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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Sep. 10, 2021): Two-faced Andrade

AEW Rampage (Sep. 10, 2021) emanated from the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, OH. The show featured Andrade and PAC finally getting it on, Ruby Soho picking up steam toward her title shot, as well as hometown boys Brian Pillman Jr. and Jon Moxley sharing the spotlight in the end.

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

Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, Taz, and Mark Henry formed a four-man booth on commentary. Excalibur was away to get married. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Andrade vs. PAC

Both men were already in the ring for opening introductions. Chavo Guerrero and Andrade’s personal assistant were ringside. Commentary explained that PAC sent the Lucha Bros to the back, because he wanted to win on his own accord.

After a staredown and stalemate, PAC scored the first big move with a headscissors takedown and a rotating tope con hilo down to the floor.

The pace was on the slower side, which helped the popping moves pop for maximum freshness. Highlights were aplenty. Andrade uncorked a brutal slingshot DDT on the apron.

Andrade followed with a sweet corner springboard corkscrew plancha to the outside.

Later, PAC connected on a 450 splash. Andrade rallied with a fancy cartwheel kick. PAC answered with a German suplex and a belly-to-belly suplex into the turnbuckles.

PAC countered a fireman’s carry into crucifix bomb then transitioned for the Brutalizer submission. Andrade was in deep trouble. His assistant caused a distraction with a taser, so the Lucha Bros arrived to deal with him. In the hullabaloo, Chavo hit PAC with an iPad. Andrade made the cheap cover for the win.

Andrade defeated PAC.

In the aftermath, Andrade was not pleased that Chavo cheated. El Idolo hugged Chavito then punched him. Guerrero was left to the Death Triangle for a double superkick and a Brutalizer.

Sting and Darby Allin were in the ring to discuss Tully Blanchard’s accusations of riding coattails. They turned the tables to point out Shawn Spears using Tully and Tully using Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to enhance their own careers. Tully came out flapping his gums, so Spears could attack Allin from behind. The Chairman yanked Allin out of the ring and put him down with a DVD on the floor.

Promo package for Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson. Cole spoke of the Elite being a special brotherhood. They all trust each other with their lives. Christian Cage and Danielson have an undeniable body of work that earns respect, however, Cole will wipe the floor with them.

Danielson discussed his pursuit of Kenny Omega. He’s heard so much about Omega being the best that he wants to put it to the test. If Omega won’t step up, then someone else will. The AEW locker room is full of hungry wrestlers looking to prove themselves. Danielson is ready to go.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Jamie Hayter, & Reba vs. Ruby Soho, Riho, & Kris Statlander

This was another match full of flashy highlights. Statlander wore Riho like a reverse backpack to kick at the competition.

Soho had a cool back sweep slam on Hayter.

Statlander flexed her power on a double suplex.

Riho was the star on the finish with a flying double stomp off Statlander’s shoulders to Reba and a flying crossbody to Hayter on the outside.

Soho picked up the pin on a Pele kick to Reba.

Ruby Soho, Riho, & Kris Statlander defeated Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Jamie Hayter, & Reba.

Mark Henry asked probing questions to Max Caster and Brian Pillman Jr. prior to the main event. Caster was tired of fake friends telling Pillman how great he is. Pillman replied that he wants to find out if Caster can walk the walk. Henry concluded, “It’s time for the main event!”

Max Caster vs. Brian Pillman Jr.

Caster had Anthony Bowens by his side. Platinum Max rapped about fat women in Cincinnati, Pete Rose, Joe Burrow’s knee, and Skyline Chili looking like a bowl of ...

Pillman wore Bengal print tights like his pappy. Pillman sprinted to the ring to tackle Caster and pound punches. The Acclaimed used all kinds of tricks for physical interference from Bowens. Pillman rallied and took out Bowens with a flying crossbody. When returning to the ring, Caster landed a dropkick. Max went up top for a flying elbow drop, but Pillman moved. A springboard clothesline put Caster on his back for the three-count. Pillman celebrated for the hometown win.

Brian Pillman Jr. defeated Max Caster.

The Acclaimed jumped Pillman after the bout. Bowens planted the Cincinnati boy with a DDT. Pillman isn’t the only Nati native in AEW. Jon Moxley ran out for the save. A boombox to Bowens and a Paradigm Shift to Caster made the crowd erupt.

Andrade versus PAC was very entertaining. The intensity and pace allowed the high spots to truly shine. In hindsight, I’m glad this bout was delayed from All Out to Rampage. It would have been lost in the shuffle on the PPV. Being on Friday night allowed all the attention it deserved.

Andrade dumping Chavo was a bit odd. The safe assumption is creating space to bring in Ric Flair. I have to question the execution though. What did Andrade think happened at the end? Did he black out for a second and his ego just assumed his superior skill put him on top for the pin? It’s not like Andrade hit a finisher. He just rolled over onto PAC. That was a two-faced move in how he treated Chavo. Andrade has some explaining to do.

I hope this isn’t the end for Chavito in AEW. I believe he can have real value for the company. Maybe AEW can set him up with a new group of luchadores.

Soho picked up momentum toward her title fight with Dr. Baker. She’s pinned two of Baker’s goons. All that remains is the DMD herself. Baker has nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. The trios match as a nice showcase for the good girls. Each one hit cool moves to look special. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The nifty teamwork is making me yearn for the return of the women’s tag tournament.

Pillman and Caster had a solid affair. The match had a lot of heat for those that watched the feud build over weeks on Elevation and Dark. Pillman scored the win to make his Cincinnati brethren proud. I enjoy how AEW isn’t afraid to squeeze all the juice out of the hometown pop. For example, adding Moxley to the mix was a happy surprise.

The interviews provided enough new material to feel fresh. They acted as good interludes to cool down between matches. Mark Henry’s main event line puts a smile on my face. I want that on a remote control sound box. Press the button when dinner is served or for a bedroom rendezvous. “It’s time for the main event!”

Grade: A-

Excellent match to open, the women fought hard, and young stars on the rise had a chance to strut their stuff. All three matches had story behind them. If that becomes the standard Rampage formula, I’ll be satisfied.

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

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