By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Rampage (Episode 120)
Taped December 6, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec at Bell Centre
Aired December 8, 2023 on TNT
The Rampage opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage… Ian Riccaboni, Matt Menard, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary at ringside…
Ring announcer Justin Roberts delivered introductions for the opening match. Orange Cassidy, Danhausen, Hook, and a young girl dressed like Danhausen (his daughter?) made their entrance. Hook and the girl headed to the back, and then Angelico and Serpentico made their entrance…
1. Orange Cassidy (w/Danhausen) vs. Angelico (w/Serpentico) for the AEW International Championship. Angelico targeted Cassidy’s right knee. Cassidy kipped up at one point and then sold leg pain before Angelico chop blocked his bad leg. Angelico continued to target the knee heading into the first picture-in-picture break. [C]
Cassidy fired up and set up for his finisher. Serpentico grabbed his foot, allowing Angelico to connected with a big boot. Danhausen returned the favor by tripping Angelico. Serpentico entered the ring and went for a dive on Danhausen, who avoided it.
Danhausen cursed Angelico, who was rolled up by Cassidy for a two count. When Angelico kicked out, he sent Cassidy crashing into Danhausen, who fell off the apron. Angelico put Cassidy in a leg lock while Serpentico put Danhausen in a hold. Cassidy put his hands in his pockets and then rolled to the ropes to break the hold.
Serpentico distracted the referee while Serpentico wound up to take a cheap shot at Cassidy, but Danhausen punched Serpentico in the calls. Cassidy hit the Orange Punch moments later and scored the clean pin…
Orange Cassidy defeated Angelico to retain the AEW International Championship.
Riccaboni said the women’s match would take place after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s odd that this was billed on Dynamite as Cassidy and Danhausen appearing on Rampage when they could have advertised an AEW International Title match. Nevertheless, this was a quality match. The wrestlers tried their best to make it seem like Cassidy was in peril, but there was just no reason to think Cassidy was at risk of losing his title. By the way, I’m filling in for Don Murphy tonight while he breaks into the training facility of his beloved New York Jets and demands to play quarterback this weekend. Hey, it might be an upgrade. Don will be back with Rampage coverage next week.
Abadon made her entrance while Trish Adora was already in the ring…
2. Abadon vs. Trish Adora. Adora had Abadon seated and used her leg to apply pressure on the back of Abadon’s neck. Abadon bit Adora’s leg. Riccaboni said Abadon is his son’s favorite wrestler in the AEW video game. Later, Abadon avoided Adora’s Lariat Tubman finisher. Abadon used the Black Dog finisher and then pinned Adora clean. Schiavone spoke about Abadon’s winning streak.
Abadon beat Trish Adora.
After the match, the lights went out and Julia Hart appeared in the ring. Hart placed her TBS Title belt on the mat. Abadon bent down and picked up the belt. Hart shook her head no and then the lights went out. When they lights were turned on, Hart and the belt were gone, and Abadon threw a fit…
Powell’s POV: A showcase win for Abadon, who is obviously going to be challenging Julia Hart soon. I wish AEW would do more with the talented Adora. On a side note, it’s nice to hear Ian Riccaboni on commentary.
A video package aired on Mercedes Martinez and Willow Nightingale to set up their AEW Collision match… Entrances for the tag team match took place…
3. Powerhouse Hobbs and Konosuke Takeshita vs. Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal. Don Callis sat in on commentary and said his team would be sending a message to the Golden Jets team of Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. Takeshita was getting the better of Sydal heading into a PIP break. [C]
Daniels took a hot tag and threw three clotheslines at Hobbs, who remained on his feet. Daniels took him down with a huracanrana from the middle rope. Hobbs got right up and put Daniels down with a clothesline. Hobbs followed up with a spinebuster and then lowered the straps on his gear. Hobbs performed a powerslam and then pinned Daniels…
Powerhouse Hobbs and Konosuke Takeshita defeated Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal.
Footage aired without warning of Dante Martin suffering the gruesome ankle injury at ROH Supercard of Honor…
Renee Paquette interviewed Dante Martin, Darius Martin, and Action Andretti on the backstage interview set. She recalled Penta El Zero Miedo challenging them to a trios match. Dante said they wouldn’t accept Penta’s disrespect by walking in when they were talking, but they would accept the challenge… [C]
Powell’s POV: A dominant win for Takeshita and Hobbs. I wish both men were in the Continental Classic. Meanwhile, they were really good about issuing a warning to squeamish viewers before they showed the Martin injury footage on Dynamite, so I’m surprised they didn’t take the same approach tonight. It’s just one brief promo, but Dante looked more energetic and poised than I remember him being prior to the injury.
Bryan Danielson made his entrance for the main event and was followed by opponent Daniel Garcia…
4. Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia in a Continental Classic tournament blue league match. Danielson wore his eye patch. The opening minutes were back and forth. Garcia went for the Dragon Slayer, but Danielson reached the ropes before he could apply it. Schiavone noted that Menard was opposed to Garcia’s dance even though the fans love it. Menard said Garcia was 0-2 in the tournament and needed a change. Danielson avoided a vertical suplex and countered into a German suplex heading into a PIP break. [C]
Powell’s POV: It still feels weird that the over the top Menard character is the voice of reason when it comes to Garcia’s dance.
Garcia put Danielson down with a suplex and then tried to follow up with a move that Danielson countered with a triangle. Danielson rolled onto Garcia and threw punches at him. The referee stepped in because Garcia got his foot on the bottom rope.
Garcia struggled to get to his feet and then fell down when Danielson went for a running knee strike. When Danielson tried to pick him up, Garcia hooked him in an inside cradle for a two count. Garcia applied the Dragon Slayer and wrenched back on it, but Danielson hooked his arm around his neck and broke the hold. Garcia stood up and put Danielson down with a piledriver that led to a two count.
Garcia looked to the crowd and said, “He’s gonna get his head kicked in.” Riccaboni explained that the fans used to chant that for Danielson during his ROH Title reign. Garcia threw kicks at Danielson and then grabbed his arm and stomped his injured eye. Garcia did his dance and then ran into a Busaiku Knee, which led to Danielson getting a two count.
Danielson grabbed Garcia’s arms and stomped his head. Danielson put Garcia in a crossface and then released it to threw shots at his head. Danielson reapplied the hold. Garcia faded and then the referee called for the bell to end the match.
Bryan Danielson defeated Daniel Garcia to earn three points in the Continental Classic tournament match.
After the match, the updated blue league leaderboard showed Danielson and Brody King tied with six points in their first two matches, Andrade El Idolo with three points in just one match, Claudio Castagnoli with three points after two matches, Eddie Kingston with no points after two matches, and Garcia with no points after three matches.
Garcia reached up and touched Danielson while the referee was raising Danielson’s hand. Danielson looked down at him and appeared to spit on him before resuming his celebration. Garcia rolled to the apron and acted dejected. Riccaboni reminded viewers that Danielson would have to face Andrade in a tournament match on Saturday’s AEW Collision…
Powell’s POV: A strong main event. The broadcast team really put over Garcia for coming close to beating Danielson. I hope there’s a bigger story being told with Garcia in the tournament and he’s not just a guy who will lose all or all but one of his matches. It was nice to get a tournament match on Rampage rather than the mostly meaningless matches. With a title match in the opening match and a tournament match to close, this episode was a significant step up from all of the six-person and eight-man tag matches from last week.