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Austin’s AEW 3 Count – August 15-21

Welcome to Austin’s AEW 3 Count. This is going to be a recurring series on Back Sports Page running through three of All Elite Wrestling’s top moments. I will be watching content from AEW’s two YouTube shows, “Dark” and “Elevation,” Dynamite and Rampage. Spanning these shows, I will give you three must see moments from the week’s action. This week’s three count has a nice balance between one match, one promo and one return.

1. Sammy Guevara vs. Shawn Spears

Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara have intertwined themselves since almost the very beginning of All Elite Wrestling. AEW ran their first show on May 25, 2019. Just a couple months later on July 13 at Fight for the Fallen, the two men crossed paths. The adversaries have come a long way since that point. In that match, they were actually teammates. Another interesting note is that the third member of their team for the trios match that night was none other than Maxwell Jacob Friedman. MJF and Spears are currently in The Pinnacle together, one of AEW’s most dominant factions.

Spears and Guevara went to battle again on August 18 on Dynamite. Just a couple hours after Guevara proposed to his then girlfriend, he was wrestling in front of his home crowd. But as he made his entrance, The Chairman sought to attack him from behind. Guevara was able to spot the ambush in his peripheral vision and met Spears with a couple punches. But the 40 year old veteran had the jump.

Alongside wrestling legend Tully Blanchard, Spears attempted to take Guevara out before the match started. With the help of Blanchard, The Chairman delivered a spike-piledriver to Guevara outside the ring. Only then did Spears roll the battered Texas native into the ring as referee Aubrey Edwards signaled for the bell.

“Ring the bell!”

As the match officially began, Spears quickly jumped on offense, continuing to beat down his younger competitor. He was also keen to spot Guevara’s fiancée, Pam, in the crowd and give her a piece of his mind. In that momentary distraction, Guevara attempted a springboard cutter from the top rope. Spears, with little to no damage done to him, easily evaded the attack. The rest of the match would follow in a similar style. Strikes were met with quick counters or were blocked all together in a fast paced melee.

With the hometown fans cheering him on, Guevara would not go down without a fight, kicking out of a top-rope C4. Later in the match, Sammy dealt out the damage via a death valley driver onto a guardrail followed up with a 630 senton. But it would be Spears’ turn to keep the match alive. Ultimately, after three stiff knees to Spears’ face and a “GTH,” Guevara picked up the win.

This match was perfectly paced out, clocking in at just about ten minutes, including the scrum before the bell. The match had a clear cut face and heel dynamic, aided by Guevara’s hometown crowd. The red hot crowd bought into the match and added that extra element that has been absent during most of the pandemic. If there is one match to watch from last week’s action, this would be the one. Whenever these two meet, they put on a spectacular performance. From the first Fight for the Fallen, in Stadium Stampede 2 at Double or Nothing, to Houston on August 18, these competitors have great chemistry.

2. Jon Moxley’s Promo

On a stacked Dynamite, a regular promo might have buried itself in the shuffle. But when Jon Moxley is delivering the words, that is not the case. As one of the best talkers in the business of professional wrestling, when he speaks, everyone listens. Wednesday night was no different,

After being attacked from behind by Daniel Garcia and 2point0 earlier in the night, the Purveyor of Violence spoke his mind. As “the hottest promotion in the world,” it seems to Moxley that “everybody wants a piece of AEW” currently. Jon Moxley asked a simple question, “what makes them think it’s so easy” in All Elite Wrestling? The name has elite in it after all. After citing himself as the one who carried the company through the most difficult times, he wanted to send a message.

Dear Daniel Garcia,

Initially this message is for “Mr. Garcia” but when we take a step back, we see who it is really for. This message is for everyone in the locker room and those who were about to join the company (CM Punk, he’s looking at you). Now that crowds are back and AEW is on the road, wrestlers are coming out of the woodwork to lead the charge. But Moxley warned them about what it takes so as not to get caught up in the lights. He told Garcia, and others indirectly, to “ask yourself if this is what you really, really want” because their safety is not Moxley’s concern.

