This is a special show as we will be getting a big crossover between AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling in a series of….I guess you would call them dream matches. The show has had a lot of things thrown onto the card in a short amount of time and the build has been ok for the most part. The good thing is that the action itself should be more than enough to make it work, so hopefully they can live up to the hype. Let’s get to it.
Buy-In Show: Gunn Club/Max Caster vs. Yuya Uemura/Alex Coughlin/DKC/Kevin Knight
We have the AEW mashup team against the Young Lions and that is a good way to go here. Throw in Billy Gunn to make things work and be the in-ring coach and it should work out well enough. I’ve seen the Lions before and they’re capable of having some good stuff, so the pieces are set up here. Give them a few minutes and let them warm the crowd up and everything should be ok.
I’ll take the Young Lions to win here, as pinning one of the Gunns isn’t going to hurt them that much. If nothing else, you don’t want to start the show with the outsiders losing so let them pick up a win over some names that people know. This match runs a risk of having too much going on at once, but at least they should be able to get the crowd off on the right foot early on.
Buy-In Show: QT Marshall/Aaron Solo vs. Hirooki Goto/Yoshi-Hashi
Remember like two weeks ago when Goto was in contention to main event this show? Well now he’s fighting the Baron Of The Bowling Shirt and Bayley’s ex-fiance. That’s a heck of a drop, but I remember liking Goto most of the time so this might not be the worst idea. I’m not sure how necessary another tag match is, but maybe AEW just really wanted them on the card for some reason.
I see no reason to go away from New Japan here, as they are a pair of stars (or at least names) and they’re up against Marshall and Solo. What else are you expecting here other than near dominance? I’m sure the Factory will get in a little offense of their own, though it doesn’t need to be anything more than minimal, as Goto should be able to take these two out on his own without much effort.
Buy-In Show: Swerve Strickland/Keith Lee vs. El Desperado/Yoshinobu Kanemaru
I guess they needed a Buy-In Show tag match where the AEW guys can win too. Strickland and Lee aren’t the most successful team yet but they do have some chemistry together. It might not be the best choice for a third match on the hour long show but at least they seem to have an idea here. Now just the match work well and everything should be fine, which shouldn’t be that big of a surprise.
So yeah we’ll go with Strickland and Lee here, as they need the win as a team. Assuming that is where they are going instead of to a feud (which has potential as well), a win here would do them some good and give them a place to start from as a winning team. Desperado is fun to watch so we should be in for a solid ten or so minute match to really get things going.
AEW Women’s Title: Thunder Rosa(c) vs. Toni Storm
So yeah, somehow in the middle of all this, there is a title match between two AEW wrestlers. Rosa’s title reign is about three and a half months old now and she still just isn’t that interesting as champion. Again it doesn’t help that Jade Cargill is the real star of the division and Storm has been kind of middle of the road since her initial strong debut. Now she’s getting a title match because….well….one of the three Women’s Titles being defended in this promotion needs to be on this show.
As much as I think they should go with Storm here, I’ll take Rosa retaining to keep her still mostly weak reign alive. So far, she just isn’t that interesting as champion and doesn’t have anything of note going on. Her feud with Storm just popped up without much hype but at least they’re getting a pay per view title match. Rosa returns here, though I’m not sure if that’s the best idea.
Young Bucks/El Phantasmo vs. Dudes With Attitude
That would be Sting/Darby Allin/Shingo Takagi and no, Takagi and Phantasmo haven’t made any important appearances on any of the shows leading up to this (save for maybe popping up in the show closing brawls). I guess this is about revenge for Sting and Allin injuring Kyle O’Reilly a few weeks back and somehow that means the Tag Team Champions being involved against a team that rarely wrestles together anymore.
It would be weird to see Sting lose so I’ll go with Sting N Pals to win here, likely after Sting does some big dive to pop the crowd. This feels like a match that is there to get some of the stars on the show and while I get the idea, they are being added into a card that is already packed. Watching Sting with the Bucks is going to be odd enough, but at least the match should be ok.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. ???
The mystery opponent here is not only the newest member of the Blackpool Combat Club but also the replacement for Bryan Danielson in next week’s Blood & Guts match. The heavy favorite seems to be Claudio Castagnoli/Cesaro, but it almost seems too good to be true. If nothing else, I’m not sure they bring in one of the biggest names off of the free agent market and have him get in a competitive match with Sabre Jr., who doesn’t seem likely to be squashed.
While it will likely be Castagnoli, I’ll go with a swerve and pick Lee Moriarty here, as the Combat Club did pick Wheeler Yuta for a young up and comer. I have little confidence that it will be him, but he at least made an appearance earlier this week and it would be nice to bring someone younger to the mold. Odds are it’s Castagnoli, but let’s have a little fun with a somewhat random pick.
