It’s time for another AEW pay per view and as has been the case for a pretty good while now, things are not exactly feeling the most interesting at the moment. The World Title match doesn’t have the most personal setup and the rest of the show is feeling a bit hit or miss. That being said, the idea of AEW having a bad pay per view seems completely insane so I have quite a bit of confidence in what they are going to do. Let’s get to it.
Zero Hour: Jun Akiyama vs. Eddie Kingston
This is a match that was added after this week’s Rampage went off the air. In short, this is Kingston’s dream match and….I’m struggling to come up with a reason that should interest me. Akiyama is a legend, but there is no real reason for the two of them to be fighting other than Kingston just saying he wanted it to happen. For some reason this is added to the pre-show and now the night is even longer than it needed to be.
I’ll go with Akiyama winning, as AEW seems to like the idea of doing everything they can to waste Kingston. I don’t remember the last time he had something important to do and while I’m sure he would love to do the honors for Akiyama, it doesn’t make any sense. That being said, I almost can’t picture Kingston winning anything more than a squash at this point so we’ll go with Akiyama here, despite a lack of logic for doing so.
Zero Hour: Best Friends vs. The Factory
Ten man tag and also added on Rampage, but at least there is a bit of a history here. This is a good choice for the Zero Hour as you have fan favorites like Orange Cassidy and Danhausen in there against a bunch of clueless putzes like the Factory. There is almost no way to screw this up and I have every confidence that AEW will do the right thing with this one.
Of course the Best Friends win here, likely with Cassidy Orange Punching let’s say Aaron Solo for the win. The fans can pop for the Best Friends spots, the Factory can get heat on one of them in the corner and Cassidy can come in as the hero. As goofy as it is, this is the kind of fun match that they need to have and it is nearly impossible to mess up, as it is almost a science at this point. Best Friends win a fun match.
Zero Hour: Full Gear Contenders Tournament Semifinals: Ricky Starks vs. Brian Cage
This is the semifinal instead of the final due to Starks being banged up last week, meaning things had to be changed up a bit (fair enough). The good thing is that there is a bit of history here as these two used to be part of Team Taz together so it isn’t a completely fresh match. Starks is going to be banged up because it’s a rather effective way to build towards a David vs. Goliath style match, but that might not be enough.
I’ll take Starks here, as I can’t imagine Cage vs. Ethan Page in the finals. Starks is a much more natural fit and after he gets the fire beaten out of him by Cage, we can get to the important part where he wins to move on to Dynamite. That is a formula that will work well and I think it is what we are going to get here, after what should be a better than expected match.
TNT Title: Wardlow(c) vs. Samoa Joe vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
This was added this week on Dynamite but it has been building for a good while. Wardlow is the monster at the moment but is up against a submission master and a literal powerhouse so this could be quite the issue. The match comes after Wardlow has been dealing with both of them, as Joe doesn’t like the idea of Wardlow getting multiple titles. Hence why his ROH TV Title isn’t on the line.
Wardlow retaining here makes the most sense so we’ll go with that, though I could absolutely go with Hobbs winning his first title here. Other than that, there is a good chance that this sets up the Wardlow vs. Joe showdown, which has a bit more of a background. For now though, this is going to be a hoss fight and that is a good thing to have on any show. We should be in for a fun one here though and if Wardlow wins, things are that much better.
Trios Titles: Death Triangle(c) vs. The Elite
Let’s get this one over with early. The Elite is back, so far with no explanation for where the heck they have been or what the vanishing videos meant (to be fair, we haven’t actually heard from them yet) but it’s already back to the title picture. There are going to be some fans who are mad about the Elite being back and vice versa, but they are in a title match and that is what we are going to be seeing.
I’ll go with what the result should be here, which would be Death Triangle retaining. I would hope that AEW wouldn’t look at their biggest scandal in history, shrug, and move right back to what they were doing before the Elite were suspended. That being said, the Elite is the reason the titles were around in the first place so them winning the titles back wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. I’ll go with Death Triangle retaining, but with absolutely no confidence.
Luchasaurus vs. Jungle Boy
We’re in a cage here and that should be an obvious ending, but that isn’t often how things work around here. Jungle Boy’s focus continues to be on ultimately getting his hands on Christian Cage, who isn’t ready to get back in the ring just yet. Therefore, we get a big showdown with the monster instead, which could make quite a nice moment for Jungle Boy, assuming it is done right.
Jungle Boy winning here would be the right call so we’ll go with that, as it should clear him out to get Jungle Boy ready for Cage (not the cage, but Cage) down the line. The question now is how far down the line, but even still, this feud has already been stretched out quite a long time already. Cage turned on Jungle Boy four months ago so it would be nice to get to the point, but for now, Jungle Boy wins.
Jeff Jarrett/Jay Lethal vs. Sting/Darby Allin
There are two things that come to me as I think about this match. First: someone watched Ric Flair’s match, looked at the team that Flair BEAT, and thought “yeah I want them here two”. Second: Allin has completely stopped developing or evolving. How long has he been Sting’s partner or at the same level in AEW? It feels like years at this point, which isn’t good when the company isn’t four years old.
