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    Sunday, September 5, 2021

    The Rampage Report (9/3/21): Chicago Nights

    CM Punk






    It's the last Rampage—and AEW show—before All Out tomorrow, and the show tries to balance hyping the PPV and telling some of its other stories that aren't happening on the PPV.

    Malakai Black continues to destroy the Nightmare Family

    The show opens with another Malakai Black match, with Black going up against "Big Shotty" Lee Johnson. As always, when it comes to Malakai Black, this match is more story than competition, with Lee selling the fact that he's more than just a little scared of his opponent.


    People looking for straight-up action will not find it in this match, because they're busy building up the legend of Malakai Black. There's an interesting storytelling finish where Black tries to give Shotty a chair so he can take revenge for what Black has done to the Nightmare Family, and Shotty takes a while to get to his feet, only to eat a Fade to Black for his troubles.

    After the match, Dustin Rhodes comes out to be the next Nightmare Family guy to take on Black, which I guess makes sense for now. The only thing I'm afraid of is that because it's setting up for an obvious Cody return sometime down the line, they might get it in their heads to have Cody go over Black in the eventual rematch. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

    Statlander shows off her strength

    The second match of the hour involves #1 contender to the AEW Women's Championship Kris Statlander going up against Rebel (not Reba) and Jamie Hayter in a handicap match. Statlander proves why she's in this spot with her awesome strength, but once again, there's not much of a build to this story (that we can see).


    The exposure they've given to this Kris Statlander vs. Britt Baker feud is so pedestrian that it's quite obvious Britt's going to retain and move on to a bigger story with whoever the major surprise is at the women's Casino Battle Royale. Big shame, though, because the women just need a strong hand booking-wise to be taken more seriously—this feels a lot like pre-women's revolution WWE.

    Watch out for Daniel Garcia

    You may have noticed that Daniel Garcia (and his dads 2.0) has been getting a lot of screen time on AEW shows lately. That's because he is that good—Daniel Garcia reminds me of a young American Dragon with his technical and striking style, and his quick rise exposure-wise may be due to the fact that Bryan Danielson is coming in. I'm going to make a bold prediction and say that Garcia will be a big deal this time next year, in maybe almost the same way Darby Allin is now.


    In fact, he could even be bigger than Darby if people didn't like daredevils so much. Anyway, they had a pretty good wrestling match, in which Darby's car-crash tendencies were minimized and he was actually forced to wrestle a little more. The right call was made to focus on CM Punk vs. Darby Allin at the very last segment of the very last show before All Out, as that's what's on people's minds right now. Time will tell if this is actually a good matchup.

    Rampage 9/3/21 Report: Rampage continues to do just fine with these solid, easy-to-watch episodes. There's not much to complain about as it's an easier watch than Dynamite, but for those worried about whether it'll do well in the ratings the way SmackDown does, there's also not much here that will grow that bubble this week. Yes, even with a CM Punk staredown that ends the show. It's normalizing now, but hopefully doing Andrade El Idolo vs. PAC next week will help. B+


    Little rampages

    • Eddie Kingston and Miro do a fine segment together that builds up their title match well. I'm not a fan of throwing it together so haphazardly, but both men are good enough on the mic to carry a small program. AEW does have to do better when it comes to building up to PPVs, though.
    • For the fourth week in a row: AEW has to find a way to pare down the gargantuan announce team. Nobody needs four commentators.


    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 (9/3/21): Chicago Nights Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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