Welcome to the AEW Grand Slam Night 2 Preview Roundtable, where Pro Wrestling Musings' contributors share their thoughts on the biggest talking points ahead of AEW's "Biggest week ever". PWM will be reviewing Grand Slam in total on Sunday, so keep your eyes peeled for that, and please note that writer's views are their own.
This week's contributors are:
1) CM Punk has his first televised against Powerhouse Hobbs from Team Taz who is ranked number two. Assuming Punk wins, does this take him on a path to a title challenge? And with such a sizeable obstacle to overcome in Hobbs, how does he get there?
[Tim] I like that after facing the Lamborghini that is Darby, Punk’s next match is against the Sherman tank that is Powerhouse Hobbs. This forces him to change his style a bit and tell a different story. This also gives Hobbs a great showcase to go up against someone like Punk. Should be fun, Punk should win.
[Peter] After Punk beats Powerhouse, my guess will be that it all roads to the dream match of Punk vs HOOK. As for how Punk wins? His experience will be vital in getting the W he needs to climb the rankings and while Hobbs, the 2nd ranked male wrestler in AEW will fall down the rankings with a defeat, he will give the performance of a lifetime in the biggest match of his life.
[Sergei] Obviously, beating Hobbs would launch Punk into the rankings, but it was bound to happen at some point, anyhow. But, unlike Danielson, Punk has evinced no interest in the title or in the Elite. He wouldn’t be the first person to be ranked pretty high without any hints of a collision course with Omega. In fact, specifically that’s true of his first two opponents, Allin and Hobbs. As to how he’ll beat Hobbs? If I were a betting man, I’d go with the dark horse and say he’ll win with La Magistral. If not that, then the Go To Sleep!
[Shreyas] I love the fact that Summer (Autumn?) of Punk 2021 is him working with all the younger guys he sees potential in. The dynamic here should be very fun. Punk is up against a guy who is bigger, faster, younger and stronger than him. Punk should definitely win but he does it because of his crafty veteran tactics, outsmarting the young Powerhouse.
[Dan] Punk v Hobbs is EXACTLY the sort of match I wanted to see when CM Punk arrived in AEW. Hobbs already feels about 10ft taller just for being in Punk’s orbit, and I think yeeting The Best in the World around for 10 minutes can only add to that.
It seems obvious that Punk wins here, but I think he’ll give Hobbs a lot before getting that victory. From there I wouldn’t point Punk towards a title-run as there’s more to do in the fascinating mid-card of AEW, and I’d start that with a match against Ricky Starks. Actually, make that a title match for the FTW belt. Taz’s reaction when Punk wins it would be priceless.
[Craig] I think this is just a good match for Punk to have on his journey to eventually getting a title shot. But that’s long-term and not something that should happen in 2021. Punk needs to have some Hangman-esque road bumps along the way; he needs to hit a point where it seems as though he’s hit his limit. The returning hero who has been out of the fold should not just slowly but surely defeat everyone. Is it too early for such a road bump? I don’t think they’ll do it yet, but I wouldn’t call it bad booking if they did.
2) After “The Suzuki Incident” took the internet and AEW by storm, we’re left with Suzuki-gun's leader, Minoru Suzuki, and Lance Archer taking on Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston in a lights out match. Preview this if you can.
[Tim] I wonder how far they’re going to take this. All four guys can get nuts so this one is going to be a spectacle for sure. I assume Moxley/Kingston will win but this is a type of match where simply being present will elevate all those involved.
[Peter] There will be blood in the final match of Rampage this Friday. But who will be the second person to bleed in Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2021 after Emma Radacanu, who cut her knee in the ladies’ final earlier this month? My money is on Jon Moxley with Minoru getting cut open not long afterwards
[Daisy] Oh man, this is going to be good. Suzuki, famous for working stiff and no-selling equally as stiff shots from his competitors, is not going to hold back in this one. Suzuki may be 53 years old, but he wrestles ten years his junior, and has a shocking amount of gas left in the tank for someone his age. All that, paired with Moxley and Kingston – known fondly by the commentary booth as “the blue-eyed battler” and “crazy Eddie” respectively, who were born for this style of match, is going to give us one hell of a main event.
It’s exciting too, to see Archer in such a high-profile match. Yes, he had his televised win over Moxley a couple of months ago, but he hasn’t been especially present on AEW since then. I’m hoping, perhaps misguidedly, that Suzuki-gun will come out on top here. Either way I’m sure this will be hard-hitting and more than one person will walk out of that ring busted open and bleeding.
[Dan] Not only is this a ‘lights-out’ match, but it’s a ‘lights-out’ match that will go out late on a Friday night in the States, which presumably means all bets are off in terms of the violence these men can wreak on each other. Archer and MOX have already proven that they can create magic in this sort of stipulation, and frankly I’ll be a bit disappointed if someone isn’t power bombed off an umpire’s chair at some point. And as a man who once almost spilled his pint when Eddie Kingston was launched into the bar at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, I dread to think what he can do in an arena such as Arthur Ashe. Oh yeah….and bloody (possibly literally) Minoru Suzuki. This one is going to be absolute carnage.
