3/25 AEW Rampage results: McGuire’s review of Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Penta El Zero Miedo for the TNT Title, “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, Taya Valkyrie vs. Leila Grey, Brody King vs. Jake Hager

By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)

AEW Rampage (Episode 85)
Taped March 22, 2023 in Independence, Missouri at Cable Dahmer Arena
Aired March 25, 2023 on TNT

Jim Ross welcomed everyone in and noted how it was Saturday. He was joined by Tony Schiavone and Excalibur on commentary. We went directly to the ring with no introductions and the bell rang for the first match.

1. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Penta El Zero Miedo for the TNT Title. Penta had control early and dropkicked Hobbs to the outside. On the outside, Hobbs worked over Penta and slammed him across the guardrail before taunting Penta with Penta’s symbol. Hobbs rolled Penta back into the ring and landed an elbow. Hobbs landed a back-breaker for a two-count. Hobbs choked Penta over the second rope. With the ref distracted, QT Marshall tied Penta’s mask to the bottom rope. Hobbs kept dominating, complete with a delayed vertical suplex and a two-count. We then got our first PIP [c].

Back from break, Penta landed a kick and a Slingblade. Penta then hit a Backstabber for a two-count. Penta punched Hobbs, but Hobbs came back with a body-slam for a near-fall. Hobbs lifted Penta, but Penta worked his way out and landed a super-kick that took Hobbs to the outside, where Penta followed up with a splash. Hobbs ran at Penta and Penta threw Hobbs into the stairs. Penta then hit a series of foot-stomps for a good near-fall. QT grabbed a chair and Aaron Solow tried to interfere, which led to Hobbs hitting Penta with the TNT tile while the referee was distracted. From there, Hobbs hit his finisher for the win.

Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Penta El Zero Miedo via pinfall in 10:40.

After the match, Hobbs and his crew threatened to keep attacking Penta and Rey Fenix ran out for the save. The commentary team then ran down the rest of the card and we went to break.

McGuire’s Musings: I actually preferred Hobbs’s match with Fenix from last week over this one and that’s a surprise because one can argue Penta has somewhat of an edge over Fenix (with no disrespect to Fenix, of course). The shenanigans, I could have done without, but you have to think that’s going to be in a lot of Hobbs’s matches moving forward, now that he’s backed by the weird TMZ ripoff nonsense. In all, the match was just kind of there with Hobbs getting 80 percent of the televised shine.

Back from break, we got a video recap of what happened with The Elite on Wednesday. Included was Kenny Omega’s promo from New Year Dash where he called out Jeff Cobb. We’re going to get Omega vs. Cobb for the IWGP U.S. Title on Wednesday. Ricky Starks made his entrance to speak to the crowd. Starks said he’s not in the mood to talk and he called out Juice Robinson. Juice came out with a microphone and Juice asked Ricky if he was calling Juice out. Juice walked to the ring and then turned around, but Ricky ran after Juice and threw Juice into the ring. Juice ran into the crowd with a mic and said if Ricky wants to fight Juice, he’s going to have to fight him in New York City. We then got a video from Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal, the latter of whom said the AEW referees have screwed them. Jarrett said the foursome will have gold soon. Sonjay Dutt laughed maniacally to close it out and we went back to the ring.

2. Brody King vs. Jake Hager. The two locked up to begin and they traded shoulder-blocks that didn’t really work. The two traded punches and King landed a double-handed chop to take Hager down. Hager went to the outside and King threw Hager around until Hager reversed things and threw King into the guardrail. We then got our second PIP [c].

When we got back, King landed a Boss Man Slam for a two-count. King went for a cannonball, but Hager moved and went for a Hager Bomb, but King got the boots up. King then hit a discuss lariat for a good near-fall. Anna Jay ran to the ring and attacked Julia, but then King landed one of his finishers in the ring to get the win.

Brody King defeated Jake Hager via pinfall in 7:19.

As soon as the match ended, we got a backstage video from Swerve, who said he found an affiliate who’s as sick-minded as he is. Tech9 showed up and Swerve said “hoodies up” and called out Keith Lee. Back to the ring, we went.

