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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Oct. 29, 2021): Satisfying slobberknocker

AEW Rampage (Oct. 29, 2021) emanated from the Agganis Arena in Boston, MA. The show featured Bryan Danielson teaching a lesson to Eddie Kingston, Dante Martin showing growth against Matt Sydal, and Dr. Britt Baker DMD serving tricks and treats to Abadon.

Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show followed by reactions.

Excalibur, Chris Jericho, Taz, and Ricky Starks were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

World Title Eliminator Tournament First Round: Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston

Kingston stomped to the ring with urgency, however, he was tentative to engage once the bell rang. Danielson maintained space with a few kicks. Kingston closed the distance into the ropes. On the referee break, Kingston unleashed a cowardly chop to the chest then backed away for a shoulder shimmy taunt. Kingston also got saucy with a slap on a lockup. When Danielson landed an inside leg kick, Kingston retreated in pain and requested the referee to shield him for protection. Kingston winced upon a second leg kick. When the two tussled into the ropes, Danielson returned the favor with a kick to the chest.

Intensity increased with striking exchanges. Danielson went to work on the arm. Kingston relied on brawling tactics to ugly up the fight. He gained an edge with an exploder suplex on the floor. Impact on the neck brought Danielson down like a sack of potatoes. He made it back into the ring at the count of 9.

The match progressed with Danielson erupting for a belly-to-back superplex. The weary combatants engaged in a firefight of strikes with Danielson earning the advantage on kicks. Danielson aimed to close with a running knee, however, Kingston anticipated and flopped down so the referee would check his status. When the tussling resumed, Kingston landed a spinning backfist.

The damage took its toll as Kingston was slow to cover. As he inched toward the pin, Danielson outsmarted Kingston for a triangle choke. Danielson unloaded elbows to the head to soften the street fighter. Kingston flipped the middle finger before passing out.

Bryan Danielson defeated Eddie Kingston to advance to the finals of the World Title Eliminator Tournament at the Full Gear PPV.

Back from commercial, the previous bout was recapped with an extra moment. When Danielson offered a handshake of sportsmanship after his win, Kingston rejected the gesture.

CM Punk spoke with Tony Schiavone backstage. Kingston walked in steaming on a sore loser tirade. He ran his mouth at Punk and knocked the microphone down. Trash talk was exchanged as officials corralled Kingston.

Matt Sydal vs. Dante Martin

This was their third head-to-head singles bout. Sydal was up 2-0, however, Martin was looking to snap that losing streak in their series. Martin was aided by advice from Lio Rush ringside.

Sydal hit his fair share of fancy moves, yet his success came from controlling the action with submissions and leg kicks. Martin was keen on using flips to counter out of the mat wrestling. Down the stretch, Sydal landed a roundhouse high kick then went for the Lightning Spiral slam finisher. Martin escaped by flipping out, then he flipped forward to execute a stunner. Martin connected on a double springboard moonsault for victory.

Dante Martin defeated Matt Sydal.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Dr. Britt Baker DMD will be competing against Abadon in a Trick or Treat match. The Treat is a title shot if Abadon wins. The Trick is no DQ rules. Abadon’s response to a question was to spit up blood. Henry played it straight on his reaction and asked a question to the champ. The self-acknowledged hardcore legend was confident in sending Adadon straight back to hell. The time for talk was over. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Trick or Treat: Dr. Britt Baker DMD vs. Abadon

Abadon hit a stunner early, but Baker rolled out of the ring and no-sold while setting up a table with help from Reba and Jamie Hayter. Back from commercial, Abadon landed a running senton onto a chair atop Baker. The dentist used a back heel trip to smash Abadon’s face into a chair in the corner. That sounds like a conflict of interest by Baker creating new clients for dental work.

The action spilled to the outside with a swinging neckbreaker from Baker off the apron onto a table. The prop refused to break, so Baker suplexed Abadon onto the wood. No dice on that either. The table remained strong.

Abadon sat up like a creepazoid and brought out a sack of thumbtacks. The living dead girl smashed Baker atop the miniature daggers.

Baker rallied by using a chair for a curb stomp.

Abadon sat up like a zombie. Baker loaded tacks into the ghoul’s mouth and kicked her in the face. When the champ went for the Lockjaw submission, Abadon bit her fingers. Hayter came in to hit a double axe handle, and Reba caused a distraction for Baker to win via roll-up.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated Abadon.

The opener between Bryan Danielson and Eddie Kingston was a satisfying slobberknocker. The action delivered what fans wanted. From a sporting aspect, this was a poor stylistic matchup that exposed Kingston. Danielson was clearly the better wrestler in every aspect. Kingston’s toughness carried him through, but that was only good for so long. Danielson showed there are levels to this game at the top. Kingston is generally a high-level competitor, but he couldn’t match his opponent’s greatness. Danielson was strong in victory, and that should carry over into a fantastic tournament final.

The attitude subplot was amusing. Kingston exposed himself as a blowhard. He came in using cheap tricks but failed to match Danielson’s skill. Danielson laughing at Kingston’s weak leg kick whiff was a humorous moment. Kingston’s early sass made me want to see him lose, so it was enjoyable whenever Danielson rained down pain. The middle finger salute upon defeat felt like a cliche coming from Kingston’s hand after all his hard talk.

This attitude played into the next story backstage with Punk. With all that transpired earlier, it cemented Kingston’s shift to the rude side. The storytelling made me firmly behind wanting to seeing Punk kick his tuchus, and that little interaction brought enough emotion to engage me as a viewer with anticipation for a future clash. One thing I hope to see is Kingston evolving beyond his previous heel shtick. This turn feels very similar to his earlier run against Jon Moxley. We’ve seen that before, so I hope Kingston can bring a fresh take.

Dante Martin and Matt Sydal worked an engaging match with strategy and athleticism. Martin’s progress in the ring stood out here. Early on in Martin’s AEW days, he would flip for flash. In this match, his flips had purpose behind them to fit into the context of the contest.

The main event with Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Abadon wasn’t so hot as a match, but it was a hoot as Halloween fun. The table spots and thumbtacks provided theatrics. It’s fitting that the table refused to break during a Trick or Treat match. The finish had an interesting twist for Baker to win on a roll-up and bail in the aftermath. It made Abadon feel like a true monster. On any other night, it would make the champ look weak. With the Halloween theme, it was appropriate.

Grade: A-

This episode of Rampage was a dandy. The first two bouts were very enjoyable. The quality of the main event is debatable, but it was entertaining enough as a Halloween treat. The story of Eddie Kingston losing his cool was what glued the show together. That added intrigue and anticipation about the future.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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