AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
Whenever I start to get into a less than enthusiastic mood about wrestling, I still like to see Rampage because it’s a small enough dose that I can still enjoy it even when the burnout is starting to creep in. I’m probably not at that point yet, but Wednesday’s Dynamite was kind of a disappointment for me. Despite it clearly being a show they put a lot into, I just didn’t connect with the storylines involved and a flaming table spot is not going to automatically add an extra star to the match. That’s why we have Rampage though; to be the fun desert after the big Dynamite meal! Is there enough self-contained and exciting action to clear the way for a hopefully better episode of Dynamite next week, or are we gonna need something a little bit stronger to cleanse the palate? Let’s find out!!
Sammy Guevara Vs. Tony Nese – TNT Title Match
The TNT title continues its long tradition of giving wrestlers their first big shot at AEW via the open challenge, and while Nese has been around for a few weeks now in Dark matches, this is going to be his first TV match for AEW. Sammy starts off strong with some impressive acrobatics and a Suicide Dive that leaves Nese almost defenseless against an assault outside the ring, but fortune starts to turn in his favor once they’re both back in the ring. Sammy goes to the turnbuckle to show off even more of his impressive athleticism, but Nese manages to get up and knocks him off so that he’s lying across the ropes; his body parallel with the mat. Nese then kicks him SO HARD that Sammy flies through the air and lands on Nese’s shoulders which is something I’ve never seen in a wrestling match before, and he follows it up with a Gut Buster for a two count. Now this is particularly bad as Sammy’s ribs are still taped up from… actually I don’t remember why they’re taped up, but he’s been nursing this injury for a few weeks now and Nese is well aware of this which is why he focuses on them during the heat segment that follows the pin attempt. Sammy eventually gets a bit of a breather when he breaks out of a submission with a Backdrop, but it isn’t long before Nese is back in control with a Single Leg Boston Crab. Sammy does his best to fight through the pain and even manages to escape to land a Springboard Cutter, but his ribs are proving a detriment and he can’t make a proper cover in time. Sammy goes for the GTH, but Nese escapes with ease and once again puts him in a Single Leg Crab, and Sammy only manages to escape it this time by twisting over and rolling Nese into a quick pin attempt. Nese tries to run the ropes to shake up his offense, but he ends up eating Spanish Fly for a two count and then a Springboard Moonsault. Sammy tries for another Springboard move to finish this match, but Nese is able to get up and knock him of the apron to the floor below which gives him an opening to land a Suicide Dive and a 450 Splash; showing off his athletic skills which are comparable to that of Sammy’s. This only gets him a two count though, and the two start slugging it out in the ring until Nese lands a Buckle Bomb and Guevara lands a Pump Kick. The Pump Kick is somehow the more effective of the two moves, and it allows Sammy to get Nese up on his shoulder for the GTH! He hits the move which is more than enough for him to get the pin and wins the match to retain the TNT title! This was a really good match and a great way to start the show! The TNT title has a great track record as far as these open challenge matches, and Sammy is proving to be as effective with the belt as his predecessors like Cody, Brodie, and Miro. The only thing is that I hope they drop the rib angle soon because I’m never a fan of wrestlers fighting through injuries; Kayfabe or otherwise. Maybe once or twice, but at some point you’ve got to let the guy just wrestle at a hundred percent and trust that he can still generate drama in the match.
AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
I was pretty nonplussed by the Thanksgiving Show which is a shame since it had the potential to be a lot more interesting than it was, but I knew that Rampage had a match I was VERY much looking forward to its main event which would hopefully make up for whatever shortcomings were in the Dynamite show. With Eddie Kingston and Daniel Garcia in the main event as well as two other very cool matches lined up, does this turn out to be the TRUE holiday episode of AEW; therefore proving once and for all that Black Friday is better than Thanksgiving!? Let’s find out!!
Wheeler Yuta & Orange Cassidy Vs. Adam Cole & Bobby Fish
I’m pretty sure Wheeler Yuta hasn’t won a match on AEW TV since joining the company, but then again Fish has had MAYBE two wins since he showed up, so perhaps this is a much more even match than I would first assume it to be. Yuta does manage to put up a decent fight against fish and manages to tag in Cassidy while in control of his opponent, so hopefully he can pull off an upset here! Cassidy goes for a very casual Lateral Press on Fish which only gets a one count, but it is enough for him to scamper to his corner and tag in Cole. Now Cassidy is known for a lot of shtick, but the hands in the pockets has to be the one that he gets the most mileage of as a good minute or so of this match is dedicated to his efforts to do it and Cole’s desperation to stop him! First, he just implores him to stop and then does his ADAM COLE BABY thing which got a pop from the crowd, but Cassidy is unimpressed and goes for the pockets once more. Cole gets physical this time and tries to block him which allows Cassidy to flip him over. He goes for the pockets again, but Cole grabs him with a waist lock! Cassidy still goes the pockets, but this only makes things for as Cole transitions to a Full Nelson. Undeterred, Cassidy keeps going for the pockets, and when he realizes that he can’t quite get it, he flips Cole over again and gives the half-hearted thumbs up. Point having been made, Cassidy tags in Yuta and they have some fun tandem moves which end with Yuta landing a Standing Senton and getting a two count on Cole. That was a lot of fun to see and it’s nice to see Yuta do well for himself, but Fish manages to be quite good at distractions and keeps Yuta busy long enough for Cole to rip him off the turnbuckle. He drags Yuta to the corner and he and Fish get the heat on Yuta during the commercial, but by the time we come back, both Yuta and Fish are down and trying to get to their corners. Fish makes it to his corner for the tag and he and Cole keep Yuta from tagging in Orange for a while longer, but eventually, Yuta escapes and lands a Double Drop Kick from the Middle rope which was enough to keep Cole and Fish down for Yuta to get the hot tag to Cassidy; and yes, he FINALLY gets his hands in his pockets. Not only that, but he does the Lousy Kicks on both Fish and Cole before landing both a Double Drop Kick and a Double Hurricanrana! The Baby Faces continue to dominate in this match and land a very cool combo where Cassidy hits the Stundog Millionaire that sends Cole into Yuta who hits a German Suplex, but when Cassidy goes for the Jack Knife pin it’s broken up by Fish who gains control of this match. A lot of stuff happens from here, almost all of it very well executed and a lot of fun to see, but it eventually boils down to Yuta trying desperately to put Fish away and deciding that the best option is to land a splash from the top rope. As soon as he’s up there though, Cole shakes the ropes and Yuta slumps forward, and while Cassidy does his best to take care of Cole afterward, the damage is done and Fish lands an Avalanche Falcon Arrow on the defenseless Yuta which is more than enough to get the pin and win the match. This was a really good match between two teams that are always fun to watch! Sure it k0ind of devolved into nonsense as people were running in and out of the ring with reckless abandon, but that’s all too common at AEW and we probably shouldn’t hold it against individual matches. Yuta in particular looked GREAT here, and while I understand why he had to take the loss, I really hope he gets a few wins on TV soon.