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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Mar. 3, 2023): Brotherly love

AEW Rampage (Mar. 3, 2023) emanated from Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA. The live episode featured Mark Briscoe with brotherly love, Keith Lee gelling well with Dustin Rhodes as a tag team, and more heading into the Revolution PPV.

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. Dasha Gonzalez handled ring announcer duties.

Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, and Maria Kanellis watched the tag team opener from the front row. Los Ingobernables observed the action on a monitor backstage.

Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs. Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. Aussie Open vs. Top Flight

Dark Order attacked Blackpool Combat Club from behind on stage. Top Flight added a pair of suicide dives onto the fighting foursome. Aussie Open chilled. The match progressed with Silver running wild on the outside. He went high-risk for a flying crossbody, but Claudio caught him for a wicked backbreaker.

The finish was a process of elimination to clear space for the pin. Mark Davis accidentally clotheslined Kyle Fletcher. Dark Order ran a combo attack on Darius Martin with Silver executing a bridging German suplex. Yuta ran over for a jumping double stomp on Silver to break the pin. Yuta took advantage for the seat belt pin on Martin to win. Afterward, BCC and Dark Order resumed brawling up the ramp.

Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta defeated Alex Reynolds & John Silver, Aussie Open, and Top Flight.

Hype package for Texas Death Match with previous promos from Jon Moxley and Hangman Page.

Jungle Boy wanted more than a fight against Christian Cage. There are going to be grave consequences. He wants to put Christian in the ground. JB added that Christian can say hello to his father when after his final burial. Jungle Boy versus Christian will be a Final Burial match at Revolution.

Riho vs. Emi Sakura

Sakura battered Riho for much of the match. Riho rallied for a flying crossbody, but Sakura regained control. Sakura scored a sweet Magistral cradle coming close to victory. Riho escaped and continued the fight. She gained the upper hand for success on a nifty crucifix swinging roll-up to win.

Riho defeated Emi Sakura.

Hype package for the women’s world title fight at Revolution. Ruby Soho is not meant to be home-grown or an outsider. She is meant to be the champion. Saraya will make the AEW women’s division her house. Jamie Hayter reminded us that she hits hard.

Will Hobbs vs. Serpentico

Power squash for a spinebuster and torture rack slam to win. Afterward, Hobbs spoke about his TNT title shot for next week. It doesn’t matter if he faces Samoa Joe or Wardlow. The TNT Championship is the next chapter in the Book of Hobbs.

Will Hobbs defeated Serpentico.

Konosuke Takeshita has had great moments but not many big wins. It might be time to regroup back to Japan. Enter Don Callis with a managerial sales pitch. He pointed out how Hobbs was missing something then found his killer instinct to achieve success. Takeshita needs to find that special something. Callis wanted a chance to show what the Invisible Hand can do for Takeshita’s career.

QTV is coming soon.

Mark Briscoe is feeling good, feeling strong. But sometimes he gets confused. For example, he woke up from a nap last week and stumbled into the arena to see the tag team battle royal. He assumed his brother was out there, so he rushed in to help whoop some ass. Then he remembered that Jay is upstairs with the Lord. Briscoe saw Mark Sterling picking on the Lucha Bros, so he helped them. Seeing a couple brothers warms his heart. The Lucha Bros stepped in saying they’ll always have Briscoe’s back. Zero miedo. This was a setup for Briscoe, Fenix, & Pentagon versus Tony Nese, Josh Woods, & Ari Daivari on the PPV pre-show.

Hype package for the tag title four-way at Revolution. Each team was confident about victory.

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

Swerve Strickland & Parker Boudreaux vs. Dustin Rhodes & Keith Lee

The babyfaces charged to the ring, so the heels evacuated. When Rhodes and Lee pandered to the crowd, the Mogul Affiliates attacked from behind. Isolation on Rhodes leading to the hot tag for Lee to clean house. Limitless blasted Parker with a shoulder block. Lee finally put hands on Swerve and smashed a sky high chokeslam.

Later in the match, Swerve came back to use Lee’s chest as a launchpad for a moonsault onto Rhodes.

The finish was a blitz of high-impact moves. Dustin hit a Destroyer on Swerve to turn the tide. Lee picked up his partner to throw onto Parker. Lee finished with a jackhammer to pin the goon.

Dustin Rhodes & Keith Lee defeated Swerve Strickland & Parker Boudreaux.

The show closed with a brawl between Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho.

Grade B-

Rampage whet the appetite for Revolution with entertaining action.

The best moment of the show was the Mark Briscoe promo. Humor, heart, and brotherly love. I don’t know where PAC fits with the Death Triangle relationship. Maybe Mark can warm PAC’s soul like the transformation of the Grinch. However that shakes out, Briscoe teaming with the Lucha Bros should be a blast.

The main event had a few ‘holy shit’ moments. Keith Lee’s chokeslam was a popping visual. The height was insane. Dustin Rhodes’ Destroyer always rowdies the crowd. He has good snap on it. Lee tossing Dustin was a hoot. Lee’s jackhammer finisher is impressive. It is a believable move that should be protected with minimal kick-outs. Swerve Strickland was as slick and smooth as always. Parker Boudreaux was a little awkward at times, but he was serviceable in his role taking lumps. Step one of the big payback is complete. We still need a singles bout between Lee and Swerve.

The tag team four-way was hectic and electric as an opener. It fit the Rampage style. I like the attitude shown by the Dark Order taking the initiative to rumble with the Blackpool Combat Club. I don’t think the Dark Order has a chance at winning against BCC, but at least they are showing not to be pushovers anymore. It’s about time the Dark Order kicks some ass. I was surprised Top Flight took the pin. Their momentum has been all over the place from winning the trios battle royal to losing to the Blackpool Combat Club to beating the Young Bucks and so on. The good thing is that Top Flight are made men with the fans, so climbing the ladder to the tag titles will be an easy build once the time comes.

Quick thoughts on the rest of the show. Riho versus Emi Sakura was chilly on paper, but hot for the crowd. Even though the crucifix transition was sloppy, it was a spiffy idea in theory. Damn, Jungle Boy was stone cold in his promo. That line about saying hello to his father was ruthless. Ruby Soho and Saraya were strong in their promo snippets with good emotion. Jamie Hayter needs to widen her material. Say something with a little more substance than she hits hard. The potential relationship between Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita has intrigue. I’m curious how a heel manager would work for a super babyface.

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

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