SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW RAMPAGE TV REPORT
MARCH 18, 2021
RECORDED AT THE THE FREEMAN COLISEUM IN SAN ANTONIO, TEX.
AIRED ON TNT
REPORT BY PATRICK MOYNAHAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Excalibur, Taz, Chris Jericho, and Ricky Starks
Ring announcer: Justin Roberts
– The opening of Rampage aired. Excalibur welcomed us with, “It’s Friday night, and you know what that means!” Excalibur was joined by Taz, Chris Jericho, and Ricky Starks.
(1) DARBY ALLIN (w/Sting) vs. THE BUTCHER (w/Blade & The Bunny)
Darby and Butcher were in the ring as the bell rang to kick things off. Darby attacked Butcher with a series of elbows in the corner until Butcher charged Darby back into the opposite corner. Darby rolled to the outside, onto the floor. Darby sprinted into the ring just as Butcher went to the outside to go after him. Darby flew through the ropes to take out Butcher.
Back inside the ring, Butcher caught Darby coming off the ropes and slammed him to the mat, then covered for a two count. Darby bit into Butcher’s left hand but Butcher knocked Darby off with a few rights. Butcher rammed Darby face-first into the turnbuckle, then hit a massive clothesline which flipped Darby around and onto the mat.
Sting tried rallying the crowd as Butcher continued his onslaught in the ring. Butcher went outside with Darby and measured him with another big clothesline. Sting and Butcher stood face-to-face on the outside. [c]
Butcher locked in a Texas Cloverleaf as Darby tried making his way to the ropes. Darby then flipped himself inside out to try and break the hold but Butcher kept it locked in. Darby again tried making his way to the ropes as Sting looked on, and was successful on his second attempt. Darby went to the floor once again as Butcher followed him out. Butcher tried to powerbomb Darby onto the apron but Darby climbed on Butcher’s back and tried for a crossface. Butcher shrugged Darby off and rammed Darby into the metal barrier and steps. Darby movie when Butcher tried ramming him into the steps again. Darby followed it up with a Code Red on the floor, then hit a Coffin Drop off the top rope.
Darby rolled back into the ring as the ref counted Butcher out at ten.
WINNER: Darby Allin in 10:30
– After the match, Adrade el Idolo’s music hit as Private Party attacked Sting and Darby from behind. The Blade helped out as Andrade made his way to the ring. The Hardys hit the ring to save the day and scatter AFO. Matt Hardy took the mic and challenged AFO. Andraded, Blade, and Private Party got up on the apron but then backed off. Matt challenged them to an eight-man Texas Tornado tag match on Dynamite.
(Moynahan’s Take: A very enjoyable match, with a ton of offense from The Butcher and a good underdog story being told by Darby. The Butcher should be given credit for his look, as he’s slimmed down in recent months and has looked great since being back healthy.)
– Scorpio Sky was backstage with Dan Lambert and Paige VanZant. Sky said he was tired of hearing excuses from everyone, and while they were making excuses, he was making history. Lambert then talked of VanZant signing her new AEW contract. VanZant said she looks better than any woman, and fights better than any man, and said people can either jump onboard with her or get run over.
(2) RED VELVET vs. LEYLA HIRSCH
As Velvet was making her way to the ring, Hirsch attacked her on the ramp. Velvet hit a suplex on Hirsch, then threw her into the ring as the bell finally rang. Velvet hit a moonsault off the ropes for a close count. Hirsch threw Velvet into the corner and landed a series of elbow strikes, then a chop to the chest. Hirsch mocked Velvet as she whipped her into the corner but Velvet got her elbow up as Hirsch charged in. Velvet threw down a number of rights and lefts but Hirsch swept her legs off the ropes. [c]
Velvet was making a comeback on Hirsch as she slammed Hirsch’s face to the mat. Velvet followed it up with a bulldog then covered for a close count. Velvet missed a roundhouse kick and Hirsch followed it up with an over-the-head suplex. Hirsch hit a German suplex, then locked in an arm breaker. Velvet just made it to the ropes by stretching her leg out. Velvet kicked Hirsch to the outside but Hirsch yanked Velvet’s arm in retaliation.
Kris Statlander came out and stopped Hirsch from attacking Velvet with a wrench she pulled out from under the ring. Velvet hit a corkscrew kick and covered Hirsch for the win.
