By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 38)
Taped April 27 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Liacouras Center
Aired April 29, 2022 on TNT
The opening video aired and Excalibur checked in, faceless, with Taz, Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho on commentary. We jumped right into the first match.
1. Swerve Strickland vs. Darby Allin in an Owen Hart tournament qualifier. The two bumped wrists to begin and then locked up. Swerve went for a kick and Darby moved. Darby worked a wrist-lock. Swerve eventually worked his way out and Allin ultimately sank in a rear chin-lock. Swerve rolled Darby to the outside and went for a splash, but Darby countered into a cutter. Back in the ring, Darby got a two-count. Darby went for a splash through the ropes and Swerve landed a knee strike to take Darby out. Swerve then hit a boot to Darby’s face. We then got our first PIP [c].
Back from break, both guys were back in the ring and Allin locked in a knee-bar. Swerve tried to work his way out with some punches and that turned into a suplex for a two-count. Swerve dragged Darby to as corner and went for a Swerve Stomp, but Darby moved and landed a Code Red for a two-count. Darby went for the Coffin Drop, but Swerve got his knees up. Swerve then landed a kick to Darby’s head for a two-count.
Swerve suplexed Darby to the outside of the ring and wow. Swerve picked up Darby and rolled Darby back into the ring. Ricky Starks then made his way to the ring, but Sting cut him off. Back in the ring, Darby weirdly rolled Swerve up by his leg for the win.
Darby Allin defeated Swerve Strickland via pinfall in 10:24.
After the match, we cut to a promo from Shawn Spears. Spears said this man is seven feet tall. Spears said this guy is more dangerous than Wardlow. Spears said Wardlow is all by himself and the chairman his not leading him to victory. Spears said “war-piggy” goes to slaughter. We then went to the commentary team and Jericho talked about giving Eddie Kingston a fireball on Dynamite. Jericho then said he was the Sports Entertainer of the Week. Santana and Ortiz then attacked Jericho at the commentary booth.
McGuire’s Musings: The opening match was good. I could have done without the outside interference, if only because these guys were having a pretty good match otherwise. The suplex to the outside was nuts, and I hope everyone is OK. Obviously, they are, but it looked wild. I suppose it was expected that Darby would go over, but Swerve didn’t lose anything in defeat here. Meanwhile, I’ve been wondering where Santana and Ortiz have been. It’s good to see them back.
Back from break, Jericho was back on commentary and said it’s going to be Santana vs. Jericho on Dynamite. Jade Cargill then made her entrance with her team.
2. Jade Cargill, Red Velvet, and Kiera Hogan vs. Willow Nightingale, Trish Adora, and Skye Blue. The match began with Blue and Cargill. Velvet then tagged in and hit Nightingale on the apron. Velvet then took down Blue and stomped a mud-hole in her in the heels’ corner. Hogan tagged in and hit a running kick to Blue’s face, Hogan went for a leg-drop, but Blue moved.
Nightingale ran in and speared Velvet outside. Blue tagged in Adora, but Hogan kept control and tagged in Cargill. Cargill landed a boot to the face on Adora while Velvet landed a spear and then Cargill hit Jaded on Adora for the win.
Jade Cargill, Red Velvet, and Kiera Hogan defeated Willow Nightingale, Trish Adora, and Skye Blue via pinball in 2:54.
McGuire’s Musings: This was fine for what it was. It should have been a modified squash, and it was a modified squash. There isn’t much to say about it other than Cargill continues to look great and her Baddies idea is gaining a lot of traction. Otherwise, I do love Willow Nightingale. Someone needs to sign her yesterday.
We then cut back to an interview between Darby and Swerve. Darby said it wasn’t how he wanted things to end. Swerve said he knew Darby wouldn’t do anything like that. Swerve said he’s rooting for Darby to win the whole cup. Swerve said he’s going to call upon Keith Lee. We then cut to the ring.
3. Keith Lee vs. Colten Gunn. Keith Lee took control early and hit some very loud chops. We ultimately went to a picture-in-picture [c].
Back from break, Lee still had control and landed a forearm to take Gunn down. Lee threw Gunn across the ring. Lee ran into Austin, who tried to interfere. Colten tried to hit a famous-er and Lee instead lifted Gunn. Lee then slammed Gunn for the win.
