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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Mar. 11, 2022): Swerve’s House

AEW Rampage (Mar. 11, 2022) emanated from the Hertz Arena in Fort Myers, FL. The show featured Swerve Strickland for his in-ring debut and Darby Allin being saved by a pop-in from Jeff Hardy.

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

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

Darby Allin vs. Marq Quen

Sting and Isiah Kassidy were ringside. Both competitors working strategically to pick each other apart. Allin scored the first major move with a superplex. Quen fired back for a standing backflip knee drop and a backflip flatliner. When Quen picked Allin up for a stalling suplex, Allin countered for a Scorpion Death Drop.

As Allin tried to close with a Coffin Drop, Kassidy caused a distraction. Sting roughed up Kassidy, but Quen took advantage to shove Allin off the turnbuckles. Quen followed with the move of the match for a flying 450 splash down to the floor.

Allin survived to continue the fight. Quen went for the Shooting Star Press. Allin caught him in the air with a Fujiwara armbar to earn the victory.

Darby Allin defeated Marq Quen.

Allin held the submission tight after the bell. Referee Bryce Remsburg stood there with a goofy look on his face grimacing at Quen’s pain. The full AHFO squad came out. Jeff Hardy’s music hit. He danced on stage, accompanied by Matt Hardy in Hardy Boyz gear. The AHFO exited off to the side. The Hardys had a long-distance staredown with Sting and Allin to tease soft tension.

Dan Lambert is confident in Scorpio Sky keeping the TNT Championship against Wardlow next week on Dynamite. Wardlow will go down as a footnote in history. Nothing changes for Sky. It will be a different opponent with the same result to keep his unbeaten streak alive.

The House of Black spoke of violence as an addiction. Touch the darkness, feel the darkness. They know dark secrets.

Mercedes Martinez vs. Jamie Hayter

Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Reba were ringside. The action began with plodding physicality. It escalated into rugged fisticuffs. Martinez gained momentum on a variety of suplexes. She executed a triple set of butterfly suplexes and a spider German suplex off the turnbuckles.

Hayter’s pals sensed impending doom, so Reba created a distraction. Baker pounded punches on her former mercenary. Hayter obliterated Martinez with a lariat for victory.

Jamie Hayter defeated Mercedes Martinez.

Baker wasn’t finished. She wanted to curb stomp Martinez onto the women’s world title, but Thunder Rosa ran in with a chair for the save. Baker’s crew escaped to higher ground.

Hikaru Shida hasn’t forgotten what Serena Deeb did to her. She wants REVENGE! That return beating wasn’t good enough. Shida wants to cut off Deeb’s head.

Keith Lee vs. QT Marshall

Aaron Solo and Nick Comoroto were ringside. Lee pummeled Marshall for much of the contest. QT got crafty to score some offense. With interfering help from his students, QT tried for a cutter. Lee blocked it and flattened his opponent with a shoulder tackle. A fireman’s carry powerslam sealed the deal.

Keith Lee defeated QT Marshall.

Solo and Comoroto tried to take a piece of Lee, but he crushed them with a suplex and powerbomb. Ricky Starks and Will Hobbs saw enough from the commentary table. They charged the ring. Lee duked it out a little, however, Hobbs stood tall with a brutal spinebuster.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Tony Nese was agitated that he didn’t get special treatment when signing. Nese called out Swerve Strickland to give him the welcome he deserves. Swerve planned to whip that hater’s ass. Put some respect on his name. Swerve isn’t just a rapper. He’s a mogul. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Tony Nese vs. Swerve Strickland

Swerve wrestled cocky, and Nese made him pay for it by attacking the throat. They kept it a tight battle then picked up the flashiness midway through. Swerve showed smoothness and strength for a tilt-a-whirl slam and a deadlift brainbuster. Nese came close to victory with a fireman’s carry gutbuster and a 450 splash.

Swerve rallied with a nifty combo to Nese on the apron. A leg sweep led to a thrust kick followed by a jumping stomp down to the floor. Back in the ring, Swerve connected on a rolling flatliner maneuver. He finished with a flying double stomp.

Swerve Strickland defeated Tony Nese.

Swerve Strickland was solid in his AEW debut. The variety of kick attacks added spice to the match. Based on this one performance, Swerve is on par as a mid-card attraction. He has plenty of room to grow and build momentum. Nese continues to be a crisp and efficient wrestler with flippy bursts. At this point, it is a guarantee that he’ll have a good match. I’d like to see Nese with an opportunity to rise up the ranks, but he needs something for the fans to latch on to reach that next level of stardom.

Darby Allin versus Marq Quen was more methodical than I anticipated. Once they got into flip mode, the action was cool. Quen’s 450 splash to the floor and Allin’s counter for the Scorpion Death Drop popped. The finish was creative with Allin showing ingenuity for an armbar trap. That shows how versatile he has become in finding the right moves at the right time.

Jamie Hayter and Mercedes Martinez put on a fun scrap. I would have liked to see a little more hoss exchanges, but it was still a fitting fight for their rivalry. Hayter showed her character more by wrestling with cheap little tactics, such as raking the eye, rubbing her wrist tape over the face, and pulling hair. It fits well with her image as a mean one. This bout could have gone either way. Martinez’s veteran savvy shined to gain the edge. Hayter stole the W, however, Martinez didn’t lose any star power in the process. Martinez does need some wins soon though if AEW wants to keep her aura strong.

Keith Lee roughhoused QT Marshall as expected. I was surprised QT connected on some serious offense. He scored more damage than his match against Hook. Ergo, Hook is tougher the Lee. Maybe we’ll get a chance to find out for certain. Will Hobbs’ spinebuster was brutal, so he’ll probably be next in line for Lee. If Powerhouse can’t finish the job, then Team Taz should consider sending Hook.

Quick thoughts. After typing AHFO, I realized that Andrade’s crew needs a new name. El Idolo Enterprises must remove the Hardy Family moniker. For the House of Black, it’s getting to the point that I never know what they are talking about, but it sounds cool. Shida’s promo was killer. AEW should up the stakes to a beheading match between Shida and Deeb.

Grade: B-

Rampage was an average outing from AEW, which still means it was entertaining overall. The show was easy to digest, although, there was nothing meaty or any lasting memories.

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

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