Rampage: The First Dance inside the United Center. A guaranteed announcement that was being called the biggest in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) history. And the location would be Chicago, Illinois. Everything about this screamed change. Importance. The move that changes everything in the world of professional wrestling. Three matches were set for the show as well, but nothing would be more important than that announcement. Here are the Rampage: The First Dance results with a non-match analysis to cap it off.
AEW Rampage: The First Dance Results & Match Ratings (8/20/21)
— CM Punk returns to professional wrestling
— AEW World Tag Team Championship Eliminator Tournament Semi-Final: Private Party vs. Jurassic Express
Winner: Jurassic Express
Rating: 3.00 (***)
— Jade Cargill vs. Kiera Hogan
Winner: Jade Cargill
Rating: 1.00 (*)
— Jon Moxley vs. Daniel Garcia
Winner: Jon Moxley
Rating: 2.25 (**1/4)
AEW Rampage: The First Dance Results: In-Depth Analysis
CM Punk Returns to Professional Wrestling
— All Elite Wrestling on TNT (@AEWonTNT) August 21, 2021
Nothing else matters. Not one thing in the world of professional wrestling is more important, more newsworthy, or more emotional than what AEW’s earth-shattering announcement was Friday night. The return of CM Punk to professional wrestling is easy to sum up in one word — Everything. The chants of “CM Punk” which not only filled the United Center but blew the roof off the place was how the show began. AEW wasn’t waiting long and nor should they have. Tony Khan promised to deliver on his surprise and there has never been one bigger. It was the worst-kept secret but at the same time, not one fan was 100 percent confident leading up to The First Dance. Punk, who has been willing to tease time and time again, continuously was cryptic as the weeks went on and the rumors spread.
Once the colors of the stage began to change between black, white, and red, it was more than clear what was happening. Then the signature static hit and “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour rang through the United Center and the words “Best in the World” appeared on the titantrons. It was special. It was, by all accounts, the best moment this writer has ever seen. CM Punk made his way out, signaling the return to professional wrestling that so many had doubted would ever actually happen at this point. Everyone who fell in love with wrestling because of CM Punk, everyone who refound their love because of Punk, or everyone that simply loves the sport of pro wrestling got their chance to experience something that can never be duplicated.
He took every moment in. Sitting at the top of the stage on his knees soaking in the non-stop “CM Punk” chants. There were tears in the eyes of fans, amazement in others, and pure happiness in all of them. He embraced fans with hugs, went crowd surfing, and had a smile on his face in the middle of a wrestling ring. That alone is something no one ever imagined seeing again.
Punk did what everyone dreamed of. Grabbed a microphone and talked to the world. It was made known by Punk that he wasn’t prepared with anything. All he wanted to do was feel that emotion, that eruption that occurred. Finally, he discussed being sick and losing the love of all this. And how when he left Ring of Honor (ROH) in 2005, that was the day he left professional wrestling. But now he’s back and plans to be back for good. The man who went on record to say he no longer loved the sport has now come back to the world that made him the star he is. Anyone who denies his star power and the ability to “move the needle” is blind to all of it. This was the moment that showed he does all of that and more.
Punk even acknowledged that he heard all the chants of his name over the last seven years before turning his attention as to why he is back. It was made known that he asked himself a question. Realizing the incredible talent that AEW had in their locker room, why was he not there. He is now.
“The Best in the World” would turn his attention to Darby Allin in the rafters, laying down the official challenge that at All Out, it will be Punk versus Allin in Chicago. Punk finished his stunning night by telling the world one last statement.
The analysis by this one is quite simple but difficult all at the same time to put into words. The game has changed. That revolution, that paradigm shift has gone into full motion. CM Punk was and has been the biggest free agent in professional wrestling for seven years. You can’t help but appreciate that the man who dramatically altered fandoms of pro wrestling for the better is back and it’s the moment that so many had finally begun to let go in recent years. The night CM Punk returned to professional wrestling is a moment that will be remembered forever.
This was the moment that reinvigorates the love all over again.
"I'm BACK! – @CMPunk
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 21, 2021
To try and explain to someone a decade ago that this would be louder than Money in the Bank 2011 when Punk stormed into Chicago to leave WWE as WWE Champion… you would come off as crazy. There are no words that can perfectly describe this moment. This feeling. These emotions that run through the body. Taz said on commentary how he had goosebumps that were not going away. Tommaso Ciampa tweeted the same. All eyes in all parts of wrestling were on Rampage tonight because that is what CM Punk means to the world of professional wrestling and all those who love it.
It’s only the beginning of all this too. He has a match. Punk will make his first Dynamite appearance Wednesday. But no matter what happens from this moment forward, nothing will ruins this. It’s a moment that goes down in history and one that fans will cherish forever.
August 20, 2021. The night that will forever be remembered as the one where CM Punk returned to professional wrestling. It was special. It was magical. And it will be a moment that people watch for years and say “that’s why I love pro wrestling.”
Welcome back, CM Punk.
More from LWOS Pro Wrestling
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW Dark: Elevation (Monday nights) and AEW: Dark (Tuesday nights) at 7 PM ET on YouTube. AEW’s new show, AEW Rampage, airs on TNT at 10 PM EST every Friday night.