The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 03.11.22
Well I can’t imagine this show possibly being more noteworthy than Smackdown was tonight. Get well soon, Big E.
Taped from Ft. Myers, FL
Your hosts are Excalibur, Ricky Starks & Taz
Marc Quen v. Darby Allin
Darby works the arm to start and takes him down with a headlock, but Quen bails to the floor and manages to send Darby into the stairs to take over. Back in the ring, Quen drops Darby on the top rope and chokes him out in the corner before beating him down. Quen goes to the abdominal stretch, but can’t quite reach the ropes in time to cheat before Darby escapes. He manages to send Quen to the apron, but Quen SWEEPS THE LEG and goes back to work on him in the corner again while Excalibur discusses injuries suffered by Allin at the PPV. Starks: “What about me? I nearly got decapitated by a ladder and no one checked on me!” Excalibur: “Actually I sent you a text message that night.” Well that told him. They fight to the top and Darby brings him down with a superplex for two and goes for the guillotine, but Quen breaks free from that and hits a pretty amazing standing backflip kneedrop for two. Quen follows with a wacky backflip Flatliner, and that gets two. Quen tries a delayed suplex, but Darby reverses him into a Scorpion deathdrop and they’re both out. Kassidy gets involved and Sting takes him out, but Quen knocks Darby off the top and necks him on the way down to the floor. And then he follows with a damn 450 from the top rope to the FLOOR. That’s the kind of ridiculous nonsense you save for the finish of a falls count anywhere match. Back in, that gets two. Quen goes up and tries a shooting star press, but that misses and Darby finishes him out of nowhere with an armbar at 12:00. This had some giant wacky spots at the end but was mostly kind of a drag. **1/4 And then Andrade and his crew try to come out for the beatdown, but the reunited Hardy Boyz do their entrance and that scares them off I guess.
Meanwhile, Dan Lambert compares Wardlow to Larry Zbyszko in a sick burn. Some things you can’t take back, man.
Meanwhile, the House of Black threaten to once again spew black mist into Pac’s eyes. They’ve got SECRETS on him. Or someone else. We’re not sure, but then they’re mysterious anyway. Also what the hell happened to Julia Hart and the whole thing with the Varsity Blonds? That whole deal got dropped like a hot potato and it just ended up as a completely pointless side-trip for Black.
Mercedes Martinez v. Jamie Hayter
They fight for the lockup and slug it out in the corner as it’s a HOSS FIGHT. Mercedes wins that one, but Jamie rakes the eyes and chokes her out in the corner, but Mercedes fights back, so Hayter suplexes her for two. Hayter with a chinlock, but Mercedes fights out and hits her with elbows on the ropes. So Hayter elbows her down again and puts the boots to her. We take a break and return with Hayter hitting a backbreaker for two and putting her down with a forearm. Hayter charges and Martinez suplexes her into the corner, but Rebel takes the ref while Martinez hits the german suplex off the top, and Britt knocks Mercedes down to allow Hayter to finish with a lariat at 9:40. This was OK. Of course there’s tons of interference with anything involving Britt, as thankfully we should be in the final stages of the character before she drops the title on Wednesday. **
Meanwhile, Hikaru Shida hasn’t had quite enough revenge on Serena Deeb yet and now wants to cut her head off completely.
Keith Lee v. QT Marshall
QT offers a handshake and Lee headbutts him right away, and then biels him across the ring and out to the apron. QT comes back in with a missile dropkick for one, but Lee puts him down with a lariat and sets up to finish. QT’s goons distract Lee, however, and QT gets a superkick and tries the Diamond Cutter, which Lee blocks. And he finishes with the Pounce and Ground Zero at 4:30. Lee demolishes the Factory geeks at ringside, so Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks decide to take a shot and Hobbs manages to lay out Lee with a spinebuster to put him down. Lee continues to disappoint, looking old and slow again. *1/2
Swerve Strickland v. Tony Nese
This feels like a pretty dubious choice for a main event. Tony Nese has barely even been on AEW TV before this, and the match is based on them making fun of having to work Fridays on a nothing show that no one cares about. Swerve takes him down and goes for a half-crab, so Nese gets to the ropes. Swerve manages to evade him with rolls and dropkicks Nese before flipping to the floor to avoid a low bridge from Nese. Nese charges out there and misses, and Swerve kicks him from the apron and sends him back in. Nese uses the apron skirt to trip him up and sends Swerve into the stairs to take over, and back in the ring for the ground n pound for two. Nese slugs him down for two and tosses him again, and back in for a bodyscissors on the mat as Nese holds him down and chokes him out. Swerve escapes with his own ground n pound, but Nese backdrops him to the apron and necks him. Moonsault misses and Swerve fights back with chops and a corner elbow, and he follows with a tilt-a-whirl slam into a brainbuster for two. Swerve goes up and Nese brings him down with an exploding gutbuster for two. They fight to the apron, but Nese kicks him down and goes up with a 450 for two. They trade chops and slug it out, but Nese pops out to the apron and Swerve trips him up and follows with a double foot stomp to the floor. Back in, Swerve rolls into the flatliner for two. To the top for a double stomp to finish at 13:00. I know the point was to make Swerve into the big star in his debut, but I think it was Nese who really shone through, as he looked super-smooth with everything. ***1/2
Kind of bizarre that they’d follow up a batshit crazy Crash TV version of Rampage with kind of a bore of a show like this one. Not bad by any means but completely inessential. I’d recommend watching Turning Red on Disney Plus instead.