The continued march towards a future with month-to-month AEW pay-per-views continues with this Sunday’s WrestleDream from the Local weather Pledge Area in Seattle—a present that after once more has as a lot intrigue for causes exterior the ring as inside it.
Nevertheless, that intrigue isn’t for a damaging motive. In a current promo for the occasion, AEW head Tony Khan stated that on Sunday “an period will finish and a brand new period will start,” which acquired Wrestling Twitter all abuzz. Khan didn’t do a lot to make clear his feedback throughout a Tuesday media name, joking (considerably) that he needed to promote extra PPVs and didn’t need to spill the beans on what he meant.
It’s uncertain it’ll imply a merger with Khan’s different wrestling firm, Ring of Honor, as on the identical name, Khan stated how a lot he’s been having fun with the promotion’s TV product as of late. It’s not his buying New Japan Professional-Wrestling (because the wild on-line rumor would have you ever imagine this week) that Khan considerably denied on the decision.
Khan is aware of that by making that remark and never attempting to downplay it, there may be now an expectation of one thing newsworthy taking place Sunday. Since AEW has been round for under 4 years, which “period” wouldn’t it be saying goodbye to in a major manner that followers would care about? I assume we’ll have to purchase the PPV to search out out.
This Sunday can be an fascinating check for AEW. Will probably be the corporate’s third PPV providing in 5 weeks, which means home followers can have needed to half with $150 to look at all of the motion. Whereas actually not exceptional in wrestling, it’s new territory for AEW and considerably of a brand new period in that regard. Having month-to-month PPVs generally is a optimistic for extra than simply monetary causes as it’ll pressure Khan to ideally convey story strains to a head extra often. Time will inform whether or not the followers are keen to simply accept the brand new PPV actuality as they’ve previously with WWE, WCW and others.
It’s additionally AEW’s second straight PPV with out an AEW world title protection because of the ongoing MJF–Adam Cole story line. As a consequence of Cole’s freak ankle harm sustained whereas operating out to the ring and leaping off the ramp final Wednesday, he’s off the present. However when given the chance to have MJF defend his world title, Khan selected to pivot to a two-on-one match for the ROH tag staff titles as an alternative.
One of many key variations between WWE and AEW is the fixed emphasis on the world title being crucial factor or, in AEW’s case, the shortage of emphasis. It’s a alternative, however a curious one which leaves Sunday with out an apparent primary occasion.
Regardless of all that, I’m excited and optimistic about Sunday’s card. As normal, there’s a whole lot of expertise being thrown into multiman matches with no ton of story strains to get extra folks on the present, however that’s life watching AEW. As at all times, the in-ring high quality can be A+, the present can be a stable 5 hours together with the preshow and maybe we’ll have our reply to what Khan meant by “new period.”
So let’s get to this card with the asterisk that the next is as of Thursday morning. As at all times, the cardboard is topic to vary.
Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
This can be their third conflict and their first since 2009 for Germany-based wXw. It’s additionally the de facto primary occasion because of the anticipation, the actual fact Washington is Danielson’s house state and that there isn’t a AEW world title match.
If that is certainly Danielson’s final huge push as an lively wrestler, he’s doing it proper with opponents like Sabre, the present NJPW TV champion. He’s had a number of appearances on AEW TV and has dazzled as anticipated. Is he on the title stage of different NJPW stars like Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito? I’d argue no, however his in-ring expertise matches up with any of them. He’s spectacular and in such a unique manner than anybody else within the enterprise. Whereas there are many wrestlers who work a grappling-based fashion, his aptitude in doing so is unmatched.
He’ll discover a keen and ready opponent in Danielson that ought to guarantee this isn’t simply good however nice. Nevertheless, the Danielson vs. Okada match from final June’s Forbidden Door left me wanting so there may be the likelihood this does the identical, however I’m keen to guess this beats expectations.
Prediction: Danielson wins
“Hangman” Adam Web page vs. Swerve Strickland
Practically 18 months after his first AEW match, Strickland lastly will get a singles bout with a former AEW world champion. What took so lengthy? Good query. The hometown man Strickland has all of it: the aura, the look, the in-ring abilities and the mic abilities. There’s little question he’s somebody who could possibly be a giant a part of carrying AEW over the subsequent 5 years, however he’s been caught in impartial and with numerous factions for a lot too lengthy.
