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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Aug. 27, 2021): Lucha Bros steal show

AEW Rampage (Aug. 27, 2021) emanated from the UW-Panther Arena in Milwaukee, WI. The show featured the Lucha Bros and Jurassic Express tearing the house down in the tag team tournament final, Eddie Kingston stepping to Miro, Tay Conti eating a brass knuckles sandwich, and Kenny Omega fleeing to safety from Christian Cage.

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

Excalibur, Taz, Mark Henry, and Chris Jericho formed a four-man booth on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties. Giannis Antetekounmpo was in attendance.

#1 contender tag team tournament: Jurassic Express vs. Lucha Bros

The winner advances to compete against the Young Bucks in a steel cage title match at All Out on September 5. The champions sat on stage to observe the action.

Fenix and Jungle Boy kicked it off with a stalemate of flippy athleticism. Respect was earned. Tags to Pentagon and Luchasaurus. The dino showed his power, then superkicks rained across the ring from all four competitors.

Fenix and Jungle Boy hit matching suicide dives.

As the match progressed, Fenix channeled his inner Eddie Guerrero for a frog splash.

The first close finish saw Jungle Boy running wild on Fenix with a clothesline, reverse rana, double underhook powerbomb, then the Snare Trap submission. Luckily for Fenix, his brother was able to make the save with a cheap kick on JB to break the hold.

The action went into overdrive for the finish. Pentagon used Fenix as a stepping stool on the apron for a Mexican Destroyer to Jungle Boy. Fenix bounced off the ropes to execute a Mexican Destroyer to Luchasaurus. The big dino impressively kicked out at 1. The Lucha Bros poured on offense with numerous superkicks, a teamwork rolling splash, and a teamwork piledriver to finally put Luchasaurus down for the three count.

#1 contender tag team tournament: Lucha Bros defeated Jurassic Express.

Afterward, the Bucks attacked the Lucha Bros from behind. Jurassic Express made the save in a show of good sportsmanship.

Hype package for CM Punk versus Darby Allin at All Out on September 5.

Eddie Kingston steps to Miro

Miro entered the stage by tossing Fuego del Sol through the tunnel. Tony Schiavone chickened out and bailed from the ring. Miro’s message was that Fuego accepted a contract he didn’t earn. To pay for his sins, Miro yanked Fuego’s mask off to reveal his face. Fuego curled up to hide his identity.

Eddie Kingston came out with a mic in hand. Instead of talking, Kingston charged the ring for fisticuffs. Miro landed clubbing blows, but Kingston won the exchange with an exploder suplex. Referees separated the skirmish.

Tay Conti vs. Bunny

Bunny dominated early and used nefarious shortcuts, such as an eye rake, to maintain control. Conti rallied with judo throws, swinging slams, and three consecutive running pump kicks in the corner. Conti connected on a Gory knee strike. As she looked to finish with a hammerlock DDT, Penelope Ford came to the ring as a distraction. Blade slipped brass knuckles to Bunny for the KO uppercut to win.

Bunny defeated Tay Conti.

Ford’s presence was explained as her joining forces with Bunny as allies for the upcoming Casino Battle Royale at All Out.

Miro versus Eddie Kingston for the TNT Championship was made official for All Out.

Hype package for Brian Cage versus Will Hobbs on Dynamite.

Mark Henry conducted a split-screen interview with the main event participants. Kenny Omega was confident he will end the match with a One Winged Angel to Christian Cage. Christian declined the notion that he would intentionally try to hurt Omega in their tag match on Rampage. There’s no need, since Christian already tasted success as the first man to pin Omega in two years. Christian will do it again at All Out with the AEW World Championship on the line. Frankie Kazarian called out Omega to make sure he actually wrestles in the tag match instead of sacrificing Brandon Cutler as a stooge.