3. Taya Valkyrie vs. Leila Grey. Grey and Valkyrie had a stare down and then Valkyrie clotheslined the hell out of Grey. Valkyrie ran the ropes and Smart Mark interrupted her with his cease and desist. Almost immediately, Valkyrie hit Jaded for the win.

Taya Valkyrie defeated Lelia Grey via pinfall in 1:09.

After the match, Smart Mark cane into the ring and Valkyrie gave Smart Mark Jaded.

McGuire’s Musings: We’ll work backwards. I’m all for Valkyrie getting credibility wins on her road toward Cargill, so that was fine for what it was. I get a kick out of Smart Mark sometimes and this was not necessarily one of those times, but he was good in his role. I feat that the Swerve vs. Keith Lee feud is wandering into “Ok, when does this end” territory, but I’ll bite for one more match. IF we go beyond that, I’m gonna have to bail. As for the Brody King match, I was nervous for only a second when it looked like he might take a second-straight loss in as many weeks because man, I don’t know that booking Brody King to lose two weeks in a row is the best way to go, especially when he’s so good at being a monster. But apparently, we’re going to get an Anna Jay/Julia program, which could be good for both women because at this point, it’s easy to forget that Julia actually wrestles, too.

Back from break, we got a pre-tape Mark Henry segment where there were no interviews. Excalibur ran down Wednesday’s card, which will include the BCC vs. Dalton Castle and The Boys, as well as Orange Cassidy vs. The Butcher for the AEW International Championship. We also got the Juice vs. Ricky official announcement for the April 5 Dynamite. Matt Menard and Angelo Parker joined the commentary team for the main event.

4. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett. Caster’s rap to the ring included a shot at Maria’s Playboy spread as well as the color purple. The Kingdom had control early with a fury of quick tags and double-team moves. Bowens eventually tagged in and The Acclaimed hit a Back-Cracker as they took control. Caster tagged in and The Acclaimed hit Scissor Me Timbers. Caster and Bowens had a scissor party and we got our final PIP of the night [c].

Back from break, Matt Taven had control after landing a back-heel kick. Bennett tagged in and The Kingdom gave Billy Gunn the “Suck it” sign. Taven landed a wild knee for a two-count. Billy Gunn backed Maria up the ramp and Top Flight appeared to take Maria to the back. Billy then clotheslined Bennett on the outside and inside the ring, Bowens fired up and took everyone out. Soon thereafter, The Acclaimed hit the Mic Drop for the win.

“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens defeated “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett via pinfall in 9:09.

After the match, Billy Gunn tried to put on Maria’s boot. The Acclaimed then scissored to end the show.

McGuire’s Musings: With an Elite 8 game taking place on the other Turner network and it being Saturday night, it was hard to think this would be a significant Rampage (and that’s saying something, for how insignificant Rampage often is anymore), but all told, it felt like AEW didn’t even really try. Even The Acclaimed, who are super over and a ton of fun between the Billy Gunn shenanigans and the Max Caster entrance rap, fell a little flat. There really wasn’t a lot of news coming out of this and the wrestling also wasn’t really something you have to see. With the NCAA tournament winding down and Rampage going back to 10 p.m. EST next Friday, maybe we’ll get a better show? Maybe not. Either way, this was an entirely missable hour of wrestling. I’ll have more to say on my audio review, which will come tomorrow, friends, because I gotta be up in a few hours for work and sleep is a must. Have a good rest of the Saturday.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. Can we get someone who actually likes AEW, or at least doesn’t LOOK for things to complain about, to do the reviews so it’ll at least be fairly reviewed?

    • Wait, so the guy who drove from the northeast to attend Dynamite in Jacksonville for one of the early pandemic shows doesn’t like AEW? Mike, it’s time for you to accept that you’re not going to get gushing praise for everything on this website. We call it as we see it regardless of the company banner. If you can’t accept that, then I’m sure you can find a site that will heap praise on all things AEW, which is what you seem to be seeking based on your endless complaints regarding most AEW criticism.

  2. MJoseph, it IS fairly reviewed. The thing is, you don’t want a fair review. You’re an AEW fanboy who wants someone to dick ride Tony Khan as hard as you do and and that just isn’t gonna happen here.

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