What a week it has been, huh? From the excitement of a new AEW World Champion, to the buzz of Athena and Stokely Hathaway being #AllElite, and even the ongoing MJF drama, it’s been a rather noteworthy week for AEW. We’re here to parse through it as we run down the post-Double or Nothing editions of Dynamite and Rampage, which featured many big developments on the route to AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door.
6/1/22 AEW Dynamite Results
Match 1: CM Punk & FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) vs. The Gunn Club (Colten & Austin Gunn) & Max Caster
The new AEW World Champion CM Punk joined forces with fellow Bret Hart enthusiasts Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood to take on Max Caster and the Gunn Club to kick off Dynamite.
While the Ass Boys put up a spirited effort, it was the championship team of FTR and CM Punk that would triumph in the end, putting down Austin Gunn with a GTS/Big Rig combo for the win in this hot opener.
Given certain things we’d learn about CM Punk’s condition on Rampage (more on that below), his involvement in this opening six-man tag days after a grueling match at Double or Nothing didn’t seem like a good idea. His pre-match crowd dive might’ve not been the best idea either, as his knee made contact with the guard railing.
Punk talked about how the work as champion was due to truly begin, asking for his next opponent to show his face. That opponent being… New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Hiroshi Tanahashi. “The Ace” stood on the ramp and stared down Punk, making it clear that he was ready to accept Punk’s challenge for Forbidden Door.
MJF Shoots Hard
In what would be one of the most talked-about segments in AEW for the week, MJF aired his grievances coming off of a squash defeat versus Wardlow at Double or Nothing and his very-real no-show at an AEW fan event last weekend.
MJF pulled from his actual reported frustrations regarding his contract status with AEW, ranting about how he deserved more money for being worth more than his current contract. He shouted that he was the only wrestler on AEW’s roster that didn’t need to do a lot of things to get the fans to feel emotions.
Adding to the realness of MJF’s worked shoot promo was Dynamite immediately cutting to commercial once Max called out owner Tony Khan for being a “f**king mark”, as well as the commentators not even mentioning what happened for the rest of the evening.
Now comes the dilemma with what this new story direction for MJF brings. By directly involving Tony Khan in the story by way of MJF calling him out, AEW runs the risk of turning to the long-maligned “evil authority figure” story to continue this story. However, it’s too early to make a judgement at this point, but whatever’s unfolding with MJF has gotten a lot of people talking.
Match 2: Johnny Elite vs. Miro
Johnny Elite was back on Dynamite to issue an open challenge to anyone who wanted to try their hand at beating him. Little did he know that a certain someone was more than ready to answer that challenge.
In a pre-match promo, the returning Miro made his intentions clear by stating that he was back to redeem the “bastards, pagans, punks, and cowboys” of All Elite Wrestling and that those good deeds will bring him back to heaven.
As for the match itself, Johnny put up a gaming effort against Miro, but ultimately came up short when he submitted to the Game Over submission hold.
Blood and Guts
Chris Jericho and the Jericho Appreciation Society had quite a bit to say about their victory in Anarchy in the Arena.
The good times for the JAS wouldn’t last when an irate (and non-bloody) Eddie Kingston and William Regal emerged from the stage. Kingston was ready to fight against the entire JAS, but he knew of one place where he’d do it, to which Regal would respond by shouting “BLOOD! AND GUTS!”
Jericho initially refused the challenge, but Kingston forced the issue by going after the JAS alone, which left Jericho wide open to be laid out by Ortiz and his signature madball sock weapon. With Jericho left dazed, Ortiz took the time to cut a lock of “The Wizard’s” hair before exiting the ring. Once Jericho came to, the sight of his hair being cut was enough to accept the Blood & Guts match on one condition… a Hair vs. Hair match against Ortiz in the near future (specifically… the 6/15 Dynamite, billed as “Road Rager”).
Match 3: The Undisputed Elite (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish) & Hikuleo vs. Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, Darby Allin, & Matt Hardy
The Young Bucks – flanked by Undisputed Elite allies reDRagon and Bullet Club’s Hikuleo – kicked off their SoCal homecoming tour by getting the victory in a fast and furious ten-man tag match against the all-star team of Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus, Darby Allin, and Matt Hardy.
UE patriarch Adam Cole joined the commentary team to hype up his team and they certainly lived up to that hype in spades. The Bucks, despite being the heels, triumphed in their home turf as heroes with a Meltzer Driver on Jungle Boy for the victory.
Matt Hardy tried to console Jungle Boy after the defeat, but mentor Christian Cage wouldn’t have any of it, furthering the slow-burn betrayal that might come down the road for Jungle Boy.
The Fallen Goddess
AEW’s newest signee, Athena, was on stage for her first interview since arriving in the company at Double or Nothing. She didn’t waste any time in making her intentions known in terms of ending TNT Champion Jade Cargill’s unbeaten streak by taking the title from her.
Sure enough, Jade interrupted, accompanied by Baddies Kiera Hogan and Red Velvet, as well as publicist Stokely Hathaway. Big Stoke boasted about Jade’s dominance as TBS Champion and that there’d be no way that Athena would get her shot at this moment.