WINNER: Red Velvet in 8:30
(Moynahan’s Take: A surprising win for Velvet, which continues the feud between Hirsch and Statlander, who came out without her usual alien makeup.)
– QT Marshall was backstage with Aaron Solow talking about his recent loss against Hook at Revolution. Marshall said his own mother called him worried about his loss. He said he was proud because next week, he;’ going to invite Hook out next week to present him with the QT Marshall Certificate of Accomplishment.
(3) BEAR COUNTRY & FUEGO DEL SOL vs. HOUSE OF BLACK (Malakai Black & Brody King & Buddy Matthews )
Bronson and Black kicked things off as Black swept his legs out in the early going. Del Sol tagged in but Black took him out, then took out the other members of his team. Del Sol quickly tagged out to Bronson but again, Black had his number and took him down. Matthews tagged in to continue the attack on Bronson. Matthews made a quick tag to King who hit a standing senton on Bronson, then clotheslined him to the outside.
Bronson was able to tag in del Sol as he flew over the top. Del Sol came off the top but King took him out in mid-air with a clothesline. Boulder came in but was taken out by all three members of House of Black.
Del Sol hit a missile dropkick off the top onto King, then attempted to fight all three House of Black members on his own. He had some early success until Matthews took him out and pinned him for a quick win.
WINNERS: House of Black in 4:00
(Moynahan’s Take: A strong showing by House of Black. The announce team put the group over strong, with Jericho standing out at his amazement of Brody King, who he noted he had not seen work before he came to AEW.)
– Penta Oscuro and Alex Abrahantes were backstage. Penta thanked the House of Black for changing them. He says he feels alive and stronger now, and says the Death Triangle is inevitable.
– Mark Henry was backstage on split screen with the competitors for tonight’s main event. Caster said he wasn’t worried or afraid to take on the much bigger Lee. Bowens agreed and made fun of how Lee spoke. Lee told them to prepare themselves because The Acclaimed were just a stepping stone for him. Henry said there had been enough talk and it was “time for the main event.”
– Excalibur announced new matches for this week’s Dynamite. They included the aforementioned Sting, Darby Allin, and The Hardys vs. Blade, Butcher, and Private Party, MJF will speak, and Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia vs. Silver and Reynolds.
(4) KEITH LEE vs. MAX CASTER (w/Anthony Bowens)
The bell rang but Lee stood still as the crowd cheered for him. Lee picked up Caster with ease as he wrenched on his right hand. Caster hit a dropkick which staggered Lee a bit. Lee continued to hold onto Caster’s arm as he hit a shoulder block to take him down. Caster hit Lee with a solid right hand, then a kick to the face. Lee jumped right over Caster’s head as the two hit a stalemate. Lee flipped Caster over his shoulder with ease as Powerhouse Hobbs made his way to the ramp. [c]
During the break, Caster hit a dropkick off the top rope onto Lee, and has since maintained control. Caster nailed Lee with a few forearm shots across the face, then climbed on his back. Lee stood up and chopped Lee to no effect. Lee hit a shoulder block on Caster across the ring, again, with ease. Lee then threw Caster across the ring as the crowd cheered on.
Caster hit Lee with a thrust kick, then tried picking him up on his back, which didn’t work out too well. Lee picked Caster up on his back and hit a powerslam for the win.
WINNER: Keith Lee in 12:00
– After the match, both Starks and Hobbs attacked Lee at ringside, with The Acclaimed helping out. All four men took Lee out, then rolled him into the ring to continue the onslaught. Swerve Strickland hit the ring with a chair to run all four guys out of the ring. Lee and Swerve shook hands in the ring.
(Moynahan’s Take: A nice main event and a solid win for Lee. I love how quickly they are giving us a Hobbs and Lee showdown, and I hope the match soon follows. Getting Swerve in the mix is a good idea.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A much improved episode of Rampage over last week, with my biggest gripe really only being a question as to why Jericho is still on commentary after his recent heel turn. He leaned into the sports entertainment schtick a bit this week but not as much as I would have expected. That said, the in-ring action was solid, with a good change-of-pace opener and a strong showing by Lee in the main event. Also, a reminder that next week’s Rampage is back to its normal time. Until then, stay safe everyone!