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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Mar. 31, 2023): German suplex master

AEW Rampage (Mar. 31, 2023) emanated from Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, MO. The episode featured Konosuke Takeshita as a master of German suplexes, the House of Black squeezing Orange Cassidy, Taya Valkyrie ignoring Mark Sterling’s lawsuit, Juice Robinson rock hard for Ricky Starks, 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.

Sammy Guevara vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Tay Melo was ringside. On commentary, Jericho revealed that Sammy is a tongue model for several magazines. Jungle Boy and Darby Allin watched the match backstage, perhaps picking up pointers for their own tongue model careers.

Sammy was arrogant and cocky, so Takeshita made him pay with a stiff elbow strike. Takeshita had some fun mocking Sammy’s sexy boy pose.

The bout progressed with flips from Sammy and a variety of German suplexes from Takeshita. Down the stretch, Takeshita was in control with a release German suplex and a running clothesline. He sized up his running knee finisher, but Tay grabbed his foot as a distraction. Sammy pounced for the GTH to win.

Sammy Guevara defeated Konosuke Takeshita.

QTV suggested Alex Abrahantes as the next TNT challenger for Will Hobbs. QT Marshall put over his new finisher, the Dirt Sheet Driver. He stole it from Kobashi. Since the move came from Japan, that means the marks love it already. The crew also ripped a shot at Wardlow to suggest QT do a Dirt Sheet Driver symphony.

Matt Hardy prepared the contract for Ethan Page to wrestle Hook next week. Hardy looked over every word personally. Page used Hardy’s back to sign the paperwork, and Hardy winked to the camera as a hint that Page was about to get screwed.

Malakai Black & Brody King vs. Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor

Julia Hart was ringside. The House of Black isolated Chuck. Hot tag to Trent running wild. King blocked a suicide dive to counter with a chokeslam on the apron. The hoss grabbed a chair and wound back. Chuck snatched it away to save Trent. The payment for that good deed was being powerbombed through the timekeeper table by King. Trent took the chair to hit King in the back. Black kicked the chair into Trent’s face. The referee called for the bell.

Afterward, House of Black threatened more violence on Chuck. Enter Orange Cassidy. Buddy Matthews was waiting in the wings to take out OC. Matthews used the trios title belt to block Cassidy’s superman punch then landed a kick and threw him down the ramp. King executed the Dante’s Inferno piledriver on Chuck. As Black passed Cassidy on the way out, he taunted how he knew exactly the way Cassidy would react in this situation. It was too easy.

House of Black defeated Best Friends via disqualification? I’m not sure what the official result was, but this would make sense since Trent used a chair.

Swerve Strickland’s words have weight to them. His purpose has consequences to it. Swerve respects the same about Keith Lee. There is a danger about Limitless. Lee pointed out Swerve’s hypocrisy. He knows what he needs to do to handle Swerve.

Marina Shafir vs. Taya Valkyrie

Shafir worked her game to put Taya on the mat. La Wera Loca had the defensive knowledge to cut off submission attempts. Taya took control to finish with Road to Valhalla.

Jade Cargill, Mark Sterling, and Leila Grey were watching on stage. After the win, Jade was furious that Taya used Jaded. Sterling sent his legal processor, Tootie Lynn, to serve lawsuit documents. Taya tossed the paperwork aside and hit the Road to Valhalla on Tootie. Jade was furious and had to be held back by her crew.

Taya Valkyrie defeated Marina Shafir.

Anna Jay realized that pain (dislocated rib) doesn’t bother her. She said she had a fat ass and a bad attitude. The House of Black claims to like pain, so it is time to find out. Anna is going to choke out Julia Hart.

Hype package for the main event between Juice Robinson and Action Andretti. Juice is focused on sending a message to Ricky Starks. Mark Henry appeared on screen for his signature line, “It’s time for the main event!”

Action Andretti vs. Juice Robinson

Andretti brought flashy action. The Juice was loose when he blocked a suicide dive to ram Andretti into the ring steps. A body slam on the floor gave Robinson control. Andretti rallied with energy to hit the suicide dive, a springboard clothesline, and a DDT. He couldn’t keep Robinson down. Action’s next move was thwarted by running into a leg lariat. Robinson finished with a DDT variation. Afterward, Juice aimed to continue the attack. Ricky Starks ran in to chase Robinson away.

Juice Robinson defeated Action Andretti.

Grade: B

Solid show. I appreciate that every segment had purpose for something greater with a lot of quick, simple builds to future matches.

Being a German suplex master has been part of Konosuke Takeshita’s character, but that skill was extra impressive against Sammy Guevara. Maybe I didn’t notice all the German variations before, however, Takeshita was full of creative ways to work in the suplex on this night. Doing a German suplex from his knees was super cool. I like the idea of Takeshita being the man of 1,000 German suplexes.

I would have preferred Sammy winning clean in this one. He needs to increase his stock if AEW wants to present him as a legitimate threat to win the AEW World Championship. Out of the Four Pillars, Sammy is the one with zero chance to win the world title right now. Takeshita is not in line for anything big right now, so a clean loss wouldn’t hurt him. That said, the trifling from Tay Melo can play into the story of Don Callis’ recruitment of Takeshita.

House of Black laid their trap, and Orange Cassidy bit. This shows the devious nature of Malakai Black, and it provided enough of a hook to set up the trios title match for Dynamite. The Road to Valhalla/Jaded courtroom drama continues in an engaging manner. AEW has to have Taya hit her finisher of Jade at least once. This is a TBS title fight that I’m eager to see. Juice Robinson stayed true to his words about tunnel vision for Ricky Starks. It was a smart detail for Juice to be calling Action Andretti the name of Starks during the bout. That gives a glimpse into his mindset for a fuller character.

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

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