Velvet confronted Athena and it seemed that the Baddies would have the numbers advantage on the newcomer. Anna Jay and Kris Statlander showed up to even the odds and AEW officials poured in to prevent any further hostilities from breaking down.
Match 4: Wardlow vs. JD Drake
Fresh off of decimating MJF to earn an official AEW contract at Double or Nothing, Wardlow made his presence felt at the Kia Forum with this “match”, if you could even call it that.
Taking on JD Drake of the Workhorsemen in this blowout of a bout, Wardlow let loose with the Powerbomb Symphony to get the dominating victory, much to the approval of the LA crowd.
“Smart” Mark Sterling tried to ruin the good times by announcing that he had filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the countless arena secuirty guards that Wardlow had beaten up on in the leadup to the match with MJF. Of course, Wardlow responded by laying out a hapless security guard with a powerbomb before ripping up the lawsuit.
This story with Smart Mark should ideally just be a temporary angle for Wardlow while they figure out what his place will be in the AEW roster now that the MJF storyline has reached its conclusion. Ideally, a TNT Championship run would be best for the big man, but that is certainly something that can come later down the line.
Match 5: Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter vs. Ruby Soho & Toni Storm
In the show’s sole women’s match of the evening, we got a fantastic tag team match between Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter versus the team of Ruby Soho and Toni Storm. Britt was riding high after winning the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament and she was hoping to continue to ride that winning wave. That wouldn’t be the case, however.
Soho connected with Destination Unknown to get the clean pin on the woman that had beaten her in the Owen Tournament finals just a few days prior. Before that finish, the action was a frenetic sprint that saw all four women shine in the ring.
Jamie Hayter attacked Soho and Storm with the Owen Hart Tournament title belt, then handing the belt to Dr. Britt – albeit in a manner that made it seem like she was going to attack her friend.
Match 6: Jon Moxley vs. Daniel Garcia
Dynamite capped off with a tremendous main event that saw two of the Anarchy in the Arena combatants square off once more. Moxley and Garcia previously fought as the main event of The First Dance in Chicago last August in a solid match, so seeing them in action again was a treat for sure.
Once again, Garcia tapped into his pro wrestling acumen to counter Moxley’s aggressive style. He went after Mox’s forehead wound to leave him busted open once again, maintaining
In the match’s closing moments, Chris Jericho attempted to get involved in the match, only to be stopped by Eddie Kingston (who nearly tripped himself up on the way to the ring). As Kingston pummeled Jericho at ringside, Moxley ended things by choking out Garcia with his bulldog choke submission for the victory.
Moxley ended the night by declaring that he’d fight alongside Kingston in Blood and Guts, standing tall with his best friend as Dynamite went off the air.
6/3/22 AEW Rampage Results
- The Young Bucks def. The Lucha Brothers via pinfall (14:53) after the BTE Trigger on Rey Fenix, earning a victory in their hometown of Ontario, CA.
- Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks def. Local Talent (0:47) in an exhibition squash match.
- Athena def. Kiera Hogan via pinfall (8:21) in her AEW debut match. Red Velvet, Stokely Hathaway, and Jade Cargill were at ringside in Hogan’s corner. Despite that, Athena got the win with her O-Face diving cutter on Hogan.
- The House of Black and new member Julia Hart had some words about the latter joining the faction.
- CM Punk announced that he was injured and required surgery, stating that it was only a “bump” in the road, and that he will be back.
- Scorpio Sky def. Dante Martin via pinfall (8:10) to retain the TNT Championship with the TKO.
The AEW Title Situation
As noted above, the sudden injury news and subsequent reports of CM Punk needing surgery and time off has thrown the AEW World Title picture in a bit of a mess.
Confusion reigned in the aftermath of Punk’s announcement in regards to what would happen with the AEW World Title. During Rampage, color commentator Chris Jericho mentioned that Punk vacated the AEW Title, even though others stated that no such moment happened.
Ultimately, AEW issued a press release the day after Rampage, which attempted to make clear just what would be done with the World Title:
To put it more simply:
- Wednesday’s Dynamite will open with a battle royal, with the participants still unknown as of this writing.
- The winner of that battle royal will take on Jon Moxley in the main event of the show.
- At NJPW’s Dominion event this Sunday, Hiroshi Tanahashi fwill face off against Hirooki Goto.
- Finally, the interim AEW World Champion will be crowned at Forbidden Door on June 26th when the winner of Moxley/Battle Royal Winner takes on whoever wins Tanahashi/Goto.
The takeaway here is that AEW is attempting to make the best out of an unfortunate hand that was dealt to them with Punk’s injury, and this is what we’ve got. On closer observation, their solution is something that’s not necessarily complicated to follow. If the press release had been announced the night of Punk’s announcement instead of letting things go up to a point of mixed messages, then there wouldn’t be any ambiguity about AEW’s plans.
On a final note, we at RingCrashers would like to wish CM Punk a speedy recovery and eagerly await his return to get the AEW World Title run that we know that he can have as the Best in The World.
Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.