AEW All Out is over, and while several of the matches were certified bangers, that’s not what fans will be talking about. Not with MJF’s return.
MJF is (finally) back on AEW television following his shocking return at All Out, and suddenly a few weeks of strange booking choices make a ton of sense. Tony Khan has spoken candidly and at length, about how injuries prevented him from telling the stories he wanted to tell in the ring this summer. In the closing few minutes of the pay-per-view, it became clear what the co-owner and lead booker meant by those statements.
The build to CM Punk Vs. Jon Moxley in the main event of All Out was strange, to be sure. Some audience members were too happy to embrace the chaos, but analysts such as Jim Cornette and AEW employees such as Jim Ross were quick to point out the lack of logic in the booking. Having Punk lose the title unification match 11 days before the pay-per-view was a huge and controversial call. Deciding to have him essentially get squashed by Moxley was even more startling, as it wasn’t clear which direction All Elite Wrestling was going in to take next. Punk would be given a rematch for no discernable reason, which meant that Khan needed a rabbit wearing a plaid scarf up his sleeve to make everything cohesive. And boy, did he ever.
Punk and Moxley put on the match most expected their title indication fight in Cleveland to be. A spirited back-and-forth affair that saw The Best In The World ger color early. By the end of the bout, Punk‘s gear was soaked with his own blood, but he’d survived and taken his title back. Then the lights went out, and the masked Joker from the Casino Battle Royale emerged backstage, revealing himself to be MJF. It’s tough to imagine any other finishes that would have put a better bow on the last several weeks of booking, but Khan, Punk, Moxley, and MJF deserve a lot of credit for making all of this finally click in the end.
It Was Always Supposed To Be Punk & MJF
As fans will recall, following MJF’s epic pipebomb promo on the June 1 episode of Wednesday Night Dynamite, he was chased from the ring by Punk. This happened while the show was at a commercial break, but the seed was planted for these two to have a rematch shortly. Unfortunately, CM Punk was injured before AEW could pull the trigger on that angle. This likely prevented their feud from beginning at the start of the summer as opposed to now, but this is a marvelous payoff as All Elite Wrestling emerges from a situation where their top performers are hurt or on the sidelines.
The September 7 episode of Dynamite is suddenly can’t-miss TV, as the audience will likely hear from MJF for the first time in over three months. That ought to really pop a rating for the show, too. Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder, as evidenced by the Chicago crowd all chanting for Max, even as he flipped them off before All Out went off the air. The road to get here was rocky, but this is a high-end feud for AEW when the company needs it most. WWE is putting on compelling shows every week, and MJF Vs. Punk at least keeps the pace.