The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 02.04.22
Taped from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Excalibur, Chris Jericho and Taz
Adam Cole v. Evil Uno
Cole hits him with a running boot right away and beats on Uno in the corner before choking him out on the ropes. They do the spot where Cole feigns a superkick and Uno hands the foot to the referee and hits a neckbreaker on Cole, and he puts Cole down with his own boot. To the top for a swanton, but that hits the knees and Cole puts him down with a knee strike and superkick. Fun fact from Jericho: Evil Uno means “Evil One”. But before we can expand on that, Cole lowers the BOOM for the pin at 2:30. *1/2 And then Adam lists off all the guys he’s beaten (not counting the lights out match last week) and promises that he’s a newer and more ruthless Adam Cole. And now he wants the AEW World title. That…doesn’t feel like a bigtime main event feud that can get Hangman’s title reign going yet. I mean, he just lost to Orange Cassidy.
Meanwhile, Jade Cargill admits to being green. GREEN LIKE MONEY. OK that’s a good comeback.
TNT title: Sammy Guevara v. Isiah Kassidy
Sammy’s silliness with wearing both versions of the title to the ring is pretty charming. Kassidy tries throwing the chops to start and takes Sammy down with a dropkick, so they slug it out and Kassidy smartly goes for the taped ribs to win that. Sammy comes back with his own dropkick and Kassidy bails, so Sammy hits him with a tope con hilo and nearly overshoots him. Back in the ring, Sammy goes after Quen and Matt Hardy, but Matt hits him with a Side Effect on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. This allows Kassidy to run Sammy into the railing and take a seat to admire his handiwork, which feels like a move that could backfire on him. Just a hunch. Sammy runs him into the railing and we head back into the ring, where Kassidy comes in with a slingshot senton for two. Kassidy puts the boots to him and goes to a chinlock. Kassidy misses a blind charge and Sammy gets a pretty stiff knee to set up the GTH, but his ribs give out. So he goes up, but Andrade comes out to check on his investment and provides distraction. Kassidy hits a backbreaker and backstabber off that for two. Sammy ends up on the floor and Kassidy gets a dive and back in with a swanton to Sammy’s ribs for two. BREAKING NEWS: Jericho doesn’t like Jose. Sammy comes back with a backslide for two and then stops to hit Quen with a moonsault on the floor, before springboarding back in with the cutter for two on Kassidy. GTH (with a hilarious sell from Kassidy) finishes at 9:21. I dunno, this one just kind of kept going past the peak a couple of times and did ANYONE buy Kassidy as a threat? Felt like it should have ended just after the commercial break. **1/2 Andrade comes in to confront Sammy, but the little boy Darby makes the save and backs him up, chasing off the AHFO. But then he might also want the TNT title again.
Meanwhile, QT Marshall is SICK of hearing about Hook and all the things related to Hook. So next week, QT is sending one of his own students to end him. Yeah OK then, QT.
Meanwhile, Kris Statlander is doing an interview with Tony, but Leyla lays her out with a chairshot from behind.
Mercedes Martinez v. Thunder Rosa
Rosa is all pissed off and she beats on Mercedes while yelling in Spanish and being all CALIENTE. Which reminds me, I got something from Costco called Street Corn Dip which seems vaguely latino-inspired, but is supposed to be a corn dip from the mean streets, or dip made out of “street corn”? Either way I’m kind of unsettled by the concept. Regardless it’s pretty good with tortilla chips. Mercedes puts Rosa down with a spinebuster and goes to a dragon sleeper while beating on Rosa’s chest, but Rosa flips up and into an inverted DDT for two. Mercedes gets a delayed suplex for two, but Rosa puts her down with a stunner and comes back with knees in the corner. We take a break even here in Bulgaria and return with Rosa making a comeback with an Emerald Frosion and they fight to the floor. Rosa runs her head into the stairs, but Mercedes pulls out a pipe and waffles Rosa for a DISQUALIFICATION?!? In AEW?! Come on, TK, be better than this. **
Meanwhile, Tony talks with Mercedes about her pipe, but Dr. Britt interrupts and she’s annoyed because she didn’t pay for a DQ loss. And the next one better not be a loss or “her time in AEW will be shorter than her last job.” Oh tag!
FTW World title: Ricky Starks v. Jay Lethal
The crowd is actually split here and they trade takedowns to start, which then turns into a slugfest before they trade chops in the corner. Starks blocks a suplex attempt and bails to the floor, so Lethal hits him with a tope suicida, but then he stops to gloat and Hobbs gets in his face. And that allows Starks to run him into the turnbuckle and take over. Starks runs him into the railing and stops for a selfie with some doofus in the front row, but the guy forgets to unlock the phone and costs Starks valuable time. And then he teases throwing Lethal into the front row for the guy, but then just tosses him into the ring instead and gets two. Lethal misses a bodypress and Starks puts the boots to him in the corner. They slug it out again and Starks takes him down with a suplex for two and goes to a facelock. Lethal fights out of that and comes back with a lariat and the Majastral cradle for two. Lethal makes the comeback, but Starks reverses him into a Ligerbomb for two. They trade chops and slug it out again, but Lethal puts him down with an enzuigiri and dropkicks Hobbs off the apron. He tries to dive onto Hobbs, but misses completely and wipes out, at which point Dante Martin runs in and takes out Hobbs with his own dive. Back in the ring, Lethal hits Starks with a cutter, but Ricky ducks the Lethal Injection. Lethal rolls him up for two, but Starks catches him with the Rochambeau to finish at 12:49. Pretty good main event, but more of an AEW Dark level match. ***
A decent show this week, but it felt eminently skippable and what the hell is with doing a DQ finish in a midcard match?