SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW RAMPAGE TV REPORT
MARCH 24, 2023
RECORDED AT THE CABLE DAHMER ARENA IN INDEPENDENCE, MO
REPORT BY PATRICK MOYNAHAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone
– The opening of Rampage aired, and JR welcomed us to the show. He was joined by Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone.
(1) POWERHOUSE HOBBS (w/QTV) vs. PENTA (w/Alex Abrahantes) – TNT Championship
Hobbs and Penta were already in the ring as the bell rang. The QTV crew were ringside. Both men traded chops, then strikes. Penta kicked away at Hobbs but was caught with a clothesline against the ropes. Penta came back with a thrust kick, then a clothesline. Penta dropkicked Hobbs to the outside, then flew through the ropes but was caught by Hobbs. Penta was sent face-first into the ring post. Hobbs dropped Penta across the barrier, then rocked him to the floor with a stiff right hand.
Hobbs rolled Penta back inside the ring and covered for a two count. Penta caught Hobbs with a thrust kick but Hobbs fired right back with a backbreaker. QT Marshall tied Penta’s mask to the ropes behind the ref’s back. Hobbs took advantage of the situation, then picked Penta up for a standing suplex. [c]
Penta kicked Hobbs in the face, then followed up with a sling blade. Penta hit a backstabber for a close count. Hobbs nailed Penta with a headbutt, then hoisted him up for a powerslam. Penta kicked out of the follow up pin attempt. Penta hit Hobbs with a few thrust kicks, which sent him to the outside. Penta flew over the top onto Hobbs as the crowd fired up. Hobbs tried throwing Penta into the steps, but he stopped himself in time and threw Hobbs into the steps instead. Penta came off the top with a double foot stomp on Hobbs, then another. Penta covered for two.
QT got on the apron with a chair but Alex Abrahantes pulled it away. Aaron Solo came off the top but Penta caught him with a Fear Factor. Hobbs hit Penta from behind with the TNT title, then hit his finish for the win.
WINNER: Powerhouse Hobbs in 10:30
(Moynahan’s Take: A fine opener that felt like it was missing another gear. I hate hate hate this entire QTV thing and hope it goes away yesterday.)
– After the match, Fenix hit the ring with a hammer in hand to fend off Hobbs and his crew. [c]
– Footage aired from this week’s Dynamite showing the Kenny Omega vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo match. It was announced that Omega would defend the IWGP U.S. title against Jeff Cobb on this week’s Dynamite.
– Ricky Starks made his way to the ring. He said he was tired of talking and immediately called out Juice Robinson. Juice’s music hit as he made his way out. Juice asked Starks if he was really calling him out. Juice said if Starks was asking for an ass-kicking, then that’s what he’d give him. Juice walked toward the ring but stopped short. Juice walked back up the ramp but Starks ran after him and threw him into the ring. Juice ran into the crowd and told Starks he would face him in New York on April 5.
– Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh were interviewed backstage. They complained about the way the AEW referees were treating them this year. They said they’d be called champions soon enough.
(2) BRODY KING (w/Julia Hart) vs. JAKE HAGER (w/Anna Jay)
The commentators hyped this match up as two big hosses going at it, and rightfully so. They traded elbows until King took Hager down with a double chop across the chest. Both men went to the outside and King threw Hager into the barrier. Hager returned the favor with the same move. [c]
King hit Hager with a huge Bossman Slam in the center of the ring. Hager somehow kicked out of the pin attempt. King tried for a powerbomb but Hager reversed things into an ankle lock attempt. King got out of it and fired a clothesline in the corner. King missed a cannonball charge which allowed Hager to go for the Hagerbomb. King got his feet up in time and hit a discuss lariat for a close count.
On the outside, Anna Jay came from behind Hart and threw her into the ring post. This allowed Hager to roll up King, who kicked out at two. King followed up with a huge sit-down powerbomb for the win.
WINNER: Brody King in 7:00
(Moynahan’s Take: A good match for what was shown on TV and not cut out from commercials. It did at least leave me wanting more.)
– Swerve Strickland was shown backstage talking about Keith Lee. He said he found a new Mogul Affiliate after Lee took out both of his men.
(3) TAYA VALKYRIE vs. LEILA GRAY (w/Jade Cargill & Smart Mark Sterling)
Valkyrie and Gray met in the middle of the ring for some jaw-jacking. Valkyrie took down Gray with ease as Sterling hit the apron to remind Valkyrie of the cease and desist order. Valkyrie hit a thrust kick and a knee strike, then quickly hit Road to Valhalla for the win.
WINNER: Taya Valkyrie in 1:00
(Moynahan’s Take: Your Rampage Squash of the Week.)
– After the match, Sterling entered the ring with the cease and desist paperwork. Valkyrie responded by hitting the Road to Valhalla. [c]
– Mark Henry previewed the main event via a video package. Henry announced that it was “time for the main event.”
– Excalibur previewed this week’s Dynamite. Willow vs. Ruby Soho, Matt Hardy vs. Jungle Boy, BCC vs. Dalton Castle and the Boys, and Orange Cassidy vs. The Butcher for the International Championship were new matches announced. Juice Robinson vs. Ricky Starks was also officially announced for the April 5 Dynamite.
(4) THE ACCLAIMED (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens w/Billy Gunn) vs. THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven & Mike Kanellis w/Maria Kanellis)
Daddy Magic and Cool Hand Ang joined commentary for this match. Well, Daddy Magic did since there were only four headsets available. Maria asked to scissor Caster but it was a ruse as Bennett attacked him from behind. Bennett rocked Bowens off the apron. Bowens made a blind tag and double teamed Bennett then went for a pin attempt for two.
The Acclaimed cut off the ring from Bennett as they double teamed them in his corner. Bowens hit Scissor Me Timbers on Bennett, then dumped Taven to the outside. The Acclaimed scissored in the middle of the ring to celebrate. [c]
Taven was taking it to Caster as we came back from commercial break. Bennett made a quick tag in, then out, as he and Taven tried to rattle Gunn on the outside. It worked and also allowed The Kingdom to double team Caster behind the ref’s back. Gunn backed Maria up the ramp until Top Flight appeared and made her go to the back. Gunn took out Bennett on the outside. Inside the ring, Bowens tagged in and took it to Taven. Gunn threw Bennett into the ring. Bowens quickly took him down but was rolled up by Taven for two. Caster tagged in and came off the top with the Mic Drop for the in.
WINNERS: The Acclaimed in 10:30
(Moynahan’s Take: A solid main event, but this also felt cut short with much of the in-ring action eaten up by commercials. Rampage usually does a better job with this, but definitely not this week.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A very middle of the road episode of Rampage this week, and that’s being kind. Nothing really offended me, outside of anything related to QTV, but it was also lacking in anything really noteworthy. I felt as tired as the crowd looked and sounded by the end of this show. Let’s hope if AEW adds a new Saturday show as is being rumored, that it gets more love than this episode of Rampage did.
CATCH-UP: 3/17 AEW RAMPAGE TV REPORT: Hobb defends against Rey Fenix, Garcia vs. Brody King, Valkyrie’s AEW wrestling debut
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