Reviews

The John Report: AEW Rampage “Holiday Bash” 12/25/21 Review

aew rampage dec 24

This week’s AEW Rampage aired on Christmas night with the TNT Championship on the line in the main event.

This is AEW Rampage from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was taped on Wednesday night after Dynamite took place. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It’s Saturday night and you know what that means. The pyro went off in the building as they welcomed us to the show. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz and FTW Champion that barely wrestles, Ricky Starks.

Jungle Boy entered with Christian Cage and Luchasaurus. Boy’s record is 37-13 in 2021. Isiah Kassidy of the Private Party team was already in the ring. Kassidy’s friends were at ringside.

Jungle Boy vs. Isiah Kassidy

Jungle Boy had his left thigh area taped along with his ribs taped. Boy with a shoulder tackle, Marq Quen grabbed Boy’s foot and then Kassidy got a rollup with tights for two. Kassidy with forearms followed by some weak-looking kicks. Boy did some rope walking into an armdrag followed by a dropkick. Kassidy avoided a move by Boy and Kassidy hit a springboard stunner into the torp rope. Kassidy hit a twisting dive over the top onto Boy. Back in the ring, Kassidy’s mentor Matt Hardy got in a cheap shot punch on Boy that the referee didn’t see. Kassidy hit a roll through dropkick. They went to a 90-second picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Boy with a running dropkick to the leg followed by a bounce off the ropes into a clothesline. Boy with a Fisherman’s Falcon Arrow slam for two. Kassidy with a kick to the head followed by a Poison Rana for a two count. Kassidy charged, Boy wit ha belly to belly suplex into the turnbuckle and Boy hit a bridging German Suplex. Boy sent Kassidy over the top to the floor leading to Boy hitting a suicide dive. Marq Quen grabbed Boy’s foot, so Christian punched Quen to send him going to the back. Luchasaurus gave a Chokeslam to another Hardy guy on the floor and Christian hit a Spear on Matt Hardy. Boy back in the ring with a sunset flip, Kassidy got out of it and Boy slapped on the Snare Trap finisher the tapout win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jungle Boy

Analysis: *** A good match between two tag team wrestlers. At no point did I think Kassidy had a chance of winning. Jungle Boy is pushed a lot more than Kassidy, so it was obvious Boy was going to win here. Kassidy was on offense for a few minutes, Boy made the babyface comeback and that was it. They used the guys on the floor as well.

They showed what happened last week when Ricky Starks cost Dante Martin his match against MJF recently. Starks said that Dante won’t be screwing over Team Taz anymore.

(Commercial)

A video aired featuring Miro saying he has begun to heel himself. Miro said he will return with no flaws. Miro said that we know that you can’t stop him and you don’t have the balls. Miro said that redemption doesn’t come with a smile, it comes with a price.

The fans popped huge for Hook’s entrance. It is the second match for Hook, who is Taz’s son with a 1-0 record. Tony Nese was shown watching from ringside.

Hook vs. Bear Bronson

There were “Hook” chants from the crowd. Hook with a trip leading to a single leg submission, but Bear got to the ropes. Taz said Hook was playing with him and Hook delivered punches as well as a headbutt. Bear with punches, which led to boos from the crowd and Hook did a trip into a submission hooking back on the arm. Bear got to the bottom rope to break. Bear with a back elbow, then an eye gouge Bronson hit Rikishi Driver like sitout piledriver. Hook got right back up, the announcer Excalibur yelled “WHAT” and the referee had a shocked look on his face. Hook with a clothesline followed by a Northern Lights release suplex. Hook with a high collar head/arm suplex on the head. Hook with crossfaces to the face leading to the Redrum submission for the tapout win after three minutes.

Winner by submission: Hook

Analysis: *1/2 The fans wanted Hook and they got him for an easy win. If Hook is going to no sell moves like that sitout piledriver then it’s going to be tough to beat him. Hook continues to be very popular due to his laid back attitude and ability to do some cool moves too.

Hook left looking excited. Just kidding. He never gets excited. That’s why Hook is cool. Taz said it was another day at the office for the handsome devil.

(Commercial)

There were dueling promos from Eddie Kingston and Daniel Garcia with Eddie saying he’s not even mad about Garcia cheating to beat him. Garcia said he already know how to beat him. Kingston said that he’ got Santana & Ortiz against Garcia and 2.0 in a six-man tag.

Kris Statlander vs. Leyla Hirsch

This is a random match between two faces. They shook hands. Statlander used her size advantage to send Hirsch into the turnbuckle. Statlander knocked down Hirsch when she ran the ropes to try to take down Statlander. Hirsch with a trip followed by punches, then Hirsch knocked down Statlander by the ropes and hit a double knee attack. Hirsch ran the ropes with Statlander hitting a powerslam for two. Statlander applied a delayed vertical suplex while Statlander’s friend Orange Cassidy walked around the ring and it got a two count. Hirsch hit a dropkick followed by a charging attack into a leg takedown. Hirsch applied an armbar, Statlander turned it over and sent Hirsch into the turnbuckle. Hirsch went for an armbar by the ropes again. Hirsch with a jumping kick and a moonsault off the middle rope onto a standing Statlander for a two count. Hirsch with a running knee for two. Hirsch with a slap, so Statlander hit a Blue Thunder Bomb. Hirsch came back with a German Suplex. Statlander with a kick to the face, then a reverse body slam and Statlander applied a spider crab upside down submission. Hirsch tapped out to give Statlander the win after about six minutes.