All-Atlantic Title: Pac vs. Miro vs. Clark Connors vs. Malakai Black
This is for the inaugural and still rather badly named title. It would be a bit of a stretch to call this a tournament but they had qualifying matches to get here so close enough. They could be in for a good, hard hitting brawl here, even without Tomohiro Ishii, who is out of the match with a knee injury. As much as I don’t think this company needs ANOTHER title, maybe they can do some good stuff here to make it work.
I’ll take Black to win here, as the House of Black needs to win something already to make them feel like a threat. Just having them out there acting spooky and taking Julia Hart as a trophy isn’t enough so maybe some gold can make it better. If nothing else, it means that Black will likely be defending the title a bit more and I’ve liked having him in the few singles appearances he has had. This could go almost any way, but I’ll say Black for the title.
IWGP United States Title: Will Ospreay(c) vs. Orange Cassidy
This was quite the letdown for me, as while I get that they want Cassidy on the show, it’s a bit much to have him get a title match against someone who just headlined Wrestle Kingdom about six months ago. I would have hoped for a slightly stronger opponent, though Cassidy can have a hot match when he is taken into the deep end. I don’t know how long it takes to get him there though and that could be a problem.
Give me Ospreay to retain here of course, as there is almost no chance that Cassidy is getting a title in New Japan (or at least a singles title). Let them do their thing here and be entertaining enough, but after a few Orange Punches, this is going to be the Hidden Blade to retain Ospreay’s title. I could go for a bigger match, but Cassidy is a made man in AEW and getting the shot isn’t a totally horrible idea.
IWGP Tag Team Titles/Ring Of Honor Tag Team Titles: United Empire(c) vs. FTR(c) vs. Roppongi Vice
This is winner take all and if FTR wins, there will be a pretty ridiculous four Tag Team Titles running around the promotion. I’m sure this is meant to set up some big showdown with the Young Bucks at All Out, which does seem like a big match. It would have to be a big match with all of that gold floating around, but at least they do seem to have a plan, assuming of course that is where we are going.
After their recent losses, give me FTR to win here, as FTR vs. the Bucks again is a bit of a dream match in AEW. I really don’t need so many Tag Team Titles running around but it should set up a major match down the line. The Empire and Vice are just kind of there at the moment, though at least we got some Jeff Cobb out of things. I hope this isn’t the FTR fan in me clouding my judgment, but they seem to be the most likely choice.
Chris Jericho/Sammy Guevara/Minoru Suzuki vs. Eddie Kingston/Wheeler Yuta/Shota Umino
The winning team here gets the advantage in Blood & Guts as AEW continues to advance their own stores in this show (good) while throwing in the New Japan stars without really needing them here (not so good). Suzuki is a good choice for a monster to help out Jericho and Guevara, though it does feel a bit weird to have him here and then have him leave again before the big violent match. It should be ok though, which brings us to the match.
I’ll go with the villains winning here, as even AEW should know better than to give the villains the disadvantage in WarGames. Umino probably takes the fall here, as he should, possibly after Suzuki does the work and Jericho gets the glory. The Blood & Guts feud is only so interesting in the first place and tacking it onto this show doesn’t really help things. Jericho being on the show makes sense and I can go for Kingston’s violence, but this might have been better suited for Dynamite (or a coin toss next to the cage). But yeah, the villains win here.
IWGP Heavyweight Title: Jay White(c) vs. Kazuchika Okada vs. Adam Cole vs. Hangman Page
This is one of the two main events, even though a four way for a New japan singles title feels a bit weird. White only picked the title up from Okada about two weeks ago so could offer some long term stability on top of the card. If nothing else, this should give us a taste of Okada and that has the potential to make anything better. It’s likely to be a two man match though, making the pick a bit easier.
As much as I could go for Okada taking the title back (not saying it’s a good thing), White stealing a pin to retain the title feels like a better idea. White is one of the better things going in wrestling today and the Okada fatigue at the top of New Japan must be setting in at some point. Let White win here and somehow set up Cole vs. Page for down the line and we should be good to go.
Interim AEW World Title: Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahasi
For the vacant title, because CM Punk can’t just be stripped and made instant #1 contender. The other problem here is the very tacked on “Moxley must protect AEW” jazz that we had to hear about on Dynamite. That isn’t how the feud has been going until then and Moxley even wanted to take out Tanahashi before that was the case. Don’t try to turn this into something it isn’t, because that isn’t helping anyone.
I’m tempted to go with Tanahashi here as it isn’t like having him as the World Champion is a bad idea, but I think they’ll play it safe and go with Moxley to win the thing here. Moxley vs. Punk isn’t exactly a must see dream match, but it is big enough to headline All Out, assuming they don’t take a quick turn before then. Moxley wins here, and I’m at least 50% sure that is the right move.
As has been the case since the show was announced, I’m sure that the action will be good and that I’ll have a good time with the whole thing. The build is still pretty weak though as they have thrown a bunch of people and matches together, with some of those people seemingly there just to say there is more New Japan around. I do want to see the show, but I am really looking forward to getting back to whatever passes for normal in AEW.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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