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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Sep. 17, 2021): Sammy Guevara rains on Miro’s parade

AEW Rampage (Sep. 17, 2021) emanated from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The show featured Pentagon sacrificing his identity for the Lucha Bros to defend the tag titles, Dr. Britt Baker and Ruby Soho exchanging insults to hype the women’s title match, and Miro crushing the competition to keep the TNT Championship only for Sammy Guevara to rain on his parade.

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

Excalibur, Taz, Chris Jericho, and Ricky Starks formed a four-man booth on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

AEW World Tag Team Championship: Lucha Bros vs. Butcher & Blade

Blade set the tone with a headbutt to knock Fenix on his keister. The former Kingston Family allies were well aware of each other’s tendencies, so there was lots of illegal man action trying to throw a monkey wrench into the wheel of momentum.

Lucha Bros had the first highlight of the evening with a double flying attack. Pentagon ran the ropes for a tope con hilo, while Fenix dived over Penta for a flying crossbody off the turnbuckles.

Fenix wowed the crowd later with a snap German suplex to Butcher and a moonsault flip into a German to Blade.

The Lucha Bros looked to close and connected with their Fear Factor stomp piledriver to Blade. As Fenix launched for a suicide dive to ensure victory, Butcher sidestepped so he could break the pin up in the ring.

Butcher and Blade tied Penta’s mask to the ring rope, so they could double on Fenix. The bad guys had Fenix set up for their Full Death finisher, then Pentagon did the unthinkable for a luchador. He loosened his mask to dip out and superkick Blade. Penta dropped to the mat to make sure his face was not revealed. In the commotion, Fenix used a hurricanrana pin to earn the three count on Butcher to retain the tag titles.

Lucha Bros defeated Butcher & Blade.

After the match, Private Party stormed the ring to attack the champs. Santana & Ortiz surprisingly made the save.

Hype package for Kenny Omega versus Bryan Danielson at Grand Slam on Wednesday night Dynamite. Danielson wanted his first match to be the toughest guy in AEW. He plans to show the true American Dragon. Omega was annoyed by the air of confidence and sense of entitlement, but it shows that Danielson recognizes him as the top talent. Unfortunately for the underdog, there will be no Cinderella story.

Bunny vs. Anna Jay

Fisticuffs on the floor before the opening bell led to Jay hitting a suplex. Once the match become official, the action spilled outside again. Bunny focused on damaging Jay’s surgically repaired shoulder by bashing her opponent into the ring post and guardrail. As the contest progressed, Penelope Ford and Tay Conti became involved. Ford created a distraction on the apron, so Conti yanked her down. Bunny tried for a roll-up, however, Jay used her shiftiness to hook a schoolgirl pin for victory.

Anna Jay defeated Bunny.

Afterward, Ford clocked both Conti and Jay with brass knuckles.

Team Taz shared chuckles about laying out CM Punk. Hobbs warned Punk to consider staying home instead of showing up for their match on Rampage next week.

Cut to Tony Schiavone in the ring with Matt Hardy and Jack Evans. Hardy as angry about Butcher, Blade, and Bunny losing, but there will be payback. Penelope Ford will put hands on Anna Jay next week, and HFO will compete in an 8-man tag against Lucha Bros, Santana, & Ortiz next week. Hardy was more angry at a fan dressed as Orange Cassidy. Hardy pulled that man into the ring for a Twist of Fate and a haircut. Jack Evans shaved the fellow’s head. Cassidy eventually came out for a leisurely stroll to the ring for the save. Hardy and Evans escaped unscathed.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Ruby Soho hyped their title fight for Dynamite. Insults flew with Baker mocking Soho’s lack of TV time in WWE, being fired, and changing her identity to fit in. Soho’s talking points were about Baker being a cliche of entitlement, self-centeredness, and sleeping with a male wrestler. The final message was Soho will win the championship. Baker tried a back attack. Soho ducked for a takedown and punches. The challenger stood tall with the title belt.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Fuego del Sol is willing to wager his car for the TNT title. He was a split-second away from shocking the world last time. Miro accepted the match, even though, Fuego and his car mean nothing. Miro is proceeding, because he loves celebrating victories with his god high above and with his wife down low. Henry concluded, “It’s time for the main event!”

