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    Sunday, October 10, 2021

    The Rampage Report (10/8/21): Who Cares About Brian Cage?

    It's time for the Rampage Report. If you tuned in last week to my review, you know that I complained about big matches going first in a small show like this. Get ready for more of the same complaints.

    The Red Death goes to sleep

    Okay, I'm going to tweak last week's rant a little bit—you can put your big matches on the first spot of the card. That's totally fine. Just make sure the last match is just as good, because Rampage's problem is that the opener and the main event are not of the same level. Even though they try to give them equal weight, it's just not the case—it's not like the way Dynamite does it, where there is enough time to have bookending bangers.

    I'll talk more about the main event later. Let's go back to the actual match itself—it was main-event worthy not just because it's CM Punk, but also because it's easily CM Punk's best match since returning to wrestling last month. Daniel Garcia is a good shoot-style technical wrestler, and while it's easy to say he "understands" wrestling because of his no-nonsense, no-flips style, it's really because I prefer wrestlers who stay low to the ground. He does just this in this match, and Punk is all too happy to oblige him in telling a 15-minute story. 

    In any case, Garcia has a lot of upside, and if there was a time for Punk to lose to a younger talent, this was it. I understand, however, that the CM Punk happy times tour must continue. Expect Garcia to get rid of 2.0 around this time next year. Hopefully.

    The Acclaimed get outclassed

    And if there were a match that would've served as the opener well, it was this okay outing from the Acclaimed and the Lucha Bros. The Lucha Bros are always good, and this week they did work in carrying the Acclaimed's relatively inexperienced selves to a solid match. 

    I don't say that in any derogatory manner, I promise you—guys need reps in the ring to improve, and this was a good rep. The more the Acclaimed get opportunities like this, the faster they can get better and reach their full potential. (They already have the heat, after all.)

    Who cares about Brian Cage?

    Okay. Here we go. The reason why I wanted the best match of the night to be the last match of the night is because... I don't care about Brian Cage. I am hard-pressed to find anyone who cares about Brian Cage. Cage has been completely neutralized by the sheer numbers of Team Taz, and while I'm not complaining about that creative direction because I don't like Cage all that much, that direction has sapped any reason to continue to be interested in Cage vs. Team Taz. That part isn't Cage's fault.

    The fact that this is a street fight in the hardcore heart of Philadelphia does not make this main event-worthy, either. If you really wanted to pop the crowd with a hardcore match, you might as well have done it at the beginning of the show. But after CM Punk and Daniel Garcia? Why should I care about Ricky Starks and Team Taz beating Brian Cage for the second or third time? (With all apologies to Starks.)

    Again—if you're gonna put a big name in the opening match, the main event better be on that level. This was not on the same level. And if this is your nominated main event, it makes the show look totally second-rate.

    Rampage 10/8/21 Report: Same complaints from last week. I tuned out after the tag team match. For those pressed for time, just catch Punk/Garcia, a true must-watch match—especially if you're still doubting whether Punk's still got it. B

    Little rampages

    • They continue putting Jade Cargill in good squashes, where all she has to do is land her finisher well. That said, even in her limited minutes I feel like Skye Blue is an Alexa Bliss-esque star waiting to shine, so I hope AEW does more with her too.

    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 (10/8/21): Who Cares About Brian Cage? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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