Recently we've been hearing reports that CM Punk isn't the most satisfied person within the ranks of All Elite Wrestling. It is unclear what is causing the reported issues as it seems the mixed messages center around a Hangman Page promo from earlier in the year and Colt Cabana being moved to ROH. Number one if Punk is offended by something Page said in a promo earlier in the year it's up to him to handle it backstage and in a professional manner not to be a petulant child and whine about it on camera. As World Champion Punk is suppose to be the leader of the roster and his actions last week don't display him as a leader.
As for his relationship with Colt playing a part in the tension within the AEW locker room again it's unclear what caused the tension all we know it's what's been told to us. Punk and Cabana's falling out was covered seven years ago when it was relevant. In my opinion, if Cabana being on ROH's roster would benefit ROH more then his presence in AEW then he belongs in ROH and those in AEW need to accept that. Punk's presence should have no bearing on Cabana's job or where he best fits the only thing that should matter is Cabana being placed in a spot that would benefit everyone involved.
Again there seems to be mixed messages coming out about the tension within the AEW to me it just seems like something that could've been avoided and should've been handled differently. On the other side it seems like it could be wrestling news sites raising the heat and making a lot out of nothing. Punk might be a major star for the company, but nothing gives him the right to make demands or decision with regards to who should be in AEW or not. To address the fact that all this is a work they can't keep doing that the MJF thing was believable but they never followed up on it and lost there chance to manufacture another shoot angle would just be desperate in my book.
To fully understand the situation though we need to wait until Dynamite this week as Moxley vs Punk is happening a lot sooner then most of us expected. If any of this is true then Punk should lose the spot and Mox should be given the mantle. Either way though we are in for a banger this week on Dynamite when we see the two World Champions collide.
The one thing that I've noticed is that AEW has no trouble giving new faces more TV time but they don't always give fans an easy reason to care about the new faces. For example, Daniel Garcia and 2.0 go from being the go to enhancement talent to running with Jericho all of the sudden we are expected to take them seriously. Why? Associating with Chris Jericho makes the previous six months of television meaningless and just now they are different people or maybe all the wins they got on Dark and Elevation. If you want the YouTube shows to matter mention them on actual programming so the fans who don't watch those programs understand why certain talent matter.
Recently we've seen the arrival of The Trusterbusters aka Ariya Daivari, Slim J and Parker Boudreaux on programming without much of an explanation to why they matter. Props to them for giving the reason why people are siding with Ariya, but where are the wins that make them seen as more of a threat to talent and fans. Wins matter, because it shows the fans who should be taken seriously and which talent are more or less cannon fodder for the bigger stars.
I understand the lesser known stars are given victories on Dark or Elevation, but where are the recap videos, where is the mention of the pre-existing momentum. Why all of the sudden should someone like Garcia not be thought of as a joke if even with Chris Jericho he still doesn't win often same for 2.0. I know someone will likely say your complaining about something that doesn't matter or your point is outdated. Well let me ask, who do you pay more attention to sometimes without even realizing the people that normally win or the stars who usually lose. I'm not being critical or at least I'm not trying to be critical I just want to point out that AEW has programming they could be doing more with to use to there advantage.
I use to point out how WWE wasn't taking advantage of the tape library they have now I think AEW could be doing more to shine a light on the YouTube programming just so fans are more aware. Especially if you want to use those programs to push talent. Not offering an explanation to why the fans should care about someone they are unfamiliar with usually leads to fans brushing off the new talent and ignoring them until they figure that aspect out. Main point is you can use Dark and Elevation to promote the stars fans don't know but at least recap or mention the momentum, talent or the victories on the televised programming.
Last week on Dynamite we saw the split we all saw coming with Adam Cole and ReDragon finally turning on the Young Bucks. Question on everyone's mind is if only Bobby Fish is medically cleared then what happens next between Adam Cole and ReDragon against the Bucks. It does seem clear that Hangman Page might be on the Young Bucks side for the trios tournament and this issue might have to have a pin placed in it for the time being. At first Kenny Omega was who I expected to join the Bucks against Adam Cole, but it seems clear that Omega will not be returning to assist the Bucks.
