It’s been building for months now. And last night, at the much hyped premiere of All Elite Wrestling‘s new Friday night show “Rampage“, AEW owner and head booker Tony Khan delivered to the fans one of the biggest fan service moments in pro wrestling history.
Without a doubt the show was packed with action from start to finish – they crammed a LOT into a mere one-hour time slot. But already, “Rampage” feels like “must see TV” for AEW fans. The live crowd in Pittsburgh was hot and excited. The matches were all stupendous. And although everyone was super excited to see Christian Cage relieve the insufferable Kenny Omega of the Impact World Championship, and to watch Dr. Britt Baker DMD have a hard fought back and forth match for the Women’s title with Red Velvet, from the beginning, it was the “centerpiece” match everyone was waiting for. TNT Champion Miro would defend his title against everyone’s favorite luchador, the irrepressible upstart of Sammy Guevara‘s “Vlog Crew“, Fuego Del Sol. On the line besides the title was a contract – up to this point, despite his regular appearances on the show and in the vlog, Fuego has been a week-to-week contract player, not signed as an official part of the company. But thanks to being a crazy, awesome person and an incredible wrestler, Fuego has become a fan favorite over the past few months, much of that stemming from the outrageous stuff that happens every week on Sammy Guevara’s YouTube “vlog” (every Tuesday at 1 PM ET, don’t miss it, kiddies…)
From the start, Fuego was playing to win, knocking the surprised, arrogant champion on his ass with his signature tornado DDT, and following it up with enough crazy moves to keep Miro completely off balance for the bulk of the first few minutes of the match. But he finally left Miro an opening, and Miro proceeded to beat the frogsnot out of the diminutive luchador, and finally pinned him. Miro then added salt to the wound by picking up the clipboard the ref had, and ripping the contract waiting for Fuego in two. When the show cut to a break, Fuego was lying in middle of the ring, totally pummeled.
When the show returned about three minutes later, Fuego was STILL in the ring, and was just starting to pull himself up. You could see the anguish on his face through his eyes – that was IT, he’d blown his shot.
Sammy’s music kicked in…and if Fuego knew this was going to happen, you’d never know it, because he looked totally stunned…as owner Tony Khan walked out on stage next to Sammy – Khan RARELY makes an on-camera appearance – with a huge grin on his face, and handed Sammy another clipboard, a microphone, and gave him a manly hug to boot. And the audience….well, it went absolutely APESHIT…Jesus, I’m getting all choked up again, it’s making me all verklempt again, dammit…and Fuego’s eyes grew HUGE as Sammy walked to the ring…and …well, see for yourself, courtesy of AEW’s YouTube channel….
The fans in the live audience, not to mention AEWTwitter, were going nuts, and had tears pouring down their faces (yours truly included…). It is going to go down as one of the greatest moments in pro wrestling in a year which has seen so much turmoil thanks to COVID, and one of the greatest moments in AEW history…and all because Tony Khan LISTENED to the fans.
I admit, I DO have a lot I find questionable with Khan’s writing sometimes. Regular readers know that. Consistency has long been a problem with Khan and his writing team. He seems to be on the mark on some things, and completely off the nonsense rails in others. And continuity has been one of his biggest problems as well. But last night, a night super important to the company, as they debuted their second weekly show to TNT, Khan proved WHY AEW is a fast-growing player in the pro wrestling world – he listened to his heart, and he listened to the fans. Something the WWE has NEVER been able to do, and has been particularly poor at this year. I will always give Tony and the AEW team credit for managing to do what McMahon and company have NEVER been able to do. For the record, Ringside News is reporting that Fuego signed his contract “weeks ago“, while the Observers’ Bryan Alvarez tweeted Saturday that it was a total shoot, and Fuego had NO IDEA it was coming…but it doesn’t really matter, does it? It was a MAGICAL Moment, and either way, it doesn’t take away from a night of terrific television, not by a long shot.
Thank you Tony Khan, thank you to the rest of the team, and thank you to the AEW fans – we all helped to make a magical moment happen, through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube…and now, we can celebrate because….
OK, Tony….now that we’ve got that out of the way…can we get back to work on Marko Stunt‘s action figure now, please? And some decent writing for him too? Thanks….