By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 12)
Taped October 27 in Boston, Massachusetts at Agganis Arena
Aired October 29, 2021 on TNT
Excalibur checked in to say hello and then we went right to Bryan Danielson’s theme music. The commentary team was Excalibur, Chris Jericho, Ricky Starks and Taz.
1. Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston in an AEW Eliminator tournament semifinal match. Kingston marched to the ring and the crowd was awfully hot as the bell rang. The two felt each other out, but that ended when Kingston hit a loud chop while Danielson was against the ropes. Danielson hit a couple kicks to Kingston’s shin and then those kicks moved to Kingston’s chest.
The two traded echoing chops in the corner before Danielson landed a clothesline and a running kick on Kingston, who rolled to the outside. Back inside the ring, Kingston went for some kicks, but Danielson kind of/sort of mocked him. As a result, Kingston went back to some chops. Danielson, whose chest was already beet red, took back control with an uppercut and a series of strikes to Kingston’s arm.
Before long, Kingston hit a knee and went back to landing some chops. Danielson fought back with a headbutt and the two traded headbutts. Danielson went back to Kingston’s arm, but that didn’t last long because the two traded strikes again. Kingston hit a neck-breaker and that got Kingston a two-count. Kingston was relentless with more chops before biting Danielson, who was on the ground in a corner. Excalibur threw to a PIP [c].
Back from the break, the two were on their feet and Danielson’s chest looked wildly disgusting. Eventually, Danielson hit double boots onto Kingston, who was on the outside. Kingston came back with a Saito Suplex on the outside of the ring. Danielson made it back into the ring right before the 10-count completed, keeping the match going. From there, Kingston hit another suplex in the ring and that resulted in a two-count.
Kingston stretched Danielson, but Danielson made it to the ropes for a break. Kingston hit more chops and perched Danielson on the top rope. Eventually, Kingston went for a super-plex, but Danielson countered and hit a headbutt. Kingston responded by slapping Danielson. Kingston tried for the super-plex again, but Danielson countered and hit a belly-to-back suplex on Kingston from the top rope.
Back on their feet, Danielson hit some chops and an uppercut. Kingston fought back with more chops. Danielson came back with some kicks. Danielson hit a series of what used to be known as Yes! Kicks. Danielson went for a knee, but Kingston fell to the ground, so Danielson hit a bunch of elbows and went for the arm bar. Kingston made it to his feet, however, and landed a DDT. Both men were out in the center of the ring.
On their knees, the two traded strikes. They both then got to their feet and Kingston hit a back-fist, taking both guys down. The crowd gave them a standing ovation. Kingston crawled over to Danielson, and Danielson sunk in a Triangle Choke. Kingston gave Danielson the middle finger right before passing out.
Bryan Danielson defeated Eddie Kingston via ref stoppage in 16:24.
McGuire’s Musings: Loved it. Absolutely excellent stuff. I would have loved to see what happened after the two got back up, but Excalibur threw to commercial right away. I can’t imagine there being a better tournament match in this tournament, but we’ll see what the finals bring. So far, though, this wins the award by far. Kingston showed great fire and lost nothing in defeat. Actually, he gained a bunch. And Danielson shows more and more edge each time he steps into an AEW ring. Fantastic.
Back from break, Excalibur showed highlights of the match and Danielson extended his hand, but Kingston rejected it and left the ring. So that answers that. Anyway, Tony Schiavone interviewed CM Punk backstage. Kingston interrupted the interview and was very angry about his match’s result. There were a handful of bleeps. Punk called Kingston unprofessional and the interview ran out of time.
McGuire’s Musings: Well, we know Punk’s dancing partner for Full Gear. This ought to be fun.
2. Dante Martin vs. Matt Sydal. The match began with Sydal lecturing Martin. The two shook hands before getting down to business. Sydal went for a snap-mare, but Martin flipped out of it. Sydal worked Martin’s left arm, but Martin countered out of it eventually and the two traded a series of counters. In a cool spot, Martin threw Sydal into a turnbuckle and hit a high-as-hell springboard dropkick. Martin landed a moonsault onto Sydal, who was on the outside of the ring. A PIP showed up [c].
