One of the greatest title matches in the history of AEW took place on September 4th 2022. It really taken me a few days, almost a week to get back to this match on rewatch. That post scrum really left a sour taste in my mouth, but after Jon Moxley’s “I want the ball” promo I finally felt comfortable enough to watch it. It’s really a shame that CM Punk’s last night in wrestling blew up like it did, because Punk vs Moxley was such a special match. A raging Chicago crowd riling and chanting for their hometown hero to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in the company’s history.
A bruised and battered Punk leaking blood from his head having no quit in him just to prove to Moxley that he still has fighting spirit in his war torn body. Punk came into this match with all the odds stacked against him from Punk coming back from 16 screws and having 3 plates in his foot, to getting squashed by a rampaging Moxley on a tear since winning the title from Tanahashi. A lot of people were upset that they were doing this match on TV because this felt like the one of the first box office matches in company history next to Kenny Omega vs Bryan Danielson.
But my God, I’m so glad they did that squash leading into that All Out main event. It added so much more emotion to this build, especially witnessing Ace Steel become this folk hero, even if it was just for like a 5 day span. Punk being so unsure of himself the Wednesday leading into All Out was some generational TV wrestling. Ace Steel slapping Punk in the face was such an important part in telling the story of CM Punk in AEW. A grizzled Punk at crossroads wondering if he still has the heart but being reminded in front of his friend and the fans reminding him he’s FUCKING CM PUNK. Punk getting the mic all fired up yelling “before I was ever CM Punk, I was a punk rock kid from chicago. I was born lonely at Christ hospital blue in the face with a cord around my neck because they’ve been trying to kill since the day I was born. And they haven’t found the man, man enough to do it yet and Jon Moxley you ain’t him.” My God, I was fired up and ready to run through a wall for this man. I’m embarrassed to say it, but fuck it I even punched a hole in my wall with how pumped up I was.
I was ready to go to war. The match was set for All Out 2022. It’s Sunday September 4th at 4 am and I have to get ready for work. I asked for Sunday off but couldn’t get it off unless I found someone that could work my afternoon shift. There was no way I was going to miss this match no matter the cost. I ended up paying someone 30$ to take my afternoon shift so I could watch it. All I could think about at work was this match and PPV. My eyes were on the prize.
Man, after a long morning and PPV… “IT’S TIME FOR THE MAIN EVENT” ( my Bruce Buffer shout out). CM Punk in all white and to a huge ovation. The crowd is just waiting to yell “it’s clobberin time” with CM Punk. While the opposite can be said about Jon Moxley, he’s calm and composed, he gets ready to walk through the wild Chicago crowd. He’s in the eye of the storm, nice and composed; they’re just throwing the middle finger at him and screaming at him but nothing bothers him. Moxley has his eyes set on the mission at hand, defending one of the most covenant prizes in the world of wrestling, the AEW World Heavyweight Championship, something he’s helped add prestige to twice already. You can argue that the AEW world title is his legacy. While Moxley is making his walk to the ring, Taz explains the crowd perfectly by saying “they love the guy,but they want to boo him” this crowd is split 70/30 in Punk’s favor.
The match starts in a tight lock up with both men trying to end it fast. And it looks like it’s all Punk then he lands the GTS within the first 2 minutes the crowd erupts. They think he has it, but they should’ve known it’s going to take more than that to beat the greatest AEW world champion. The duel chants start once they start brawling through the crowd. With Moxley’s name getting louder chants. Punk is busted open and Moxley smells the blood in the water he knows it’s his time to take advantage of the hometown hero. The crowd that’s on Moxley’s side gets louder while the fans of Punk watch as their guy is trying to fight back but he can’t stand. The chants are getting to Punk they’re firing him up, but it’s still not enough to stop Moxley.
Moxley is dissecting a worn out Punk. Punk’s doing anything to get the advantage on Moxley, even if that means racking at his eyes. Moxley starts tearing at Punk’s leg with dragon screws, kicks to the knee and a hell of a figure four. Punk spits in Moxley’s face. Fuck. That pisses Moxley off even more. Punk can’t string together any offense, Moxley is too much of an animal for Punk to handle. Maybe Punk is out of his league against Moxley. He just has a counter to everything Punk has; The guys at the Blackpool Combat Club have Punk well scouted.
Moxley has Punk in an ankle lock and the crowd is screaming “CM PUNK”. He’s fighting out of it and finally Punk catches his second wind, but like the dawg that Moxley is, he snuffs out that fire in Punk and starts to choke him out. But remember this is CM Punk in fucking Chicago! He doesn’t have quit in him. He fights out of the bulldog choke to get him in the GTS and he hits it on him TWICE!!! The second time deadlifting the knocked out Moxley. Punk wins in Chicago in front of his people. But his win can’t be enjoyed because the devil himself comes back to AEW. MJF has returned and challenges for the throne that he thinks belongs to him. A great finish and cliff hanger to an all time AEW world heavyweight title match.
It really sucks that we might not get a conclusion to what was arguably the greatest feud of the year between Punk and MJF because of what happened in the post PPV Media scrum. But I will not let that outshine a great PPV main event and angle like what happened to Moxley vs Omega at Revolution 2021. If this is the end for good ol CM Punk, then what a way to end it. (**** ¾)