With Full Gear right around the corner I thought it was time to take one last look at the card and see if we can the likely long term plan for All Elite Wrestling or at least a direction I would go if I was in a position to decide such a thing. Recently I explained my expectations for the main event of Full Gear so we will avoid that match.
In my opinion, as for the other two title matches set for the event which include the AEW World Women's Champion Britt Baker defending her title and the Lucha Brothers defending the tag gold. Since the beginning of AEW there has been person from the Women's division that has rose to the top and become a star and she is the current Women's Champion. At this point, Britt Baker should keep the title for the foreseeable future and chase down the record setting reign set by the former champion. Reality is there is no reason for Britt to drop the title right now unless there is a story we are missing.
The same could honestly be said for the Lucha Brothers who I believe just defeated the Young Bucks for the gold back in September at All Out. I don't mean to make it seem like everyone needs a long reign as champions, but the team shouldn't drop the gold at the first hurdle. At this point FTR has a ton of momentum and with the help of Pinnacle will likely maintain it's current momentum. Shawn Spears could find himself in the feud alongside Pac to make it an interesting six man rivalry. I don't know that Full Gear will be the end of the feud between the Brothers and FTR, but again like with Britt there is no reason to switch at this from the perspective I'm seeing.
Overall this event will likely be another home run for AEW and put on display why they not only should be taken seriously, but why people should pay attention. I'm not sure the status for Full Gear on the calendar, but being on the national scale it's the time the next generation to again show why AEW has the deepest roster in wrestling. Names like Jack Perry, MJF, Darby Allin, and others have shown they have what it takes to be the future of wrestling.
It's only been two months since CM Punk made his in-ring return at All Out in September against Darby Allin. However, since then Punk has been moving around fighting anyone and everyone, but hasn't had a defined direction. Outside of short rivalry with Team Taz specifically Powerhouse Hobbs there really hasn't been much going on for Punk. It understood that they didn't want to rush into something and wanted to keep Punk's gimmick developing which is basically him showing that he can still go after seven years out of the ring.
After in many ways a random altercation between Eddie Kingston and Punk last week it seems like we might have an answer to that question. The altercation looked a bit spontaneous which makes it look real, but there needs to be more context to the feud before we judge the feud. Kingston had the best match of his career thus far against Danielson last week and was likely frustrated. It is possible that Eddie could feel a bit upstaged with the arrivals of the new marquee stars taking spots anyway from the founding members of the roster.
Honestly, they couldn't have picked someone better for Punk to have his first meaningful feud with then Eddie Kingston. It could help set the stage for a slow burn return to the main event picture for CM Punk and I agree with the route they were taking with Punk. Considering the fact Bryan Danielson moved into the title picture upon his arrival in the company there was no reason to have Punk move right into the title picture upon his return. Punk will likely be in the World Title picture or the main event scene at some point, but it likely will not happen for another year in any case. In either case I'm looking forward to see how this feud materializes.
Ratings might be in a lull might that doesn't mean that All Elite will not deliver on PPV like they almost always do every single time out. I want to get this out of the way early Hangman Page wouldn't have been brought back in such a big way or at this time for him to lose at Full Gear. I would be dumbfounded to see Kenny Omega leaving Full Gear still AEW World Champion. Omega could stay the champion, but to a point they have been painted into a corner with holding off the momentum for Page. We saw it at the first PPV when Page fought Jericho to crown the first champion and knew the time would come eventually.
I've been watching Adam Page for more then a few years now and he's shown a ton more potential then he did when I first remember watching him in Ring of Honor years ago. Page has grown and matured so much over the years and at Full Gear it will be his moment in the sun. The main question is should Omega lose the title now or could the reign have lasted a bit longer. The old saying is run with the hot hand does Kenny's title reign still have life or would it be better to get the gold on someone knew after all this time in the spotlight.
Another question is persisting the rumors of Adam Cole already turning on The Elite and breaking away setting up a power struggle within the faction. It's not a bad idea, but it could be a little too soon to rush into what could be a money making storyline. Truth is maybe the best decision is to allow this to be the long term plan and wait out the turn until next year. Allow Adam Cole to find his identity in AEW and get his legs about him, because of all The Elite I do believe Adam is the only one people want to cheer might just be that believes this though. Cole should have no part in this main event at Full Gear the rematch fine, but if your doing a switch leave it clean and let Page have his moment.
In the last few months, All Elite Wrestling has trumped WWE as far as finding ways for non-wrestlers to benefit the weekly program without upstaging the active wrestlers. To be fair various companies have struggled with the idea of not allowing outside stars upstaging there active talent. With the occasional appearances from American Top Team though getting better with every passing day it shows that the company is not just using the group to their advantage but building somewhere. Recently former UFC Heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos made his in-ring debut alongside the Men of the Year against the Inner Circle.
Dos Santos from the bit I saw did well! There is no doubt he was green and it showed, but he didn't try to do more then he was capable of and taking a bump through a table takes props. Especially with his selling of Hager's urange. One piece that needs to be acknowledged though is the bigger part that Jorge Masvidal seems to be playing in this ongoing saga due to his devastating flying knee attack. At one point, Jorge was a meal ticket in the UFC and seems to be making a seamless transition to the world of AEW.
