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Rampage recap & reactions: Sting & Dustin Rhodes promos steal show

AEW Rampage (Feb. 10, 2023) emanated from El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, TX. The broadcast featured Sting and Dustin Rhodes stealing the show with their promos, Orange Cassidy defending the AEW All-Atlantic Championship, and much more.

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

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

Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, & Wheeler Yuta vs. Kip Sabian, Butcher, & Blade

Penelope Ford was ringside for the occasional distraction. Blackpool Combat Club controlled the flow. The bad guys used sneaky teamwork behind the referee’s back to isolate Moxley. Mox countered Sabian for a super powerbomb. Hot tag to Claudio leading to the big swing. The match broke down into chaos. BCC rallied in the end. Yuta took out Butcher with a flying crossbody on the outside. Moxley saved Claudio to counter a flying Sabian with a cutter. Claudio finished Blade with a pop-up uppercut.

Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, & Wheeler Yuta defeated Kip Sabian, Butcher, & Blade.

Darby Allin learned that sometimes you have to let things go. Samoa Joe beat him, so he will honor his word. Allin won’t chase after the TNT Championship while in Joe’s possession. Allin appreciated Ortiz having his back, so he will return the favor whenever needed. As for Sting, the Icon wants to go out in a blaze of glory with Allin. BLAZE OF GLORY!

Adam Cole teased that he has a few ideas for opponents in his return match, but he wouldn’t give any hints.

Ricky Starks is tired of Chris Jericho’s sneak attacks. Now, it won’t be about beating Jericho again. Starks wants to humiliate Le Champion. He will start by mowing through JAS. Daniel Garcia is up first next week. There is a reason why Starks is Absolute, and JAS will find that out the hard way.

Impractical Jokers still had Jericho’s baseball bat. Jericho let his JAS friends retrieve the thieved bat. The JASholes surrounded the Impractical Jokers for a beatdown. Jake Hager powerbombed one joker onto the other joker through a table.

Dustin Rhodes was interviewed by Lexy Nair inside a dirty warehouse. Swerve Strickland crossed the line with disrespect for Dusty and Cody. Dustin is one of the last of his kind. He won’t tolerate Swerve’s insults toward his family. Dustin is coming for Swerve’s blood. The Mogul Affiliates goons appeared, and a fight broke out. The numbers were too much for The Natural to handle. Swerve stood over Dustin declaring they can have a match next week.

Ruby Soho vs. Marina Shafir

Vickie Guerrero was ringside. Shafir had the edge in technical skill, however, Soho showed no quit in her feisty spirit. Soho cracked headbutts to wobble Shafir. She caught Shafir’s kick to land a jumping knee to the jaw. Soho finished with Destination Unknown.

Ruby Soho defeated Marina Shafir.

Saraya and Toni Storm came out after the match to chat with Soho. Dr. Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter ran through the crowd to attack Saraya and Storm. Soho was in the ring shaking her head at the brawl.

Mark Briscoe will be in action next week. His interview was interrupted by Mark Sterling passing over a business card for his professional services. Briscoe wasn’t interested, so Sterling repeated himself in a condescending manner. Smart Mark wasn’t so smart when calling Briscoe a stupid chicken farmer. Luckily for him, backup arrived in the form of Tony Nese, Ari Daivari, and Josh Woods. Woods stepped up to Briscoe, and a singles bout was announced.

Jungle Boy vs. Ryan Nemeth

Jungle Boy scored aggressive offense, but Nemeth got him for a DDT. JD rebounded for Sliced Bread and smashed a running elbow to the back of the head for victory.

Jungle Boy defeated Ryan Nemeth.

Brian Cage and Prince Nana arrived on stage after the match with the insinuation of a challenge for Jungle Boy. Boy versus Machine was announced for next week.

Ortiz realized that he messed up by letting his emotions out of check toward Eddie Kingston. But Kingston also messed up by being a martyr for the House of Black. Ortiz will stand by Kingston to see this through. If the only way for Kingston to realize that is a fight, then Ortiz will do that too.

Hype package for the main event. Lee Moriarty planned to unleash his inner beast for Taiga Style to win the All-Atlantic title from Orange Cassidy. Mark Henry closed with his signature line, “It’s time for the main event!”

