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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Feb. 18, 2022): Switchblade shines

AEW Rampage (Feb. 18, 2022) emanated from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN. The Slam Dunk show featured Adam Cole being a cheat, Will Hobbs and Dante Martin cooking their Team Taz beef, as well as the in-ring debut of “Switchblade” Jay White.

Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show followed by reactions.

Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks, and Chris Jericho were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Adam Cole vs. 10

10 stormed to the ring ready to wreck Cole. The big man muscled the small man until the small man went after the big man’s leg. Cole went to work on 10’s knee using the ring post, ring steps, and ropes to do major damage. 10’s knee buckled often for the rest of the bout.

10 was still able to rely on power to make it competitive with a spinebuster.

Cole’s attempts at the Panama Sunrise were thwarted with a back body drop and a spear. 10 went for the full nelson several times and finally locked it in tight on the fourth try. While still in the submission, Cole corralled referee Aubrey Edwards into the corner to block the view of his mule kick. Cole lowered the boom with a knee strike for victory. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly celebrated on stage with the winner.

Adam Cole defeated 10.

Face of the Revolution qualifier: Will Hobbs vs. Dante Martin

Hobbs crushed Martin for much of the match throwing him in and out of the ring. Powerhouse wore down the speedster. Martin eventually rallied with a springboard European uppercut. Hobbs rolled out of the ring, so Martin gave chase for a springboard corkscrew attack.

Back inside the ring, Martin connected on a flying dropkick. Hobbs kicked out of the cover. As Martin tried for an Irish whip, Hobbs exploded for a spinebuster. 1, 2, 3. P-p-powerhouse.

Will Hobbs defeated Dante Martin.

Hobbs joins Keith Lee and Wardlow in the Face of the Revolution ladder match.

Jade Cargill wanted to know who was her next challenger for the TBS Championship. Matt Hardy proposed Bunny as a money matchup. The contest was later made official for next week on Rampage.

Serena Deeb vs. Angelica Risk

The Professor toyed with her opponent before closing out with a powerbomb and Serenity Lock for victory in 2:05 of the 5-minute challenge.

Serena Deeb defeated Angelica Risk.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Jay White entered the Forbidden Door to AEW, because a man such as himself can do whatever he wants. White plans to dispose of Trent as an act of good faith to Adam Cole, the Young Bucks, and the rest of the Elite. Trent replied that he will slam the Forbidden Door in White’s face. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

In the match announcement portion of the program, the tag teams for the battle royale on Dynamite include Alex Reynolds & John Silver, 2point0, Santana & Ortiz, Young Bucks, FTR, Private Party, reDRagon, Gunn Club, Butcher & Blade, and Best Friends. The winner advances to a three-way with Jurassic Express for the tag titles.

Sammy Guevara will defend the TNT Championship against Andrade on Rampage next week. After Andrade stole Sammy’s titles, AEW should make another one so Sammy can carry around three belts when he gets them all back.

For the Revolution PPV, Hangman versus Cole for the AEW World Championship and Dr. Britt Baker DMD versus Thunder Rosa for the AEW Women’s World Championship are official.

“Switchblade” Jay White vs. Trent

The rugged fight spilled to the outside early. Once the competitors reentered the ring, White took control by suplexing Trent over the ropes.

Switchblade followed with a suplex on the apron. Trent was feeling the pain in his lower back. White continued the assault with a Muta Lock submission.

As the match progressed, Trent charged for a spear, but White countered for a knee strike to the head.

White then suplexed Trent onto an open chair on the floor. Ouch!

The bout erupted into fisticuffs in the center of the ring. Trent earned the edge with a powerful lariat and piledriver. White refused to lose. As Trent went for a Strong Zero finisher, White smoothly countered to transition for a Blade Runner to win.

Jay White defeated Trent.

Afterward, White taunted Orange Cassidy before exiting.

The main event was a rock and roller. If commentary didn’t mention that it was the first singles match between “Switchblade” Jay White and Trent, I never would have guessed. White and Trent shared great chemistry. It helped that they were familiar as tag team adversaries. Switchblade lived up to his reputation. His cool charisma shined with amusing mannerisms as he moved like silk. Trent held up his end of the bargain by fighting with fire in his belly and taking hard bumps.

Will Hobbs beating Dante Martin was a genuine surprise for me, and I love it. AEW likes having the good guys win feuds. Plus, Martin could tear the house down in a ladder match at the PPV. That’s part of what made this result a shock. Hobbs needed this win to avoid becoming a stepping stone. Martin will be fine moving forward. He’s young and will easily sway crowd support with his electrifying high-flying.

As a lover of hoss fights, I now hope it is all meat for the Face of the Revolution ladder match. Keith Lee, Wardlow, and Hobbs should be joined by men of their ilk, like Brian Cage, Miro, Lance Archer, Brody King. It would certainly be an interesting experiment to see how an all hoss ladder match would play out.

Adam Cole and 10 worked a smart match. Cole was overwhelmed by 10’s power, so he used his wits to outsmart 10 in the end. With Cole on deck for Hangman Page and the AEW World Championship, I wasn’t sold that Cole has a chance. It is important for Cole to build momentum into making fans believe a title change could take place at Revolution. The first half of this match convinced me a little. Cole was ruthless going after the knee. That same strategy would be effective on Hangman as well, since the cowboy’s prime moves rely on the lower body for the Buckshot lariat and Deadeye piledriver. In the second half of the bout, Cole had trouble and resorted to cheating. There are levels to this game, and 10 is not on Hangman’s level. Cole needs to step up to be more dominant against this caliber of opponent before the PPV. Cole’s bag of cheating tricks could be the great equalizer, so Hangman needs to be prepared.

Grade: B+

Rampage was enjoyable and went down smooth. It had a good variety of matches with brains versus brawn, speed versus power, and a slugfest main event.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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