By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 14)
Live from Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
Aired November 12, 2021 on TNT
The broadcast team of Taz, Excalibur, Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho checked in to kick off the show. Jungle Boy’s music then hit.
1. Jungle Boy vs. Bobby Fish. Jungle Boy jumpstarted the match and attacked Fish. After a bunch of strikes, Jungle Boy climbed to the top, but Fish wrenched Jungle Boy’s fist, which forced him to fall outside. Back inside the ring, Jungle Boy worked his way out of a suplex attempt and landed the top rope arm-drag that Fish thwarted before.
Jungle Boy landed some chops on Fish, who was in the corner. With Jungle Boy on the apron, Jungle Boy tried to suplex Fish to the outside, but Fish countered and tried for a German Suplex, but Jungle Boy blocked it. Fish then tripped Jungle Boy and Jungle Boy landed on his shoulder on the apron. Fish threw Jungle Boy into a guard rail and hit some punches before face-planting Jungle Boy.
Fish went to run Jungle Boy into the ring post, but Jungle Boy countered and rammed Fish’s head into it. That wasn’t enough for Jungle Boy to take control, however, and Fish kept working Jungle Boy’s arm. A PIP then commenced [c].
Back from break, the two traded blows inside the ring. Fish landed a back-drop for a two-count. Fish ran at Jungle Boy, but Jungle Boy flipped him and went for a pair of German Suplexes. Jungle Boy landed only one of them before Fish fought back and rammed Jungle Boy’s shoulder into the corner. Fish went for a kick, but Jungle Boy moved and eventually went for a DDT. Fish countered and hit an Exploder into the ropes for such a close near-fall that I think the ref just stopped counting to save the match from stopping.
Jungle Boy appeared to be out and Fish hit a bunch of kicks. Fish went for another kick, but Jungle Coy countered into the Bear Trap and Fish tapped.
Jungle Boy defeated Bobby Fish via submission in 10:13.
After the match, Adam Cole ran to the ring and brawled with Jungle Boy until Fish popped up and helped Cole. Cole and Fish hugged. Cole went under the ring to grab some chairs. Christian Cage and Luchasaurus ran in to make the save and the two roughed up Fish while Cole left the ring. Cage hit the Killswitch on Fish. A video package on Bryan Danielson vs. Miro was then shown.
McGuire’s Musings: The was good and the story was simple, but effective: Fish was hired to hurt Jungle Boy going into the Full Gear match, and that’s exactly what Fish did, even if Fish took the loss. The crowd was hot throughout, which was great to see, but the pop that the Cole/Fish hug got really makes me wonder if those two have a future together in some fashion in AEW. They have to, right? Either way, back to the match. Fish had more offense than I expected because nearly the entire match was his offense. Or, in other words, he came out of this looking very good, despite him taking the beat down at the end. Also, how about that near-fall? Yikes.
Back from the break, a recap video of the Adam Page/Kenny Omega angle aired. Adam Cole was cutting a promo backstage, but Adam Page interrupted. Cole stepped aside and The Young Bucks stepped forward. Page said he knew the Bucks didn’t have anything to do with Wednesday, and Page apologized for being an ass to them previously and costing them a shot at the tag titles. Page said they cost him a shot at the world title in July, so he thinks they are even. Page said if the Bucks lay a hand on him during his match with Omega, he will ruin them.
2. Jade Cargill vs. Santana Garrett. Cargill hit some forearms on Garrett. Garrett tried to go low, but it looked like the two had a miscommunication and that wound up with Cargill throwing Garrett outside. Cargill jawed at Red Velvet, who was sitting in the front row. Cargill threw Garrett into Velvet and Velvet fired up, but she was restrained. Back in the ring, Garrett went for a splash, but Cargill caught her, hit her finisher and that was it.
Jade Cargill defeated Santana Garrett via pinfall in 2:02.
After the match, Red Velvet got over the barricade and speared Cargill. Velvet then hit Smart Mark Sterling with the cake that was at ringside to celebrate Cargill’s one-year anniversary in AEW. Velvet and Cargill then brawled. A video package on CM Punk vs. Eddie Kingston aired.
McGuire’s Musings: The Page promo was good and I wonder if that’s supposed to be taken to heart or if the Bucks are going to figure into the finish of Page’s match Saturday night. Seeing Cole and Page confront each other was kind of fun, though, so if anything, I hope we get that match someday. The Cargill match was exactly what anyone would expect it to be, complete with a cake going into Sterling (once they showed there was a cake there, you knew it was going in someone’s face, and you knew it would be his). The Velvet, Cargill feud heated up a bit, which was nice to see, considering how their match is coming together due to a tournament. I hope this means we get more from those two even after they’re done trying to advance.
3. Dante Martin vs. Ariya Daivari. Team Taz was shown standing by the broadcast team. The two locked up and a “Both These Guys!” chant ensued. After exchanging a handful of blocks, Martin kicked Daivari to the outside, but back inside the ring, Martin took down Daivari. Martin was on the apron and went for a springboard move, but Daivari caught him and drove his face into the top turnbuckle.
Daivari hit a series of chops and a kick to Martin’s midsection. Daivari landed a leg-drop on Martin, who was draped over the middle rope. Daivari hit a dropkick to the side of Martin’s head. Daivari went back to hitting chops, but Martin hit a sunset flip for a two-count and then Martin got in an enziguri. Daivari got back with a neck-breaker and a clothesline to take Martin down.
Daivari climbed to the top to land his Magic Carpet Ride without the carpet (a frog splash) and it got a super close near fall. Eventually, Martin grabbed the ankle and rolled Daivari up for a two-count. Daivari found himself on the outside and Martin jumped to the top rope and onto Daivari. Martin then hit his finish for the win.
Dante Martin defeated Ariya Daivari via pinfall in 5:35.
After the match, Team Taz made their way to the ring while Ricky Starks spoke to Martin. Powerhouse Hobbs presented Martin with a contract to be on Team Taz. Starks told Martin to read it over and read it “as good as he can.” Excalibur and the crew ran down the Full Gear card. Mark Henry came in for the split-screen interview for the main event. Hardy mouthed off and Cassidy said, “I don’t think that’s good.” Cassidy said he was tired of this, it’s been going on forever, and after the match tonight, it’s over.
McGuire’s Musings: More time! More time! Five-and-a-half minutes wasn’t nearly enough for this match, in this venue, under these circumstances. But that was completely expected, considered it’s a one-hour show and this week, we got four matches. I just would have preferred the two hometown boys get more shine. Anyway, this was very good and very fun. Martin is an absolute delight to watch and Daivari held his own, which was to be expected. I’m kind of interested in why Daivari wasn’t allowed to bring his carpet with him because WWE took a little bit of heat for not allowing him to do it there while NJPW allowed him to do it at the NJPW tapings in Philadelphia. Either way, if you have six minutes, look that one up. As for the split-screen, amen to everything Orange Cassidy said. Someday, Orange Cassidy and Matt Hardy are going to not wrestle anymore, but sadly, today is not that day.
4. Orange Cassidy vs. Matt Hardy in a lumberjack match. Hardy yelled at the lumberjacks says $23,000 (or $3,000) would go to whomever knocks Orange Cassidy out. Cassidy attacked Hardy with a bunch of punches and kicks. Hardy went for the Twist Of Fate, but Cassidy countered with a backslide and a two-count. Outside the ring, The Blade attacked Cassidy and rolled Cassidy back into the ring. Hardy hit a neck-breaker and leg drop for a one-count. Hardy slammed Cassidy’s head on all the turnbuckles. The final PIP commenced [c].
Back from the break, Hardy threw Cassidy outside and the lumberjacks attacked Cassidy. The Best Friends leapt over the top rope to stop the attacks. Best Friends and Cassidy executed a Rocket Launch, which took everyone outside the ring down. Back in the ring, Cassidy went to the top rope, but Hardy rolled outside the ring, only to be thrown back in by Wheeler Yuta. Cassidy then landed a cross-body.
Hardy recouped and hit a Side Effect for a two-count. Hardy went for the Twist Of Fate, but that turned into a Tornado DDT. Cassidy went back to the top rope, but Isiah Kassidy pushed him off. Wheeler Yuta came into to stop The Blade’s attack. Chuck Taylor took a Twist Of Fate. Hardy went for one on Cassidy, but Cassidy slammed Hardy. Cassidy got back to his feet, hit a series of Orange Punches on those who tried to interfere, but then The Blade hit Cassidy with brass knuckles and that was enough for the win.
Matt Hardy defeated Orange Cassidy via pinfall in 10:24.
After the match, Matt Hardy sunk in the Leach Lock on Cassidy. The show closed with the heels celebrating and posing in the ring.
McGuire’s Musings: Well, I guess I’ll say it again. Someday, Orange Cassidy and Matt Hardy are going to not wrestle anymore, but sadly, today was not that day. And with this result, it kind of/sort of feels like tomorrow or someday next week won’t be that day, either. This was surprising. If I cared more about the feud, I might use a word like “shocking,” but this thing has overstayed its welcome so much that I just hope everyone finds new dancing partners and owns up to the fact that this most likely wasn’t what everyone had in mind for this feud. Hardy feels cold and even Cassidy, who might have once been the most popular wrestler on the planet for a minute or three, seems to be losing steam because of this program. As for the match, a lot of shenanigans, and a lot of the expected Hardy posturing. I guess you can make the case that Cassidy was protected because of the rib injury angle, but I’m not buying it.
All told, this was a fine episode of Rampage. Not the best, but not mid-level either. It was somewhere between the two. The crowd made a lot of it and God bless Minneapolis for coming through. Jungle Boy/Fish is worth your time and Daivari/Martin is worth going out of your way to see. The Cargill match/angle was just kind of there. And then the main event … well, yeah. It’s on to Full Gear. I’ll be by with my members-only audio review in a bit.