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AEW RAMPAGE BLACK FRIDAY TV REPORT
JANUARY 7, 2021
RECORDED AT THE PRUDENTIAL CENTER IN NEWARK, NJ
AIRED ON TNT
REPORT BY PATRICK MOYNAHAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Excalibur, Taz, Chris Jericho, and Ricky Starks
Ring announcer: Justin Roberts
– The opening of Rampage aired. Excalibur welcomed us with, “It’s Friday night, and you know what that means!” Excalibur was joined by Taz, Chris Jericho, and Ricky Starks.
(1) ADAM COLE vs. JAKE ATLAS
This was Jake Atlas’s second AEW match, and first on Rampage. Excalibur mentioned that both men appeared on the same TV show in the past (referencing NXT, but not saying the same) but never competed against one another. Atlas took the early control, and even mocked Cole in the process.
Each man evaded one another’s moves, then Cole kicked Atlas in the stomach. Atlas fired right back and hit a dropkick, then covered for a two count. Atlas had Cole in the corner and nailed him with a stiff kick to the face. As Atlas perched on the top turnbuckle, Cole pushed him right off to the outside and onto the mat. Cole went outside with Atlas and threw him hard into the ring post.
Back inside, Cole whaled away on Atlas with a series of right hands. Atlas tried fighting back but Cole kicked him off. Atlas came back with a rolling elbow strike, then spring boarded off the ropes but was caught by Cole in a backstabber. [c]
Cole had Atlas in a headlock, but Atlas was in the midst of fighting his way out of it. Atlas came off the ropes and hit a step-up hurricanrana, which sent Cole to the outside. Atlas hit Cole with a dropkick through the ropes, then hit a tope suicida to the outside. Atlas followed it up with a shotgun dropkick on Cole. Cole fired back with a pump kick and got a close two count on Atlas.
Cole and Atlas traded kicks to the face, then Atlas nailed Cole with a clothesline. Cole came right back with a knee to the back of Atlas’s head for a close count. Cole ran toward Atlas but caught a boot to the face, then a powerbomb for a very close two count. Atlas spring boarded off the top rope and Cole hit him with a kick to the face. Atlas crumpled to the mat in obvious pain. Cole set up for the Panama Sunrise, but Atlas was in no shape to take the move, so Cole called a noticeable audible and synched in a leg lock and made Atlas tap out.
WINNER: Adam Cole in 10:00.
– After the match, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly hit the ring to help Cole beat Atlas down. Just as they were about to, Orange Cassidy and Best Friends hit the ring to make the save.
(Moynahan’s Take: A great match until the very end when it was obvious that Atlas’s knee was in serious pain. I really hope this turns out to be a minor injury in the grand scheme of things and he is able to heel up quickly.)
– It was announced that Dustin Rhodes would fill in for Cody Rhodes during tomorrow’s Battle of the Belts event. The match was announced as still being for the TNT Championship, but the winner would be considered the Interim TNT Champion. Both Dustin and Sammy said a few words in advance of that match. [c]
– Clips from this week’s Dynamite aired, including highlights of all three title matches.
– Tony Schiavone was backstage with Andrade El Idolo. Schiavone asked Andrade why he attacked Darby and Sting, and Andrade replied by asking why Darby worked for Sting. After being corrected by Schiavone, who said they were friends, Andrade told Sting to name his price for Darby, as he is in need of an additional assistant.
(2) Hook vs. Aaron Solo (w/QT Marshall)
Hook came out to a solid reaction as Solow was already in the ring. Hook picked Solo right up and slammed him over his head. Solo got right to his feet to regroup. Hook tripped Solo to the mat as he locked in a quarter nelson. Solo was able to reach the ropes for the break. Hook came right back and nailed Solo with a series of rights and lefts. Marshall tripped Hook’s foot from the outside, which allowed Solo to gain a bit of an advantage.
It didn’t last long as Hook hit a Russian leg sweep and had Solo locked in another submission. Both men got to their feet, but Hook hit another suplex on Solo. Solo hit a jawbreaker but got caught in a shoulder capture suplex by Hook. Hook hit a few cross-faces on Solo, then got him back to the mat and locked in the Red Rum for the win.
WINNER: Hook in 4:00
– After the match, Marshall got in the ring and into Hook’s face. Hook wasn’t having it and nailed Marshall with a head and arm suplex.
(Moynahan’s Take: Another week, another win for Hook. An okay match for what it was. Hook remains super over with these crowds.)
– Ricky Starks announced on commentary that he would be defending the FTW Championship against Matt Sydal on tomorrow’s Battle of the Belts.
– All four women from last week’s street fight—Penelope Ford, The Bunny, Tay Conti, and Anna Jay—talked about the match as highlights from it were shown.
