Date: October 15, 2021
Location: James L. Knight Center, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Excalibur, Ricky Starks, Taz
This is another special edition of the show as we have a bonus first hour airing on YouTube, which seems to be retaliation for WWE running an extra half hour of Smackdown this week. The bonus hour will feature Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki while the regular show has CM Punk against Matt Sydal. Let’s get to it.
Buy-In: Tay Conti vs. Santana Garrett
Anna Jay is here with Conti, who takes Garrett down by the arm to start. Neither of them can hit am armdrag as commentary hypes up the Rampage card, including a commercial free opener. Conti’s leglock has Garrett in more trouble and she kicks Garrett in the face for two. Garrett is sent to the apron but misses a kick to the face, allowing Conti to roll her back inside for two.
There’s a forearm to Conti’s face to stagger her again and a running elbow in the corner makes it worse. Conti fights out of a leglock and a double hair takedown leaves both of them laying. Garrett’s handspring is broken up and Conti kicks her in the face. Some running kicks to the face in the corner rock Garrett again and the DDTay finishes Garrett at 4:47.
Rating: C. They hit/kicked each other hard here and it was a good way to start the show. The fans respond to Conti and Garrett is someone who can make anyone look better than they already are. You can see that Conti is going somewhere sooner than later and a big run towards the TBS Title would not be a surprise.
Video on Dan Lambert/American Top Team/Men of the Year vs. the Inner Circle. This includes various talking heads (and masks, because Excalibur is here too) talking about how Lambert is getting away with everything he says because of the MMA fighters behind him. As a result, we hear about their careers, which sounds more like reading a Wikipedia entry about their careers. Jorge Masvidal joins in and says they’re going to destroy the Inner Circle tonight. They’re ready to prove their dominance again.
Buy-In: Lee Moriarty vs. Bobby Fish
They go to the mat for the grappling to start before going to an early slugout. Moriarty takes him down by the arm but Fish punches his way to freedom. Fish grabs an armbar and drives Moriarty into the corner for some elbows to the face. Moriarty takes him down though and scores with a running kick to the arm. That’s broken up with a drive into the corner into a dragon screw legwhip to put Moriarty down again. Fish kicks him in the knee and gets two off a snap suplex.
Back up and Moriarty goes after the arm to take Fish down again, setting up the double stomp for two. Another comeback doesn’t get Fish very far as Moriarty suplexes him down for another near fall, complete with holding the bad arm. Fish reverses a suplex into a choke and a jumping knee gives him two. An exploder suplex sends Moriarty into the ropes and a big kick to the face finishes for Fish at 7:53.
Rating: B-. Yeah this worked, and it’s great to see Moriarty getting a chance. He really was one of the better indy stars going before he was signed to AEW so they certainly have an eye for talent. On top of that, Bobby Fish getting a chance to shine as a singles star is great as well, even if he might not go very far beyond being a good hand.
Video on Bryan Danielson, who is awesome and impressive, but his toughest test is tonight against Minoru Suzuki.
Buy-In: Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki
They fight over arm control to start with Suzuki getting the better of things. The fans say this is wrestling as Danielson can’t get anywhere with an armbar. A snapmare takes Danielson down into a chinlock and he has to go to the ropes to escape a kneebar. Back up and Suzuki (mostly) blocks a dragon screw legwhip and tells Danielson to bring it. The fans do the YES pose and chant SI (ok that’s really clever) as it’s time to trade big shots.
Suzuki stands in the middle of the ring for a kick to the chest and actually gets staggered for a surprise. One heck of a forearm puts Danielson down and he seems to be immediately regretting this decision. Danielson is back up to take Suzuki to the mat for the hammer and anvil elbows. The threat of Cattle Mutilation sends Suzuki bailing to the ropes, where he pulls Danielson into a cross armbreaker.
