Bryan Danielson has the chance to become AEW World Champion for the first time in his career this Wednesday when he faces Jon Moxley at AEW Grand Slam for the vacated world championship. And while the win would give "The American Dragon" one more bullet point in a long list of accomplishments, he actually has the chance to repeat history. Reddit user u/FishnBIcycle pointed out on Saturday that if a) Danielson wins the title and b) CM Punk officially leaves the promotion, "this will be the 3rd time in 3 different decades in 3 different companies that this has happened."
Let's unpack this statement. In 2005 CM Punk won the Ring of Honor World Championship for the first and only time in his career. However, Punk was already one foot out the door by agreeing to a WWE developmental contract, going so far as to sign his new WWE contract on the ROH title. The first "Summer of Punk" ended roughly two months later when Punk dropped the title at the Redemption event to James Gibson (aka Jamie Noble). Danielson would then win the title a little over a month later at Glory by Honor IV and would have a massive 462-day reign with the title.
Fast forward to January 2014 when Punk infamously walked out on the WWE citing numerous medical issues which he claimed were being ignored by WWE's medical team. Prior to Punk's departure, the plan for WrestleMania XXX reportedly included Punk vs. Triple H, Daniel Bryan (Danielson) vs. Sheamus and a main event match between Randy Orton and Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Punk's departure started the domino effect that led to Danielson getting booked to beat Triple H at the start of WrestleMania, then beat Orton and Batista to become the world champion.
Now another situation has appeared involving a world title, Punk and Danielson. Punk won the AEW World Championship for a second time at the All Out pay-per-view earlier this month but chose to voice his frustrations in the post-show media scrum regarding The Elite's leadership, Hangman Page and the rumors that were spreading about him trying to force Colt Cabana out of the promotion. This led to a locker room brawl involving Punk, The Elite and Ace Steel, which has an investigation that's still ongoing. Punk's status with the company is currently unknown, but even if he isn't released he's still out of action for approximately eight months with a surgically-torn tricep.
Ironically, if Danielson wins on Wednesday he'll join Punk as the only two men to have ever held a world championship in ROH, WWE and AEW. Will Danielson pull it off this week and defeat Moxley? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!