By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 29)
Taped February 23, 2022 in Bridgeport, Connecticut at Webster Bank Arena
Aired February 25, 2022 on TNT
Excalibur checked in and introduced the commentary team of himself, Chris Jericho, Ricky Starks, and Taz. The camera cut right the ring, where Sammy Guevara and Andrade stood.
1. Sammy Guevara vs. Andrade El Idolo (w/Matt Hardy, Jose, Isiah Kassidy) for the TNT Title. The two traded blows before Andrade hit a monstrous chop. Both guys posed after a quick exchange. Andrade extended his hand, but Sammy flipped him off. Andrade ran at Sammy, but Sammy countered by clotheslining Andrade over the top rope. Andrade came right back into the ring and ran into a quick Spanish Fly for a one-count. Sammy went for a springboard move, but Andrade pushed him to the outside and the first PIP began [c].
Back from the break, Sammy rolled Andrade up, but Andrade kicked out. Andrade worked on Sammy’s arm, but Sammy fired back with a pair of clotheslines and a knee strike. Sammy lifted Andrade, but Andrade fought out. Andrade went for a knee, but Sammy moved and Andrade rolled to the outside. Sammy hit a splash over the top onto Andrade. Sammy climbed to the top and went for the 450, but Andrade moved and Sammy rolled through to eventually run into a boot from Andrade.
Andrade hit a draping DDT on Sammy onto the apron. Andrade climbed to the top, but Sammy cut him off. Sammy climbed up and landed a Spanish Fly from the top rope. The two traded slaps on their knees. That turned into elbow strikes. Andrade tried to take a pad off a turnbuckle, but Matt Hardy did the same while the ref was distracted by Andrade. Andrade went for the knees in the corner, but Sammy moved. Sammy lifted Andrade for GTH, but Andrade rolled Sammy up for a two-count.
Sammy was against the exposed turnbuckle. Andrade ran at him, but Sammy moved and super-kicked Andrade to the ground. Sammy climbed the top, but Andrade cut him off. Andrade went for the Hammerlock DDT off the top, but Sammy wiggled out and took out Andrade’s feet, forcing Andrade to crash into the exposed buckle. Sammy hit a double springboard cutter and that was enough for the pin.
Sammy Guevara defeated Andrade El Idolo via pinfall in 12:25 to retain the TNT Championship.
After the match, Matt Hardy attacked Sammy before Darby Allin and Sting made the save. Allin landed a Coffin Drop in Isaiah Kassidy.
McGuire’s Musings: A good match that never kicked into the next gear, which seems to happen more often than not with Andrade matches in AEW. I can’t say I’m excited for a six-man tag match at the pay-per-view, as I think we could get a much better bout out of Sammy/Darby/Andrade in a triple threat for the TNT belt. But we have to get Sting on the card somehow, now don’t we? I hope the AHFO nonsense comes to an end once Jeff Hardy shows up, because I understand the attempts AEW has made to set Andrade apart as a big time player, but nothing has really worked to the scale anyone would have hoped. Maybe leave him alone, give him some wins and see what happens?
Back from the break QT Marshall walked out, talking about disrespect. Marshall pointed at Taz and said all the disrespect comes from Taz. Marshall said he was the one who made Hook, not Taz. Marshall asked Hook to come out and thank him. Marshall said he would stretch Hook in front of his daddy. The lights went out and Hook came out. Marshall threw a bunch of students at Hook, but Hook went through them all. Hook then walked away.
Dan Lambert, Scorpio Sky, and Ethan Page cut a promo backstage. Lambert said he would get Sky a TNT title shot and Sky wouldn’t have to compete in the ladder match.
2. Wardlow (w/Shawn Spears) vs. Nick Comoroto (w/Aaron Solo). The two locked up and Comoroto hit an impressive gut-wrench suplex. Wardlow shot up and hit a series of belly-to-belly suplexes. Wardlow threw Comoroto over the top rope and Excalibur threw to the next PIP [c].
Back from the break, Comoroto ran at Wardlow, but Wardlow got the boot up. Comoroto lifted Wardlow with one hand, but Wardlow got out of it and chokeslammed Comoroto. Wardlow went for a powerbomb and eventually got one. The crowd cheered for one more. Wardlow obliged. Rinse and repeat. Again. After that fourth one, Wardlow stepped on Comoroto for the pin.
Wardlow defeated Nick Comoroto via pinfall in 6:20.
After the match, Aaron Solow tried to attack Wardlow, but Shawn Spears hit Solow with a chair, which pissed Wardlow off. Spears grabbed a mic and said Wardlow’s Powerbomb Symphony thing isn’t “getting over.” The crowd chanted “one more time.” Spears said he thinks the two need to get back to basics. Spears said Wardlow should just go for the pin and stop using powerbombs. Spears gave Wardlow a hug and Wardlow had a nasty look on his face.
The Double Or Nothing video from Dynamite aired.