Keith Lee defeated Colten Gunn via pinfall in 7:01.
We then got a Hardy Boyz promo backstage. Jeff said he loves and misses Owen Hart. Jeff said a dream match is Jeff Hardy vs. Darby Allin. Matt jumped on the mic and said Bobby Fish is going to eat Swanton Bomb from Jeff on Dynamite. We then got a promo from the Undisputed Elite. Adam Cole said there is no way Jeff beats Fish and one of the Bucks called them the “Hardly Boys,” so someone is paying attention to Jim Cornette.
Danhousen then made his way to the ring. He said he is going to decimate Hook. Danhousen yelled “Send Hook!” Hook made his way to the ring and Danhousen looked afraid. Mark Sterling interrupted the stare-down. Then Tony Nose ran in and attacked both Hook and Danhousen. Hook came back, and Suplexed Nese. Danhousen cursed Nese and Sterling. Danhousen went for a handshake, but Hook threw Dahnousen away and we went to break.
McGuire’s Musings: I’m all for a Danhousen/Hook odd alliance. I’m also all for Tony Nese getting more TV time. So I have no problem with this. I never wanted to see Hook and Danhousen get too deep into a program together because I didn’t think it would work. Turns out, this is far better. Elsewhere, the Keith Lee match was precisely what it should have been. “The Hardly Boys” line was fun, if only because it reminds us all of how self-aware the Young Bucks continue to be.
Back from break, Lexy Nair was interviewing the Gunn boys. The Acclaimed interrupted the interview and challenged the Gunn Boys. Excalibur then ran down the Dynamite card. Mercedes Martinez then got herself a video a package hyping her match on Dynamite. We then cut to the Mark Henry segment. Samoa Joe said he promises Trent will pass out before he walks out of the building. Trent said Joe might think he’s going to kill him, but he’s not. Henry then said it’s time for the main event. Ian Riccaboni then checked in on the commentary table.
4. Samoa Joe vs. Trent Beretta for the ROH TV Championship. Joe took control with a series of punches. Joe landed a chop. Joe hit an enziguri and Trent rolled to tour the outside. Joe went for a splash, but Trent moved and then went for a moonsault onto Joe on the outside. Trent landed a chop and went for a Tornado DDT on the outside, but Joe countered. Joe hit a boot and we went to the last PIP [c].
Back from break, Trent kicked Joe to the outside. Trent went to the top and landed a cross-body on Joe, who was on the outside. Back in the ring, Trent hit a bunch of chops and then landed a suplex/back-throw. Trent then landed a tornado DDT for a two-count. Trent went for Strong Zero, but Joe countered into a powerbomb for a two-count. Joe sank in an STF. Trent hit a slap, but Joe came back with a clothesline. Joe went for the Muscle Buster, but Trent rolled out for a two-count. Trent ran at Joe, but Joe sank in a rear-naked choke for the win.
Samoa Joe defeated Trent Beretta to retain the ROH TV Championship via ref stoppage in 10:06.
After the match, Tony Schiavone came to the ring to interview Joe, but Jay Lethal made their way to the ring. Orange Cassidy went to confront Lethal’s team, but it all broke down until Lethal and Joe started brawling in the ring. Excalibur said they are desperately out of time and that was the end of the show.
McGuire’s Musings: This was good, though I am surprised Trent didn’t get more than what he got. I’m all for Samoa Joe looking like the biggest badass in the world, but Trent has looked more inspired since he came back not all that long ago. I still have issues with the Ring Of Honor TV title being defended on AEW TV (see my most recent McGuire’s Mondays for more on that). I absolutely loved Ian Riccaboni on commentary. That made it feel like a Ring Of Honor event and without him, I’m not so sure AEW could accomplish that.
In all, this was a good episode of Rampage. I’m a fan of pairing Danhousen and Hook. I’m also a fan of Samoa Joe being the ROH TV champ, even if I have my problems with ROH being portrayed this way. I’m a big fan of Ian Riccaboni on commentary, and if we’re honest, boy he gelled well with the rest of the Rampage guys. The Swerve and Darby alliance is fun, but while Darby always seems fun, the only alliance I tend to care about with him is the one with Sting. Let’s see what happens. For now, I’ll have more to say in my audio review, which will most likely come Saturday morning.