This week’s AEW Rampage featured Swerve Strickland in his AEW debut against Tony Nese in the main event, plus Darby Allin and Keith Lee in singles action.
I did not review Rampage last week. I think that’s the first Rampage I missed. I was just burned out a bit due to a lot going on in life, plus the AEW Revolution preview was long and I knew Revolution would be a busy Sunday night for me. Anyway, let’s get back into it this week.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz and Ricky Starks. No yeller Chris Jericho on commentary this week.
Darby Allin (w/Sting) vs. Marq Quen (w/Isiah Kassidy)
Allin had Quen grounded with a side headlock. As Excalibur went over the lineup, Taz said it was a loaded lineup. I don’t think it’s loaded or close to that, but that’s what announcers are going to say. Allin and Quen had an exchange leading to Allin sending Quen out of the ring. Allin wanted a dive, but Kassidy got in the way. Quen avoided Allin on the floor and Quen sent Allin into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Quen did a hard whip that sent Allin into the turnbuckle followed by punches to the back. Quen did a double stomp to the stomach to keep Allin grounded along with a shoulder to the ribs. Quen with an abdominal stretch, the referee caught him trying to cheat and Allin delivered a hiptoss across the ring. Allin wrenched Quen’s arm against the top rope and then Quen tripped up Allin on the floor.
The match continued as they battled on the top rope with Allin hitting a superplex. Quen did an impressive backflip knee drop on Allin’s ribs for a two count. Allin went for a charging attack in the corner, Quen with double knees to the back and Quen hit a backflip into a flatliner for a two count. Allin countered a Quen move leading to a reverse DDT that they called a Scorpion Death Drop because that’s what it is called when Sting does it. Allin to the turnbuckle, Kassidy on the apron, Sting got a hold of Kassidy and threw him into a table at ringside. Quen managed to knock Allin off the ropes to the floor. Quen hit a 450 Splash off the top onto Allin on the floor! That was impressive. Back in the ring, Quen went for the Shooting Star Press, Allin easily moved out of the win and Allin applied a Fujiwara Armbar leading to Quen tapping out. It went 12 minutes.
Winner by submission: Darby Allin
Analysis: **3/4 It was an average match with an obvious result. I don’t know why they needed 12 minutes for Allin to put away a tag team wrestler. It was mostly Quen working over Allin until Allin made the comeback. Quen is good in a tag team and can do some big moves like that 450 onto Allin on the floor. I just didn’t get into the match because it was obvious who was going to win.
The Andrade Family Office stable walked down to ringside, so then the Hardy Boys (Matt & newly singed Jeff) appeared on the ramp to face off with Andrade’s group. Good pop for the Hardys there. Andrade’s group simply left and nothing happened.
Analysis: I assume they will do The Hardys teaming with Sting and Allin against Andrade’s group soon. They can also do The Hardys vs. Sting & Allin. I expect the Hardys to win most of their matches for several months leading to a title win.
Scorpio Sky, the TNT Champion, was backstage with Dan Lambert and Ethan Page. Lambert talked about Wardlow’s betrayal of MJF is similar to Sammartino/Zbyszko from 1968. Page said that Sky is defending the TNT Title and his streak. Sky said that this is the face of TNT. Get used to it.
The House of Black group did a promo in a darkened room talking about how they know your deepest secrets, which means the house knows your truth.
Jamie Hayter (w/Rebel & Dr. Britt Baker) vs. Mercedes Martinez
There were no introductions since the women were already in the ring. They did some mat wrestling for the first couple of minutes with neither woman getting the advantage. Martinez worked over Hayter with strikes in the corner, Hayter with a shoulder tackle, Martinez came back with a boot and a clothesline. Martinez with forearms to knock Martinez down and then Hayter used her boot to ground Martinez against the turnbuckle.
Martinez rolling suplexes leading to a butterfly suplex for two. Hayter got a hold of Martinez leading to a backbreaker for two. Baker likes staring right into cameras when they are near her. Hayter sent Martinez into the ropes leading to a forearm. Martinez with an overhead throw into the turnbuckle. Hayter went up to the turnbuckle, Martinez went after her and hit a German Suplex. Rebel distracted the referee, so Baker punched Martinez a few times while the referee wasn’t looking and Hayter hit a running clothesline for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jamie Hayter
Analysis: **1/4 A cheap win for the heel Hayter thanks to her friends at ringside. I get why Martinez is in a face role since Baker turned on her recently and Martinez aligned with Thunder Rosa, but I think Martinez is better as a heel.
Post match, Baker and friends wanted to attack Martinez some more, but Thunder Rosa ran out with a steel chair. Baker and friends left the ring, so that was it.
Analysis: Like I wrote in the Dynamite review earlier this week, I think Rosa is going to beat Dr. Baker for the AEW Women’s Title next Wednesday on Dynamite. I thought it was going to happen at Revolution, but when I learned that Dynamite was in Rosa’s hometown of San Antonio next week, it made sense to do it at that point.
Hikaru Shida did a promo saying she has been thinking about getting revenge against Serena Deeb. Shida said that Serena can try to break her knee again, but this time Shida will cut her head off. Okay sure.
Keith Lee made his entrance while QT Marshall was already in the ring. Powerhouse Hobbs was standing by his Team Taz buddies on commentary.
