clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AEW Rampage recap & reactions (May 13, 2023): Shrimp cocktail for Swerve Strickland & Brian Cage

AEW Rampage (May 13, 2023) emanated from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. The Saturday evening episode featured Swerve Strickland and Brian Cage tenderizing the Dark Order, Kyle Fletcher versus Action Andretti stealing the show, 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.

The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn vs. Butcher, Blade, & Kip Sabian

Penelope Ford was ringside. The mercenaries isolated Anthony Bowens. Hot tag to Daddy Ass for a powerslam to Butcher and Fameasser to Sabian. Blade made the save on the cover. Max Caster knocked Blade out of the ring, then the Acclaimed hit the Mic Drop combo to pin Sabian for victory.

The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn defeated Butcher, Blade, & Kip Sabian.

QTV checked in with Will Hobbs. Powerhouse was lounging shirtless on a mahogany sofa. It doesn’t matter how many pages are in the story. What is important is who is holding the pen for the Book of Hobbs.

Toni Storm vs. Allysin Kay

Saraya and Ruby Soho were ringside to interfere with the hometown hero. Kay picked up steam to counter for a back-to-belly piledriver. Soho distracted referee Aubrey Edwards, so there was no count on the pin. Kay went over to sass Soho. Storm scored an inside cradle. Kay kicked out, but Storm followed with a German suplex. A running hip attack in the corner paved the way for the Storm Zero piledriver.

Toni Storm defeated Allysin Kay.

The Gunns are angry about losing the tag titles due to a crooked referee. They weren’t even given a rematch. That’s okay. The Gunns are confident that it won’t take long to get back to the top of the division. Enter Ethan Page requesting assistance with a problem.

Kyle Fletcher vs. Action Andretti

Darius Martin was ringside. This was a competitive match with slick moves. Andretti managed to land a springboard 450 splash, but Fletcher kicked out. The Aussie rallied with a dropkick into the ropes. Andretti was stunned, so Fletcher pounced for a hammerlock with an inverted facelock lift into a spinning piledriver. That sealed the deal as Fletcher has his sights on Orange Cassidy and the AEW International Championship.

Kyle Fletcher defeated Action Andretti.

Hardy Party celebrated the deletion of their contracts with the Firm. With Jeff Hardy back, the brothers are looking to resume one final run winning the AEW tag titles. The Gunns interrupted as a favor to Ethan Page. Matt Hardy wasn’t interested in wrestling Page again, but he did have a proposal for the Gunns. If the Hardys beat the Gunns, then Matt will be in control of Page’s contract. The Gunns accepted those terms on behalf of All Ego.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Swerve Strickland views the Embassy as an upgrade from his previous affiliates. The Dark Order agreed that expansion is necessary for any group, so they asked if the Mogul Embassy wanted to join their crew. The answer was no. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Dark Order vs. Mogul Embassy

Alex Reynolds and John Silver represented the Dark Order with Evil Uno for support. Swerve Strickland and Brian Cage were the opponents. Prince Nana was on the outside for the Mogul Embassy. The bad guys isolated Silver. Hot tag to Reynolds scoring a tiger driver and piledriver on Swerve. The mogul kicked out.

Nana helped turn the tide with sneaky bits of interference, such as grabbing Silver’s foot to prevent Johnny Hungiee from feasting. In the end, the Mogul Embassy crushed the Dark Order to win with style. Cage planted Reynolds on a Drill Claw. Swerve took care of Silver with a JML driver for good measure to prevent a break on the pin.

Mogul Embassy defeated Dark Order.

Afterward, Kaun and Toa Liona attacked Evil Uno. Keith Lee and Dustin Rhodes came out with heavy equipment to make the save.

Line up the celebration for Swerve Strickland and Brian Cage getting in the win column. Whenever I see success from the Embassy, it makes me think of the shrimp cocktail promo from Prince Nana and Cage last year. No doubt that the Mogul Embassy should be treating themselves to shrimp cocktail on this evening for a job well done. Imagine Swerve, Cage, Nana, Kaun, and Toa Liona walking into a seafood restaurant. How many shrimp do you think that whole crew would eat?

The match itself was solid. Dark Order hit their routine spots to pop the crowd. Alex Reynolds was the workhorse with the hot tag fire and heavy-duty near falls. Even though Swerve and Cage benefit from Nana’s help, they hammered home the win when the time called for it. Mogul Embassy built a little momentum prior to their eventual clash with Keith Lee and Dustin Rhodes. It was amusing to see the heroes run in with whatever plunder they could put hands on in a spur of the moment save.

I was curious how AEW would treat Allysin Kay for her match with Toni Storm. It was in that squash spot of the program, but she was given enough time to show her skills. They even gave Kay a protected loss with referee shenanigans. It was a decent outing considering the circumstances, but it wasn’t the type of match that made me check the Twitter wire to see if Kay would become All Elite. Surely, Kay would be a quality addition, however, it doesn’t seem that now is the time.

The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn handled business. There wasn’t much to take away from this bout. It was a notch on the record to presumably move toward a trios title shot. I’m wondering how the Acclaimed would work scissoring into the Dealer’s Choice for Open House rules.

Kyle Fletcher versus Action Andretti was the cream of the show. That was a darn entertaining match with creative offense. I like how Andretti’s form of high-flying is different from the pack. He’s able to add a springboard here or a corkscrew there to make the moves feel more special. Fletcher’s finisher was super cool. There was lots of extra movement for that piledriver, but it was effective visually to look like a death blow. This proved to be an effective showcase heating up Fletcher for his match against Orange Cassidy for the AEW International Championship next week.

Grade: B-

The show was typical Rampage fare. The action was entertaining in its own right for a late Saturday night. A few story pieces were picked up. However, there was no must-see moment.

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

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats