On August 20th, CM Punk returned to a professional wrestling ring for the first time in seven years. There had been much speculation over how Punk’s AEW debut would affect the ratings for AEW’s fledgling show Rampage, but the scorecards are now in.
As reported by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, the show brought 1.129,000 viewers, with 692,000 of those being in the prized 18-49 year-old demographic. That equates to a rating of 0.53, which is higher than all but the debut episode of AEW Dynamite in 2019.
Thurston adds that the opening quarter-hour of the show featuring Punk, drew in 1.341,000 viewers with 842,000 in the 18-49 demographic. A rating of 0.65.
By comparison the debut episode of Rampage from the week before pulled in 740,000 viewers. That is an increase of 389,000 viewers.
The go-home SmackDown for WWE SummerSlam on the same night was watched by 2.102,000 viewers with 728,000 of those in the 18-49 demographic. This is a rating of 0.57.
AEW Rampage was all about the appearance of one man, CM Punk. Debuting in his hometown of Chicago, Punk addressed his adoring public before laying down a challenge to Darby Allin.
Punk opened maybe the most anticipated promo in recent memory by saying that the crowd sure know how to make a man feel like he’s Britt Baker in Pittsburgh. The hometown boy then thanked the fans, saying that he heard their chants for seven long years. But he said he had to leave WWE because he was “never going to get healthy in the same place that got him sick in the first place.”
Sitting cross-legged reminiscent of his legendary pipe bomb promo, Punk recalled leaving Ring Of Honor in 2005. The Chicago native said that he left ROH with tears in his eyes because on August 13th 2005, he knew he was leaving professional wrestling. However, on August 20th 2021, he’s back.
The former WWE Champion continued, saying that he was back to work with the young talent who have the same passion he had stamped out of him. At this point, Punk switched tact and turned his attention to Darby Allin and Sting watching from the rafters. He praised Allin for being tough, before saying that “there’s nothing more dangerous you can do than wrestle CM Punk. Except wrestle CM Punk in Chicago.”
The veteran laying down the challenge for All Out on September 5th.
It was later confirmed that CM Punk will make his Dynamite debut on August 25th.