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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Dec. 8, 2023): Bryan Danielson is unbeatable

AEW Rampage (Dec. 8, 2023) emanated from Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The show featured Bryan Danielson showing why he is unbeatable in the Continental Classic, Orange Cassidy in an International Championship defense, and more.

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

Ian Riccaboni, Tony Schiavone, and Daddy Magic were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Angelico

This match was set up through actions on ROH TV. Angelico beat Christopher Daniels. Serpentico rubbed it in. Daniels attacked Serpentico. Angelico helped his pal. Orange Cassidy and Danhausen butt into this business to save Daniels. Cassidy punched Serpentico, so Angelico hit a cheap shot chop block on OC. Thus, this match for Rampage.

Angelico flexed his technical prowess. Cassidy was smooth with defensive wrestling. Angelico attacked the right knee. Cassidy grit through the pain for a one-legged Beach Break, but he was unable to make the cover.

The finish was full of funny business with distractions from Danhausen and Serpentico. Angelico hitched a grapevine leglock on Cassidy, while Serpentico stretched Danhausen on the outside. Cassidy put his hands in his pockets to roll toward the ropes for the break.

Serpentico tried to interfere again, so Danhausen punched him in the crotch. When Angelico pulled Cassidy back, OC went for a roll-up. Angelico kicked out, and Cassidy exploded with quickness for the superman punch to win.

Orange Cassidy defeated Angelico.

Abadon vs. Trish Adora

The zombie absorbed Adora’s offense and fired back with kicks. A knee to the head dropped Adora to set up for the Black Dahlia DDT.

Abadon defeated Trish Adora.

After the match, Julia Hart played mind games with Abadon. Lights out, Hart in the ring. The champ placed the TNT title on the mat to signify a challenge. Abadon snatched the precious gold. Lights out, Hart and the TNT Championship vanished.

Hype package for Mercedes Martinez versus Willow Nightingale on Collision.

Konosuke Takeshita & Will Hobbs vs. Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal

Don Callis sat in on commentary. The goal was to pound fresh meat to send a message to Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. The veterans were scrappy, but the Callis Family handled business without breaking much of a sweat. Sydal surged on a hot tag until Hobbs crushed a clothesline. A spinebuster and a powerhouse front slam sealed the deal.

Konosuke Takeshita & Will Hobbs defeated Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal.

Top Flight and Action Andretti won’t accept disrespect from Pentagon, but they will accept the luchador’s trios challenge.

Continental Classic Blue League: Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia

Danielson found success with leg kicks. Garcia rushed in a fury for a barrage of strikes. This match was getting chippy with exchanges of hammering elbows to the jaw. Garcia turned up the heat for a brutal exploder suplex.

Danielson roared back with a triangle choke while landing vicious punches. Garcia barely reached the ropes with his leg for the break. He took serious punishment in that sequence. Danielson charged for a Busaiku Knee, but Garcia collapsed to the mat conveniently ducking under the finisher. It might have been a ruse though. Garcia appeared to have baited Danielson into an inside cradle then a Sharpshooter.

Garcia cranked back on the submission, so Danielson grabbed his neck to escape. Garcia rolled through for a quick pilediver. Danielson kicked out on the cover to continue the match. Garcia kicked Danielson’s head in. The fancy dancer was in the groove to bust a move. Garcia gyrated his hips in anticipation of a running attack. Danielson shot up to meet Garcia in the middle for a Busaiku Knee. Danielson kicked Garcia’s head in. The American Dragon worked for the LeBell Lock. Garcia showed guts trying to survive, but he passed out in the end.

Bryan Danielson defeated Daniel Garcia.

Grade: B-

Very good main event. The rest of the show offered a variety of styles from technical to comedy to zombie to powerhouse.

Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia engaged in an intense battle. The aggression was strong. The exchanges of fisticuffs had me licking my chops. Danielson outclassed Garcia in the end, as expected. However, Garcia impressed with his fighting spirit to leave me wanting more.

Unfortunately for Garcia, it came down to the same mistakes he often makes. He leaned too far back on the Sharpshooter once again to serve his neck on a platter. At least he had a backup plan this time by rolling through for a piledriver. That’s progress. It would be better not to put himself in that situation though. The other mistake is debatable. Garcia had Danielson in his sights, then he took a dance break. That one is more difficult to analyze. Pumping up the crowd like that is a perfectly serviceable routine in sports entertainment. All the greats do something similar. This was an occasion where Garcia’s dancing actually fit in the flow. I guess the separation comes with the idea of the Continental Classic being about professional wrestling, which plays into Garcia’s ongoing character struggle.

Orange Cassidy and Danhausen are a great comedic duo. They complement each other well with opposite outputs of energy. The finish was very busy, but it is what it is for a random title defense on a late Friday night. Given the circumstances, it is better to sit back and enjoy the wackiness.

Strong win by Abadon to build up for a TNT title bout. The interactions with Julia Hart are slowly creating intrigue for a freak show fight. I’m curious how Abadon would react to black mist.

Konosuke Takeshita and Will Hobbs showed once again why they are special in the ring. They didn’t rest on their laurels content with a showcase win. Takeshita and Hobbs added creativity and athleticism in setting up their moves. The end result was looking like total badasses. Of course, a share of credit goes to Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal as dance partners. They were flying through the air to set up spots to get thrown through the air.

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

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