It’s Friday night, and you know what that means. Another match in the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament on AEW Rampage. Former tag partners Red Velvet and Kris Statlander clashed in a quarterfinal matches this week. The winner to go on and face Ruby Soho in the next round.
Surprisingly there was some build to this match. The focus was on the two women’s history as tag team partners, their dissolution, and the persona changes that the breakup brought about.
It’s a clever plot device. While the allusion to a former partnership isn’t anything groundbreaking, nor is it that difficult. It adds a neat little nuance that provides context and depth where there otherwise wouldn’t have been any.
Ruby Soho on commentary added yet another wrinkle. Having already advanced to the tournament’s semi-finals, Soho was on commentary to scout her potential upcoming opponents.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 20, 2022
This match was a lot of fun. Both Statlander and Velvet gelled well with their natural size difference-making for a fun and well-executed dynamic.
The two played into the little and large dynamic. Statlander dominated in the early going with an array of impressive power moves. The highlight of the entire match was a one-handed gorilla press slam with a free ticket to the gun show—the priceless reaction of Ruby Soho on commentary punctuating the feat of strength.
Naturally, with the aid of Jade and the rest of the Baddies, Velvet gained the upper hand after pulling the ring apron over Statlander as she attempted a baseball slide to the outside. Velvet used her speed and cunning to dodge most of Statlander’s big moves, even evading a Big Bang Theory attempt.
Yet, for all Velvet’s speed, it was not enough to stop Statlander. Statlander managed to steal a victory with a quick roll-up in a rather abrupt end.
But the action did not stop there. Statlander had little time to celebrate before the baddie section was on her. In the post-match beat down, Ruby Soho and Anna Jay evened the odd coming to Statlander’s aid.
Man, this match was so much fun. Little and large is a tried and tested method in wrestling. These two women fully embraced it and flung each other around like nobody’s business. Statlander looked strong and is coming into her own with this new makeover. The same is true for Velvet. She seems to work much better as a heel. The ending of the match was deliberately abrupt, done to keep both competitors looking strong. Still, I do not think it had quite the effect they would have hoped.
Not only was the match entertaining. There was a story behind it too. As I have explained previously, if the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament has been lacking anything, it has been a plot.
This match was refreshingly full of stories. There was an in-ring story being told as the larger Statlander overpowered Velvet. There was also their history. Throw in Ruby on commentary and Anna Jay, making the save in the build to her match with Jade at Double or Nothing. This match was a well put together story. Hopefully, AEW can follow through and provide stories like this every week.
Those are my thought. But what did you think of this week’s Rampage? Whom do you have to win the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament? Is Kris Statlander beating Ruby Soho? Is Anna Jay got a shot at Double or Nothing? Let us know what you think. We love hearing from you.