By Don Murphy, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@DonThePredictor)
AEW Rampage (Episode 108)
Taped August 30, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois at NOW Arena
Aired September 1, 2023 on TNT
The Rampage opening aired and pyro shot off from the stage… Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Chris Jericho were on commentary.
1. Tag Team Battle Royale for a shot at the ROH Tag Team Titles at All Out. The teams were Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher, John Silver and Alex Reynolds. Chuck Taylor and Trent Baretta, Action Andretti and Darius Martin, Ryan Nemeth and Peter Avalon, Vincent and Dutch, Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy, Bishop Kaun & Toa Liona (w/Prince Nana), The Butcher and The Blade, and Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd.
At the start of the match, Davis and Fletcher stayed on the floor while the other teams battled in the ring. Both members of the Outrunners were quickly eliminated. Davis and Fletcher regularly pulled participants out, including Action Andretti and Bishop Kaun, and ran them into the ringside barricade. Ryan Nemeth was eliminated next by Chuck Taylor. Peter Avalon was next after taking Twists of Fate from both Matt and Jeff Hardy.
The Best Friends and the Hardys squared off with dueling hugs and “delete” spots in the middle of the ring. As action resumed, Taylor and Baretta rolled to the outside only to be attacked by Nemeth and Avalon. Mark Davis eliminated Bishop Kaun. Toa Liona eliminated The Blade. After the elimination, Liona was standing on the apron while the Blade grabbed his ankle. This allowed Kyle Fletcher to dropkick Liona off the apron to eliminate him. [C]
Coming out of the commercial break, Dutch eliminated The Butcher. Jeff Hardy eliminated Vincent after a clothesline over the top rope with a springboard assist from Matt Hardy. Dutch eliminated Matt Hardy after a blocked Twist of Fate and an assist from Vincent who pulled Hardy’s leg from the outside. Alex Reynolds eliminated Jeff Hardy while Action Andretti and Darius Martin double teamed Dutch with kicks to eliminate him. Davis and Fletcher set up a double team move to eliminate Andretti. Alex Reynolds was backdropped over the top rope by Darius Martin who was quickly eliminated by John Silver. Davis and Fletcher eliminated Chuck Taylor.
The final four participants were Mark Davis, Kyle Fletcher, Trent Baretta and John Silver. Davis, Fletcher and Silver triple-teamed Baretta. Baretta rallied and eliminated Fletcher. Davis had Silver on the apron. Baretta knocked Silver off the apron, but Silver was caught by Reynolds to prevent elimination. Baretta eliminated Davis and Silver knocked Baretta off the apron to win the match.
John Silver and Alex Reynolds won a Tag Team Battle Royale to earn a shot at the ROH Tag Team Titles at All Out.
Don’s Take: A pretty standard battle royale that served as a nice hook for tonight’s show. I didn’t see the Dark Order earning a spot in one of the feature matches on a major pay-per-view, but Tony Khan takes care of his talent that has been with him from the beginning. That said, while I think the live crowd will appreciate the in-ring performances of Silver, Reynolds, Adam Cole and MJF, I can’t say that this match moves me in the direction of ordering All Out especially after spending $50 on All In just last week.
Excalibur plugged Draft Kings as the show went to commercial. [C]
Coming out of the commercial break, the announcer recapped Silver and Reynolds winning the battle royale. Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher approached the announce table and had words with Chris Jericho before attacking him. Sammy Guevara ran out with “Floyd” the baseball bat and ran off Davis and Fletcher.
Don’s Take: I expect that that Jericho and Guevara vs. Davis and Fletcher will be added to this Wednesday’s Dynamite which will be a lot of fun.
We went to the first part of a pre-taped segment with Mike Santana. He told viewers that to understand his story we had to go back to the beginning. He spoke about his early days with AEW and his father’s passing which led to a downward spiral. We fast forwarded two and a half years to his leg injury sustained during the “Blood and Guts” match. He ended the segment by promising viewers to take them on his journey.
Don’s Take: AEW hasn’t effectively leveraged the promo skills of Santana and Ortiz, so this is a promising first step in the refresh.