Kenny Omega & Brandon Cutler vs. Christian Cage & Frankie Kazarian

Cutler started the match and was quickly manhandled. Omega tagged in as promised. Michael Nakazawa interfered on more than one occasion to provide Omega an advantage to take control. Whenever the good guys fired up, Omega bowed out to leave Cutler as the crash dummy.

Omega tried to sneak a One Winged Angel as Christian was on the turnbuckles. Christian escaped and executed reverse DDTs to Omega and Cutler. As Christian sized up the Killswitch to Cutler, Omega pulled him low into the ring post. Christian was still too savvy despite the groin pain. He ducked out of a double team for Cutler to eat a V-Trigger from Omega. Christian tried for a Killswitch on Omega, however, the AEW champion escaped and bailed from the ring. That left Cutler alone to take the pin on a Killswitch.

Christian Cage & Frankie Kazarian defeated Kenny Omega & Brandon Cutler.

The tag team opener was a dandy. Each man had a chance to shine. Fenix and Jungle Boy wowed with displays of agility. Luchasaurus’ power game is always a treat. Pentagon’s stepping stool destroyer was bonkers. I appreciate when matches with big stakes demonstrate the pre-match preparation from the competitors as they escape from finishers when their health meter isn’t low enough yet. It adds a touch of realism as a sport with the idea of tape study. Good job protecting the aura of Luchasaurus by taking so much offense at the end before being pinned. It made everyone look strong.

There was no bad choice as to the winner. Both teams have history with the Young Bucks and will no doubt try to steal the show at All Out. That said, I was still a little surprised that the Lucha Bros pulled it off. This tournament seemed like a vehicle for Jurassic Express’ story.

I’ve mentioned before how AEW sometimes has an issue building momentum for title shots. That was not the case with this tournament. Lucha Bros picked up a tough win over a great tag team. The way Fenix and Pentagon earned the title shot will make the PPV match feel more important, as opposed to being handed the opportunity after running up numbers on lower competition from Elevation and Dark. The Lucha Bros are on a roll, and I can genuinely believe they could win gold from the Bucks.

One more thought about that match. I’m so glad that AEW didn’t have Andrade make an appearance to cost the Lucha Bros the win. That is usually executed as a weak booking move making everyone involved look lesser. The losers become goofs for falling for the tactic, and the winners don’t get the proper rub since the win is tainted.

It appears that AEW was saving that tactic for Tay Conti. Case in point, she looked silly by allowing Penelope Ford to get in her head. Finish that hammerlock DDT, and go hit the pay window. Instead, Conti halted her setup to focus on someone who wasn’t even close enough to interfere. Aside from that, the result was an interesting call. Conti’s 15-match win streak was snapped thanks to a great use of brass knuckles. Conti’s loss should mix up the women’s rankings and do her no harm in the long run. She could easily pick up a few more wins to be back in title contention, especially if Dr. Britt Baker DMD keeps knocking off challengers.

The main event was predictable. The result played out as expected. Brandon Cutler was amusing as a dancing stooge, but the match was a waste with him in it. That’s not a knock on Cutler’s skills. He has shown he can go in the ring when given the chance. The problem is that he is purposely playing an incompetent character. His involvement dragged down the main event vibe. Honestly, if I was watching for leisure, I probably would have turned the show off and went to sleep. AEW needs to produce more compelling matchups if they want Rampage to be a success in that time slot.

We can’t leave without giving praise to Miro and Eddie Kingston. Their encounter was a good sell job for the PPV fight. They gave just enough of a taste to have Kingston look tough enough to take the Redeemer’s championship. Commentary pointed out a peculiar observation. Apparently, the DDT is kryptonite for Miro. Aside from the Fuego del Sol match, I never noticed that before. Miro took three tornado DDTs from Fuego and still won, so how bad could it be for him? It will be interesting if that weakness becomes key in a longer story for Miro’s eventual downfall.

Grade: B-

The tag match, Miro, and Eddie Kingston rocked in the first half. The second half was okay. It was nothing I wouldn’t regret passing on for a Friday night.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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