Why Kenny Omega/CM Punk Will Headline All In at Wembley

The headline is where all this ends up, and I would argue has been the plan since at least March.

Spoiler alert, but the motivation to write this is because this has seemed increasingly (see also: hopefully) inevitable to me since March 22, yet I can't find anyone who's written/speculated/reported along these lines when Googling "CM Punk Don Callis."

Last summer. Brawl Out. Let's go back.

Everyone has an idea of what happened. There were some bonkers one- and two-sentence anecdotes -- Thrown chairs! Kicked in doors! Biting! -- but overall it's a bit cloudy since no one has done a definitive diary/oral history and no video has leaked. Add in the legality of speaking about it, and we're probably in for a long ride, but let's hope one day once all those legal issues are cleared up and people can talk we get a bullet point, minute-by-minute break down.

But that's not why we're here.

A minor (but maybe major?) Brawl Out note: it made the rounds that Kenny Omega was less involved in the fight as it were and moreso just trying to protect and otherwise evacuate sweet Larry the Dog. Who's to say how accurate that is, but for kayfabe purposes keep this nugget in the back of your mind. Let's jump ahead and jam through a quick timeline of relevant events in- and out-of-story.

March 8 Dynamite: We get a couple of promos from Bryan Danielson and Hangman Page. Danielson delivers the "It's time for me to go home" line and we think he'll be gone for the foreseeable (narrator's voice: he wasn't). Hangman speaks with Renee about beating Jon Moxley at Revolution; the tone is a little weird for a babyface, but whatever.

We get Mox and Claudio Castagnoli v. Dark Order in the form of Alex Reynolds and John Silver. Post-match, Wheeler Yuta comes out, as does Evil Uno, and we ultimately have a short but sweet, slightly heelish ring-clearing by the Blackpool Combat Club. Hangman shows up to help his DO buddies and, minimally provoked, punches Claudio and gets his ass summarily kicked by the BCC.

This is the genesis of the BCC heel turn, and makes the Danielson return impact that much greater when it happens, also setting them back up as a four-man faction. Page being a little bit of a dick (which, on brand for him and I think really works) is a nice little nugget to nudge BCC more in that direction. It's also indicative of the coy dickishness that makes The Elite who they are, and sets these two up as excellent foils. Great work!

March 15 Dynamite: Running it back from last week with a bit of a tweak, we get Page, Uno, and Stu Grayson v. the full BCC, who pick up the win. Once again, BCC leans heel-ish before Reynolds and Silver come out to break it up. Uno goes to the hospital with Grayson as his ride along.

In the main event, the House of Black retains the trios titles over The Elite and the Jericho Appreciation Society. Throughout the match the BCC and Pages, Reynolds and Silver have continued to rage on each other, ultimately ending up on the stage at the end of the match. Beatdowns continue and we end up with the BCC v. Page in the ring.

The Elite slide in behind to support Page. Somewhere, Dave Meltzer sheds a single, sweet tear.

March 22 Dynamite: Consider this ground zero for the germination of this theory. The show opens with the Bucks going to the hospital due to a mystery attack in the parking lot (NXT contemplates a lawsuit for gimmick infringement). Hangman hops in and takes the ride with them. Omega shows up on the loading dock, where Don Callis ultimately talks/walks him back into the building. Eagle eyed internet detectives note the ridiculous placement of equipment to cover up...CM Punk's face on a production truck.

We get a backstage moment with Omega/Callis where Kenny still appears worried and distracted while Callis seems blissed out that he's finally got his boy back and all to himself without the Bucks. Elsewhere, the BCC eviscerate an already-injured Stu Grayson. The attack begins with Mox putting a hand on Stu's shoulder and giving him a chance to turn and face him, before saying, "It's just business," and commencing said assault.

Omega/Vikingo is an absolute banger. Has to be said, gets its own little paragraph.

Post-match, and having reached max proportions of the, "Well, duh" sentiment about who must have attacked the Bucks, the BCC once again shows up to pick Kenny's bones. Hangman comes back from the hospital and clears the ring. We get that weird moment with Callis acting like Hangman laid him out and call it a night.

That's all in-story. Let's pause and consider a few things.

The BCC heel turn was well-paced, with escalating post-match shenanigans leading to backstage attacks leading to straight up screwdriver violence. In the entirety of that span, I can't recall them ever going with a full-fledged sneak attack. They roll up, intimidate, bully, and maim. The Bucks attack didn't and continues not to feel like a part of that.

