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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Feb. 9, 2024): Stokely’s angels

AEW Rampage (Feb. 9, 2024) emanated from Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ. The show featured Kris Statlander and Willow Nightingale with a new obstacle in their path, Ruby Soho ditching Saraya, Forbidden Door action with CMLL, the Young Bucks defining their goal, and more.

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

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

Best Friends vs. Undisputed Kingdom

The Best Friends lineup included Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, and Rocky Romero. The bad guy team was Roderick Strong, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett. Wardlow guarded Adam Cole seated in a wheelchair. The Kingdom worked to isolate Trent. Hot tag to Cassidy running wild. The match broke down into moves all around. The bout reset with the bad guys taking control. Strong distracted the referee, so Bennett could deliver his patented ‘dick punch’ to Cassidy. The Kingdom planted OC on a spike piledriver

Taven and Bennett also disposed of Trent on a jumping side Russian leg sweep to powerbomb combo. Romero held his own as the legal man until Strong blindsided him with a jumping knee strike. A backbreaker from Strong left Romero laying for Taven to earn the pin.

Afterward, Strong suplexed Romero onto chairs.

Undisputed Kingdom defeated Best Friends.

Young Bucks vs. Mondo Rox & Robbie Lit

Matthew and Nicholas wrestled in their blood-stained white suits from the beatdown on Sting and Darby Allin. The Bucks squashed the competition with ease. Nicholas struck a low blow, even though, it was completely unnecessary. The Bucks closed with the EVP Trigger to win.

Afterward, the Bucks voiced congratulations to Sting and Allin for winning the AEW World Tag Team Championship. Matthew and Nicholas will be praying for a healthy recovery for them. The Bucks’ goal is to get back their title belts. They won’t politic into a match. The Jacksons plan to earn their way up the rankings. The whole delivery of their promo oozed a disingenuous vibe.

Young Bucks defeated Mondo Rox & Robbie Lit.

Mistico vs. Matt Sydal

Esfinge and Star Jr. were ringside for their CMLL leader. Mistico started strong with a suicide dive. Sydal regrouped to take control with a variety of offensive moves, such as a standing mariposa, a bow and arrow submission, and an Air Raid Crash. Mistico turned the tide on a Spanish Fly to win.

Mistico defeated Matt Sydal.

Brian Cage was not impressed by Hook’s handicap win last week on Collision. The Machine can do that too. He called out any two sloppy joe’s to show up on Saturday night.

Enough talk. It’s time for the main event.

Willow Nightingale & Kris Statlander vs. Saraya & Ruby Soho

Stokely Hathaway joined commentary. Harley Cameron was ringside for the Outcasts. Ruby was shown checking a note in her pocket during her entrance.

The babyfaces were in control early until Saraya shoved Willow off the turnbuckles. Harley added physical interference on the outside. Willow hit a big boot to create space for the hot tag to Statlander. The match broke down into moves all around. In the commotion, Saraya accidentally clobbered Ruby.

For the climax, Saraya dove to tag in her partner, but Ruby backed away to leave Saraya hanging high and dry. Ruby punched Harley on her way out. Willow capitalized on the dysfunction for a doctor bomb to pin Saraya.

Willow Nightingale & Kris Statlander defeated Saraya & Ruby Soho.

Willow celebrated by swinging Stokely in a hug. Skye Blue and Julia Hart appeared for a staredown with Stokely’s angels.

Grade: B-

Typical expectations for Rampage with solid action and a little bit of story development.

Stokely Hathaway has Kris Statlander and Willow Nightingale gelling under his watch. Does he really deserve credit? Probably not. But don’t let that get in the way of a good story. AEW is doing a smart job of presenting compelling competition for Stokely’s angels. The Outcasts were formidable foes for a Rampage main event. Next up are Julia Hart and Skye Blue. This gives purpose to the union between Statlander and Willow rather than roaming aimlessly.

The juiciest part of the show was the Outcasts combusting. You have to wonder what was on that note seen by Ruby Soho. It didn’t seem to be enough on its own to make Ruby dump Saraya, but it may have helped when combined with the total package of Saraya’s rude attitude and the accidental friendly fire. This story definitely needs exploration in coming weeks on Rampage.

The Undisputed Kingdom worked well as a unit to beat the Best Friends. This win helps put the winners in a positive light. The Kingdom need all the credibility they can earn. Roderick Strong has been presented well in the ring, and now Matt Taven and Mike Bennett are rising to his level. They carried the load for the match with Strong helping to swing the balance of power. Bennett’s ‘dick punch’ and the teamwork piledriver was an amusing callback to the Neck Health Awareness days. That tactic showed them as competent heels. Strong is doing an effective job of making Orange Cassidy mad. OC is going to be a powder keg by the time Revolution rolls around.

Mistico earned a valuable win to put CMLL on the board. CMLL scored their second victory overall in this current story, but none of it will matter without putting a loss on the Blackpool Combat Club’s record. Until that happens, this whole experiment is nothing more than a showcase for exposure. That’s fine in its own right for the sake of entertainment, but it would certainly increase drama if CMLL could upset the BCC. Funny enough, it felt like Matt Sydal was given the showcase treatment here. He rocked the ring against Mistico. The luchador had his shine in the first half, then he executed the Spanish Fly for victory.

The Young Bucks were excellent as despised personalities. They went the extra mile by wearing the bloody suits and utilizing a low blow for no reason. Boo those men!

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

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