For the first time in a good while, we are getting a full scale AEW pay per view rather than AEW and some other promotion mixing together to make a big special. As tends to be the case on AEW pay per views, the card is absolutely loaded, even to the point of being WAY too big. There are fifteen matches between the Zero Hour (better than Buy In) show and the main card, all of which are absolutely necessary. Let’s get to it.

Zero Hour: FTW Title: Hook(c) vs. Angelo Parker

You know, because we needed to get Hook onto this thing. Or is it that we needed to get the “Sports…..Innderdainers”? Either way, this is the kind of a match that is not likely to take very long because Parker has never been treated as anything serious and Hook runs over everyone. I don’t know what else anyone is really expecting here, but at least Hook should pop the crowd.

Of course I’ll take Hook to win here, as there is no reason for it to go any other way. Hook is one of those unique stars that just works for some reason and it would be nuts to have him lose to one half of a comedy due. I’m sure Matt Menard will get his chance to be destroyed later, but for now, this will be Hook crushing Parker and going off to find some more chips.

Zero Hour: AAA World Mixed Tag Team Titles: Tay Melo/Sammy Guevara vs. Ruby Soho/Oritz

If anyone can explain why this match is on the card, you’re smarter than I am. This is the third time that these teams have fought in ten days and that isn’t exactly my idea of interesting. The first two matches weren’t good but now we’re seeing them again after a second match this week on Rampage. But at least they’re on the shwo and something is on the line, so points for that I guess?

There is almost no reason to believe that the titles are going to change here so we’ll go with Melo and Guevara retaining. If I had to guess, maybe Soho can even get pinned again to keep the titles where they already are. This feels completely out of the norm for AEW and I’d like to believe that it isn’t something they are going to do regularly. Either way, this isn’t something I’m interested in seeing but we’re getting it anyway, because something about a trilogy.

Zero hour: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Eddie Kingston

So these two fight back at a New Japan event in May and this it he rematch, which AEW is hosting so I guess they can fight each other once on equal footing? This is another match that was added on to the card and the story seems to be that Kingston is wanting to prove that he has become a better man since Ishii beat him the first time. I’m not sure how interesting that is but you know AEW will take a New Japan star when they can.

I’ll go with Kingston here, even if it is a match with virtually no build or reason to exist other than to get the two of them on the show. Much like the previous match, it is one of the first matches I would cut from the card, but it should at least be a heck of a fight with two guys hitting each other really hard. Ishii is getting up there in years but he can still do his thing well enough to get by.

Zero Hour: All Atlantic Title: Pac(c) vs. Kip Sabian

After several months of sitting in the front row with a box over his head, commentary just said “yeah that’s Kip Sabian” and now he is getting a title match against Pac. Why that is supposed to be interesting isn’t clear, as it’s still Sabian, who has never been much more than just ok during his time in AEW. It should be nice to see Pac defend the title on AEW TV for once, even under these circumstances.

Despite having no idea what they’re going for with the whole box thing, I’ll go with Pac to run through Sabian without much trouble. Pac is on a higher level and I don’t see the point in messing with the title on someone so far out of Pac’s league. Maybe commentary can explain something about Sabian’s deal, but for now, this is just a weird story that came out of nowhere and leaves me wondering why it’s happening.

Interim Women’s Title: Britt Baker vs. Toni Storm vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Jamie Hayter

Yes we’re still doing the Interim Champion deal and no I don’t quite get it either. This is the thing they’re doing rather than just vacating the title and moving on and it’s still not exactly a great way to go. This time Thunder Rosa has suffered a back injury and will not be able to defend the title, so this is what we’re getting instead. At least there are some options to win here, which always helps.

I’ll take Storm to win, even if the signs seem to be pointing to Baker. If nothing else, it would be nice for Storm to win and give us something fresh, as Baker and Shida have both been champion for so long. Hayter would be interesting as well and is a dark horse to win the thing, but I’ll go with Storm here, if nothing else to set up the Storm vs. Rosa match when she gets back.

Ricky Starks vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

For the life of me I don’t get why it took so long for these two to have something significant to do but at least they’re finally getting some kind of a match here. Both of them have the potential to be break out stars and that could very well start with this match. This is the result of a tag team split and that is as good of a reason as any for two young stars to be fighting.

I think I’ll take Hobbs here, even if Starks seems more ready to move up to the next level. The good thing here is there is no bad choice for a winner, as long as AEW picks someone and moves forward with them. Hobbs is a monster and Starks is more of a complete package, which opens up several possibilities no matter which choice they make. I’ll flip a coin and go with Hobbs though in what should be a fine match either way.

Jungle Boy vs. Christian Cage

We’ll stick with the grudge match theme here as Jungle Boy finally gets his hands on Cage after a lot of horrible things were said about him. These two have been on a collision course for several weeks now and we should be in for something good when they finally get to face off. There is a major wild card in the background though and that could be the big factor in the whole thing.

I think I’ll go with Cage here, as Luchasaurus has been so notorious in his absence for the last few weeks. If nothing else, it seems a bit too easy that Luchasaurus was Cage’s heavy and then stepped aside while Jungle Boy got to Cage. Maybe that is a red herring, but I have a feeling that Luchasaurus turns on Jungle Boy to let Cage get the win, which would set up even more between these three going forward.

Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Jericho

Hey, did you know that Jericho calls himself a Sports Entertainer and is a bad guy in a company that focuses on wrestling? I wasn’t sure if AEW had hammered the idea in enough just yet. This is a match that has been set up for a few weeks and should be a good one if they do it right. Jericho has a hit or miss track record, but Danielson seems incapable of having a bad match no matter what he does in AEW, meaning I have a lot of hope.

