AEW Rampage (Apr. 22, 2022) emanated from Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The show featured Jade Cargill defending the TBS Championship, Adam Cole cheating to qualify for the Owen Hart tournament, and Hook threatening Danhausen.
Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show followed by reactions.
Excalibur, Taz, and Ricky Starks were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.
Owen Hart tournament qualifier: Adam Cole vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Orange Cassidy and Rocky Romero were ringside. The story was Cole underestimating Ishii’s ability to absorb strikes. Cole thought he had the edge on several occasions, then Ishii powered up to strike back. Ishii’s big moves were a powerslam and superplex. Cole relied on neckbreaker variations as his ace in the hole. Ishii almost scored the win on a sliding lariat, but Cole kicked out on the cover. In the end, “Switchblade” Jay White ran down to smash Romero into the ring steps. That distraction opened the window for Cole to strike Ishii with a low blow. Cole lowered the boom to win.
Adam Cole defeated Tomohiro Ishii.
Security blocked the Jericho Appreciation Society from entering the building, per the stipulation of being banned for Daniel Garcia versus Eddie Kingston. Garcia was confident that he didn’t need a backup.
Hook walked in to see Danhausen smashing chips all over the floor. Hook shoved the gremlin against the wall. “You wanted my attention? You got it now. ” Hook exited, and Danhausen was terrified.
Lance Archer Vs. Serpentine
Shawn Spears was on commentary to hype Archer against Wardlow on Dynamite. The Murderhawk Monster dominated his opponent. Blackout earned the win.
Lancer Archer defeated Serpentico.
Afterward, Archer mocked the powerbomb symphony by waving his hands for multiple chokeslams to Serpentico.
Mark Sterling will take Tony Nese straight to the top. Sterling lines them up, and Nese knocks their lights out.
Daniel Garcia Vs. Eddie Kingston
Garcia and Kingston engaged in a gritty battle. Kingston overwhelmed the action early, then Garcia used a stick and move strategy to pick Kingston apart. No matter what Garcia threw at him, Kingston had a heavy strike at the ready. In the end, Kingston relied on an eye poke to set up and explode suplex. A spinning backfist sealed the deal.
Eddie Kingston defeated Daniel Garcia.
After the match, Kingston was going to whip Garcia with a belt, but he decided to spare the young man as a message of what is to come for Chris Jericho.
Keith Lee wants to annihilate Team Taz. Swerve Strickland said there will be payback in blood. Cut over to the commentary table with Ricky Starks backed by Will Hobbs. Starks has a check to cash on Lee and Swerve.
Toni Storm was dismissive of Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter.
Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler want to wrestle each other in a tournament qualifier to pay respect to Owen Hart. It will be physical, and it will get heated.
Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Jade Cargill was not concerned about Marina Shafir. She was already planning the victory celebration. Shafir didn’t care about Jade’s plans. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”
TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (c) vs. Marina Shafir
Cargill was sassy as a superior athlete, so Shafir went to work with leg kicks. Jade was in a little bit of trouble on a guillotine choke, but she used a powerful slam to escape. Jade took charge with suplexes until Shafir locked in a knee bar. Jade reached the ropes for the break.
On the outside, Shafir tossed Mark Sterling onto the floor.
Shafir was distracted by the Baddies and ate a pump kick from Cargill. Jade followed up by chokeslamming Shafir onto the timekeeper table. Inside the ring, Cargill pinned Shafir with a foot on the chest and a bicep flex. Shafir snatched Jade’s leg working for a submission. Jade kicked Shafir in the face a few times trying to get free. Shafir wouldn’t release her grip and shouted passionately at the champ. Jade continued with the kicks and eventually knocked Shafir loopy. Jade finished with Jaded to retain gold.
Jade Cargill defeated Marina Shafir.
Money exploded out from the corners and balloons dropped from the ceiling in honor of Jade’s 30-0 record.
The main event between Jade Cargill and Marina Shafir was good enough considering their experience level. The story was told through attitude and wrestling style to provide interesting moments. I like Shafir bringing a touch of realism with leg kicks and submissions. Her game plan was exactly what would be expected for a wrestler of her skillset. Jade showed off power and personality.
One thing I’d like to see Jade improve is her second gear emotion. Shafir had a badass outburst near the end when yelling defiantly. Jade didn’t really change her expression or visually increase her level of aggression. She remained cool under pressure. I don’t know if that was by design or not.
Eddie Kingston and Daniel Garcia put on a slobberknocker in their own fashion. Garcia brought strategy and technical skill, while Kingston brought heart and tenacity. This was the most exciting bout on the show.
Kingston’s sloppy physical presentation is doing harm to the story. To put it mildly, his stomach was hanging out and his pants were falling down. The reason why I bring this up is because commentary often pointed out Kingston’s cardio issues. It does Garcia no favors when he can’t beat an out-of-shape club fighter. It also puts a ceiling on Kingston’s greatness. How am I supposed to buy into him as a potential top guy when he gasses out during matches? I mean that in story. In reality, Kingston seemed fine enough to wrestle the match as intended.
My mind is made up about Adam Cole. He is a high-class jabrone. That’s not a reflection on his skills. It’s more an indictment on how AEW books his match finishes. This was Cole’s chance to refresh after losing the world title feud to Hangman Page. What do we get? Cole relies on outside interference to cheat. Same old sloppy jaloppy, and it’s boring as a finish. That does absolutely nothing in making me interested in seeing Cole compete again.
As for the match, credit to Cole for playing his role perfectly as a smarmy jerk setting up the fiery comebacks from Ishii. Seeing Ishii power chop Cole was a tons of fun. It worked well because of how Cole acts and reacts.
The scene with Hook and Danhausen brought the chuckles. It had an odd vibe the way Hook leaned close and licked his lips. I thought there was a chance he would kiss Danhausen. Hook does have a smooth voice though. I can envision him doing a sultry rap for the Team Taz R&B slow jam album.
Maybe I was just in a tired mood, but I wasn’t feeling this show. It seemed like lots of stuff that didn’t amount to much. On the positive side, the effort to entertain was as good as always. If there is only one thing to watch from this episode, I’d pick the mini promo from FTR.
Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?