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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Apr. 1, 2022): Bask in hoss fight glory

AEW Rampage (Apr. 1, 2022) emanated from Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC. The show featured the Young Bucks against Top Flight in a high-flying duel as well as a hoss fight main event between Keith Lee and Will Hobbs.

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.

Young Bucks vs. Top Flight

The Martin brothers were too much to handle early, so the Jackson brothers used their wits to play cat and mouse tricks to take control. Top Flight found their groove once again.

The Bucks turned the tide for good when Matt pushed Dante off the ropes into the guardrail. Nick and Darius threw blows in the center of the ring. Darius tried to score a backslide, but Nick escaped. Matt entered the ring for a BTE Trigger and victory.

Young Bucks defeated Top Flight.

Kris Statlander welcomed us to the other side of Kris Statlander. She used alien magic to flip the screen.

Dan Lambert wants to take the high road and not insult Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti. They don’t need any help embarrassing themselves. Lambert will never accept their request for a match with his team. Sammy chimed in on the big screen from outside the venue. Since Lambert won’t give them the match, he’ll have to convince him the hard way. Sammy and Tay smashed Lambert’s car with sledgehammers.

Danhausen tried to curse Hook again. Nothing happened, and Hook walked away. Danhausen was flabbergasted.

House of Black vs. Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, & Fuego del Sol

Grayson opened with fire for a tope con hilo onto Buddy Matthews. Grayson maintained control inside the ring. Uno reached out, but Fuego stole the tag. The House of Black promptly beat Fuego down. Brody King pressed the little man into the air crashing onto the Dark Order. Uno and Grayson rallied with an electric chair toss into powerbomb teamwork maneuver. King and Matthews battled the Dark Order on the floor. Fuego surprisingly connected on a poison rana to Malakai Black. As the masked man launched for a springboard attack, Black cracked him with a spinning heel kick flush to the chin. Black knelt on Fuego’s chest for the easy pin.

House of Black defeated Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, & Fuego del Sol.

With that win, the House of Black earned the Chris Jericho Sports Entertainer of the Week honor.

The Young Bucks ran down their own list of career accolades. FTR has accomplished quite a bit as well, but they have never beaten the Bucks. Matt and Nick accepted FTR’s challenge for tag team action next week on Dynamite.

Commentary mentioned that Dr. Britt Baker DMD is boycotting AEW until their return to her hometown Pittsburgh, PA on April 20.

Jamie Hayter vs. Skye Blue

The winner qualifies for the Owen Hart tournament. Hayter roughed up Blue with a high collar suplex into the turnbuckles. Blue showed spunk to rally with a crucifix bomb and a sunset flip. Hayter sandbagged on an Irish whip to counter for a backdrop driver. Hayter charged forward into a kick from Blue. The underdog climbed the corner, but Hayter hit the ropes knocking Blue down. Hayter executed a superplex followed by a brainbuster. That set up a ripcord lariat for victory.

Jamie Hayter defeated Skye Blue.

Penta Oscuro warned the House of Black not to forget about Death Triangle. If they play with fire, they will get burned. Cero miedo.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Will Hobbs was agitated about Keith Lee receiving so much attention. Hobbs will prove Lee won’t bask in glory until he basks in defeat. Lee agreed that Hobbs is indubitably a powerhouse, but he better be prepared to bask in Lee’s glory. The end is near for Hobbs. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Will Hobbs vs. Keith Lee

Hoss fight! Lockup stalemate to start followed by a shoulder block stalemate. Hobbs kept at it to knock Lee backward. Lee bounced off the ropes to knock Hobbs out of the ring. Fisticuffs on the floor were controlled by Lee. Hobbs gained an advantage by shoving Lee into the ring post and hammering a running clothesline smashing Lee into the steel barricade.

Hobbs was in control landing heavy knees and a falling lariat to pummel Lee. Lee rallied with chops, punches, and a stiff elbow blow. Hobbs countered for a back body drop. Lee ran the ropes right into a powerslam from Hobbs.

Lee regrouped to toss Hobbs across the ring. After a headbutt from Lee, Ricky Starks ran down from commentary. Lee punched a chair out of Starks’ hands. Swerve Strickland ran down to brawl with Starks.

In the hullabaloo, Hobbs planted Lee with a spinebuster. The referee was focused on the extracurriculars and completely missed the pinfall. Once Hobbs got the ref’s attention, Powerhouse turned around into a fireman’s carry powerslam from Lee for the 1, 2, 3.

Keith Lee defeated Will Hobbs.

Afterward, Starks went wild with a Roshambo to Swerve through the timekeeper table.

Lee goozled Starks, but Hobbs plowed through for a spear into a table in the corner. Team Taz stood tall to close the show.

Woo wee! The main event between Keith Lee and Hobbs was a bruising battle of behemoths. It was more on the methodical side, but every strike was thrown with full force for maximum enjoyment. The post-match scene was loads of fun. Team Taz is upping their level in this feud. Ricky Starks is unleashing his energy in all the right ways.

As far as I’m concerned, the better hoss is still up for debate. The shenanigans from Starks and Swerve Strickland allowed for both hosses to pick up a winning pin. The one from Hobbs was unofficial, since the referee was distracted. Lee’s pin was far from emphatic. I mean the move was a killer, but there was no momentum before it to claim definitively who is better. Hobbs just turned right into it. As long as we get round two, I don’t mind this finish. It fit well with the story of stalemate action throughout the match.

Young Bucks versus Top Flight was a popcorn bout. Just sit back and enjoy the show. They wrestled with a frenetic pace. The match felt like a sprint of action. It will be cool to see this rivalry evolve over the years with rematches.

I do have a bone to pick though. Commentary made me cranky by referring to the Young Bucks versus Top Flight as a dream match. I was also annoyed at them saying this rematch was 16 months in the making. Yo, hold the bullshit on that sandwich, please. If this was such a big match, then it would have been built up more than a throwaway announcement with zero story leading in. The bout sells itself based on ability alone. There’s no need to snow me with ridiculous hype. To their credit, they made up for it with the fun fact that Brody King has extremely large hands. The more you know.

Hmm, the Sammy Guevara segment made me realize I must officially be old. There was once a day when I probably would have laughed at his destructive antics. In current times, I shook my head at that jerk move. The escalation seemed quite excessive, not to mention juvenile. What’s next? Are Sammy and Tay going to toilet paper Lambert’s house and leave a flaming bag of poop on his doorstep?

House of Black versus Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, & Fuego del Sol was another match with a variety of cool moves. The finish was pretty wicked and made Malakai Black look like a stud. Color me confused about what AEW is trying to do with Fuego. I don’t view him as a sympathetic underdog, because he acted selfishly stealing the tag from Uno. Rushing in with such bravado only to get his butt kicked was amusing though. Fuego takes a beating pretty well, so his development should be somewhat entertaining.

Jamie Hayter picked up a quality win. That was the type of bout to build her up as a serious threat in the future. Skye Blue looked good as well in the underdog role. I think this was her first chance to really strut her stuff in AEW. Her previous contests have been on the short end. This one allowed Blue to display her arsenal of offense.

Grade: A-

After a long evening of wrestling with the ROH PPV, Rampage managed to keep my energy high. The action was jamming, and the hoss fight was hosstastic.

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

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