Back from the break, Martin hit a kick and climbed to the top rope, which resulted in nothing. Sydal hit a back heel kick and a vicious knee strike. Sydal hit a “twisting dipsy-doo,” as Jericho called it. Sydal then hit a bunch of kicks and a roll-up for a close two-count. Martin fired up and hit some elbows, which led to a sunset flip roll-up of his own and a two-count.
Martin took Sydal down and then hit a leaping double-foot-stomp for a two-count. Martin climbed to the top, but Sydal hit a chop and the two fought on the top rope. Martin pushed Sydal off, so Sydal hit a jumping huracanrana and the two traded pin attempts. Martin fired up again and hit some elbows, but Sydal hit a series of kicks. Sydal went for the Lightning Spiral, but Martin countered it, hit the double springboard moonsault and got the win.
Dante Martin defeated Matt Sydal via pinfall in 11:00.
McGuire’s Musings: I don’t know that the world needed a third Dante Martin/Matt Sydal match, if only because Sydal won the first two encounters, but this was a nice make-good for Martin as his star continues to rise. My goodness, how that guy isn’t on some basketball team somewhere with those hops is beyond me. I liked the respect both guys showed for each other and there were a few neat spots in between all the action. It was everything anyone would think it would be and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Mark Henry hosted the split-screen interview for the main event. Henry reminded Abadon she can be in line for a title shot if she wins. Abadon bled from the mouth and grunted. Baker said she would send Abby “straight back to hell, where she belongs.” When they panned back to Abadon, nobody was in the frame, which was funny.
3. AEW Women’s Champion Britt Baker vs. Abadon in a non-title match. Abadon screamed at Baker, who retreated to the corner. Abadon kicked Baker and landed a stunner, which forced Baker to the outside. Hayter and Rebel pulled out a table and a chair while Abadon stood inside the ring. Excalibur then threw to commercial break [c].
Back from break, Abadon landed a Senton with a chair onto Baker. With a table set up outside the ring, Baker hit a swinging neck-breaker, but the table didn’t break and it looked like a nasty bump for Abadon specifically. Baker tried to suplex Abadon through the table, then, but it didn’t break again. Abadon rose up, Undertaker style, and went after Baker.
Abadon went under the ring and grabbed a bag of thumbtacks. It looked like someone was already bleeding, but I couldn’t tell if it was just Abadon’s gimmick. Abadon slammed Baker onto the thumbtacks and got a very close near-fall. Baker grabbed a chair and threw it at Abadon. Baker put Abadon’s head in the chair and landed a stomp. Abadon sat up again, though, while Baker put on the glove.
Baker hit a super-kick, stuffed Abadon’s mouth with thumbtacks and hit another super-kick. Baker went for the Lock Jaw, but Abadon bit Baker’s fingers. Hayter hit Abadon, but Abadon bit Rebel. With the distraction, Baker rolled up Abadon and got the pin on the thumbtacks.
Britt Baker defeated Abadon via pinfall in 11:18.
McGuire’s Musings: I liked this a lot more than I thought I’d like it and a couple of the near-falls actually had me. It was a stretch to think Baker would take the loss, but with it not being a title match, I ended up convincing myself it could happen. A couple of those bumps were nasty and Abadon walks away from this looking like a major player, so I hope this wasn’t a “we need something for Halloween” moment for her, without any future plans. Baker, meanwhile, deserves so much more credit than she gets – and I know she already gets a lot. But, man. She’s up for anything in that ring, and having the hardcore element in her repertoire goes an awfully long way. You ain’t seeing Roman Reigns slammed on thumbtacks during any old SmackDown, now are you?
Overall, this was an entertaining episode of Rampage. The Danielson/Kingston match is obviously well worth your time (and, it should be noted, was perhaps the most NJPW style match I’ve seen on AEW TV this side of anything Kenny Omega has done). The main event was a lot of fun, and Sydal vs. Martin delivered. It’s a busy weekend for everybody with Halloween, but if you have 20 minutes, at least check out the Kingston vs. Danielson bout. You won’t regret it. I’ll be by shortly with my audio review for Dot Net members.