wrestling / Columns

Who Should Win the AEW Grand Slam Tournament Of Champions?

September 14, 2022 | Posted by Kelly Sullivan
AEW World Championship Tournament Brackets Image Credit: AEW

As All Out drew to a close and MJF was officially back in AEW, the promotion seemed to be heading into the fall season with what promised to be an excellent program atop its card.

We have seen the magic that MJF and CM Punk are capable of producing together, and now with the AEW World Title making the stakes even higher, it was a safe assumption that wrestling fans were going to get a stellar story moving forward.

But things in life rarely go as planned, and Tony Khan got a harsh dose of that not long after.

The now infamous media scrum and the anarchy that followed overshadowed all storylines currently happening within AEW and left question marks around the state of the AEW World Title.

With Punk injured and his future with the company cloudy at best, Khan made the decision to not go with his traditional route of producing an interim champion but instead decided to put together a six-man tournament to determine who would be the next AEW World Champion.

We saw the opening matches of the tournament play out on AEW television last week when Bryan Danielson picked up a win over “Hangman” Adam Page, and Sammy Guevara advanced by beating Darby Allin in another highly questionable booking decision regarding AEW’s face-painted antihero.

So, with the semifinal matches now set with Danielson taking on Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley battling Guevara, the question becomes who should be the next AEW World Champion?

The answer to that question depends entirely on AEW’s plan with MJF.

Since winning the Casino Ladder Match at All Out and coming into possession of the poker chip that guarantees him a title match at any time of his choosing, it has seemed more and more likely that MJF is going to be the AEW World Champion sooner rather than later.

With Grand Slam taking place in New York and MJF being MJF, it is highly possible that the Dynamite portion of Grand Slam closes with MJF coming out to pick the bones of whoever wins the finals of the tournament and walking out the AEW World Champion.

If that is the case, then Jon Moxley is the best choice to win the tournament. Mox has become without question the face, heart, and soul of AEW. He is the leader of the locker room and his connection with the fans is perhaps greater now than it ever has been before.

So, if the idea is to have MJF use the poker chip similar to a Money in the Bank briefcase, then the “cash-in” has to come at the expense of Moxley to really maximize the impact.

However, if the plan is to crown a champion at Grand Slam and have that champion walk out of Arthur Ashe Stadium with the title, the best choice is Bryan Danielson.

The American Dragon has been in AEW for one year now but has recently taken a backseat in the company’s main event singles scene.

Danielson’s AEW run started red hot with fantastic matches/programs with Kenny Omega and Adam Page. But ever since joining up with Jon Moxley and William Regal to form the Blackpool Combat Club, while still relevant, Danielson hasn’t been used in a way that a star of his caliber should be.

With Punk and the Elite away from AEW for the foreseeable future, the promotion needs to push its most decorated performers to the top of the card. And Bryan Danielson is at the very top of the list of people that fit this bill.

Simply put, a Danielson title run must happen in AEW.

As he showed in his program with Adam Page, Danielson is more than capable of being a heel that can garner heat similar to that of MJF. And when he is a face, there are few performers that can get the crowd behind them like Danielson.

While he has made it very clear that he is still a “bad guy”, his association with the Blackpool Combat Club also makes him cheerable to some. Danielson’s ability to play a tweener champion right now opens up programs against the entire AEW roster. And his ability to sell a match on the mic and then deliver flawlessly in the ring makes him the perfect choice to carry AEW away from the dark cloud that has hovered over it since All Out.

There is an old adage that says “strike while the iron is hot.” And Bryan Danielson is currently healthy and quite possibly better than he has ever been both in the ring and on the microphone.

The time is now for the American Dragon to win his first gold in All Elite Wrestling.

article topics :

AEW, Kelly Sullivan