This week’s AEW Rampage featured Darby Allin taking on The Butcher while Keith Lee faced Max Caster in the main event.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz, the yeller Chris Jericho and Ricky Starks. Some of the people they show in the opening video package are never on Rampage since it’s become the “B” show in a significant way.
Darby Allin (w/Sting) vs. The Butcher (w/The Blade & The Bunny)
Allin with some forearms to his bigger opponent followed by running splashes, but Butcher used his power to drive Allin into the turnbuckle. Allin was out of the ring for a long time, the referee counted so slow and Jericho complained about the referee. Butcher left the ring to go after Allin, so Allin went back into the ring and hit a suicide dive onto Butcher on the floor. Back in the ring, Allin went for a move off the ropes, Butcher caught him for a backbreaker and then a powerslam for a two count. Butcher decked Allin with a punch that Allin sold well. Butcher decked Allin with a hard clothesline. Butcher grabbed Allin by the head and swung him around a bit. Butcher went after Allin on the floor where Butcher hit him with another clothesline leading to a flip bump by Allin. Sting stared at Butcher on the floor as the show went to break for a picture in picture break.
Allin went for a move off the ropes, Butcher caught him and applied a Texas Cloverleaf submission. Allin tried to fight, Butcher hit a Powerbomb leading to the Cloverleaf applied again as Alin got to the bottom rope to break the hold. Allin jumped onto Butcher’s back, so Butcher drove him back-first into the ring post. Butcher swung Allin into the barricade and into the steel steps. Butcher charged at Allin, who moved and Butcher’s knee went into the steps. Allin hit the Code Red slam on the floor. Allin jumped off the top rope onto Butcher on the floor and the referee actually counted them while they were out of the ring. Butcher did not make it back in before the 10 count, so it was a countout win by Allin. The wrestlers were on the floor for the final 1 minute 30 seconds of the match (unless Butcher went back in during a replay). It should have been a countout way earlier, but the referee Bryce Remsburg was very inconsistent with his count. It went around ten minutes.
Winner by countout: Darby Allin
Analysis: ***1/4 A countout win? In AEW? That’s so rare. The referees are so inconsistent with how they count or don’t count people out of the ring, yet they booked it for the finish of this match. A good match as usual any time Darby gets over ten minutes in a singles match. Anyway, I liked the story of the match with Butcher beating up Allin throughout the match, then Allin found a way to come back and hit his finishing move off the top onto Butcher on the floor.
The Andrade Family Office leader Andrade El Idolo entered with Jose the Assistant. Private Party attacked Sting and Allin from behind with Blade joining in. Andrade slapped Allin in the face. The Hardy brothers Jeff & Matt saved Allin & Sting from the attack, so the heels retreated.
Matt Hardy did a promo wanted Andrade’s group to do this now. Andrade’s group teased going into the ring by standing on the apron and then they backed away. Matt said if they are too chicken shit to get in the ring then this Wednesday on Dynamite, they can have a Texas Tornado Tag Team Match in Austin, Texas. Matt said it can be Private Party & Butcher/Blade vs. Matt/Jeff Hardy, Allin & Sting. Andrade’s group left.
Analysis: It’s a big tag team match to do on Dynamite. It has been building for a couple of weeks. That’s fine with me.
Scorpio Sky did a promo with the TNT Championship with Dan Lambert and Paige Vanzant by his side. Sky talked trash about people making excuses. Lambert claimed he was a co-TNT Champion since he was wearing a title. Paige said you can jump on the Paige Vanzant train or get ran over.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Red Velvet
Leyla has received a bit of a push since going heel. They got into a fight on the ramp before the match could begin. Velvet suplexed Leyla on the ramp. They went into the ring to start the match.
Velvet hit a running knee attack to the back and a standing moonsault for two. They took turns on offense as they battled against the turnbuckle. Leyla tripped up Velvet against the turnbuckle and Leyla delivered a hard kick. They went to a picture in picture break.
Velvet hit some running clotheslines. Velvet with some kicks followed by a short bulldog. Velvet did a bulldog spot. It’s like the spot that Rey Mysterio has been doing for decades. Leyla with an overhead suplex followed by a deadlift German Suplex. Leyla went for a submission on the arm, but Velvet got to the bottom rope to break the hold. Leyla missed a kick, so Velvet kicked her off the apron to the floor. They had some obvious fake crowd noise since the fans were quiet. Velvet used the ropes to knock Velvet down. Leyla grabbed a wrench from under the ring, Kris Statlander showed up to stop her and Velvet pulled Leyla off the ropes. Velvet hit a corkscrew kick (Trouble in Paradise) for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Red Velvet
Analysis: *3/4 It was just a decent match. The crowd seemed dead for most of it and then they reacted when Statlander showed up to prevent Leyla from cheating. I don’t think the fans cared much about Velvet as a face.
