It appears there was significance behind AEW booking Tay Conti vs. Santana Garrett as the opener of Friday’s “The Buy In” pre-show for Rampage in Miami, which went aired on YouTube but against WWE’s Supersized SmackDown on FS1.
The November 6, 2019 edition of WWE NXT on the USA Network featured Conti defeating Garrett in a match that received criticism over some of the in-ring work. This bout was the first-ever to win a quarter for NXT in the Wednesday Night War as it drew 813,000 viewers to AEW’s 809,000 for a Private Party vs. The Dark Order match.
Speculation is that AEW booking Conti vs. Garrett head-to-head with WWE SmackDown, for the first time, was not a coincidence. This was just Garrett’s second match for AEW. The Rampage pre-show match between Conti and Garrett likely did not beat SmackDown, but it could’ve been a case of AEW wanting to show how Conti and Garrett have improved since then, to put Conti over, and perhaps put a spotlight on an inside joke.
Below are clips from both Conti vs. Garrett matches, which were won by Conti. The Rampage match begins at the 1:55 mark.