The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 12.17.21
Taped from Garland, TX
Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz and Ricky Starks
The Young Bucks, Adam Cole & Bobby Fish v. Orange Cassidy, Rocky Romero, Chuck Taylor & Trent Baretta
Chuck elbows Matt out of the corner and tries a moonsault, but that misses, so he recovers with a sliced bread for two instead. Rocky comes in and snaps off a rana, and slugs it out with Bobby Fish before hitting a dropkick to bring in Orange. Rocky does the multiple running clotheslines in the corner while Orange saunters in for his own, and it’s over to Adam Cole. Bay bay. He declines to engage with Orange’s shenanigans and Nick comes in instead, getting a ropewalk wristlock, only for Orange to do his own, complete with fancy strut. Orange takes him down with hands in pockets a few times and the heels are so enraged that a brawl erupts. The Elite heads out and powerbombs Trent on the apron, which is the HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and back in the ring for a three way superkick on Orange. Those outside of Finland take a break and Bobby works on Orange with knees and beats him up in the corner and gets a lariat for two. Bobby with a slingshot senton for two. They triple-team Orange in the corner and the Bucks do their own hands-in-pockets double-team splash for two. This sets up the SUPERKISS, but the Best Friends trip up the Bucks, leaving Orange to roll up Cole for two. Orange tries for the hot tag but the Bucks get revenge and pull the Friends off the apron, allowing Cole to hit a sliding knee for two. Panama Sunrise is countered and Trent gets the hot tag and runs wild with suplexes and a double clothesline on the Bucks. Senton on Cole on the apron and he spears Fish on the floor, and back in for a flying splash on Nick for two. Trent and Rocky reunite and double-team Nick with a guillotine knee on the ropes, but Matt pulls out Rocky and the Friends stop for the HUG. Trent goes up and Nick sweeps the leg to trip him up and triple-team him with a brainbuster and superkick combo, and Fish gets a diving headbutt for two. The Bucks fight off the babyfaces again and Fish takes Trent to the top for the flying falcon arrow, which gets two as Orange saves. Cole blocks the Orange punch and Rocky takes out Cole and we get a million dives, but Orange hits Matt with the Orange Punch and then dives onto everyone outside. That leaves Fish and Trent, and Trent finishes him with the Strong Zero at 13:25. ***3/4 I know this will come as a controversial and strongly worded opinion, but although Dynamite was a great show, it was not 100% perfect and they probably should have swapped this one in as the Party Match after the one-hour draw to lighten the mood again. COME AT ME, HATERS!
Dan Lambert and the Men of the Year join us, unwilling to let “Tony Khan-Man” to screw his men over. And he’s tired of everyone sucking up to him and “whatever that soccer thing he does is”. So Tony dangled the carrot of pushing “the guy with hands in his pockets” and “skateboarding guy” but it’s turning the company into late 90s WCW. Also Cody Rhodes’ reality show sucks. This brings out Cody, who notably doesn’t enter through either the heel or face tunnel but from the one right in the middle. But before Cody can grace us with a promo and no doubt increase the female 18-49 demo, the heels attack him, and Dustin Rhodes makes the save. He too gets laid out, but Sammy Guevara bails them out. This felt like a lot of the same “Heel beatdown, babyface makes the save” pattern they’ve done for the past few months.
Submission match: Tay Conti v. Penelope Ford
Penelope tries goes after Tay’s leg, but Tay reverses to a leglock and Bunny helps Ford make the ropes. Tay chases them to the floor and Ford accidentally chops the ringpost. Back in, Tay goes for the armbar, but Ford makes the ropes again. Ford with a handspring elbow, but Tay gets the knees up and gets a sloppy triangle attempt which Ford reverses into a kind of crossface. Tay with another armbar, but the Bunny interferes again. So Tay takes Ford to the top for a choke attempt, but Ford takes her down for some kind of neck vice. Normally AEW is really good with the fake crowd noise but the real crowd is clearly dead for this on screen and doesn’t match the various chants and reactions heard on the soundtrack. Tay comes back with the pump kick and reverses into a chokeout for the win at 5:28. This felt like a time-filler match, with the idea that a legit black belt judo champion like Tay Conti would have ANY trouble dispatching Ford in a SUBMISSION MATCH being kind of ridiculous. Match was really sloppy. And then Bunny knocks out Tay with the brass knuckles. Again. Yeah I’m over all of this, they need to find something better for the Dark Order ladies to do because they’ve been on a treadmill with Ford and Bunny for what feels like months. *
Eddie Kingston, The Lucha Bros, Santana & Ortiz v. 2point0, Daniel Garcia & The Acclaimed
The pre-match promo is pretty amusing, as Eddie gets sick of hearing the heels talk and tells Mark Henry to do his “It’s time” thing and get on with it. Max Caster can barely do a JFK conspiracy theory in Dallas before the babyfaces attack and cut him off. I was kind of curious to hear where he was going with that one! They all have a crazy brawl on the floor and Penta finally starts with Caster in the ring. They trade chops and that goes badly for Max, although Starks points out that it’s unfair because Penta has a chest protector. Luchas double-team Caster with superkicks and Fenix splashes him for two. Bowens comes in and Ortiz trips him up to set up a double-team with Santana (RIGHT IN THE YAM BAG!) and non-Finnish take a break as Ortiz does the rolling suplexes. Over to Kingston and he hits Bowens with the chops in the corner for some really funny selling from Bowens, but everyone brawls again until the Acclaimed do a wacky double-team Angle Slam dropkick combo on Ortiz for two. This prompts a funny discussion on commentary as Excalibur plugs the Fite feed and thanks everyone around the world for watching, and Taz thanks all the Brooklyn faithful watching and Starks says hello to his hometown, at which point Excalibur interrupts with “Uh, guys, you know we’re on the international feed right now, right?” Everyone brawls on the floor and Ortiz continues to be stuck in the heel corner, but he fights back with a springboard moonsault on 2point0, and it’s over to Penta. He and Fenix wipe out 2point0 and Fenix gets crazy fast kicks on them and then goes up with a spinning splash on Garcia for two, overshooting a little bit. Kingston comes in to finish off Garcia, but 2point0 drag him out, so the Lucha Bros hit him with a double dive. Ortiz piledrives Bowen and Caster hits a cross body on Ortiz, and then Garcia gets a rollup on Kingston for the pin out of nowhere at 8:38. That is a…mighty peculiar choice of winner and loser there. I wonder if that was a screwed up finish? The Acclaimed hit Eddie with the boombox, but the Jurassic Express make the save and then have a meaningful moment with the Lucha Bros. Wouldn’t say it was bad, but it never really took off and went anywhere, and the finish made no sense and came out of nowhere. There was barely even a heat segment. **1/4 And again, they’re falling back on the crutch of “heel does a beatdown, babyface makes the save” to put heat on the feuds.
These Rampage shows are breezy and never “bad” but this was one of the most skippable episodes of the show yet, with a bunch of people crammed in there like a Spider-Man movie (HAHA I’M KIDDING THE MOVIE WAS AWESOME DON’T@ ME ON TWITTER, BRO) and not much going on.