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    Sunday, August 22, 2021

    The Rampage Report (8/20/21): Cult of Personality

    CM Punk on AEW Rampage


    There's no way around it. Like Thanos, he is inevitable. This week's Rampage is really only about one thing: CM Punk has finally returned to professional wrestling.

    Welcome back

    Like many have memed and tweeted on the internet, if this week's episode of Rampage was simply CM Punk shooting an hour-long promo about his return to pro wrestling, everyone would have let it happen. But of course, this is still only the second episode of a weekly pro wrestling TV show, so there must be wrestling. We'll get to that later, though.

    It took over a year, it took the arrival of guys like Christian Cage, Andrade El Idolo, Malakai Black, and CM Punk himself, but I finally see and understand All Elite Wrestling's value to the pro wrestling industry: they're here, first and foremost, to please the fans (for the most part) and simply just create some goodwill. Imagine a major pro wrestling company giving the fans what they want, right? Both the company and Punk himself spent the last few weeks dropping hints every which way, and the ultimate payoff was that we get what they said we were going to get.

    The good thing is that Punk understands this as well, which is likely why he signed with AEW. That's why he broke his long pro wrestling fast, because he knew All Elite Wrestling was a company that could reignite the fire that went out. What the company has been doing was enough to get him back in the game. It's not perfect, I'll be the first to tell you—but the heart is there, and right now, that's what matters most.

    If the rumors are to be believed, it's like Punk never took seven years away from wrestling, so I'm pretty excited for the fresh matchups he can have in Tony Khan's backyard, starting with Darby Allin. Welcome back, Punk. You may not realize it, but you give a lot of us hope for getting back to normal.

    Jurassic Express is going to All Out

    So because Rampage is still a pro wrestling show, there must be pro wrestling. Luckily, AEW guns it for the rest of the 30 or so minutes after Punk's arrival, starting off with a nice matchup between Jurassic Express and Private Party to determine the new #1 contender to the Young Bucks' AEW Tag Team Championship.


    Jurassic Express had a banger against the Bucks on Dynamite last Wednesday, and I had professed my desire to see this match get more time on the PPV. Of course, Tony Khan already knew what he was doing, which is why Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus won this matchup on Rampage. I can't wait to see them run it back on September 5; if you haven't seen that yet, please do yourself a favor and catch this week's Dynamite. It's really, really good, and the Bucks ham it up just enough to let the Express have the spotlight they deserve. It's more of the same here, as Private Party bring their A-game to the shorter match time they have.

    Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston joins forces with Darby Allin and Sting

    Now, some people thought we were going to get a second surprise on Rampage—one that looked a lot like a YES-ing Bryan Danielson—but one shocking debut was enough. Jon Moxley goes one-on-one against Daniel Garcia in the main event of Rampage. They ran out of time to do a long one, so it's mostly an enjoyable sprint that found enough space for Garcia to try and do some technical work.


    If there's anything I'm surprised by, it's how much screentime 2.0, the former Ever-Rise, is getting on AEW programming. They're good wrestlers, charismatic even, but I don't know if they're a good fit for the likes of Moxley, Eddie Kingston, Darby, and Sting? It feels like they were rushed in this spot after a couple of weeks on the Dark shows, and even though I appreciate that AEW is maximizing their deep roster, I feel like this spot could've gone to some other guys while they built 2.0 more. I mean, Matt Hardy has like three tag teams in his faction! That's just me, though.

    Rampage 8/20/21 Report: This is already a legendary episode of Rampage, but only for the first 30 minutes. Everything else is okay, though it would've benefitted from a bigger main event. A


    Little rampages

    • Nope, it's still a four-man booth, and this time J.R. takes Chris Jericho's place. Mark Henry is still getting a little lost in the shuffle, and I want to see Excalibur and Mizark try and call the show instead of having four voices in my ear.
    • I appreciated that Jade Cargill squash because, well, I appreciate squashes.


    Photo from AEW

    *****

    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor-in-Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast. He gets by in this hard-knock life through working in advertising. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, and he likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account. 

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    Item Reviewed: The Rampage Report (8/20/21): Cult of Personality Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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