By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Rampage (Episode 97)
Taped June 14, 2023 in Washington, D.C. at Capital One Arena
Aired June 16, 2023 on TNT
The Rampage opening aired. Pyro shot off on the stage. Jim Ross checked in on commentary along with Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Chris Jericho. The wrestlers were already inside the ring for the opening match…
1. Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher, and Jeff Cobb vs. Rocky Romero, Trent Beretta, and Chuck Taylor. Jericho said he would eat Ross’s hat if Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega wasn’t a classic. Ross told him to go ahead because he has three black hats. Beretta stood on the ropes and then Romero dove between his legs and the ropes onto all three opponents. Taylor followed up with a dive and then Beretta capped it off with one of his own.
Cobb was getting the better of Taylor heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C] Beretta performed a nice series of suplexes on Fletcher coming out of the break. Fletcher stuffed a tornado DDT attempt and then put Beretta down with a brainbuster.
Romero checked in and joined Beretta in performing double team moves on Fletcher. When Fletcher was covered, Cobb entered the ring and roughed up both opponents. Cobb dragged Fletcher to his corner and then tagged himself in. Beretta and Romero performed a double knee strike on Cobb, who was then bodyslammed by Taylor.
Romero, Beretta, and Taylor did the hug spot. Cobb was the hero by grabbing two of them and suplexing them. Ospreay tagged into the match and hit a running boot on Romero in the corner. Ospreay followed up with a leap from the top rope into an elbow strike. Ospreay went for the Hidden Blade, but Romero avoided it and hooked him into a pin for a close near fall.
A short time later, Romero turned Ospreay inside out with a clothesline. Romero ran up the ropes for a move, but Fletcher caught him and performed a tombstone piledriver. Ospreay hit Romero with the Hidden Blade and then covered him for the three count…
Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher, and Jeff Cobb beat Rocky Romero, Trent Beretta, and Chuck Taylor in 11:30.
AEW’s daily fantasy sports partner’s video aired… [C]
Powell’s POV: The expected fast paced opener. I would have preferred to see Ospreay dominate rather than give up the offense that he did, but he still shined. For that matter, so did Cobb, whose power moves really stood out in a match filled with more acrobatic wrestlers.
2. Taya Valkyrie vs. Trish Adora. Valkyrie’s entrance was televised while Adora was already inside the ring. Valkyrie taunted the crowd early and picked up an early two count. Valkyrie executed a sliding German suplex and then shimmied at ringside.
When Valkyrie returned to the ring, Adora caught her wit a pump kick. Adora hit Valkyrie with a series of forearms. Valkyrie came right back and speared Adora. Valkyrie pulled Adora’s arms behind her and then used her foot to drive Adora’s face into the match. Excalibur referred to it as a Curb Stomp…
Taya Valkyrie defeated Trish Adora in 3:25.
Powell’s POV: There’s a reason why WWE shortened the name of Seth Rollins’ finisher and I’m surprised that they brought the name back in AEW. Anyway, this match was exactly what it needed to be. Adora got a couple of hope spots, but Valkyrie was dominant. While Adora has upside, Valkyrie is the one who seems to be being set up for a shot at TBS Champion Kris Statlander, so she should be the focus. Now if we could just hear from her. Seriously, has she been given any promo time since Double Or Nothing?
Backstage, Lexi Nair interviewed Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy while Isiah Kassidy and Ethan Page stood behind them. Matt said the Austin and Colten Gunn will be their stepping stones to the AEW Tag Team Titles. Matt said they beat the Gunns’ daddy’s ass 25 years ago and will do the same to Austin and Colten on Dynamite. Jeff said they would do what Billy Gunn has tried to do for his sons for the last three years by making them famous. Kassidy made his weird orgasm noise…
3. Jeff Jarrett, Karen Jarrett, and Jay Lethal (w/Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh). vs. Mark Briscoe, Papa Briscoe, and Aubrey Edwards. Edwards wore a sleeveless referee shirt as part of her gear. Karen avoided Aubrey. Papa checked in and joined Mark in performing a double shoulder block. Schiavone noted that Papa was unbeaten in three prior matches with his sons. The heels had Mark down at ringside going into a PIP break. [C]
Papa performed a big clothesline on Lethal. Papa knocked Jeff off the apron and then speared Jeff. Papa tagged in Aubrey. Karen gouged Aubrey’s eyes. Karen grabbed a guitar, but referee Paul Turner stopped her from using it. Aubrey ended up with the guitar and wound up to use it. Lethal entered the ring and barked at Edwards and dared her to hit him.
Singh climbed onto the apron. Referee Turner turned his focus to Singh, allowing Edwards to slam the guitar over the head of Lethal. Karen grabbed Edwards from behind and went for The Stroke, but Edwards fought it off. Edwards put Karen in the Figure Four and got the submission win…
Mark Briscoe, Papa Briscoe, and Aubrey Edwards beat Jeff Jarrett, Karen Jarrett, and Jay Lethal in 9:35.
