After losing CM Punk to an “injury requiring surgery,” AEW is holding a big old contest to determine an interim champion until “The Best in the World” returns to the squared circle, starting with a Battle Royal to kick off Dynamite this Wednesday.

Unusual? Most definitely. Typically when a superstar suffers an injury immediately after winning a title, they have to drop the strap–see Finn Balor in 2016–but in AEW, that isn’t the case. Whether as a way to shake things up or as a nod to UFC, AEW has occasionally deployed interim titles to drum up intrigue. With Forbidden Door less than a month away and Tony Khan clearly determined to promote a championship match vs. a New Japan star, an interim title is a sensible way to go.

But who should be featured in this Battle Royal? Clearly it can’t be Jon Moxley, who will be facing the winner of the Royal later that night thanks to his number one contender status, nor can it be wrestlers like Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, or Anthony Bowens, who are all dealing with injuries. With that in mind, these five wrestlers certainly deserve spots in the Battle Royal.

5. Adam Page

While Adam Page is already booked for a match Wednesday with New Japan’s David Finlay, the “Anxious Millennial Cowboy” is still the most recent AEW champion and deserves a spot in the Battle Royal as well, if it is meant to showcase the best talent AEW has to offer. Assuming the winner of the Interim Title doesn’t get dethroned before Punk returns, a second Hangman-Punk title match would be fun to see.

4. Chris Jericho

AEW has crowned four previous champions in the promotion’s history, and while not all four can compete on Wednesday for a spot at Forbidden Door, as Kenny Omega is still injured, the promotion’s first champion, Chris Jericho, still deserves a spot in the Battle Royal. While Jericho has largely spent 2022 feuding with various factions with his “Jericho Appreciation Society”, “The Wizard” can still go and would provide a few big pops even if he ultimately doesn’t win.

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3. Daniel Garcia

Regardless of whether Jericho is in the tournament, his protégé Daniel Garcia deserves a spot in the match. Now as you may or may not know, Garcia is having a pretty big year, participating in and winning PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles, leading to him beating Bandido for the PWG title, and being hand-picked by Jericho for his Appreciation Society. Even if Garcia isn’t quite ready for the big belt, giving him more exposure and potentially another main event bout with Moxley could elevate his status considerably.

2. Jonathan Gresham

Jonathan Gresham is All Elite… sort of. The holder of Ring of Honor’s Championship since initially winning it at Final Battle and cementing his spot on the throne in a title vs. title match against Bandido, Gresham has been relatively quiet recently in Khan-owned companies, with his only major appearance being at Battle of the Belts 2 in a fun match against Dalton Castle. If Mercedes Martinez can consistently defend the Women’s ROH title on AEW programming, showcasing Gresham as an entrant, even if he probably won’t win it all, will help to elevate him and the title he holds heading into the new era of ROH.

1. Eddie Kingston

The best multi-man matches are ones that not only have an ultimate end goal but are also used to progress feuds between wrestlers and factions. Therefore, if Jericho, or anyone else from JAS for that matter, is in the Battle Royal, you’d better believe Eddie Kingston should be there and on the hunt too. Forbidden Door is quickly approaching, but let’s not forget that Blood and Guts isn’t too far away either. Kingston entering the ring to face his enemies would make for some entertaining and story-building spots and potentially set up a very interesting bout between “The Mad King” and the man formally known as “The Lunatic Fringe.”