After four hours of PPV wrestling at Double or Nothing, it was time for the main event (h/t Mark Henry).
The AEW World title clash was sold as a battle for the fate of the company. Though it wasn’t terribly clear why, champion Hangman Page told us he had to save us from CM Punk. The veteran Punk said his quest for the belt was just business, and the culmination of the journey he started when he returned to pro wrestling last summer.
They didn’t start brawling at the bell, but the animosity was palpable in their initial lock-ups, and the shots they took when forced to break. The Las Vegas crowd showed no signs of being gassed despite all the action they’d already seen, with dueling chants for champ and challenger.
Page’s disdain for his opponent was a theme, with even referee Paul Turner questioning why the champ seemed to be as interested in showing up Punk as beating him. It created opportunities for the Best in the World get his offense flowing.
An injury became part of the story when Hangman came up from a moonsault to the outside with a limp. Punk went after it right away, countering a Buckshot Lariat into a Sharpshooter. Page got the ropes, and each tried for the other’s finisher in the aftermath. Punk eventually hit a Buckshot, but didn’t get all of it when his leg gave way on the flip into the ring. He signaled for the GTS, but the exchange that followed ended with the champ slamming his opponent so hard his trunks slipped down. He eventually followed Deadeye with a GTS, but he used his bad leg and couldn’t get three.
That knee was Punk’s target in the next striking exchange. Page fought back, but may have taken too long taunting Punk with his belt.
#Hangman @theadampage with a huge declaration but the match isn't over yet! There's still time to order #AEWDoN on @BleacherReport & Internationally on @FiteTV / https://t.co/30z8K48kUT pic.twitter.com/4tJnPfIUBD— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 30, 2022
When he finally connected with a lariat, Turner got caught with a boot and went down. Hangman then considered using the belt, but his better angels won out. That hesitation cost him, as his last lariat attempt took him into a GTS, and this time he wouldn’t kick out.
CM Punk is the AEW World champion. Now we’ll find out if Hangman was right to warn us about him.
Get complete Double or Nothing results and coverage of the entire show here.