With Full Gear around the corner and it being pretty clear that this rivalry isn't letting up any time soon and will likely be getting only more intense. The only question is will Masvidal meet Jericho in the ring at some point or will they stick with Dos Santos, Page, and Sky. If Rampage is any indication it seems as though Santana and Ortiz are back alongside the rest of the Inner Circle which even the odds a little bit more. Maybe we have a lumberjack match coming in the future with Jericho and Jorge in the ring and everyone else ringside. It is also possible to see the Inner Circle members swapping in and out to keep them busy with other things specially Sammy taking challengers for his TNT title.
I remember a few years back that Paige Vanzant had been debating about a career in wrestling likely after her UFC career had come to an end. However, the talk died down after a few months we hadn't seen anything to reignite the rumors until she started appearing with Dan Lambert. The main question with that would be would Paige competing draw an audience and if so against who could she wrestle?
One of the most unique aspects of All Elite Wrestling has been any time America's Top Team, Ethan Page, and Scorpio Sky appear with the loudmouth himself Dan Lambert. Lambert reminds me a lot of Pat McAfee who is from a different sport and made the jump to wrestling. Lambert's hype of his treasure trove of MMA superstars is not him blowing smoke it's him stating facts. Stating the accomplishments of the likes of Junior Dos Santos, Paige Van Zant, Andrei Arlovski and various other former World class fighters have spent time with Lambert in AEW.
For those unaware Dan Lambert is the founder of the America's Top Team gum based in Coconut Creek, Florida. I don't expect at least right now any of Lambert's group other then Page & Sky to step in the AEW ring as there is no need for them to take that step right now. The inclusion of world class fighters by Lambert's side ups his status and notoriety within the eyes of wrestling fans. However, if you have heard Lambert talk then you know he has a god give skill to make people hate him. It helps that I think he believes a lot of what he's saying, because he's using his words and not words that were written out for him. Instead of trying to continue to explain his style or how skilled he is on the stick I will let his promo speak for him. In my opinion, Lambert adds another layer to Dynamite when he appears as he is just another person that makes AEW feel and look different.
Don't get me wrong AEW isn't perfect and they are allowed to make mistakes much like any of us are allowed to make mistakes. However, the way they kicked off CM Punk's next feud with Team Taz is a little weak. Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks are two of the strongest up and comers in All Elite Wrestling at this time and getting a rub from CM Punk would do them nothing but good. Starting the feud though with Taz randomly interrupting Punk yelling about him mentioning or not mentioning Team Taz in his promo when he never even spoke a word of Taz during the promo is a very weak way to start a feud.
In my opinion, Taz could've mentioned Punk's name on promo and how he's sick of everyone making such a big deal about all of these new arrivals and ignoring those who have been within the ranks of AEW. Punk would be best fit working with the young stars for right now to try and help establish some new stars as more stable main event capable talent. Seeing Team Taz jump Punk this week though did make for it with Hobbs looking like a ferocious monster dropping Punk through the announce table.
Presentation has always been a strong trait for AEW in recent months and this attack on Punk was another positive. Hobbs and Hook were both presented in a very strong and dangerous manner. I don't remember seeing Hook ever get involved physically before in a segment. I'm unsure where this feud is going and if Ricky Starks will be included in the feud or not either way though this feud should be helpful for the continued advancement of Team Taz and a nice placeholder for Punk as he continues to show why he came back to pro-wrestling after all this time.
It is clear that someone in All Elite not just has the back of new commer Daniel Garcia, but they see potential written all over him. Since his debut Garcia alongside 2.0 has been positioned as future stars for All Elite. Garcia has seemingly been a throne in the side of Darby Allin, Moxley, and Eddie Kingston and mostly coming up short. In a way though Garcia is sort of directionless, but at the same time it's still early enough in his run that he doesn't need a direction as much as he needs firm footing.
Garcia is another example of how important perception and presentation is within wrestling specifically All Elite. I first noticed how different the art of presentation was within AEW then other companies upon the arrival of Andrade in AEW. If Daniel can get wins on lesser programs like Elevation and Dark then it will keep him strong enough where his presence will matter, but he won't be overexposed to soon. I mean given a position in AEW that he is unprepared for at this point. Potential needs to be groomed and not looked at as expectation, because that makes it easier to squander expected potential.
In the near future Garcia will be making his debut in New Japan which again points to someone seeing potential all over him. Garcia needs to be groomed and have more time to learn or hone his craft before being positioned in a bigger role. However, he's already getting a reaction so that's a good start, but he needs to keep growing. It takes time for this to happen though and the perfect way for him to grow is for AEW to allow him to travel to the other companies they are working with which includes Impact Wrestling and New Japan. Taking that approach would be similar to the territory system and something that could be expected of Cody who seemingly has taken a bit of an old school approach with booking AEW. From the little I've seen of Garcia is that he does have potential, but is a little green and has room to grow.
