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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Mar. 25, 2023): Hoss Appreciation Society

AEW Rampage (Mar. 25, 2023) emanated from Cable Dahmer Arena in Kansas City, MO. The Saturday night episode featured Will Hobbs defending the TNT Championship against Pentagon, Brody King versus Jake Hager in a hoss fight, Taya Valkyrie serving Mark Sterling, and more.

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

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

TNT Championship: Will Hobbs (c) Vs. Pentagon

QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, Harley Cameron, and Alex Abrahantes were ringside. Pentagon had zero fear of the hoss champion. The luchador threw strikes to no avail, so he switched to low kicks. That worked a little to keep Hobbs off-balance, but Powerhouse powered through to smash Penta. Hobbs picked Penta apart with heavy hits. Pentagon rallied with fighting spirit for a flying stomp on the apron and a flying stomp inside the ring.

QT’s word is bond. He hopped onto the apron with a chair, which was a distraction for Solo to leap into the ring. Penta sensed the chicanery and superkicked the intruder. The luchador delivered Solo in a package piledriver. All this hullabaloo paid of for Hobbs when he took advantage to hit Pentagon with the title belt. Hobbs handled business with the Town Bidness slam for victory. Afterward, the QTV crew aimed to rough up Abrahantes. Fenix ran in with a hammer for the save.

Will Hobbs defeated Pentagon.

Kenny Omega will defend the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship on Dynamite. Jeff Cobb enters the Forbidden Door as the challenger. AEW aired a hype package telling the backstory of Cobb’s desire to bring the belt back to NJPW.

Ricky Starks called out Juice Robinson to fight. Juice was more than willing to serve an ass kicking to that sweet boy, but he refused to do it in lowly Missouri. Juice wanted the bright lights and big stage of New York when Dynamite visits Long Island on April 5.

Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh were angry at AEW officials. Every time the team makes strides, the referees rain on their parade screwing them out of gold. They guaranteed that one day they will be champions.

Brody King vs. Jake Hager

Julia Hart was ringside for the hoss fight. Hoss fight! The two bulls collided with stalemate shoulder blocks. Punches led to a variation in strikes which led to ramming each other into the barricades. King had the first high-impact move with a Boss Man Slam.

King charged for a running cannonball in the corner. Hager moved, and King crashed into the turnbuckles. Hager went for the Vader bomb, but King got his feet up to block. King flattened Hager with a hefty discus lariat. Hager kicked out at 2.99.

It wouldn’t be a Jericho Appreciation Society match without other members trifling on the outside. Anna Jay ran in to shove Hart into the ring post.

Hager tried to take advantage of the distraction for a roll-up, but King kicked out. King ducked a clothesline to hoist Hager onto his shoulders for a fireman’s carry piledriver to win.

Brody King defeated Jake Hager.

Swerve Strickland decides when he is finished with Keith Lee. He is bringing in more affiliates, such as rapper Tech N9ne. Swerve plans to bring in someone else when Lee won’t expect it.

Taya Valkyrie vs. Leila Grey

Jade Cargill and Mark Sterling were ringside. The lawyer possessed the cease and desist letter on the Road to Valhalla maneuver. Taya made quick work of Grey to win via Road to Valhalla. Sterling entered the ring to give Taya a piece of his mind. She crushed him too on a Road to Valhalla.

Taya Valkyrie defeated Leila Grey.

Hype package for the main event between the Acclaimed and the Kingdom. Mark Henry appeared on screen for his signature line, “It’s time for the main event!”

Daddy Cool and Cool Hand joined commentary for their recruitment of the Acclaimed.

The Kingdom vs. The Acclaimed

Maria Kanellis and Billy Gunn were ringside. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett executed tag team offense to isolate Max Caster. Maria hit Caster with her boot, so Billy walked her down. Maria backed away up stage. Top Flight came out to make sure Maria would not return. Bennett charged at Billy on the floor, so Daddy Ass delivered a clothesline. Caster used that distraction for the hot tag to Anthony Bowens. The Acclaimed finished with the Mic Drop combo for victory.

The Acclaimed defeated the Kingdom.

The show closed with a scissor party.

Grade: C+

Okay show. There were enough entertaining moments to make Rampage worthwhile, but certain aspects felt a little redundant.

Let’s hear it for the hosses. I would like to induct Brody King and Jake Hager into the Hoss Appreciation Society. They had the best match of the bunch. It wasn’t just two super heavyweights throwing hands. They demonstrated nifty wrinkles in strategy by avoiding signature maneuvers. That showed the brain behind the brawn. Make no mistake though. It was a slugfest. King and Hager never lost sight in delivering on that aspect.

Will Hobbs and Taya Valkyrie also had quality hoss moments. Hobbs continues to deliver powerful slams with creativity. Taya executing the Road to Valhalla on Mark Sterling was the moment of the night. AEW is setting up this TBS Championship feud nicely. I have no clue whether Jade Cargill or Taya will be the one to use the Jaded/Road to Valhalla in their eventual title fight. If Taya pulls it off, I think the roof will explode, even if it’s just for a false finish.

AEW did well building bits of anticipation. I am intrigued by Anna Jay arriving to smash Julia Hart. This allows Hart to get in on the action in the House of Black versus JAS feud. Swerve Strickland is still teasing a mystery affiliate. Mystery reveals are an easy sell. Juice Robinson is proving to be a good foil for this mini feud with Ricky Starks. Juice’s smarminess makes me want to see Starks serve a Rock Hard ass-kicking.

The biggest frustration about this episode was the finish to the TNT Championship match. How many times are we going to see a heel with multi faction members milling around ringside to interfere? It feels copy and paste at this point. Sure, Pentagon piledriving Solo was entertaining to a degree. However, this win did no favors elevating Hobbs. Also, Fenix’s arrival for the aftermath was stupid. Why wasn’t he there the whole time?

The main event made story sense with all the moving parts. Overall, it was a cotton candy match. Sweet with no substance.

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

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