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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Feb. 24, 2023): Sexy boys

AEW Rampage (Feb. 24, 2023) emanated from Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ. The episode featured Sammy Guevara and Daniel Garcia being a pair of sexy boys, the Young Bucks styling and profiling, and 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.

Young Bucks vs. Aussie Open

Kenny Omega was ringside. Aussie Open had the power edge, so the Young Bucks rallied with their agile flippy advantage. The Young Bucks worked for hot tag moments to run wild. When they set up a Meltzer Driver, the lights went out for House of Black mind games. Lights on, and Aussie Open regained control. The Bucks rallied for victory by arranging Mark Davis to hold Kyle Fletcher in a piledriver position, then they kicked Davis’ legs out to force downward motion in piledriving his own teammate. The Bucks connected on a BTE Trigger to pin Fletcher.

Young Bucks defeated Aussie Open.

Afterward, lights out, and the House of Black surrounded the ring. Lights out again, and they were gone. Commentary broke news later that the Elite will defend the trios titles against the House of Black at Revolution on March 5.

Best Friends’ interview was interrupted by the Firm dealing a beatdown. Austin Gunn piped Chuck Taylor’s knee. Colten Gunn rammed the pipe into Trent’s head. The Gunns cackled with laughter at the damage done.

Orange Cassidy and Danhausen checked on their pals. Cassidy was peeved when informed of the perpetrators. It was announced later that Cassidy will defend the AEW All-Atlantic Championship against Big Bill Morrissey next week.

Toni Storm vs. Willow Nightingale

Saraya was ringside. Willow powered up to rally for a cannonball in the corner and a Death Valley Driver. Saraya hopped onto the apron, so Willow pulled her into the ring. Storm capitalized on the situation by chop blocking Willow. Storm finished with a piledriver.

Toni Storm defeated Willow Nightingale.

After the match, Saraya and Storm brought out the spray paint. Ruby Soho made the save. The mean girls ran away. Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter came out for fisticuffs.

The Acclaimed were attacked backstage by Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh. Lethal applied a figure-four to Max Caster, while Dutt jabbed a pencil in the rapper’s eye. Both these backstage tag team assault scenes go back to the arrangement made on Dynamite for the Gunns and Lethal & Jarrett to take out the competition prior to the four-way tag title match at Revolution.

Jade Cargill has mowed through her opponents for her undefeated record. Who is left? Jade asked for your favorites to meet her. She welcomes all competition.

Lance Archer vs. Bryce Saturn

Jake “The Snake” Roberts was by Archer’s side for the return of the Murderhawk Monster. Saturn charged up the ramp for an early start. Archer saw it coming and lifted him high in the air on a back body drop. Archer proceeded with a hoss squash to win with a lariat.

Lance Archer defeated Bryce Saturn.

Dustin Rhodes asked Keith Lee if he was up to the task of challenging Swerve Strickland and Parker Boudreaux next week. Lee was game. The force is strong, and Dustin will send the Mogul Affiliates to hell for good.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Daniel Garcia is tired of the disrespect shown towards Sammy Guevara. The Spanish God is a three-time TNT champion and a pillar of the company. Garcia is making it his mission for Sammy to get the respect he deserves. Sammy hugged Garcia for those kind words. Action Andretti aims to prove he is the real deal. Beating Chris Jericho wasn’t an upset fluke. He is the sight to see. Just action, no words. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Stokely Hathaway took credit for Hook’s reinstatement because of a settlement. He picked the man to face Hook alluding to Ethan Page, but Page shouted Matt Hardy’s name. Hardy was caught off guard at first, then he got in the mood. Hardy was feeling the vibe and shot off the hip about Hook earning a match with Hathaway if he wins. Isiah Kassidy added that they will be banned from ringside. Page wasn’t in on the prank and suggested No DQ. That seems to be unofficially official. If Hook beats Hardy to retain the FTW Championship next week, then there is a good chance Hook will have Hathaway in a match.

Sammy Guevara vs. Action Andretti

Daniel Garcia was ringside. Athletic action all around. Amidst all the high-flying, aggression increased by throwing blows in the center of the ring. Sammy unloaded a jumping knee, thrust kick, and another jumping knee. He then ran right into a standing Spanish Fly from Andretti. Garcia went for a distraction, so Andretti kicked him off the apron. Action landed a springboard senton. Sammy kicked out on the cover. Andretti went to finish with a springboard maneuver. This time, Garcia was ready and clotheslined the rookie out of sight of the referee. Sammy pounced to win via GTH.

Sammy Guevara defeated Action Andretti.

Sammy Guevara and Action Andretti brought the heat for an exciting main event. The finish cut the legs out with the cheating from Daniel Garcia. Aside from that, it was full steam ahead showcasing Andretti as the real deal. His skills shined with Sammy as a dance partner. The blossoming friendship between Sammy and Garcia is one of my favorite minor stories in AEW right now. Their dual sexy boys pose was the funniest moment of the show. Garcia is still kind of stern and stiff as a character, but he has shown the ability to embrace his sports entertainment side.

AEW Rampage

The Young Bucks and Aussie Open put on a dandy of a match to open the broadcast. Unfortunately, AEW committed a common criticism of booking a cool match cold. Mileage will vary on how much that bothers you. The finish made Aussie Open look foolish. Piledriving a partner should be reserved for mid-card teams. Aussie Open are championship material in NJPW. I loved seeing Mark Davis hoss up. It makes me want to see him clash with Butcher in tag team competition. The trios title build is lackluster. House of Black versus Elite is a match I definitely want to see, however, the story should be further along so soon to the PPV. It feels like there is still a lot of material to work with, and this upcoming bout is only the beginning of that feud.

Willow Nightingale was as fun as she always is. That contrasts nicely with how easy Saraya and Toni Storm have made it to root against them. Willow has a good moveset that fits her personality to pop the crowd. The running cannonball gets spectators excited. She also understands how to work the frenzy, such as lowering her straps. From a sporting perspective, Willow needs to tighten up her mental game. She oddly turned her back after the opening bell, and Storm rightfully smashed her from behind. That’s a rookie mistake in fighting, so I’m not sure what Willow was thinking. The post-match hullabaloo felt like déjà vu. It was a scene we’ve seen before. I hope next time has Benny Hill music (Yakety Sax) playing during the chase.

Quick thoughts on the rest of the show. Excalibur’s word of the week was apoplectic to describe Kenny Omega overcome with anger. The backstage beatdowns were amusing in a larger than life way with a huge pipe and a pencil to the eye. Matt Hardy versus Hook is interesting matchmaking. A win cements Hook as for real, and there is the question if Hardy will throw the match to offer Stokely Hathaway on a platter.

Grade: B-

Three entertaining matches with screwy finishes. Promos were productive in setting up next week.

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

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