In just two minutes, Moxley put the roster and any outsiders on notice. He is no longer content to sit on the sideline. Now that he sees newcomers waltz in and want a top spot, he is there to remind them of what it takes. Starting with Daniel Garcia, everyone has been warned. Being on top in AEW, “isn’t no joke.”

We will have to stay tuned to see what Moxley’s next moves will be in the coming months. Moxley is just getting started after defeating Garcia in just over four minutes.

3. CM Punk Returns

The second episode of Rampage will go down in professional wrestling history. From the United Center in Chicago, Illinois and in front of the largest AEW crowd ever, CM Punk returned. That return alone would be enough to warrant one of the loudest reactions of all time. With this return taking place in his hometown, saying that the crowd erupted would be an understatement.

From 2005 to 2014, CM Punk wrestled in WWE. There, despite finding success, he felt that he was slowly working himself to death. Punk felt that he could no longer continue wrestling professionally thanks to numerous broken ribs, injured knees and several concussions. After getting suspended for walking out on the company in January 2014, he would go on to receive his papers citing his termination of employment on his wedding day.

Punk did not shy away from airing his grievances with WWE. On multiple occasions he vocalized his unhappiness with the company. Punk had a litany of charges against WWE: from being paid less than his coworkers and lack of creative freedom to not being in the main event of WrestleMania and his health being compromised.

When asked about the chances of him showing up in a ring after his release, Punk simply said, “never” to Chris Van Vliet. Slowly, that “never” changed to maybe. When talking later on, Punk said that the situation would need to be right (concerning storylines, job security and health among other things). This proved to be true as earlier this year there were rumblings that CM Punk could return to professional wrestling with AEW.

Speculation of CM Punk’s Appearance

On Twitter, Punk fielded fan questions including one asking about who he would like to work with in AEW. Punk responded with five names: Hobbs, Allin, Pillman, Starks, and Jungle Boy. This answer only fueled the fire but in the wrestling world, nothing is for certain until it happens.

Breadcrumbs and hints were dropped on AEW Dynamite over the weeks leading up to his debut. This ranged from shirts worn by Kenny Omega depicting Cookie Monster and “chick magnet” on them. Both are potential answers for what the “CM” in Punk’s name stands for. In a promo, Allin dropped the phrase, “best in the world,” which is a title that Punk gave himself in 2011. Additionally, MJF took inspiration from “The Pipebomb,” an infamous promo Punk cut on June 27, 2011, and paraphrased the first line when talking to Chris Jericho after the second Labor of Jericho. Those Easter Eggs combined with Rampage taking place in Chicago, seemed to seal the deal.

The opening riff to “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour confirmed fans’ suspicions. Almost instantaneously, the crowd registered what was happening and exploded into cheers. The volume only increased when CM Punk walked out of the tunnel to face the crowd.

His walk down to the ring, complete with a dive into the crowd, high-fives, hugs, and a few tears, was something wrestling fans have waited seven years for. When he entered the ring, the chants of “CM Punk” only quieted down when he raised a microphone to speak.

CM Punk Speaks

CM Punk talked about how he “was never going to get healthy, physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally, [by] staying in the same place that got me sick in the first place.” The Hometown Hero said that he left professional wrestling when he left Ring of Honor. But “August 20, 2021, I’m back!” he proclaimed in a similar fashion to Michael Jordan’s return.

As he continued, he said how excited he was to work with the young people backstage. He specifically name-dropped Darby Allin. CM Punk called him out and issued him a challenge. “I will see you, and I will see Sting, and I will see all you September 5 at All Out, live on pay per view!”

The return of CM Punk is just the newest addition to a long list of “where were you’s” in the wrestling world. If you have not already seen it, do not just find time, but make time to watch his return. Fire up the TNT app or head to their website. Do a quick search on YouTube. Do whatever it takes to get a glimpse of this monumental moment.

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