Web page has had an odd 2023 after defeating rival Jon Moxley in a Texas Demise Match again in March. He missed two months within the early spring and was then a part of the larger story line between his Elite teammates and their Blackpool Fight Membership rivals till a month in the past. He seems to be again to singles as a spotlight, however I’ve no sense of the place he stands now in comparison with different former AEW world champions, the not too long ago fired CM Punk however.
On the show-closing promo on Wednesday’s Dynamite, Web page stated there’s been a darkish cloud over him for 18 months that seems to be lifted. I assume that cloud was Punk with whom Web page had well-documented points. It wasn’t the most effective go-home promo I’ve ever seen, however the placement on the present tells me this needs to be a comparatively lengthy match positioned in an essential place.
This can be a nice crossroads match that may hopefully elevate Strickland to a better stage. My intestine and historical past tells me this received’t be Strickland’s night time, as I’m not assured in AEW’s getting totally behind Strickland at this level.
Prediction: Web page wins
ROH tag staff champion MJF defends in opposition to The Righteous (Vincent and Dutch) in a handicap match
For the second straight PPV, the AEW world champion is not going to defend his title. Whereas he did efficiently retain on the “Grand Slam” version of Dynamite at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens lower than two weeks in the past, it provides to the historical past of the world title being ignored at occasions.
This took a flip Wednesday when it was revealed Cole broke his ankle in three locations and would require surgical procedure. That harm passed off when Cole was operating to help MJF at Grand Slam and leaped off the ramp. Wrestling accidents are bizarre typically.
As a substitute of creating a pivot to an AEW world title match, Khan determined to make this a handicap match as an alternative for the ROH tag titles. Whereas it’ll characteristic MJF in, primarily, a singles bout, it’s in opposition to The Righteous, who simply began out on AEW TV this month and aren’t close to the “stage of the Satan.”
On condition that Jay White got here out to confront MJF on Dynamite, that might seem like the course for November’s Full Gear. White was jumped by a mysterious group on the finish of Dynamite, with indications that MJF was behind the assault.
With Cole seemingly out for the remainder of the 12 months, that makes the ROH tag staff titles meaningless for MJF. However this looks like the fitting spot for Cole pal and MJF hater Roderick Sturdy to take Cole’s place and defend the titles alongside his enemy, which is able to assist preserve this lengthy and at present idling story line going.
Prediction: MJF retains
AEW tag staff champions FTR (Dax Harwood and Money Wheeler) defend in opposition to Aussie Open (Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher)
This can be a rematch from their extremely regarded NJPW Royal Quest II match, which passed off one 12 months in the past Sunday. FTR acquired the win that night time to efficiently defend their then IWGP tag staff titles, and the 2 groups have been saved aside till now.
After being so extremely regarded in NJPW, Davis and Fletcher haven’t totally discovered their footing within the U.S., which they admitted in a promo on final Saturday’s Collision. A part of the explanation was their taking a number of losses once they first debuted in AEW greater than a 12 months in the past whereas nonetheless members of the NJPW roster. A part of it is because of unreal expectations and a part of it’s the lack of a signature win in AEW. Repute isn’t ok to hold them alone.
FTR will proceed their current title run that began in April and has seen seven title defenses. These two are as constant as they arrive, however this doesn’t really feel like the fitting time for them to lose the titles—even when it will give Aussie Open that aforementioned signature win.
Prediction: FTR retain
Don Callis Household (Will Ospreay, Konosuke Takeshita and Sammy Guevara) vs. Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi and Chris Jericho
I’m often not a fan of multiman matches on PPVs to advance feuds, however I’ll make an exception right here. I feel this needs to be fairly nice with a whole lot of fascinating dance companions and mixtures. Essentially the most intriguing combo for me is Guevara and Omega, who haven’t combined it up since 2020, which is a lifetime in the past in wrestling. There’s additionally the recent Takeshita-Jericho pairing.
This can be Omega’s in-ring return after Takeshita defeated him at this month’s All Out. He returned on the “Grand Slam” version of Rampage to assist outdated rival Jericho fend off an assault by Takeshita and Guevara, newly aligned beneath the evil Don Callis’s watch. There’s intrigue with Jericho and Omega being on the identical staff as the 2 had two classics in opposition to one another, however the final one was again in Might 2019—once more, a lifetime in the past in wrestling. This looks like one other impending retirement bucket listing merchandise for Jericho in a run to the top, however we’ll see the way it performs out.
