HomeTelevisionAEW Rampage: The First Dance Review: CM Punk's Debut Was Magic

AEW Rampage: The First Dance Review: CM Punk’s Debut Was Magic

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Let’s be frank here, AEW Rampage: The First Dance was all about the second coming of CM PUNK. 

Punk appeared to be full of emotion, returning to an arena in his hometown, jam packed with fans screaming his name. Who wouldn’t get emotional, even if it is part of the drama made for television? 

Punk delivers an impassioned promo, discussing his time away, even going as far to apologize and explain his actions. His return and openness led to some major reactions all over, from a crying fan showcased on television to eruptions all over social media. 

Side note – The crying fan made headlines on social media. Can’t say I am surprised. The fan embodies what every, single, individual, and every, single, wrestling fan, has been waiting for. I can’t recall the last time hype for a return was this great. We knew, say 90% for sure CM Punk was returning to wrestling. We knew thanks to leaks and sorts it would be to AEW. But knowing all the info, still seeing it happen, goosebumps. Chills. Tingles. Tears. 

To the crying fan, you embodied the emotion of true wrestling fans. I offer my praise. 

Some interesting words for sure from CM Punk. Many heard the “shots fired” based on comments about needing to get away thanks to “the other company” and for being burned out. Yes, it is obvious he was targeting WWE. He’s spoken at length about wrestling sick, being burned out, giving his all and getting back nothing. He also specifically stated he is “returning to wrestling” after a staycation in sports-entertainment. 

For what it’s worth, I’m truly hoping Punk is in a better place mentally, physically, spiritually, and in all areas of his life. I really do. Having been burned out in my past, I can only image what is must have been like for Punk to both physically and emotionally hurt. 

I’m glad AEW is the place for CM Punk. AEW has proven to be a haven for professional wrestling, and if there was ever any doubt before, CM Punk joining the ranks, putting over Dr. Britt Baker in his opening remark, as well as his acceptance of the challenge from Darby Allin as well as an open invitation to the younger wrestlers he wants to work with, there should be doubt no more. AEW, is pro wrestling. 

Let’s not forget the rest of the show… Which was just as solid and not a throwaway like may would have expected. I won’t do the traditional recap in order, but run through the highlights of the rest of the show. 

Lots of hype now for ALL OUT on September 5th

Jade Cargill defeated Keira Hogan in minutes. This is my one, ongoing gripe. There is no doubt Cargill has the look and can wrestle, but the promos do not seem to be improving, the insertion of the word “bitch” is feeling more forced than ever, plus the squash matches don’t have the feel of a true dominator in the ring. They’ve hyped up other female wrestlers only to be squashed. This doesn’t do anything for Cargill, and only de-values any hype for future challengers. 

Jurassic Express defeated Private Party in a fantastic match. Poor Marq Quen, nearly killing himself with a mostly-a-missed shooting star off the ropes to the floor. Ouchies. A very fast-paced bout with both teams being able to earn highlight reels. At ringside were The Varsity Blondes and The Lucha Brothers as they will face off to then challenge Jurassic Express for the #1 Contender’s spot to the AEW Tag Team Championships. 

The Main Event of AEW Rampage: The Last Dance: Jon Moxley defeated Daniel Garcia via submission

For anyone who didn’t take Garcia seriously, should be sure to watch this match. The guy has an established career prior to AEW. Even though it wasn’t a long match, Garcia got a lot of offense in, and put on a pretty impressive submission clinic of his own. His sharpshooter at the end appeared to be sloppy, but it was clearly intentional as the positioning allowed Moxley to grab Garcia by the neck to apply the Bulldog Sleeper/Choke Submission. 

After the match ended, 2.0 jumped in to get some revenge on Mox and Eddie Kingston, but were thwarted by Darby Allin and Sting. 

Solid way to close The First Dance. Throughout the show, hype for All Out through promos and announcements gave the upcoming pay-per-view a huge big fight feel. 

I’ve said it many times over the past two years, and I’ll continue to keep saying it. AEW has brought my love of professional wrestling back. Moments like CM Punk, wrestlers like “Hangman” Adam Page and others brought in from various promotions, and working with other promotions is a big deal, and a big game changer in pro wrestling. 

Whether you agree with me or not, and whether you are a WWE fan, AEW fan, or a fan of any promotion, now is the best time to be a fan since the mid-2000’s. In my opinion. 

