare, AEW. Give us a women’s match on Rampage that’s longer than eight minutes. Double-dog dare. Anyway, this was good and I actually think both wrestlers came away from this looking better, even though Conti lost (she was protected due to the brass knucks). Conti has been on a roll and she’s improved so, so much during her time in AEW. That in mind, this was a big win for The Bunny, who has been toiling away for a while. Speaking of toiling away, the same could be said for the talented Ford, who now appears to be inserted into a program, which is a good thing.
Back from break, a video package on the Brian Cage and Team Taz saga aired… The broadcast team then ran down the card for Dynamite on Wednesday…
Mark Henry did the split-screen interview thing and Kenny Omega said they were going to send the crowd home happy. Christian said he beat Omega for the Impact Title and he’d beat Omega for “The Big One,” the AEW Title, at All Out (umpf, not a great look for that Impact Title).
3. Kenny Omega and Brandon Cutler (w/Don Callis, Michael Nakazawa) vs. Christian Cage and Frankie Kazarian. After both teams made their entrances, the show went to break [c]
Kazarian and Cutler began and Kazarian went hard after Cutler with punches, a knee and a clothesline. Omega tagged in and Omega took control after Nakazawa pulled Kazarian’s leg. Omega landed a chop, but Kaz fought back with a couple chops of his own. Omega went for a splash, but missed and Kaz hit a Russian leg-sweep. Christian then tagged in. As a result, Omega tagged out to Cutler.
Christian worked over Cutler before tagging in Kazarian, who draped Cutler over the top rope and then kicked Cutler in the head. Nakazawa interfered again to give Omega and Christian the advantage. Back in the ring, Omega hit Kazarian with punches and an eventual moonsault for a two-count. Omega hit a face-palm slam. Cutler tagged in, danced and hit some elbows. After going for another one, he missed and Kazarian tagged in Christian.
Cutler went to tag Omega but Omega dropped off the apron. Christian took Cutler’s jacket off and hit some chops. Omega then ran in to try and hit the One-Winged Angel, but Christian worked out of it and Christian hit punches on both Cutler and Omega. Christian then hit two reverse DDTs. Omega pulled Christian into the corner and Omega went for a V-trigger, but hit Cutler instead. Christian went for the Killswitch, but Omega wrestled his way outside.
Omega made his way up the ramp as Christian hit a spear on Cutler. Christian then hit the Killswitch on Cutler for the win.
Christian Cage and Frankie Kazarian defeated Kenny Omega and Brandon Cutler via pinfall in 8:15.
The show ended with Christian staring at Omega who continued his way up the ramp…
McGuire’s Musings: If Kenny Omega is the best wrestler in the world, and there are a trillion people who believe just that, then do we think the best possible use of him is to have these quasi-comedy matches where he more than once looks like a bumbling fool surrounded by a cast of bumbling-er fools? I only ask because there was just a little too much comedy in this for a match that involves the world champion. Or, at least for my taste. Cutler can be funny in doses and even Omega can entice a grin or two every now and then, but Omega’s bread and butter is wrestling; not being Fred Astaire.
Anyway, this episode of Rampage actually exceeded all my expectations – and by far. I was worried that taped episodes would lack the juice of those first two live episodes, but that didn’t happen, and the wrestling tonight was great to good. While the main event was fairly missable, if you have 15 minutes, seek out Jurassic Express vs. Lucha Bros and if you don’t think it’s breathtaking, I’ll mail you an ice cream bar. Only one week until All Out. In my mind, a few things need a touch more heat on them. Will we get it?