As often as wrestling tries to surprise viewers, it’s not often that it succeeds. Like any fictional TV show it’s often easy to see where the story is headed, but that blew wide open in the final moments of AEW Dynamite on Wednesday, in a twist that could have major ramifications for the future of professional wrestling.
A lot was expected for the branded “Winter is Coming” edition of Dynamite, which promised a pay-per-view atmosphere, and a main event deserving of a $60 show. The AEW World Championship was on the line, with Jon Moxley defending against Kenny Omega, and the last time this pair met they tore the house down with one of the most violent hardcore matches in corporate wrestling history.
It’s here we start our story.
What happened in the main event of Dynamite?
For weeks AEW established the long-term relationship between Kenny Omega and Impact Wrestling executive Don Callis. Callis appeared on commentary during Omega’s matches, with announcers explaining how there was a family relationship between the two with Omega’s father working alongside Callis in Canada. This gave fans the perception that a working relationship between AEW and one of its major competitors had been established.
With Callis on commentary Wednesday night, Omega suffered an “injury” ringside, causing his uncle-like figure to approach the ring with a microphone, yelling at the referee “He’s hurt!” From there it was a pretty standard wrestling trope, Callis slid Omega the microphone, distracting the referee, giving the wrestler the ability to use the mic as a weapon, and win the world championship. This in a match that was set up as being set up as a “fair fight” without interference.
Kenny Omega got the belt, then things got interesting …
Omega quickly escaped the ring, running from the arena with Callis. The pair were seen moving past a confused AEW CEO Tony Khan, who played it up like he didn’t know what was happening. In the parking lot the pair were tracked down by reporter Alex Marvez, who asked what was happening, to which Callis quickly responded “Tune in Tuesday night to see where this goes,” alluding the Impact Wresting’s weekly show.
What does this mean?
Essentially the concept is that Omega and Callis stole AEW’s biggest prize, and are taking it to a competitor. Obviously this was all established in story ahead of time, but it’s ludicrously exciting for wrestling fans. It takes the nostalgic trope of the fleeing champion taking the belt, one of the corporate wrestling’s biggest fears, and weaving it into a multi-promotional storyline.
More importantly it potentially sets up a major showdown across several companies, not dissimilar to wrestling’s territorial roots before WWE bought all the promotions and put them under one umbrella. In this scenario AEW would represent the United States, Impact would represent Canada, with the tantalizing possibility of weaving in AAA out of Mexico, and even NJPW from Japan into a global war.
There’s a lot of business to happen behind the scenes, and a global pandemic to consider — but it would fill the long-term desire of wrestling fans to see more cross promotional involvement from non-WWE companies.
Now, while fans wait for the story to continue next week on Impact, social media is playing a role with Callis acting like a puppet master who just duped one of the biggest wrestling companies on the planet.
Yes, when it’s all said and done it was a little on the nose to have an invading force from the North take over in a show titled “Winter is Coming,” but it was pulled off so well nobody saw the hint hiding in plain sight. Impact will likely get its biggest ratings in years thanks to the twist, and maybe, just maybe we’ll see the promise of massive, global rivalry finally arrive in professional wrestler.
No matter what happens, this next chapter won’t be boring.