Posted on 3/04/123 by Colin Vassallo
Arena: Cow Palace
City: San Francisco, CA
Last Week’s Rating: 409,000 overall; 0.11 in 18-49 demo
It’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time
for our Rampage Review!
Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs Alex Reynolds & John
Silver vs Top Flight vs Aussie Open
Backstory: the DO were eliminated Weds by the BCC, ditto Top
Flight by AO
Literally any of these teams would be better than every team
competing Sunday, excepting the Acclaimed. In any
The BCC got their entrance as the Dark Order attacked mid-
way through, returning the favor from Wednesday. Top Flight
pelted all four with dives, AO dropped them off the apron as
they tried to get back in.
The Kingdom were watching from the front row.
Stereo offense from Top Flight: hurricanranas, dropkicks &
lariats in the corner left AO reeling. Dante hit a senton
from out-to-in as Jericho recalled Eddie Guerrero winning
the title in this building.
Fletcher blocked a Darius suplex as Reynolds tagged himself
in off the latter, ducking and dodged both Aussies, sending
Davis to the floor as Claudio tagged himself in off
Silver in to double-leg the Swiss who had to cover up, seek
a rope break then take a cheap shot to fend off Silver.
Who’d also briefly woken a cold crowd. Silver fired back
with a kick from the apron before running through his
‘comeback’ at ringside, smashing through all the others,
emerging atop the buckle on the other side of the ring only
to be caught into a backbreaker by Castagnoli.
LFI were shown watching backstage as Excalibur called them
‘another one of the great teams here in AEW’. Have they
even won on TV? A lead announcer must have credibility, he
can’t seem like a shill.
Reynolds in to attack both BCC but clobbered from behind by
Yuta, a double boot from the pair left them on top as the
Yuta knocked Silver off the apron but lowered his head and
was nailed by a Reynolds stomp, tags to Dante & Aussie Open
as Martin took out both via diving cross body then ducked a
lariat to soar over the ropes onto everyone at ringside;
landing on his feet like it was nothing. And leaving
Fletcher alone vs him and his brother: superkick, flatliner
through the ropes, count of two broken up by Silver.
Reynolds took out Top Flight, Davis him, Darius took an AO
superkick party which barely connected as he landed short
off the top, pendulum powerbomb, the save at two by Dante.
Sandwich lariats by the Aussies to Claudio, Davis levelled
his teammate as Dante ducked another lariat, DO took him out
with superkicks, ran through their rapid-fire combo offense
(which always looks great) on Darius, Yuta stole the pin via
Very entertaining match. Be surprised if the four-way
Sunday can lace this one’s boots.
They should do more with Silver & Reynolds, who look, act
and feel like a proper tag team. Most importantly, the
crowd respond to them.
As if on cue, the Dark Order duo took their revenge on the
BCC as the four brawled to the back. It’d be great to have
a tag feud outside of the titles.
Hype package for Page & Moxley. They had plenty to work
with here & the result was very good.
Jack Perry promo. He wants to ‘end’ Christian. There are
going to be ‘grave consequences’ as he gives Cage a chance
to meet his dad.
Sorry, don’t believe you. You couldn’t even hit him with a
chair last week.
They’re now billing this as a ‘Final Burial’ (someone
laughed backstage when they came up with that) match. In
typical AEW fashion not explaining at all what that means.
Riho vs Emi Sakura
Riho got her usual nice pop way out of whack with how often
she’s used. JR really put over Sakura for her match with
Trainer and trainee got to it, Sakura cackling after
launching a chop in the ropes as the crowd chanted for Riho.
A vicious hair-mare followed, Riho being choked in the
corner via Sakura’s boot then dumped on her back after being
caught in mid-air.
But bridging up to avoid the pin, shotgun dropkick, running
knee in the corner, northern lights, count of two.
An irish whip reversed, Riho got her boot up in the corner
then deposited Sakura outside via headscissors, taking to
the sky, or about to when Sakura spoiled the fun by backing
away. A charging Riho then snatched into a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker and absolutely crushed against the barricade via
running cross-body splash.
Very good so far.
Firing shots, Riho fought up from her knees but was brushed
aside by the vet. Though avoided a lariat via cartwheel:
drop toe hold, 619, to the top, diving cross body for two.
But saw an attempted suplex countered into a reverse ddt and
was again crushed via body splash.
Count of two for Sakura.
Riho responded with two near falls of her own via quick
roll-up as the two wrestled fluidly and quickly in and out
of pinfalls, Riho kicking out of the last in the closest
thing to three I might have ever seen.
A leaping knee-strike was immediately countered by a Sakura
lariat. The vet headed up top, coming off with a tired-
looking moonsault which caught Riho when it wasn’t meant to.
The latter missed a diving foot stomp but came back by
weaving her way around Sakura like a hula hoop, down into a
cradle to snag the win.
In what’s becoming a theme, I’d be shocked if the women’s
match Sunday can MC Hammer this. Same for the crowd
reaction unless Hayter is victorious.
Package for the women’s match Sunday. Soho put herself
across as the underdog who shouldn’t even be here, Saraya as
the natural who was born to be here and Hayter as the proud
champ who ‘hits hard.’