Danielson needs the win more than Jericho so we’ll go with what makes sense here and pick Danielson to go over. Jericho seems to be bringing back the Lionheart as he continues his own version of the 3 Faces Of Foley, but Danielson wrestling him down and then beating him, likely with Daniel Garcia not helping Jericho when he needs it, is the way to go. This needs to be Danielson’s to give him a win over a bigger name and that is what they’ll do here.

TNT Title: Jade Cargill(c) vs. Athena

Well it’s about time. This is a story that has been built up for the last few months and I cannot bring myself to care after so many months of Athena getting beaten up by Cargill and the Baddies. They have to have the match at some point though and this is as good for a place as any, even if it is something that should have happened at least a few weeks ago when the interest was still there.

Of course Cargill retains here and there is no reason for this to be anything else. Cargill is someone who is going to need a special opponent to finally take her down and as good as Athena is, I can’t picture that being the case. Athena will probably hit the O Face for a near fall, but ultimately it’s going to be Jaded to keep Cargill undefeated, as she should be at the moment.

House Of Black vs. Sting/Darby Allin/Miro

This is another match that feels like it was forgotten until the last few days and now it is taking place on the show. That isn’t the best way to go but there are a lot of names in here who should probably be on the pay per view. Miro vs. the House Of Black alone should be good and Sting/Allin already have issues with the team. Now just let them all go nuts and it should be fun.

This should be fun and I’ll go with Miro making Matthews tap to win. Sting and Allin can do their wacky things and Sting can probably have his showdown with Black, but with all of the reported personal issues for Black, I can’t imagine his team winning here. This is a way to redeem Miro a bit and that is the way they should go, as it’s almost easy to forget he is even in AEW half of the time.

Casino Ladder Match

A few weeks ago, I was wondering when AEW was going to announce another ladder match and here we are. This is the latest future World Title opportunity on the line and so far we have seven names, plus more to come. In other words, this is all about the Joker, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a big name return in that spot, as he is certainly overdue to do so.

In short, I’m going with MJF making his triumphant return, likely setting up the title match in New York City later this month. MJF has been gone for several months now and it is long past time to get him back so he can continue his reign of amazing. If nothing else, seeing him come in at the very end and win the thing without having to put in much, if any, work, would be a heck of a troll job and something I can see him doing.

Wardlow/FTR vs. Jay Lethal/Motor City Machine Guns

And here we have the weirdest match on the card, as I still don’t know why this is the best thing that they can offer. The match has felt thrown together since it was announced and for a very good reason: it is a thrown together match for the sake of getting the people involved on the show (you might be noticing a pattern emerging here). It’s nice to have them here, but Harwood’s speech explaining why the match matters didn’t quite sway me.

Give me FTR and Wardlow to win here, which is the only logical way this can go. At the end of the day, they both REALLY need something to do and this isn’t likely to lead anywhere. While I could go for FTR vs. the Guns later on, Wardlow vs. Lethal has already been done. I’m not sure why this match is taking place, but hopefully it isn’t AEW giving up on the three of them so soon, as that would be incredibly stupid.

Tag Team Titles: Keith Lee/Swerve Strickland(c) vs. Acclaimed

Now this one intrigues me and I’m not sure about where it is going to go. On one hand you have the champs, who have not exactly been given a major run yet and have only held the titles for a few weeks. On the other hand though, you have the Acclaimed, who are on fire and the fans absolutely love them, meaning there has to be some temptation to pull the trigger here. That makes this a little complicated and I’m not sure what they are going to do.

I’ll take the champions to retain though, as it just isn’t like AEW to take someone who is getting their big break and just cut them off so soon. The Acclaimed has come a long way but I don’t know how much they need the titles. Caster’s raps alone, or with Bowens’ nutty charisma, are going to keep them over for a very long time so why bother with giving them titles that they don’t really need yet? The champs keep the belts.

Trios Titles: Hangman Page/Dark Order vs. Elite

Yeah I don’t think there is any real shock that this is where we wound up after the whole tournament was announced. Even if Page wasn’t involved in the tournament in the first place, I don’t think there was any shock in the fact that he wound up in the finals anyway. These titles feel more and more like a vanity deal for the Elite anyway, and that is where things get screwy.

I’m actually taking Page and the Dark Order to win here, as it is more of a feel good story for the lovable goons to FINALLY win something than for the Elite to get another title on their resume. Throw in Omega possibly being blamed for the loss, Page redeeming himself, and whatever else the Bucks are going to talk about and the underdogs winning is the much more interesting way to go.

AEW World Title: Jon Moxley(c) vs. CM Punk

CHICAGO! Ok there now we can move on. For some reason this feels like it is designed to be a match for the live crowd than everyone else watching. I get the idea of keeping a crowd hot, but this story has been so all over the place and I’m still not sure I get why we’re getting things going this way. At the very least, this is the kind of story that needs to end so everyone can move on to something else, and in theory that is what they’ll be doing.

I’ll take Punk to win here, again going off of the idea of MJF getting his title shot in New York later this month. MJF vs. Moxley doesn’t have the history to it and Punk winning the title back to set up the big loss to MJF is a better way to go. This really doesn’t feel like a main event though and I wouldn’t be hurt if they went with the Trios Titles headlining instead (The heck am I saying?). Oh and one more time: CHICAGO!

Overall Thoughts

Long. That’s the overall thought for this show: it sounds really long. There are so many matches crammed into this card that I’ve been dreading it more and more eveyr week. I’m still not sure why AEW insists on doing this but for some reason this is what we get with their regular pay per views anymore. I’m sure people will be burned out by the end, but why let that get in the way of what they want to do?

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