[Craig] I have been reassured that Minoru Suzuki is unlikely to read this so we can speak freely... Phew! This is an incredibly difficult match to predict. Hopefully the Young Bucks will be involved in the laying out of this match as they rule in chaotic matches like this should be. AEW’s track record for these is strong and they usually manage to bring some art into the chaos. Sting and Darby Allin’s recent Tornado Tag match with 2point0 being a wonderful example.
Jon Moxley is rumoured in some circles to be about to make a heel turn, taking the TNT Title off him is a way I’ve heard suggested... However, Jon Moxley has been the most likable man ever in AEW so how on Earth do you make him a heel? Decimate Eddie Kingston in his home turf, that’s how.
3) The Superkliq (Adam Cole and The Young Bucks) will re-unite on Friday night to take on Jurassic Express and Christian Cage. What do you anticipate in this match?
[Tim] This one on paper looks like a lot of fun. The Superkliq is the tighter unit and they should get the win here. The interesting things come after as I’m hoping this leads to a Cole/Jungle Boy singles match or even the return of the Hangman.
[Daisy] The Superkliq were only around for a year – one of the Bullet Clubs many tag and trios teams, but they made a surprising impact in that time. They only wrestled a handful of matches together as a three-man unit before Cole headed for New York, so my feeling is that there’s a lot of unfinished business here. Cole and the Bucks are very close friends, and with rumours of either a trios belt or tournament coming up for AEW, I believe these guys will be competing – likely to take a last round loss to the Jurassic Express in the finals as a call-back to this Grand Slam match. Now, if you’ve ever seen a Superkliq match, you’ll know that their style is indie-riffic, fast paced, and most importantly – fun. This is going to be the biggest spot-fest you’ve ever seen on AEW television, and for those of us who enjoy a good spot-fest, that’s an exciting thought.
[Dan] As Daisy says this one is going to be an absolute spot-fest, but with the care and attention of both Christian Cage and Adam Cole attached to it. And a dinosaur. It should be absolutely epic and I don’t really care if we are building to Cole v Jungle Boy, Cole v Cage or Cage v Jungle Boy…I’m here for all of them.
[Craig] A triple Superkick at least once! But that aside, absolute chaotic brilliance. Matches with lots of moving parts are part of the Young Bucks’ genius and they have a wonderful trios track record thus far in AEW in terms of match quality. Their match with Brandon Cutler against the Lucha Bros and Laredo Kid was incredible, however they were still working face at that time. Their match with Omega against Dante Martin and the Sydals was similarly excellent however in a very different way; spotlighting Dante’s excellence. I’m hoping this match is more like the offence-rich babyface trios matches of earlier this year.
4) Anna Jay takes on Penelope Ford in their ongoing feud. Lucha Bros, Santana & Ortiz face HFO’s Private Party, Butcher & Blade in an eight-man tag that is perhaps hinting at future Tag Team Championship opponents. Jake Hager and Chris Jericho also team to face Dan Lambert’s Men of the Year. What are your thoughts and predictions for these matches?
[Peter] I like Anna Jay, but my gut feeling is her match with Ford will be shorter than a Stefanos Tsitsipas toilet break. The 8-man feels like a way to get to a Lucha Brothers vs Santana/Ortiz match which hopefully will be as great as their Impact matches from years before. As for Jericho/Hager vs Men of The Year, I don’t mind Lamberts “old man yells at cloud” schtick but this feels very filler to be honest.
[Tim] I'm sure to be in the minority hoping that Jay/Ford leads somehow to the return of Kip Sabian. I just like the guy and I expect a gimmick change for him. The tag-team action should lead to Peter’s prediction of Lucha Bros vs. P&P which I am all for. I missed their clashes in Impact so this will be new and exciting for me.
[Dan] Anna Jay v Penelope Ford feels like a vehicle for more Dark Order shenanigans in my view, which is fine as long as Anna remains a focal point of that story. I think they’ve really got something in Anna Jay if they use her properly, and it would be a shame not to see her given a good showing on a big stage like this.
The 8-man really doesn’t excite me I’m afraid and I’d much rather see a 10-minute Lucha Bros banger defence against Private Party, but will this somehow move us towards Lucha Bros against Santana and Ortiz? Perhaps so, and that would be a hell of a match.
As for shouty old white man 1 vs shouty old white man 2, again I’m not hugely invested in this. I haven’t enjoyed Lambert’s increasing removal of the veneer of kayfabe, and I’m not sure how this is getting Sky and Page over with anyone. I suppose whoever wins will then be added to the crowded tag-title scene, but I wouldn’t be racing to give either of them a title shot at this stage.
[Craig] I’m excited to see Penelope Ford get this match in front of such a big crowd, her work has such potential and I hope to see her get something out of a match that seems more of a vehicle for Jay than her. That being said, it’s good to see Anna Jay back but I’m surprised this wasn’t a TayJay tag match.
Seeing PnP and the Lucha Bros in the same ring even if on the same team is hugely exciting as it seems to be setting things up perfectly for them to clash at some point. Hopefully Private Party turn it on again and step away from their boring heel schtick. There could be some cool moments between Penta and Butcher and Fenix and Marq Quen.
I hit my limit with Dan Lambert last week, all very samey with some potentially interesting MMA crossover looking confined to window dressing. The Men of the Year do not need a mouthpiece as Ethan Page rocks on the mic. Add WCW’s Kevin Nash to the mix as their opponent and I am completely baffled as to what’s going on... Did this get put together at an NRA convention?