By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Rampage (Episode 21)
Taped December 29, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired December 31, 2021 on TNT
The broadcast team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Ricky Starks…
1. Anthony Bowens (wMax Caster) vs Darby Allin (w/Sting). Allin went behind Bowens and put him in a side headlock. Bowens broke the hold by throwing Allin off. Bowens hit a back heel trip, but Allin hooked the arm of Bowens and attempted a pin that resulted in a one count. Bowens began stomped Allin in the corner. Allin threw a dropkick at Bowens that sent him down. Shortly thereafter, Bowens got the arm of Allin and drove him to the ring post on the outside. [C]
During the picture in picture, Bowens slammed Allin into the turnbuckle and went for a cover, but Allin kicked out at two. Bowens threw strikes and kicks at Allin, which sent both of men down. Bowens turned Allin inside out with a DDT from the turnbuckle after countering Allin’s Coffin Drop attempt. The two went to the outside and Bowens planted Allin on the ring apron. As they returned to the ring, Allin hit a Code Red and nearly got the victory. Eventually, Allin got the victory with a Coffin Drop from the top rope.
Darby Allin defeated Anthony Bowens via pinfall.
Afterward, Andrade El Idolo’s music hit and Bowens struck Sting with his boom box. Caster struck Allin with a chain following the distraction.
Briar’s Take: Man, what a match. I thoroughly enjoyed these two going back and forth and the match was a hot one to open up Rampage. Great stuff. Based on the post match segment, it seems though we might get a The Acclaimed vs. Sting and Allin feud to start the new year.
Taz hosted a segment regarding Hook’s technique. He started with his side headlock suplex, then spoke about Hook’s finisher and how it was was originally his own Tazmission finisher…
2. The Bunny and Penelope Ford vs. Tay Conti and Anna Jay in a Street Fight match. Jay and Ford brought trash cans and chairs to the ring while making their entrance. Once the match started, Jay got the brass knucks and struck Ford. Afterward, Jay and Conti brought the table out from under the ring and set it up on the outside of the ring. Ford though drove Jay into the ring post and hit Conti with a punt kick. Ford laid Conti onto a table and went to the top rope and performed backward moonsault on Conti, but the table didn’t break.
The Bunny was busted open. Bunny and Ford brought another table to the ring after Ford threw a beer bottle to the head of Conti. Jay suplexed Ford on two chairs. [C] During the picture in picture break, Jay planted Bunny on the chairs once more. Back from the break, The Bunny drove Jay into the table. On the outside, Conti planted Ford on a ladder.
Following the sequence, The Bunny brought in thumbtacks and splattered them on the ring. However, Jay planted The Bunny onto the tacks instead with a suplex from the top rope. Conti planted Ford from the apron onto a table. Meanwhile, The Bunny had brass knucks, but Jay locked in the Queen Slayer and make The Bunny tap out for the win.
Tay Conti and Anna Jay defeated The Bunny and Penelope Ford in a Street Fight match via submission.
Briar’s Take: All four women had hard hitting action and we actually saw blood from Tay Conti and The Bunny. With that in mind, I definitely would go out of your way to watch this one.
A video package was shown for the Hangman Page vs. Bryan Danielson match for the AEW Championship that headlines Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite…
3. Cody Rhodes (w/Arn Anderson) vs. Ethan Page (w/Scorpio Sky, Dan Lambert) for the TNT Championship. Rhodes powerslammed Page to start the match. Lambert tripped Rhodes, allwing Page to plant Rhodes with the suplex. Anderson returned the favor to Page, allowing Rhodes to dropkick Page. On the apron, Rhodes attempted a CrossRhodes, but Page countered and hit a shoulder tackle from the apron. Page threw Rhodes into the ring post. Rhodes and Page fought on the outside for a short while before returning to the ring.
Rhodes chop blocked Page and struck him with leg strikes. Rhodes locked in his death lock submission hold that was eventually broken. Rhodes face planted Page in the middle of the ring. [C] Back from the break, Page countered Rhodes with a suplex. Page continued his momentum by planting Rhodes with a DDT.
Back on the outside, Scorpio Sky hit Rhodes. Dustin Rhodes came to the rescue and ran off Sky. Cody hit CrossRhodes the first time, but Page kicked out at two. Page powerslammed Cody from the top rope. Cody came back with a cutter from the ropes after dodging Page’s maneuver. Page looked for the Ego’s Edge, but Cody countered with two CrossRhodes before ending Page’s night with a Tiger Driver 98 that led to the pin.
Cody Rhodes defeated Ethan Page to retain the TNT Championship.
Briar’s Take: A good back and forth match. Rhodes continued to get booed, but he still had a great match. It should be interesting to see where Page goes after this feud following a losing effort.
Overall, this was a solid edition of Rampage to close out the year. All three matches were great and are definitely worth going out of your way to watch. This show was a little bit better than the Christmas night edition. Allin vs. Bowens was the match of the night with the women’s tag team match a close second. Jason Powell’s audio review for Dot Net Members will be delayed due to the holiday.