By Don Murphy, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@DonThePredictor)
AEW Rampage (Episode 107)
Taped August 19, 2023 in Lexington, Kentucky at Rupp Arena
Aired August 25, 2023 on TNT
A memorial graphic aired in memory of Windham Rotunda (a/k/a Bray Wyatt)…
Don’s Take: It’s been a rough week for wrestling fans. My sincerest condolences to the families, friends, and fans of both Bray Wyatt and Terry Funk.
The Rampage opening aired and pyro shot off from the stage… Excalibur and Tony Schiavone were on commentary…
1. Orange Cassidy vs. Aaron Solo (w/Harley Cameron) for the AEW International Championship. Both participants received televised entrances. The match started off with a nice sequence of chain wrestling by both Cassidy and Solo. Eventually, action spilled to the floor and there was a fun spot where Cassidy hit Cameron with a series of light shin kicks, which she sold really well. Cassidy threw Solo back in the ring and attempted to climb the ropes only to be tripped up by Cameron which gave Solo the upper hand heading into the picture-in picture break. [C]
Coming out of the commercial, Solo maintained the advantage. Cassidy eventually regained momentum after Solo missed a move in the corner. Cassidy gained two near falls on Solo after hitting “Stun Dog Millionaire” and a DDT.
The finish saw Cameron distract Cassidy with her singing which allowed Solo to hit Cassidy with a spin kick and a modified suplex where he dropped him on his shoulder for a near fall. Solo followed up with a double stomp off the top rope for another near fall. After both wrestlers got back on their feet, Solo distracted the referee while Cameron attempted to hit Cassidy with her boot. The referee caught her and began ushering her out of the ring. This allowed Solo to hit Cassidy with the boot for a near fall. After exchanging roll-up attempts, Cassidy hit Solo with the “Orange Punch” and his “Beach Break” finisher for the win.
Orange Cassidy defeated Aaron Solo to retain the AEW International Championship.
Don’s Take: I enjoyed this match for what it was. It didn’t do much in terms of storyline advancement or building to either of the upcoming pay-per-views, but it continued to tell the story of Cassidy as the fighting champion. I also think there’s some untapped potential in both Solo and Cassidy. Their involvement in the QTV faction isn’t hitting the mark, but with some more reps they will hopefully be able to find something that clicks.
Speaking of QTV….
We went to Jim Ross who was with QT Marshall. Ross congratulated Marshall on winning the AAA Latin American Championship. Marshall spoke about the lack of respect he has received, noting that many within AEW felt that he received opportunities because of who he associated with and because of his relationship with Tony Khan.
Marshall questioned that theory by asking if that was the case, why he had to go to another country to win a title. He touched on his professionalism both in and out of the ring, but noted that despite this, he’s seen as an afterthought. He exclaimed that his own mother can go online and buy 150,000 Excalibur figures but cannot buy one of him because they don’t exist. He promised to get the respect he deserves by defending his new title later in the show.
Excalibur and Tony plugged the All Out pay-per-view in Chicago including their daily fantasy sports partnership…
2. QT Marshall (w/Johnny TV) vs. Gravity for the AAA Latin American Championship. Marshall took the mic and spoke a combination of Spanish and English. He wished Gravity luck and noted that Bandido was his brother and was a better wrestler. He then instructed Gravity to leave and Johnny sang the “Na Na Na Goodbye” song. Gravity slapped Marshall and the match began.
Johnny joined the announcers on commentary. The first part of the match saw Gravity hit a series of high flying moves with Marshall attempting a ground-based attack. Going into commercial, Marshall hit a powerbomb on the ring apron. [C]
After the break, Gravity gained a series of near falls with several roll-ups, an impressive looking “Destroyer” and a Samoan Drop from the top rope. The announcers highlighted Gravity’s speed and youth going up against Marshall’s strength and experience.
The finish saw Marshall convert a backdrop into a cutter, followed by a powerbomb for the win…
QT Marshall defeated Gravity to retain the AAA Latin American Championship.
Don’s Take: Another fun match and furthers my case that moving away from the nonsense of the QTV faction. The individual members could bring something to the table. Marshall attempting to come off “Latin American” gave me a chuckle and took me back to the days of D’Lo Brown as WWE European Champion. Gravity does some flashy moves and much like many other AEW wrestlers, would benefit from a story and some character development.
A Dark Order promo aired. They spoke about how they’ve been wronged in the past and how their match against Vinny Marseglia, Dutch and Stu Grayson at ROH Death before Dishonor opened their violent side. Evil Uno ended by saying, “Be selfish. Be happy. Be the Dark Order.”
3. TNT Champion Luchasaurus vs. Ren Jones in a non-title match. Christian Cage did not accompany Luchasaurus to ringside but was shown looking on from the back on the monitor. This was a complete squash match with Luchasuarus chokeslamming Jones and hitting him with a clothesline to the back of the head.
Luchasaurus defeated Ren Jones.
Don’s Take: A basic squash match heading into the two pay-per-views. The clock is ticking on when Luchasaurus has finally had enough of Christian but hopefully that’s a long way off as the dynamic between them continues to be entertaining.
Ads aired for the upcoming All In event this Sunday from Wembley Stadium. [C] After the break, Excalibur sped through the lineups for Collision and All-In, as well as the initial matches signed for All Out (Darby Allin vs. Luchasaurus and Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Miro).
Mark Henry hyped the main event.
4. Toni Storm and Saraya (w/Ruby Soho) vs. Dr. Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida. The match started with all four women brawling. The heels gained the advantage and isolated Baker. After throwing Baker to the outside, Soho joined in on the attack but was stopped by AEW TBS Champion Kris Statlander who put Soho in a fireman’s carry and carried her to the back. [C]
After the commercial, the heels continued the attack on Baker. After hitting a sling blade, Baker eventually made the hot tag to Shida. After Shida cleaned house for several minutes, all four women ended up battling in the ring.
The finish saw Storm spray Shida with the spray paint. In her blinded state, Shida hit Baker which allowed Saraya to hit Baker with her “Nightcap” finisher for the win.
Toni Storm and Saraya defeated. Dr. Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida.
After the match, the heels celebrated by both holding up the AEW Women’s Championship simultaneously as the show went off the air.
Don’s Take: This was a solid main event and planted the seeds of dissension between the babyfaces heading into their match at All In. There was no dissension among the “Outcasts” but I suspect that to surface on Sunday, particularly with Saraya being the hometown favorite. I continue to enjoy Toni Storm’s evolution as a heel character and feel like she’s finally on to something.
For a show just under a week old, I thought this was an enjoyable way to head into the big show this weekend. There wasn’t much storyline development but the wrestling was fine for what it was and it showed some small hints of potential among some of the undercard acts that are hopefully given time to develop.