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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Nov. 26, 2021): Talk is cheap

AEW Rampage (Nov. 26, 2021) emanated from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. The show featured a battle of best friends, a shocking result in the women’s division, and Eddie Kingston proving Daniel Garcia’s talk was cheap.

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

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

Adam Cole & Bobby Fish vs. Orange Cassidy & Wheeler Yuta

Cole and Cassidy shared a showdown for fan interaction over OC trying to put his hands in his pockets.

Yuta was the weak link early as the inexperienced youngster. Cole and Fish picked him apart setting up for a hot tag to OC. The Best Friends exploded with a whirling DDT by Cassidy, suicide dive from OC to Cole, flying crossbody from Yuta to Fish on the outside, flying crossbody from OC to Cole on the inside, suicide dive from OC to Fish, and flying splash from Yuta to Cole. Mr. Baybay was able to kick out and continue the bout in a competitive affair.

Down the stretch, there were several close calls to end the match. Cassidy was pumped to finish and removed his elbow pad, but Cole pulled him out of the ring and smashed him into the ring steps. Fish seized the moment for a super falcon arrow to Yuta for victory.

Adam Cole & Bobby Fish defeated Orange Cassidy & Wheeler Yuta.

Premier athlete Tony Nese has been scouting the competition and wants a TNT title match. He has done his homework on Sammy Guevara and is 100% unimpressed. Sammy stepped in hot, so Nese cooled him down. Challenge issued, challenge accepted. On the handshake, Nese snookered Sammy for a cheap shot. Nese knelt down on Sammy’s injured ribs. It was later announced that the TNT Championship will be defended next week on Rampage.

FTR has proved they are the best tag team on the planet. No team is on their level. When the Lucha Bros have beaten them, it was from pinning the illegal man. FTR proposed 2-out-of-3 falls. That bout was made official for Rampage next week.

Riho vs. Dr. Britt Baker DMD

If Riho can win, then she will earn a title shot. Jamie Hayter was along for the ride as Baker’s backup but still not in a good mood. Despite that, Hayter joined in on physical interference.

Riho hit a high spot early with a flying crossbody onto Baker and Reba outside the ring. Baker relied on her size advantage to take control, but Riho would score feisty comebacks. Riho escaped an Air Raid Crash to counter with a snap dragon suplex. Baker dodged a flying double stomp to connect on the Air Raid Crash. Riho kicked out on the cover. When Riho was able to connect on the flying double stomp, Baker kicked out on the cover. Baker picked up steam for a neckbreaker. Riho countered for a roll-up cradle on the surprise win.

Riho defeated Dr. Britt Baker DMD.

After Dynamite went off the air, Andrade nailed Cody with a DDT on the exposed floor. An Atlanta street fight was booked for next Wednesday night. It was also announced that Bryan Danielson’s Dark Order opponent will be Alan “5” Angels. In addition, Sting & Darby Allin will team against Billy Gunn & Colten Gunn and Ruby Soho will battle Kris Statlander in the TBS Championship tournament quarterfinals.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. He felt 2point0 was out of control, however, they claimed a method to their madness. Eddie Kingston reacted exactly as they thought he would. Daniel Garcia aimed to embarrass his opponent. Kingston bellowed with laughter. His message was that talk is cheap. Henry closed with intensity, “It’s time for the main event!”

Daniel Garcia vs. Eddie Kingston

Garcia went for takedowns early, but Kingston’s load was too heavy. Kingston blocked and thrashed Garcia with punches. Once Garcia landed a few strikes, Kingston poked him in the eye. That’s when the athletic competition turned into a rugged fight. Garcia chopped the windpipe, both men bit each other, and Garcia came close to ripping off Kingston’s ear.

The story of strategy involved Garcia targeting Kingston’s knee. Kingston collapsed on an Irish whip, but he faked a little to lure Garcia in for an exploder suplex. Garcia went back to working on the knee. At one point, Garcia was hammering so many blows that Kingston turtled up in defense. Kingston persevered through the pummeling to turn the tide with suplexes.

In the closing stanza, both men exchanged strikes furiously. Kingston had the upper hand for a half-and-half suplex. He unloaded a spinning backfist, but Garcia ducked. Kingston kept spinning for a second rotation and clocked Garcia in the mush. That was enough to earn the victory.

Eddie Kingston defeated Daniel Garcia.

Immediately afterward, 2point0 put the boots to Kingston. Chris Jericho saw enough and left the commentary table for the save.

The main event between Eddie Kingston and Daniel Garcia was intense. That was a darn good fight. It was enjoyable watching Garcia try to use his technical skills on the larger street goon. Kingston showed a lot of heart keeping the fight alive while experiencing tremendous pain. Kingston said talk is cheap, then he backed up his bravado with action.

My initial reaction about the finish is that it would have been more interesting if Garcia had won. It’s tough to dig my heels in on that, because I don’t know where they are going with Kingston in terms of character development. Bryan Danielson and CM Punk insulted his work ethic, and Kingston hasn’t done anything to show he’s changed. That’s why I thought it would have been a positive rub for Garcia to win. He would have gained his first notable victory in AEW, and Kingston could dig deeper into self-reflection for a comeback down the line.

As it stands now, I don’t care about Garcia anymore. Sure, he puts on quality matches, but he has lost every time on TNT. Garcia pretty much did everything right and still couldn’t get the job done. He lost to a man on one leg. Commentary covered a little by pointing out Garcia was becoming more focused on inflicting punishment than winning the match.

For Kingston, there’s no progress in his story after losing to Danielson and Punk. In my opinion, he comes off as arrogant when considering his lack of success against top competition. Even though Garcia is the bad guy, I still would have enjoyed him serving humble pie as a rock bottom moment for Kingston to bounce back. Moving forward to team with Jericho against wrestlers that always lose isn’t all that intriguing. If this is a step toward Kingston versus Jericho, then my interest would be piqued. Those two know how to put on a show.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Riho had a dandy of a duel. Strategy played out with smart counters. I have to say up front that it’s never a good look for the champ to be pinned clean in non-title bouts. Since AEW went with that direction, let’s take it for what it’s worth. The ending came off as a big surprise, so that’s a plus. They get to squeeze out a high-profile rematch before the year is over. Even though the story tells Riho as 3-0 against Baker in their AEW careers, I’m not particularly convinced that Riho can do it again to win gold. I don’t know what else AEW could do to change my mind. That feeling is more on not expecting Baker to drop the belt anytime soon.

For as much as I’m not into Orange Cassidy, I have to say that the opening match was pretty good. Cassidy’s flurries of offense were fire. Going in, it was obvious either Yuta or Fish would take the pin, however, all four men were put in precarious situations throughout the bout. They did well keeping the finish unpredictable. The super falcon arrow was awesome. Fish picking up the pin helps establish him as a winner and not some tagalong with the Elite.

Grade: B

Rampage continues its pattern of offering entertaining fights. This week had a genuine surprise result in the women’s bout as a nice way to mix things up.

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

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