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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Aug. 18, 2023): Mayhem in women’s division

AEW Rampage (Aug. 18, 2023) emanated from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. The Fight For The Fallen special featured mayhem in the women’s division, a lucha libre classic, ROH tag title developments, and more.

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

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

Fenix vs. Komander

Slick mat rolling to start, then the action transitioned to high flying. Fenix got big air on a double springboard flying stomp.

Komander executed evasive flips, but he got too cute with it. Fenix timed him for a rolling cutter.

Do you want more cool moves? Komander is your hookup. The luchador launched for a springboard Mexican Destroyer then followed for a rope-walking shooting star press. Fenix kicked out on the cover.

The finish came down to Komander missing a 450 splash. Fenix pounced for a fire driver, but that wasn’t enough to keep Komander down. Fenix kept on the pressure for a spinning musclebuster bomb to win.

Fenix defeated Komander.

Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli were watching that match backstage on the monitor. AEW announced Moxley versus Fenix for Dynamite.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD is dreaming of a magical moment in Wembley Stadium to win the AEW women’s title for a second time.

QTV update. QT Marshall won the AAA Latin American Championship last weekend at Triplemania XXXI. Johnny TV sent in a message of congratulations with a fancy ride and Prince Presley on camera.

ROH World Tag Team Championship: Aussie Open (c) vs. Isiah Kassidy & Ethan Page

Brother Zay hyped the crowd to chant for the ‘moan’ event. This was a competitive bout. The challengers pushed the pace early, so the champions slowed it down to grind their opponents. Action picked up again for the finish. Kassidy was moving hot, but Kyle Fletcher put his knees up to block the swanton. Double superkicks sent Page out of the ring. A clothesline sandwich and Coriolis finished the job on Kassidy.

Aussie Open defeated Isiah Kassidy & Ethan Page.

Afterward, Aussie Open cut a promo on MJF and Adam Cole as pieces of trash. They will never hit the kangaroo kick.

The Righteous are coming to AEW. Vincent, Dutch, and Stu Grayson have the power in their hands to hurt. Most are afraid to use that ability, but that’s how the Righteous control life.

The Hardys called out Aussie Open for an ROH tag title bout next week.

Sammy Guevara vs. Jon Cruz

Quick match with Sammy styling through the air and finishing with the GTH knee strike.

Sammy Guevara defeated Jon Cruz.

Nyla Rose is going to remind the world that she is the most dominant former world champ.

Mark Henry ushered in a video package hyping the main event. Nobody can stop Hikaru Shida’s dream at All In, but the Outcasts will try. Enough talk. Mark Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Toni Storm & Ruby Soho vs. Hikaru Shida & Skye Blue

Saraya was ringside for nefarious reasons. Down the stretch, Blue executed a Code Blue on Soho. Storm broke the pin with a hip attack. As the referee tried to corral Storm and Shida fighting in the corner, Soho sprayed green paint in Blue’s face. Storm clobbered Blue with a hip attack, but Shida broke the pinfall.

Shida dragged her partner to the corner for a tag. Shida exploded for furious fisticuffs, but Saraya hooked her foot as a distraction. The Outcasts double-teamed Shida. Blue evened the playing field with a thrust kick to knock Storm out of the ring. Soho was the legal teammate and went for the No Future Kick. Shida blocked then countered for a jackknife pin to win.

Hikaru Shida & Skye Blue defeated Toni Storm & Ruby Soho.

Business picked up after the match. The Outcasts immediately stomped on their rivals. Soho and Blue tussled out of the ring. Saraya and Storm pounded Shida. Britt Baker ran to the ring to get a piece. A melee ensued in the women’s division as security did their best to restore order.

Grade: B-

A standard quality Rampage. Solid action, and directions were set up for next week. The drawback would be cold matchmaking. Entertainment was delivered in the ring, however, there was no heat produced beforehand to get invested in the matches.

Hikaru Shida is the purest babyface in AEW. She comes across as wholesome with a clean spirit. When it is time to fight, she unleashes hell. Shida doesn’t do a lot of talking, but her intensity speaks volumes. It helped on this evening with the Outcasts doing their part well as villains. That made it easy to root for Shida to kick ass.

The main event was a decent match. Skye Blue had her underdog moments. Toni Storm leaned more into her new starlet diva character by spinning on the apron to take a bow. Ruby Soho brought an edge of animosity to her game. I’m not particularly fond of ‘preview’ matches, but they worked hard enough to maintain my interest on a Friday night. The closing melee was mayhem to set the scene for All In.

Fenix and Komander put on a dandy for the opener. AEW gave them the kitchen and let them cook. It was the type of performance that will win over new fans and satisfy old fans. These are the kinds of singles matches AAA should feature more to showcase their talented roster, and it’s a shame they choose not to.

AEW is making good use of Aussie Open. They have a high baseline of match quality, so you know it will be entertaining every time they wrestle. Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher utilize a cohesive dynamic of power and athleticism. Their tag team chemistry is up there with the best in the game today.

AEW dropped the ball with the storylines on Ethan Page. They put so much time into him tormenting Matt Hardy. Granted, a lot of that played out on Elevation and Dark. When the power in the relationship switched, the story dried up. Page had some moments coming to the rescue, but we have no idea what’s going on inside his mind.

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

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