This week was fittingly all about the melding of the wrestling multiverse as A.E.W. took a page from the New Japan playbook and had both 8 and 10 man tag team matches on Rampage tonight. The show didn’t have any “match of the year” “5 star” classics but was a fun offering regardless. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this episode like I would to go see No Way Home (seriously, it made me cry! Twice!) but you’re here so you may as well read about it! Here’s this week’s rankings!
Honorable Mention: Eddie Kingston, Max Caster and Rey Fenix: I love Kingston on the mic so much! During the weekly main event hype promo he just told his opponents “We’re gonna beat your asses!” before instructing Mark Henry to “Come on Mark, do your thing, ‘it’s time’ and all that jazz” Caster makes the list for his line about his team being “The CIA” and taking them “away like JFK” before being cut off. It may not be a timely dig but it was a fitting one with them not to far from Dallas. Rey Fenix makes the list purely for being Rey Fenix and for somehow not demolishing Daniel Garcia’s face deapite overshooting a spinning splash and seemingly landing knee first on Garcia’s face.
5: Tay Conti: She and Penelope Ford had a clunky but ambitious (Nowhere near as ambitious as No Way Home which once again you should all see if you haven’t by the time you read this, but ambitious nevertheless!) submission match. Early in the match Conti ducked a chop attempt outside and Ford hit the ring post. I was surprised this didn’t come back around for the finish as I thought for sure Conti would win via armbar and break the hold by beating on the injured hand. There was a fun but awkwardly executed spot where Ford went for her handspring elbow but Conti got the knees up in the corner and then tried to transition to a triangle before it seemed like they lost their spot for a second and just kind of laid there but Ford eventually transitioned to a bow & arrow. The ending looked much better as Conti caught a cazadora attempt from Ford into a nice looking unique choke where Conti had her shin against the back of Ford’s neck and her hands around the throat causing Ford to submit. Afterwards the Bunny came in and KO’d Conti with the brass knucks before Anna Jay ran her off with a chair. While this wasn’t nearly as long or clean as I’d like a submission match to be it was them trying something different with the women and in the middle of the card so I won’t knock them for trying. I’d like to see them have this be Conti’s signature match and do this with the likes of Baker down the road.
4: Daniel Garcia: Technically The Acclaimed and 2.0 also won the main event but this team took the brunt of the punishment all match before GarcÃa got the lightning quick roll-up on Eddie Kingston. He didn’t do much here but getting to pin Eddie Kingston in the main event of an A.E.W. show still feels big and will serve as a nice feather in his cap.
3: Rocky Romero and The Best Friends: They won the opening contest of the night, an 8 man tag along with Orange Cassidy against Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and the Young Bucks but despite Trent? Barreta hitting the Crunchy on Fish to score the pinfall the top highlights of the match belonged to the Topicana Hammer himself. There was however, a beautiful looking sequence where Trent? draped Nick Jackson over the top rope so Rocky could hit a spirngboard dropkick to the back and Trent? followed it with an immediate running knee after Nick rolled over from it.
2: Jurassic Express: Following the sneaky win for 2.0, Garcia & The Acclaimed Bowens nailed Kingston with a boombox wrapped in a chain. This brought out Jurassic Express and Christian to even the odds and chase the heels off. But the final image of the night was the most telling as Jungle Boy paused for a second, then presented The Lucha Bros. with the Tag Team Championship and the 2 teams exchanged handshakes and fist bumps to close the show. Christian took a much needed backseat during the ending shot and it made me very excited for the future Championship meeting between these 2 teams that I can only assume will occur at the Battle of the Belts in January.
1: Orange Cassidy: The one Orange man who appeals to both sides of the aisle was on fire in the opening contest as he put a twist on his usual hands in his pocket shtick by doing a shimmy variation of the “old school” on the top rope before sticking his hand in his pocket. He followed that up with both an arm drag and monkey flip (Aside; with all the trolling from The Young Bucks I’m shocked they haven’t incorporated that move into their arsenal as “The Spot Monkey Flip”) with hands firmly in his pockets. He even took advantage of his teammates pulling the Bucks out of the ring by reversing the usual 3 man kiss and giving Cole a kiss of his own. Cassidy reversed a Panama Sunrise attempt into a back body drop before making the hot tag to Trent? and helped his team seal the win by diving off the top to the outside so Trent? could hit the Crunchy on Fish all alone. I cannot wait for Orange Cassidy v. Adam Cole in a singles match this week! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!