AEW Rampage New Year's Smash Preview for December 31, 2021
RAMPAGE is back on Friday night to ring in the New Year with a bang! Coming off our final TNT edition of DYNAMITE where Jade Cargill advanced to the TBS Women's Championship fight thanks to Mercedes Martinez, Chris Jericho returned to assist Eddie Kingston, and some old friends created chaos for some best friends, RAMPAGE: NEW YEAR'S SMASH is going to be red-hot!
The action comes your way on TNT at 10pm EST/9pm CST, and at AEWPlus.com for our international fans, and features a TNT Title match for the second straight week, a Street Fight between four very angry women, and Darby Allin in action with Sting at his side! RAMPAGE: NEW YEAR'S SMASH is certain to end your 2021 with the best action in professional wrestling today, but before that gets started, you can also visit the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from DYNAMITE, as well as the most recent editions of DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, ROAD TO, and the latest CONTROL CENTER episode!
TNT TITLE MATCH...
“The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes(c)
vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page (w/ Scorpio Sky & Dan Lambert)
Ethan Page, Scorpio Sky, and Dan Lambert have been on the hunt for the TNT Title for months on end. Page's failed challenge against Sammy Guevara back in October led to a wild Street Fight at FULL GEAR 2021, one the MOTY/ATT contingent also lost, but that never stopped anyone from running off at the mouth about what Page and Sky deserve.
“The Spanish God” taking on the challenges of Jay Lethal and Tony Nese after FG '21 just further incensed “All Ego” as he felt given his record, regardless of that October 27th loss, he should be the one contending for the TNT Title. And if not him, than certainly it should be Scorpio Sky, just not anyone coming into All Elite Wrestling who he felt hadn't proved themselves yet.
So when Cody Rhodes, already a two-time former TNT Champion, stepped up as the next challenger in Guevara's championship reign, the Page/Sky/Lambert trio were absolutely incensed. To them it was indicative of partisanship, of favoritism, and preferential treatment; it was a crime to be laid at the feet of AEW GM Tony Khan as much as it was one committed by Cody Rhodes. Just a few days prior to Cody's challenge against Sammy, the founder of American Top Team made his feelings quite clear:
So when Cody defeated Guevara one week ago on RAMPAGE to become the first 3-Time champion of any division in AEW's history, it was rapidly established that Lambert and his ilk would have to put their money where their mouths are in a championship match. It would be “All Ego” Ethan Page that drew the slot as Cody's opponent in his first title defense of this third TNT Title reign, but it would be Brandi Rhodes who was the target of Dan Lambert's verbal wrath last Wednesday night!
The CBO of AEW did not hesitate to come to the ring and get right in the face of Dan Lambert, offering him out for a fight right on the spot. Rather than Cody though, it was the cooler head of “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes that emerged through the tunnel to calm the situation, but it was also Dustin who paid the price for his actions. The Men Of The Year took a cheap shot on “The Natural” and then high-tailed it out of the ring before they suffered any consequences.
But on Friday night there will be no running, not if Ethan Page hopes to bring Cody's third title run to an abrupt end just before 2021 closes up shop in Jacksonville, FL. “The American Nightmare” has proven time and again that he will fight against any odds, fight the fight his way, and consistently strive to be the best in-ring competitor in All Elite Wrestling.
On RAMPAGE, just over five years since their only other one-on-one meeting, Cody and Ethan will lock horns to see just who is the Face of TNT heading into 2022!
Anna Jay & Tay Conti vs. Penelope Ford & The Bunny
Brass knuckles, chairs, trash cans, tables; whatever these four women want to bring to the dance on Friday night, well it will all be legal under the confines of a Street Fight! The hostility that exists between Anna Jay, Tay Conti, Penelope Ford, and The Bunny has been escalating for months with the actual wins and losses not seeming to matter for Ford and Bunny. No matter how the decisions have swung, those two women have not relented in their assaults on TayJay; be it within the match, after the decision, or some kind of sneak attack, Anna and Conti have been the victims of multiple assaults with this trusty brass knucks frequently being involved.
Come RAMPAGE: NEW YEAR'S SMASH though, everyone can bring a weapon into play, all four women can take whatever they find in, around, or under the ring, and turn it into an instrument of violence. This is uncharted territory for all four of these women, at least in All Elite Wrestling, and although Bunny and Penelope do have some wild matches in their back catalog, a Street Fight is utterly unpredictable, not a battle one can game plan for, because you know never just what will come into play. When this one is done, when that proverbial smoke has cleared, it will be a testament to survival as much as a celebration of victory!
Darby Allin (w/ Sting) vs. Anthony Bowens (w/ Max Caster)
Anthony Bowens and Max Caster have never minced words or been too shy to call anyone out for a fight. They'll target a legend, an up-and-comer, a tag team, or an announcer with their rhymes; they've even targeted AEW GM Tony Khan when the mood has struck. So it should come as little surprise to anyone that, in order to get a little last minute attention in 2021, they've directed some of their fire towards “The Icon” Sting and former TNT Champion Darby Allin. What better way to close out 2021, a year that has admittedly seen The Acclaimed's stock continue to rise, than be coming right at one of AEW four young pillars.
As for Darby Allin, well he isn't one to turn down any fight or challenge, regardless of who is calling him out. 2021 has been a great year for Allin; he set a new standard as TNT Champion as both the longest reigning and most successful title holder to date, he and Sting have proven quite the successful duo, and his profile has continued to grow across the wrestling landscape. The one true blemish, that loss to MJF at FULL GEAR 2021, may linger in the recesses of his brain, but the best way to conquer that is for Darby to continue winning until he gets his hands on MJF's throat once again. Thus it is crucial to end the year with a victory over Anthony Bowens on the final AEW program of 2021, and head into 2022 with his head held high.
It's a one-on-one battle between two men looking to end their year on a victorious note, and it will be your opening contest on the final RAMPAGE of 2021!
TECHNIQUE BY TAZ...
This week on RAMPAGE, it is the return of TECHNIQUE BY TAZ, and this time he will be taking a look at HOOK's particular submission hold, one passed down from father to son, and now rechristened Redrum. Obviously Taz has a vested interest, a bit of personal bias in this one, but that doesn't discount that fact that he also has expert-level insight into just why this hold is so effective and how it makes HOOK a threat to everyone who stand across the ring from “The Cold Hearted Handsome Devil”!
RAMPAGE: NEW YEAR'S SMASH kicks off at 10pm EST/9pm CST on TNT, and at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, with a return to our Friday night slot! To get ready for the night, be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel (Watch Now) for highlights from DYNAMITE, the latest episodes of DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, ROAD TO, as well as a new edition of the AEW CONTROL CENTER with Tony Schiavone!
Happy New Year from All Elite Wrestling, and we will see you in 2022 (and on TBS) for Danielson versus Page II in Newark, NJ (Buy Tickets) and The Battle of The Belts in Charlotte, NC (Buy Tickets)!!!