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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Jan. 13, 2023): Street fight!

AEW Rampage (Jan. 13, 2023) emanated from Kia Forum in Los Angeles, CA. The show featured Ruby Soho & Willow Nightingale in a vicious street fight with Tay Melo & Anna Jay, Darby Allin as a fighting TNT champion, Jeff Jarrett smashing his guitar, and much more.

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

Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Chris Jericho were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

TNT Championship: Darby Allin (c) vs. Juice Robinson

Juice took control with a back body drop sending Allin over the ropes down to the floor. Juice was Rock Hard with Irish whips into the barricade and ring steps. Allin blitzed a few rallies, but Juice maintained the upper hand for the most part. Allin dodged a corner cannonball to score a Code Red. Kick out by Juice. Allin was too slow climbing for a Coffin Drop, so Juice was able to knock his legs out. That led to a leaping lariat from Juice as Allin was straddled on the ropes. Jackhammer suplex from Juice. Kick out by Allin. Juice went for a superplex. Allin countered mid-air for a Scorpion Death Drop down to the mat. Allin finished with a Coffin Drop to win.

Darby Allin defeated Juice Robinson.

“It’s Sting!” It will never get old hearing Tony Schiavone shout that. Sting celebrated with Allin.

Will Hobbs spoke about the phoenix rising from the ashes. In the Book of Hobbs, he broke its neck and took those ashes to spread over everyone he hurts in AEW.

Renee Paquette introduced the Acclaimed for their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Max Caster rapped about Gavin Newsom scandals, Joe Biden hiding documents, and not selling out for blood money (WWE Saudi Arabia sale reference).

The Gunn sons interrupted the ceremony. They claimed to be bigger stars. The only reason the Acclaimed is more popular is because they stole Daddy Ass. Billy tricked his boys, so the Acclaimed could pull down their pants and Billy could shove them into the wet cement.

Swerve Strickland’s plans for 2023 are to be the most violent and most gruesome in AEW.

Malakai Black & Brody King vs. Eddie Kingston & Ortiz

The story was Kingston in his feelings and refusing to tag in Ortiz. Ortiz did his best to be a good partner.

Despite the House of Black isolating their attack on Kingston, he still held his own landing haymakers. Kingston fired up for a Saito suplex to Black and a spinning backfist to knock King through the ropes. Buddy Matthews and Julia Hart ran to the ring. Matthews entered with a chair, so Kingston snatched it away. Hart came from behind and screamed in fake fear. Ortiz assumed Kingston planned on hitting her with the chair. That led to an argument. Black threw a head kick, Ortiz ducked, and Kingston ate the contact. Black tossed Ortiz out of the ring then pinned Kingston.

Malakai Black & Brody King defeated Eddie Kingston & Ortiz.

The House of Black told Ortiz that he played his role well. It came across as an unwitting pawn. Ortiz was frustrated with Kingston’s attitude and exited alone.

Jade Cargill claimed Red Velvet is jealous that she made Leila Grey a bigger star than Red Velvet could ever be. Red Velvet is out of the Baddies.

Paul Walter Hauser was in the ring with Renee with a gold pepper grinder. Oh, that’s a Golden Globe award. He spoke about his love of professional wrestling and AEW. Enter Danhausen hyping himself the #1 merchandise seller in AEW, but he wasn’t given an award. He wanted to take Hauserhausen’s award. Enter Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh to interrupt. Hauser mouthed off, so Jarrett hit him in the head with his guitar. Lethal threatened to smash Danhausen with the Golden Globe. Orange Cassidy and the Best Friends came on the scene to even the odds. The bad guys bailed, and Lethal left with the award.

Hype package for the women’s main event. Mark Henry suddenly appeared on screen for his signature line, “It’s time for the main event!”

Tay Melo & Anna Jay vs. Ruby Soho & Willow Nightingale

Street fight! Soho and Nightingale attacked from behind on stage with a hockey stick. A brawl broke out around the ring. First blood came from Soho when she was placed inside a trashcan on the floor and Melo landed a jumping stomp off the apron.

The hard-hitting violence progressed to Anna Jay using barbed wire for the Queen Slayer choke on Nightingale. Soho made the save with chained-fist punches.

Another painful bump came from a Tower of Doom onto chairs with Nightingale at the base of the suplex.

The worst of the bunch was a powerbomb from Nightingale off stage through a table. Due to positioning, she couldn’t see to aim, and Jay went splat on the floor. Yikes. Let’s hope Jay is okay.

The fight continued with Melo executing a Gotch piledriver to Soho off the apron through a table. Melo rolled Soho into the ring for a pin. 1, 2, Soho kicked out!

Melo emptied a sack of tacks and tried to shove Soho’s face into the sharp objects. Soho’s defense was to throw a handful of tacks into Melo’s face. That set up Destination Unknown onto the tacks for victory.

Ruby Soho & Willow Nightingale defeated Tay Melo & Anna Jay.

Soho gave Nightingale a fist-bump of respect as street fighting partners.

Goodness gracious, what a street fight. That main event lived up to the stipulation. It was wild, bloody, and intense. Applause to Ruby Soho, Willow Nightingale, Tay Melo, and Anna Jay for taking those bumps. Soho’s bloody visage was a heck of visual. Credit for bleeding in a fight with a reason to bleed. (Cough cough, looking at you Cody Rhodes and Jon Moxley.) Nightingale was a hoot in street fight mode while still chipper. Melo and Jay played the mean girls well. They were devious and wicked in their plan of attack. The finish was a feel-good moment for Soho fans, as she prevailed in this heated feud. As the match wore on, I was impressed enough by Melo and Jay that I was kind of hoping they would win. Emerging as unlikely street fight queens would have been amusing for bragging rights. But, the right choice was made for Soho to go over.

I’m not buying this House of Black story. So, I’m supposed to believe they allowed Eddie Kingston to thump them to set up an elaborate ruse with the chair so Ortiz could misread the situation and further widen the rift with Kingston? Puh-lease. Honestly, Malakai Black and Brody King should be embarrassed. Kingston is a ham-and-egger compared to them. Getting their clocks cleaned by him makes them look weaker than their tough guy images.

As for Ortiz, I’m all in on his side. He’s the one I’m rooting for in this story. Kingston was a punk treating Ortiz like that when refusing to tag out. His assumption that Kingston would hit Julia Hart was a little overboard. Since he knows Kingston so well, I guess that goes to show how much of a scumbag Kingston can truly be. Ortiz must have assumed the worst for a reason.

On the positive for that match, the action was hefty. As much as I got on Kingston’s case, he still brought the ruckus in an entertaining manner. Black and King moved well as a unit. I could see them polishing up their act to be a very formidable force in the tag team division. The Kings of the Black Throne would be money as feature attractions.

Darby Allin versus Juice Robinson was a solid bout. Allin thrives as a fighting champion. His style is never dull. I really like Juice’s jumping sentons. He does a full-body motion with emphasis to make the visual impactful. Juice is falling into that AEW trap of a notable name losing all notable matches. Rock Hard has taken the L to Jon Moxley, Samoa Joe for the ROH TV title, and now Allin for the TNT title.

Grade: B+

The street fight main event was slobberknocking sports entertainment. The rest of the show was solid. Jeff Jarrett smashed his guitar, and that never disappoints. Overall, Rampage was a fun hour of programming.

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

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