By Colin McGuirestaff member of ProWrestling.net (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 37)
Recorded April 20 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Petersen Events Center
Broadcast on April 22, 2022 on TNT
The commentary team of Excalibur, Taz and Ricky Starks have recorded themselves. We went straight to the ring for the first match with no introductions.
1. Adam Cole vs. Tomohiro Ishii in an Owen Hart Qualifier. Cole tried to block Ishii’s shoulder, but Ishii finally took Cole down and Cole rolled to the outside. Back inside the ring, Cole stomped on Ishii and went for the “Adam Cole Bay Bay”, but Ishii came back and interrupted him with a chop. Cole rolled outside and Ishii followed him. Ishii clipped Cole on the outside until Ishii grabbed one and hit the post instead.
Cole threw Ishii into the railing. Back in the ring, Cole worked a chin bar. Cole hit a neck breaker. Ishii tried to come back with a few strikes in the midsection, but Cole came back with his own chop. Ishii fired and hit Cole with a forearm which dropped Cole to the mat. Ishii landed a Powerslam. Ishii hit a ground suplex for a two count. Ishii lifted Cole, but Cole pushed his way through and Cole lifted Ishii for a neck breaker. We then got a PIP [c].
Coming back from the break, Ishii landed a super-plex off the second rope. Cole went for the Boom, but Ishii moved and hit a sliding lariat for a two count. After a few rallies, Cole suplexed Ishii on his knee for a good near fall. Cole went for the Panama Sunrise, but Ishii moved and both strikes traded until both wrestlers were on the mat. Ishii hit a head kick, but Ishii took control. Jay White then ran off and took out Rocky Romero. Cole landed a low kick and the Boom for the win.
Adam Cole defeated Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall in 11:15.
After the game, we went to see an “earlier today” video where Chris Jericho and his boys were kicked out of the building. Jericho said he believed in Garcia, and Garcia is going to kick Eddie Kingston’s ass because Kingston is garbage. We then moved on to business.
McGuire’s thoughts: Can’t say I’m a fan of the flukey finish, but I will say it was a pretty good game. I must confess that unlike MJF, I’m a fan of the New Japan style, and this match reiterated that Adam Cole can work just about any style he needs to make a match a good game. Ishii has shone a lot here, which I’m a fan of, but it would have been fun to see him make a run in this tournament. It would have been even more fun to see him take a Panama Sunrise, but I digress. All in all, I’m terribly intrigued when it comes to an Adam Cole/Jay White alliance. As for behind the scenes… Jericho is so funny. I will leave it there.
Back from the break, Hook was being interviewed, but Danhousen cut him off and said Danhousen had his attention.
2. Lance Archer vs. Serpentico. Shawn Spears joined the commentary team for the game. Archer hit a release suplex that was insane. Archer clinched the Black Out for the win.
Lance Archer beat Serpentico by pinfall in 31 seconds.
After the match, Archer continued to land choke shots. Jake Roberts laughed as it all happened. We then had a video depicting the relationship between Tony Nese and Mark Sterling. Daniel Garcia then enters.
3. Eddie Kingston vs. Daniel Garcia with everyone banned from ringside. The two battled to start the game and Kingston hit a running boot before Garcia rolled to the outside. Kingston hit a series of chops. Kingston pushed Garcia down the steps. Back in the ring, Garcia took control by stretching Kingston and landing a kick.
Kingston came back with a chop, but Garcia hit a shoulder down the middle to take control. Garcia hit a series of forearms, then finally bit Kingston’s head. Kingston came back biting Garcia’s head. Kingston slapped Garcia’s leg, but Garcia came back with a strike and the two rolled on the outside. Garcia ran Kingston into the ring post and we got our second PIP [c].
Back from the break, the two were trading chops. Garcia hit a series of uppercuts, but Kingston went for an Exploder, but Garcia fought his way through and went back to stretching Kingston. Garcia landed a German Suplex for a good two count. Garcia ran a mud hole at Kingston in a corner, but then Garcia ran into a boot. Kingston went to the second rope and hit a knee to the back of Garcia’s neck.
