It’s Friday night, and you know what that means. It’s Rampage time! The Owen Hart Foundation Tournament continues to heat up with Ruby Soho facing off against former AEW Women’s Champion Riho.
Last week we saw Riho triumph in a hard-fought battle against Yuka Sakazaki. One week later, she is back on Rampage, ready to punch her ticket to the semi-finals.
The match starts respectfully with a handshake. There is the usual 50/50 back and forth you get with a face vs. face match, as the two women lock up for a chain wrestling exchange.
The focal point of the match is Ruby’s knee; after she tweaks it coming off the top rope. The brief moment was all Riho needed to regain the upper hand.
The pace was fast but not as smooth as you would expect from two veterans like Ruby and Riho. Yet they managed to keep ahold of the crowd.
As always, Riho shone with her amazing Joshi move set. She ran through her impressive arsenal of moves, hitting her signature snap dragon suplex and a beautiful crucifix bomb.
However, Soho managed to regain momentum. In a quick flurry of moves, Soho finally hit the Bladerunner to get the three. Heading into the semi-finals, Ruby is now on a collision course with the winner of Red Velvet vs. Kris Statlander.
It was a decent match that was hindered by a lack of time—a likely downside to the one-hour time constraint of Rampage. The pace was fast but too fast to let tension build and the match breathe. I would have liked to see a little more time given to the match to allow the two women to really flesh out a story. While the match lacked the physical impact of Riho’s last Rampage appearance, overall, it was good.
The Pluses and Minuses of the Owen Hart Tournament
Since kicking off a few weeks ago, the Owen Hart Foundation tournament has shown how far AEW’s women’s divisions have come. A year ago, a tournament like this would have been near impossible. In fact, a year ago, there was a Woman’s championship tournament. One that saw AEW pull in a host of Japanese talent to help fill out the numbers. With a deeper roster, including a crop of up-and-coming talent, the Owen Hart Tournament shows that AEW has finally begun to invest in its women’s division.
Whether these investments are utilized correctly or ultimately payoff is yet to be seen. Nevertheless, AEW’s women’s division has a much more solid foundation than a year ago.
Yet if this tournament lacks one thing, it is storytelling. While there is a running feud between Toni Storm and Britt Baker, the rest of the contest seems to be lacking in any story.
This lack of plot is a common issue with tournaments. Plot and storytelling are neglected to make the tournament feel as authentic as possible. Usually, AEW does a decent job with this sort of storytelling. The TBS Title tournament hit story beats involving almost all of its participants. But The Owen fails to have that throughline that all good tournaments should.
Those are my thoughts, but what do you think? Do you like the tournament so far? Whom do you have pegged to win? Let us know what you think. We love hearing from you.