Powerhouse Hobbs vs Serpentico
Hobbs better hope they come to his home-state more often
since the company actually remember he exists.
Inverted DVD in under a minute. Clutching his brass ring,
Hobbs vowed that it didn’t matter who wins the TNT title
Sunday, him taking it is the next chapter in the Book of
The whole ‘brass ring’ thing is another example of AEW not
knowing when to leave the comedy out. Sure it’s a nice,
snarky in-joke but it looks stupid and anyone flipping
channels would wonder why Hobbs was walking round with a
WINNER: Powerhouse Hobbs
Renee with Takeshita. Who isn’t happy because he’s not
winning enough. ‘Maybe I need to go back to Japan’ (the
entire crowd responded as if they’d simultaneously been
given the most terrible news).
Just as the used car salesman himself, Don Callis, appeared.
Pleading with Takeshita to give him a little time to help
him before deciding to return to his home country.
‘It’s not a bad idea.’ Said JR. Can we please help the
heels be heels!
Mark Briscoe promo. He woke up from a nap last week and saw
a tag team battle royale going on and raced out to help his
brother. Only to remember he wasn’t there.
But did see that ‘prick’ Mark Sterling. And a couple
‘hermanos’, which warmed his heart.
Enter the Lucha Bro’s. Who have their friend’s back as they
challenged Sterling and co. for Sunday. They all did the
‘Cero Miedo’ as it was announced the trio would face Nese,
Daivari & Josh Woods during Zero Hour before the ppv.
And the theme continues. Hard to imagine many acts getting
a better reaction than the babyface trio come Sunday.
They should show this promo to any babyface who wants to
humanize themselves and connect with the crowd.
They then ran down the Revolution card. None of which got
the same reaction as Takeshita’s pledge to return home.
And honestly, the visual of the competitors for the tag
titles looked like a spoof promo for a bad new tv show.
Dustin Rhodes & Keith Lee vs Swerve Strickland & Parker
Backstory: Swerve & goons took out Lee with a cinder block &
were about to do the same to Rhodes till Lee made the save
Lee now wears a cape with a hood. Not a great look.
The good guys were attacked while posing, another bad look.
Lee quickly turned the tables, beating Boudreaux in the
corner before a silent crowd. Tag to Rhodes, drop-down
uppercut, punches in the corner, Boudreaux got one shot in,
it seemed like he tagged out, the announcers certainly
thought so. Instead, the youngster hit a short-arm
clothesline to bring the break.
Hopefully both the crowd and action picks up when Strickland
Wish had been granted as we returned, Swerve eating a snap
powerslam from Rhodes, tags to Lee and Boudreaux. Keith
smashed the youth in the corner, shook off a few chops then
hit a pounce (which Boudreaux just-about got in place for).
Thereafter dragging Swerve in over the top, as the
announcers finally mentioned the cinderblock attack.
A couple big boots from Swerve were shaken off, the agile
Strickland kept avoiding the big man until being snatched
out of the air and drilled to the mat via basically a one-
armed chokeslam out of a flapjack.
Swerve bailed to the apron, Lee hooked him in a suplex
position, Boudreaux was late but eventually low-blowed the
big man, flung Rhodes to the floor, then held Lee in place
so Swerve could spring off his chest into a moonsault on
Strickland came up clutching his wrist after a nasty spill.
Leaving Boudreaux and Lee. Boudreaux sauntered across the
ring (can’t say ran because he didn’t) to hit an incredibly
weak glancing kick to Lee’s head. Then positioned Lee for
the Swerve Stomp, Lee kicked out. The crowd barely cared.
Almost no reaction.
Dustin came back in to bulldog Boudreaux, was blasted with
Swerve’s running back-kick, Lee took out Boudreaux via cross
body only to be caught in Strickland’s rolling flatliner (If
you imagine the spots in the Bucks’ matches where everybody
takes out everybody but play it at 0.1 speed, you’ll about
have the picture).
Rhodes then nailed Swerve via destroyer to wake the crowd,
before Lee tossed Rhodes onto Boudreaux, the experienced vet
using all his tricks to get the crowd going. And they did
respond. He then flung Boudreaux in to eat Lee’s Jackhammer
and the pinfall.
This was good when Swerve was in by himself; bad and slow
whenever Boudreaux was in there with anyone. Saw absolutely
nothing in the youngster. Nor did the crowd.
WINNER: Naturally Limitless
Jericho was promo-ing on Starks as the show closed when
Ricky appeared behind him, ribs wrapped, attacking Jericho
as a bunch of guys separated the pair.
Added to Zero Hour:
Lucha Bros & Mark Briscoe vs Varsity Athletes & Ari Daivari
Don’t know if it’s because expectations are lower or because
an hour’s easier to digest but I’ve enjoyed Rampage more
than Dynamite the last two weeks. The main event ended the
show on a flat note but the prior action was very good.
And unlike the Rampage preceding Full Gear, this actually
felt connected to the rest of the AEW ‘Universe’ as they
promo’d the pay-per-view throughout.