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Tony Khan made the right decision on CM Punk

AEW Dynamite

When CM Punk announced he had a foot injury on an episode of Rampage in early June, there was some immediate confusion over his status as AEW world champion. He just won that title from Hangman Page at Double or Nothing 2022, but it looked like foot surgery could bring his new title reign to a very quick end.

As Punk explains it, he wanted to vacate the title due to his injury, but Tony Khan decided to create an interim championship instead. Now that Punk is back in AEW roughly two months later, just in time for All Out, it certainly looks like Khan made the right call about preserving Punk’s status as AEW world champion.

Khan’s first use of an interim championship in AEW didn’t make sense. It happened in January of this year ahead of the very first Battle of the Belts (BotB) show. Cody Rhodes was unable to defend the TNT championship due to COVID at that time. Instead of postponing the title match between Rhodes and Sammy Guevara to a later date, Khan decided to create an interim TNT championship. Guevara won the interim title at BotB by defeating Dustin Rhodes. Later that month, Cody and Sammy unified the TNT championship with the interim TNT championship in a ladder match. There was simply no need to create an interim title given Cody’s expected (and actual) return to the ring just a few weeks after his positive COVID test.

Punk’s injury had very different circumstances, because it was unclear how much time he might miss after foot surgery. If Punk was going to be out for the rest of 2022, for example, it probably would have made sense to just vacate the AEW world championship. Now we can see that Punk was only on the shelf for about two to three months. That’s a much more reasonable time frame for making use of the interim title concept.

During this time, Jon Moxley has worked his ass off in good to great matches defending the interim title and showing he’s still the best guy AEW has to offer. Punk’s return means they need to have a title unification match, and it’s expected to go down in the main event of All Out 2022, taking place on Sept. 4 near Punk’s hometown of Chicago, Illinois. This is one of the biggest matches AEW can book, and Moxley’s run as interim champ is a big part of why the match is so highly anticipated.

Khan whiffed on his first use of the interim title concept, but he nailed it on the second try. Overall, I think I’m in favor of AEW relying on interim titles when champs go down, as long as we’re talking about an expected absence of a few months rather than a few weeks.

Do you agree that Tony Khan made the right call in creating an interim AEW world championship after CM Punk suffered his foot injury in June? Let us know your opinion in the comments below, Cagesiders.

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