Welcome back, TJR readers! Did you spend all day Friday napping before watching 20 Hours of Wrestling this weekend and missed WWE Smackdown? Maybe you were pulling your EVP out of your teeth on Monday and missed Raw.
Don’t worry, because I’m back with another edition of Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week.
10. Pat McAfee taking a break from WWE
WWE is going to have to find a new voice for Friday Night Smackdown for a few months. This week, it was announced that Pat McAfee would take on a full-time role on ESPN’s College GameDay starting September 10. Due to this new position, McAfee will be taking a hiatus from WWE until the end of the year. Triple H and McAfee said McAfee would return to WWE after this, so likely in early 2023 or before the end of this year. It’s unclear who will replace McAfee in the broadcast booth, but if they want to go with another former athlete, The Goon may be available. (TJRW Restling)
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 7, 2022
9. Toni Storm wins the AEW Interim Women’s Championship
AEW once again has an interim world champion. Last Sunday at AEW All Out, Toni Storm defeated Dr. Britt Baker, Jamie Hayter and Hikaru Shida to win the AEW Women’s Interim Championship. Storm will now face AEW Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa to unify the titles, once Rosa returns from injury. This is of course subject to change if Storm loses the interim title before Rosa returns, or decides to take a bite out of her boss. (TJRW Restling)
8. Unified NXT and NXT UK Championships
The NXT UK Championships are no more. Last Sunday at NXT Worlds Collide, the NXT UK Championships were scrapped. Pretty Deadly defeated NXT Champions The Creed Brothers, NXT UK Champions Brooks Jensen and Josh Briggs, and Gallus to unify the titles. NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose defeated NXT British Champion Meiko Satomura and Blair Davenport to unify those titles. Finally, in the final unification bout, NXT World Champion Bron Breakker defeated NXT British Champion Tyler Bate. Hearing about the unification bouts, Tony Khan immediately called to find out what WWE was doing with all the former British title belts. (TJRW Restling)
7. New AEW Trios champions crowned twice this week
To no one’s surprise, The Elite won the first AEW Trios Championship. Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks defeated “Hangman” Adam Page, Alex Reynolds and John Silver to claim the titles. Unfortunately, due to a backstage incident, The Elite was stripped of the titles last Wednesday on Dynamite. Death Triangle then defeated The Best Friends and Orange Cassidy on Dynamite to become the new champions. This is clearly not how AEW planned the start of their trios division. On a positive note, however, AEW has hired a legally blind referee to better officiate Trios Matches. (TJRW Restling)
6. Dominik Mysterio Joins Judgment Day
The holidays are going to be interesting at the Mysterio house this year. Last Saturday at Clash at the Castle, Edge and Rey Mysterio defeated Finn Bálor and Damian Priest in a tag team match. After the match however, Dominik Mysterio shockingly attacked Edge and Rey while Bálor and Priest watched and laughed. Then last Monday on Raw, Dominik came out with the rest of Judgment Day to interrupt an in-ring promo from Edge and Rey. Dominik and Judgment Day then attacked Rey and Edge, leaving Edge lying in the ring. Dominik was dressed in black with his hair slicked back to sell the new heel persona and help convince the cashier that he is legally old enough to buy beer. (TJRW Restling)
5. Malaki Black got released from AEW
AEW will have to do without another of its superstars. This week, it was reported that Malaki Black demanded his release from the company and got it. Black was last seen last Sunday at All Out, with his House of Black faction losing to Sting, Darby Allen and Miro in a six-man tag team match. Black debuted for AEW in July 2021, having been released from WWE the previous month. It’s unclear what’s next for Black, as he considered being a producer for AEW but decided it wasn’t something he could sink his teeth into. (TJRW Restling)
4. Solo Sikoa makes his main roster debut at Clash at the Castle
Roman Reigns is still Universal Champion, thanks to another family member. Last Saturday, NXT Superstar Solo Sikoa stepped in and helped Reigns defeat Drew McIntyre in the main event match of Clash at the Castle. Sikoa debuted in NXT in July 2021 and has been out since August of this year with a PCL sprain. Sikoa is The Usos’ younger brother as well as Reigns’ cousin. Sikoa can now help his cousin maintain his dominance and lead his brothers into the arena. (TJRW Restling)
🩸 comes first. Always. https://t.co/s1qYHZIh2b
— Solo (@WWESoloSikoa) September 6, 2022
3. MJF returns to AEW
After three months away, Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) finally returned to AEW last Sunday at All Out. During the Casino Ladder Match, a group of masked men attacked the rest of the contestants. One of the masked men then climbed the ladder and retrieved the poker chip, before removing his mask to reveal it was Stokely Hathaway. Hathaway then handed the chip over to another masked man, while the other men were revealed to be W. Morrissey, Ethan Page, Austin and Colten Gunn. Later that evening, during CM Punk’s post-match celebration, a video package was released showing old clips from Punk’s time in Ring of Honor. The masked men then appeared and revealed themselves to be MJF, before entering the arena to glare at Punk.
