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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Sept. 15, 2023): Kris Statlander is Jade Cargill’s kryptonite

AEW Rampage (Sept. 15, 2023) emanated from Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati, OH. The show featured Kris Statlander versus Jade Cargill in a hoss fight for the TBS Championship, Dr. Britt Baker DMD calling her shot, and more.

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

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

Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Butcher, & Blade vs. Lucha Bros & Hardy Bros

It was like an unofficial lumberjack match with Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh, Karen Jarrett, Bunny, Penelope Ford, Kip Sabian, Alex Abrahantes, and Isiah Kassidy at ringside.

The bad guys isolated Matt Hardy. Hot tag to Fenix to turn the tide for the babyfaces. Chaos broke out. Alex slapped Dutt and Sabian, then he launched for a flying crossbody outside. Singh caught Alex to toss on the floor.

Meanwhile, that cleared the way for Fenix to pin Blade on a Fire Driver.

As the finish played out, the Hardys brawled with Jarrett and Lethal up stage. Singh clotheslined the Hardys. The Righteous came out with an eye on Matt and Jeff. Later, it was announced that the Hardys will wrestle Vincent and Dutch on Collision.

Lucha Bros & Hardy Bros defeated Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Butcher, & Blade.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD called her shot at the TBS Championship on Collision in her academic ‘hometown’ of State College, PA (Penn State University). Since she failed to become a two-time world champ, she’ll make history instead by becoming the first to win the world and TBS titles.

QTV. I don’t know what is going on here, but I like it. The gist is QT Marshall still on his travels destroying luchadores, then wackiness ensued with Johnny TV leading the crew. Watch the video yourself. Words won’t do it justice.

Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels vs. The Kingdom

Competitive bout. The Kingdom rose in the end. Mike Bennett hit a Death Valley Driver on Sydal. Matt Taven and Bennett double-teamed Daniels leading to the Proton Pack finisher for victory.

The Kingdom defeated Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels.

Afterward, the Kingdom cut a promo targeting Adam Cole. They blame Cole for Roderick Strong’s neck pain. Taven and Bennett are coming to take the ROH tag titles from Cole. The Kingdom also shined the spotlight on Neck Health Awareness Month. Anyone that argues it isn’t real should be punched in the groin and hit with a piledriver.

Swerve Strickland issued a challenge to the Young Bucks and Hangman Page. He proposed Brian Cage & the Gates of Agony versus the Hung Bucks for Rampage next week.

The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn vs. Peter Avalon & Outrunners

Domination. Avalon was the target of Scissor Me Timbers, Fame-asser, and Mic Drop for Max Caster to pick up the pin.

The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn defeated Peter Avalon & Outrunners.

Afterward, the Dark Order wanted a trios title shot. They are tired of good things happening to bad people, like the Acclaimed. The Dark Order want a one-on-one match on Collision to prove their worth. The Acclaimed got stuck in a scissors draw in Rock Paper Scissors to determine the opponent, so Anthony Bowens stepped up. It was later revealed that Evil Uno will represent the Dark Order in that match on Collision.

Aussie Open vs. Damian Chambers & Lord Crewe

Squash. Clothesline sandwich and a Coriolis to each opponent.

Aussie Open defeated Damian Chambers & Lord Crewe.

No Mark Henry on this evening. I’ll say it for the man. Enough talk. It’s time for the main event!

TBS Championship: Kris Statlander (c) vs. Jade Cargill

Mark Sterling joined Jade. The contest started with a staredown into an aggressive lockup stalemate. That led way to evenly matched shoulder blocks and lariats for another stalemate. Statlander and Jade went back and forth dishing out identical attacks. Statlander was able to gain the upper hand for a body slam.

On the outside, Jade caught Statlander to slam on the apron. The former champ smashed the current champ around the ring with an Irish whip into the barricade. Jade styled in the ring with pushups and a crossover dribble corner attack.

Statlander rallied with the energy from the crowd. As they traded suplex lifts, Jade gained the edge this time with a delayed vertical suplex. Statlander rode the motion on the mat to transition into a Michinoku driver.

Statlander and Jade were down. The referee started the count, then they both kipped up at the same time. A flurry of blows exploded back and forth. Statlander’s intensity took over for a Blue Thunder Bomb.

Sterling caused a distraction, and Jade hit a pump kick. Jade lifted for Jaded, however, Statlander countered with a roll-up. Jade kicked out. Statlander charged for a discus lariat. Jade ducked and countered for a chokeslam. Statlander kicked out on the cover.

Jade hooked the arms for Jaded again, but Statlander backed Jade into the corner to break free. They two-stepped positions, and Jade collided into the turnbuckles. Statlander exploded for a discus lariat and a scissor kick. Statlander executed the Friday Night Fever piledriver to win.

Kris Statlander defeated Jade Cargill.

Grade: B-

This grade is heavily anchored by the main event.

Kris Statlander and Jade Cargill kicked ass for a memorable fight. This had minimal build heading in, but it felt electric right from the opening bell. Statlander and Cargill worked a match as equals in the powerhouse department. If you avoided spoilers and rumors, then it seemed like a genuine case where either competitor could win. I previously mentioned how Statlander’s title reign lacked moments. Well, this was her breakout. The original win was special and beating Jade again was special. It truly played out in a way to elevate Statlander to a higher realm. She is now the kryptonite to Jade’s record. There are only two losses on Jade’s résumé, and both are at the hands of Statlander.

Speaking of rumors, chatter has been heavy of Jade possibly departing AEW to WWE. Based on Jade’s reaction after the match, it sure seems like that could be the story. Jade had tears in her eyes. She showed gratitude and respect to the champ with a hug. That is uncharacteristic behavior from Jade’s character. It sure feels like real emotion, as that of closing the door on her AEW career. Watch the scene and judge for yourself.

If this is the end of the line for Jade in AEW, she went out the right way by putting over Statlander in a darn entertaining match.

The only other things of importance on this show were the promos from the Kingdom, Dark Order, and Dr. Britt Baker DMD. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett declared their intentions to snatch the ROH tag titles from MJF & Adam Cole. The Kingdom expressed themselves in a humorous manner playing up the neck health of Roderick Strong and their hatred for Cole. The Dark Order are taking the high road calling out bad guy behavior from the good guys. That angle of logic has potential, because they aren’t wrong in what they say. In my view, Baker continues to be unlikable as a babyface. Her ego was on grand display. It is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. To me, Baker usually crosses on the side of arrogance. It’s even more confusing, because I view her as the one acting good in the tension building with Hikaru Shida. After that performance from Statlander, I sure hope she doesn’t drop the belt to Baker. I want to see how high Statlander can rise with the momentum from beating Jade.

Two parting thoughts. First, QTV was a hoot. It was so bizarre in a good way. It’s the kind of scene where some new detail pops out upon each viewing. Second, this episode of Rampage has me wondering if it is transitioning to the buildup show for Collision. Half the Collision card was setup through interactions on Rampage. I don’t know if that is good or bad. On one hand, Rampage would have more value as a show to pay attention to. On the other hand, the idea of a soft roster split loses steam when we’re getting wrestlers in double-duty matches for the week. Overexposure could be an issue.

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

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