wrestling / Columns

Where Is AEW Heading With Its All Out Main Event?

August 23, 2022 | Posted by Kelly Sullivan
AEW Dynamite Image Credit: AEW

When AEW presented its Quake By The Lake episode of Dynamite a couple of Wednesdays back, the show ended with the surprise return of AEW Champion CM Punk.

Punk’s return seemed to solidify the plans for the upcoming All Out main event as the unification of the AEW Title and interim title in a match with Jon Moxley made all the sense in the world.

So when Moxley and Punk came face to face in the ring on last week’s Dynamite episode, it appeared to be the start of a perfectly sensible build to their highly anticipated showdown at All Out.

That is, of course, until it was announced that the AEW Title unification bout would instead be happening on this week’s episode of Dynamite.

It seemed odd that AEW would give away this marquee match on free television, with a pay-per-view a mere week and a half away. However, Punk’s promo that preceded his altercation with Moxley pointed us in the direction of a possible triple threat match that would involve Punk, Moxley, and “Hangman” Adam Page at All Out. But then rumors spread that Punk’s rant on Page had nothing to do with future creative plans in AEW.

And with that, there was a complete lack of clarity as to what wrestling fans can expect in the way of a main event at All Out on September 4.

What are AEW’s plans for the All Out main event?

Assuming we believe what we have heard about Page not being involved in any of the creative storylines around the AEW Title, it really only leaves two viable options for the All Out main event that is bigger than the Punk vs. Moxley match on Dynamite.

The first option is that Wednesday’s match actually gives us a true finish, with Punk beating Moxley. As Punk stands in the ring holding the AEW title, MJF’s music hits and he appears on the entrance ramp, and he and Punk stare each other down as Dynamite goes off the air, setting up the trilogy match between Punk and MJF at All Out.

This would obviously be a huge way to end Dynamite and head into the pay-per-view. MJF is a ratings draw, and having him headline All Out against Punk is really the only match that the promotion could put together right now that would be bigger than Punk vs Moxley.

The downside to this is that Punk has really not even had a reign as the AEW Champion yet, and it doesn’t seem very likely that AEW would take the title off of its most popular star so quickly. So, in essence, it would basically waste the rubber match of the trilogy between the best heel and babyface that currently reside in AEW.

A Punk vs. MJF match should absolutely happen in the future, but it is one that should be used to put the title on MJF and happen somewhere down the road and not at All Out.

The other option involves the rarest of things in AEW, which is a match that ends in a non-finish.

This scenario makes the most sense because the promotion can actually use it as part of the build to a Punk and Moxley match at All Out while still giving AEW fans the caliber of match that is rarely given away for free on television.

Using a returning MJF to interfere in the match, causing the referee to throw the match out, and then running it back in Chicago at All Out inside of a steel cage is the way this should play out on Wednesday.

While this would not be a fan-friendly finish, AEW uses this sort of match ending so infrequently that as long as it is done to further the story and the promotion gives fans a rematch just days later, it actually works in this spot.

There is also always the chance that Tony Khan decides to use the reported real-life heat between Punk and Page and work it into a storyline on AEW television.

Khan has shown a tremendous ability to pivot from set plans in the past and doing so here wouldn’t necessarily be the worst outcome in the world. Who knows, we may just get that impromptu triple threat match involving Page, Moxley, and Punk after all at All Out.

As we head into this week’s Dynamite, only one thing is certain:

The promotion has done a fantastic job of keeping things unpredictable, whether it was their original plan or not.