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AEW Rampage: The First Dance - 8/20/21


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I'm not even particularly a fan of Punk and I don't exactly watch AEW every week (it's absolutely nothing against AEW, I just don't watch as much modern wrestling these days, unfortunately. It's legit years since I watched a full WWE show) and I know I'm super late to the party but, holy shit, what a pop and they seemed to get even fucking louder when he walked out almost like they were half expecting MJF or some shit and not Punk to actually walk out but then he did because, well, what the fuck is that shit, AEW? You stupid fucking idiots aren't doing this shit right, you're not supposed to give the people what they want. 

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25 minutes ago, AxB said:

Handheld from ringside. By the sounds of things, they were so loud, they couldn't hear what his music was for a good while.

 

Couple bits from that we didn't see was Punk going and giving Mark Henry a big hug and then shaking Taz's hand and then having a bit of trouble finding his way offstage cuz AEW's dual-entranceway gimmick is difference than WWE's side-of-the-screen thing.

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So, another cool thing I saw on twitter was that some news anchor or sports guy in the Midwest tweeted something like "kept watching when I just wanted to see Punk, and the next match has a guy named Luchasaurus! No first name, no last name, motherfucker's a dinosaur!" Which led to a whole comment thread about how he had a degree in medieval literature and how his tag partner was Dylan Walsh's kid. I imagine this happened a good bit. Lapsed fans tuning in to see Punk and liking what they saw when they stuck around. THAT's how you build a company...

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6 hours ago, AxB said:

Apparently a few people were trying to dunk on the fan who was crying on camera. Some people in the business, even. Which has caused a few people in the business to decide they really want to embrace the guy. Like this:

 

Haters don't seem to understand that this was the exact reaction that Khan was going for.  A joyous celebration proving that sometimes you really can go back home again.

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47 minutes ago, just drew said:

So, another cool thing I saw on twitter was that some news anchor or sports guy in the Midwest tweeted something like "kept watching when I just wanted to see Punk, and the next match has a guy named Luchasaurus! No first name, no last name, motherfucker's a dinosaur!" Which led to a whole comment thread about how he had a degree in medieval literature and how his tag partner was Dylan Walsh's kid. I imagine this happened a good bit. Lapsed fans tuning in to see Punk and liking what they saw when they stuck around. THAT's how you build a company...

 

I’d love to see Jurassic Express doing radio interviews across the country. Luchasauras in character, Jungle Boy talking about his father, and Marko Stunt being crazy and little.

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2 hours ago, Matt D said:

It’s fine. AEW needs more chinlocks.

He has the Anaconda Vice sitting there getting dusty in his toolbox.  He probably wants his primary submission finisher to be more than just a rest hold though.  

Choosing the Anaconda Vice shows just when some of his formative years occurred.  I think it was 2003 that Tenzan started using it and rode that wave all the way to the G1 that year.  That's also the year of Punk's only Japanese tour for Zero-One during the Fire Festival.  He wasn't in it unfortunately.  At that point he was just an oversized junior working opening matches for Zero-1.  I got all those shows from that tour just to see him work a new environment.  He was pretty far down on the depth chart in 2003 Japan.  His matches were fine.  Just fine.  The tournament itself kicked all kinds of butt IIRC.  

Anaconda Vice - glorified chinlock, cool name and that's all that mattered.

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How can you even critique anything about it after that pop, though. Even the biggest AEW haters aren't taking issue with how the return was done. (They're saying "Just wait until Punk decides to leave again" or "Punk is only over in Chicago" or "Lol Punk pooped himself during a match")

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51 minutes ago, John from Cincinnati said:

I take it these people have only ever seen Punk in Chicago? Very strange. 

Tony Khan knows wrestling.   For the next few appearances, every crowd will try to outdo Chicago when Punk comes to the ring.

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3 minutes ago, J.T. said:

Tony Khan knows wrestling.   For the next few appearances, every crowd will try to outdo Chicago when Punk comes to the ring.

I was there the first Nitro AFTER Flair came back in 98. It was in Boston and we sure as hell tried to recapture the moment of the week before by going nuts for him.

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CM Punk's last WWE appearance in the Royal Rumble match at Royal Rumble 2014.
 
