It’s Friday night, and you know what that means? No, not to see the Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.3, although that would be a better cinematic experience than what will come up in the main event. But we will have AEW Rampage on its special time (Thanks, NBA and NHL Playoffs), and not only is there trios action, but we will head to the Hardy Compound for a Firm Deletion match.

We come to you (taped) from the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD. Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Jim Ross have the call with an exciting First Match of the night between…

Courtesy of AEW

The Lucha Bros & El Hijo Del Vikingo (with Alex Abrahantes)vs. Powerhouse Hobbs, QT Marshall & Aaron Solow (with Harley Cameron)

This match is hot right out of the gate as Vikingo out moves Marshall.  He tries to one-up the AAA Mega Campeon, just not as well as Vikingop nails an amazing implosion huracanrana in the corner, followed by springboard corkscrew Phoenix splash for a two count.  

Now Fenix and Solow enter the ring and chop away at each other, but he spin kicks the QTV member and attempts a knee bar, but he scurries to his corner to tag in Hobbs.  Now Penta joins the fun and shows Hobbs he has (wait for it…)Cero Miedo, but Hobbs has power on his side.  Then all the luchadors go after the big man to no avail, and QTV works over all three men over on the outside of the ring.

During Picture in Picture, QT brings out the tables and sets them up by ringside, and Solow stomps Penta in the corner while TikToking it on his phone.  Penta is en Peligro but fights his way out and now all three luchadors go for a triple tope con hilo to QTV on the outside.

Solow is nailed by Vikingo with a shooting star, and then the Lucha Bros follow up with a combo CodeRed/front splash to cover and Hobbs and company break the count.  Vikingo catches Solow’s crossbody and reverses to a spinning uranage, but Marshall comes from behind and hits his power bomb to cover, but Penta with a Mexican Destroyer.  All six men go for live rounds and are sprawled all over the ring amidst the chaos.  Solow gets Fenix for a suplex but escapes and kicks out. He tags in Vikingo and Marshall forearms him from behind before blindsiding the Lucha Bro.  Vikingo recovers and nails Marshall with a leaping Mexican Destroyer on the apron edge and he rolls onto the table. Vikingo preps to crash on him, but Cameron pulls Marshall off at the last second.  Hobbs choke slams Abrahantes on the outside, but the Lucha Bros deliver Fear Factory on Solow.  Hobbs and Marshall try to rush back in the ring but the table they set up blocks their entry and the ref counts the pin and the win.

Your Winner via Pinfall:  The Lucha Bros and Hijo del Vikingo

Apparently, MJF had a meltdown after the main event on AEW Dynamite, as Jack Perry and Darby Allin secured the win to make the Double or Nothing PPV a Fatal Four-Way match for the AEW Heavyweight Championship.

Awww, MJF!  Poor Bubbe.

Lexy Nair is outside Chris Jericho’s dressing room (which looks conspicuously like a broom closet, but that could be me), and he apologizes to the fans for not being on Rampage for commentary. Because of the attack by Adam Cole, he wants to make sure that he will be protected to avoid future incidents in the future.

Now for a match that screams Haiku in Review™…

Jade Cargill ( with Leila Gray) vs. Gia Scott


Cargill makes short work.

Women’s Answer to Goldberg

Delivers Jaded.

Your Winner via Pinfall:  Jade Cargill

Moving along, Lexy Nair is backstage with Mark Briscoe about his thoughts on Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett challenging FTR for the AEW Tag Titles.  Before he can speak, Jeff Jarrett and company come out and ask Briscoe to talk to Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood to “do the right thing” for their championship match.  Briscoe politely says, “Y’all are buggin’.  I’ve got a match.”

Until then, it’s time to Man Up for the next match between…

Courtesy of AEW

Mark Briscoe vs. Preston Vance (with Jose the Assistant)

The camera pans to ringside, as Briscoe’s family made the trip up from Sandy Fork, DE to cheer him on, along with handmade signs of support.  Early on, Vance is no match for his brand of Redneck Kung Fu, as he goes out of the ring and tears one of Briscoe’s kids’ sign in frustration.  Briscoe comes out and nails him with a boot and follows with a blockbuster from the ring apron, and then chops away on the outside.  Now he grabs a steel chair and sits Vance on it.  Briscoe climbs up to the top turnbuckle and attempts a corkscrew senton.  Vance moves and Briscoe painfully has his back come down on the edge of the chair.

