Dax Harwood and CM Punk collided on the 23 March Dynamite, but the match was allegedly put together at the very last minute.
The 23 March edition of AEW Dynamite featured CM Punk defeating FTR’s Dax Harwood as his quest toward the AEW World Championship began. Although the match was well-received by fans, including a Dave Meltzer rating of four-and-a-quarter stars, the pair weren’t originally due to face each other that night.
According to Dax Harwood, CM Punk managed to get Tony Khan to sign off on the match on the day of the show. The former Scott Dawson explained to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi how a Starbucks conversation led to Punk discussing the match with AEW management (h/t ESPN):
“[Punk] said ‘F*ck it, you and I are gonna wrestle tonight.’ I’m like, ‘Dude, please. Don’t get my hopes up.’ I’ll be damned, but an hour or two later he sends me a text saying, ‘We’re opening up the show’.”
Together, Dax Harwood and CM Punk wrestled for just under thirteen minutes, with Punk obtaining the victory following an Anaconda Vice. It was following this match that the former multi-time WWE Champion signalled to the cameras that he was coming for ‘Hangman’ Adam Page’s AEW World Championship.
Also while speaking to Marc Raimondi, CM Punk would call the Dax Harwood match the best match he’s ever been a part of:
“That’s the dragon I’m now chasing. I’m trying to replicate that feeling I had after that match. I never, ever say this, but to me that was the most perfect match I’ve probably ever had.”
CM Punk has since called Dax Harwood his wrestler of the year for 2022 so far, tweeting as such following Harwood’s loss to Adam Cole as part of the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament.
Both CM Punk and Dax Harwood – the latter alongside his tag team partner Cash Wheeler – were viewed as being mistreated by WWE at the time of their departures from the company in January 2014 and April 2020, respectively. Harwood and Wheeler would roll up to AEW just two months later, preceding Punk by fourteen months.
While FTR aren’t scheduled to be featured on this year’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view, CM Punk and Adam Page’s AEW World Championship bout is scheduled to headline the event.