Hangman Page anxiously paced back and forth in his interview with Renee Paquette. He isn’t satisfied with how the trilogy ended against Jon Moxley. The sneaky pin by Mox was a cheap way to win after all that slobberknocking fisticuffs. Hangman’s ire turned toward Renee to question why Mox’s wife is the one doing these interviews. Enter Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford. Sabian chastised Hangman for moaning about the loss. Grow up, and take it like a man. Hangman lunged toward Sabian but backed off and exited. Hangman versus Sabian was announced for next week.

AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Lee Moriarty

Danhausen and Stokely Hathaway were ringside. Danhausen tried to curse Big Stoke with a groin punch, but Hathaway blocked it with his cast.

Moriarty worked the arm, and that paid dividends as Cassidy was visibly slow to pull the trigger on certain moves. Down the stretch, Cassidy leaped for the superman punch, but Moriarty countered for a hammerlock lariat. Cassidy popped back up for a Beach Break. Moriarty kicked out at 2. Cassidy wasted no time in connecting on the superman punch, however, he was too slow on the cover. Moriarty was able to recover for a counter into the Border City Stretch. Cassidy inched toward the ropes for the break, so Moriarty pushed off with his feet back to the center of the ring. That motion allowed Cassidy to create space for a roll-up to win.

Orange Cassidy defeated Lee Moriarty.

Satnam Singh stood on stage as a distraction for Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett to attack with the Golden Globe on Cassidy and Danhausen. Best Friends tried to make the save, but they met the same fate. The Acclaimed and Bully Gunn ran in as allies to chase away the bad guys. Lethal, Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, & Singh versus Cassidy, The Acclaimed, & Daddy Ass was announced for next week.

Grade: B

None of the matches demand your attention as must-see, but you were probably entertained if you did tune in. I know I was. The action was energetic all show long. This episode of Rampage thrived in the promo game and storyline bits. If there are two things you do check out from the show, I’d point to the promos from Sting and Dustin Rhodes.

Sting’s enthusiasm has me pumped for the end of his journey. Darby Allin has no limits. To tell a man like Allin that they will be going out in a blaze of glory, it has to be a wild plan. Think of all the craziness Sting has already done in AEW. I don’t have any clue what Sting has planed for his potential retirement from the ring, but I sure want to watch it unfold.

Dustin Rhodes hooked me with his charismatic passion. This is another veteran whose days are winding down, and he has me fully invested in whatever time is left for his in-ring career. The beatdown from Mogul Affiliates was a little soft from men that large. They need to lay it in rougher if they want to strike terror through the screen. I don’t expect Dustin to beat Swerve Strickland, but I sure to expect him to let Swerve know he messed with the wrong man. Let there be blood spilled from the hands of The Natural.

The Blackpool Combat Club was on point. They had a cool finish in victory with smooth teamwork watching each other’s backs. Claudio Castagnoli was the standout for me with nifty hoss moves. Not to mention the hoss showdown between Claudio and Butcher. Give me more of that, please. Before the promo from Hangman Page, I was ready to urge BCC to go after the Elite’s trios titles. That would be a heck of a showdown.

Speaking of Hangman, he looked like a jamoke on this evening. I understand the loss to Moxley eating at him, however, pacing back and forth a week later was weird. Kip Sabian’s critiques were right. It’s like they tried to make Sabian the bad guy, but Hangman came off like the jerk, especially when grilling Renee Paquette. He does have a point, and there should be a journalistic conflict of interest enforced. Hangman doesn’t need to be rude about it though when Renee gave no cause for attitude.

I’ve never seen Impractical Jokers, so I had no attachment to care about these fellows. Their ‘prank’ to steal Chris Jericho’s bat was neither funny nor creative. I did laugh at JAS serving the receipt in the form of a beatdown. Credit to the Jokers for taking the table bump in the name of entertainment.

Quick thoughts on the rest of the show. Lee Moriarty shined by putting the style in Taiga Style with his cocky personality. He wrestled so strong that it would have felt right if the title changed hands unexpectedly. Ruby Soho and Marina Shafir had a solid bout in a clash of styles. The post-match women’s story is still running high on intrigue. It’s always pleasant seeing Mark Briscoe’s wide grin. Mark Sterling served up heel heat for the babyface to shine next week. Ortiz was honorable in admitting his mistakes. If only Eddie Kingston could do the same. His character is often blaming others for his shortcomings. There were a lot pieces on this Rampage program, and I like how it all worked to efficiently set up future directions short-term and long-term.

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

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