“The First Dance” edition of AEW Rampage in Chicago last night (Fri., Aug. 20) was always going to be about, and will always be remembered for, the return of CM Punk to pro wrestling after seven years. Or as he explained during the cross-legged story-time portion of his promo, after 16 years - seeing as he considers his exit from Ring of Honor in 2005 as the his exit from professional wrestling.
But after Punk told the United Center crowd about their ice cream bars and exited the stage, AEW gave the fans who were checking the show out because of Punk a quick primer on what they can expect from the company should they come back next Wednesday to see The Best in the World on Dynamite.
There was a frenetic tag team match between Jurassic Express and Private Party with EVPs and Tag champs The Young Bucks watching to see who would advance in the tournament to determine their All Out challengers. One of AEW’s most prominent future stars, Jungle Boy, went over.
Next generation talent got the spotlight for the bulk of Rampage, including a Jade Cargill squash. The big established names got some moments, with Christian Cage and World champ Kenny Omega interviewed about their upcoming PPV clash. And Jon Moxley got the main event spot, making an example of a buzzed about indie worker in Daniel Garcia.
That gave way to a feel good, show-ending moment, as Mox’s friend Eddie Kingston and his occasional allies Darby Allin & Sting ran in to save him from a beatdown. The last big spot of the night was Punk’s All Out opponent Allin hitting his finisher on 2.0.
#2point0 and @GarciaWrestling attack @JonMoxley and @MadKing1981 after the match, but @Sting and @DarbyAllin are here to pick up where they left off on Wednesday and clean house on #AEWRampage! pic.twitter.com/S9inlUl1Co— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 21, 2021
We tuned in for Punk. But, to paraphrase 2.0’s Big Magic Matt Lee, AEW also gave us a taste of what they’re all about.
Here are the highlights from Rampage:
- CM Punk Has Arrived in AEW!
- CM Punk Speaks for the First Time Ever in AEW
- Did Jurassic Express’ Championship Dreams Stay Alive?
- Jade Cargill Makes Sure Everyone Knows Who ‘That Bi*ch’ Is
- AEW Media Scrum with CM PUNK and TONY KHAN