TNT Championship: Miro vs. Fuego del Sol

Fuego played the underdog. He had momentum early on the floor until Miro caught him for a fallaway slam.

That’s when Miro picked up his intensity to toss Fuego all around the ring. Fuego rallied with a sleeper hold and a moonsault, but he ran the ropes into a bear hug.

The move of the match was Fuego springboarding into the air only to be met by a vicious double axe handle from Miro.

Miro tried to rub in his domination with a DDT, but Fuego slipped out for a double stomp to the chest and a double stomp to the back of the neck. Miro blocked a tornado DDT and began wailing on Fuego with hammering punches. Two thrust kicks flattened Fuego for the 1, 2, 3 as Miro retained the TNT title.

Miro defeated Fuego del Sol.

In the aftermath, Miro shoved the car keys into Fuego’s mouth and cinched back for the Game Over submission. Fans began chanting, “Sammy,” since it was a perfect moment for the friendship save. Sammy Guevara hit a big knee to knock Miro out of the ring. Sammy picked up the TNT belt to get under Miro’s skin.

Lucha Bros, yo! Fenix and Pentagon always wow in the ring. This title defense was no different. Butcher and Blade provided worthwhile opposition with the power advantage. The finish was extremely creative. I’ve seen Pentagon’s mask tail get tied to the ropes before, but I’ve never seen him voluntarily removing the mask to hit a move. In this case, it was a save for Fenix. That goes to show how much those tag titles mean to the Lucha Bros. Great piece of storytelling in that sense to elevate the value of the championship.

Santana and Ortiz showing up to protect the Lucha Bros was the biggest shocker of the night. It was a complete surprise, and it was awesome for that reason. It continued to establish Proud & Powerful as good guys after committing so many misdeeds within the Inner Circle. Mutual respect is a potent motive, but I’m sure Santana and Ortiz also want a chance at the titles sooner than later.

The women’s match was okay to further advance the feud among the four wrestlers. I love the use of brass knuckles in professional wrestling, so I’ll always pop for that. It is so evil by going above and behind to intentionally hurt a rival. Thankfully, these professionals have hardened their faces over years of training for all bruises to be healed by the next show. That is a special type of karate woman training to only bruise on the inside.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD slaughtered Ruby Soho in their promo segment. Soho’s insults for the champ were good for a cheap pop, but they didn’t make much sense. Bringing Adam Cole into the mix isn’t really comparable, since they worked for different companies up until a few weeks ago. The line about Baker’s head being up Tony Khan’s butt was also questionable. If anything, it would be the reverse. Baker always gets screen time, even when injured. She received a title shot without doing much to earn it. Baker also forced TK’s hand during contract negotiations. Anyway, the end of that segment showed good energy building for the big fight.

Fuego del Sol put up a fight until Miro crushed him in the end. I really like that Fuego never hit the tornado DDT. I was expecting that the whole time for fake drama, but AEW swerved me by having Miro be too strong. That’s the way it should have been, since AEW hasn’t done enough on TV to make me actually care about Fuego. That’s alright though, because this match ended up being a path for Sammy Guevara to come after The Redeemer. That’s a money feud for a TV main event, especially since I have no clue who would win. Due to the unpredictability, Miro and Sammy have a chance to create genuine fan reactions during the dramatic moments.

Highlights from commentary included Taz singing Ruby Soho’s theme song and Ricky Starks needling Fuego for his contract as a participation trophy. First, I wish Taz would put out a Christmas album. Second, Starks was signed to AEW off a loss to Cody Rhodes, and the FTW title is still unsanctioned. Draw your own conclusions to the value of that belt. It was amusing hearing Taz and Starks on the bad guy side forcing Chris Jericho to be more supportive of the babyfaces.

Grade: B-

Solid effort by all in the ring. It’s hard to put on compelling title matches when the results are so obvious. They did well enough for the finishes to keep viewers on their toes. Mix in interesting story surprises and promos to hype future matches for a satisfactory hour of entertainment on a Friday night.

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

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