It’s Friday, you know what that means! For one last time this year, it’s time for AEW Rampage. To finish the year, we have Orange Cassidy against Best Friend, Trent Beretta for the All-Atlantic title and Swerve Strickland vs Wheeler Yuta as well as TBS Champion Jade Cargill against Kiera Hogan. Let’s get straight to it then, commentary begins with Paul Wight, Excalibur & Tony Schiavone.
Opening the show with a Best Friends showdown. Entrances are made on YouTube as per usual, Trent brings Chuck Taylor, Orange brings Danhausen, and Excalibur brings Kip Sabian on commentary. Paul Wight is also on commentary tonight instead of good old JR and if you haven’t heard him on Dark Elevation, he’s really improving. The show begins with a tribute to the late Don West and we at WNS also send our condolences to his friends, family and fans. We head straight to the ring after that and Orange shakes hands with Trent for a very long time. They finally exchange arm drags and Orange puts on the brakes before trying to put his hands in his pockets and Trent stops him. Orange gets a headlock takedown before the two slow down again. The pace gets picked up again and Orange is sent to the outside where Chuck helps him up and Orange returns. They tease a hug and Orange instead throws Trent to the outside before Beretta is helped up by Chuck and returns to the ring. Orange is sent out once more where a confused Danhausen kicks him before helping him up and then Trent goes for a Tope and ends up hitting Chuck Taylor who catches him with a hug. Wholesome goofy wrestling. Orange returns to normal service with a dive to the outside and takes Trent back into the ring where he tried a crossbody but Trent rolls through and takes over with a heavy strike and a dropkick through the ropes to the outside. Trent and Orange exchange strikes on the floor before Beretta drives Cassidy into the barricades on the outside. Trent goes for a spear and Orange evades it to send Trent into the barricades and then follows up with a dropkick to send us to break. They head back to the ring where Trent cuts Orange off on the top rope and hits him with a delayed superplex, both men stay down after that one.
When we come back from commercial, Trent is up, and Orange slowly follows him, and Trent lands a heavy chop to which Orange responds with weak ones until he hits one heavy one and then the elbows follow back and forth until Cassidy nails a superkick and Trent replies with a lariat. Trent counters the stundog millionaire into a half and half suplex but Orange comes straight back with a Michinoku driver for a two count. Orange considers the Orange punch but goes for beach break instead. Beretta counters and we get a great back and forth of counters ending in Trent nearly pinning the champ. He hits a splash in the corner and goes for a DDT but Orange counters out and hits his own DDT before heading to the top rope and hitting a diving version of the same move for yet another two count. Finally, Orange decides to go for the punch but Beretta counters into strong zero but Cassidy escapes with a crucifix roll up for two. Orange tries a tijeras but Beretta stops him and hits a twisting tombstone piledriver for two. The crowd sound their appreciation as Cassidy struggles to his feet in the corner, but Trent hits another piledriver for two. Kip draws attention to Penelope coming to ringside and jumping to the apron and Trent gets distracted which lets Cassidy pull out the Beach Break for a 2.9 but he follows up with the Orange punch immediately to retain his title with Penelope & Kip’s help.
Kip seems to have gotten what he wants as Trent storms off, away from Orange but Kip dances past Cassidy to get to Penelope.
Tony Schiavone stops Sting & Darby after Dynamite to tell Darby he gets a title match in his hometown next week and Darby cuts a great promo about how people at school told him that he couldn’t be a wrestler, but he made it and he asks if anyone believes he can beat Samoa Joe including Sting who he turns to in order to question him. Sting doesn’t answer so Darby keeps the chip on his shoulder as he needs it to beat Joe. He tells Darby to stop worrying what anyone else thinks and worry about what Darby thinks.
Kip dancing to ringside wasn’t pointless as he now has a match against someone who isn’t introduced to us before the bell rings. Kip starts with a headbutt and some nice kicks and a cannonball before heading up top for some diving foot stomps to the man we learn is called Atiba. Penelope passes Kip the elbow pad of Orange Cassidy which Kip puts on to take off and hit a Kip punch to get the win.
