CM Punk's Pipebomb, Reigns Retains and More Quick Takes from Wild WWE, AEW Weekend

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 5, 2022

CM Punk's Pipebomb, Reigns Retains and More Quick Takes from Wild WWE, AEW Weekend

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    CM Punk was the talk of Twitter following AEW All Out, and not for anything that happened on the actual pay-per-view. (Credit: All Elite Wrestling)

    For the first time in several years, wrestling is fascinating to follow again both inside and outside of the ring. This past wild weekend from WWE and All Elite Wrestling proved just that.

    Starting on Saturday, WWE produced their terrific Clash at the Castle pay-per-view that ended in shocking fashion: Roman Reigns retaining his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against the United Kingdom's own Drew McIntyre.

    How WWE decides to follow up on such a bold booking decision remains to be seen, but there is plenty of positive to it. Not only has Reigns not yet run out of opponents to face, but Cody Rhodes ultimately being the one to dethrone The Tribal Chief could be even more meaningful.

    AEW already has a new world champion coming out of Sunday night and his name is CM Punk. MJF returning to confront him ended All Out on a high note, but it was Punk's comments in the post-show media scrum that painted a compelling picture about the goings-on backstage in the company at the moment.

    This eventful installment of Quick Takes will tackle Punk's pipebomb and how the product may actually benefit, if Dominik Mysterio can do well as a heel, The Acclaimed's latest loss, and more.

CM Punk's Presser Promo Illustrates the Value He Brings to AEW

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    It's no coincidence that there has been much more buzz surrounding AEW's weekly product since the return of CM Punk last month.

    His absence was felt on Dynamite, and the moment he resurfaced in early August was when new life was injected into the AEW World Championship picture. He and Jon Moxley had an intriguing buildup to their All Out encounter, and they delivered the top-notch main event match they were capable of.

    For better or for worse, Punk has always been at his hottest while the center of controversy.

    His comments from the post-show presser about Adam Page and The Elite in particular trended worldwide in the hours following the PPV, with fans debating whether they were meant to set up a storyline. The genuine disdain in his voice when he spoke would indicate otherwise.

    Regardless of whether this is all eventually incorporated into an angle or not, the television shows should benefit greatly from the ongoing drama. The audience will want to find out what happens next and how any potential ramifications will affect current storylines, if at all.

    Punk's presence backstage will continue to be questioned by those who aren't there, but as was the case during his WWE days, he excels at getting people talking. That, combined with his upcoming rematch against MJF, makes him one of AEW's most must-see stars.

Heel Turn May Not Be Enough to Justify Keeping Dominik Mysterio on Main Roster

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    Dominik Mysterio being split from his father, Rey, and Edge was inevitable. Being sidelined to ringside with The Rated-R Superstar filling in for him against The Judgment Day merely sped up the process.

    Moments removed from Rey and Edge's victory, Dominik cemented his turn by betraying the veterans at Clash at the Castle and embracing the boos from the audience. Interestingly, it was the most comfortable he looked character-wise since debuting on the main roster in the summer of 2020.

    Dominik worked well as Rey's partner and apprentice for the first year or two they were together, but his lack of experience has caused him to stick out like a sore thumb on the show. He hasn't shown tremendous improvement in a while, and it's unlikely a heel turn will do anything to change that.

    Rather, it's all about the booking. Once he cuts his first promo as a villain, it may become clear that he is more natural in his new role.

    Either way, Dominik would be the biggest beneficiary of a full-fledged run in NXT. There, he can hone his skills, work with new opponents and allow his father to branch back off on his own.

The Acclaimed or FTR Are Only Acceptable Choices to Dethrone Swerve in Our Glory

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    It was less than two weeks ago that Swerve In Our Glory vs. The Acclaimed for the AEW World Tag Team Championship was added to the All Out card.

    For a match with virtually no buildup beforehand, they ended up having one of the best bouts on the entire show. The Acclaimed in particular shined and were so over with the audience that fans online suggested an audible be called to crown them the new champions.

    Unfortunately, they again came up short, but their performance was impressive enough that a rematch at Grand Slam is absolutely possible. If not them, then FTR should be next in line for an opportunity considering they've been leading the tag team rankings for many months.

    Those are the only two viable options at this point because no one else has remotely been close to championship contention, not to mention their immense popularity.

    Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland work wonderfully as partners but would be better served as singles stars at this point. The Acclaimed and FTR would be better off with the belts, and the sooner AEW can deliver on that, the better.

AEW Needs to Start Building Toward an Endgame for Jade Cargill as TBS Champion

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    For nearly two years, Jade Cargill has run roughshod over what feels like the entire AEW women's division. She added the AEW TBS Championship to her ranks in January and remains unbeaten in one-on-one action.

    Her aura is such that she's on a level all to herself due to how strong she's been made to look this year. She feels like a genuine star, but her title defenses have been infrequent and there aren't too many people left for her to face.

    The biggest difference between her reign and Roman Reigns' is that the latter has an obvious endgame in sight with Cody Rhodes (ideally, anyway). Cargill, on the other hand, doesn't have any one opponent waiting in the wings who can believably beat her unless it's Athena in an All Out rematch.

    AEW's subpar portrayal of the women's division hasn't helped in the sense that no one else has been built up all that much in recent months. Unless the Athena rivalry resumes, it might be a while before Cargill finds direction again and who knows for sure when that will be.

    As much of an attraction as Cargill is at this point, her act will begin to feel stale if AEW doesn't soon settle on who it wants to eventually dethrone her as champ.

Roman Reigns Retaining over Drew McIntyre Will Be Right Move Long-term

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    Clash at the Castle in Cardiff, Wales, was the perfect place for Drew McIntyre to finally get the moment he was deprived of in front of fans two-and-a-half years ago.

    All signs pointed to the Scot ending the historic run of Roman Reigns and becoming the new undisputed WWE universal champion, but WWE had other ideas.

    Reigns retaining his title by beating McIntyre was a deflating finish for everyone in attendance. However, it had to happen to ensure WWE holds off on handing The Tribal Chief his first singles loss since December 2019.

    It should instead be saved for Cody Rhodes, who has the stronger story and can actually be elevated up the card unlike McIntyre.

    Of course, this would require waiting until The American Nightmare is cleared to compete, which isn't expected to be any earlier than WrestleMania 39 season. If WWE needs opponents for Reigns to face between now and then, there's a whole slew of Superstars from the SmackDown and Raw rosters.

    Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and Randy Orton can all be built up as legitimate threats before facing Reigns. If the payoff with The Head of the Table underwhelms, then McIntyre's moment should have happened on this show.


    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.

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