CM Punk vs MJF looks set to main event AEW Grand Slam, but could it signal the end for the Champion?
CM Punk defeated Jon Moxley in the main event of AEW All Out 2022, becoming the AEW Champion for the second time in a whirlwind year back in wrestling. It was at All Out last year where he defeated Darby Allin in his first bout in 7 years and in one short year he has become the top start in AEW and the most decorated world champion ever (alongside Moxley).
However, once all was said and done, CM Punk was not the name on the Chicago fans lips. Instead, MJF returned to AEW after months out and officially challenged Punk to a championship match in the future. CM Punk vs MJF at AEW Grand Slam seems the most likely venue for the historic rematch (which each man claiming a victory over the other) and could signal the end for CM Punk’s controversial run in AEW.
CM Punk vs MJF
Tony Khan seemed to indicate that the main event of AEW Grand Slam will feature CM Punk vs MJF. At All Out, CM Punk won the AEW Championship from Jon Moxley (After losing the title to him two weeks previous) in exciting fashion.
However, MJF also made a startling return to the company. He had not been seen since the Dynamite after Double or Nothing, where he furiously named Tony Khan “A F***** Mark” and told him to “F****** Fire Me!”. There were reports that MJF could have been on his way out of AEW to sign for WWE and his future in the promotion that made him a household name seemed to be on the ropes.
When the masked “Joker” won the Casino Ladder Match at the show, many fans suspected that the mysterious man could be MJF. His gait was decidedly “Salt of the Earth” and his red-bottomed boots scream out that it was the arrogant Maxwell Jacob Freidman. He also came out to the famous Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil”, referencing his own reference to a classic CM Punk promo from years prior.
After the main event match, MJF simply walked out to confront CM Punk. He didn’t say a word but mimicked the world title around his waist, just as Punk had done months prior before defeating Adam Page. Punk raised his belt in defiance, but the usually supportive Chicago crowd only had three letters left to chant.
He entered Chicago a king and made CM Punk look a pauper in his home town. The same place where he had returned to one of the biggest reactions of all time left him feeling like nothing but a side note to the young star from Long Island, New York.
With Grand Slam taking place in New York, MJF vs CM Punk is surely going to be the AEW Championship match. MJF will be the favourite to win the bout, helped heavily by CM Punk’s controversial post-show antics and his backstage scrap with The Young Bucks.
Punk Called Out The EVP’s During the Post Show Scrum
After his win and confrontation by his former rival, CM Punk joined Tony Khan for the post show scrum to land some more pipebombs of his own and respond to some rampant speculation. He addressed the CM Punk-Colt Cabana relationship rumours, shaming the EVP’s of AEW (Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks) for allegedly leaking stories about them.
He held nothing back, and seemed unhinged as he unloaded seemingly a year of frustration, stoking tensions backstage with some of the most important wrestlers and founders of AEW. While CM Punk only joined last year, he called himself the “top Babyface” and claimed Adam Page almost sabotaged their Double or Nothing match after shooting on Punk on his promo before the fight.
This incredibly public rant shockingly made it backstage, where CM Punk was greeted by the Young Bucks. The brothers clearly took umbrage with some of his comments and confront the AEW Champion. Whilst details are currently murky, early reports indicate that the pair confronted Punk, who eventually took a swing at them before security was forced to intervene.
It is unknown if Kenny Omega or Adam Page reacted to the slights, but it was reported that some members of the AEW threated “to walk” out of the company in retaliation. The backstage atmosphere in AEW, previously cited as one of the companies selling points, had turned sour and that may not have been a coincide it was changed since CM Punk signed in August 2021.
With Eddie Kingston recently suspended for hitting Sammy Guevara, it is only fair that Tony Khan suspend the AEW Champion, either before or after the CM Punk vs MJF rematch. If not it will show clear favouritism and will only held the devolve the backstage atmosphere into an even more toxic environment than it currently is.
The Elite or The Best In The World?
Based on the reports, it does seem that Tony Khan will have to make a tough choice sooner rather than later. Does he keep CM Punk happy, his biggest star and the biggest merch mover in history or get rid of him to placate the founders of AEW and their top performers over the past three years.
It is an impossible situation to put him in, but one of his own making. He has to take back authority from his roster and make the hard decision of who to back in this argument. Ideally, he could make the two groups work together and book some dream matches, but who knows if that is possible.
However, it called all be a work anyway and he could be fooling us all, just as he did with MJF’s absence for the so many months. This could be leading to an incredible faction warfare, featuring The Elite, CM Punk (maybe with FTR?) and MJF’s new stable in one of the most exciting feuds in modern history.
CM Punk Back To WWE?
Is CM Punk going back to WWE? Click below to find out how the AEW Champion really feels about the company and whether he will take AJ Lee back to WWE with him for one more run.
Would you like to see MJF vs CM Punk at Grand Slam? Let us know in the comments and tell us your favourite match from AEW All Out 2022
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.