AEW’s next pay-per-view extravaganza, All Out 2022, is less than two weeks away and the face of that event is going to be utterly defined by the events of last week between CM Punk and Jon Moxley, and their Unification Title bout this Wednesday in Cleveland! No one could have anticipated the Unification Match coming to fruition on Dynamite, yet here we are with the biggest fight in the history of the All Elite Wrestling going down on TBS! But that’s not all that’s on tap this week, the next Dynamite Bracket Semi-Final match in the Trios Title Tournament will take place between Death Triangle and NJPW’s United Empire, Dax Harwood and Jay Lethal will go head-to-head in advance of their PPV trios bout, we will hear from “Absolute” Ricky Starks, Britt Baker and KiLynn King lock horns, and it will be father versus son when the Gunns collide!
An all-new Dynamite is coming your way from Cleveland,OH when AEW returns to the Wolstein Center with the biggest edition in history!
Dynamite hits LIVE on TBS at 8pm EDT/7pm CDT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audience, and be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube page to catch-up on all the Dynamite and Rampage highlights, as well as the latest editions of AEW Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, Road To, and The Control Center with Tony Schiavone!
AEW WORLD TITLE UNIFICATION MATCH…
AEW World Champion CM Punk(c) vs. AEW Interim World Champion Jon Moxley(c)
CM Punk and Jon Moxley are primed to fight in the most important bout that has ever taken place on Dynamite in the near-three history of AEW’s flagship program. The show has featured multiple championship bouts across all divisions and been host to multiple titles changes, including Mox losing the title to Kenny Omega at Winter is Coming 2020, but the magnitude of this collision has surpassed everything that has come since October 2, 2019.
While Jon Moxley was a dominant champion during his World Title run, the bulk of that 277-day reign with a record-setting nine title defenses, occurred during the days of limited-to-no fans in attendance, the days where Mox put the company on his back and led it through months of operating solely out of Daily’s Place in Jacksonville. Through that time, Mox fought every challenger who stepped up to the plate; be it Lance Archer, Darby Allin, Mr. Brodie Lee, or even his own friend Eddie Kingston, there was not a single fight Jon would ever back down from, and it was really only the concerted efforts of both Omega and Don Callis that robbed Mox of that championship.
It’s one of the reasons this Interim Title reign, as much as Moxley may despise that label, has been such a boon to Jon’s career. With this second chance that began with the Forbidden Door 2022 victory over Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mox has picked up right where he left off, taking on all challengers to his title, but doing so in front of raucous audiences, and at the absolute peak of his abilities. With tremendous fire, he has taken on the challenges of Chris Jericho, Rush, and Brody King, while also given Konosuke Takeshita and Mance Warner opportunities to earn championship bouts via Eliminator Matches. And that’s just the work he’s done since becoming champion, neglecting the fact he’s won more singles matches than any man in AEW (56), he’s won more overall matches than any man in AEW (81), and has won 17 consecutive one-on-one matches dating back to 8/3/21! It’s reasonable to say that Mox has been the MVP of AEW, the veritable heart and soul of the company, but the one thing he is not, is the undisputed AEW World Champion. He is the Interim Champion, a label seeming more akin to a noose or an albatross around the neck, but the only way to rip it away, is by defeating CM Punk.
Now Punk, after defeating Hangman Page at Double or Nothing 2022, was only able to enjoy his championship status for a matter of days before announcing to the world he’d need surgery to repair a broken foot. Initially stating he would relinquish the title, AEW CEO Tony Khan insisted Punk hold onto his championship status while creating the AEW Interim World Title eventually won by Moxley.
The timeline of Punk’s return was never certain, although there was definite hope he could make it back by All Out 2022 to celebrate that one-year anniversary of his return to pro wrestling, and do it in Chicago no less. One thing was for certain though, the injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time, not just because of the World Title reign being in its infancy, but also because he was in the midst of a seven-match singles winning streak, a nine-match streak overall, and it can be difficult to get back in that groove after nearly three months of injury time.
On top of that, the fact Punk is coming back with an untested injury, to a part of his body that is in constant use for the duration of a pro wrestling match, only further serves to lay a question mark on just how he will perform in this World Title Unification bout. He looks good, he bounced around the ring on that foot like everything was okay, but what we’ve seen out of Punk thus far is far different than actual competition, much less the violent inevitability of a fight with Jon Moxley…in Ohio to boot.
