“August 13th, 2005, I left professional wrestling. August 20th, 2021, I’m back.”
Those are the words that rang the truest in CM Punk’s return promo. Grown men were brought to tears last night. If nothing else, that should tell the impact that CM Punk had on the professional wrestling business. Of course it helps that Rampage was held in Chicago, regardless that was one of the loudest pops in professional wrestling history. The promo came off as a love letter/apology to the fans. It was Phil Brooks as raw and genuine as he has ever been. CM Punk is back and his first opponent is Darby Allin at All Out in two weeks. CM Punk’s return promo gets 5/5 stars. After the promo Christian Cage was back stage, hyping up Jurassic Express.
The first action of the night was Jurassic Express Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus vs Private Party in the tag team championship eliminator tournament. High octane matchup from start to finish. If the crowd was not up enough, they were through the roof by the end of this one. Realistically AEW could of coasted for the rest of the night after the return of Punk. However, that is not AEW’s style.
The athleticism of these four is absolutely ridiculous. Luchasaurus got the hot tag and started throwing Private Party around like rag dolls. Jungle Boy got the tag again and he was hit with one of the craziest moves ever seen, a Canadian destroyer, while he was on the shoulders of Luchasaurus. Isiah Cassidy is a mad man. Luchasaurus barely broke up the pin after one more big near fall, following a double team move. Jungle Boy put Private Party away but not before an insane tornado DDT counter to “gin and juice.” Also Mark Quinn may have lost a few teeth via Luchasarus’s boot. The first match of the tag title eliminator tournament gets 5/5 stars. Before match number two, Kenny Omega cut a promo about how he will retain his title vs Christian Cage at All Out.
The second match took no time at all as Jade Cargill dominated Kiera Hogan. It is clear that the AEW brass is behind Cargill full force considering she is 9-0. Mark Henry pointed out that her last four wins have been under four minutes and she continued that trend. This squash match gets 3/5 stars.
The pre main event promo basically went like this. Jon Moxely is going to kill Daniel Garcia. The match was not a squash but it was close. Mox basically gave the beats to Garcia but Garcia had some nice technical offense. Garcia applied multiple ankle locks while working Mox’s leg. Garcia is a submission specialist but Mox is a reversal master as he countered into a bulldog choke for the win. The end of Rampage then turned to mayhem as the rest of 2.0 attacked Mox. However, he received help in the form of Sting and Darby Allin. The main event gets 3.5/5 for the extra scuffle at the end.
This episode was based around CM Punk as it should have been. Punk is about to turn professional wrestling on its head in the best way possible. Punk made the show but that does not mean it was devoid of anything else as it was another great AEW episode. Quick side note… the AEW commentary team is outstanding. Two instances that stood out was the silence during Punk’s entrance to let everyone soak in the moment. Also when Luchasarus broke up the near pin. JR explained it perfectly by pointing out his height and saying a shorter man would not be able to get there. AEW allows for proper wrestling analysis to explain things and it feels like any other sports broadcast. AEW Rampage gets 4/5 stars.
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