Date: December 25, 2021
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Ricky Starks
It’s a Christmas special and this week will be headlined by a pretty big title match. The show’s main event will feature TNT Champion Sammy Guevara defending against Cody Rhodes, who is looking to become the first three time TNT Champion. Other than that, Hook has his second televised match, which should be interesting. Let’s get to it.
Jungle Boy vs. Isaiah Kassidy
Luchasaurus, Christian Cage, Marq Quen and Matt Hardy are all here too. Jungle shoulders him down to start but Kassidy sends him into the corner for some kicks to the face. Back up and Jungle starts sliding around, only to get caught with a springboard Stunner to send him outside. The big running corkscrew dive takes Jungle down again and it’s a slingshot hilo for one back inside. Hardy sneaks in a right hand from the floor, allowing Kassidy to hit a basement dropkick for two more.
We take a break and come back with Jungle hitting a hard lariat, followed by a fisherman’s falcon arrow for two. An enziguri rocks Jungle for another near fall though and they’re both down. Back up and Jungle snaps off an overhead belly to belly into the corner, followed by a German suplex for two more. Kassidy gets bumped outside so the suicide dive can take him down again. The seconds get in a fight on the floor and the Snare Trap makes Kassidy tap at 9:57.
Rating: C+. They didn’t give this a ton of time and that’s how it should have gone. Jungle Boy isn’t going to be threatened by Isaiah Kassidy despite how much interference he would have to deal with here (which granted was rather minimal). This was a way to give Jungle Boy a nice and relatively easy win and that’s all it came off as being.
We look at MJF winning the Dynamite Diamond Ring for the third year in a row, albeit with an assist from Ricky Starks.
Miro is angry about his loss and calls it unacceptable. He is returning with no flaws because no one can stop him. Redemption comes with a smile instead of a price so everyone will look at him and ask what has been done. This is the word of the redeemer.
Hook vs. Bear Bronson
Hook gets a huge reaction (as expected) and gets taken into the corner to start. That earns Bronson an STO to take him down, allowing Hook to grab something like a seated abdominal stretch. Bronson makes the ropes and hits an over the shoulder piledriver, which Hook no sells by popping back up. A hard clothesline sets up a northern lights suplex to drop Bronson again, setting up another suplex. Some crossface shots set up Redrum to finish Bronson at 3:09.
Rating: C+. The no sold piledriver was a little weird (maybe the hair protected him) but this was another good performance from Hook. It doesn’t have quite the shock value as the debut, but Hook looks like he knows how to look a lot more polished in the ring than you might have guessed. This was just a step above a squash, and that’s how someone like Hook should be presented at this point: get in, look good, get out before you get exposed at all.
Video on Daniel Garcia vs. Eddie Kingston.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Kris Stadtlander
Hirsch grabs a headlock to start to take Stadtlander down and Hirsch gets to hammer away. Stadtlander gets taken into the corner for some running knees, setting up the slingshot dropkick for two. A powerslam gives Stadtlander two and she hits a delayed vertical suplex for the same.
We hit the seated cobra clutch but Hirsch fights up in a hurry to grab a cross armbreaker. Stadtlander powers up and takes her to the corner, where Hirsch grabs a cross armbreaker over the ropes. A middle rope moonsault press (which is left a bit short) gives Hirsch two and a running knee is good for the same. Hirsch slaps her in the face to make things more serious, earning her a Blue Thunder Bomb to give Stadtlander two of her own. Stadtlander hits a reverse slam of all things, setting up a Spider Crab to finish Hirsch at 6:37.
Rating: C. Hirsch is rather good at making others look good and that’s what she did for Stadtlander here. This was about letting both of them get in a nice appearance before Stadtlander won in the end, so well enough done on making something out of their time. I don’t see either of them being a breakout star anytime soon, but at least they got some time here.
Hirsch won’t show respect post match.
We get the face to face interview between Sammy Guevara and Cody Rhodes. Arn Anderson says you don’t go after someone who has been yelled at as much as Cody. Sammy thanks Cody for starting the company but says he’ll be the one to carry it.
TNT Title: Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara
Guevara is defending and David Crockett is here to present the winner with the title. An early dropkick puts Cody into the corner and another dropkick lets Guevara nip up. Guevara hits a Dusty Rhodes drop down uppercut to send Cody outside, leaving Sammy to dance into his pose. Back in and Cody grabs a headlock takeover to slow things down a bit, though the fans aren’t exactly pleased with him.
Guevara is right back up with a Dustin Rhodes snap powerslam but the Cody Cutter takes him down in a hurry. Cody gets dumped outside again and this time he is sent face first into the steps. The dive off the apron is loaded up but Sammy has to bail out and stick the landing, allowing Cody to get in a shot from behind to take over. The short armscissors has Guevara in trouble and we take a break.
Back with Cody planting Guevara again and going up, where he completely misses a moonsault. Another enziguri sets up a springboard cutter to drop Cody for two and Guevara hits his own Cross Rhodes. Cody bails to the floor so Guevara hits a big double springboard flip dive (well, kind of hits at least) to drop him again.
A hurricanrana is countered into a powerbomb into the fans to rock Guevara for a change. Back in and the Disaster Kick has Guevara in more trouble so Arn Anderson says finish him off. Cross Rhodes plants Guevara hard for two and he can barely stand up. Somehow Guevara reverses a reverse superplex into the GTH for two but the 630 hits knees. Cody hits two more Cross Rhodes into a Tiger Driver 98 for the pin and the title at 15:12.
Rating: B. It was a heck of a fight, but I continue to have no idea where they’re going with Cody. There was no major cheating here as Cody just kicked out of Guevara’s finisher, hit his own big moves and won the title. It’s good and Cody looks like a big deal, but there was nothing to suggest that there is some big turn coming or anything really close. The match was good and felt like a showdown between two stars, but I’m not sure I get what they’re trying with Cody here.
Post match Cody gets the title presentation and celebrates with his friends and family to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. When AEW gets the Rampage formula down, they can have some awesome hours of TV and that was what they did here. It was nice to have more of a focus with far fewer people in the ring compared to last week, making this an easier show to watch. The main event felt big and they got some stars on the show. This was an efficiently done hour with the wrestling being pretty good throughout. Nice job and a lot of fun makes for a good Christmas night.
Jungle Boy b. Isaiah Kassidy – Snare Trap
Hook b. Bear Bronson – Redrum
Kris Stadtlander b. Leyla Hirsch – Spider Crab
Cody Rhodes b. Sammy Guevara – Tiger Driver 98
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