AEW Rampage Preview for February 4, 2022
After that shocking ending to Dynamite on Wednesday night, Rampage is loaded up with four singles bouts, two of which are championship fights, to fill your weekend wrestling needs! The TNT Title and the FTW Title will both be on the line, Mercedes Martinez competes inside the AEW ring for the first time since 2019, and Adam Cole looks to continue his singles match win-streak!
The action gets started at 10pm EST/9pm CST on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audience, and get prepared for it all by heading to head to the official AEW YouTube channel for Dynamite highlights, the latest episodes of Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, and Road To, as well as a special Control Center with Tony Schiavone!
TNT TITLE MATCH...
Sammy Guevara vs. Isiah Kassidy
The TNT Title Open Challenge strikes once more, and this time Sammy Guevara has to contend with the challenge of Isiah Kassidy as a result! It's a first-time singles outing for these two competitors, but it's not like “The Spanish God” is an unknown quantity to The AHFO, particularly “Big Money” Matt Hardy. Hardy has gone one-on-one with Guevara more than any other individual on the AEW roster, four times in all, and actually defeated the 2-Time TNT Champion on three of those occasions.
Suffice to say, there's not a better man on the AEW roster to give Kassidy some tricks of the trade than Hardy, and that absolutely puts one-half of Private Party in an advantageous position. Sammy, on the other hand, is coming into Friday night having gone through a physically taxing Ladder Match with Cody just over a week ago.
Now Guevara has had some down time to recover, but the kind of battle he experienced at Dynamite: Beach Break lingers. Will he come into Friday night still feeling the ramifications of that Unification battle with Cody Rhodes? Will Matt Hardy be able to pass onto Isiah some of the knowledge that helped him own Guevara in 2020? If The AHFO keep themselves out of this affair, this has the potential be an excellent athletic contest between two of the most dynamic young athletes in AEW. But realistically, this is The AHFO, so for Sammy it has the potential to be a glorified handicap match with Kassidy's compatriots doing whatever they can to get a championship in their camp!
Adam Cole vs. Evil Uno
Adam Cole is angry, to say the least, and what happened with Orange Cassidy at Dynamite: Beach Break is the most likely culprit for why that is the situation. Fortunately for Cole, just as it was for his girlfriend AEW Women's World Champion Dr. Britt Baker last year, that Lights Out loss does not pop in the record books. Thus he can still claim an undefeated streak as a singles wrestler, Adam can still say that officially he was never beat, but in his heart he knows the reality, and it has obviously eaten away at him over the last week.
So it is this Friday night, when Cole takes on Evil Uno in hopes of notching a tenth victory on his record, that Adam has promised to hurt The Dark Order member. It feels as if Cole wants to make an example of Evil Uno, that he is arrogantly looking past Uno as if victory is a sure thing, and that is undoubtedly a mistake.
There are few more cerebral athletes on the AEW roster than Evil Uno, and although a great deal of his career here has been spent embroiled in tag team and multi-man situations with his Dark Order brethren, that does not mean he should be underestimated as a singles competitor. Evil Uno does not back down from his foes, Bryan Danielson could testify to that if he was honest about their November bout, and he does not fear. He will stand toe-to-toe with Adam Cole and he will bring a fight that Bay Bay does not seem to be anticipating.
This should be very interesting...
FTW TITLE MATCH...
“Absolute” Ricky Starks(c) vs. Jay Lethal
It's something that's been building up for the last several weeks, but this Wednesday night on Dynamite it will finally go down with the FTW Title at stake! With 20 years in the game under his belt, Jay Lethal arrived in AEW through the Forbidden Door, and immediately stepped up to Sammy Guevara's TNT Title Open Challenge. Although unsuccessful in that debut match, it gave Lethal a good taste of what the level of competition in AEW had to offer, and since then he has gotten the lay of the land while putting together a series of victories in both singles and tag team competition.
Clearly there was something Lethal did not appreciate about Ricky Starks, Team Taz, and how they handled their business with Dante Martin, because he did not hesitate to step up and do the right thing. Lethal had no problem telling Starks just what he thought about him, Team Taz, and the value of that FTW Title that Ricky took from Brian Cage several months ago. No member of Team Taz has ever taken kindly to having anyone sticking a nose in their business, nor hesitated to use their numbers to make sure those noses get broken, but Lethal wasn't about to let that game be played against Dante Martin.
As such Lethal has now willingly placed himself in the orange-and-black crosshairs, and expressed his desire to claim the FTW Title as his own not so much because Jay actually desires the unsanctioned championship, but rather because he knows Ricky Starks cherishes it. The time for talking is done, the time for the fight is upon us! Will Lethal be able to overcome to numbers game of Team Taz, or will he end up just another victim under the FTW flag?
Thunder Rosa vs. Mercedes Martinez
Thunder Rosa should have been part of the TBS Title Tournament Finals, or at the very least, she should have received an even chance at making that happen. When she faced Jade Cargill in the Semi-Finals at Dynamite: New Year's Bash, it certainly felt like the momentum was swinging La Mera Mera's way but then a mysterious assailant assaulted Rosa from outside the ring, and all but guaranteed that would not be the case.
After Jade dropped Thunder to got the victory, the mystery proved short-lived as Mercedes Martinez revealed herself to the world and resumed the assault. Martinez had not been seen in AEW since way back in 2019 where she first entered as the Joker Card in the All Out 2019 Women's Casino Battle Royale, and then competed in a AEW Dark tag team bout.
So what better way to declare her return to the fold than by targeting one of the premier women on the roster, someone with whom she has plenty of history, Thunder Rosa! Over the course of their careers Thunder and Mercedes have battled in tag team bouts and in singles competition, eight meetings in all since 2017, and the balance of victory is tipped quite handily in the favor of La Mera Mera.
Is it that history that has brought Martinez here to AEW? Is she aiming to balance the scales of what came before? Or is this all about the now, and targeting one of the top athletes in the company, using Thunder Rosa to make a statement to the rest of the Women's Division? Whatever the case may be, this is absolutely going to a fight once that bell rings!
Rampage comes at you this Friday night from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL promptly at 10pm EST/9pm CST on TNT, and at AEWPlus.com for the international audiences. Two championships are on the line as Sammy Guevara puts the TNT Title on the line against Private Party's Isiah Kassidy and Jay Lethal challenges Ricky Starks for the FTW Title! Plus, Thunder Rosa finally gets a chance to square up with Mercedes Martinez while Evil Uno aims to derail Adam Cole's nine match singles win streak!
That's all going down on TNT, but fans can prepare for it by visiting the official AEW YouTube channel for DYNAMITE highlights, the latest episodes of Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, Road To, as well as a new edition of the AEW Control Center with Tony Schiavone!