CM Punk and the WWE are banking on a third return being the charm

“I’m back!” CM Punk proclaimed to a sold-out AEW crowd at Chicago’s United Center in August 2021. The First Dance feels like a lifetime ago, given all that’s transpired since then. For Punk’s seven-year retirement to be broken with a significant competitor to WWE felt like a seismic shift. All Elite Wrestling managed to get the man behind the “pipebomb” promo and seemingly helped fuel the counterculture spirit that molded itself within the ethos of wrestling’s number two promotion.

But the hone

’s The Three Count: Damage Control’s pending implosion, AEW Full Gear thoughts, Will Ospreay’s decision

Hello and welcome to a Thanksgiving edition of The Three Count. This week, we discuss our thoughts on AEW Full Gear, Bayley and the slow-burn nature of Damage Control, Will Ospreay’s signing, and what it could mean down the road.

How do you see the Damage Control story playing out?

Getting Kari Sane back into the fold was a godsend for this group’s storyline. There were already some seeds of dissension brewing between Bayley and Io. Now you have someone Bayley has wronged in the group in addit

’s The Three Count: NXT’s new deal, AEW’s GI remix, Jade Cargill’s destination

What do you know? It’s time for another installment of DraftKings Network’s The Three Count. Just for a quick recap, NXT has reached a new distribution agreement with The CW, AEW has announced a new singles tournament named the Continental Classic (which is basically their version of New Japan’s G1), and we still await the debut of Jade Cargill. We get into what we think of each topic below.

Does the new NXT deal with The CW prove that the black and gold rebrand was needed?

A resounding yes! I

’s The Three Count: LA Knight’s main event test, MJF’s challengers galore, Will Ospreay’s destination

Hello, and welcome to a brand new column here at DraftKings Network named The Three Count. Every Monday, some of our staff will discuss three of the biggest questions in wrestling from the following week — one from WWE, another from AEW, and a final one at random. Check out the first edition below.

When discussing expectations in this title match, I don’t think anybody expected a five-star classic. It was about two things: 1. keeping the streak going for Roman Reigns going into 2024, and 2. not

A nuanced take on the tribalism wrestling Tuesday night that was

For a second, I remembered what the Monday Night Wars felt like. A weekly WWE and AEW show would face off in a constant, up-the-ante bid for wrestling fans’ attention for one night. NXT announced they would do the first 30-minute commercial free, and then AEW announced the same thing. WWE announced a wealth of talent to come on the show, including Cody Rhodes, The Undertaker, LA Knight, and Askua. AEW instituted a ten-minute overrun, a pre-show including Eddie Kingston vs. Minoru Suzuki, an open

Becky Lynch’s NXT women's championship reign will benefit everyone

In wrestling, you can’t account for happy accidents. Sometimes, the universe works in your favor. When now-ex-NXT women’s champion Tiffany Stratton misspoke in a promo that she would be a better champion than Becky Lynch (who has never held the title), that's precisely what I’m talking about. It was a no-brainer in a season where the WWE has been actively integrating veteran talent from RAW and Smackdown into NXT television. It’s hard to think of an accolade escaping the tremendous hall-of-fame

All Elite Wrestling’s tumultuous, contention-filled, record-setting week

In a way, just getting to last Sunday’s All Out pay-per-view in Chicago felt like a relief for All Elite Wrestling. The show ended with the crowd thanking a bloody and beaten workhorse, Orange Cassidy, after dropping the All-Atlantic title to Jon Moxley after 31 successful title defenses. This, coupled with the sudden return of Bryan Danielson, the various losses from various members of The Elite, and the continued success of the Better Than You Baybay, felt like a much-needed smash of the reset

Bray Wyatt’s creative mind transcended wrestling itself

As wrestling fans, we tune in weekly to the men and women who use their minds and bodies to tell a story. Some seem very far-fetched, such as somebody being buried alive or struck by lightning – but the beautiful dance exists between the push and pull of holding on to that belief. Even if the outcomes are predetermined, the special ones make you grasp that belief a little longer. The climate of escapism they bring when they walk out to the arena and climb through those ropes is unparalleled.


AEW needs to find a way for the drama not to be it’s main character

In a couple of weeks, All Elite Wrestling will have its biggest show to date with All In at Wembley Stadium in London. But that’s not what we’re talking about. No, it’s the latest round of backstage drama that includes an after-show promo (come on, man), an apology after said promo, and denial of admission into a network television show. In a stroke of irony, we are coming up on the year anniversary of CM Punk’s All Out post-scrum comments, which led to suspensions, a locker room brouhaha, and (

All Elite Wrestling created its own counter-programming measure with Collison

I saw in the 100 section near the hard cam inside the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, this past Saturday for AEW Collision. There was a fan in front of me who that anytime CM Punk was mentioned or appeared – promptly held his phone up with one hand and put his middle finger up with the other. The split between Punk descenders and enthusiastic fans who went to war with each other in a barrage of chants throughout the entire light. For every harmony of Punk’s long-storied entrance music, Living C

AEW’s Adam Cole and Dr. Britt Baker pull back the curtain with ‘All Access’

In the old days of professional wrestling, breaking character was considered a cardinal sin. (or kayfabe). With social media, keeping the illusion of separation going is almost impossible. These performers are real people, after all. Previous series like Total Divas, Miz and Mrs, and Rhodes To the Top have served to normalize somewhat the people we see pull off uncanny feats.