I’d be remiss to not point out Ospreay, who has had two classics of his personal with Omega and not too long ago defeated Jericho ultimately month’s All In. He immediately improves any match he’s inserted into. The identical can’t be stated at this stage for Ibushi, who appears to be like like a shell of himself after coming back from an extended absence as a consequence of an injured shoulder.
Callis is a hated villain, and his new Household is absolutely simply beginning to get going. The unhealthy guys will win once more right here.
Prediction: Don Callis Household wins
Lucha Brothers (Rey Fénix and Penta El Zero Miedo) vs. Hook and Orange Cassidy vs. The Gunns (Austin and Colten) vs. The Younger Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) for a future AEW tag staff title shot
The match will characteristic three former AEW tag staff champions along with the weird staff of Hook and Cassidy. We acquired a style of this Wednesday with a four-way singles match that was actually enjoyable. There’s a whole lot of historical past between the groups concerned, particularly with The Bucks and Lucha Brothers. Hate them or love them, the Gunn brothers are a extremely glorious staff, and their current inclusion in Bullet Membership Gold has solely elevated them additional. Whereas The Acclaimed has been lauded as homegrown stars, these guys are proper up there with them.
This can be a spectacle and a extremely enjoyable one at that. I assume the title match will happen at Full Gear and that it is going to be The Gunns who problem FTR in a rematch from earlier this 12 months.
Prediction: The Gunns win
NJPW Sturdy and ROH world champion Eddie Kingston defends each titles in opposition to ROH Pure champion Katsuyori Shibata
Whereas a random pairing, this present is designed to be a tribute to Antonio Inoki, who died one 12 months in the past Sunday. This may undoubtedly be an homage to Inoki and his fashion of wrestling, and certain a somewhat good one. Whereas they’ve by no means confronted off, Kingston and Shibata have teamed up earlier than. As a consequence of each the unknown nature of Shibata and NJPW’s relationship and the actual fact Kingston simply received the ROH world title two weeks in the past, Kingston ought to retain.
Prediction: Kingston retains
TNT champion Christian Cage defends in opposition to Darby Allin in a two out of three falls match
Allin has hit a ceiling in AEW and one which I don’t know whether or not he can break by. He’s unsuccessfully challenged for the AEW world title earlier than and has held and misplaced the TNT title twice. His second reign lasted all of 28 days and given that is his house state and that Khan loves making moments, I feel Allin will finish Cage’s quick reign partially as a consequence of Luchasaurus’s interference. This needs to be spirited to say the least.
Prediction: Allin wins
TBS champion Kris Statlander defends in opposition to Julia Hart
Hart will carry a 27-match successful streak into her first TBS title alternative, difficult the champion who was the final particular person to defeat her again in April 2022. Is there a signature win for her throughout that point? Probably not, however she was additionally out of motion a lot of the summer season so there’s not a whole lot of momentum going into this.
Statlander has been constant as champion, not too long ago dispatching former titleholder and WWE-bound Jade Cargill in a rematch. She remains to be lacking a juicy feud in her title run as an alternative of defending in opposition to the most recent contender of the week.
As of now, there’s no AEW ladies’s title match on the present for the second straight PPV, which is able to get some folks speaking on-line.
Prediction: Statlander wins
Wheeler Yuta vs. Ricky Starks
Do you do not forget that Starks received this 12 months’s Owen Hart Basis males’s event? Me neither. In two months, AEW has made the event a moot level. Starks has misplaced his previous three high-profile singles matches (two in opposition to Danielson and one in opposition to Punk) and isn’t going to lose right here to Danielson teammate and perennial loser Yuta, who hasn’t received an AEW singles match since November 2022.
Prediction: Starks wins
Extra From Wrestling Observer:
- Bryan Danielson ‘Absolutely Cleared’ for Match vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- WWE Pronounces ‘NXT Deadline’ for December
- Tony Khan Apologizes for Technical Difficulties Throughout ‘Dynamite’
- NJPW, MLW and CMLL Announce Strategic Partnership
- Malakai Black Refutes Rumors of One other Again Harm