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    Tuesday, April 26, 2022

    The Rampage Report (4/22/22): Problem Solved?

    Last Friday on Rampage, Tony Khan put the TBS Championship on the spot as the main event; but was it worth the billing?

    Adam Cole beats Tomohiro Ishii

    This particular Owen Hart Cup qualifier is a refreshing goodie: Adam Cole does an inter-promotion qualifying match with the Stone Pitbull, Tomohiro Ishii.

    The outcome isn't really in doubt here (while it would be nice to have someone from NJPW join the tournament and actually turn it into an event that honors all of wrestling, it's still an AEW festival) but Ishii makes it a lot of fun. It turns out that Ishii is actually shorter than Adam Cole, making this a rare opportunity for Cole to impose himself. It doesn't matter, though, as Ishii uses his granite block of a body to absorb Cole's blows, which lets it deviate from your usual match formula.

    In the end, Adam Cole needs the help of his buddy Jay White to beat Ishii, because his dick is apparently the only thing in his body that isn't made of stone. It's a serviceable win that makes Cole look believable, which is always good.

    Eddie Kingston slaps out a win

    The third-quarter match is a singles between Eddie Kingston and Daniel Garcia, which is already a banger on paper. I'm glad to report that it delivered on its potential.

    Honestly, this deserved to have the main event spot on this episode had Jade Cargill vs. Marina Shafir not been a championship match. It's a distilled Japanese/pseudo-Japanese American indie style that made it to TV, which totally works because of both men's respective pro wrestling pedigrees. 

    Eddie Kingston beats the shit out of Daniel Garcia and gets their side the win that they've so desperately needed ever since they started feuding with the Jericho Appreciation Society, so hopefully they're headed toward a big climax at Double or Nothing. While I wish Kingston's win came at the expense of one of the 2point0 guys and not the guy they're building up in Garcia, they needed a nice story match that wasn't immediately predictable. I'm okay with this.

    Jade gets win number 30

    Jade Cargill's 30th match is a TBS Championship defense against WWE alumna "The Problem" Marina Shafir.

    Before anything, let me get this out of the way: there wasn't technically anything wrong with how this match was wrestled. Jade stuck to what she does best, and Marina has had enough experience in the pro wrestling ring to carry herself in a decent match. It's just that the two styles clashed in a match that just had no business being a relatively long TV main event.

    MMA gimmicks like Marina Shafir need the device of a short match to look good. Not everyone can be a Shayna Baszler, and Marina just doesn't have that much experience to be as compelling as her fellow Horsewoman Shayna. The problem is Jade works better in matches where she can capitalize at the very end after taking a bit of a beating; and if the idea of Marina's "The Problem"' character is that she should be ending matches quickly, the whole thing kind of gasses out when she's called on to run some extended offense.

    It also doesn't help that the Pittsburgh crowd seems to be exhausted, as this is the very end of a long taping night. They've done Dark: Elevation, two hours of Dynamite, and now maybe an hour of Rampage. They just were not hot for it, and the crowd atmosphere also goes a long way.

    It was an attempt to do something big for Jade, and I can't really fault them for trying. A rep is a rep, and this is a lot better than simply relegating the championship match to the middle of the card, sandwiched between two bigger matches. It just didn't work out, but that's okay; they can try again another day.

    Rampage 4/22/22 Report: This episode of Rampage isn't as must-see as the last two episodes with bigger stars, but it's still a lot of fun and worth watching. B

    Little rampages

    • As the MJF/Wardlow feud advances, this time "Smart" Mark Sterling hires the services of Lance Archer, so Archer gets the tune-up/shine-up match on Rampage. This might be an unpopular opinion, but this actually feels more insulting to the fan's intelligence than most things WWE does. The Butcher and Lance Archer are known to AEW fans as big losers, even though they're big guys, and Tony Khan thinks he can whitewash their reputations with a quick squash on the Rampage before Wardlow's to face them on Dynamite. On the other hand, before Wardlow turned on MJF at Revolution, he enjoyed the benefits of having televised squashes leading up to that turn, which solidified him as a monster. I understand that MJF is just throwing bodies in Wardlow's way, but can't he just hire people who are actually proven to be competent so that Wardlow's wins look credible?

    Photo from AEW


    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor-in-Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast. He gets by in this hard-knock life through working in advertising. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, and he likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.

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    Item Reviewed: The Rampage Report (4/22/22): Problem Solved? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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