As much as Moxley wants to shake that Interim label, Punk also needs to prove he is the legitimate World Champion, that none save him carry the banner of All Elite Wrestling, and that perhaps he can at least bring a close to the Summer months at the top of the mountain. As Excalibur said in Road To…, all hopes Punk had of having another “Summer of Punk” in 2022 were dashed by that injury, but at least he could reclaim some bit of it by unifying the AEW World Title. Funny thing about the track record of this “SoP” idea, while it was always unforgettable, it also usually involved Punk committing some questionable actions to kick it off. Things like absconding with the ROH World Title before signing his big contract on the physical belt in the middle of an ROH ring, or running off with another company’s World Title, and using that as leverage to negotiate himself a favorable contract in front of the world, right in the middle of the ring. Last year’s return to pro wrestling, and debut with All Elite Wrestling, brought about another Summer of Punk, one far less devious than the previous, and it capped off with a victory over Darby Allin at All Out 2021 that demonstrated to the world, and to Punk himself, that he could still go.
In essence, that’s what we have here when Punk meets Moxley, not on pay-per-view as originally intended and in a place where Punk had home-field advantage, but rather on Dynamite with Mox having the home turf in Ohio. This is Punk proving he can pick up where left off three months ago, and begin his World Title reign properly just a week before All Out 2022 week brings AEW back to the Chicagoland area. This is also Moxley proving he is the absolute best in the world by shutting down, and shutting up, “The Best In The World” in their first-ever singles bouts. After all, to paraphrase what Punk once said, they may have had matches in the past, but he’s never fought Jon Moxley before…
In this historic AEW World Title Unification Match, will it be World Champion CM Punk or Interim World Champion Jon Moxley that earns the right to be called Undisputed? There will be no quarter asked, none given; there will be violence, there will be pain and suffering, but in the end, when the final bell has rung, there will only be one left standing to call the AEW World Champion!
AEW TRIOS TITLE TOURNAMENT DYNAMITE BRACKET SEMI-FINAL…
Death Triangle (PAC, Penta El Zero Miedo, & Rey Fenix)
United Empire (Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis, & Will Ospreay)
Death Triangle is hungry for championship success, hungry to put the humiliations heaped upon them by Andrade and Rush behind them to focus on something new, and hungry to face the kind of competition that comes with The United Empire trio of Mark Davis, Kyle Fletcher, and the IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay.
Penta and Fenix have tasted that success in All Elite Wrestling before, having dethroned The Young Bucks one year ago at All Out 2021 inside a Steel Cage with the World Tag Team Titles at stake, and PAC currently reigns as the AEW All-Atlantic Champion, having won the belt at Forbidden Door 2022 a few months back. PAC has designs on being the first man in AEW to hold two belts simultaneously, but to get to that point, they must first get past Ospreay and his crew, not to mention The Elite who await the winner of this bout.
The United Empire trio have been extremely successful in their trio endeavors, having won 6 of their 9 bouts in six-man action, and of those three losses, two actually came in AEW competition back in June on the road to Forbidden Door. Osprey, Fletcher, and Davis are looking to make this return to AEW some redemption for those losses, and it’s reasonable that Ospreay is also quite sour after having just lost the RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Title after 919 days as champion.
Will it be Death Triangle who moves on to face The Elite in Semi-Final action, or will it be The United Empire? Either way, the fans will be the winners here when six of wrestling’s finest athletes compete to get one step closer to the Trios Title Tournament Finals at All Out 2022!
Dax Harwood vs. Jay Lethal
They may have a Trios bout in store for All Out 2022 on September 4th, but this Wednesday night Dax Harwood and Jay Lethal will go one-on-one in advance of their pay-per-view collision! Dax has proven multiple times in his AEW run that he’s as top-shelf a singles wrestler as he is a tag performer, but Lethal is one of the most successful singles wrestlers of this generation. He captured every title save the Trios in Ring of Honor’s history, held both the TV and Tag Titles for record-setting lengths, and even held the ROH World and TV straps simultaneously.
Suffice to say, Lethal lives up to his name against any competitor standing opposite him in the squared circle, and Harwood is going to find that out first hand on Wednesday night in this first-time ever contest!
Obviously the outcome of this will shade the Trios fight in store for the NOW Arena in just a couple weeks! Whether it’s Lethal pulling a win to give his unit the psychological advantage, or it’s Dax giving his Pinnacle trio with TNT Champion Wardlow and Cash Wheeler that edge, this is going to be a tremendous fight between two of the best athletes All Elite Wrestling has on its roster!
FATHER VS. SON…
Billy Gunn vs. Colten Gunn
After everything The Gunns have been through in All Elite Wrestling, seeing Billy waylaid by his own offspring was quite a surprise. It was a surprise that they’d betray their father, Austin and Colten may be asses but even stabbing their own dad in the back seemed impossible, especially if it’s just for money offered up by Stokely Hathaway.