Winner by submission: Kris Statlander

Analysis: **1/2 It was fine for a random match. Statlander had the size advantage, but Hirsch has a lot of cool-looking moves and is impressive for a shorter woman. Neither woman has been on TV much recently since AEW only has one women’s match per show.

After the match, Statlander wanted a handshake and Hirsch slapped the hand away.

It was main event interview time with Mark Henry talking to Cody Rhodes and the TNT Champion Sammy Guevara. Arn Anderson said that guys Sammy’s age and size call Arn “Mr. Anderson.” Arn said if Cody is not pissed off after Arn has been chewing him out for months. Sammy said that two years ago this would have been a bigger match for him, but Cody knows this is a bigger match for himself. Sammy said that Cody started the company and Sammy thanked him, but Sammy said he’ll be carrying the company. Mark said it’s time for the main event.

(Commercial)

Cody Rhodes made his entrance as the challenger. The fans were booing him or at least it sounded like most of them were booing him. Cody entered with singles record of 35-8-2 in his AEW career. That’s not a lot of singles matches in over two years. Cody was booed when he got into the ring. Sammy Guevara entered as the babyface TNT Champion with a 10-1 singles record in AEW. That’s really not a lot of singles matches in a year for a guy, but AEW does have a huge roster. The crowd liked Sammy, who is part of the Inner Circle group. Pro wrestling legend David Crockett was at ringside to present the title to the winner.

Cody still had visible burn marks on his back from when he went through a flaming table against Andrade a few weeks ago. Cody had a chance to become the only three-time TNT Champion in AEW history.

TNT Championship: Cody Rhodes (w/Arn Anderson) vs. Sammy Guevara

Sammy started with a dropkick, he wanted the GTH, Cody got out of it, Cody rand the ropes and Sammy hit a dropkick. Sammy with an uppercut that knocked Cody out of the ring, so Cody left the ring to regroup. Cody went over the barricade into the crowd, so the fans booed him. When Cody got into the ring, the fans chanted “Cody Sucks” at the challenger. Cody grabbed a headlock, Sammy broke free and Sammy hit a powerslam. Sammy went for a springboard move, Cody moved and Cody jumped off the ropes with a Cody Cutter. Excalibur was screaming about future matches coming up, so the announcers didn’t call the moves. I guess the Cody Cutter isn’t a big move since Sammy barely sold it, he sent Cody out of the ring and sent Cody into the steel steps. Sammy delivered a chop. The referee was doing the slowest count ever because it’s AEW and Sammy went for a SSP on the floor, but Cody moved and Cody sent Sammy’s arm into the barricade. Cody took over when they went back into the ring with Cody doing a hiptoss followed by a short-arm scissors submission. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Cody remained in control during the break as he worked over Sammy’s left arm. Cody delivered a delayed vertical front suplex. Cody went up top, he jumped off for a moonsault, but Sammy moved and Cody hit the mat. Sammy with a shoulder tackle, then Sammy walked the ropes and Sammy hit a Sammy Cutter off the ropes for two. Sammy hit the Cross Roads (Cody’s finisher) near the ropes, so Cody rolled to the floor. Sammy hit a double springboard 450 Splash onto a standing Cody at ringside. That was great. Sammy jumped off the steel steps, Cody caught him and gave Sammy a Powerbomb onto some fans in the front row. Back in the ring, Cody hit a Disaster Kick after a springboard attack. Sammy countered Cody into a pin attempt, but then Cody got out of that and Cody hit the Cross Roads for the pinfall attempt for one…two…no. Cody was surprised by that. Cody went for a suplex off the ropes, Sammy slipped out, Sammy had Cody on his shoulders and Sammy hit a GTH with the knee to the face…and it only got a two count. Sammy was shocked by that. The fans chanted “this is awesome” as the match continued. Sammy went up top, he jumped off with a 630 Splash and Cody got the knees up to block. Cody hit two more Cross Roads in a row. Cody with a kick to the gut, then he hooked the arms and hit a Tiger Driver 98 for the one…two…and three. The match went 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW TNT Champion: Cody Rhodes

Analysis: ***3/4 Cody is the TNT Champion for the third time. I thought it was a great match especially towards the end with each guy kicking out of some big moves that could have ended the match. It helped build up the drama for the finish. Even though Cody won, it took a lot to put Sammy away with two consecutive Cross Roads moves followed by a devasting finisher like the Tiger Driver 98, which is like a double underhook piledriver, so it showed how tough Sammy was. I’m a bit surprised that Cody won just because it’s his third time holding that title while AEW has a deep roster of guys who could benefit from having this title. I assume they have a plan in place and maybe this is what will turn Cody heel, so when he does drop the title, it will mean a lot when somebody else wins it.

Cody Rhodes celebrated the win with coach Arn Anderson joining him in the ring along with brother Dustin Rhodes, wife Brandi Rhodes and other members of the Nightmare Family group. David Crockett presented Cody with the TNT Title. Sammy had his head in his hands looking frustrated. Cody continued to celebrate. That was the end of the show.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Cody Rhodes
  2. Sammy Guevara
  3. Hook

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 6.75 out of 10

Last Week: 7

 

Final Thoughts

It was mostly a one-match show with the main event getting the most time and having a big moment with Cody beating Sammy Guevara to win the TNT Title. The other matches were mostly random and didn’t really lead to any storyline advancement. There wasn’t a lot of talking on the show either.

Coming up this week is the last Dynamite and Rampage of 2021. Bring it on.

Thanks for reading. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport