AEW RAMPAGE HITS & MISSES 12/3: Adam Cole misses with promo, solid psychology from Guevara and Nese, more

BY HITEN DAVE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Adam Cole (photo credit Wade Keller © 2020)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Sammy Guevara defeated Tony Nese in a TNT Championship Match: HIT

I like how they featured some highlights of Nese’s matches on Dark. He’s 4-0 in AEW thus far, and the bar to challenge for this title has been much lower, so I can’t complain.

The match was more psychologically sound than I was expecting, with Tony Nese working over Sammy’s knee and injured ribs. It also contained enough high spots to remain entertaining. Like Darby Allin, Sammy has a very aggressive manner of launching himself through the ropes. It looks less like a stunt and more of an actual offensive strike when he performs a tope. In addition, Nese came across a lot more credible than last week. Good facial expressions, ring psychology, and execution of high spots.

Christian Cage Backstage Promo with Jurassic Express: JUST KIND OF THERE

Christian Cage is a bit too heavy-handed in his desire to want the Jurassic Express to win the tag titles. “If it’s the last thing I do in my career” is quite an extreme statement for friends you just made a couple of months ago. One would think this is leading to a Christian Cage heel turn, but I reckon Tony Khan enjoys this association more than most people. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Jade Cargill defeated Janai Kai w/ Thunder Rosa on Commentary: MINOR HIT

The goal of this match was to build up heat between Rosa and Cargill. The match was over in seconds, and the post-match brawl between Rosa and Cargill was pretty paint-by-numbers. Rosa didn’t get much time to flex her charisma on commentary either, but for what I saw, she came across a little too down-to-earth and less of a badass.

I think this match will be Cargill’s biggest thus far in her career, and a test to see if Rosa can carry a developing wrestler to a serviceable match.

Super Clique Backstage Promo: “SUPER” MISS

Adam Cole kicked this off by saying “Orange Cassidy came out to take away my moment.” What moment, exactly? Cole did a whole entrance routine two nights ago only to then go to the commentary desk, apparently without knowing which match would be on next. There was no announced upcoming match involving people Cole was in a feud with, and viewers were left to wonder what he was doing out there in the first place. Don’t tell me he was out there to make a “moment” by commentating on a Wardlow squash (which was the next official match).

Anyway, the goal of this promo was for the Bucks to challenge Best Friends to a match next week on Dynamite. Nothing about the promo was special. Also, are we just supposed to forget how Matt Hardy laid out Orange Cassidy before Full Gear after their match? I’m happy to be done with that feud, but why do a heavy angle like that at the END of a feud? Why would Best Friends just move on from that to pick a bone with the Super Clique? Nothing about this feud makes any sense to me.

Don Callis was shown passing by in the background, talking on the phone. I assume this was done to remind us of Kenny Omega’s existence.

Eddie Kingston Backstage Promo: JUST KIND OF THERE

We had to hear from Kingston to keep the heat going between him and 2.0/Garcia. He didn’t really have much to say, but good delivery.

Bryan Danielson and John Silver Video Package: HIT

Good hype for their upcoming match. Danielson mocking Silver’s clubhouse-like comedy and his inability to take anything seriously is exactly what this character would do. Silver himself, as always, came across like he is about to play Danielson in a game of Warhammer, but I think it played well into the story of the promo.

Main Event Interview: MISS

Most of this involving reminding us that Fenix is missing. Nothing else about the promo really stuck, and it did little to hype me up for the upcoming match. In addition, I wish Mark Henry would stop having a self-satisfied smile after he his signature catchphrase “it’s time for the main event!” A bit more of a determined, focussed look would come across more iconic, I think.

FTR defeated Pac and Penta El-Zero: HIT

Up until the finish, it was a good match with an interesting mix of styles; FTR’s technical prowess meets Death Triangle spot love. The end of the match involved a distraction from Malakai Black, who blew mist in Pac’s face to allow Harwood to score the pin. Distraction finishes are rare in AEW, so I’m okay with it. However, this is the third underwhelming finish to a match involving FTR and/or Death Triangle I’ve seen in the past few months.

Post-Match Angle with Malakai Black: HIT

Black continuing to gouge Pac’s eye is a compelling angle. However, fans who sat through the Seth Rollins eye storyline on Raw last year may not be as enthused by this.

Commentary: MINOR HIT

As per most weeks, the commentary was serviceable. Not good enough to enhance the show nor bad enough to diminish it.

In the opening match, it was weird to hear Ricky Starks playing neutral commentator in a TNT title match, especially one involving a babyface champion. He really should be among those challenging for the championship, or at last hinting at how he would be a better champion than Sammy. Just another reason why I don’t like having an up-and-coming, uninjured young wrestler doing full-time commentary.

Overall Show: HIT

Another solid episode of Rampage. This was promising to be an excellent episode had that two-out-of-three falls match taken place, but they did the best they could do given the circumstances. I’m not sure if this is a show you should go out of your way to see; catch some highlights on the AEW YouTube channel and you’ll be fine.


CATCH-UP: 12/3 AEW RAMPAGE REPORT: Guevara defends TNT Title against Tony Nese, FTR vs. Penta & Pac, Jade Cargill vs. Kanai Kai

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