Vance takes over and throws him hard into the barricades to further aggravate his injury, and during Picture in Picture, Vance is laying a beatdown on Dem Boy, as he launches him across the ring with a fallaway slam. Vance keeps Briscoe grounded, even though he tries to Man Up with help from the fans cheering him on.  Vance locks in a Full Nelson, but Briscoe upends for a pin to make him break the submission hold.  Now he gets a boot to Vance and begins to chop away, and Briscoe follows up with an implant flatliner for a count of two.   He reaches for the sky in acknowledgment of Jay Briscoe and attempts the Jay Driller, but gets blocked and Vance nails a clothesline that turns him inside out.  Vance grabs a chair to use it in the ring, but the ref tells him to drop it. He then uses the ropes to slingshot spear Briscoe and covers for another two count.  Jose sends in a chair, and as the ref catches him red-handed and admonishes his behavior, Vance uses the distraction to low blow Briscoe to cover but still gets another two count.  As Vance goes to confer with his La Faccion member Jose, Briscoe sets up the chair in the ring and vaults over into a somersault senton on the outside and he gives some Red Neck Kung Fu to Jose.  He nails the Running boot and goes for his brother’s finisher, but Vance gets away again, but Briscoe now delivers the Jay Driller and that ends it for the three count.

Your Winner via Pinfall:  Mark Briscoe.

After the match, Briscoe’s kids and his mom and dad come out to join their dad in the ring, and they are all visibly overcome with joy.

Nair is backstage with Dustin Rhodes and she asks his thoughts on AEW being in his backyard in Austin, TX. He says it’ll be great to be in the Moody Center and notes that in AEW, anything can happen.  Right on cue, Brian Cage and Price Nana blindside him, and Strickland into camera view says the Mogul Embassy proves anything can happen.  Lee chases them off, and this feud appears far from over.

Vignette with Anna Jay being friends with the former cheerleader in Jula Hart and now she is wanting “to end the spooky bitch.”

Message received.

Before we get to the Main Event of the Night, which is the…

Courtesy of AEW

The Firm Deletion Match at the Hardy Compound:  The Firm (Big Bill, Lee Moriarty, Stokely Hathaway, Ethan Page) vs. The Hardys (Matt and Jeff Hardy), Isaiah Kassidy, and Hook

I feel this is a good time as any to offer an…

(Author’s Rant ‘n Review™: Since this is not a typical match I cover, I cannot treat this like what I usually cover.  There is no Haiku nor Squash Recipe, and nary a snark that can convey what is going on here.  So I will treat this like a movie review, and I will offer you part of what happened near the end of the show, followed by my critical review:

And now for the review…

I realize that cinematic matches are a thing these days, and when Matt Hardy employed it first in IMPACT Wrestling, it was a creative spectacle that he and “Brother Nero” Jeff offered fans.  Since then, there have been other iterations of the same type of match, from EC3 with his Create Your Narrative events to Lucha Underground and WWE trying to offer their own spin when taking Hardy from “Broken” to “Woken.”

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m not as jazzed up by these types of matches as the years have rolled on, and now I think I know why.

In my opinion, cinematic matches have the same impact these days as “found footage” horror films.  It was first employed to great effect during the Sundance Film Festival in 1999 when The Blair Witch Project came out and played fast and loose with the story of three filmmakers lost in the woods chasing down a legend of a witch in the Maryland woods before the footage was found a year later.  It was exciting because it offered genuine scares and a new way of storytelling in the horror genre.  But the films after that have lost some of the original scare, and other movies trying to capture the same zeitgeist of the “found footage”, like the Paranormal Activity series, have gone to the well once too often and now it is bone-dry.

The other thing that makes it hard to enjoy cinematic wrestling nowadays is that wrestling requires fan interaction.  Fans need to be involved to cheer or boo, as it is an interactive sport.  When that is taken away, it lacks that emotional punch that professional wrestling needs to thrive.  I applaud Hardy for starting the concept, but the execution this time around just doesn’t pan out.

Your Winners via Pinfall:  The Hardys, Isaiah Kassidy, and Hook


AEW Rampage - 05/05/2023

Final Thoughts:

The Trios match was a barnburner with Vikingo and The Lucha Bros and is a four-star match.  Briscoe’s win is good in it’s own right and that really should’ve been the Main Event.

I’ve said as little on Cargill’s win, and the actual main event is something that I hope is a Firm Deletion of cinematic matches for the foreseeable future.

For now, see you in seven.