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CM Punk returns to wrestling after seven years at AEW Rampage: The First Dance.
Edited by The Natural
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8 hours ago, Cristobal said:

I hate to be even a little bit negative about what was such an awesome return, (I absolutely cried and do not care who knows,) but Punk saying that he expects getting back to wrestling to be like riding a bike makes me worry he might be underestimating the difficulty of getting back into in-ring shape. I know he had stints pf time away from the ring due to injury, but he's never really done the Jericho thing of needing to come back after years away, and he's wrestling one of the fastest dudes in the business. I'm sure he's capable of getting back there, mentally and physically, (albeit he may need to adjust for the fact that he's in his 40s now,) and really the All Out crowd is gonna eat it all up regardless, but I do still wonder if there might be a ramp-up time before we can expect Punk to deliver in-ring.

The thing is, Punk has been training recently. During the run-up to filming Heels, each star trained with Luke Hawx; and it was mentioned that Punk didn't look like he had lost a step. I would also dare say that he and Darby already have an idea of how this match should go, so the flow should be fine and beneficial to both.

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I understand Punk wanting to wait for AEW to be viable before joining them. But him joining now seems too little too late for me to be excited about. Had he put his money where his mouth was two years ago, the vision of what and how AEW presents wrestling might be different than what it is today. If Punk had signed up as an EVP in 2019, he could have really bridged the gap between people that were sick of Bullet Club/Elite antics then and the current AEW diehards. While The Bucks, Omega, and Cody aren’t my cup of tea, I can respect that they jumped out on their own and done what they have done up to this point. 

We’ve seen two years of the vision Tony Khan has for wrestling and the influence his current EVP team has had in that vision. I can be honest in saying I don’t like it, even though there’s tons of guys and gals I really like(d) outside the AEW Universe.

I know I will be the lone man on this island but I’ve always been an outlier anyway. Punk showing up in AEW last night made me feel empty. I was not overwhelmed with joy and happiness or tears (even if in some ways it was the worst kept secret in wrestling). Punk just showed up. Arguably the worst kept secret in wrestling. Punk then cut a 20 minute RAW opening segment promo while the United Center chanted CM Punk. Everyone else ate it up while I felt empty and hollow. Maybe modern wrestling just isn’t for me anymore, be it from Orlando or Jacksonville. It almost felt like Punk’s endorsement of AEW made me less likely to want to check them out. In a weird way, I felt like Punk was burying my fandom of wrestling on Friday night, or what is masquerading as wrestling today.

It’s a real shitty feeling for me since I have been watching for over 30 years. I grew up on WWF Superstars in English and Spanish, WCW Worlwide/Pro, LPWA. I would even watch WOW Women of Wrestling in high school. I’ve gone to local indies whenever possible, ROH shows, etc. I lurked on message boards like here for years, read 411mania and Larry Csonka’s reviews. I subscribed to the Wrestling Observer newsletter at one point and gobble an unhealthy amount of wrestling podcasts.

Mind you, CM Punk’s run in 2011 was amazing and it was because of him that I went to my first WWE PPV: MITB 2011. That was an amazing night that I will never forget as long as I live. But that momentum just withered on the vine and pro wrestling is where it is as a result. Things happened, and Punk left WWE. Part of me doesn’t want to go through that disappointment again if the Punk pop turns out to be less than a fad and AEW can’t take advantage of it. 

But modern wrestling today just makes me feel empty. 2011 me went crazy for CM Punk. 2019 me probably would have gone crazy as well. 2021 me, not so much. And I don’t know why that is. 

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That’s all fair thoughts and really beautifully put, @cubbymark. I have heard a few others elsewhere have similar opinions on 2019 or bust. 

Listening to the media scrum, although it isn’t outright said, you can get a vibe that he wouldn’t have been interested as having a EVP or non-wrestler role. I can understand him waiting it out because his heart wasn’t quite in it and I can understand you not being moved by the recent moment.

 

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Love the haters saying WWE blew AEW out of the water last night because Brock had 50,000 for his return vs 15,000 for Punk's. Like Brock sold one fucking ticket out of that entire building.

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22 minutes ago, Pete said:

Love the haters saying WWE blew AEW out of the water last night because Brock had 50,000 for his return vs 15,000 for Punk's. Like Brock sold one fucking ticket out of that entire building.

