The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 03.25.22

The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 03.25.22

Oddly enough, Fite wouldn’t let me watch from Belgium tonight and I had to switch to Ukraine.

Taped from Austin, TX

Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz & Chris Jericho

Dustin Rhodes v. Lance Archer

Dustin saves one of his students from a beating and brawls with Archer on the floor, but Dan Lambert gets involved and Archer takes over.  Lance slugs away in the corner and pulls off a turnbuckle pad, but Dustin blocks that and fights back.  They head to the floor again, but Dustin misses a senton off the apron and Archer continues beating on him.  Back in the ring, Archer stomps him down and follows with a splash for two.  Archer tosses him and teases a dive, but then decides to just kick him in the head instead.  Back in the ring, Archer slugs away on him, and then bites the fingers for some TEXAS SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION.  Dustin fights back with clotheslines, but Archer blocks the powerslam and puts him down with a belly to belly.  Dustin dodges a charge and makes another comeback, firing away in the corner, but Archer blocks the bulldog.  So Dustin goes up and hits a top rope version instead and follows with the Crossroads for two.  Archer with a full nelson slam, but it only gets one and Dustin fights up again.  So Archer chokeslams him, for two this time.  This sets up the Blackout, but Dustin collapses out of the move and goes dead weight.  But then he suckers Archer into the exposed turnbuckle and rolls him up for the pin at 9:39?!  Well that was certainly a choice.  Really I don’t see the value in putting 50-something Dustin over anyone at this point but Dustin still rules so I’ll allow it.  Just a solid hoss fight.  ***  And then Archer absolutely destroys him to get some revenge, running him into the stairs to bust him open and then wiping out a bunch of his students for good measure.  And a chokeslam through the table?  Why not?

Meanwhile, Jay Lethal is disappointed at falling in the rankings after his loss to Adam Cole, and he’s off to do some thinking and find a better way.

Fuego del Sol joins us for a promo about what an underdog he is, and challenges the House of Black to another fight.  And then the lights go out and all three of them appear with their own spotlights and massacre him.  Yeah I still don’t care about Feugo del Sol.  This brings out the Dark Order for a staredown, which should definitely give them something to do.

Meanwhile, The Men of the Year announce that the TNT (and co-TNT) titles are no longer up for grabs in open challenges.  Top guys only!

Alan Angels & 10 v. reDRagon

Kyle hits Angels with kicks on the ropes and Fish adds some punishment of his own in the corner, but 5 escapes and brings in 10, who fights off both Dragons and beats on Kyle with chops. Kyle retreats to the floor and Fish tries a sneak attack, but 10 fights him off as well, so Kyle trips him up on the apron and works the leg.  Fish works the leg with a dragon screw out of the corner and follows with a sliding lariat for two.  O’Reilly hits him with the ground and pound and wrenches the knee again, and Fish adds a snap suplex for two.  10 powers out of a sleeper attempt and makes the hot tag to 5, who hits a bunch of kicks and a northern lights suplex, which Kyle reverses into a guillotine.  10 hits Fish with a spinebuster to break it up, but the heels turn the mask around, hit him with a High-Low, and finish Angels with Chasing the Dragon at 7:10.  Decent enough.  **  Jurassic Express saves them from further beating, but Adam Cole steals the tag team titles to continue that storyline.

Nyla Rose v. Madi Wrenkowski

Congrats to Nyla for being named Jericho’s inaugural AEW Rampage Sports Entertainer of the Week, and the powerbomb finishes Wrenkowski at 0:25.

QT Marshall joins us for the presentation of Hook’s Certificate of Accomplishment, which is all framed and everything, so Hook smashes Aaron Solo into the glass and walks off.  And then Danhausen comes out to CURSE Hook, but Hook of course is immune to evil and just walks away from it while Danhausen is shocked.  OK that was totally worth it.

FTW title:  Ricky Starks v. Swerve Strickland

Starks has a fan club with a giant sign at the announce desk, which I’m sure will pay off later.  Starks takes him down to the mat and the crowd is pretty split, so Starks gets an armdrag and stops for some posing.  So Swerve does some fancy footwork of his own and also poses.  Oh man, they’re gonna start breakdance-fighting soon!  Swerve with chops, but he charges and Starks runs him into the corner to take over.  Starks slams him into a version of the People’s Elbow, which is pretty wacky, but Swerve hammerlocks him into the corner and goes to work on the arm.  They slug it out on the apron and Starks SWEEPS THE LEG to put Swerve on the floor, which gets two in the ring.  They slug it out and Starks powers him into a Doctorbomb and goes up for a moonsault, which misses.  He recovers with a tornado DDT for two and goes to an abdominal stretch on the mat.  Swerve fights back with a knee strike and makes the comeback, popping to the middle rope for a diving forearm and a leaping flatliner for two.  Swerve goes up and misses, and Ricky tries to finish, but Swerve reverses him out to the floor.  Swerve follows with a shooting star off the apron, and back in for the double stomp off the top for two.  Ricky rolls him up with a handful of tights for two.  Swerve with a rollup for two, but Ricky sends him to the floor and tries a dive.  Swerve cuts him off with a forearm, but Hobbs wipes out Swerve on the floor, and back in for the Rochambeau to finish at 11:24.  Really good main event, although I’m kind of surprised they beat Swerve so soon.  ***1/2  But then the giant orange sign gag from the beginning of the match pays off as Keith Lee throws some geek through it and then teams up with Swerve to brawl with Team Taz to end the show.

Another fun and easy show, but man it’s getting to be on the same level as Dark as far as star power and importance.  You really do miss nothing if you miss Rampage as of late. I ordered the ROH PPV that goes against it next week, so I’ll have some time decisions to make that weekend, I guess.