Shortly after, Garcia sank in a Boston Crab. Garcia then sank in a Sharpshooter. Kingston reached the ropes for a break. Back on his feet, Kingston hit a vicious slap, then landed an enziguri before hitting an Exploder for a two count. Kingston hit a backdrop and spinning back fist for the win.
Eddie Kingston beat Daniel Garcia by pinfall in 12:26.
After the game, Kingston had a microphone and took off his belt. Kingston looked into the camera and said he was saving a boost for Garcia boss Chris Jericho. We then cut behind the scenes for an interview with Swerve and Keith Lee. Lee said he wanted to wipe out the entire Taz team. Swerve stepped in and said they were going to have to pay back their precious blood loss. The camera cut back to the commentary team and said they were broke Keenan and Kel. We have gone commercial.
McGuire’s thoughts: Actually, I expected more from Kingston against Garcia. And I guess I’m wrong, but I kind of expected there to be no DQs, no countdowns, etc. If you watch NJPW Strong, you saw Kingston acting like it was a blood feud between him and Garcia, but this match was very tame. And Kingston took the clean win. I guess that means we’re working towards a rematch between Kingston and Jericho (and that’s OK, by the way), but I was expecting something more. Also, can we please stop losing Daniel Garcia? Perhaps? Please?
Back from the break, Tony Schiavone interviewed Britt Baker, Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter. Storm said she would see Hayter in the first round and walked away. Excalibur then scoured the map for Wednesday’s Dynamite. We then went to the Mark Henry segment. Henry said after tonight she could be 30-0. Henry asked Jade if Marina deserved Jade’s consideration. Mark Sterling has said Cargill is the hardest working professional wrestler in the world. Sterling said balloons were raining down from the ceiling. Shafir said the problems don’t care about the balls. Henry said it was time for the main event.
4. Jade Cargill vs. Marina Shafir for the TBS title. Both women got full entries. The match started with Shafir for Cargill and Cargill moving, but Shafir hit some kicks. Cargill landed a slam to the delight of the crowd. Cargill doubled Shafir over the top to the outside. The Cargill girls worked on Shafir on the outside while the referee was distracted.
Back in the ring, Cargill hit Shafir. Cargill landed a back elbow and back suplex for a two count. Cargill worked a ground and a pound and landed on Shafir. Shafir came back with a series of kicks and Shafir worked a forward chance. Cargill countered with a suplex that earned him a two count. Excalibur threw at the last PIP of the night [c].
Coming back from the break, Shafir landed a kick and worked a leg lock. Shafir sank in a knee cap. Cargill hit the ropes for a break. Shafir ran Cargill’s knee into the ring post and confronted Sterling. Shafir shot down Sterling. Cargill hit a big boot on Shafir on the outside. Cargill tried to strangle Shafir through a table, but the table didn’t break and it looked awfully bad.
Cargill rolled Shafir into the ring and posed with his villains. Back in the ring, Cargill posed, but Shafir caught her with an ankle lock. Cargill tried to get out of it, but Shafir fired. Cargill still hit Shafir with a bunch of boots to get away with it. Cargill then clinched Jaded for the win.
Jade Cargill defeated Marina Shafir by pinfall in 11:38 to retain the TBS title.
McGuire’s thoughts: Hooooooooooo boy, I hope Shafir is doing well after this place at the table towards the end. Jade put her down a lot not in the middle of the table and Shafir hit hard. That said, I don’t care how much TV time, hope or plans that were made for Shafir in NXT, but it’s the highest profile thing Shafir has done in pro wrestling and it has more that held its end. He was a perfect challenger for Cargill to go 30-0, and I’m so hopeful for Shafir’s sequel to AEW. It was very good, complete and definitely worthy of the main event. It was Cargill’s biggest challenge for as long as I can remember and I loved it. Very good stuff here.
All in all, it was an in-between episode of Rampage. In case you missed it, Lance Archer had a squash that meant little or nothing, and then the two interview segments that were hyped were both under 30 seconds long and didn’t really go far. Still, I can’t hate it. This opener seemed to belong to New Japan Strong and the main event lifted both women into a time and a company where women need and deserve to be lifted up. Plus, Eddie Kingston is a badass. I’ll have more to say in my audio review, which may not come until Saturday morning.