12/30/22 AEW Rampage Recap

Dec 31, 2022 - by Colin Vassallo

by Paul Hemming

Arena: 1st Bank Center

City: Broomfield, CO

Last Week’s Rating: 566,000 overall; 0.18 in 18-49 demo

That’s the best 18-49 since April. These ratings at the moment are weird, so up and down.

It’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!


Show started on a sad note, with a tribute to Don West. R.I.P.

Orange Cassidy vs Trent, All-Atlantic Title

Backstory: Kip eliminated Cassidy again in last week’s battle royal but then Trent eliminated Kip so…

Straight to the ring, no entrances, the two shook hands for an hour. The comedy title’s definitely on the line.

Kip Sabian had joined on comms. Paul Wight was filling in for JR.

The start of the match saw both guys highlighting the fact that they knew each other’s moves. Trent blocking the pockets; Cassidy wary of Trent’s strength. Amid mutual friendship and respect.

Trent missed a suicide dive, landing in Chuck’s arms (he and Danhausen were at ringside) for a hug.

But as it progressed, the pair got more and more violent, breaking down into a slugfest on the outside, Cassidy suckering Trent into diving right into the barricade at ringside.

Back from the first break, they were exchanging punches in the middle, then Cassidy launched deliberately weak paws/slaps until breaking back into a fistfight. A thrust kick caught Trent, who responded with a stiff lariat, then countered stundog millionaire into a half & half; Cassidy popped up to catch him in a Michinoku driver.

First really good sequence of the match.

Cassidy thought about the Punch but didn’t want to do it to his friend, setup Beach Break, the pair rolled through some counters until Trent got 2 with a roll up.

Orange hit a swinging ddt after countering Trent’s, following up with a diving one off the top for 2.9. Orange Punch countered but Cassidy countered back into a crucifix for two. Then went for a tejeiras, Trent planted him with a twisting tombstone. Things picking up.

Trent deadlifted Cassidy up into a piledriver for another close call which is when Penelope Ford distracted him: Beach Break, very close kickout, Orange Punch for the win.

Sabian cackled on comms. Tbf, if I were married to Penelope, I’d be randomly giddy all the time too. He then danced right past Orange, who didn’t hit him for some reason.

There was at least a story here, albeit with far too much comedy. There was enough good action to suggest this could’ve been very good if given more time and less haha.

Other than giving Cassidy something to do, this belt is worthless – the closest thing to 24/7 left in the business. And putting it on Rampage every week sends totally the wrong message about the show.

WINNER: Orange Cassidy

Backstage, Tony Schiavone with Darby and Sting after Dynamite. To announce the former’s TNT title shot in his hometown next Wednesday.

After Highschool – Darby had listened to people who told him not to wrestle, and he was dying inside, but when he started listening to himself, he did what none of them thought he could.

And now no-one believes that he can beat Joe next week.

He then aggressively questioned whether Sting believed in him. The veteran didn’t want to say ‘no’ because he didn’t want to doubt Darby, but couldn’t say ‘yes’ because then Darby would ‘lose the chip on your shoulder, and Joe’s a killer. Stop worrying about what others think and just do it’.

Good, fiery segment, assuming this isn’t another in the endless list of teams who don’t like each other.

Kip Sabian vs Atiba

Backstory: None

You might have been mistaken for thinking the crowd had left during this match. Kip won quickly after putting on Cassidy’s elbow pad and parodying him.

WINNER: Kip Sabian

Preston Vance with Lexi. He’s now going to be Perro Peligroso. He made a blonde joke, talked about how handsome and good at talking he is. Then rhetorically asked if he had any remorse. If he’d known he could’ve ditched the DO and his mask this easily, he’d have done what he did three years ago. Then made a swear! This dude’s face is stone when he talks.


In-ring with Moxley and Schiavone. For the past few years ‘two men stood above the rest and beat everybody else there was to beat: Jon Moxley and the Cowboy Hangman Adam Page.’ A showdown was inevitable and when it happened he proved he’s the real top guy, the Ace.

While Hangman woke in the hospital, he slept like a baby. Because the BCC work harder, prepare harder than everybody else. So when they get in the ring, they don’t care about hurting other people. It’s a tough business and this is the major leagues.

‘January 11th, if you wannit? I’ll be there waitin for ya. This is a tough business so if you make it I’m gonna remind everybody just how tough this business can be. Hangman, keep your hands up bitch’.

(Good promo, again verging on heel. And it’s nice that at least one star in the company isn’t obsessed with/wants to leave for WWE.)