That makes as much sense as people on this board claiming no one cares about WWE - despite the fact that they sold 50k tickets fairly easily.  Metlzer said this year's Summer Slam was WWE's biggest non-WM crowd.

Gotta recite some pretty idiotic talking points if you want to take part in da PROMOTION WARZ.

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4 hours ago, cubbymark said:

I understand Punk wanting to wait for AEW to be viable before joining them. But him joining now seems too little too late for me to be excited about. Had he put his money where his mouth was two years ago, the vision of what and how AEW presents wrestling might be different than what it is today. If Punk had signed up as an EVP in 2019, he could have really bridged the gap between people that were sick of Bullet Club/Elite antics then and the current AEW diehards. While The Bucks, Omega, and Cody aren’t my cup of tea, I can respect that they jumped out on their own and done what they have done up to this point. 

We’ve seen two years of the vision Tony Khan has for wrestling and the influence his current EVP team has had in that vision. I can be honest in saying I don’t like it, even though there’s tons of guys and gals I really like(d) outside the AEW Universe.

I know I will be the lone man on this island but I’ve always been an outlier anyway. Punk showing up in AEW last night made me feel empty. I was not overwhelmed with joy and happiness or tears (even if in some ways it was the worst kept secret in wrestling). Punk just showed up. Arguably the worst kept secret in wrestling. Punk then cut a 20 minute RAW opening segment promo while the United Center chanted CM Punk. Everyone else ate it up while I felt empty and hollow. Maybe modern wrestling just isn’t for me anymore, be it from Orlando or Jacksonville. It almost felt like Punk’s endorsement of AEW made me less likely to want to check them out. In a weird way, I felt like Punk was burying my fandom of wrestling on Friday night, or what is masquerading as wrestling today.

It’s a real shitty feeling for me since I have been watching for over 30 years. I grew up on WWF Superstars in English and Spanish, WCW Worlwide/Pro, LPWA. I would even watch WOW Women of Wrestling in high school. I’ve gone to local indies whenever possible, ROH shows, etc. I lurked on message boards like here for years, read 411mania and Larry Csonka’s reviews. I subscribed to the Wrestling Observer newsletter at one point and gobble an unhealthy amount of wrestling podcasts.

Mind you, CM Punk’s run in 2011 was amazing and it was because of him that I went to my first WWE PPV: MITB 2011. That was an amazing night that I will never forget as long as I live. But that momentum just withered on the vine and pro wrestling is where it is as a result. Things happened, and Punk left WWE. Part of me doesn’t want to go through that disappointment again if the Punk pop turns out to be less than a fad and AEW can’t take advantage of it. 

But modern wrestling today just makes me feel empty. 2011 me went crazy for CM Punk. 2019 me probably would have gone crazy as well. 2021 me, not so much. And I don’t know why that is. 

I am the exact opposite, I'd say the main reason I am still watching wrestling today is discovering Kenny Omega and subsequently the Bucks in New Japan. I was still watching WWE programming at the time out of force of habit (while only truly enjoying NXT and the occasional big match on PPV), but really enjoying seeing Omega as New Japan ace and the various collection of characters around him allowed me to truly start enjoying wrestling again. When they formed AEW, it allowed me to finally break from WWE programming for good as there was a now a major alternative to what had been the only major American wrestling company (tried watching Impact/TNA couple of times, but ultimately never took hold with them, as it felt like a low rent WCW to me).

As far as Punk debuting now instead of when company formed in 2019, I also have the direct opposite opinion to you on that. Even with the momentum and excitement about the formation of AEW, a new company is still a fragile thing and having Punk in the wrong mindset join the roster would have been awful for a company that has formed a strong foundation largely built around having fun and a strong camaraderie in the locker room (strong enough to keep something as harrowing as Brodie Lee's illness a secret to the outside word to protect his family). Punk had just concluded awful legal proceedings with the WWE that damaged a close friendship and was checked out of wrestling at the time. Two years letter, Punk is more enthusiastic about wrestling again and more importantly is in a much healthier place mentally. Meanwhile, AEW has a strong foundation that should be able to withstand things if Punk's attitude causes a problem (and I do not believe that will be a problem, as Punk is outside the toxic WWE ecosystem now). While I was personally hesitant adding AEW adding Punk initially because of past baggage and loving what AEW has already become (and knowing that a certain Bryan Danielson was also in waiting to join the company), I had already started to change my opinion even before Rampage with the buzz around Punk's return in Chicago (and I was definitely a Punk fan in the past and him winning at MITB 2011 was my favorite in-person memory as a wrestling fan). The reaction around his return immediately swept me up, and I've loved seeing all of the reactions and buzz elsewhere (and a couple of friends that were lapsed fans watched on Friday and loved it). I think these next few weeks, starting with last Friday, will go down as when AEW ultimately became the most popular American wrestling company.