(3) DR. BRITT BAKER & JAMIE HAYTER (w/Rebel) vs. RIHO & RUBY SOHO
Baker and Hayter attacked Riho and Soho from behind to gain the early advantage before the bell rang. The bell finally rang and Hayter and Soho were the legal women. Riho tagged in and nailed Hayter with a rising knee to the face. Soho followed it up with an elbow strike on Hayter. Soho and Riho continued to double team Hayter as the ref allowed it.
Hayter tagged in Baker who went right at Soho. Soho hit a suplex, then kicked Baker right across the face. Riho tagged in, and again, the two partners double teamed Baker. Rebel distracted Soho, which allowed Baker to regain control. Hayter hit the ring and nailed Soho from behind. [c]
Soho hit a back suplex on Baker, then crawled to her corner to make a hot tag to Riho. On the other side, Baker tagged in Hayter. Riho took Hayter down, then hit the 619 for the cover which was broken up by Baker. Hayter and Baker then tried double teaming Riho, who took out both women by herself. Riho climbed to the top rope but was pushed off by Baker. Baker hit Riho with an elbow strike, and Hayter followed up with a back breaker. Soho was able to break up the pin attempt.
Riho escaped a suplex attempt by Hayter, then ducked out of the way of a Hayter forearm. Hayter hit Baker by accident, which allowed Riho to roll up Hayter for the win.
WINNERS: Riho & Ruby Soho in 8:00
(Moynahan’s Take: This match was fine for what it was, a way to help set up the Baker-Riho title match for Battle of the Belts. It was, unfortunately, the victim of this week’s “long commercial break in the middle of the match” award winner. Baker was noticeably angry at Hayter after the loss.)
– Dan Lambert was backstage with Men of the Year. He was angry about the Interim TNT Title match that was announced earlier in the show. Ethan Page said Scorpio Sky should’ve been in the match since he is in the Top 5 Rankings. Sky rattled off his achievements and added he hadn’t been pinned in more than 200 days.
– A preview of the Battle of the Belts was shown, including all three matches. A preview of next week’s Dynamite was shown, including the matches that were announced on this week’s show.
– Mark Henry was on split-screen with participants for tonight’s main event. 2point0 started talking as Kingston, Ortiz, and Santana just walked off their side of the screen. They then showed up and attacked Garcia and 2point0 as Henry announced that it was “time for the main event.” [c]
(4) 2point0 (Jeff Parker & Matt Lee) & Danny Garcia vs. Eddie Kingston & Santana & Ortiz — No DQ, No Rules, No Holds Barred
The main event was underway as we came back from the commercial. All six men were fighting on the ramp and around the ring. Kingston was fighting Garcia and grabbed a trash can from the crowd, which was random. Both men were in the ring, and Kingston nailed Garcia on the head with the trash can. Kingston then kicked the trashcan across Garcia’s stomach. 2point0 and Santana and Ortiz were shown still fighting around ringside.
Ortiz was shown with a beer in hand, which looked like he was using it as a weapon. Lee sent Ortiz over the barricade, then followed through the crowd. Santana and Ortiz hit a double suplex on Parker. Lee took a Fathead from the crowd and used it as a weapon. [c]
Santana and Ortiz were in the ring and actually busted out some wrestling moves on 2point0. Garcia hit the ring, which allowed them to regain some momentum. Ortiz fired back on Garcia, and Kingston and Santana came to his aid. All six men were in the ring. Lee threw powder in Santana’s face and went for a cover, which was broken up by Ortiz. Lee hit Santana with a DDT. Garcia grabbed the ring bell and brought it into the ring. He went to hit Kingston as 2point0 held him hup. Kingston was cracked over the head with the bell but somehow kicked out of the pin attempt.
2point0 and Garcia suplexed Kingston through the announce table. Santana caught Garcia with a chair to the stomach, then nailed Parker across the back, Finally, he hit Lee in the stomach and the back to take him out. Garcia went inside to face off with Garcia. The two exchanged blows. Ortiz won the battle, then Santana hit the ring to help him out. Parker came in and was nailed with a discuss lariat by Santana for the win.
WINNERS: Eddie Kingston & Santana & Ortiz in 12:00
– After the match, 2point0 and Garcia attacked Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz. 2point0 taped Kingston to the ring ropes, which prompted Jericho to leave the announce table and make the save.
(Moynahan’s Take: The first half of this match was a complete mess but got much better in the second half. It was inevitable that Jericho, who was extra obnoxious on commentary during this one, would make the save at the end based on how the storyline has been unfolding.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m not sure how I feel after watching tonight’s show, as there were just too many negative and/or disappointing elements to make me enjoy it. On the one hand, tonight’s main event felt like the street fight we just saw last week between Jay/Conti/Bunny/Ford. On the other, the TV debut of Jake Atlas was spoiled by what looks to be a serious knee injury. And while I’m a huge Dustin Rhodes fan, I’m not feeling him as the replacement in tomorrow’s Interim TNT Championship match. Well, if nothing else, at least we got HOOK! Until next week, stay safe everyone!