Velvet celebrated with Statlander while Excalibur tried to tell us that Statlander looked totally different with less face paint on. Not really, but he tried anyway.
QT Marshall and Aaron Solo were backstage with Marshall saying he was proud of what he did to Hook. Marshall said that next week he’ll invite Hook to the ring to present a “certificate of accomplishment.” Thrilling.
House of Black made their entrance in the dark as usual.
House of Black (Malakai Black, Buddy Matthews & Brody King) vs. Fuego Del Sol, Bear Bronson & Bear Boulder
Jericho: “What’s Fuego del Sol going to do against these guys? Idiot!” Good commentary. Black was dominant with strikes against Bronson, Fuego and then a knee to knock Boulder out of the ring. Black with an armdrag on Bronson. Buddy tagged in with a double foot stomp on Bronson’s left arm. King tagged in with a running senton, Fuego got the tag and King clotheslined Bronson out of the ring. Fuego jumped off the top and King decked him with a forearm. Boulder tried to face off against three guys, then King, Murphy and Black each kicked Boulder. Buddy with a knee and Brody hit a running clothesline. Fuego jumped off the top with a missile dropkick, then an enziguri kick on Black, but then Buddy hit a jumping knee. King hit a suicide dive and Black hit a moonsault while Buddy hit an Olympic Slam style move on Fuego for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: House of Black (Malakai Black, Buddy Matthews & Brody King)
Analysis: *1/4 A squash match for the pushed team beating the guys that are not regularly on TV. They had some cool moves that made it enjoyable at least.
Penta and Alex Abrahantes did a promo with Penta speaking in Spanish, so Alex translated it with Penta thanking House of Black for changing them. Alex translated it saying that the Death Triangle is inevitable.
Keith Lee and Max Caster with Anthony Bowens were interviewed by Mark Henry for the main event. Max said he’s a big guy that isn’t afraid to back it up. They ripped on Keith’s voice while claiming that everyone loves The Acclaimed. Lee said he is a fan of them and he appreciates what they bring to the company. Lee told them to prepare themselves because, at the end of day, The Acclaimed are just a stepping stone and told him to “bask in my glory.” Henry did his “it’s time for the main event” line.
This Wednesday on AEW Dynamite:
* Sting, Darby Allin & The Hardys vs. Private Party, The Butcher & The Blade.
* MJF speaks.
* Chris Jericho & Daniel Garcia vs. John Silver & Alex Reynolds.
Keith Lee made his entrance for the main event. Good reaction for Lee in his home state of Texas. Max Caster of The Acclaimed made his entrance with Anthony Bowens. Caster did a rap with a Ted Cruz snowstorm joke, then told Keith he was wearing their colors and even a Razor Ramon reference in there.
Max Caster (w/Anthony Bowens) vs. Keith Lee
Lee got a hold of Caster’s hand, then Caster broke free and hit a dropkick. Lee knocked Caster down on a shoulder tackle. Caster with a boot to the face, Lee came back with a leapfrog and Caster held onto the ropes to avoid a move. Lee got a hold of Caster leading to an over-the-shoulder slam. Powerhouse Hobbs appeared on the stage to have a look at Lee, who has become his rival. They went to a picture-in-picture commercial spot.
Caster managed to take control during the break leading to Bowens choking Lee across the bottom rope. Caster with some forearm strikes across the head. Caster with a hard chop, Lee bounced off the ropes and did a running shoulder tackle to knock Caster down. Lee got a hold of Caster leading to a big toss across the ring. Caster got some kicks in to stagger Lee a bit, but then Caster tried a lift and that was a big mistake. Lee with elbows, a headbutt and a double overhand chop to the chest. Lee hit the powerslam off the shoulders for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Keith Lee
Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average match. I would have preferred a five-minute dominant win for Lee. They went ten minutes to try to stretch it out a bit while also doing a picture in picture commercial spot. I’d rather see Lee look impressive by winning in less time. It’s not like anybody thought Caster was going to win.
Post match, Powerhouse Hobbs went down to ringside to face off with Lee. They exchanged punches while Ricky Starks went down to ringside to help his buddy Hobbs. Max Caster hit Lee with the boombox a few times. Bowens went into the ring to join the 4 on 1 attack. Swerve Strickland ran out to the ring with a steel chair and the heels escaped. Swerve had a staredown with Starks.
Analysis: It sets up an obvious tag team match while Swerve is also looking for a match with Starks in the future.
Swerve went over to Lee and they shook hands. They stood together in the ring as the fans cheered. Jericho: “That’s entertainment.” That was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Darby Allin
- Keith Lee
- The Butcher
This Week: 6 out of 10
Last Week: 6
It’s just an average show. There’s not a lot of star power. I realize it aired later than usual on TNT due to college basketball. Perhaps that is why they didn’t book anything that interesting.
The opener was good even with a surprising countout finish. Darby Allin works well with bigger opponents like The Butcher. Keith Lee was impressive in the main event as usual.
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