Last weekend at All Out we saw one of the greatest wrestling PPV's of the last twenty years. From all the rumors leading into the show it absolutely lived up to the expectations. Recently, WWE has been cleaning house and changing the perception of the promotion shuffling out a number of talent. Two names that have now officially left the promotion was Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole. The rumors have followed Bryan since the end of May when his WWE contract expired. It is unclear why Danielson's debut was moved up from the debut event in New York to All Out, but it worked.
All Out was the biggest event in AEW history thus far and it ended with two new arrivals shocking the wrestling world. Following the main event Kenny Omega's celebration was cut short when a face from his past debuted in All Elite. The lights went down and when they came back on Adam Cole had officially went All Elite. At first Adam had seemed to be a new opponent for his former friend, but then joined The Elite. Soon after Cole made his debut a familiar theme played over the speakers and another big debut came down the ramp. For over a decade Daniel Bryan called WWE home and now was just a free agent, but had also became All Elite.
One of the more expected debuts on that night was in the Casino Battle Royal which saw the former Ruby Riot make her debut. Currently known as Ruby Soho was released by WWE earlier in the year has now arrived in AEW. One part of the roster that has struggled since AEW debuted was the Women's division. With the arrival of Ruby it helps not just create needed depth in the division, but another member of the roster that could help handle pressure within the division. Down the road Ruby Soho will challenge Britt Baker for the gold which should be another match that will help put the struggling division on the map.
The only sure thing about these new arrivals is that Ruby will challenge for the Women's championship in the near future. Other than that the intrigue and interest in AEW has never been higher, because we need to keep our eyes on Dynamite and Rampage to know what happens next for Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole in there new home.
I have been deliberating for a few weeks about giving an award to a deserving wrestling legend. This was going to be something different aside from the Hall of Fame as a way to not just honor the past, but also honor a deserving member of wrestling's present. In my opinion, only a few people would fit the mold to be mentioned as the first Eddie Graham Lifetime Achievement award winner. The person I chose has given a good chunk of his life to wrestling and is one of the most well respected members of the wrestling world. The first Eddie Graham Lifetime Achievement award winner is All Elite Wrestling Lead Announcer "Good Ole JR" Jim Ross.
I don't need to retrace the history Jim Ross has had in wrestling as he has been a part of wrestling since 1974 and has had every job imaginable in wrestling. Ross replaced legendary announcer Boyd Pierce in Mid-South Wrestling when Bill Watts wanted to go for a different sound. Ross also helped with booking Mid-South in the later years of the company. In WCW, Ross was on the writing team, helped train new commentators, and was the lead announcer for all WCW programming and PPV basically replacing Bob Caudle who had been in the position for decades prior.
The one place Jim is known for is in WWE where he spent the better part of 25 years from 1993 up until he signed with AEW. Pretty sure his last announcing gig for WWE was Undertaker vs Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. Other than announcing though Ross again helped train commentators, was on the writing team, and actually became head of talent relations for many years. The day the news broke that AEW had signed Jim Ross to be a commentator it was surprise partially due to me thinking he retired, but also that he was actually going to leave WWE.
In my opinion, the generation prior to me had Gordon Solie, Lance Russell, and Bob Caudle as well as so many other great voices. My childhood was blessed to have Jim Ross and Gene Okerlund make so many moments that much more impactful. Jim Ross has given his life to the business he loves and even after all of this time he is still as much in love with pro-wrestling as he was nearly forty years ago when he first started with the "Cowboy." To call Jim Ross a legend would be an understatement as a long time ago he crossed into the arena of "icon." Nobody else was more deserving to be named the first Eddie Graham Lifetime Achievement award winner.
Last night we saw a sight some of us never thought possible CM Punk on a wrestling show again for the first time in seven years. The crowd in Chicago went bonkers seeing the hometown hero finally return to the profession he had called home for 15 years before leaving. Punk gave us a glimpse into his mindset returning to wrestling and he will continue to be a hot button issue for months to come. However, I'm taking a different approach and I'm not gonna just talk about how insane his debut was, but instead let's talk about where to next.... we know Darby Allin is his first stop on September 5 at All Out!!!
But what other matches shall we see from CM Punk now that he's gone All Elite. Let's see what this Top 5 can bring us:
Note: Kenny Omega will not be on the list as Punk should be kept away from the current champion for a while to allow Punk to get adjusted to being back and not have fans get the wrong idea. Punk can help elevate new stars not just sell tickets with those who are already established.
Though Darby Allin would've been number one on the list he can't be included due to the match being signed already between the two for All Out. Two names immediately popped out to me and both will be on the list, but we start with "All Ego" Ethan Page. Page was underrated signing by AEW a few months back and has found his footing in AEW after a feud with Sting & Darby Allin. Ironically enough it could be an interesting next opponent for Punk and a short term dance partner. Especially if Punk has to overcome the numbers game against Page and partner Scorpio Sky which could lead to Punk finding a partner to extend the program.
Page has a ton of potential to become a star in AEW and a feud with Punk will do him nothing but good from the standpoint of getting him back on television more often and putting him the ring with a household name. Either way Page would come out of a feud with Punk smelling like a rose and with momentum to grow to his potential.
The part of the site where you can find information about the newest wrestling promotion.