Bigger picture Page has needed a bit of direction since he lost the World Championship to CM Punk so this is a good step for him. However, Kenny Omega vs Adam Cole seems like a dream match waiting to happen once everyone is healthy. Looking to the turn though it seems like this might be something that has been building since the Bucks turned on Adam before he left for WWE when they kicked him out of Bullet Club in favor of a certain "Villain."
Looking back, it does seem that the Bucks have finally moved back to the good side with Adam sticking on the heel side of the fence. If Adam, Kyle and Bobby are going to miss the trios tournament that will be unfortunate, but injuries are an evil in wrestling like in every sport that we have to deal with as fans. Realistically if the former Undisputed Era misses the tournament they will definitely have there presence felt during the tournament. Either way this turn will bring even more intrigue to a show that has been struggling due to a smattering of injuries recently.
Ever since Christian Cage turned on Jungle Boy a few weeks ago the former World Champion has been spiting fire and spewing venom. Cage is eloquently constructing promos that would make the stars of the past shed a tear, because he ain't pulling punches and holding back. Cage has heat and hatred from the AEW faithful, but also should remain untouchable until Jungle Boy gets a hold. Unlike MJF during his hottest run Cage has a bodyguard who should and has thus far stood in the way of anyway getting to close to Christian. The turn was unexpected but has been by far one of the most interesting parts of wrestling right now in any company.
Though seeing Jurassic Express come to an end is unfortunate it was time and with the depth in the AEW tag team division it will allow the cream to rise to the top. Jungle Boy was hitting on all cylinders and would be branching out soon enough. This way Luchasaurus can establish himself and escape the shadow of his former partner. Luchasaurus needed a refresh and a fresh coat of paint Christian has given that to him ten fold. Matt Hardy's association with Private Party didn't help anyone unlike that this has helped Luchasaurus ten times over. I'm excited to see where this story continues to go and honestly the longer Jungle Boy is gone the better. How can I miss you if you don't go away??
This past edition of Rampage saw the debut of the Royal Rampage concept which is very similar to the old Battlebowl concept from WCW. The Royal Rampage is a two ring Royal Rumble style event with two battle royals taking place at once. The concept was done well and I actually like this concept more then the Casino Battle Royal. In my opinion, Brody King was a perfect winner for the Royal Rampage and to be Moxley's first challenger.
The only bit of criticism I have is that the title defense should be done further in the future to allow a bit of build up. Wrestling doesn't work if you always seek instant gratification, because then you always need to stay a step ahead planning what's next. However, if Brody fought Moxley for the gold in two weeks it would allow AEW a bit more space to build to the match and show that Brody could be a capable challenger for Mox.
Especially considering the fact that the next AEW PPV isn't until September with All Out the company would have plenty of time to build up a new challenger for Moxley. At this point I don't know that anyone knows the exact return for CM Punk, but we do know what to expect when he does. Admittedly a Moxley vs Punk unification match is a bit of a dream match to look forward to in the future. Ultimately, I just don't agree with the idea of instant gratification and think that building the match for a week would be better then giving it away right away.
Last week we not only saw Jungle Boy and Luchsauraus drop the tag team titles back to the Young Bucks, but we also saw Christian turn heel. I think everyone saw this coming and expected an eventual heel turn from the veteran, but not sure everyone expected it to happen one right after the other. However, taking into account recent events and the fact that this week is a go home show to Forbidden Door we don't need to rush into the feud with Christian & Jungle Boy we can take things slow.
I remember back in the day when someone would have their bell rung by the one man con-chair toe and be gone for a few weeks at least. Considering the PPV is right around the corner they should use that to their advantage. No need to have Jungle Boy around for the next few weeks and just spend the time allowing Christian to reestablish himself as a heel. Christian needs time to explain his actions and get back over as a heel which is something he hasn't done in nearly a decade so it would be wise for AEW to time to let it simmer.
I don't believe that this will be the feud that jolts Jungle Boy into the stratosphere, but it could be the one that helps both men forward. I would think that All Out would be the next PPV coming up in September so AEW has plenty of time to plan out this feud. Christian can explain his actions and why he thought turning on Jungle Boy last week was the right decision. Jungle Boy could explain that allowing Christian in Jurassic Express gave him a spot right as he joined AEW and allowed him to stick out. Jungle Boy should put over not regretting the decision to welcome Christian in and protect him like they did, because he learned a lot from the veteran, but something Christian should understand is that at "My age I have more potential now then he ever has."
In a previous article I mentioned that I thought Wardlow would benefit from a feud with Dustin Rhodes as Dustin could teach him how to slow down and learn. Christian could do the exact same for Jungle Boy that I believe Dustin could do for Wardlow. Christian in my book didn't come back to be World Champion, I believe Christian came back to rewrite his last chapter and end things on his terms. Jungle Boy does have a bright future, I just think easing into the feud is a better choice then rushing things, that's just my opinion.
On Dynamite this past week we saw one of the most incredible promos we have seen on a wrestling program in the last decade. Fact is MJF set the bar once again and showed that controversy creates intrigue and intrigue still is what sells in the wrestling business. In my opinion, WWE should take note of not only MJF's work in the promo, but also how well it has been received and the constant conversation. The promo itself was masterful with raw emotion being the focal point of the promo and Max letting his words talk for him. Honestly this is the difference between speaking and someone speaking for you, but the fact is not everyone is MJF.
This promo was likely a worked shoot or a promo that was set to happen, but nobody knew what he was going to say. MJF took us on a ride and delivered maybe even over delivered everything he said was true and some of it could even be backed up by factual evidence. I for one have said it since the beginning that that AEW needs to spend investing in character development so mainstream fans become aware of the company and the wrestlers as oppose to just focusing on the hardcore fans. Not trying to bring in more fans is extremely shortsighted. On the latest edition of Dynamite MJF did his job and took his shot to bring more eyes to Dynamite.
Everything in the promo flowed exactly how it should, but now we wonder exactly what is next well for one that is the intrigue. In my opinion, keep MJF off television for a bit to allow Shawn Spears to speak for him or have Tony try and get in contact with him and fail. The possibilities are endless, because the direction is unclear at this point. Either way though the more real you make this seem the more people it will draw in. Tony has kept some positive relationships with other promotions like Impact Wrestling and allowed MJF to appear for another company showing that he is that desperate to not be a part of AEW.
I will be keeping my eyes on this story as it keeps going as I am just as intrigued as you are, I just hope they aren't too scared to make the most of this like WWE had the chance to do after Punk's Pipebomb in 2011. Right now, MJF isn't featured on the All Elite Wrestling roster page, likely getting removed from the page within the last 24 hours. If you missed the promo the full promo has been removed and taken down by now from most outlets!
Though the actions of MJF over the past weekend could be interpreted as unprofessional and upstaging his former bodyguard. In a story as old as time Wardlow finally had enough of being taken for granted by MJF and turned on him back in March at Revolution. This would eventually lead to a match that a lot of fans have wanted to see for a long time that being Wardlow against his former boss. The only thing I will say about the MJF situation from the fan fest is that AEW shouldn't be doing things that risk the trust of the fans, because once trust is gone it's hard to earn it back.
Other than that now I know that Tony Khan has a history having a long term plan in mind when it counts. This is one of those times when it counts as Tony should have his plans set in place for stars that have potential to keep their momentum building. Wardlow needs something new to do and move away from MJF. At Double or Nothing, Wardlow added his name to a very short list of wrestlers which only includes three other names of wrestlers who have beaten MJF in AEW.