3. Serena Deeb vs. Kayla Sparks in a five-minute rookie challenge. Deeb attacked Sparks before the bell rang and had her robe on. Deeb choked Sparks with her robe before giving it to the referee. Deeb placed Sparks on the top rope and stretched Sparks’s knees and back. Deeb went back to bending Sparks over the top turnbuckle. Deeb went to the arm and then drove Sparks’s knee into the mat before sinking in the Serenity Lock for the win.
Serena Deeb defeated Kayla Sparks via submission in 2:27.
McGuire’s Musings: Two squashes with the former filling more time than the latter. Goodness gracious, Wardlow is over with the live crowds these days. I’m almost ready for him to blow this thing off with Shawn Spears, but I can’t imagine him ever splitting from MJF. Would that mean Spears would be out of MJF World? Or are we going to be subject to Spears’s pest tendencies for as long as Wardlow continues to gain traction among the fanbase? I continue to like the Deeb challenge because as I said last week, I like these kings of things. Even so, I can’t come up with where this goes and who ultimately comes out to ruin it. It’s gotta be special … right?
Returning from commercial, Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker were in the ring to sign the contract for the Revolution match. Rosa yelled at Baker when she signed the contract. Baker said the only time Rosa is relevant is when Rosa is in a sentence with Baker. Baker said Rosa won the lights out match, but she wanted to know why everyone was talking about Baker coming out of it. Baker said Rosa became bitter. Baker said Rosa thinks having the championship would solve all of Rosa’s problems. Baker said Rosa will be her.
Baker said Rosa will never be the face of AEW. Baker said jealousy is just hatred built upon insecurities. Baker said Rosa loves her. Baker said Rosa hates herself because she’ll never be Baker. Baker then signed the contract and right after she did it, Rosa leapt over the table and took out Baker. A brawl ensued and Mercedes Martinez came out to help Rosa. Martinez put Jamie Hayter through a table before Rosa lifted the AEW women’s title…
In the back, Mark Henry began the main event interview. Orange Cassidy asked if he has to climb something tonight. Cassidy was flanked by Wheeler Yuta. Bowens and Caster made fun of Cassidy. Cassidy said he stopped listening a long time ago. Mark Henry said it’s time for the main event and Excalibur ran down the card for Dynamite. Orange Cassidy then made his entrance. Max Caster said Best Friends has no black people in it during his entrance rap. They threw the mic at Cassidy to rap, Cassidy said “yo, OK, listen,” and put his hands in his pockets.
5. Orange Cassidy vs. Anthony Bowens in a Face of the Revolution ladder match qualifier. After the bell ran, Cassidy said into the microphone, “Word to your mother,” before diving onto Bowens, who was on the outside. Caster and Bowens took control, though, and threw Cassidy back into the ring. Bowens worked over Cassidy with some punches as Excalibur threw to the final PIP of the night [c].
Back from the break, Bowens had control and Bowens repeatedly threw Cassidy into a turnbuckle. Bowens whipped Cassidy into the corner, but Cassidy flipped over the top turnbuckle and eventually landed a cross-body-block from the top rope. Bowens hit a series of strikes after the two got to their feet and then Bowens landed the Stun-Dog Millionaire. Bowens slammed Cassidy and hit a running knee strike for a two-count.
Bowens lifted Cassidy, but Cassidy countered into a slam for a two-count. Cassidy rolled to the apron. Bowens punched Cassidy and went for The Arrival, but Cassidy fought out and Cassidy eventually flipped his way onto Bowens, who was on the outside. Back inside the ring, Cassidy hit a diving DDT and followed that up with another DDT for a two-count. Caster threw the boombox into the ring, but the ref caught it and threw it out. It was enough to ensure Bowens took back control. Cassidy rolled to the outside. Danhousen showed up and cursed Caster. Cassidy rolled back into the ring, hit the Orange Punch and got the win.
Orange Cassidy defeated Anthony Bowens via pinfall in 10:17 to earn a spot in the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match.
Cassidy put on his sunglasses to close the show.
McGuire’s Musings: I’d really like to see Anthony Bowens start to get some quality wins. He’s really stepped his game up over the last few months and Cassidy winning felt like too much of a foregone conclusion at this point. I have nothing against Orange Cassidy and his act cracks me up more often than not, but when does Bowens start to get some booking love? The match was good and it was even fun to see Cassidy do a little more than just the half-assed thumbs up with his emphatic “word to your mother” spot. That ladder match is going to be interesting. It could steal the show or it could … well … not.
As a whole, this week’s pacing felt off to me. I don’t know if it’s the virus talking or the lack of sleep I’m working on because of it, but things felt disjointed this week. I like watching Wardlow and Deeb so I’m not complaining, and the Rosa/Baker match is one we’ve all been looking forward to for a long time, now. But this felt like a jumbled mess at times, with little pieces of the puzzle combining to make a picture that felt more busy than it needed to feel. Sometimes, five colors are better than 10. But I digress. Join Jason Powell for this week’s Dot Net Members’ exclusive audio review as I’m sure he’ll have a lot more to say.