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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Dec. 10, 2021): Lucha Bros still the best

AEW Rampage (Dec. 10, 2021) emanated from the UBS Arena in Long Island, NY. The show featured the Lucha Bros defending the AEW tag titles against FTR, Hook debuting in the ring, and Adam Cole taunting Orange Cassidy.

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

Excalibur and Taz were on commentary. Dasha Gonzalez handled ring announcer duties.

AEW World Tag Team Championship: Lucha Bros vs. FTR

Fenix and Pentagon were often one step ahead at the start. FTR had to take a breather outside the ring to regroup. Dax Harwood finally turned the tide by pulling Fenix out of the ring to slam his spine on the apron. FTR focused on pounding Fenix. The masked man rebounded with a rolling European uppercut and super hurricanrana to Harwood, but he couldn’t reach his brother on the tag. FTR went back to work. Eventually, Fenix slapped hands with Pentagon, who erupted for sling blades and a pumphandle driver.

Lucha Bros were in complete control setting up for their Fear Factor finisher. That’s when Tully Blanchard hopped onto the apron as a distraction. Fenix took the bait. Tully threw a punch. Fenix caught it and landed a punch of his own.

The match progressed with a callback to FTR’s cheating ways. Harwood powered out of a roll-up from Fenix. Cash Wheeler was waiting by the ropes with the AAA tag belt in hand ready to bash Fenix, but Fenix was ready and snatched the gold away from Wheeler. In the process, Fenix accidentally knocked down referee Rick Knox. That allowed Harwood to use the foreign object on Fenix as he came crashing down on a frog splash. New champs looked certain, however, Fenix was able to kick out before the dramatic three count.

FTR maintained momentum by countering a flying Fenix into the Big Rig. Pentagon made the save with a flying crossbody knocking Harwood into the pinning pile for the break. All four men duked it out in the center of the ring. The champs found the window of opportunity to retain when Pentagon countered a jackknife pin into the Fear Factor. Fenix collided with Harwood on a suicide dive to prevent a break. Pentagon secured the winning pin on Wheeler to retain gold.

Lucha Bros defeated FTR.

Ruby Soho, Tay Conti, & Anna Jay vs. Nyla Rose, Bunny, & Penelope Ford

Conti dominated early. Vickie Guerrero was a game changer by distracting Conti, so the mean girls could put on a beatdown. Hot tag to Soho cleaning house. Ford cut the momentum by raking the eyes. Nyla entered to roughhouse Soho. Hot tag to Jay running wild. That led to the match breaking down with signature moves all around. During the commotion, Vickie passed brass knuckles to Bunny. She slugged Jay. Nyla finished with a Beast Bomb.

Nyla Rose, Bunny, & Penelope Ford defeated Ruby Soho, Tay Conti, & Anna Jay.

It’s Sting! Tony Schiavone attempted to interview Sting and Darby Allin backstage. FTR passed through for a blindside assault. They held up Stinger so Tully Blanchard could kick him in the cojones. This beef is unfinished business for when FTR lost to Stung & Allin at Grand Slam in September.

Hook vs. Fuego del Sol

Hook entered for his in-ring debut with Action Bronson’s, “The Chairman’s Intent,” as his theme song. He was dressed like a boxer without gloves. Hook utilized judo throws and suplexes to ground the speedy luchador. Fuego rallied briefly, but Hook blocked the tornado DDT. Hook emerged victorious after a crushing clothesline, high collar suplex, and Tazmission.

Hook defeated Fuego del Sol.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. He wondered how Adam Cole will handle the reunited Best Friends. Cole was confident that they will never be on his level. Orange Cassidy warned not to take Wheeler Yuta lightly. Yuta used Cole’s ‘Bay Bay’ catchphrase, which infuriating Cole. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Adam Cole vs. Wheeler Yuta

Cole had little trouble early. Yuta scored offense only when Cole was caught showboating. Down the stretch, Yuta escaped a Panama Sunrise to rally with flying attacks, strikes, and suplexes. Yuta seized the moment for a flying splash, but Cole got his knees up. Cole eyed Cassidy as he lowered the boom with a running knee to Yuta’s head.

Adam Cole defeated Wheeler Yuta.

Sparks flew in the aftermath. Young Bucks, Bobby Fish, Brandon Cutler, Best Friends, Orange Cassidy, and Rocky Romero were all ringside for the bout. Once Cole was deemed the winner, both factions entered the ropes for a staredown. Fish ignited fisticuffs by pulling Trent out of the ring from behind. That distraction allowed the SuperKliq to advance with physicality. Cole connected on the Panama Sunrise to Cassidy. Trent was blasted with a BTE Trigger to close the scene.

Lucha Bros and FTR put on a gem of a bout. Drama was intense, near pinfalls were believable, references to previous chapters were executed smoothly, smart strategy was applied, and it all built to blow the roof off on the finish. They have such great chemistry as opponents. As far as I’m concerned, this result was a definitive close to the feud. The Lucha Bros did their homework and were prepared for whatever FTR could throw at them. The story played out for a satisfying conclusion.

Not to mention, there were so many awesome moves throughout. If I’m forced to narrow it down to my three favorites, I’d go with Fenix standing on Pentagon’s shoulders for a flying splash, Dax Harwood with a slingshot Liger bomb, and Cash Wheeler catching Fenix in the air for a Gory bomb.

The women’s trios bout was designed to hype the TBS Championship tournament semifinal contest between Soho and Rose. The Native Beast was a true beast in this contest. She ragdolled Soho with ease during their interactions. Soho better come up with a smart strategy, otherwise, she won’t stand a chance. Overall, it was an effective outing, because I am very curious to see how Soho solves this puzzle. If she can’t, then I’ll be entertained by Nyla in beast mode.

Color me impressed with Hook’s first official match in AEW. He moved slick and quick for an explosive moveset. Hook conveyed so much attitude without speaking. Details like turning his back to Fuego during introductions and intimidating the referee spoke volumes. I’m looking forward to Hook having his first competitive match. Also, it was fun to hear Taz as a proud papa on commentary.

The main event was a time passer. Nothing of importance happened. Adam Cole won a match he should have won as the strong favorite. The action was fine for the type of matchup, although, it never reached a point to truly convince me that Yuta could score an upset victory. The post-match activity increased the heat between the Best Friends and the Elite. There are several different match combinations that could arise, but the prime focus is for Cole versus Orange Cassidy.

Grade: B+

The title opener was outstanding. That bout along with the women’s trios provided mystery as to who would win. Plus, I’ll always enjoy cheating with brass knuckles. Hook shined in his debut. The main event did little to provoke intrigue.

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

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