Firstly, boo this man. Lexy Nair interviews the child hater and Jose the assistant child hater and Preston says his new name is Pero Pelligrosso or something. Lexy asks if he has any remorse, and he doesn’t. He asks Lexy who he’s wrestling next week, and nobody knows, and Pero says he should have been mean to Brodie Jr three years ago.
Tony Schiavone interviews Moxley in the ring and asks him about Hangman. Mox takes the mic and says that he and Hangman stood above everyone else for three years and beat everyone except each other. Mox said the showdown was inevitable and so was his victory and he says he sent him to the hospital, but he slept like a baby because he and the BCC put in the work to deserve that. Mox turns to Hangman and basically tells him to cry him a river about being hurt before challenging Hangman to a match in LA on January 11. Mox promises to remind everyone how tough this business can be before closing by telling Hangman to keep his hands up this time.
"People seem to forget these days, this is a tough business. [Hangman] if you make it to January 11, if you make it to LA & The Forum, I'm going to remind everyone how tough this business can be"@JonMoxley has a message for #HangmanAdampage!#AEWRampage: #NewYearsSmash is on TNT pic.twitter.com/VKYZNI2Aoy— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2022
We learn that Jeff and Jay have a tag title match on Wednesday and then we cut to Sonjay, Jay, Satnam and Jeff who take turns (not Satnam) to shout at The Acclaimed. If they win, I’ll be watching Raw the following Monday.
The time for waiting is OVER!@TheLethalJay and @RealJeffJarrett are challenging #AEW World Tag Team Champs #TheAcclaimed @PlatinumMax @Bowens_Official for the title THIS WEDNESDAY during #AEWDynamite LIVE from Seattle!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2022
It’s #AEWRampage: #NewYearsSmash on TNT! pic.twitter.com/25XNFC5W19
Former baddie faces off with Jade, accompanied by the current baddies, for the TBS championship match in yet another undeserved title challenge, but we move. The match begins with a lock up and then Kiera is thrown off by Jade who follows up with a kick and a delayed vertical suplex. Kiera reverses the suplex with a roll up for one and then avoids the pump kick from Cargill, but Jade comes back with a back elbow and another kick before hitting a big chokeslam that gets Paul Wight’s approval to send us to break. Kiera is sent outside and thrown between the apron and barricades by Jade who then breaks the count and goes back to attack Hogan. Kiera fires back with a strike but is soon back in trouble as Jade tosses her into the barricade and nails a snap suplex on the floor. Jade breaks the count once again and send Kiera, once again, back first into the barricade before finally they get back into the ring where Jade maintains the attack with kicks.
This TBS Title match between Champion @Jade_Cargill and former Baddie @hoganknowsbest3 is underway, as Jade lands a @PaulWight -approved chokeslam!#AEWRampage: #NewYearsSmash is on TNT! pic.twitter.com/zUyMqu3m4m— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2022
We return from the blackout break, and Jade has taken Kiera to the tope rope, but Kiera recovers for a crossbody and gets caught. Hogan escapes once again but runs into a big pump kick and manages to kick out at two. Red Velvet then stops Jade from hitting Kiera outside and it gives Hogan hope but Jade hits a pump kick as soon as Kiera gets back into the ring with her. Jade tries for Jaded but instead Kiera pulls out a bulldog and then a hip attack on the ropes before hitting a roundhouse kick and then a thrust kick followed by a sliding dropkick in the corner. Kiera heads to the top rope and hits a crossbody for two. Just when she looks in trouble, Cargill pulls Jaded out of nowhere and retains her title, but she lost a baddie as Red Velvet retreats up the ramp.
#AndStill! Undefeated TBS Champion @Jade_Cargill retains the title and hangs on to that 0, but what is brewing within the Baddies camp? @Thee_Red_Velvet#AEWRampage: #NewYearsSmash is on TNT! pic.twitter.com/wmwXskfi6o— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2022
Jamie says that she and Shida went to war last week and that’s the tone for all Jamie Hayter matches going forward before telling Saraya she doesn’t care who her partner is in LA.
