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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Oct. 20, 2023): Pound-For-Pound Crown

AEW Rampage (Oct. 20, 2023) emanated from Fort Bend County Epicenter in Houston, TX. The show featured a special attraction from CMLL in Mistico versus Rocky Romero for the Mexico Pound-For-Pound Crown, John Silver earning a title shot, and more.

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

Excalibur and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Rocky Romero vs. Mistico

The luchadores carried this grudge over from Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre for Mistico’s AEW debut. Romero entered with the CMLL World Historic Welterweight Championship, and Mistico entered with the CMLL World Historic Middleweight Championship. Pound-for-pound bragging rights were on the line in 2-out-of-3 falls, which is standard format for CMLL.

The first fall went to Mistico on a side Russian leg sweep transition to a submission. The second fall went to Romero on a sliced bread. Mistico and Romero brought out super moves for the third fall with a Spanish Fly and an avalanche sliced bread.

In the end, Mistico triumphed over Romero. The masked man used a Mexican Destroyer to set up his signature La Mistica whirling armbar for victory.

Mistico defeated Rocky Romero.

Jay Lethal wanted his shot at the ROH World Championship, so Stokely Hathaway used his ROH board of directors power to book Kingston versus Jeff Jarrett in a Memphis Street Fight on Collision. If Jarrett wins, then Lethal gets his wish. This promo exchange is worth watching for the camera perspective making Big Stoke look so little when Kingston shoved him backward.

#1 contender for AEW International Championship: John Silver vs. Kip Sabian vs. Isiah Kassidy

Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds, Butcher, Blade, and Penelope Ford were ringside. Brother Zay controlled the pace early, then Silver and Sabian teamed up on him. Zay rallied with a springboard moonsault to Silver on the outside and a springboard stunner to Sabian on the inside. Tensions flared with factions arguing. Zay leaped for a cannonball onto the pile of bodies below. Kassidy followed for a swanton to pin Sabian, but Silver ran in to punt him. Silver pinned Zay for the win. Johnny Hungee will receive his title shot against Orange Cassidy on Collision.

John Silver defeated Kip Sabian and Isiah Kassidy.

Santana and Ortiz have a date next week on Rampage for their grudge match. Santana told his perspective of fighting all those years to make sure their tag team prospered. Ortiz was fine being the villain in Santana’s sad story. It’s time to do what they do best. Fight.

Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs. “The Bounty Hunter” Bryan Keith & Exodus Prime

The Blackpool Combat Club competed in a warm-up prior to their AEW tag title bout against champions Ricky Starks and Big Bill Morrissey on Collision. Keith opened with intensity, but Yuta caught him for a suplex. It was a runaway train for the BCC from there. They dominated and closed with a giant swing dropkick combo then a rocket launcher flying splash. Yuta pinned Prime.

Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta defeated Bryan Keith & Exodus Prime.

Daddy Magic and Daniel Garcia were still bickering, and they have a trios championship bout on Collision. Jake Hager, Anna Jay, and Cool Hand Ang had enough of the drama. Squash it! They need to be on the same page if they want to become champions. Daddy Magic screamed and yelled, then he calmed down to squash the beef. He hates the dancing, but he loves Garcia. The sports entertainers were united once again.

The Hung Bucks offered an open challenge on Dynamite to defend the ROH World Six-Man Championship. It was later announced that Hardy Party will be their opponents.

The dream match for Collision was revealed to be Bryan Danielson versus Andrade.

Mark Henry ushered in a video package to hype the final match of the evening. Enough talk. It’s time for the main event!

Skye Blue vs. Ruby Soho

Saraya was ringside to offer blatant physical interference. Rick Knox was referee, if you’re keeping track at home. Blue still had black mist in her veins, so she was feistier than usual. Blue was close to victory on a powerbomb out of the corner. Saraya caused a distraction, and Soho hit the No Future Kick. Blue kicked out on the cover. Blue gained the upper hand to pummel Soho with punches. Saraya interfered again by hitting Blue in the head with her can of spray paint. Soho scored the cheap win on a roll-up.

Ruby Soho defeated Skye Blue.

Afterward, the Outcasts stomped Blue some more. Kris Statlander ran out for the save, but Blue didn’t want anything to do with the alien.

Grade: B-

Solid show with energetic action and tasty morsels of storylines.

The CMLL match was a pretty cool experience. Credit to AEW for making it feel special by using CMLL graphics on the big screen for entrances, Rocky Romero’s personal Azucar theme song, CMLL rules, and a CMLL referee. I understand that might not excite those viewers who don’t have CMLL on their radar. For me, it was neat to see the cross-promotion business for a respectful showcase to highlight lucha libre.

Mistico is arguably the biggest star in lucha libre right now, so he had the opportunity to win new fans. Many will remember his failed run as original Sin Cara in WWE, but the performer has rebounded since then to reclaim his pound-for-pound crown. Romero showed a little bit of why he is thriving as a rudo in Mexico right now. He entered in an American bandit outfit and displayed sazón in the ring.

As for the match itself, it was a standard CMLL affair. Mistico and Romero put in the signature spots, tore a mask, and left the fans happy with La Mistica armbar. It was a pleasant outing to lay the foundation for future talent from CMLL. Personally, I’m hoping Volador Jr. knocks on the Forbidden Door for an AEW International Championship shot against motivated Orange Cassidy.

Quick thoughts on the rest of the show. Isiah Kassidy shined with sizzle. Give that man a match with Kyle Fletcher. The Blackpool Combat Club executed an effective squash firing on all cylinders to excite me for their tag title shot. I wanted to see more from Skye Blue to demonstrate the power of black mist, and she did just that by raking the eyes and fish hooking Ruby Soho. The constant physical interference from Saraya made the match a waste of time from a competition standpoint. The real takeaway is Blue’s ornery reaction to Kris Statlander. That’s a point of story development. I don’t know where it goes since Blue lost her TBS title match already, but at least it is something to give the women’s division a bit of intrigue.

I like that Jeff Jarrett showed no fear of Eddie Kingston trying to be scary. Jarrett is the Last Outlaw. He’s seen it all. No Mad King will intimidate him. Jarrett’s cool demeanor increases my curiosity for the Memphis Street Fight. I anticipate Kingston winning, but it should still be a wild donnybrook of entertainment. Santana and Ortiz continued to keep the flames hot for their feud. AEW has done a good job of building to this match with simple promo packages. How about that Daddy Magic promo? His words were lively and heart-warming. It was surprising to see a wrestler be the bigger man for once in a sport born on conflict. The truce might not last long, but it was sweet for this night.

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

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