Wardlow has all the potential in the world and should be factored into the final two PPV events of the year with eyes on either Revolution or Double or Nothing next year for a World Title feud. The first idea that comes to mind is Wardlow revisiting a feud with Scorpio Sky for the TNT Title. Another idea would be someone like Dustin Rhodes to try and help Wardlow get a little more confidence in the ring. I don't believe that Wardlow should dominate or destroy Dustin, I think that Dustin would be a perfect fit for Wardlow to help him learn and get more comfortable in the ring. In the past, I've always valued the presence of a veteran on the roster and this is one of the reasons that I think Wardlow could benefit from working with Dustin in a short feud. Point is Tony needs a plan for Wardlow now that he's done with Max and Shawn Spears, doesn't need to come right away as he does have time, but needs to be in his mind.
It has been clear since the end of his feud with MJF that CM Punk has designs to challenge current World Champion Hangman Page. Since Revolution though, it has been clear that Hangman has unfinished business with former rival Adam Cole. Double or Nothing is coming up in May and I do believe that we could see Adam Cole get a rematch. For me Hangman Page needs to keep building his momentum and credibility as a household name. Page & Cole aside it was obvious at some point that CM Punk would make the move up the card and into the main event.
Now don't get me wrong Punk does deserve and has earned another chance to become World Champion one last time even if it is something where he wins at one PPV loses at the next. Punk deserves the chance to be World Champion one final time, as long as it isn't at the expense of Hangman Page. Punk wanted to end his career on his terms and not go out like he did seven years ago, but part of his run should be designed to elevate the future.
Every AEW World Champion thus far has held the title over 100 days with Kenny Omega holding the record setting reign at 346 days. A record setting reign for Adam Page will not make him a star if his wins are meaningless. Much like how WWE made Drew McIntyre a star, that's what AEW needs to do with Adam Page. Basically it matters how he is portrayed as champion just as much as he is booked once he drops the gold. Tony should be thinking of the best way to tell the next part of Page's story before the fans get tired of seeing Page as champion or all the money matches have been hit. All Out in September would be the ideal time for Punk to grab the gold, the reason being it would be the perfect way to tell the CM Punk story with now Hangman Page on the chase.
I do believe that Page should defeat CM Punk, but my answer differs a bit from the question as I believe it should happen after Punk defeats Page for the title. Full Gear and All Out could have the same main event with a little twist the second time but Hangman Page could become the first two time World Champion and CM Punk would have the chance to make Page a star as 2022 comes to a close. The future is bright for AEW with young stars ready to take the spots, but Punk doesn't have years to wait for his last run. Giving it to him sooner than later would be the best decision to get it done before the shine falls off.
All Elite Wrestling has mounted one of the deepest rosters in recent memory and some fans think the roster is too large. The reason most fans think the roster is too large is because a number of wrestlers have been kept off television for a prolonged period of time. In my opinion, it is time for Tony Khan to sit down and attempt to figure out the best way to use some stars that have been away from television for a long time without any reason other than lacking a creative direction.
A lot has been recently mostly pointing at the idea of Tony Khan starting a roster freeze for a time until he figures out the best way to use his depth. Names like Brian Cage, Abadon, Peter Avalon, The Factory, Kip Sabian, and various others. If I was Tony I would take two days to come up with a plan for various stars that don't currently have a direction to get the depth of the roster under control. Either they need direction or they should be dropped from the roster.
I believe that AEW has more than enough programming to give their talent the proper exposure. In the last year their roster is exponentially bigger than it was at the end of 2020. The Brian Cage question has existed for a lot longer than it should've in my opinion and needs to be addressed at some point. As far as the younger members of the roster the company can't expect them to gain experience if they don't let them compete or don't have a spot for them at the moment. The best way to solve the issue is to allow those talents that may not have a spot right now, but you want to keep around for the long term let them go compete in other promotions for the time being. They did it in the past and it worked. Why wouldn't using that logic work again, because you'd be allowing the wrestlers to gain experience and work to better themselves. Either way though whatever is decided this is something that has needed the attention of management in AEW for a very long time.
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