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AEW Dynamite preview (Aug. 16, 2023): Tony Khan hasn’t learned a thing from all this CM Punk backstage drama

Tony Khan on Twitter

Dynamite airs tonight (Aug. 16) with a live show from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the eighth episode of Dynamite during the nine week build towards All In, which takes place on August 27. Tonight’s episode is dubbed Fight for the Fallen, with proceeds going to the Maui Food Bank.

Tony Khan hasn’t learned a thing from all this CM Punk backstage drama

AEW: All In London at Wembley Stadium is happening in less than two weeks. AEW is hyping it up as The Biggest Event in Wrestling History. The company’s top priority right now should be to make sure fans feel the weight of those words and believe this is a can’t miss event. Yet here we are with the PPV right around the corner, and it’s being completely overshadowed by the never-ending CM Punk backstage drama.

Punk couldn’t leave well enough alone and decided to take shots at Hangman Page in a post-Collision promo last weekend, and that opened the floodgates to other stories now involving wrestlers like Ryan Nemeth and Matt Hardy being sent home from Collision, Punk butting heads with Jungle Boy Jack Perry backstage, AEW Manager of Talent Relations Christopher Daniels not welcome backstage at Collision, and more.

The overarching theme seems to be that Punk has returned to AEW with even more power and stroke than before, and Tony Khan is practically bending over backwards to accommodate him. Perhaps that’s not exactly how things are playing out behind-the-scenes, but that’s the perception that surrounds many of these rumors and reports.

Khan once again comes off like an ineffective leader and Punk fanboy who isn’t willing to take control of the situation, no different from when all of the Punk backstage drama plagued AEW last year. In other words, it seems like the guy hasn’t learned a thing from all of last year’s chaos that coincided with AEW’s momentum stalling out. Even worse, Khan responded to these stories by saying he’s glad people are talking about AEW, which indicates that he might once again actually think this kind of controversy is good for the company.

Will any of this drama make it to airways tonight on Dynamite with a retort from The Elite? Kenny Omega is scheduled for a sit-down interview with Jim Ross where he addresses his plans for All In and All Out. This sounds like a pre-taped interview setting that isn’t ideal for any witty shots back at Punk.

The Young Bucks are scheduled for a tag team match against The Gunns, and there’s always a chance that Matt and Nick Jackson can work some spot into their match that is a reference to the situation. For what it’s worth, The Gunns have been working on Collision of late and seemingly have a good relationship with Punk.

Meanwhile, creative doesn’t have anything obvious lined up for Page at the moment, so it’s not clear if he’ll even be featured on tonight’s show.

The rest of tonight’s lineup

AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy defends the belt tonight against Wheeler Yuta. It feels like Jon Moxley is the final boss of the Blackpool Combat Club who Cassidy will eventually need to fight in a singles match, so I don’t expect Wheeler to become the guy who ends OC’s long championship run.

Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett is booked in a Texas Chain Saw Massacre Deathmatch. Jarrett has experience in these AEW marketing tie-in matches, as he once competed in a match that was presented by Shazam! Fury of the Gods. I’m guessing that experience won’t help him one bit when Leatherface shows up trying to murder someone. There’s a decent chance this will end up being really dumb and/or goofy.

After several weeks of suspense, Chris Jericho finally gives Don Callis an answer about joining his family. Will the Jericho Appreciation Society’s recent frustrations with Chris push him right into Don’s hands, or will Jericho realize that Don is the manipulator who is causing all of his friends to abandon him?

Adam Cole and AEW World Champion MJF will meet in the ring tonight to discuss their main event world title match against each other at All In. How long will it take before ROH World Tag Team Champions Aussie Open or The Kingdom and Roderick Strong decide to interrupt their bro-fest and make things violent?

Darby Allin & Nick Wayne vs. Gates of Agony is also on tonight’s card. Wayne was left in a pool of his own blood by Mogul Embassy a couple weeks ago, so he’ll be very motivated to kick their asses tonight. Will Sting be around just in case that damn numbers game overwhelms the babyfaces?

Britt Baker vs. The Bunny is scheduled for tonight, with the winner moving on the the 4-way match at All in for the AEW women’s world championship. Saraya, Hikaru Shida, and Toni Storm are already qualified for the PPV bout, and it’s pretty much a lock that Baker will join them on the big stage. This is The Bunny’s first match since February, as she has been out with an injury.

Finally, it sounds like The Acclaimed will be in action tonight. They are looking to climb up the tag team division ranks again, but can they do it without Daddy Ass in their corner?

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Where the f*** is Wardlow?

What will you be looking for on Dynamite?

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