AEW Rampage Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Debut Episode
After months of hype and buildup, AEW Rampage finally debuted Friday night on TNT.
Tony Khan has promised this show will carry the same level of quality as the company's flagship show, Dynamite. That means Dark and Dark: Elevation will continue to focus on developing talent.
The card was stacked with three title matches, one of which was for a different promotion. Kenny Omega defended the Impact Championship against a man who helped put Impact on the map during its days as TNA, Christian Cage.
Miro put the TNT Championship on the line in a match against the high-flying Fuego Del Sol, and Britt Baker defended the AEW women's title against Red Velvet.
Let's take a look at everything that went down on the debut episode of AEW Rampage.
Kenny Omega vs. Christian Cage (Impact Championship)
Mark Henry, Chris Jericho, Taz and Excalibur served as the commentators for the debut episode of Rampage. They ran us through the card before Christian came out for his Impact title match against Omega.
Captain Charisma gained the upper hand first and taunted The Cleaner with a middle finger. An irate Omega went after him with elbow shots to the back of the neck. Both men tried and failed to hit their finishers.
Christian countered a superplex with a sunset flip powerbomb when we returned from a commercial break. Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander watched from the crowd as Cage continued to dominate Omega.
Omega nailed a V-Trigger but only kept Christian down for a two-count. They went back and forth with signature moves and counters for quite some time.
The Young Bucks and Don Callis tried to interfere, but Christian turned the tables and hit his finisher on top of a steel chair to get the win and take the Impact Championship from Omega.
Omega is well regarded for his in-ring ability, and Christian is one of the most reliable performers working today, so they had a lot of pressure on them. Thankfully, they were up to the challenge.
They used a steady pace during the first half of the fight. They worked quickly, but it never felt rushed. They gave the right spots time to breathe and knew when to ramp things up again.
The finish was actually somewhat surprising, which is always welcome in a big title bout. Christian holding the Impact title again in 2021 is wild.
Miro vs. Fuego Del Sol (TNT Championship)
The second of three title matches scheduled for the show featured Fuego Del Sol challenging Miro for the TNT Championship. Fuego was also fighting for a full-time contract with AEW, according to the announcers.
Fuego attacked Miro immediately and sent him out of the ring for what almost ended up being a countout. Three consecutive tornado DDTs couldn't keep The Redeemer down.
Miro caught Fuego flying from the top rope and dropped him on the mat. He set up for a big kick to the head before applying his signature submission for the win.
After the match was over, Tony Khan and Sammy Guevara came out and presented Fuego with an AEW contract.
The added stipulation of Fuego earning a contract with AEW if he won seemed a bit out of place, but it also gave his character extra motivation.
This match was very quick. It lasted less than five minutes, but they managed to pack a lot into that time and told a decent story while they were at it.
Miro is fantastic as a brutal champion who takes no prisoners. If he continues along this path, he will eventually find his way to the world title.
The moment with Fuego getting his contract was a nice feel-good segment for the debut show.
Britt Baker vs. Red Velvet (AEW Women's Championship)
Henry interviewed Velvet and Baker in a quick backstage segment before the match officially started. They talked the usual trash to each other as you would expect.
They locked up as loud D.M.D. chants came from the Brittsburgh audience rang through the arena. Velvet took control and began a sequence of counters and holds with the champ.
Baker's injured wrist became a target for Velvet. Every time Baker tried to take control, Velvet seemed to have a way to counter. The crowd was heavily behind the hometown hero, so Velvet was getting a lot of jeers.
Baker's injured arm prevented her from applying the Lockjaw at one point. The ref ejected Rebel from ringside right as Velvet drilled Baker with a superkick.
Baker kicked out of a moonsault and reversed a suplex, but Velvet broke out of the Lockjaw again. Baker used her good arm to apply the hold and get the win.
Kris Statlander prevented Baker from Stomping Velvet into the title belt, but Jamie Hayter returned to AEW and helped Baker take them out.
This match was even bigger for Red Velvet than the tag bout with Cody against Shaq and Jade Cargill. AEW put her in the main event of its debut episode of Rampage in a title match. That's a lot of trust for a company to put in a young performer.
AEW knew Baker would be the hometown favorite, so it planned out this match to give her comeback spots to get the crowd excited. It was a smart call to have her tone down her heel tactics.
Velvet continues to look more confident in the ring with each match, and this was easily her best performance to date. She didn't come across as a newcomer. She looked like a real contender.
This was a solid main event and a great way to end the first episode of Rampage.