Jarrett and co. promo for their upcoming title match with the Acclaimed on Wednesday. Lethal and Dutt shouted like it was 1985. Jarrett at least cut a good promo, even if I’d rather dine on diarrhea than watch the match. He said he’s made plenty of mistakes in his career but none as big as the Acclaimed made on Wednesday.

(If they knew these two title matches were coming – which they surely did – why not announce them on Dynamite which twice as many people watch?)

Jade Cargill vs Kiera Hogan, TBS Title

Backstory: Hogan was kicked out of the Baddies by Jade, and her team lost to Jade & co. the week after, so she’s quite the challenger

Hogan countered a delayed suplex into a cradle for a one count, then was planted via chokeslam.


Hogan was being choked atop the ropes as we returned, leapt off, was caught but slipped out, had to stand still and wait because Jade mistimed the pump kick, which she then barely hit as Kiera bailed outside.

Where Red Velvet stopped Jade from slapping Hogan but the two didn’t even exchange words afterward.

Back inside, Hogan countered Jaded, hit a hip attack, drilled Jade with a couple kicks to the face, baseball slide in the corner, came off the top with a cross body for two.

Then tried a suplex which of course she had no chance of executing; Jade turned it into Jaded and pinned her with one arm while counting the pin.

Velvet then left without the others.

Happy to be wrong but does anyone out there think Velvet’s ending the streak?

WINNER: Jade Cargill

Jamie Hayter promo: last week she and Shida beat the ‘piss’ out of each other. At LA Forum, she doesn’t care who Saraya brings. ‘Hayter. Hits. Hard’.

(They really need to ram home the mystery partner next Wednesday. And again, if it isn’t Sasha, they should make that clear, even if it means announcing the partner ahead of time.)


Mark Sterling, on behalf of MJF, and via Tony Nese who interrupted, challenged Bryan Danielson to a match on Wednesday. If that goes more than five minutes…


Mox cut the pre-match promo on Yuta’s behalf, saying they’ve programmed him to be relentless. While acknowledging that Killshot (Swerve’s persona in Lucha Underground) was his favorite wrestler for years.

Strickland said he wants to get ‘dirty, gritty, violent like y’all do’. Next year, Mogul Affiliates will prove they’re the most violent. Yuta fired back, Swerve said ‘say less’, which seems to be his new sign-off.

He’s such a good talker with so much charisma. How could they weigh him down with these tattooed anchors?

Still no update on Keith Lee, who was only mentioned in passing vis-à-vis the cinderblock. In the same way Simone Johnson might be mentioned because of her dad.

Wheeler Yuta vs Swerve Strickland

Backstory: Yuta grew tired of Swerve badmouthing Keith Lee, who wasn’t there to defend himself

Yuta came unaccompanied, which suggests bravery but could easily turn to stupidity. Which Paul Wight basically said on comms.

Should be a good one.

(Excalibur talked about win/loss records resetting so maybe they’re bringing them back in 2023?)

A cagey start saw both looking for wrist control, neither able to get it, returning to their respective corners as the crowd chanted for Yuta. Swerve began to target the legs, Yuta kicked him away, hit a bodyslam and a senton, couldn’t even buy a one with the first pin of the match.

(Liking the fact that there’ve been covers which aren’t 2 or 3 tonight.)

Yuta then locked in a single-leg crab after countering a Strickland suplex, into a bow and arrow stretch until Strickland slipped out to buy a quick count of one. Before heading to the apron; Yuta ready for the springboard, countering with a dropkick to drive Swerve outside, following up with a suicide dive.

Then stupidly allowed himself to be distracted by the nondescript white boys with tats. Swerve took advantage to bring the break.

Nice start.

A back body drop brought Wheeler a breather before he bagged a two with a roll-up. Before heading to the top – his leg apparently injured during the break – then flying for a diving elbow strike and a German suplex for a close count.

Strickland hit a discus elbow, kicked at the injured leg, then struck with a brainbuster for two of his own. Weak shots to the chest led to a standing switch, Yuta countered the JML Driver, Swerve countered back to bag a two via the trunks, Yuta swung back in through the ropes to hit an Angle Slam for two.

The clear underdog, Wheeler was now basically on one leg.

After the knee buckled, Strickland hits shots in the corner, dropkick to the knee, to the top, Yuta caught him with an enziguri, raked the back a la Mox then hit a superplex before psyching himself up.

Before launching h&a elbows, seeking the Seatbelt, Swerve slipped out, hit his leaping kick to the face, setup the JML Driver, the ref got taken out, low blow, JML Driver, one, two, three.

The only outcome which made sense and honestly Strickland winning by himself is hugely preferable to putting the spotlight on his backup dancers.

Good but not great. Perhaps had unreasonable expectations.

WINNER: Swerve Strickland

Leave a Reply