Rampage recap & reactions: Firm Deletion cinematic match

AEW Rampage (May 5, 2023) emanated from CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD and the Hardy Compound in the Broken Universe. The Friday afternoon episode featured the Firm Deletion cinematic match, the Lucha Bros & Hijo Del Vikingo rocking on QTV, Mark Briscoe shining as a babyface, and more.

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

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

Fenix, Pentagon, & Hijo del Vikingo vs. QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, & Will Hobbs

Vikingo did Vikingo things, such as an imploding rana and an outside-in phoenix splash.

The match progressed into wild moves all around leaving everybody down.

Down the stretch, Vikingo hit a destroyer to QT on the apron. Harley Cameron pulled QT off a table to prevent further harm. The Lucha Bros finished Solo with a flying butt stomp package piledriver. Hobbs was too busy choking Alex Abrahantes on the outside to make the save.

Fenix, Pentagon, & Hijo del Vikingo defeated QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, & Will Hobbs.

MJF was irate backstage after the Four Pillars tag bout from Dynamite. He punched a random staffer, flipped tables, and shouted obscenities.

Chris Jericho refused to leave his locker room due to Adam Cole’s unprovoked attack. He apologized to the fans for not performing his commentator duties. Jericho demanded assurances that Cole will not be in the building next week.

Taya Valkyrie has been suspended for putting hands on referee Aubrey Edwards.

Jade Cargill vs. Gia Scott

Mark Sterling and Leila Grey were ringside. 20-minute time limit, but Jade only needed less than sixty seconds for a Jaded squash. The TBS champ is now 57-0.

Jade Cargill defeated Gia Scott.

Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett pestered Mark Briscoe about coercing FTR to accept the tag title challenge. Briscoe didn’t want any part of it, but he has never known FTR to back down from a fight.

Mark Briscoe vs. Preston Vance

Jose The Assistant was ringside. Briscoe started strong with a blockbuster on the floor. Briscoe set up Vance on a chair for a twisting senton, Vance moved, and Briscoe landed on the steel seat. Perro Peligroso aggressively took control to smash Briscoe from pillar to post. The match continued as a back and forth slugfest. Vance made the mistake of taunting Jay Briscoe’s memory by shouting, “Reach for the sky,” as he went for a Jay Driller. Briscoe escaped for a fiery rally. He connected on a step-up cannonball to the outside, then he punched Jose. Briscoe ducked a discus lariat to counter with the Jay Driller for victory. Chick celebrated with his family in the ring.

Mark Briscoe defeated Preston Vance.

Dustin Rhodes discussed AEW coming to Austin, TX in two weeks. Anything can happen in his backyard. Boom! Brian Cage attacked. Swerve Strickland implied a tag match for that show. Keith Lee strolled into scene, and the Mogul Embassy fled.

Anna Jay and Julia Hart had a mashup promo video to hype No Holds Barred next week. Julia used to be such good friends with Anna Banana, but Anna hates who Julia has become.

Orange Cassidy will defend the AEW International Championship against Daniel Garcia on Dynamite. Garcia plans to exploit OC’s injuries. Cassidy isn’t concerned. He’s been fighting hurt and still finds ways to win.

The Firm Deletion

Ethan Page, Big Bill Morrissey, Lee Moriarty, and Stokely Hathway traveled to the Hardy Compound for a fight against Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Isiah Kassidy, and Hook. Lexy Nair and referees were on site to make it official.

The Firm were greeted by Vanguard 1 with a message from Matt about manipulating time and space. Day was turned into night, and the Hardy Party greeted the Firm with a fireworks fight. Hook was chilling eating chips before getting involved. The action turned into a melee in the forest.

Skipping ahead over various hijinks, Stokely Hathaway was taken down by Reby Sky on a Twist of Fate. Maxel Hardy landed a swanton to delete Big Stoke.

Outside, the Firm poured gasoline on the Hardys and Hook. Zay made the save with a swanton off the barn roof.

Hook slammed Moriarty through a table, and Kassidy hit a leg drop to Bill through a table. The Hardy Party brought Page into the ring to take turns pummeling All Ego. Matt ended his misery with a Twist of Fate, and Jeff followed with a swanton. Matt pinned Page for victory.

The Firm is deleted.

The extended cut of the Firm Deletion is available on Bleacher Report.

Grade: B+

This episode of Rampage was a lot of fun. Two of the standard matches were a blast, and the Firm Deletion was a hoot. Plenty of entertainment to be had. The brief promos were engaging for future hype. The show overall had that AEW party spirit.

The Firm Deletion won’t be for everybody, but I do suggest checking it out anyway. It felt more like a Falls Count Anywhere match rather than a weird art project. I personally enjoyed the wackiness. There were a lot of little moments that earned a chuckle. The Hardy children were the show-stealers with their torment of Stokely Hathaway. I don’t think there are any takeaways from the match other than the feud being deleted.

The opening trios was high-octane entertainment. The Lucha Bros and Hijo del Vikingo worked their luchador magic, Will Hobbs powerhoused to satisfaction, and even QT Marshall was enjoyable with his smug flips.

Mark Briscoe and Preston Vance had a sneaky good match as a pleasant surprise. Vance has been impressive lately (in ROH) embracing Los Ingobernables aggression. I wanted to see him take a step up in competition, and that’s we got. Vance looked like he belonged. Perro Peligroso is winning me over with his work. The rudo attitude was a great counterpart for Briscoe to shine as a beloved babyface. The taunt toward Jay Briscoe was the perfect “F—k this guy” move to root intensely for Mark.

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


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