Powell’s POV: This feud needed more time to develop. They just rushed into Aubrey’s first AEW match, and Papa Briscoe has only appeared on AEW television once (not counting times when he’s been in the crowd with other family members). That said, it was still kind of fun for the silly match that it was.
Taya Valkyrie was interviewed by Lexi Nair in the backstage area. Valkyrie said the people can’t get enough of her. Nair brought up Valkyrie watching Kris Statlander matches. Valkyrie started to vent about Statlander, who walked onto the interview set holding the TBS Title.
Statlander said she has what Valkyrie wants, but it’s not her fault that Jade Cargill issued the open challenge. Valkyrie said she broke Cargill down and that allowed Statlander to beat her. Valkyrie accused Statlander of taking her spot. Statlander said she has an open challenge and is ready to face Valkyrie whenever she wants…
Powell’s POV: Hey, there it is. Valkyrie is a good talker and this solidified her as a heel. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like this was one of Statlander’s better outings. On a side note, all of the commercial breaks include spots for AEW Collision, so they have been giving the new show a big push throughout the night. I will be covering it live tomorrow night and then Will Pruett and I will team up for a same night audio review that will be available to everyone as this week’s Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast.
Backstage, Mark Henry started top hype the main event, but he was interrupted by Don Callis, who was accompanied by Konosuke Takeshita. Callis ran through a list of Mexican wrestlers that Takeshita is better than. Callis labeled Takeshita as El Hijo del Don Callis. Nice. Callis said Bandido is in for a long night. Takeshita spot briefly in Japanese. Henry said it was time for the main event…
Excalibur went into auctioneer mode and ran through the AEW Collision lineup. He mentioned Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness will be the broadcast team and said Jim Ross would join them for the main event. He also ran through the Forbidden Door pay-per-view lineup…
Entrances for the main event took place. Hilariously, the video wall had an image of Takeshita and Callis as centaurs…
4. Konosuke Takeshita (w/Don Callis) vs. Bandido. Don Callis sat in on commentary. Bandido offered a handshake, but Takeshita blew him off. Bandido went for his 21 Plex finisher early on, but Takeshita held the ropes to block it. Takeshita dominate Bandido at ringside and booted him over the barricade.
Bandido regained offensive control once they were back inside the ring. Bandido held up Takeshita for a vertical suplex and had to put him down at four. Bandido clutched his lower back. Bandido got the crowd to chant “one more time” and then performed another vertical suplex. He wasn’t able to count much higher before completing the suplex.
Bandido performed a huracanrana that pulled Takeshita from the apron. Callis left the broadcast table and headed to ringside. Bandido rolled Takeshita back inside the ring. Bandido went up top and dove at him, but Takeshita put his knee out and then Bandido crashed onto it going into another PIP break. [C]
A graphic and Excalibur touted Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting” as the Collision theme song. Bandido performed a top rope moonsault onto Takeshita on the floor. Back in the ring, Takeshita came right back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall.
Bandido pressed Takeshita over his head and slammed him. Bandido went up top, shimmied, and frog splashed Takeshita for a near fall. Bandido set up for a top rope move. Takeshita bit Bandido and then performed a clothesline that turned Bandido inside out as both men fell to the mat. Takeshita covered Bandido for a near fall.
Takeshita went to the corner and charged Bandido, who hoisted him onto his back and hit him with a GTS. Bandido went for his 21 Plex, but Takeshita flipped all the way over and landed on his feet. Takeshita went for a suplex only to have Bandido return the favor by flipping onto his feet. Bandido ducked a knee strike. Takeshita went for a powerbomb, but Bandido countered and got a near fall. Bandido performed a hurcanrana into a pin for another near fall.
Both men threw lariats at one another and then ran the ropes. Bandido ducked another lariat, but Takeshita continued to run the ropes and hit him with a flying knee. Takeshita hit Bandido with another shot while he was on his knees and then blasted him with a knee to the face and pinned him.
Konosuke Takeshita defeated Bandido in 15:10.
The broadcast team hyped the AEW Collision debut for Saturday night to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A very enjoyable main event. I’m not crazy about Bandido losing so many matches and really not having any sense of storyline direction in AEW thus far. But it was perfectly logical to have Bandido lose to Takeshita, who is being set up as a top heel. I hope they’ll run this one back again at some point.
Overall, I enjoyed this more than most editions of Rampage. It had a strong main event, a logical women’s match, and the silly fun of the mixed trios match. I will have more to say in my same night audio review of Rampage for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
Join me for my live review of AEW Collision on Saturday night.