Jon Moxley officially became the Interim AEW World Champion after defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi at Forbidden Door. The Forbidden Door clash between the Blackpool Combat Club founder and the Ace was intense as expected, but the former eventually came out on top.
With current AEW World Champion CM Punk still on the shelf, we're still a long way from booking a match to unify the titles. In the meantime, there is a full AEW roster bursting with talent, and many of them could be elevated to become world title contenders.
Here are 5 potential challengers for Jon Moxley's Interim AEW World Championship.
#5 Inaugural AEW World Champion Chris Jericho
The Jericho Appreciation Society is locked in a bitter feud with The Blackpool Combat Club, which is set to culminate at Blood & Guts in this week's AEW Dynamite. With Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley starring for their respective factions, it's possible that the two long-time rivals will renew their singles rivalry over the top prize in the company once again.
When Chris Jericho became the first AEW World Champion, it was Mox who dethroned Le Champion to end his reign at Revolution 2020, leading the company throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period of wrestling.
The Wizard is an experienced competitor who would be motivated to get one back on the current Interim Champion. Their match could easily headline a pay-per-view, given their star power and standing within the company.
#4 Malakai Black
Malakai Black has made it clear The House of Black is gunning for championships in the not-so-distant future. While he might have fallen short in becoming the first ever All-Atlantic Champion, he is destined for a bigger prize.
Speaking to Soundsphere, the former WWE Superstar revealed his faction's title aspirations:
"Every single day, we [House of Black] grow stronger and every single day, we accomplish more and more, and whether it takes us three weeks or three years or 30 years, eventually we'll get what we are owed, which is the AEW, hopefully trios titles, which is the AEW Tag titles, which is the most prestigious title in the world which is the World title being around either my waist, Brody’s waist, or Buddy’s waist." (H/T: Post Wrestling)
Together with Brody King, Buddy Matthews and latest recruit Julia Hart, Black has the back-up to dominate the main event scene if he so pleases. This could spell trouble for Jon Moxley and his title.
#3 Eddie Kingston
AEW star Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley might be best friends, but they have also feuded with one another over the World Championship. The Mad King has voiced his desire to become the top guy in the company and the only way to do so is to step in the ring with his brother.
In an interview with The Ringer's MackMania program, Eddie Kingston stated that he wasn't satisfied until he wins the AEW World title:
"No, I’m never happy [with my position], but that’s what drives me. I’m not happy because I’m not satisfied, because I’m still working. I’m not the top guy in my mind and I’m old school in this sense, the top guy’s the world champ, doesn’t matter who it is. That’s my opinion." (H/T: Wrestling Headlines)
The 40-year-old further explained the significance of carrying the championship:
"If the company trusts you to make you their world champion or the worlds champion in our case, in AEW’s case, then, you know, you’re the top guy, you’re the one, you’re carrying the company and I’m not there yet. You see, so I’m not satisfied, I’m not happy, you know?"
He will make the unlikeliest of champions but no one will question if Kingston deserves it. He is the heart and soul of the company, and his inspiring underdog story will definitely resonate with fans similar to how Mick Foley climbed to the top of the mountain.
Wardlow has boldly predicted that he will become a future World Champion. The homegrown talent is one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster, the result of a consistent push by the company that saw him besting his former employer MJF.
In an interview with Forbes, Mr. Mayhem said:
"This is what people need to understand. I am absolutely 100 percent without a doubt, without a question, am going to be the AEW World Heavyweight Champion one day," said Wardlow. (H/T: Forbes)
For now, the 34-year-old further wants to earn the opportunity to enter the main event and that starts with capturing the TNT Championship first:
“I cannot give my energy to that [the AEW World title] until I take care of unfinished business. You don’t just get to disrespect Wardlow and get away with it, and there’s a gentleman [Scorpio Sky] in the company that has, so it’s time for him to pay the piper,” said Wardlow. (H/T: Forbes)
With his impressive presence in the ring and awe-inspiring power, Wardlow is a surefire bet to win all the gold in the company. A match with current Interim Champion Jon Moxley could be an interesting clash of styles between the powerhouse and brawler.
If there's anyone that deserves to be a future world champion, it's currently-exiled star MJF. A few weeks ago on Dynamite, The Salt of the Earth cut an explosive promo that shook the wrestling industry to its core. In the segment, he criticized Tony Khan and demanded to be fired from the company. While that hasn't come to fruition, the 26-year-old hasn't been seen in AEW programming since.
"That sounds like a great idea [putting the title on MJF]. I'm still wondering when the fallout is going to be from this pipebomb and something's gotta happen here. Something's gotta happen here and those corporate execs, you know I can't imagine that they wasn't feeling a certain way... I don't even know if that's a work, if they were really corporate execs, that could've been plants. That could've been people just saying was just corporate execs." [1:26:26-1:27:00]
Putting the gold around MJF's waist would immediately make for a terrific angle as there is already a built-in storyline with CM Punk inevitably returning with his version of the belt. A rubber match could happen between the two.
While Jon Moxley currently holds the title, MJF could make his way into contention by defeating the Blackpool Combat Club member.
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