Though they were positioned as rivals on AEW programming, CM Punk and Powerhouse Hobbs were anything but backstage while planning their Grand Slam Dynamite showdown.
The 24 September 2021 broadcast of AEW Rampage is regarded as one of the most important in company history. At the time, it was the largest crowd in the Tony Khan-helmed promotion’s history, with 20,177 rabid All Elite Wrestling fans in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Although many likely remember the Dynamite portion of Grand Slam for its clinic between Bryan Danielson and then-AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, CM Punk and Powerhouse Hobbs also produced a well-received match that was only Punk’s second match after a seven-year absence. He’d wrestled Darby Allin in his return match three weeks prior.
Speaking with Marc Raimondi of ESPN ahead of Double or Nothing 2022, Powerhouse Hobbs detailed a heartwarming conversation he and Punk shared while preparing for their anticipated encounter (h/t ESPN):
“First thing he said, don’t worry about anybody else, ‘Your mom is in the crowd. Let’s put the match on for her.’ That made me feel so much better, so much more comfortable with him in the ring. He just knew what that night meant for me.”
CM Punk ultimately defeated Powerhouse Hobbs that evening, pinning the Team Taz man following a Go To Sleep.
Originally Will Hobbs, the 31-year-old was signed by All Elite Wrestling in 2020 after a number of impressive performances for the company in enhancement roles. He joined Team Taz shortly thereafter, doing so in an ambush against Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin.
Having previously scored singles victories over the likes of Brian Cage and Dante Martin, Powerhouse Hobbs will now look to capture his first taste of AEW gold. He and Ricky Starks are due to challenge Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus for the AEW World Tag Team Championships at Double or Nothing, alongside Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland.