AEW Rampage (Mar. 17, 2023) emanated from Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg, MB. The St. Patrick’s Day Slam episode featured Will Hobbs defending the TNT Championship against Fenix in a barn burner, Taya Valkyrie making her AEW in-ring debut, Chris Jericho reaching into his bag of tricks to help Daniel Garcia score an upset victory, and more.
Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show followed by reactions.
Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Paul Wight were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.
TNT Championship: Will Hobbs (c) vs. Fenix
QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, and Alex Abrahantes were ringside. Power versus speed matchup. Fenix was slick with kicks and flying attacks, but Hobbs would muscle up to smash the luchador with shoulder tackles and spinebusters.
Fenix had the move of the match flipping over Hobbs to execute a German suplex. It was a shocker to see Fenix with a power move against this particular opponent.
Fenix had momentum for a rolling cutter, a rope-walking punt, and a frog splash, but he couldn’t keep Hobbs down for the three-count. Hobbs went back to his bread and butter catching Fenix for a spinebuster. The champ finished with a torture rack slam for victory. Afterward, QT hit a cheap cutter on Abrahantes.
Will Hobbs defeated Fenix.
Adam Cole returns to the ring on the March 29 episode of Dynamite. He’s looking for an opponent to push him, so he can show the world how damn good he is.
Stu Grayson wasn’t sure what to say when asked if he was back in AEW. After the Blackpool Combat Club put Evil Uno in the hospital with a concussion, he knows the answer. Stu confirmed that he is back. Grayson wants revenge on Jon Moxley in a match next week.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Ava Lawless
Taya made her in-ring debut for AEW. The match was a squash with Taya working the crowd. A spear and Road to Valhalla sealed the deal. Afterward, Jade Cargill, Leila Grey, and Mark Sterling were on stage plotting something.
Taya Valkyrie defeated Ava Lawless.
Stokely Hathaway was coached by Matt Hardy, Isiah Kassidy, and Ethan Page for his No DQ match against Hook next week. Training montage! Well, sort of. Hathaway ate cookies and worked on the tickle escape from the Redrum submission.
Bollywood Boyz vs. Daddy Magic & Cool Hand
JAS worked tag team isolation tactics, then they withstood the hot tag rally to win via elevated double DDT.
Daddy Magic & Cool Hand defeated Bollywood Boyz.
Don Callis had a welcome party for Konosuke Takeshita to court the Japanese phenom. Takeshita was honored but a little hesitant when Callis hugged him.
Kenny Omega versus Hijo del Vikingo was booked for Dynamite as an international dream match. Excalibur did the voice-over of the highlight package introducing Vikingo.
Hype package for the main event. After the trios title bout on Dynamite, House of Black and JAS went to war. Brody King and Daniel Garcia were ready to continue the fighting. Mark Henry appeared on screen for his signature line, “It’s time for the main event!”
The Gunns arrived at the hotel after Dynamite. They tossed their bags at Top Flight, who the Gunns thought were valets. Trash talk picked up about who was the best brother tag team in AEW. Top Flight finessed their way into a title shot for next week.
Brody King vs. Daniel Garcia
Julia Hart and Chris Jericho were ringside. Garcia opened with stalling tactics and sports entertainment mind games. King got frustrated and gave chase. Garcia tried to seduce Hart with a little dance, and that allowed time for King to nab him. The monster took control to brawl on the outside and crush a running cannonball against the barricade.
Garcia relied on his wits for a drop toehold into the ring steps. He turned up the heat with strikes then paused for amusing sports entertainer theatrics. Garcia paid the price for his lack of focus by running into a Boss Man Slam. King followed up with a piledriver, but Garcia kicked out on the covers.
Garcia went low again attacking the leg to take the big man down. Drama increased with a Walls of Jericho submission. King was able to crawl to the ropes, however, Garcia was slow on the break. Referee Bryce Remsburg intervened to admonish Garcia. That’s when Jericho took advantage to smash King in the head with the baseball bat. Garcia slapped on a submission. King was already out cold, so it just a matter of the referee checking vitals to finish the match. King did not wake up, and Garcia was granted the victory.
Daniel Garcia defeated Brody King.
This episode of Rampage was a good rebound from last week. The opener was a fun clash of styles, and the main event had a surprising result. The middle of the show was take it or leave it, even though, it had purpose.
Will Hobbs and Fenix put on an enjoyable match. Hobbs was impressive with explosive power, and Fenix took his lumps taking eye-popping bumps. If you are a fan of either wrestler, then this is a match worth seeking out. It starts a little plodding with Hobbs pounding control, but the pace picks up with cool creativity for certain sequences. Applause to AEW for giving Hobbs a clean win. These are the kinds of strong victories over top competition that establish him as a genuine champion. Most importantly, it was the type of performance that makes me eager to see more Hobbs.
Wow, I am shocked that Daniel Garcia beat Brody King. That’s an interesting start for this feud between JAS and House of Black. King was presented as a monster, and it took a baseball bat to the noggin to keep him down. On one hand, I don’t want to see King take a loss. On the other hand, there is no real damage done to his aura. King is not in the world title picture, so he can afford a setback at this moment in time. It also helps make JAS a more serious threat to believe they can win the war over House of Black. As for Garcia, it looks like he’s having a blast embracing the sports entertainment teachings. This is a much needed reboot for him after the wishy-washy soap opera story. Garcia is gaining experience working the crowd, and he can always flip the switch back to technical killer when the time comes.
I don’t have much of a reaction for Taya Valkyrie’s AEW in-ring debut. I’ve seen a bunch of her matches over the years, so this squash wasn’t all that entertaining for me personally. I’d like to think it was effective for new viewers of Taya. The bigger takeaway might be Mark Sterling. He’s probably working on legal paperwork to ban Taya from using the Road to Valhalla finisher, since it is the same move as Jade Cargill’s Jaded.
Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?
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