A new series, AEW: All Access, looks to go behind the scenes to highlight some of the company's stars – two weeks before

MJF or Bryan Danielson? That is AEW’s million-dollar Revolution question

AEW finally learned to close a Dynamite with their major championship program. Bryan Danielson got to sound out in what feels like a long promo battle between him and MJF leading up to this 60-minute Iron Man match at AEW Revolution on Sunday. I’m torn on what I want to happen.

Typically, AEW likes long title reigns (there have only been six men heavyweight title holders. Ignore the ping-pong between CM Punk and Jon Moxley). They also are very active in the ring (MJF has only wrestled in ring t

The Curious Case of Karrion Kross

On last night’s edition of WWE Raw, you had the returns of John Cena and Goldberg and the triumphant MITB cash-in from Nikki A.S.H. to become the new Raw Women’s champion. However, there was a debut a particular that turned a lot of heads. (more so, the result of that debut). Karrion Kross, the current NXT champion, made his way down the ramp to the main roster ring with fans. His entrance had the same apocalyptic style as it did in NXT. Well, kind of. Scarlett Bordeaux was absent. The black and

Bad Bunny and the Perils of Wrestling Gatekeeping

The intersection of pop culture and wrestling isn’t something new. It has been an integral relationship to both business models. Remember WrestleMania 10 when Burt Reynolds, Donnie Wahlberg, Jennie Garth, and Ronda Sheer were the celebrity guests? Little Richard sang the National Anthem that year. Mr. T and Muhammad Ali were at the very first Wrestlemania. Athletes such as Lawrence Taylor, the late Kevin Greene, and Dennis Rodman were in actual matches. Arnold Schwarzenegger close-lined Triple H

AEW Dynamite 12/30: RIP Jon Huber (Brodie Lee/Luke Harper)

When you become a wrestling fan, the men and women who perform and built their bodies on the line become gladiator avatars. It’s the good guys versus the bad guys. We cheer hard for them to win and overcome the odds. We also jeer just as hard for them to lose sometimes. That inner child that holds on to that sense of wonder stays with you. These people become the characters they portray and there’s insulation to the outside limiting factors of life. Surely the heroes that I see every week can’t

The Man and the Streak

When Bill Goldberg made his return to WWE TV on October 17th, 2016, the chants of his name from the crowd rained down on him like in his many years in WCW. Walking down the long hallways to the ring as WWE superstars cheered him on, he was as focused as ever. Goldberg approached his trademark pyro and although older, he emerged from it with the same intensity. Taking the mic, he spoke about missing being a superhero for the kids all around the world as his wife and son looked on. That’s what wre

WWE NXT 12/9: Proving Grounds

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, the road from NXT War Games has a lot of injuries. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, and Bobby Fish to be exact. We only have a month until New Years Evil, and there are a lot of moving parts to be set. Let’s take a look with some quick thoughts.
• Finn Balor is back with a new set of challengers. To have Pete Dunne come out first was a great touch. After all, he’s a former NXT UK champion himself. It’s about time that they moved Damian Pri

NXT War Games 2020: Still Undisputed

Women's War Game Match: Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, & Toni Storm vs. Ember Moon, Io Shirai, Rhia Ripley, & Shotzi Blackheart: I know that some people may have been puzzled that the babyface team got the advantage (myself included). However, they structured the match in a way where they tried to balance it out from a psychological standpoint. Dakota Kai goes in first for Team LeRae, but you find yourself rooting for her to overcome the 2 vs. 1 advantage. That’s why they sent Raque

WWE NXT 12/2: War Table

Season’s greetings! We are at the precipice of the last big NXT event for the year. I didn’t get a chance to say this before, but I’m glad that the WWE sprung to pay the money to use Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs.’ I was as shocked as you are. Let’s talk about this go-home show:
• When it comes to the actual War Games match itself, The Undisputed Era are the well-tested veterans of the NXT version itself. Having been in every single one and boasting a 2–1 record. Team McAfee is on a hot streak. Burc


How nice is it that AEW falls within the same company as Warner where they can borrow this tagline? Hopefully, it didn’t bring bad memories of the polarizing season eight of Game of Thrones. CEO Tony Khan stated that this show would be structured like a PPV. They were trying to fit as much as they could before the championship match, but a LOT of things happened.

Diamond Battle Royal and The Inner Circle Is In Disarray:: This battle royal went the way as many AEW battle royals go — to further s

AEW Dynamite 11/11: ‘Send For You’

That Promo: First off, I’ll commend AEW on Darby Allin winning the TNT title. It was long overdue and AEW needed to start prioritizing getting their younger upstart wrestlers in higher positions with big wins. This is the start and I hope it continues. Cody infers going after MJF, but setting up a celebrity match with Shaq works because it keeps him to the side. He’s been front and center with the TNT tile for a while, so it’s time for a bit of a refresh.

This loops into Team Taz with the tag m
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