It's Friday, you know what that means! It's time for the very last wrestling show of 2021! We've had a lot happen over the last 12 months and AEW are here to make sure we get just the last drop of juice from that fruit. So, with Excalibur, Tony Schiavone & Ricky Starks on commentary from Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida, let's get straight to the wrestling!
Starting off with a man who had a hell of a year in 2021. He came into the year with the TNT title and after losing it to Miro, became the first opponent of a returning CM Punk in seven years! All this time he's had the icon, Sting, in his corner and tonight is no different. However, his opponent has a man in his corner too as Anthony Bowens emerges to a Max Caster rap that ends with a Ghislaine Maxwell line that makes me cringe out a Kidney. The match gets underway with Darby exhibiting his speed and technical wrestling prowess alongside his explosivity but Bowens is the stronger man and before long, Anthony starts to show that advantage only for Darby to use that pace once more to get away and then roll up Bowens with a Magistral and he has to retreat to the outside. He eventually returns and attacks Darby with some stiff strikes and chops before stomping Darby down in the corner. Darby takes it all and comes back with some quick manoeuvres to get Bowens off balance and send him to the mat with a Dropkick. Caster jumps on the ringside and Darby sends him reeling with a forearm but that allows Bowens to grab him and send him into the ring post arm first. We take this opportunity to head to break.
Bowens stays on top of Allin throughout the commercials, returning him to the ring and keeping him grounded, and Darby finally shows some signs of life when we return. Bowens looks to stop him though and catches Darby's Coffin splash but Darby is still too quick as he picks the ankle of his opponent before going for a Jack Knife pin which gets him a two count and then he gets another from a cradle but then both men end in a striking exchange which ends with a huge Superkick from Bowens and then a double down. Bowens makes it up first but the slow cover only gets him a two count. Anthony attacks with a huge chop and raises Darby to the top rope but Allin fights him off and then he thinks about a Coffin Drop but Bowens stops him in the nick of time and then hits a DDT from the top rope with a move he calls The Arrival but Bowens tries to use the ropes for leverage on the pin and gets caught out. They head over to the opposite ring corner and Darby fights back using the ring post on Bowens' Jaw and then his hand but when he goes for the Tope Suicida, Caster jumps on the apron to ensure he can't do it. Sting deals with him but it allows Bowens to grab Darby and throw him into the Barricades and then drop him onto the apron from an Electric Chair and then Bowens tosses Darby into the ring and spends too long talking trash to Sting because Darby gets the closest two yet with a Code Red once Anthony has got back in. He rolls back out and then Darby hits that dive on both him and Caster before rolling Bowens back in and finishing the match with the Coffin Drop. A very good start to Rampage.
After the match, Andrade El Idolo appears and whilst Darby locks eyes with him on the ramp, The Acclaimed take out Sting with the Boombox from behind and then two on one, they attack Darby and knock him out with their metal chain.
What is @AndradeElIdolo doing here?! His appearance causes all sorts of chaos inside the ring and @Sting gets blindsided!!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) January 1, 2022
Watch #AEWRampage: #NewYearsSmash on @tntdrama NOW! pic.twitter.com/gVZdLEUjPY
Taz shows off the El Camino Suplex, the Side Head & Arm Suplex & The Kata-Ha-Jime or the Tazmission, better known now as the Redrum! This was great
From here on out, I'm calling The Bunny and Penelope Ford collectively, PeneloBunny. All four women come out with weapons but because Tay Jay enter last, they get the opportunity to use theirs early as Tay tosses a trash can into Penelope's face just before the bell rings. Tay & Penelope brawl whilst The Bunny immediately tries to use the brass knuckles that have caused this entire feud to keep rolling on. She doesn't however count on the chair in Anna's hand which she uses as a shield to send Bunny reeling. Anna grabs those knuckles and hits Bunny with them and Tay takes out Penelope. They head to the outside and get a table set up straight away and then Anna goes for Penelope only to be send into the ring post. She hits Tay with a Pump Kick and rolls her onto the table before ascending to the top rope and hitting a Moonsault onto Tay but the table says not today and remains sturdy. I am the table indeed. Penelope rolls Tay into the ring and grabs a glass bottle from under the ring and smashes it over Tay's head. Tay rolls out of the ring on instinct but when Penelope follows her, both she and the camera catch sight of The Bunny with blood all over her face. Ford helps her up and they both pull out a very nicely decorated table of their own. They take it into the ring and as they're setting it up, we catch sight of Tay who's also busted open. PeneloBunny set up the table in the corner with some chairs in front of it and then they go to get Anna who is checking on Tay. They bring her into the ring but Penelope stays outside with Tay and Anna flips the script by Suplexing Bunny into her own chairs as we go to break.