Suzuki takes him to the floor and strikes away but lets Danielson get back in like a good monster. Danielson’s strikes don’t get him very far as the fans seem split. The armbar goes on, with Danielson getting to the rope as fast as he can. They head outside again with Danielson getting in a shot of his own, setting up the running knee off the apron. Back in and Danielson starts kicking at the chest, which just fires Suzuki up even more.
The SI stomps set up Cattle Mutilation but Suzuki rolls out, leaving Danielson to unload with strikes in the corner. Suzuki kicks him right back down so this time it’s Danielson pulling himself up to a strong reaction. The Fujiwara armbar has Danielson in trouble but he makes the rope again. That’s not cool with Suzuki but Danielson pulls him into the LeBell Lock. Somehow Suzuki rolls him over into the ropes for the break and they have to pull themselves back up.
Suzuki isn’t even pretending to be scared of Danielson and the big slugout is on. Stereo shots to the face put both of them down to a standing ovation. The delay lets Taz insult any fans who are watching TV at the moment rather than this before they’re back up for another slugout. Suzuki can’t get the sleeper but Danielson can’t get the LeBell Lock again. Back up and the running knee finishes Suzuki at 19:17.
Rating: A-. This was exactly what you would have wanted it to be and it was great stuff. What matters here is having two guys hit each other really hard until one of them couldn’t get up again. That’s all you could have asked for out of the match and Danielson gets a pretty big win over a legend. Suzuki is someone who can take loss after loss and not lose a thing, so this was about as great as it could have been.
Video on CM Punk’s time in AEW so far, because he has that IT factor. Tonight he has Matt Sydal, who is getting this match as a favor from Lio Rush. They know each other well and we see a clip from their first match in 2005, complete with Sydal talking about how Punk followed him to AEW. Everyone knows it’s going to be big, mainly because Punk is going to be involved.
CM Punk vs. Matt Sydal
We open the regular show with an exchange of arm control and an ICE CREAM BARS chant. Punk throws him into the ropes, possibly by the hair, to get out of an armbar and Sydal isn’t pleased. Sydal flips out of a suplex and they’re at another standoff. Punk gets in a slam and the fans chant OTRA VEZ (ONE MORE TIME) but another attempt is countered with a whip into the ropes.
A kick to the face rocks Punk and we hit the chinlock, with Sydal trapping the arms into a cradle for two in a nice move. It’s time to start in on Punk’s knee for kind of a reverse Muta Lock. The GTS and Lightning Spiral are both blocked and Punk gets two off a dropkick. The leg lariat puts Sydal down again but he is back up with a shot to Punk’s face. They head to the apron with Punk hitting a slam to drop Sydal back first for a nasty landing.
Back up and they both go to the top where an exchange of punches send them crashing to the floor. They get back inside, where Sydal hits him in the face for a near fall. Another Lightning Spiral attempt is countered into a neckbreaker to give Punk a breather and they take their time getting up.
Sydal grabs something like a reverse Texas Cloverleaf (like the Billy Goat’s Curse but with a Cloverleaf instead of a Boston crab) before trying to switch to a cobra stretch. That’s reversed into an Anaconda Vice attempt but Sydal is in the ropes in a hurry. A big kick to the head sets up the Lightning Spiral for two and they’re both down off the kickout. Sydal tries a crucifix but Punk counters into the GTS for the pin at 14:48.
Rating: B. This was the kind of match that Punk needs at the moment, as he had to go long to get a good win. It shows that he can still do it against good wrestlers, as Sydal can have a solid match with anyone. It’s easily Sydal’s best match in AEW and Punk broke a serious sweat to get there. Commentary did a nice job throwing in their history with each other to make it even better. Heck of a TV match here.
Respect is shown post match.
The Dark Order is back together and they’re ready for Adam Cole and the Young Bucks.
