By Don Murphy, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@DonThePredictor)
AEW Rampage (Episode 110)
Taped September 13 in Cincinnati, Ohio at Heritage Bank Center
Aired September 15, 2023 on TNT
The Rampage opening aired and pyro shot off from the stage… Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho were on commentary…
Don’s Take: Rampage being what it is, I wouldn’t mind seeing AEW swap out Chris Jericho some weeks and give some other talent a shot at color commentary.
1. Penta El Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy (w/Alex Abrahantes, Isiah Kassidy) vs. The Butcher, The Blade, Jeff Jarrett, and Jay Lethal (w/Satnam Singh, Penelope Ford, Kip Sabian, Karen Jarrett, The Bunny, Sonjay Dutt). The participants were already in the ring with Jarrett and Penta starting off. The announcers mentioned that the Hardys and the Lucha Brothers are two of the best brother tag teams of all time. The babyfaces isolated The Butcher in their corner before the Butcher tagged out to Lethal. The heels eventually took over on Matt Hardy as referee Rick Knox was distracted allowing Sonjay Dutt to get in some shots from the outside as the show went to commercial. [C]
Matt Hardy made the hot tag to Fenix, who got in series of high spot offensive moves. The Lucha Brothers eventually cleaned house while The Blade pulled Fenix out of the ring to break the momentum. With the wrestlers on the floor, Abranhantes climbed to the top rope seemingly to dive onto the floor only to be pulled down by Dutt. Abrahantes knocked Dutt off the apron and climbed back up to the top rope. This time, he was stopped by Kip Sabian but Abrahantes knocked him off the apron as well.
Abrahantes finally made the dive but was caught by Satnam Singh who threw him to the floor. Fenix kicked Singh away and then hit a backwards dive onto the group of wrestlers on the outside. Fenix and The Blade traded blows inside the ring as the Hardys battled Jarrett and Lethal up the aisle. Fenix hit The Blade with a variation of a sit-out tombstone piledriver for the win.
Penta El Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy defeated The Butcher, The Blade, Jeff Jarrett, and Jay Lethal.
After the match, Singh hit a double clothesline on the Hardys as Jarrett and Lethal left the scene. Vincent and Butch came out and stood over the Hardys as the segment ended.
Don’s Take: For those of you playing at home, there were eight wrestlers in the match in addition to eight people at ringside for a total of sixteen which may be a record! Teddy Long, who turned 76 years-old today would be proud. Seriously though, I know that Tony Khan wants to give all of his talent chances to get on TV, but this is excessive since it really doesn’t help anyone from a character development standpoint. As I’ve said, there’s a fair amount of talent featured in this match that could be utilized better. For example, the Lucha Brothers should be featured players in the AEW tag team division and the Hardys should be treated as legacy stars. And it seems like AEW is trying to do something with Vincent and Butch on the main roster. If that’s the case, working with the Hardys and likely beating them should mean something but doesn’t as long as they’re in these throwaway matches on Rampage.
Renee Paquette interviewed Dr. Britt Baker. Paquette asked Baker what’s next for her after failing to win the Four Way Eliminator match on Dynamite to earn a shot at Saraya at Grand Slam this coming Wednesday. Baker said things haven’t gone as planned the last few months. She added that she is the definition of champion material so she will do what she does best which is make history. She declared that she will be the first female to hold the AEW Women’s World Championship and the TBS Championship. She said she’s never had a TBS Championship match but there’s a first for everything. With that, she challenged the winner of Jade Cargill vs. Kris Statlander for tomorrow night’s main event match on Collision…
Don’s Take: The TBS Championship hasn’t been relevant since Cargill had her winning streak so it will be interesting to watch how this plays out.
A QTV segment aired. Johnny TV entered the room and Solo asked him if QT Marshall was coming back. Johnny said of course he is. They did a weird group handshake and Cameron noticed a masked man standing behind them. Johnny introduced him as “El Hijo de Harvey” and he explained that they’ve beaten so many luchadores in Mexico, he wanted to show solidarity by bringing one to the U.S. Johnny had him strike a pose before kicking him to the floor. Johnny prevented Cameron from stabbing Harvey with scissors as the segment ended…
Don’s Take: I’m speechless. On the plus side, if you were worried you’d never see QT Marshall again, you are in luck.
2. “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett vs. Matt Sydal and Christopher Daniels. Bennett and Daniels started off. The babyfaces took the early advantage hitting tandem moves on both Bennett and Taven. Interestingly, Maria seems to have broken away from the Kingdom and is doing her own thing on ROH TV. Taven hit a springboard kick on Daniels to regain the advantage. We went to a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Coming out of the break, The Kingdom had the advantage over Sydal who eventually tagged in Daniels. Bennett and Daniels exchanged chops, as Taven splashed Daniels in the corner. With Daniels dazed, The Kingdom hit their “Proton Pack” finisher for the win.
“The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett defeated Matt Sydal and Christopher Daniels.
