AEW Rampage New Year's Smash Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and HighlightsJanuary 1, 2022
AEW Rampage New Year's Smash Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
Welcome to Bleacher Report's coverage and recap for the New Year's Smash episode of AEW Rampage.
To close out 2021, All Elite Wrestling delivered three matches. For the women's division, Anna Jay and Tay Conti took on The Bunny and Penelope Ford.
Darby Allin had Sting in his corner as he took on Anthony Bowens with Max Caster, and Cody Rhodes defended the TNT Championship against Ethan Page.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on the final episode of AEW Rampage in 2021.
Darby Allin vs. Anthony Bowens
Allin threw his jacket at Bowens before he got into the ring to set him off. Once the bell rang, Bowens stared daggers at him from across the ring.
They spent a long time feeling each other out and testing each other's patience. They locked fingers for a test of strength and Bowens easily pushed Allin down to the mat.
The painted fighter countered with some quick moves into a roll-up for a quick one-count that sent Bowens out of the ring to regroup with Caster.
Allin flipped off Caster and sent him flying off the apron before Bowens took him out from behind. The powerhouse whipped Allin into the ring post from the apron and sent him crashing to the floor.
Bowens caught Allin in a corner Coffin splash but wasn't able to take advantage of the situation. They each hit a flurry of strikes that led to both men going down.
Sting prevented Caster from interfering but Bowens still took control from the distraction. Once Allin recovered, he hit the Coffin Drop for the win.
Andrade El Idolo came out onto the stage after the match. While Allin was looking at him, Bowens and Caster attacked him and Sting and left them knocked out cold.
Caster might get most of the attention for The Acclaimed from his raps, but Bowens has proved he should not be ignored. He has the look, the physicality and the skill necessary to be successful as an individual or in a tag team.
As usual, Allin was his usual devil-may-care self. The bump he took off the apron when he was thrown into the ring post was probably the highlight of the match for him. He practically did a 360 spin before hitting the floor.
This was a competitive match that made both men look like strong fighters. There were definitely moments that could have looked better, but the risk of making small mistakes with a fast-paced style is always big. These guys managed the pace well.
The Bunny and Penelope Ford vs. TayJay (Street Fight)
Conti and Jay came in hot to this Steet Fight and immediately started using weapons like a trash can and steel chair. Once they had their opponents down, they set up a table at ringside.
Jay stole the brass knucks from Ford, but Ford was able to set her up on the table. She hit a moonsault from the top turnbuckle but the table did not break, so her knee landed right on Conti's head. A moment later, she smashed a bottle over Conti's head.
The Bunny was busted wide open by the brass knucks but Ford told her she still looked beautiful as they put another table in the ring.
Jay suplexed Bunny onto two chairs that were set up next to each other as we went to a break. We returned to see Jay getting slammed through a table by Bunny as a way to break up a sleeper hold Jay had applied.
Jay superplexed Bunny onto a pile of thumbtacks and both women ended up hitting them on the way down. Meanwhile, Ford and Conti fought on the apron until Conti hit a piledriver through a table.
Jay wrapped her arm in barbed wire and locked in The Queen Slayer on Bunny for the win.
The Bunny has always excelled at looking like she is out of her mind, but the blood she had dripping down her face made her look even more unhinged. It added to the violent feel of the match.
This match didn't have much of a pattern or flow to it. It was just four women brutally injuring each other in various ways until the finish. Do not read that as a bad thing. This was a lot of fun.
All four competitors had some painful looking spots and came out of it with more support from the crowd than ever. They were given an opportunity to have a hardcore match and they knocked it out of the park.
Cody Rhodes vs. Ethan Page (TNT Championship)
The final AEW match of 2021 saw Rhodes defend the TNT Championship against Page of Men of the Year. As usual, Dan Lambert and Scorpio Sky were there for Page while Arn Anderson was in Rhodes' corner. He also brought out Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson for backup.
The American Nightmare hit a body shot and a powerslam immediately. He took Page down in a side headlock. Lambert grabbed Rhodes' boot to distract him so All Ego could hit a suplex for a near-fall.
From that point forward, Page was in the driver's seat. He brought Rhodes out of the ring and beat him down before rolling him back in.
We returned from a break to see Rhodes trying to get back into the fight. Page had him reeling with a few punches and a clothesline, but Rhodes caught him with a boot to the face.
Dustin Rhodes and Sky ended up brawling into the crowd, which allowed Cody to hit Cross Rhodes for a close two-count. He exposed Page's knee and stomped on it before setting him up on the top turnbuckle.
All Ego countered him and picked him up for a powerslam from the top rope to get another two-count. Cody came back and hit a springboard cutter for yet another near-fall.
The American Nightmare hit two more Cross Rhodes followed by a Tiger Driver 98 for the win to retain his title.
Some people seem to think AEW wants Rhodes to be a babyface and we are seeing a repeat of what happened with John Cena in WWE, but that is not the case. This is all very intentional and he is playing the part of a heel pretending to be a babyface perfectly.
He and Page both played their parts well in this match. In fact, this may have been Page's best match since joining AEW. He looked like a real contender for the first time.
The shenanigans outside the ring were kept to a minimum so most of the attention was on the competitors in the ring, but it does feel like AEW relies in interference too much sometimes.
As a whole, this was a good match to end 2021 and a solid episode of Rampage overall. The Street Fight with the women and both singles bouts are worth taking the time to watch if you didn't see the show live.