AEW Rampage 12/3/2021 Review

Continuing at the Duluth’s Gas South Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Rampage was pretty much a two match show. I’ll get into the middle match briefly because it was brief but this show for me wasn’t bad, although the main event did get altered.

Sammy Guevara vs. Tony Nese

Advertised for the TNT title, this was Tony Nese’s AEW TV debut after he had been wrestling on Dark for a few weeks. I didn’t see him in WWE 205 but only heard he was the cruiserweight champion at one point but had little to no charisma. So this type of match probably suited him well because he could just focus on the wrestling aspect.

This was a nice little back and forth match. They had 14 minutes or so total which was a good amount of time to showcase Tony Nese. Pretty much they’re playing up Sammy Guevara’s injured ribs which he sells inconsistently throughout the match. Guevara suffers from losing the storyline during a match because he’s still developing and panders to the crowd too much. One example of this was delaying a while before attempting an Asai Moonsault. He paused too long to try to get the crowd behind him, but that forced Tony Nese to sell for much longer, although the camera was not on him. Still, it looked awkward in the scheme of things, even though Guevara is one of the more graceful high flyers.

Nese did not get to hit his finisher but did pull off a sweet 450 splash. Also, he pulled out a nasty corner powerbomb with one arm. Ultimately, Guevara hit his GTH finisher which put Nese out for the clean pin. But Nese looked damn impressive here and it was formally announced that he signed with AEW, which probably is a good home for him.

Christian Cage Backstage Promo

Pretty much Cage is like a manager for the Jurassic Express as he did all the talking here and was rooting for them to become the next AEW tag title holders since they currently are the #1 contenders. Not sure if they’ll be facing the Lucha Bros but I’m hoping FTR since I think that dynamic will work better.

Jade Cargill vs. Janai Kai

Thunder Rosa was on commentary. She came out to watch her student Kai, who looks like Elektra. This pretty much was a one sided squash where Bill Cargill…I mean Jade Cargill did her three moves of doom before putting Kai away. Cargill continued to beat on Kai post match until Thunder Rosa came down for a pull apart.

So let me pause since fortunately this match only lasted 30 seconds or so. First, Thunder Rosa better hand Jade her first loss. Pretty much unless Jade is in a one sided squash match, she looks awful. Second, the Goldberg booking only worked for Goldberg because:

  • He had the look (Austin comparison)
  • He had the intensity
  • He was over
  • He was a ratings draw

Also, they gradually built Goldberg up, giving him bigger wins over time before he took the US title from Raven. Jade right now has a good look but lacks everything else that justifies the type of push and booking she’s receiving.

I really believe at this point the finals will be Ruby Soho vs Thunder Rosa. And that match up makes sense because of how Soho was the one that literally kicked Rosa out of that battle royal. So they haven’t settled that score but the fans were really into it. No one wants to see Nyla Rose vs Thunder Rosa nor Ruby Soho vs Jade Cargill. But Ruby Soho vs Thunder Rosa should be a great match and both can carry the TBS title well.

Another thing I read is that Brandi Rhodes is back in wrestling action. Le sigh. Perhaps, Jade will rekindle her feud against Brandi in a more disastrous bout that will be a worse car crash style match than we can imagine. Otherwise, please don’t let Brandi on TV anymore. Just don’t.

Bucks/Adam Cole Backstage Segment

More Best Friends garbage vs the Bucks for next week. Yawn. Let’s talk about the relevant aspect that people actually care about in this situation: Kyle O’Reilly.

So the current rumor is that both O’Reilly and Gargano’s contracts have expired or are expiring. Most believe that O’Reilly is gone to join Adam Cole but the WWE is doing their best to retain either. I don’t know much about either to be honest, but the current hope is for O’Reilly to join AEW and hook back up with Cole and Fish to feud against the Elite. Don’t know how soon that might happen but it’ll be interesting if it does.

Eddie Kingston Segment

They talk about 2.0/Garcia attacking Jericho and Eddie Kingston not caring about Jericho’s welfare. So I’m assuming they’ll be teaming against 2.0 in the future only for them to miscommunicate and fight. On the other hand, Jericho supposedly is touring again hence the injury angle so we might wait until he finishes to see if they do feud.

Bryan Danielson/Jon Silver Video Package

This was actually well done. The major point here was Danielson pointing out how Silver has been goofing off while he had been winning world titles at the age of 30. It’s only a week build but it does put into perspective how serious Danielson is trying to make these situations, especially against the Job World Order.

FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) vs. Pac and Penta El Zero Miedo

Mark Henry did the “main event” segment just before this match and both teams ended up getting into a shouting bout before Mark did his catchphrase. Originally, this match was supposed to be a 2/3 falls title match but supposedly on Dynamite they said Rey Fenix had travel issues. Now, in this segment they claimed FTR injured Fenix, which is why Penta was pissed. If Fenix did have travel issues, then I keep thinking he’s just inconsistent and the Lucha Bros need to drop the titles soon.

Nonetheless, Rey Fenix not being there meant the match quality was much higher because he often times is the one messing up spots. Since the Jade match was super short, they pretty much gave quite a bit of time for this match. I keep a super close eye on FTR these days because of how good they are. They do things to set up and feed for their opponents. Pretty much they’re programming Cash vs Penta while Pac goes against Dax.

There were a few awkward moments in the match like a hesitant Pac doing a hip toss to Dax. One of the intentionally awkward moments was when Pac slipped on the ropes. Normally, this would seem like a botch but he was selling the eye patch and then Dax took over just before a commercial break. So it pretty much seemed to me to be intentional here.

They did a long heat spot on Pac where Dax and Cash frequently double teamed Pac to prevent him from getting the tag. He finally made a hot tag that was setup perfectly by Dax and Cash to Penta. The tag wasn’t as hot as it could have been because Penta seemed too eager to get in and hit his moves.

My favorite spot of the night was FTR hitting Demolition’s finisher which looked awesome. FTR is like a modern mix of all the great tag teams of the late 80s. This probably was one of the better matches between these groups just because Rey Fenix wasn’t around and botching up everything or overcomplicating everything.

End came when Pac hesitated for doing a top rope move to the outside after “botching” it earlier but hit an Moonsault to the outside on FTR with Cash moving Tully out of the way. He threw Dax in and tried to hit another move when Malakai Black came up from behind, sprayed black mist to blind Pac’s other eye and caused him to be rolled up.

Afterwards, Penta tried to assault FTR but was quickly overwhelmed and had his mask taken away with Cash wearing it to add insult to injury. Abrahantes quickly rolled in to cover Penta’s face which allowed Malakai to get back in the ring and gouge Pac’s eyes and get some color on his hand. Malakai actually got booed properly for being a heel (since he isn’t wrestling Cody here). Finally!

Final Thoughts

Better Rampage than previous weeks. Two really good matches, one solid video package and I’m pretty happy overall. I think not having Rey Fenix showed where the Lucha Bros problem lies. Pac wasn’t as crazy here since he was forced to sell the eye.

Also, I’ve been thinking about all the recent challengers against Sammy Guevara for his TNT title. So far it’s been Bobby Fish, Jay Lethal and now Tony Nese. Who should be next? Who should be the one to beat him?

Since Miro is off doing a film and probably will focus on the main title in the future when he’s ready, I think it’s a safe bet that he won’t go back after Sammy. MJF would seem like the natural one to beat Sammy but he just doesn’t wrestle that often and he now is claiming to be “a special attraction like Andre the Giant.” And with the upcoming Battle Royal next week on Dynamite, it just reminded me that he already has a title from the previous two years’ battle royals with that ring.

The only person I can think of that should beat Sammy is Adam Cole. I could see Sammy facing guys like Lio Rush, Lee Moriarty, Daniel Garcia and Dante Martin just to give him some extra defenses. But Cole would be the perfect person to hold that title. Not to mention that would be a fresh match with good potential. Malakai Black would’ve been my other choice but I think he’s going to be feuding with Pac so who knows how long that’ll be.

Going back to that Battle Royal next week, I read that Team Taz has 50% of the spots. I’m going to guess the participants from Team Taz will be Powerhouse Hobbs and Dante Martin at the very least. Doubt Hook will be in there. Maybe Ricky Starks. However, I can’t see MJF winning it three years in a row. Not with the current roster. Instead, I could see Dante Martin picking up the victory. Powerhouse Hobbs would’ve been a good choice too but I see AEW trying to push their young hot stars and Hobbs, while I like him, isn’t getting that same push as Dante. Either that or perhaps Lio Rush might take it to justify his existence in the company. Either way, I’m intrigued how this turns out.

Very interested in next week’s Dynamite. Not interested in the Bucks match though.

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