AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Dec. 9, 2022): Moxley bloody victory

AEW Rampage (Dec. 9, 2022) emanated from HEB Center in Austin, TX. The show featured Jon Moxley versus Konosuke Takeshita in a barn burner, Hikaru Shida being a badass, Orange Cassidy defending gold against a mystery opponent, and much more.

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

Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Jon Moxley vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Don Callis scouted Takeshita. After a wrestling stalemate to start, Moxley and Takeshita engaged in the ceremonial throwing of blows. Takeshita exploded for a hurricanrana to send Moxley out of the ring. Takeshita followed for a tope with hilo. The fighters brawled on the floor with Moxley delivering a big boot to his seated opponent. Takeshita repaid the favor with a big boot of his own to a seated Moxley. That contact opened a bloody wound on Mox’s head.

Back in the ring, Moxley sprang up for a cutter and followed with a piledriver. Takeshita kicked out on the cover. Takeshita countered a second piledriver for a back body drop. Momentum was on his side for clotheslines, DDTs, a stiff knee, and a brainbuster, but Moxley refused to lose.

Down the stretch, Moxley got his knees up to block a frog splash. Hammering elbows and a Death Rider couldn’t finish Takeshita. Fans erupted in jubilation when the underdog kicked out at 1.

Takeshita rallied to stomp Mox’s head. Upkicks from Moxley created space to work for a bulldog choke. Takeshita valiantly tried to escape, but he collapsed in a heap. The referee called for the bell as Takeshita was out cold.

Jon Moxley defeated Konosuke Takeshita.

Afterwards, Hangman Page arrived on the scene. He wasn’t cleared to wrestle, but he punched Moxley anyway. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta tried to separate the skirmish. Hangman wasn’t having it. Moxley rammed the cowboy’s head into the ring post. Hangman was knocked silly, and that allowed officials to separate the rivals.

Book of Hobbs. He paid the ultimate price growing up on the streets of Oakland. This is a life you want no part of.

One-year anniversary of Hook’s debut on Rampage. Stokely Hathaway aired a conspiracy video claiming Hook’s victory over Lee Moriarty is tainted. Grainy camera footage showed that Hook’s foot was not fully under the rope when the referee forced a submission break. Hathaway will seek justice by any means necessary, even at Waffle House with MJF’s money.

Queen Of Wave Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Bunny

The winner earns a shot at Jamie Hayter for the AEW Women’s World Championship. Penelope Ford was ringside for physical assistance. When Bunny went for her finisher, Shida countered to hit Down the Rabbit Hole on Bunny. 1, 2, Ford slid in the kendo stick to distract referee Aubrey Edwards. Shida was furious. She grabbed the weapon to chase Ford on the outside. As Shida wound up to strike, Bunny snatched the kendo stick from above. The ref took it from Bunny and turned her back on the action. The bad girls tried to double team, but Bunny clocked Ford when Shida moved. Shida pounced for a Meteora off the apron to Bunny. Shida showed urgency to finish the job. Bunny kicked out of the cover on a Michinoku Driver, so Shida unsheathed the Katana spinning knee for victory. Hayter came out for a staredown.

Hikaru Shida defeated Bunny.

Athena and Mercedes Martinez have history on the indies. Athena will be satisfied to take the ROH women’s title from Martinez, but she’d be happier to retire the OG Badass.

Lee Moriarty & W. Morrissey vs. Clayton Bloodstone & Izzy James

Morrissey was officially called Big Bill. Stokely Hathaway was ringside to watch the complete decimation of the Firm’s opponents. Squash won by Morrissey with a chokeslam.

Lee Moriarty & W. Morrissey defeated Clayton Bloodstone & Izzy James.

FTR accepted the Briscoes’ dog collar challenge for Final Battle. Even though FTR lost to the Acclaimed, they won’t pout. FTR will give the Dem Boys the damnedest fight they ever had.

House of Black made Ortiz feel like a child last week. That’s disrespectful, so Ortiz is bringing Eddie Kingston with him for a fight.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Kip Sabian is not cleared to compete, so he picked the opponent for Orange Cassidy. Sabian found someone from across the pond to bring class to the AEW All-Atlantic Championship. Cassidy didn’t care. Sabian wondered where Danhausen was. As Henry tried to wrap up the interview, Danhausen popped up in Henry’s split-screen box to mimic Henry’s signature lines. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Shane Taylor believes that Keith Lee leaving him was the best thing to happen. Taylor’s career excelled in ROH winning the TV and six-man titles. Lee always said to be patient and stay the course. Why wait for opportunity? Taylor and JD Griffey will kick the door in.

Cassidy entered the ring for the main event. He was flanked by Best Friends and Danhausen. Sabian and Ford revealed Trent Seven as the mystery opponent. Seven is a former tag champion with Tyler Bate in NXT.

AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Thirty Seven

In the early going, Cassidy shoved Sabian onto his ass and made a mean face at Ford. She hightailed it up the ramp to the back. A short while later, Ford brought Butcher, Blade, and Bunny on stage. Best Friends ran up for a brawl to the back.

The match progressed with Cassidy working for his signature moves. Seven was prepared with counter defense. For example, Seven blocked a tornado DDT to hit a suplex side slam. Seven gained momentum for a Burning Hammer attempt. Cassidy escaped to clock the superman punch and win via Beach Break.

Orange Cassidy defeated Trent Seven.

Sabian struck after the match to stomp Cassidy. He convinced Seven to assist. Dustin Rhodes ran out to protect his home turf in Texas and cleared the ring.

Let there be blood!

Jon Moxley bled in victory over Konosuke Takeshita. That’s not surprising, nor is Mox and Takeshita having an entertaining match. Takeshita continues to show he can hang with the best in show-stealing efforts, but, damn, give the man some meaningful wins. The crowd was fully behind Takeshita rooting for his success. Part of that is his natural appeal, and I think part was the fans feeling frisky for something new as a change in routine.

Hangman Page’s confrontation with Moxley was a ton of fun. Yee-haw! Too bad Hangman looked like a dope. I thought it was a little dirty playing tough guy after Mox just had a knock-down drag-out fight. That’s not fitting behavior from the noble hero. I felt no pity when Moxley rammed Hangman’s head into the ring post. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Hikaru Shida is a badass. I love her reactions when reaching her boiling point. Taking the fight proactively to Bunny and Penelope Ford was amusing. It’s stuff like that which makes Shida easy to root for. Shida closed in style for an emphatic victory.

Orange Cassidy and Trent Seven brought a mix of comedy and action. Seven wrestled well enough to pique my interest for more. He was presented as a prepared veteran with nifty counters. I like to see that in a ring story. Seven had time to scout, whereas Cassidy was flying by the seat of his pants against an unknown opponent. I also think Seven was a smart choice in general. I’d never seen him before, but the British connection makes sense with Kip Sabian to easily believe they have history together in a story realm. Penelope Ford bringing in Butcher, Blade, and Bunny was a creative wrinkle on many levels. The unexpectedness juiced a rowdy reaction.

Quick thoughts. Commentary said Takeshita wrote his graduate thesis on the German suplex. I would like to read it. Also, we need a Technique by Taz segment analyzing Takeshita’s German suplex. Stokely Hathaway is on the right path. Justice and waffles are a winning combination. It’s nice to see Ortiz in the driver’s seat of a story. He has charisma, so I’m looking forward to see what he can do against the House of Black. Danhausen screwing with Mark Henry was hilarious.

Grade: B+

Strong rebound from last week’s mediocre episode. The wrestling action was aggressive and slick. Sprinkle in surprises and intriguing promo material.

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

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