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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Dec. 29, 2023): Danhausen pays the price

AEW Rampage (Dec. 29, 2023) emanated from Addition Financial Arena in Orlando, FL. The New Year’s Smash special featured Danhausen paying the price for butting in, Le Sex Gods back together, a tantalizing trios main event, and more.

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

Excalibur and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Chris Jericho opened the show to address the events from Dynamite. After the feud with Sting, the Icon called with respect to say he would watch Le Champion’s back anytime needed. Sting was a man of his word. Jericho also called out Sammy Guevara to find out why his buddy turned on him to join the Callis Family. Sammy explained that he was lost in Jericho’s shadow and lashed out. During time away, Sammy reflected inward on his own faults. He apologized to Jericho. Jericho did the same to Sammy.

One more piece of business. Jericho still has the tag title shot and needs a partner. Sammy agreed to reunite Le Sex Gods.

Daniel Garcia and Daddy Magic are coming to collect payback on the House of Black.

Ruby Soho vs. Marina Shafir

Saraya, Harley Cameron, and Nyla Rose were ringside. Saraya and Cameron often created referee distractions. The Native Beast had enough and went after Saraya. Harley jumped on Nyla’s back, and she was flung to the floor with a thump. Saraya hopped the barricade and ran away. Nyla gave chase.

Meanwhile, Soho capitalized on the wackiness for a No Future Kick, but she couldn’t earn the pin. Shafir took control with ground work. Cameron hopped onto the apron, and Shafir took the bait. Soho scored a roll-up grabbing the tights to win.

Ruby Soho defeated Marina Shafir.

The Callis Family are ready to kick ass at Worlds End. Ricky Starks’ retirement gift to Sting will be making sure the Icon doesn’t make it to his last match at Revolution.

Willow Nightingale cleared the air with Kris Statlander about Stokely Hathaway’s baloney claims. Big Stoke entered to stir the pot suggesting a singles match. Statlander was game for friendly competition.

ROH Pure Championship: Wheeler Yuta (c) vs. Matt Sydal

Pure rules in effect. Christopher Daniels, Jimmy Jacobs, and Sarah Stock were the judges in case of a draw. Competitive match with the first rope-break coming after eight minutes of action. Sydal reached the ropes to escape a short-arm scissor. Yuta was cagey landing a cheap shot closed-fist punch, but the referee was out of position to see it.

The match continued with Yuta rolling for the seat belt pin. Sydal’s defense was tight, so Yuta transitioned to vicious hammering elbows. Sydal was knocked silly, then Yuta secured the seat belt pin to win.

Wheeler Yuta defeated Matt Sydal.

Afterward, Danhausen came out to appoint himself as the fourth judge and issue a disqualification to Yuta for cheating. Yuta uttered, “Kiss my ass,” then he punched Danhausen and added a DDT for good measure. As Yuta was hammering elbows, Hook arrived. Yuta scurried away to await their fight at Worlds End.

Hype recap for MJF versus Samoa Joe for the AEW World Championship at Worlds End.

Enough talk. It’s time for the main event!

Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, & Rocky Romero vs. Top Flight & Action Andretti

High-octane action. The match broke down into moves all around. Andretti landed a springboard 450 splash on Trent, but Cassidy and Romero made the save on the pinfall.

The match broke down into moves all around again. This time, victory was achieved. Cassidy went for the superman punch, however, Dante Martin blocked with a dropkick. Tag to Romero for a flying attack, and Dante countered for a half nelson swinging slam.

Top Flight & Action Andretti defeated Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, & Rocky Romero.

Grade: B-

Solid action in the ring with promos tying up loose ends for the PPV.

Love that Danhausen. Well, Wheeler Yuta doesn’t. That was a humorous way to build heat on Yuta. It was a bit odd how commentary were so protective of Danhausen during the beatdown. The anger was warranted from Yuta as Danhausen paid the price for butting into his business. Will Danhausen make his fury felt in FTW rules during Hook’s match with Yuta? There is nothing stopping him due to the no disqualification nature of the stipulation. Whatever happens, I want to see Danhausen in a Pure rules match against Yuta. The curiosity is too strong to pass up. Since I’m just throwing ideas into the wind, give me Danhausen in the big swing from Claudio Castagnoli. Please, and thank you.

The Pure match itself was an interesting wrinkle with barely any rope-breaks. The movement never really called for it, so no need to force it. I like how Yuta and Sydal didn’t obligate themselves to rely on creating rope-break scenarios. It keeps the Pure formula fresh, because you never know what type of match to expect. Yuta was dominant in the end to raise his stock under that rule set. It’s also funny how he manipulates the closed-fist punch rule to spit in the face of honor.

The main event trios bout rocked. The blitz of moves at the end had a creative flow. Dante Martin’s dropkick to block the superman punch popped me out of my seat. It’s interesting that Top Flight and Action Andretti were victorious. Despite losing recently in their trios title challenge to The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn, this win props up their momentum once again. The Acclaimed are a hot act, so perhaps those championships are not in the cards just yet. Keep an eye on the ROH six-man belts held by Brian Cage and the Gates of Agony. That clash has all the makings of a new-age classic between high-flying and power players.

Quick thoughts on the rest of the show. The promo from Chris Jericho worked well enough to quickly close logic holes before the PPV. The chat between Jericho and Sammy Guevara was a feel-good moment for fans of Le Sex Gods, and it also firmly established Sammy back as a babyface. The women’s match was overshadowed by interference. Ruby Soho earned the cheating win to break her losing streak. Harley Cameron’s presence is already paying off. Good for Daniel Garcia and Daddy Magic sticking up for themselves. Sure, their records aren’t bright, but I like the attitude of not backing down. It’s a good reminder to show their toughness through the comedy.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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