I actively watched Don Callis attempt to recruit Takeshita. It was forgettable. That's no knock on either performer, it's just that he seems so much more energized and animated working with Kenny. His performance on the 22nd was great. The elation at having his boy to himself for his biggest solo match in years in contrast with Kenny's pull to be with his buddies is fantastic stuff. It ultimately drove a wedge (screwdriver) that severed their bond.

I know they have a lifetime relationship, but what Callis needs most to thrive is a solo stud to manage. Why not trade in the Wrestling God for the Best in the World?

I'm not going to try and give a full timeline of CM Punk's imminent/impossible/broken/hopeful/who-even-knows-how-to-describe-it return. Fun fact, if you punch his name into the Cageside search bar, he's been referenced in 6,790 articles on this site. But in general, here goes:

March 6: MJF goes full Punk in the post-Revolution presser.

March 23: Cageside runs a nice, comprehensive timeline of why it seems like Punk wants to come back...

March 23: ...on the same day Punk gets pissy and puts multiple AEW folks on blast on Instagram.

Again...all this is one day after the Dynamite where his face is curiously hidden and the Bucks get laid out.

April was a series of "Punk likely/definitely back stories," punctuated by backstage appearances at Raw and Impact. It goes without saying he's the ultimate worker, and Tony Khan at least wants to think he's smart enough to manage the personalities required to tell super kayfabe-blending stories.

TK also made that HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT about All In at Wembley on April 5.

If you've made it this thousand words (hand to God, the word counter hit 1000 on the word's fate!), thanks! Acknowledging that personalities are more volatile than injuries in pro wrestling and can change anything at a moment's notice, if they keep this ship in line it will go down as one of the best, long-term, kayfabe-blending stories in wrestling. So what's next?

Well, Dynamite tonight, and then Double or Nothing. Predictions/hopes/necessities at this point:

Punk has to come back as a heel. He works better that way, his face run was getting old before everything, and the litany of crap that has come since then in tandem with what he could do as a heel character with all this baggage will be incredible. I think the majority of fans will acquiesce in general and maybe even want to boo him as is. But he still has his legion of supporters who think he can do no wrong. So, how to get even those folks to give the respectful boos?

  • We get Anarchy in the Arena surprisingly early at Double or Nothing. A hooded figure attacks Kenny and he takes the L.
  • Incredibly, Darby Allin wins the World Championship. Amidst the cheers/ovation, "Cult of Personality" hits, Punk walks out wearing the hoodie from earlier, smugly points/otherwise gestures at Darby, and is then joined by a smiling Don Callis.
  • Jump to Wednesday and fire up "Cult of Personality" again. Punk and Callis saunter to the ring, all shit-eating grins. Hat tip to Kazeem Famuyide for the inspiration for this idea; Callis is walking Larry the Dog to the ring with them.
  • Punk cuts what will probably be an incredible promo. I'm not going to begin to speculate. Within it, he runs down and blames The Elite for everything. Maybe he goes so far as to say they did build this place, and he resents them for bringing him back into wrestling, giving "you fans" something to cheer for, yada yada.
  • At some point, Callis explains he's THE Invisible Hand, and it works in many ways. He and Punk have worked together to set this up for X number of months. Roll footage of Callis facilitating Punk's access to sneak attack the Bucks. I'm not sure what other "It was them all along" past happenings you could tie them to, but if there's anything organic go for it. The Bucks attack as peak opportunistic move in the midst of the BCC feud and everything else going on is just the perfect moment to me.
  • Blur those kayfabe lines some more: as part of Punk being willing to grace us with his presence goes, he demanded a title shot at a time of his choosing against the winner of Double or Nothing. Bonus points, he can run down Darby as being the guy he came back to face/beat when his first return happened.
  • Pick your poison in terms of how chickenshit heel to make it, but Punk gets the belt back that night. Darby's gotten his shine, has an even bigger mountain than Everest to climb to get back on top, but doesn't have to carry the company yet.

And with all that, your main event for All In is set. Omega/Punk at Wembley with three-ish months to build and many iterations of the story to tell between all involved parties. I can't think of a bigger match within reason or a better long-term story to tell for what will at that point have been the past year of AEW.

Bonus: run back BCC v. The Elite one more time at All In. Kenny makes a speech about how he has to go it alone against Punk and even moreso Callis, but he wouldn't leave his boys high and dry and has a fourth to replace him. Enter Kota Ibushi.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading and many infinite thanks and blessings to you. This idea has been germinating since March 22 and only growing stronger over the past couple months. What do you think? What's your dream main event for All In that will drive storytelling this summer?

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.