After the match, Taven took the microphone and said they had to rush to the hospital to see Roderick Strong who is suffering and has poor neck health. Taven added that he doesn’t blame Samoa Joe for what happened to Strong but does blame Adam Cole. Taven said they want to take back what Cole and MJF have – the ROH World Tag Team Championship. Bennett added that this month is “Neck Health Awareness Month” and anyone who isn’t on board should be “hit in the weiner” and given a piledriver/
Don’s Take: So, in addition to the weekly marathon of ROH TV on Honor Club, we were treated to another ROH match on Rampage. Plus, if Bennett and Taven are aligning with Roderick Strong in AEW storylines, why are they focusing on the ROH Tag Team titles? I like the current storyline with Strong, the Kingdom, MJF, and Adam Cole, but let’s settle in on a mission statement for the Kingdom. I will say that as someone who works in healthcare communication, I got a kick out of “Neck Health Awareness Month” complete with red bracelets. In the world of AEW, that’s campy enough to catch on with the fans.
Renee Paquette interviewed Mogul Embassy members Brian Cage, Swerve Strickland and Prince Nana. She recapped Brian Cage vs. Adam Page on Dynamite and brought up the Young Bucks. Cage sad they were lucky he was incapacitated after a long match or they never would have been able to superkick Prince Nana. Strickland added that the Bucks were nice on his podcast but now decided to put their EVP hats back on. He said that Page couldn’t get the job done on his own so he called in his friends. He challenged Page and the Bucks to a six-man tag team match at Grand Slam against Cage and the Gates of Agony…
3. AEW Trios Champions Billy Gunn and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. Peter Avalon and “The Outrunners” Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd. Max Caster’s rap included references to the heels’ looks, their sexual orientation and Joe Burrow. This was a quick showcase match for the AEW Trios Champions who hit Avalon with “Scissor Me Timbers” the “Fame Asser” and the “Mic Drop” for the win.
AEW Trios Champions Billy Gunn and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens defeated Peter Avalon and “The Outrunners” Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd.
After the match, the Dark Order came out. John Silver said that The Acclaimed were villains and that they were the good guys. He then challenged them to an AEW Trios Championship match. Bowens asked them why they deserve a match,
Evil Uno responded that they’ve been there for four years and have climbed to the top. He added they are tired of seeing good things happening to bad people and that The Acclaimed does the same act every week. He said they deserve an opportunity and proposed that a member of the Dark Order meets a member of The Acclaimed tomorrow night on Collision.
Gunn was intrigued and suggested they play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to determine who will represent them. Naturally, each of them picked scissors the two times they played. Eventually, Bowens accepted the match on behalf of The Acclaimed…
Don’s Take: Short and sweet. The fans continue to love the Acclaimed and Gunn, but it would serve the powers that be well to evolve this act beyond the rapping and scissoring. It’s fun now but without anything fresh they’ll be encroaching on repetitive New Day territory with the scissor gimmick being AEW’s version of the dreaded trombone. I can’t say a feud with the Dark Order does anything for me.
4. “Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis vs. Damian Chambers and Lord Crewe. This was a complete squash match for Aussie Open who hit both opponents with their Coriolis finisher.
“Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis defeated. Damian Chambers and Lord Crewe.
Don’s Take: A simple squash match. I’m really hoping Aussie Open is built back up after dropping the ROH Tag Team titles.
Excalibur ran down the lineups for Collision and Grand Slam…
5. Kris Statlander vs. Jade Cargill (w/Mark Sterling) for the TBS Championship. Both women exchanged clotheslines to start. Statlander gained the early advantage and dodged a charging Cargill who fell to the outside. Cargill caught Statlander in a dive and slammed her onto the apron as the show went to the final picture-in-picture break.
Coming out of the break, both women were down. They got up and exchanged blows. Statlander gained the advantage with a series of punches and a knee strike. Statlander hit a “Blue Thunder Bomb” for a two count. Sterling jumped on the apron and was grabbed by Statlander. Cargill charged but Statlander moved. Cargill stopped short of colliding with Sterling and told him to “get out of her face.”
Statlander charged with Cargill moving out of the way so Statlander could knock Sterling off the apron. Cargill went for her “Jaded” finisher but Statlander rolled her up for a two count. Cargill hit a chokeslam for another two-count. Jericho said this may be the best Jade Cargill match of her entire career. The fans chanted “Fight Forever.” Cargill went for “Jaded” again but Statlander backed her into the corner. Cargill charged at Statlander in the corner but missed and rammed her shoulder into the second turnbuckle. Statlander hit a lariat, a scissor kick and her “Friday Night Fever” finisher for the win.
Kris Statlander defeated Jade Cargill to retain the TBS Championship.
Both women embraced after the match, with Cargill raising Statlander’s hand to end the show…
Don’s Take: If the rumors are true that Cargill is WWE-bound, this was a classy move on her part to return to AEW to put Statlander over clean. That being said, I would have liked to have seen this match get some more time. Also, though the win gives Statlander some momentum, history has shown that she’ll go right back to mid-card matches without any real substance. This is a shame because she definitely has more to offer with the right booking. For Cargill, she’s tailor made for the WWE and what they look for in their talent. Whether it’s NXT or main roster, she’ll be a success.
A solid episode of Rampage. I’m surprised that they didn’t save Statlander and Cargill for Grand Slam, but if her departure is imminent, it makes sense that they did it here.
Prepare yourselves for a deluge of AEW next week – two hours of Dynamite, two hours of Collision, and two hours of Rampage. I’ll have you covered next Friday night and we can ride this roller coaster together.