What’s not surprising is that Max and Bowens would be there to support Daddy Ass, after all they seemed to form a rather strong bond with Billy over the last few months, one that the fans certainly rallied behind. Billy may have been betrayed by one family, but he had another there to pick him back up, and this week on Dynamite this other family will be in his corner to provide some back-up.
Will Billy teach his boy Colten a lesson this Wednesday night, show him that the old dog still has some new tricks, or will it be the son teaching his father that it’s time for the old dog to be taken behind the wood shed?
“Absolute” Ricky Starks has proven time and again that he is one of the premier athletes in all of professional wrestling. He made the FTW Title something greater than it had ever been, a prize actually coveted by other wrestlers rather than an albatross around his neck, and for 378 days (the longest reign with any title in AEW’s history) he successfully defended against nine other men including Swerve Strickland, Jay Lethal, Jungle Boy, and Danhausen. He hit a wall when HOOK answered the Open Challenge, but it wasn’t that 90-second mauling that left Starks shook, rather it was the absolute betrayal dealt by Powerhouse Hobbs that left the former champion stunned.
This Wednesday night, we will hear from “Absolute” Ricky Starks on the heels of Hobbs’ betrayal, and the dissolution of Team Taz!
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D vs. KiLynn King
As of late, Britt has found herself in a situation rather unfamiliar to the former AEW Women’s World Champion; she has been on the outside of the title picture looking in, and no matter how hard she’s tried, the Good Doctor has not been able to get back in since losing to Thunder Rosa.
She won the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament at Double or Nothing 2022, but lost in a tag match just days later on Dynamite, then lost two weeks after that in a singles bout to Toni Storm, and although she’s (finally) had some success with Jamie Hayter as a tag partner, it was Hayter who got the pinfall on ThunderStorm and earned a shot at the AEW Women’s World Champion, not Dr. Baker.
Still, she has managed to work herself into the top five rankings, which means a title bid could be on the horizon after the All Out 2022 bout between Toni Storm and Thunder Rosa, but to get there, Britt has to maintain her spot with wins. With that in mind, the Good Doctor has to face KiLynn King in singles competition, and although Baker holds a victory over King from a Dynamite circa October 2020, KiLynn has grown greatly as a competitor.
From championships won outside of AEW, to fights like the one she gave Toni Storm last week, KiLynn has continued to demonstrate her desire to be at the top of the heap in professional wrestling. There would be no faster ticket to the upper echelon of AEW’s Women’s division, save beating Thunder Rosa or Jade Cargill, than topping Dr. Britt Baker on Dynamite, in front of a worldwide viewing audience.
After last week’s stellar fight between Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia ended with an “American Dragon” victory, Danielson extended his hand to “Red Death” in a sign of respect for the battle they had just shared. Before Garcia could reciprocate, Chris Jericho assaulted Danielson from behind, only to find his own J.A.S. ally pulling him off the attack.
Clearly Garcia had feelings about this match and what it meant to him, what Bryan means to him, and “The Wizard” committing an unprovoked assault was not part of those feelings. Not being a man who appreciates having his allies question his calls (see Santana and Ortiz for example), this clearly did not sit well with Jericho, and now this Wednesday night the two men will have a little face-to-face meeting to air out their differences.
The whole world heard it months ago, before the Blackpool Combat Club was even born, that Garcia was a man Danielson wanted to work alongside. Did that fight, the fans chant of “You’re a wrestler!”, and that long-held ideal of Bryan as his hero awaken something within Garcia Or is there some feeling of indebtedness to Jericho that will keep him bound to The J.A.S.? We shall see this Wednesday night in Cleveland!
This Wednesday night, All Elite Wrestling returns to Cleveland, OH for the first time since Beach Break 2022 and what a different landscape AEW has become! There are two men with a claim to the AEW World Title that will fight for the right to be the one and only, there is now a Trios Title on the verge of its first champion, The Inner Circle is dead and now Jericho is surrounded by the very men he fought last time AEW was in Cleveland (well, maybe not necessarily Daniel Garcia after last week), and the entire championship landscape has changed.
Will it be Moxley or Punk who walks out of Cleveland as the one and only AEW World Champion? Can Dr. Britt Baker hold onto her tenuous spot in the rankings? Will it be Lethal or Dax who gets the advantage heading towards their All Out 2022 trios collision? Which team will advance to the Dynamite Bracket Finals of the Trios Title Tournament to face The Elite? All that, and more, is in store for viewers this Wednesday night starting at 8pm EDT/7pm CDT live on TBS!
Before the event starts, make sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for Dynamite and Rampage highlights, as well as the latest editions of AEW Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, the Control Center, and Road To, to get ready for the excitement coming your way!