Let’s be frank here, AEW Rampage: The First Dance was all about the second coming of CM PUNK. 

Punk appeared to be full of emotion, returning to an arena in his hometown, jam packed with fans screaming his name. Who wouldn’t get emotional, even if it is part of the drama made for television? 

Punk delivers an impassioned promo, discussing his time away, even going as far to apologize and explain his actions. His return and openness led to some major reactions all over, from a crying fan showcased on television to eruptions all over social media. 

Side note – The crying fan made headlines on social media. Can’t say I am surprised. The fan embodies what every, single, individual, and every, single, wrestling fan, has been waiting for. I can’t recall the last time hype for a return was this great. We knew, say 90% for sure CM Punk was returning to wrestling. We knew thanks to leaks and sorts it would be to AEW. But knowing all the info, still seeing it happen, goosebumps. Chills. Tingles. Tears. 

To the crying fan, you embodied the emotion of true wrestling fans. I offer my praise. 

Some interesting words for sure from CM Punk. Many heard the “shots fired” based on comments about needing to get away thanks to “the other company” and for being burned out. Yes, it is obvious he was targeting WWE. He’s spoken at length about wrestling sick, being burned out, giving his all and getting back nothing. He also specifically stated he is “returning to wrestling” after a staycation in sports-entertainment. 

For what it’s worth, I’m truly hoping Punk is in a better place mentally, physically, spiritually, and in all areas of his life. I really do. Having been burned out in my past, I can only image what is must have been like for Punk to both physically and emotionally hurt. 

I’m glad AEW is the place for CM Punk. AEW has proven to be a haven for professional wrestling, and if there was ever any doubt before, CM Punk joining the ranks, putting over Dr. Britt Baker in his opening remark, as well as his acceptance of the challenge from Darby Allin as well as an open invitation to the younger wrestlers he wants to work with, there should be doubt no more. AEW, is pro wrestling. 

Let’s not forget the rest of the show… Which was just as solid and not a throwaway like may would have expected. I won’t do the traditional recap in order, but run through the highlights of the rest of the show. 

Lots of hype now for ALL OUT on September 5th

Jade Cargill defeated Keira Hogan in minutes. This is my one, ongoing gripe. There is no doubt Cargill has the look and can wrestle, but the promos do not seem to be improving, the insertion of the word “bitch” is feeling more forced than ever, plus the squash matches don’t have the feel of a true dominator in the ring. They’ve hyped up other female wrestlers only to be squashed. This doesn’t do anything for Cargill, and only de-values any hype for future challengers. 

Jurassic Express defeated Private Party in a fantastic match. Poor Marq Quen, nearly killing himself with a mostly-a-missed shooting star off the ropes to the floor. Ouchies. A very fast-paced bout with both teams being able to earn highlight reels. At ringside were The Varsity Blondes and The Lucha Brothers as they will face off to then challenge Jurassic Express for the #1 Contender’s spot to the AEW Tag Team Championships. 

The Main Event: Jon Moxley defeated Daniel Garcia via submission

For anyone who didn’t take Garcia seriously, should be sure to watch this match. The guy has an established career prior to AEW. Even though it wasn’t a long match, Garcia got a lot of offense in, and put on a pretty impressive submission clinic of his own. His sharpshooter at the end appeared to be sloppy, but it was clearly intentional as the positioning allowed Moxley to grab Garcia by the neck to apply the Bulldog Sleeper/Choke Submission. 

After the match ended, 2.0 jumped in to get some revenge on Mox and Eddie Kingston, but were thwarted by Darby Allin and Sting. 

Solid way to close the show. Throughout the show, hype for All Out through promos and announcements gave the upcoming pay-per-view a huge big fight feel. 

I’ve said it many times over the past two years, and I’ll continue to keep saying it. AEW has brought my love of professional wrestling back. Moments like CM Punk, wrestlers like “Hangman” Adam Page and others brought in from various promotions, and working with other promotions is a big deal, and a big game changer in pro wrestling. 

Whether you agree with me or not, and whether you are a WWE fan, AEW fan, or a fan of any promotion, now is the best time to be a fan since the mid-2000’s. In my opinion. 

AEW Rampage: The First Dance is now streaming on TNT.

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