By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net staff member (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (episode 17)
Recorded December 1, 2021 in Duluth, Georgia at Gas South Arena
Aired on December 3, 2021 on TNT
Excalibur’s team of commentators, Ricky Starks and Taz have checked in. Tony Nese’s music hit and Nese walked into the ring for the opening bout.
1. Sammy Guevara against Tony Nese for the TNT championship. Guevara started the match attacking Nese with forearms and chops. Nese retaliated with his own kicks, ending up hitting a back elbow. Nese bit the crowd and when he returned his attention to the ring, Guevara capitalized and took control with a possible dropkick.
Guevara landed a suicidal corkscrew on Nese, who was outside. Guevara threw Nese down the steps of the ring. Guevara worked on Nese with chops, throwing Nese into the barricade. Back in the ring, Guevara went to the third string, but Nese swept Guevara’s legs and was draped over the tensioner. Nese picked up Guevara and hit a gut-buster for a count of two.
Nese hit Guevara’s ribs before landing with a Moonsault press for a count of two. Nese threw Guevara around the corner several times. Nese landed a back-spin-kick for a count of two. Nese worked a body-lock. Excalibur then threw in the first frame in the frame [c].
Back from his break, Nese was working on a lateral header. Guevara hit a background, but Nese regained control with a one-legged crab. Soon after, Guevara pulled and hit a series of clotheslines. Guevara landed a double springboard cutter, which was enough to get him a two-count. Guevara went for the GTH, but Nese countered in a one-legged crab.
Guevara coiled Nese in an attempt to gain control. Eventually, Guevara hit a standing Spanish Fly and got a count of two. Guevara played with Nese and tied him to the outside. Guevara hit a wonderful moon jump on the springboard from the third string. Guevara rolled Nese into the ring and went for a springboard, but Nese stopped him and took control. Nese landed 450 splashes for a good near crash.
Nese slapped Guevara. Guevara shot and hit a series of elbows. Nese hit a powerbomb and went for the Running Nese, but Guevara caught up with him and knocked out the GTH for the win.
Sammy Guevara defeated Tony Nese by a pinfall in 12:55.
Behind the scenes, Christian Cage, Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy did a promo. Cage said his guys are the No.1 contenders for the tag team titles. Cage said the opportunities don’t present themselves every day and they need to search for the match by tag later on the show. Cage said he trusted his guys.
McGuire’s musings: One of the best Rampage matches in recent memory and I don’t understand why they would open the show with this rather than save it for the main event. Nese had a lot of offense here and looked better in those 13 minutes than he did in his last 13 months in WWE. Guevara continues to shine as a TNT champion and I’m interested to see where he goes from this reign whenever it ends (although I hope it won’t be soon). Nese is off to a good start in AEW and I can only hope he gets another wrinkle on his character beyond “super fit dude”.
2. Jade Cargill vs. Janai Kai. Thunder Rosa participated in the comments. Kai opted for a header, but Cargill slammed it, punched Jaded and that’s it.
Jade Cargill defeated Janai Kai in 34 seconds.
After the match, Cargill attacked Kai and Rosa ran to the ring to save him. The two then fought as the referees attempted to separate them. Behind the scenes, The Young Bucks and Adam Cole did a promo. Cole has said that Orange Cassidy is the laughing stock of AEW. The Bucks have said they will return to tag team action on Dynamite to face off against the best of best friends.
McGuire’s musings: I was damn excited to see Janai Kai on national TV, and was optimistic they would give her over a minute, but I guess they needed time for the Rosa / Cargill fight afterwards . I’m still convinced Cargill comes to the final and loses, although I think it would be questionable to keep giving Rosa defeats. We’ll see. The fact that the Bucks weren’t specific about their opponents on Wednesday is certainly curious, given the connection between Chaos and Best Friends now. Again, we’ll see.
Back from hiatus, a video recapping Chris Jericho being attacked was shown. Eddie Kingston then cut a promo, saying 2.0 was going to learn something ASAP. A broadcast video package recapping the Danielson / Dark Order saga. The commentary team scanned the Dynamite map and kicked off the Mark Henry split-screen interview for the main event. Pac said he was ready to go, despite his eye patch. Penta intervened. Dax said tonight was supposed to be FTR night and Fenix ââdidn’t show up. The teams then started talking to each other. Henry broke up the argument and said it was time for the main event.
3. Penta El Zero Miedo and Pac vs. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler. Penta and Wheeler started the match. Wheeler worked a wrist lock, but Penta countered in a spinning toe grip. After a few comedy spots, Penta kicked Wheeler and scored Pac. Both stereo dropkicks hits. Wheeler rolled out. Harwood scored, but was ultimately slammed by Pac. Harwood hit an elbow to get Pac to the mat.
Penta scored and hit a dropkick in Harwood’s groin. FTR came back and worked a series of beacon moves. Wheeler hit a few kicks and scored Harwood, who came in and hit a kick and slam suplex before scoring Wheeler for an assisted leg drop. This earned Wheeler a count of two. Pac joined and worked on Harwood. Pac opted for a stepping stone but slipped, likely from the eye patch, and FTR took control at the start of the final commercial break. [c].
Back from the break, Wheeler was working on Pac, but Pac rolled Wheeler outside. Harwood scored and got Pac by the leg, but Pac pushed his way through. As the referee was distracted, FTR hit a combination of elbows and Harwood got a count of two. Harwood placed Pac on the third string and went for a super-plex, but Pac got away with it. Pac landed a shotgun dropkick from the top string. Pac finally got the hot tag at Penta.
Penta entered and cut the two members of FTR. Penta went to the top and hit Wheeler for a two count. Penta hit a back-stabber on Wheeler for a two count. Penta went for a Feat Factor, but Wheeler hit a power-slam. Harwood landed a drop leg from the top for a count of two. FTR attempted a tandem swing flip move at sunset, but it turned into Penta landing a Code Red corkscrew for a count of two. Pac went for a splash, but Harwood rolled and pinned Pac for a count of two. Harwood landed a tiger-driver for a 2.9 count.
Tully tried to intervene, but it backfired. Pac tied Harwood to the outside. Pac climbed to the top and hit a double moonsault, knocking out both FTR members. Malakai Black ran and spat into Pac’s eye, which was enough for Harwood to be pinned down.
“FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler beat Penta El Zero Miedo and Pac in a pinfall in 18:19.
After the match, Black attacked Pac’s eyes. There was blood on Black’s hand. The show ended with Black holding his hand up in the air.
McGuire’s musings: It was a very good team game. So much so that it even surprised me. Don’t take anything away from anyone involved as these four guys are some of the best in the world and FTR is obviously one of the top three teams on the planet right now. I love that they got the time they deserved and I love the story they told here, with the Evil Eye of Pac and FTR adhering to traditional heel tactics which went against it. of the way Pac and Penta work. Removing the Penta mask after the game was a good idea, although I could have done without the Black involvement extension.
It was one of the best Rampage episodes in weeks. The opening and the main event are definitely worth your time. I was skeptical about the placement of the roster after the quality of the opener, but after seeing the main event it made more sense. It sets up a great game for TripleMania while also moving the story between the Lucha Bros and FTR forward, considering how the Lucha Bros haven’t technically taken the loss here. Well done to Estadio de BÃ©isbol Monterrey. Be well, folks.