Once AEW announced this week that the title unification match between World champ CM Punk and interim World champ Jon Moxley would be happening on the Aug. 24 Dynamite rather than at Sept. 4’s All Out, speculation started about what that meant for the company’s plans for the title at the Labor Day weekend PPV in Chicagoland.
People’s first thought — that Punk’s verbal jabs at Hangman Page before he went in on Moxley this Wednesday were setting up a three-way or a Double or Nothing rematch — were scuttled by reports that the current champ “went into business for himself” with his remarks about Page and had nothing to do with Tony Khan’s All Out plans.
Another thought that crossed a lot of minds is that this could be the way AEW brings back Maxwell Jacob Friedman, off television since his own work/shoot (we think) issues came to a head on the June 1 Dynamite. MJF has history with both Mox and Punk, and wrecking one of the biggest matches in company history would be a good way to get back at his nemesis TK.
Now, along with some information about “backstage drama” involving Punk, Page, and others, Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that Friedman is on his way back to AEW. It sounds like that’s motivated by a need to keep television numbers strong heading into negotiations about a new contract with Warner Bros. Discovery:
“MJF is currently scheduled to be returning somewhat soon. We don’t know the exact time but the negotiations for a new TV deal will likely be taking place starting in just a few months and into the spring, so the TV ratings numbers probably September to whenever the deal is closed are the most important to date so this recent drop is the worst time to have a drop.”
Big fall angle with Max coming! Probably. Maybe.
Will that involve the AEW World title, the Punk/Hangman beef, or other signs of simmering tensions between the talent that’s been with Khan from the start and the higher priced ex-WWE wrestlers he’s brought in over the last year+?