Keith Lee vs. QT Marshall
Marshall got in his face, so Lee hit him with a headbutt. Marshall did an eye poke leading to some punches to the gut and Lee came back with a hard double chop to the chest. Lee did his giant toss across the ring. The fans chanted “one more time” and Marshall hit him with a neckbreaker against the ropes. Marshall went up top leading to a missile dropkick for two as Lee did the power kickout. They did a spot with Marshall running the ropes and Lee decked him with a hard clothesline. Lee lifted up Marshall, Aaron Solo distracted the referee and Nick Comoroto grabbed Lee’s boot, so Marshall capitalized with a jumping kick to the head. Lee blocked a Diamond Cutter attempt leading to Lee hitting a shoulder tackle. Lee lifted up Marshall leading to the powerslam off the shoulders (aka the Big Bang Catastrophe in the past) for the pinfall win. It went about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Keith Lee
Analysis: *1/2 An easy win for Lee to continue building him up as a threat. Marshall had some decent moves as usual although I don’t think anybody really thought Marshall had a chance to win.
Post match, Aaron Solo jumped on Lee’s back and Lee slammed him down easily. Nick Comoroto faced off with Lee as they exchanged punches, Lee blocked a strike, Lee hit a back elbow and Lee hit a Powerbomb (sometimes called a Spirit Bomb in the past). Lee tossed Solo over the top onto his buddies on the floor.
Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs ran down to the ring to go after Lee. Hobbs with a body block on Lee, Starks with a jumping attack, Lee tried to fight back and then Hobbs hit an impressive spinebuster on Lee.
Analysis: It should lead to a power matchup between Lee and Hobbs coming soon. Maybe Lee beats Starks for the meaningless FTW Title too.
Mark Henry did the split-screen main event interview between Swerve Strickland and Tony Nese. It led to a promo from Nese saying he is undefeated his year (I guess on Youtube shows) and said this isn’t a rap show, it’s a wrestling show. Swerve said that they have a history, so he’s going to whip his ass on Friday just like he used to. Swerve said it is Swerve’s House. Mark Henry did his “it’s time for the main event” line.
Analysis: The past they were referring to was the WWE 205 Live show on Fridays that had a small audience.
This Wednesday on AEW Dynamite “St. Patrick’s Day Slam” here’s what we know so far:
* Steel Cage Match for the AEW Women’s Title: Dr. Britt Baker (c) vs. Thunder Rosa. I think Thunder wins it in her hometown of San Antonio.
* Jon Moxley & Bryan Danielson vs. Chuck Taylor & Wheeler Yuta
* “Hangman” Adam Page, Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus vs. Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish
* TNT Championship: Scorpio Sky (c) vs. Wardlow
Next week’s Rampage will air at 11:30 pm ET on TNT after NCAA Basketball or whenever the game ends.
Tony Nese entered for the main event showing off his abs that he is very proud of. It seems like they dropped the “Shane” part of the name, so it’s just Swerve Strickland. That’s cool.
Swerve Strickland vs. Tony Nese
This was Swerve’s AEW debut match. Swerve got a takedown leading to an armbar. They exchanged some hold, Swerve was going for a leg lock submission and Nese got to the ropes to break free. Swerve avoided a charging Nese, then a headscissors by Swerve and Nese held the ropes. Swerve with a running dropkick to the side of the face. Nese pulled the top rope down, so Swerve jumped over the top and landed on his feet on the floor. Nese went for an attack on the floor, Swerve avoided it and Swerve was on the apron where he delivered a kick to knock Nese down. Nese was sent back in the ring, he put the apron skirt on Swerve’s head and Nese hit a dropkick to knock Swerve down.
Nese was in control with a body scissors around the waist of Swerve while they were on the mat. They got back up, Swerve punched him in the jaw and punch to the ribs. Swerve went for a move off the ropes, but Nese got an uppercut counter. Nese drove Swerve’s throat against the top rope, then Nese went for a springboard moonsault and Swerve moved. Swerve delivered chops to the chest, then a running back elbow and an elbow smash to the back. Swerve with a powerslam leading into a brainbuster for two. Nese came back with a kick to the head and then a slam into the double knees that hit Swerve in the ribs. Nese lifted Swerve to the apron, Swerve wanted a sunset flip and then Nese hit a spin kick to the head. Nese went up top and connected with a 450 splash for a two count. Nese went for a slam, Swerve got out of that, Nese to the apron, Swerve tripped him up and hit a superkick. Swerve ran across the apron leading to a double foot stomp to the chest. Back in the ring, Swerve did a roll through into a jumping flatliner for a two count. Swerve with a running kick to the head, Swerve went up top and Swerve did a double foot stomp for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match between two talented veteran athletes with Swerve obviously getting the win in his AEW debut. Swerve was clearly the face while Nese was the heel although the crowd really didn’t get into the match that much due to the lack of a story. Nese is very skilled in the ring; he just doesn’t get pushed that much wherever he works. A 450 Splash used to win every match it was used in, but it only got a two count here. I liked Swerve’s offense as he finished him off.
Swerve Strickland celebrated the win. It sounded like they pumped in fake crowd noise as Swerve was making the pin to win the match. Anyway, Swerve celebrated more while they plugged matches coming next week. That was it for Rampage.
And @swerveconfident captures his first #AEW victory in his impressive debut! What a night of action it's been on #AEWRampage on TNT! See you next week at #AEWDynamite LIVE in San Antonio! pic.twitter.com/rgukHU8KDz
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) March 12, 2022
Three Stars of the Show
- Swerve Strickland
- Tony Nese
- Keith Lee
This Week: 6 out of 10
Last Week: No review.
An average show. The Swerve/Nese match was very good in the main event, but can you consider it a big match? Not really. I don’t even think the biggest AEW diehards care that much about Rampage at this point.
They should book Rampage to be a better show considering all the star power that AEW has. When fans know that nothing major is ever going to happen on Rampage, they are not going to tune in. It’s just an average wrestling show now.
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