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AEW’s Suspensions Mean Billy Gunn & The Acclaimed Might Have Big Futures

Although All Out weekend disrupted the AEW landscape yet again, this changing of the professional wrestling tide might actually benefit groups like The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn. At the All Out media scum, CM Punk erupted into a seemingly unprovoked monologue that pointed criticism at other members of the locker room. Those criticisms led to a backstage confrontation that saw AEW Champion CM Punk and Trios Champions Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson each suspended and stripped of their titles.


Meanwhile, the trio of Billy Gunn and The Acclaimed managed to captivate viewing audiences and social media despite the general chaos surrounding AEW. Chicago’s cheers were uproarious as the city rallied behind Max Caster and Anthony Bowens, known together as The Acclaimed, in their All Out challenge for AEW’s Tag Team Championships. Caster and Bowens may have come up short at the pay-per-view but their performance earned them an immediate rematch. They’ll be facing champions Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee again on September 21st. However, this may not be the only opportunity for growth in The Acclaimed’s future.

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The suspension of Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks has left a void in AEW’s fledgling Trios division that could be filled by The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn. Even prior to the suspensions, the Trios division was a somewhat shallow addition to AEW’s rankings. With the leading act missing from AEW for the time being, viewers will need a reason to care about the Trios titles in the same way that they do AEW’s main event scene. Moving The Acclaimed’s increasingly popular act from the Tag Team bracket to Trios competition could be exactly what the new championships need to gain traction with an AEW audience that has been burned by one too many injuries and far too many controversies.

The Acclaimed Are A Three-Man Act Now

The Acclaimed would also invite an immediate feud to AEW’s Trios division. With Billy Gunn firmly in the corner of Caster and Bowens, the mysterious faction recently started by Stokely Hathaway would have an easy excuse to start pursuing Trios championship gold. Stokely is flanked by Billy’s own sons, Colten and Austin, and could pair them with stablemates W. Morrissey or Ethan Page to form a credible trinity. Since several of AEW’s already limited storylines were crushed by the recent suspensions, building on the residual heat between The Acclaimed and Colten and Austin feels like a reasonable decision.

Of course, the longevity of uniting The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn in the ring would become entirely dependent on the conditioning of the 58-year-old WWE Hall of Famer. While there’s no reason to commit Gunn to a hectic full-time wrestling schedule, having him act as The Acclaimed’s third man wouldn’t be terribly different from the schedule he’s worked the last few years as an AEW performer. More importantly, Billy Gunn offers a dose of both nostalgia and excitement for longtime wrestling fans who might not be entirely sold on AEW. He may have never been the “Top Guy” in WWE, but there’s no denying that Billy Gunn got the loudest live chants of all during All Out weekend.

The recent spree of backstage drama isn’t AEW’s first glance at championship turmoil. In fact, AEW seems more acquainted now with troubled times than it ever was with consistency or comfort. If AEW wants fans to take the new Trios titles seriously, despite the whirlwind of speculation filling the company to its brim, they need to add a team that the people love to the division. Everybody loves The Acclaimed.

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