MJF would also appear on Dynamite, pretending to be a face for the Buffalo crowd before showing his true colors as a heel once confronted by Jon Moxley. During his promo, MJF made several WWE references including mentioning Cody Rhodes by name and talking about The Game aka Triple H. MJF had not been seen on AEW since he verbally berated Tony Khan on the June 1 edition of Dynamite. Interestingly, this promotion is now being touted by AEW HR as an example of how to better handle issues with your bosses. (TJRW Restling)
2. Braun Strowman returns to WWE
After being widely rumored last week, Braun Strowman officially returned to WWE last Monday on Raw. Strowman came out in the Fatal 4-Way Number One Contender tag team match, attacking Chad Gable to end the match. Strowman then continued his destruction by attacking Gable Otis’ partner Angel and Humberto of Los Lotharios, Angelo Dawkins of the Street Profits and security guards. Strowman, who was released from WWE in June 2021, appeared to be in the best shape of his life. Tony Khan would have been very disappointed that Strowman had returned to WWE, as he would really need some help controlling the narrative right now. (TJRW Restling)
1. AEW World Championship canceled after backstage melee resulting in possible suspensions and firings
CM Punk defeated Jon Moxley to win the AEW World Championship. That should have been this week’s main story, but that’s just a footnote. Our editorial team at TJRWrestling has done a great job of covering the story over the past week as new details continue to emerge. After winning the title, Punk then got into a media scrum with Tony Khan sitting right next to him. Punk then verbally attacked Colt Cabana, AEW EVP’s Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and “Hangman” Adam Page. These comments led Omega and the Bucks to decide to go to Punk’s locker room and confront him. Details of what happened next vary, but what is known is that Punk punched Matt Jackson. Worse still, Punk’s friend and AEW producer Ace Steel was also in the room. Steel then hit Nick Jackson with a chair, as well as biting and pulling Omega’s hair. This led to Kenny Omega, Matt and Nick Jackson, Pat Buck, Christopher Daniels, Michael Nakazawa and Brandon Cutler all being suspended, with Omega and the Bucks being stripped of the AEW Trios titles.
As for Punk and Steel, it’s not yet clear what their punishment will be, but Punk was also stripped of the AEW World Championship. To add injury to insult, CM Punk also allegedly ripped his cock during the match with Moxley and was out for 6-8 months. A tournament began last Wednesday on Dynamite to crown a new AEW World Champion, with the finals taking place at the AEW Grand Slam on September 22. (TJRW Restling)
This story got a lot of negative attention on AEW this week, with posts on TJRWrestling about it getting almost as many views as the post about Mandy Rose posing naked with her title belts. Although John Canton didn’t get me to post this, he probably needs a little smile after the first NFL game of the season.
My girls covered it tonight, while I’m enjoying a well-deserved vacation with my titles. See you next week at the one-year anniversary show! @WWENXT#UNIFIEDCHAMP#mandyrose#WWENXTpic.twitter.com/L3KD7RFWqr
— Mandy (@WWE_MandyRose) September 6, 2022
This concludes another edition of the top ten wrestling stories of the week. Thank you for taking the time to read this each week. Although I often joke, I recently started officiating with NYCW and I respect what wrestlers do every week more than ever. I wrote an article about all that here. If you like what I do, even though my jokes are almost as bad as biting your boss. So follow me on Twitter @Fowlerwrestlin1