We are LIVE from Ontario, California with Excalibur, Chris Jericho, and Taz on commentary, with special guest Adam Cole for the opener.
CM Punk holding up the AEW World title belt is the first shot and the last shot in the new Rampage opening titles.
The Young Bucks defeated The Lucha Bros (w/ Alex Abrahantes) (14:53)
The Lucha Bros are up 5-3 in the lifetime series against The Young Bucks.
During the match, Jericho and Excalibur addressed Punk's annoucement and some of the rumors concerning Punk and the title.
Powerhouse Hobbs and “Absolute” Ricky Starks defeated two enhancement talents (0:47)
Hobbs and Starks crushed their unnamed opponents in 47 seconds. They cut an inset promo that last the entire match. Hobbs hit one of the enhancement guys with a high angle spinebuster and Starks hit the other with a speark. Hobbs got the pin. This was brisk.
Clips of CM Punk winning the AEW World Title from Double or Nothing were shown.
Athena defeated Kiera Hogan (w/ Stokley Hathaway, Jade Cargill & Red Velvet) (8:21)
Athena had a jacket with a wing gimmick that was pretty neat.
Athena shoved Hogan down to the mat and hit her top rope cutter (formerly The Eclipse, I believe) and got the pinfall.
Jade Cargill looked a little concerned after Athena’s win.
–House of Black promo. Julia Hart told us to celebrate. "Isn't this what you wanted."
– CM Punk promo. Punk walked to the ring and was clearly limping, but wasn’t walking on crutches or anything. But he didn't look happy at all. Punk doesn’t speak at first, and the crowd chants “CM Punk!” Punk was practically on the verge of tears. “Every bone in my body told me to go home and hug my wife and hug Larry.” Punk wanted to turn around and go home, but he felt like he owed everyone an explanation. Punk has good news and bad news. Punk said he didn’t want to let anyone down and he hoped that he hadn't done that. Punk stopped and the crowd chanted his name.
Punk told the crowd that he’s got a couple of things are broken and he’s going to need surgery. "A couple of things are broken, and one of them is my heart." He promised he was going to go until the wheels fell off, and “the wheels haven’t fallen off but one of them happens to be broken.” He wanted to wrestle right now, and while he's felt better, he’s definitely felt worse.
Punk then addressed the title. Punk doesn’t want to hold this place up. Punk told Tony Khan he’s not going to stand in anybody's way and was willing to relinquish the title so someone deserving like Jon Moxley or Bryan Danielson (mentioning them by name to cheers from the crowd) could be champion. But, Tony Khan said he believed in CM Punk, and is convinced that this is only a bump in the road. Punk said needed to hear that. “The get back is going to be bigger than the set back.” Punk promised to come back bigger, faster, stronger, and hungrier than ever before. When Punk comes back, he will prove why he is the best in the world.
This was a fantastic promo by Punk. But, this lead to confusion for the rest of the show over the AEW World Title. Jericho just as the show went to break said something about Punk having to vacate the title. But Punk was holding up the belt at the end of the promo and never said he vacated the title; it sounded like he wanted to but Tony Khan wouldn't allow him to vacate the belt.
– Chris Jericho clarified at the start of the next match that the AEW World Championship has been reliquinshed by CM Punk.
Scorpio Sky (w/ Dan Lambert & Ethan Page) defeated Dante Martin (w/ Matt Sydal) for the TNT Championship (8:10)
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Down
Between the Punk promo before the match and the announcements about the AEW World title situation during the match, the in-ring action was a total afterthought.
Martin hit a TKO for a near fall.
At this point, Excalibur made a confusing announcement about the world title situation. On Dynamite there will be a battle royal to open the show. The winner of that Battle Royal will fight (new #1 Contender) Jon Moxley in the main event of Dynamite for a shot at the interim AEW World Championship at Forbidden Door. Now, because it will be for the "Interim AEW World Title," Excalibur clarified Punk is not vacating the AEW World title. Confused yet? Excalibur and Jericho were; it took them a few times before they finally laid out the scenario correctly.
Back to the main event. Martin hit a crossbody off the top for a near fall. Scorpio hit Martin with a hot shot, and then Scorpio got the TKO for the pin. And it might be a bad night to be a singles champion in AEW, because Scorpio Sky came up limping a bit after the pinfall.
Between MJF on Saturday and CM Punk tonight, this has been the most newsworthy week in AEW. The Young Bucks opener was a fantastic match. The Punk announcement was very newsworthy and very disappointing if you are a fan of Punk (which I am).
I think for sure they'll be some kind of Interin AEW World title match at Forbidden Door. My guess is Moxley v. Tanahashi simply becomes for the Interim Title.
The one big criticism here is after the Punk promo no one knew what was happening with the title. It almost would have been better to say nothing. At different points the viewers were told Punk was vacating the belt, keeping the belt, and interim champ would be crowd at Dynamite and at Forbidden Door. I was finally only able to get the story correct by pausing the screen to read the cyron for Dynamite next week.
That aside, this live Rampage felt like a A show tonight, and probably the most noteworthy Rampage since Punk's debut back in August.