Anna and Tay set up their second table outside the ring and there are now three tables set up simultaneously (although one should have broken). Tay brawls with Penelope outside the ring and inside it's Bunny vs Anna and The Bunny finally gets on top for the first time as she beats down Anna and smashes her headfirst into the chair. Anna fights out and hits a DDT on the chair but both women hit the metal seat so they both stay down. We briefly see Penelope beating down Tay outside as Anna goes for the first pin of the match but Bunny kicks out at two. Bunny tosses a chair into Anna's leg before the show cuts off from picture in picture for 60 seconds and when we return, Anna has locked in the Queenslayer on Bunny. Bunny fights out by just falling through the table that PeneloBunny had set up in the ring with Anna on her back and the resulting pin makes Anna kick out at two. Penelope and Tay appear once more but as Tay is pulling out a ladder, Penelope hits a deadly Cutter on top of it! Both women stay down and then Bunny ignores their lifeless bodies to retrieve the black bag of thumb tacks which are emptied all over the canvas. Anna senses the danger and fights back, taking Bunny to the top rope before they brawl up there and then Anna takes her over with the Superplex with both women landing onto the tacks! The crowd sound their appreciation but the pin takes too long and Penelope breaks it up. Tay appears on the apron with a chair but Penelope spots her and sweeps her legs away before stomping the chair down onto Tay's chest. Penelope lifts her up on the apron but Tay breaks free and takes Penelope through the table with a Gotch Style Piledriver and mercifully, this table breaks! Both women are laid out in the wreckage and The Bunny reclaims control of the Brass Knuckles in the ring but she slips on the thumb tacks as she heads towards Anna and Anna has wrapped barbed wire all around her right arm like Mox did against Eddie Kingston! She locks in the Queenslayer and falls back into the Thumbtacks and The Bunny has to tap out as TayJay get the win in the genuine, late MOTY contender. The best match of all four of these ladies' careers by a mile and a sign of real progress in the Women's division heading into 2022. Excellent work.
The barb-wired Queen Slayer by @annajay___ finishes @alliewrestling!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) January 1, 2022
What an incredible show of heart and fight!
Do not miss another second of #AEWRampage: #NewYearsSmash on @tntdrama NOW! pic.twitter.com/jynZpwFK1x
We're so close to Wednesday already. This is going to be the best way to kick off the TBS era!
That time of the night! Dan Lambert is asked the first question (rather than Ethan) and flanked by the Men of the Year he says that the Rhodes family made this personal, not him, when they make backstage deals to give Cody opportunities he doesn't deserve. Arn immediately responds by pretending to be scared and tells Dan Lambert that he sees things how they are, not how he wants them to be. He says he's Arn Anderson and that they made it personal on Dynamite and Arn hints that Cody won't be afraid to use the Champions advantage of not losing his title on a DQ or a count out. Well, it looks like we've had enough talk, it's time for the Main Event!
Both men make their entrances and once the Bell rings, Cody flies out of the gate and attacks Ethan with a body shot and a Powerslam before getting a Side Headlock Takeover. Ethan tries to fight back but it takes Dan Lambert grabbing Cody's ankle to flip the early momentum and swing it back in his man's favour. Ethan hits a Suplex for an early one and then Ethan begins to dominate Cody beating him down around the ring until Arn Anderson copies Dan Lambert's lead and grabs Ethan's ankle to get back in control. Cody tries or a Cross Rhodes from the apron and Page drops out of it and kicks Cody off the apron before he hits him with a flying shoulder tackle. Rhodes gets tossed into the ring post but he still tries to fight back only for Ethan to chop him and toss him back in the ring. He goes for a suplex but Cody slips out the back and hits a Chop Block to Page's leg and then goes about attacking that leg and locking in a modified Figure 4 which allows Rhodes to apply more sideways pressure to the knee as we go to break. Ethan fights back with punches to get out and tries a roll up but Cody hits a Dropkick to the knee to send Page down again. Cody takes off the Kneepad of his opponent and tosses it into the crowd before attacking the knee further with kicks, a Dragon Screw and then a Knee Bar which Page breaks with the ropes. Ethan is struggling on the mat so Cody does some press ups and then argues with Scorpio on the outside. Cody lifts Page up and drops him back down on the knee and then he locks in a Stump Puller.
We return from commercial as Ethan fights out of a Suplex and then takes Cody down with an explosive Shoulder Tackle and then both men exchange strikes but the momentum is with Page who lays Rhodes out with a Clothesline and follows with a Back Body Drop and then a DDT for two. Cody rolls outside whilst Ethan has the referee's attention and Scorpio attacks Cody, Arn begins to come round but he's still outnumbered so in runs Dustin Rhodes who brawls with Scorpio Sky whilst Lambert runs away. Those two fight through the crowd and Ethan is too busy watching them so Cody grabs him in a Full Nelson and turns it into a Cross Rhodes but Ethan kicks out! Having already removed the Knee Pad from Page's injured knee, Cody now goes after the Knee Brace and pulls it down before stomping down on the exposed joint. He raises Ethan to the top rope and then looks out to the crowd before he goes for a Springboard Cody Cutter but Ethan fights him at the top of his jump onto the rope and with both men struggling on the top, Page uses his strength and muscles Cody up to his shoulder for a huge Avalanche Powerslam but the knee injury impairs Ethan's pin and Cody kicks out at two. Cody fires back and we get a brawl in the middle of the ring that involves all manner of strikes back and forth culminating in Cody escaping Ethan's grasp to hit a Cody Cutter. He takes too long on the cover and Ethan kicks out once more. Cody locks in the Orthodox Figure Four Leg Lock but Ethan turns it over to reverse the pressure and Rhodes has to make the ropes to break it. Cody sets up for the Tiger Driver but Ethan escapes with a takedown and Jack Knife Cover for two and then we get another brawl as Cody climbs to the top rope and Page brings him down to the canvas with a Cross Arm Iconoclasm but he tries to set up the Ego's Edge and Cody drills him with the Cross Rhodes. He rolls through and hits another, his third of the match before hitting the Tiger Driver 98 and getting the win. Boo. Great match though.
And that's that! Wrestling is over for a year. Give me a follow on twitter @0r4n93_C4551dy and I'll see you all in 2022. Happy New Year!