Lexy Nair interviews Mark Sterling who calls out Bryan Danielson for messing with his best friend and best client, MJF. So next week we get Tony Nese vs Bryan Danielson. Oh.... yay.
The #PremierAthlete @TonyNese is ready to beat the #AmericanDragon @bryandanielson in his own hometown of Seattle, WA during #AEWDynamite THIS WEDNESDAY! Watch #AEWRampage: #NewYearsSmash on TNT! pic.twitter.com/Lb7ISwBkRK— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2022
Mark asks Wheeler why he asked for this match and Moxley speaks for him saying the only thing Wheeler is thinking about is destroying Swerve. Swerve responds by saying he wants to get violent just like the BCC. Yuta says he doesn’t need tattoo redo rejects to get violent and says he wants this to be one on one. Looks like we’ve had enough talk, it’s time for the Main Event.
Swerve doesn’t get the memo as he brings out his pals but Wheeler leaves Claudio and Mox in the back. Excalibur still doesn’t name Granden Groetzman and he’ll probably get a wacky wrestling name soon but for now, we’ll call him GG just for ease. The match begins and the crowd are loudly in Yuta’s corner as Swerve tries to outwrestle him. He’s unsuccessful as Yuta cuts him off constantly and Swerve resets with a lock up. Wheeler manages to get wrist control but Swerve counters out as we get another exchange until Yuta hits a body slam and a senton for one. Swerve tries to fight back but Yuta is able to constantly counter Strickland and frustrate him, eventually locking him in a bow & arrow stretch. Swerve finally fires back with an open hand slap but Yuta comes back with a dropkick to send Swerve to the floor, following him with a tope suicida. Yuta gets distracted by GG and Parker which lets Swerve nail a kick and sent Yuta to the floor which sends us to the final break of the year as Strickland hits a low dropkick to Yuta’s knee. Swerve takes Wheeler back into the ring and attacks the leg that he just dropkicked but Yuta fires back up with some heavy strikes that Strickland cuts off with a dragon screw. Yuta gets to one leg and tries to fight but Swerve now has the upper hand, hitting him with three consecutive backbreakers which earns him a two count. Strickland goes back to the leg and works on it whilst Yuta writhes in pain on the mat.
We come back to the action where Yuta has just kicked Swerve off him, and he follows with two back body drops. Swerve tries a cradle but Yuta counters into his own for two and then heads to the top rope where he hits a flying elbow on Strickland before kipping up with one leg and hitting a German suplex with a bridge for two. Yuta clutches his knee before getting up and Swerve kicks the knee again to send him right back down. Strickland hits an elbow followed by a brainbuster but Wheeler kicks out at two. Swerve follows up with strikes and Yuta escapes a JML driver with a roll up for two, Swerve grabs the tights and nearly steals the win by rolling Yuta up in retaliation before both men jockey for position. Yuta wins with a Samoan drop and Strickland kicks out once more and recovers in the corner to pepper Yuta with strikes and then hits another dropkick to the injured knee. Strickland tries to go up top for the stomp and Yuta cuts him off with a desperation enzuigiri and Yuta follows Swerve up top for a superplex. Yuta follows up with the hammer and anvil elbows and Wheeler follows up with the seatbelt pin that Swerve escapes before nailing Yuta with a heavy kick to the head for two. Swerve quickly follows up with a JML driver but Yuta escapes it again and the two men bump into the ref before Swerve hits a low blow behind his back. Finally, Strickland hits the JML driver and gets the win.
And that’s the end of the year for AEW. The end of the era as we get a whole new look to the company on Wednesday. I can’t wait. As for this show, it was fine. 7/10. Let's all hope that Rampage has a new year's resolution to be better in 2023. Let us know what you thought in the comments, let me know on Twitter @Knapphausen, and have a happy new year!
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