By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 19)
Taped December 15, 2021 in Garland, Texas at Curtis Culwell Center
Aired December 17, 2021 on TNT
The commentary team of Excalibur, Taz and Ricky Starks checked in. The Young Bucks theme hit and here we go.
1. Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and Bobby Fish vs. Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Trent, and Rocky Romero. Excalibur and Justin Roberts called Trent, “Trent Beretta” and the Internet Wrestling Community rejoiced. Matt Jackson and Chuck Taylor began the match. Taylor went for a moonsault press, which ultimately ended up in a standing Sliced Bread. Romero and Nick Jackson tagged in. Fish tagged in not long after that. Fish worked over Romero with kicks. Romero fired up and tagged in Cassidy. The two double-teamed Fish.
Cole tagged in. Cole mocked Cassidy and tagged in Nick Jackson. Cassidy went for the pockets spot, but Jackson kicked him. Jackson worked a wrist-lock. Cassidy walked the ropes and did his pockets spot, which was impressive. Cassidy then wrestled for about 30 seconds with his hands in his pockets. Everything then broke down and the teams brawled. Outside the ring, The Bucks and Cole power-bombed Trent onto the apron. Back in the ring, The Bucks and Cole landed a three-way super-kick on Cassidy. The first PIP commenced [c].
Back from break, the Bucks were working over Cassidy. Cole and the Bucks went for the “Kiss Adam Cole” routine, but Best Friends grabbed the Bucks and Cassidy took control of Cole. Cassidy went for the hot tag, but the Bucks pulled Best Friends off the apron. Cole took back control and went to the second rope for a Panama Sunrise, but Cassidy countered and tagged in Trent. Trent landed a double clothesline on Nick Jackson and Cole. Trent took out the rest of his opponents, including Brandon Cutler.
In the ring, Trent hit a splash on Matt Jackson for a two-count. Romero came in and with Trent hit a double knee-strike. Matt Jackson pulled Romero to the outside and Trent went to hit the ropes, which resulted in a Best Friends hug. Taylor took out Fish and Matt Jackson outside. Nick swept Trent off the top rope and Trent hit his neck on the top turnbuckle. The heels beat up Trent, Fish went for a cover and got a good near-fall.
Super-kicks were delivered to everybody. Fish hit an Avalanche Falcon Arrow on Trent, but Cassidy broke it up. Cassidy set up for the Orange Punch, but Cole caught him. Romero, in return, hit a heel-kick on Cole. Practically everyone landed a dive onto the outside. Meanwhile, Cassidy landed an Orange Punch on Matt Jackson. Trent then hit the Strong Zero on Fish and got the pin.
Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Trent, and Rocky Romero defeated Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and Bobby Fish via pinfall in 13:23.
After the match, Best Friends hugged in the ring.
McGuire’s Musings: This was fun and it gave Trent a lot of room to shine, which was great to see. I enjoyed him getting the pin, and he looked really good after being gone for so long, but at some point, Bobby Fish is going to have to stop hemorrhaging losses. So often, it feels like he’s thrown into these matches just to take the pin, and he’s better than that. But I digress. This also served as another step toward Cole vs. Cassidy, which I’m excited to see, as long as there’s no shenanigans whenever it happens. That might be wishful thinking in present day pro wrestling, but, hell. Christmas is close. So let me dream. Anyway, I liked this a bit. More than I thought I would, actually. And some of the spots here were impressive, which is never promised in an eight-man tag. All around, no reason to complain.
Back from the break, Dan Lambert was in the ring. Lambert talked about sucking up to Tony Khan. The crowd chanted “asshole.” Lambert was flanked by Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, who played to the crowd. Lambert said Khan speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Lambert said Khan pushed “the weirdo on the skateboard” and even “little Sammy.” Lambert said Khan was stabbing fans in the back and giving title shots to people like Cody Rhodes. Lambert said Khan is turning AEW into WCW. Lambert kept calling out Cody and said his reality show sucks. The lights then went out and Cody’s entrance started to play. The fans booed Cody. Cody snatched the microphone from Lambert, but Lambert snatched it back, and then Cody snatched it back again. Lambert took it back. Cody snatched it back. Cody attacked Page, but Sky helped Page. Dustin Rhodes ran to the ring to help his brother. Sammy Guevara ran to the ring to help out, too. Sammy cleared the ring. Sammy and Cody stared each other down mildly. A video package on the TBS title aired.
McGuire’s Musings: Ohhhhh, yikes. They say the opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s apathy, and we are on our way to apathy with Cody. The boos were smattered at best and that entrance didn’t get a single bit of enthusiasm one way or the other from the crowd. They were smart to not give Cody any lines, but the back-and-forth mic-grabbing from Lambert and Cody got old quick. I get it. How do you test precisely how much fans have turned on Cody? Put him in the ring with the one guy who constantly gets nuclear heat in AEW. But this, in its own way, didn’t really work, either. I don’t know what’s next past Sammy on Wednesday for Cody, but they’re going to have to figure out something.
2. Tay Conti vs. Penelope Ford in a submission match. Conti jump-started the match. Conti went for a submission, but The Bunny, who was on the outside, pulled Ford to the ropes for a break. Outside the ring, Ford chopped Conti, but went to the well too many times and chopped the ring post. Back in the ring, Conti went for an arm-bar, but Ford got to the ropes for a break. Ford went for a back handspring elbow, but Conti got the knees up. Conti went for a Triangle, but Ford broke free.
Ford sunk in a bow-and-arrow stretch. Contero got out of it and went for a submission, but The Bunny hopped up (pun intended) the apron to distract the ref and break it up. The two were on the second rope and that resulted in Ford getting in a Dragon Sleeper. Conti started to fade. Conti knee-ed her way out of it. Ford landed a cutter and went back to somewhat of a cravat, but Conti made it to the ropes for a break. Conti hit a pump-kick and went for another but, but Ford countered with a back heel kick. Conti almost immediately fought back and sunk in a choke and Ford tapped.
Tay Conti defeated Penelope Ford via submission in 5:16.
After the match, The Bunny hit Conti with brass knuckles. Anna Jay ran in with a chair to clear the ring. The Owen Hart Cup was announced. Adam Cole vs. Orange Cassidy was announced for Wednesday, along with the rest of the card for Dynamite. Excalibur threw to the main event interview feature with Mark Henry. Two Point O made fun of Eddie Kingston and Kingston walked out of the frame. Kingston walked back into the frame and said the segment was dumb and told Henry to say “It’s time for the main event,” echoing the nation’s sentiment. Henry did just that. And to commercial, we went.
McGuire’s Musings: I’m still going to petition for the women getting more time on Rampage, but I’ll step off that soapbox for now. This was good and Ford worked really well with Conti, who, even though she was positioned as the submission specialist, gave a bunch to Ford in the submission department here, too. Even so, the match was rushed and you could tell – any submission match should never go shorter than 10 minutes, in my tiny opinion – but they did the best they could with what they had. I’m growing a little tired of the feud between these four, but maybe we’ll get a pay off soon. And fingers crossed, it’s without brass knucks.
3. Eddie Kingston, Lucha Brothers, Santana, and Ortiz vs. The Acclaimed, 2point0, and Daniel Garcia. As Max Caster started his rap down the ramp, the babyfaces rushed him and everyone brawled outside the ring. It was a good two minutes of brawling before the ref rung the bell. Caster and Penta began the match properly inside the ring. The two jawed at each other and traded blows. Fenix tagged in and the Lucha Bros hit a double super-kick on Caster. Fenix covered Caster, but Caster kicked out. Fenix landed a chop that’s still echoing, even though this thing was taped Wednesday. Anthony Bowens tagged in and Ortiz did, too. Santana then tagged in and the two worked over Bowens. Santana landed a chop on Bowens and we went for our final PIP [c].
Back from break, Santana hit a moonsault on 2point0. Penta tagged in and took out all the heels. Fenix tagged in and hit a bunch of kicks on 2point0. Fenix then worked over Garcia. Fenix hit a splash on Garcia and then landed a hook kick on Bowens. Kingston then tagged int but 2point0 dragged Kingston outside. The Lucha Bros then landed a splash on 2point0. Ortiz and Bowens fight inside the ring, but Santana hit a pile-driver before Caster hit a cross-body. Kingston ran in and it all wound up with Garcia rolling Kington up, holding the trunks and getting the pin over Kingston.
The Acclaimed, 2point0, and Daniel Garcia defeated Eddie Kingston, Lucha Brothers, Santana, and Ortiz via pinfall in 8:32.
After the match, the heels attacked Kingston. Bowens grabbed the boombox and hit Kingston in the head with it. Jurassic Express’s music hit and those two, along with Christian Cage attacked The Acclaimed. Jungle Boy handed the Lucha Bros their AEW tag titles and the four fist-bumped. Kingston chased Garcia up the ramp. Jurassic Express celebrated in the ring to close the show.
McGuire’s Musings: I can get into a Jurassic Express vs. Lucha Bros. program for the tag team titles. I was kind of wondering where they – along with Christian – were the last few weeks. As for the match, I was surprised to see Kingston take the pin, but it’s obvious this is a really nice step for Garcia, who has all the indie credability in the world, but hasn’t necessarily wracked up a ton of wins on AEW’s signature shows. I’m all for a babyface Kingston chasing a heel Garcia. Hell. You could even throw another fluke win for Garcia in there before we get resolution and I won’t be mad at it. The match itself was more than a ton of action, which was no surprise.
In all, I guess the only word I can think of when I think of this episode of Rampage is “fun.” Yes, that’s generic, and I’m sorry. But that opening eight-man bout was fun, and the closing 10-man bout was pretty much the same thing. The women’s match was good, but could have used more time. And Cody … ahhhh, Cody. Thoughts and prayers. I’ll have more to say for my members’ only audio review shortly.