Bunny vs. Ruby Soho
Ruby goes after the arm to start before getting serious with a knee to the face for one. Bunny avoids a charge in the corner though and hits a dropkick to send Ruby into the buckle for two. Ruby manages to kick her away and goes up, only to get pulled down head first onto the buckle. Bunny’s sliding elbow in the corner rocks Ruby again and we take a break.
Back with Bunny in trouble on the floor thanks to a Downward Spiral. Soho unloads with chops in the corner and pulls her face first into the middle buckle. A running shot to the back of the head gives Ruby two but Bunny is back with a German superplex for two of her own. Down The Rabbit Hole is loaded up but Ruby reverses into a backslide for the pin at 10:43.
Rating: C. Perfectly fine match here with Ruby picking up a win over a high profile enough name. Bunny might not be the best in the ring but she has a presence that makes her feel important. Ruby is still a big deal and looks different enough to stand out, so she should be someone to watch in the TBS Title tournament.
Post match Penelope Ford comes in to help double team Ruby and the brass knuckles knock her silly.
Here’s what’s coming on Dynamite and next week on Rampage.
We get the split screen interview with Dan Lambert and American Top Team being ready to destroy the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle isn’t scared though and promises that Junior Dos Santos’ grandmother can make him a cake.
Inner Circle vs. Men of the Year/Junior Dos Santos
Dan Lambert and Jorge Masvidal are here with Dos Santos and company, with Lambert wanting a lot more respect. Sammy Guevara starts for the Circle and dropkicks Scorpio Sky down, setting up a quick bow. It’s off to Chris Jericho for a clothesline but Dos Santos comes in, with Jericho trying to punch with him for some reason. This goes very badly for Jericho, who is punched out to the floor in a hurry.
Jake Hager comes in for the showdown with Dos Santos taking him into the corner, only to be powered down as well. Dos Santos knees Hager in the face and the beating is on until Hager knees Sky down. The hot tag brings in Jericho, who goes outside to get into Masvidal’s face. The distraction lets Ethan Page get in a cheap shot from behind to take over as we go to a break. Back with Dos Santos powerslamming Jericho for two and handing it off to Page. An enziguri gets Jericho out of trouble and the hot tag brings Guevara back in.
The double springboard cutter drops Sky and there’s a Spanish Fly to Page. Guevara’s running shooting star press gets two on Sky as everything breaks down. The Lionsault gets two on Skyw ith Page making a save. Everyone else goes to the floor with the fans going nuts off….I think a big Guevara dive that the camera missed. Dos Santos gets Rock Bottomed through a table to put him down with Hager still on top of him. Back inside and Jericho gets Sky in the Walls but Paige Vanzant jumps the barricade for a distraction. Masvidal uses the distraction to hit the running knee on Jericho, giving Sky the pin at 11:27.
Rating: B-. Pretty good brawl here with Dos Santos more than hanging in there despite a lack of experience. This feud seems to have a long way to go and it will get better once the rest of the Inner Circle gets involved. Right now they don’t have much to counter all of the MMA guys, but taking it to the streets might work a little better. For now though, this was a nice win for the villains and the feud should be able to continue at a high level.
Post match the big beatdown is on (including Paige Vanzant taking selfies, because she’s an amazingly natural heel) until Santana and Ortiz run in for the save and clear the rung to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. Heck of a night here, even with the extra run time. Having this as a one off two hour special was quite good, though I would hope that they don’t think it should be a regular idea. What we got here was mostly rather good, with Danielson vs. Suzuki being exactly the kind of match this audience would want to see. Punk’s match was good and the main event was a nice match and angle rolled into one. Pretty awesome stuff here and hopefully a good amount of people watched the whole thing.
Tay Conti b. Santana Garrett – DDTay
Bobby Fish b. Lee Moriarty – Kick to the head
Bryan Danielson b. Minoru Suzuki – Running knee
CM Punk b. Matt Sydal – GTS
Ruby Soho b. The Bunny – Backslide
Men of the Year/Junior Dos Santos b. Inner Circle – Running knee to Jericho
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