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I have no desire to watch 90% of the actual wrestling with AEW, but I’m happy to follow what’s happening on my terms and to check out some of the promos and angles and I’m glad for its success and that it’s making people happy.

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20 minute promos to start the show and main events that start with 9 minutes left in the show are things that caused me to stop watching Monday night wrestling 20years ago. I hope that this was a one time thing.

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6 hours ago, cubbymark said:

I understand Punk wanting to wait for AEW to be viable before joining them. But him joining now seems too little too late for me to be excited about. Had he put his money where his mouth was two years ago, the vision of what and how AEW presents wrestling might be different than what it is today. If Punk had signed up as an EVP in 2019, he could have really bridged the gap between people that were sick of Bullet Club/Elite antics then and the current AEW diehards. While The Bucks, Omega, and Cody aren’t my cup of tea, I can respect that they jumped out on their own and done what they have done up to this point. 

We’ve seen two years of the vision Tony Khan has for wrestling and the influence his current EVP team has had in that vision. I can be honest in saying I don’t like it, even though there’s tons of guys and gals I really like(d) outside the AEW Universe.

I know I will be the lone man on this island but I’ve always been an outlier anyway. Punk showing up in AEW last night made me feel empty. I was not overwhelmed with joy and happiness or tears (even if in some ways it was the worst kept secret in wrestling). Punk just showed up. Arguably the worst kept secret in wrestling. Punk then cut a 20 minute RAW opening segment promo while the United Center chanted CM Punk. Everyone else ate it up while I felt empty and hollow. Maybe modern wrestling just isn’t for me anymore, be it from Orlando or Jacksonville. It almost felt like Punk’s endorsement of AEW made me less likely to want to check them out. In a weird way, I felt like Punk was burying my fandom of wrestling on Friday night, or what is masquerading as wrestling today.

It’s a real shitty feeling for me since I have been watching for over 30 years. I grew up on WWF Superstars in English and Spanish, WCW Worlwide/Pro, LPWA. I would even watch WOW Women of Wrestling in high school. I’ve gone to local indies whenever possible, ROH shows, etc. I lurked on message boards like here for years, read 411mania and Larry Csonka’s reviews. I subscribed to the Wrestling Observer newsletter at one point and gobble an unhealthy amount of wrestling podcasts.

Mind you, CM Punk’s run in 2011 was amazing and it was because of him that I went to my first WWE PPV: MITB 2011. That was an amazing night that I will never forget as long as I live. But that momentum just withered on the vine and pro wrestling is where it is as a result. Things happened, and Punk left WWE. Part of me doesn’t want to go through that disappointment again if the Punk pop turns out to be less than a fad and AEW can’t take advantage of it. 

But modern wrestling today just makes me feel empty. 2011 me went crazy for CM Punk. 2019 me probably would have gone crazy as well. 2021 me, not so much. And I don’t know why that is. 

I can get some of this. I fell out of love with wrestling hard in the mid-2010s. I was a big indy & puro nerd, but the whole Bullet Club/Elite stuff showing up everywhere was a plague and made those places insufferable. I got back into things a couple years ago and made an effort to catch up on stuff I had missed, but found all the highly praised stuff like Okada vs Omega to be pretty tedious. I like AEW now, but when they first announced the promotion starting up, I had no interest as I didn't like Bucks, Page, thought Omega was alright, but the rest of all those indy guys largely sucked. I enjoy what they have going on now, though a lot of that is down to the booking, presentation and characters more than the actual wrestling content. I was a big Punk fan, following him back to IWA:MS, but I am keeping my expectations low here. 

 

I know that makes me look like a totally out of touch old man, but I guess the point is to say you're not entirely alone in those feelings, even if I am enjoying what AEW is doing.

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