Date: March 3, 2023
Location: Cow Palace, San Francisco, California
Commentators: Chris Jericho, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross
It’s the final show before Revolution and that means this week is live. Normally I would say a pay per view card is set two days before the show but AEW has a tendency to throw in a bunch of stuff at the last minute. This week will also see Dustin Rhodes/Keith Lee vs. Mogul Affiliates so let’s get to it.
Aussie Open vs. Claudio Castagnoli/Wheeler Yuta vs. Top Flight vs. Dark Order
The Dark Order jumps Castagnoli/Yuta in the aisle to start but Top Flight dives onto all four of them. Aussie Open drives Top Flight together as JR talks about needing to win to get a pay per view pay day. Ross: “Am I right about that?” And he is completely ignored, as that doesn’t seem to be right.
We get inside for the bell with Top Flight dropkicking Aussie Open with Davis being knocked to the floor. Reynolds comes in and hits a running elbow on Fletcher as Jericho talks about the attractiveness of Tony Schiavone’s grandmother. It’s off to Silver to take Castagnoli down and hammer away. Silver hits a running flip dive to take Davis down on the floor, runs over more people, and then gets pulled out of the air by Castagnoli.
A backbreaker gets two on Silver as we see La Faccion Ingobernable watching backstage. Castagnoli and Yuta kick Reynolds down and we take a break. Back with Reynolds flipping out of a belly to back suplex as Maria and the Kingdom are watching at ringside. Yuta comes in but gets stomped down by Reynolds, allowing a double tag off to Dante vs. Fletcher.
Dante forearms him down and hits the big running flip dive to the floor. Back in and Silver has to make a save but the Aussies superkick Dante out of the air. An assisted flip powerslam gets two with Yuta making the save. Davis blasts Fletcher by mistake though and it’s the Dark Order coming in to clean house. The Stunner into the German suplex hits Darius but Yuta comes in with the Seatbelt for the pin at 9:35.
Rating: B. This was your “here are a bunch of people doing a bunch of stuff” match of the week and it was an entertaining one. While I do think these matches tend to run together quite a bit, they worked well here and the Blackpool Combat Club’s nefarious ways continue. The Aussies still feel like they should be a bigger deal around here but maybe their infrequent appearances are slowing them down. As for Top Flight, can they please get a few wins already?
Post match Dark Order jumps Castagnoli and Yuta until things are separated.
Video on Hangman Page vs. Jon Moxley in Sunday’s Texas Death Match.
We look at the Jericho Appreciation Society beating up Ricky Stars on Dynamite.
Jungle Boy wants to end Christian Cage…and it seems like it’s going to be something like Buried Alive. That seems like quite the jump after one 30 second match, jokes about Jungle Boy’s dad or not.
Riho vs. Emi Sakura
Sakura, Riho’s mentor, kicks her in the ribs to start and pulls the crossbody out of the air. Riho is back with a snap suplex for two and a headscissors puts Sakura on the floor. Sakura is fine enough to catch a charging Riho in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Riho gets crushed against the barricade as we take a break.
Back with Riho forearming away and hitting a 619. A high crossbody gets two on Sakura but she’s back with a running crossbody in the corner for two of her own. La Majistral gives Sakura two more and her moonsault….well it hits Riho but it doesn’t seem like it was supposed to. Riho misses the top rope double stomp but spins around Sakura into a rollup for the pin at 9:30.
Rating: B-. Riho is back and seems to be getting a strong push, which could lead up to a big match, perhaps against say Jade Cargill. This win makes her 2-0 this week and that should be enough of a stepping stone to somewhere. Sakura is someone else who can wrestle a good match with anyone and she was just right for putting Riho over here.
Video on Ruby Soho vs. Saraya vs. Jamie Hayter for the Women’s Title.
Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Serpentico
Town Business finishes Serpentico at 41 seconds. As it should be.
Don Callis recruits Konosuke Takeshita, who seems intrigued.
Mark Briscoe talks about being sick of Mark Sterling. He was ready for a tag team battle royal but he couldn’t find his brother Jay, because Jay must have already been out there (well dang). But no, he’s up there with the Lord now so Mark Briscoe went after Mark Sterling on his own. Then he saw the Lucha Bros in there and here they are with their friend. The six man tag is set for Revolution.
The four teams in the four way Tag Team Title match are all ready to fight.
Video on Dustin Rhodes/Keith Lee vs. Mogul Affiliates.
Dustin Rhodes/Keith Lee vs. Mogul Affiliates
It’s a brawl to start with Lee and Boudreaux slugging it out. Boudreaux’s shots to the face just wake Lee up and it’s Dustin coming in to rain down right hands in the corner. Those are shrugged off but Boudreaux won’t tag for no logical reason. We take a break and come back Strickland throwing Dustin out of the corner and dropkicking Lee off the apron. Dustin backdrops his way out of trouble but there’s no Lee, leaving Dustin to powerslam Strickland instead.
That’s enough for the tag to Lee, who Pounces Boudreaux for the big crash. Strickland comes in and realizes he has to face Lee, leading to panic. One heck of a high angle spinebuster plants Strickland as everything breaks down. Strickland moonsaults off of Lee’s chest to take Dustin out on the floor. That leaves Lee to get Swerve Stomped for two but Dustin is back in. Lee crossbodies Boudreaux and Dustin hits a Canadian Destroyer on Strickland. Dustin gets tossed onto Boudreaux and the Big Bang Catastrophe finishes Boudreaux off at 11:03.
Rating: B-. This was about how the match should have gone, as Lee looks like a monster who is going to get his hands on Swerve at some point. I’m a bit surprised that it isn’t at Revolution, but it should make for a nice Dynamite main event in a few weeks. You also have Dustin holding things together for the incredibly inexperienced Boudreaux and it made for a nice main event.
One more Revolution rundown….doesn’t finish the show as Ricky Starks jumps Chris Jericho and brawls with him to end the show. That was a nice surprise.
Overall Rating: B+. While a lot of the matches didn’t exactly feel important (JR thinking there was a prize for the winner was really bad), this was a very easy to watch show with good stuff up and down the card. It was a mixture of different stories and kinds of matches to keep things interesting and that made for a solid Rampage. Now just get Revolution right (which they probably will) and maybe AEW can get back on track.
Claudio Castagnoli/Wheeler Yuta b. Top Flight, Dark Order and Aussie Open – Seatbelt to Darius
Riho b. Emi Sakura – Rollup
Powerhouse Hobbs b. Serpentico – Town Business
Dustin Rhodes/Keith Lee b. Swerve Strickland/Parker Boudreaux – Big Bang Catastrophe to Boudreaux
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