2. El Hijo del Vikingo and Nick Wayne vs. Kip Sabian and Gringo Loco. The match started with the anticipated chain wrestling and acrobatic spots. As the match went to commercial, Penelope Ford distracted Wayne allowing the heels to gain the advantage.
The heels continued their attack on Wayne who eventually made the hot tag to Vikingo. Of note, Chris Jericho remained on commentary and thanked Sammy Guevara for helping him stave off the attack from Davis and Fletcher. Vikingo hit an impressive springboard dropkick on Gringo Loco by leaping from one side of the ring to the other for a near fall. Wayne and Sabian tackled each other to the outside while Vikingo and Loco positioned themselves on the top rope while Vikingo hit a crazy reverse huracanrana spot which brought the crowd to its feet. Wayne and Sabian rejoined the match with Wayne hitting his “Wayne’s World” finisher on Sabian followed by a dive to the outside. In the ring, Vikingo hit Loco with his 630° finisher off the top rope for the win.
El Hijo del Vikingo and Nick Wayne defeated Kip Sabian and Gringo Loco.
Don’s Take: A crowd-pleasing spot fest that didn’t do much from a storyline advancement standpoint. Nick Wayne continues to impress.
We went to QTV. Aaron Solo and Harley Cameron asked where QT Marshall was. Johnny TV explained that Marshall was out defending his AAA Latin American Championship which led to some brief highlights. Johnny TV noted that he was now in charge and wanted the dirt. Solo and Cameron made some quick jabs at Sammy Guevara and Daniel Garcia, but Johnny TV said he wanted real dirt. He proceeded to throw coffee in Cameron’s face and said that there will be changes now that he’s in charge. Cameron said that Johnny TV is good and with her help, he could be the best…
Don’s Take: If one of these changes includes the end of QTV, sign me up. I like the potential of Marshall, Solo and Cameron individually but this faction is awful.
3. Hangman Adam Page vs. Bryan Keith. This was a brief match which showed a bit of offense from Keith but was ultimately a showcase for Page.
Hangman Adam Page defeated Bryan Keith.
Don’s Take: It is too early to get a read on Keith’s potential. His facial expressions and his brief offense showed promise. Page seems to be floundering along without any real direction. He is still one of their more popular performers, so I’d expect him to get into something a bit more meaningful down the road.
Backstage, Renee Paquette interviewed Matt Menard, Angelo Parker and Daniel Garcia. They spoke about their upcoming AEW Trios Title Match against the Acclaimed on Collision and said that protecting Chris Jericho was holding them back. Now that they’ve left him, it’s time to go to the promised land. [C]
After the break, Renee Paquette sat down with Roderick Strong. She asked him about his issues with Adam Cole and Strong noted that their issues were between the two of them. Paquette took offense to Strong’s tone and Strong took offense to the question and walked off with Mike Bennett and Matt Taven. He said he would tell his story in his own way on his own time.
Excalibur plugged the Collision and All Out lineups. Of note, on Collision, Ricky Starks will challenge Ricky Steamboat to a Strap Match at All Out.
Don’s Take: I can’t see Steamboat working a very long match but for those of us that go back a ways, this is a nice hook for both Collision and All Out.
Mark Henry hyped the main event.
4. Skye Blue and Willow Nightingale vs. Taya Valkyrie and Anna Jay. Taya Valkyrie is now sporting orange hair. Willow had the early advantage but eventually was on the receiving end of the attack by the heels.
After the commercial, Willow made the hot tag to Skye Blue. The finish saw all four wrestlers in the ring. After a failed attempt at a double team finisher by Willow and Blue, Valkyrie held Blue in place for Anna Jay’s superkick. Blue moved and Jay hit Valkyire which knocked her out of the ring. Blue hit Jay with her Skye Code Blue finisher for the win.
Skye Blue and Willow Nightingale defeated Taya Valkyrie and Anna Jay.
Overall, this was a decent show but aside from the battle royale, there was nothing that would help sell All Out on such a short turnaround. I expect they’re saving that for Collision. But if All Out is going to have a week’s build in years to come, I would think that all available TV time should be used to quickly build the pay-per-view.