In a late Friday afternoon news dump nobody wanted to deliver or receive, yesterday (Aug. 23) we learned that a new bout of MRSA was causing Jon Moxley to pull out of AEW All Out and his co-main event match with Kenny Omega.
Theirs is a feud All Elite set-up with Moxley’s surprise debut at Double Or Nothing back in May, and which has been built about as well as possible since then. There was no perfect solution to losing one of your top draws and leaving another without an opponent with only eight days until a huge event like the pay-per-view (PPV) coming up on Sat. Aug. 31 in Chicagoland.
And I’m not upset they’ve gone with PAC. The former WWE NXT and Cruiserweight champ was reportedly working toward a showdown with Kenny when “creative differences” led to his removal from a match with Hangman Page that was promoted for the Double Or Nothing card. He’s a great wrestler with indie/international cred and mainstream exposure via his time in Vince McMahon’s employ. AEW can sell it as a simple battle for supremacy between two gaijin workrate legends, or use the aborted Page match as a ‘reality’ era reason for one of the Executive Vice-Presidents to have an issue with the self-styled Bastard.
But there is another choice they could have made, and that I kind of wish they had.
Dustin Rhodes - a guy with even more name recognition than PAC - is on the AEW roster, and isn’t booked for a match at All Out. Despite a retirement tease during the angle that set up his match with brother Cody against The Young Bucks at Fight For The Fallen, the 50 year old Rhodes recently told UK website Vulture Hound he doesn’t have “an end date” in mind for his in-ring career.
Ever since his last return to WWE in 2013, the artist formerly known as Goldust has been on a mission to remind the world he’s a great pro wrestler in every sense of the word. In fact, that chip on his shoulder was used in the build to the Rhodes’ Brothers vs. The Bucks last month - and it was a slight from Omega which fueled Dustin’s fire during an episode of the YouTube series The Road to Fight For The Fallen:
Dustin is not pleased when his brother tells this story:
Don’t get me wrong. PAC vs. Omega should be great, and it’s very possible All Elite has other plans for the elder Rhodes brother (like cornering Cody for his match with Shawn Spears, and serving as a counter-measure to their father’s nemesis, Tully Blanchard).“We did a dinner a few nights ago and we were with a few of the TNT folks, and [AEW President] Tony Khan was talking about how you and I were a very good tag team. He was talking about some of the matches we had and, you know, as someone who’s a fan of The Observer, he was talking about how critically we were reviewed well, and Kenny Omega just exclaims, shocked, ‘really?’”
But I believe Dustin and Kenny could deliver a classic, and with his own personal backstory and the established notion The Elite don’t respect The Brotherhood’s WWE track record, Goldie would slot perfectly into the “both men have something to prove” angle AEW had established for Moxley vs. Omega.
So while I guess it’s not happening now, and I am excited to see PAC take on Omega, I hope AEW knows that at some point I would pay to see Rhodes try to make The Best Bout Machine eat that “really?”
And I doubt I’m alone.