Of course this is Sting and Allin’s match to win, as I believe they are still undefeated as a team and aren’t about to lose their first match to Lethal and Jarrett. Bringing Jarrett in is one thing but I don’t think even AEW is insane enough to have him go out and win a match on pay per view in his debut. That being said, having him IN a match on pay per view is enough of a sign of insanity that it has me wondering about everything else. But yeah, Sting and Allin win here.
Britt Baker vs. Saraya
Here is your terrifying match of the show, as Saraya lasted what, a month or two in her last return to the ring? This has already become the top feud in the women’s division as Toni Storm sheds another tear for her completely dead in the water title reign. The interesting thing about this match though is they seem to be doing a double turn with Saraya becoming a heel to Baker’s face, and that could shake things up a bit.
As much sense as it would make for Baker to stand up for AEW and win here as a face after so much awesomeness as a heel, I’ll go with Saraya to win. It would be almost insane to bring her in and have her lose after several years away, but letting her say some of the things she has said is questionable enough. Saraya wins here, but it is going to be interesting in a confusing and terrifying way at the same time.
TBS Title: Jade Cargill(c) vs. Nyla Rose
Even though Rose has the title itself. I have a bad feeling that I know what this is going to be and that makes me rather sad. There is little to no reason for Cargill to be having the same matches she has been doing for a year plus now, but that is what AEW seems to have her doing time after time. At some point she needs to be able to do something else and that has not come just yet. At least now Rose has been doing something different with Cargill for a bit, they have to take the next step.
As much as I would love for Rose to win here so Cargill can FINALLY move on to something else, I think they’ll have Cargill retain here and get the title back so we can get back into what she has been doing for months on end. Cargill badly needs to evolve at least a little bit because the undefeated streak is killing her growth at this point, but she keeps the title here, even if she shouldn’t.
Tag Team Titles: Acclaimed(c) vs. Swerve In Our Glory
It’s almost weird to see a trilogy match in AEW but that is where we are with this one. It isn’t a bad idea for the most part as there is a story behind it, but with so many good teams in AEW, it is a little rough seeing the same match so many times. That being said, the Acclaimed is so crazy popular that you need to have them doing something and they should be in for another good one here.
Acclaimed retains here, as there is no reason for them to lose here as they are still crazy popular. This needs to end the feud though, as Swerve In Our Glory has gotten everything they can out of the feud already. I’m not sure what is next for the Acclaimed, but as long as they keep getting this kind of a reaction, they shouldn’t be anywhere close to losing the titles anytime soon.
Interim Women’s Title: Toni Storm(c) vs. Jamie Hayter
Poor Storm. She came here to get away from nonsense in WWE and now she not only gets stuck behind (at least) Saraya vs. Baker and Cargill, but she has to be the INTERIM champion, just rubbing in the idea that she isn’t the first choice. Since Tony Khan is incapable of letting the interim deal go, this is what we get here, even if Thunder Rosa is STILL gone with nothing to indicate she will be back soon.
In addition to all of her problems, I think Storm loses the title here, as Hayter is on a roll right now and it would give her a boost to the next level. Storm is dead in the water at the moment and there is no reason for her to keep the title. Give it to Hayter and drop the interim thing so we can move on and have a decent reign, because Hayter (and Storm) is good enough to get such treatment.
Ring Of Honor World Title: Chris Jericho(c) vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Sammy Guevara
The Ring Of Honor obsession continues as we have the match that has gotten more focus on TV in recent months. I’m as shocked as you are that Jericho is still one of the top stars around but here we are. This is at least a Ring Of Honor style match and it should be action packed. Unfortunately it should also be the end of the story, but I don’t think that is where we are going.
Instead I’ll take Jericho to retain here, likely to set up the big savior of Ring Of Honor (possibly Castagnoli or Danielson) at Final Battle. There is also the chance that Guevara turns on Jericho to win the title, only to reunite with him for the 49th or so time a month later, but for now I’ll say Jericho retains, setting up his big loss in a few weeks, which will totally happen. For sure. No question about it.
AEW World Title: Jon Moxley(c) vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman
So here we are, with the other match that has gotten some serious focus, though the match still feels like it isn’t that personal. Again, that is the problem with what is more or less a Money In The Bank briefcase title shot: there is no reason for the match to happen other than the challenger saying “we’ll do it then”. That doesn’t leave things feeling personal and the build has been a bit off as a result.
As for a winner….they have to put it on MJF here right? If they don’t, I don’t know what else there is to do. That being said, there is a rather strong chance that it happens at the hands of William Regal turning on Moxley, setting up a heck of a promo down the line. If nothing else, that is the kind of storyline shakeup that they need. We can worry about things after that later, but MJF needs to walk out of here as a villainous champion and they have set the stage perfectly.
The show does have a lot of potential because of the talent involved, but it also has a lot of matches, which tends to be an issue for AEW shows. I still don’t need this thing to be close to five hours, but that is probably where we are going. They need to stick the landing with some stuff here and there are a lot of problems that the company needs to solve in the grand scheme of things. The good news it that AEW knows how to nail pay per views and there is a strong chance they’ll do it again here.
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