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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Aug. 4, 2023): Violent carnage in parking lot fight

AEW Rampage (Aug. 4, 2023) emanated from Yuengling Center in Tampa, FL and Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured violent carnage in a parking lot fight between Blackpool Combat Club and Best Friends, the Young Bucks setting up a match with the Hardys, Kris Statlander squatting Renee Paquette, John Morrison doing the splits, and more.

Let’s jump right in with a recap followed by reactions.

Excalibur, Taz, and Chris Jericho were on commentary inside the venue at Tampa. Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight called the action outside in the parking lot at Jacksonville. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, & Keith Lee vs. Butcher, Blade, & Kip Sabian

Isiah Kassidy, Ethan Page, and Penelope Ford were ringside, but they played no role in the match. The bad guys isolated Jeff. Hot tag to Lee running wild like a bull in a china shop.

The match broke down with Matt hitting a pair of Twists of Fates to the mercenaries. Lee swatted Sabian out of the air and chokeslammed him for good measure. Tag to Jeff for the swanton and victory.

Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, & Keith Lee defeated Butcher, Blade, & Kip Sabian.

Matt Taven and Mike Bennett viewed Adam Cole as a friend from the very beginning of their time in ROH when they formed the Kingdom faction. They were by Cole’s side helping him win the world title. When they needed Cole, he was not around. Cole has a history of forgetting his real friends.

The Young Bucks are focused on the tag team division again. The Hardys proposed a match, thus it was made for Dynamite. A little bit of jockeying ensued.

Anna Jay vs. Skye Blue

Anna has a fat ass and a bad attitude, but she was out-assed when Blue used her rump to knock Anna out of the ring. Anna outsmarted Blue in a game of cat and mouse to attack as Blue re-entered the ring. Blue rallied with a fling crossbody and striking offense. Anna struck back with a back heel kick and a flatliner. When she went for the Queen Slayer choke, Blue dropped low for a roll-up. Blue nailed a thrust kick and her Sky Fall finisher. Cool Hand hopped onto the apron as a distraction. Daddy Magic was on the opposite side with the referee. Cool Hand wanted a kiss. Blue punched him instead. Anna pounced from behind for the Queen Slayer submission to win.

Anna Jay defeated Skye Blue.

Kris Statlander was squatting Renee Paquette on her shoulders as Renee conducted the interview. The TBS champ told challenger Mercedes Martinez to do her chores, because mama is coming home. That match is set for Collision.

The announce team informed us that PAC is injured. The Lucha Bros will challenge the winners of the parking lot fight for a match on Dynamite.

Swerve Strickland & AR Fox vs. Logan Cruz & Tyshaun Perez

Prince Nana was ringside for the squash. Fox landed a 450 splash to seal the deal.

Swerve Strickland & AR Fox defeated Logan Cruz & Tyshaun Perez.

QTV brainstormed for a new feud. Johnny TV did the splits sliding across the red carpet to challenge anyone on television.

Brian Cage and Big Bill Morrissey warned FTR to kiss the tag titles goodbye in their match on Collision. FTR are sloppy, while Cage and Bill are too jacked, too juicy, and too swole to control. The gargantuan giraffe and the vanilla gorilla are in the money, but they will be rolling in gold very soon.

Mark Henry ushered in a video package hyping the main event. The Best Friends are back in the groove for their specialty match. The Blackpool Combat Club is going to punish them in an extinction level event. Enough talk. Mark Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Parking Lot Fight: Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor

The circle of action was surrounded by cars with spectators on the outskirts, like in a pit fighting movie. Winner by pinfall, submission, or surrender.

The entire fight was a mad brawl working for spots on the vehicles. There were suplexes and powerbombs on hoods and roofs. Good ole Moxley brought a fork to start the bleeding on Trent, who returned the favor to make Mox turn red. Claudio executed the big swing ramming Trent into a trash can.

The contest progressed with Moxley landing a Death Rider to plant Trent cracking the windshield.

Chuck went extreme by siphoning gasoline to spit on a barbed wire 2x4. Flame on! He had Moxley in his sights, but Wheeler Yuta popped out of a van for the save. Yuta stood in front to demand that Chuck hit him instead. Chuck still had a soft spot for the former young boy and couldn’t pull the trigger. Meanwhile, Mox tiptoed around the backside to snatch the weapon away. Yuta had no hesitation in attacking his former mentor. He used a screwdriver to dig into Chuck’s face.

Beep! Beep! Sue drove in with Orange Cassidy surfing the roof. He leaped for a flying crossbody onto Moxley and Claudio. Cassidy wrapped a chain around his fist while eyeing Yuta. Claudio tackled OC, and the BCC numbers took him down.

Yuta hit a Paradigm Shift to Cassidy on Sue’s van. She screamed in terror as Claudio opened the door and ordered her to leave. Claudio ripped the door off its hinges, and the BCC smashed the windows. Moxley curb stomped Trent on the door, then he took the violence up a notch to curb stomp Trent on the windshield. Claudio made the cover to officially end the match. The Blackpool Combat Club continued destroying Sue’s van in celebration of victory.

Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli defeated Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor.

Grade: B+

The arena matches were standard Rampage fare. Everything else was wacky fun.

Even though the parking lot fight was a bonkers main event, the show was stolen by Kris Statlander, Renee Paquette, and John Morrison. That squat session with Renee continuing her interview like normal and the sliding splits from Johnny TV are two of the funniest random moments in AEW history. Go watch those clips for a chuckle.

Damn, that parking lot fight was glorious chaos. The sequel lived up to the hype. Violence was aggressive, and high spots were intense. Poor Trent was bleeding all over his upper back from taking bumps on the windshield. The Sue stuff was dorky, but dorky is on brand for the Best Friends. Love it or hate it, it is what it is. The match sort of lost the plot towards the end with so much involvement from Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta. It basically turned into a six-man. The storytelling did make sense with callbacks to past group history and the first parking lot fight. The windshield curb stomp was a vicious and fitting finish for a contest of this style.

One thing I found annoying was referee Aubrey Edwards admonishing the Blackpool Combat Club for pounding Cassidy. First, this is a fight without rules. Second, OC butt in, so he’s fair game at that point.

Quick thoughts on the rest. Keith Lee wrecking shop on a hot tag never gets old. Hardys versus Young Bucks had a quick and cheeky setup. That seems like a way to boost the Bucks into a tag title bout against FTR for All In. The Kingdom backstory adds layers of intrigue for the future of Adam Cole. Skye Blue’s Sky Fall maneuver still looks terrible as a finisher. The women’s match had a weak finish with interference. Anna Jay received no rub in victory. The old-school promo styles from Statlander, Brian Cage, and Big Bill Morrissey were enjoyable. They didn’t even have to make sense, but I was on board with the enthusiasm.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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