It’s time for AEW Part Four but the question now is how much this event really matters. Other than the huge main event, I’m not sure how much of an impact a lot of this show is going to have. We’re still about five weeks away from what really matters with the debut on TNT, though that doesn’t mean AEW can’t knock it out of the park again. After the big NXT to USA announcement, AEW needs something to get some momentum back and they could do that with this show. Let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Casino Battle Royal

They’re REALLY into this gambling theme aren’t they? It’s actually an important match again as the winner qualifies for the first Women’s Title match on TNT. The idea here is four groups of five women hit the ring one group at a time and then there is one person who gets to come in last. The problem though is that as of Friday night, we only know ten of the names included. With so few names known, it’s almost anyone’s best guess as to who is winning, which is kind of what I’m doing here.

They’ve done this before:

video
Since we don’t know how the other wrestler will qualify for the title match, a heel makes more sense here. However, since AEW isn’t really down with faces or heels, I’ll go with the main established female heel in Brandi Rhodes. It would make sense to hide her limited in-ring skills in a match like this and you can have Awesome Kong help her in the title match against one of the top faces in the division, likely Britt Baker. Go with what makes sense here, as Rhodes is a great villain and her bragging would be more than worth it.

Kickoff Show: Private Party vs. Jack Evans/Angelico

This is going to be little more than a showcase match and that’s a very smart way to go. Private Party looked great in their limited appearance so far and it would make a lot of sense to give them a win over a team that some people know. These teams can put on an outstanding athletic display and that’s the way you can build up a Kickoff Show. Not that AEW has figured that out as of yet but maybe this is where it works.

They’ll keep it going:

video
I’ll go with Private Party here for the logical move as the two of them could be contenders to be the first Tag Team Champions. They work well together and can do some great high flying stuff, which is going to get the fans ready for the rest of the show. Evans and Angelico can get along just fine with another loss and I’m sure we’ll be seeing them around here again. Private Party wins here and do so in an impressive performance.

Riho vs. Hikaru Shida

We’ll get this one out of the way to start as it’s not one of AEW’s strong points. Not the action itself that is, but rather who these women are. I know we’ve seen both of them before, but AEW has done very little in the way of explaining anything about the. Other than they’re from Japan and Kenny Omega is impressed by them, we know very little about them to make them stand apart from each other. That can change in time, but for now, nothing has been done to set them apart yet.

Sometimes you don’t need to know them:

video
I’ll take Riho here, as she seems to have been presented as the bigger star so far. What I would like to see though is some kind of a feature on either of them, just so we can get to know them a bit better. They don’t need some kind of a gimmick or anything, but something where we can get to know them a bit. Until then, they’re this company’s version of WCW’s luchadors, which is far from a bad thing. It just won’t work permanently.

Dark Order vs. Best Friends

The winners get a first round bye into the Tag Team Title tournament, which is going to be wrapping up on October 30, meaning they aren’t going to have a lot of time to set things up. What we have here is a team that is trying to be edgy vs. a team that is trying to be funny and those things haven’t gone so well thus far. Neither team has overly impressed me and I’m not sure I see that changing here.

They’ve got a plan:

video
What I do see is Dark Order winning as you don’t give faces like the Best Friends a first round bye in a tournament. Faces need to be up against the odds while heels get a chance to cheat, so why in the world would you go with the Best Friends here? I’m sure they’ll do their hug and various other spots that they’ve done for years that will pop the crowd, but it will be fairly entertaining to see them get beaten up, as it tends to be.

AAA Tag Team Titles: Lucha Bros(c) vs. Young Bucks

This is a ladder match and really the only thing left for the teams to do. Since AEW doesn’t have any titles of its own yet, it makes some sense to have them fighting over another promotions titles. They’ve traded them a few times already and while the matches have been entertaining, they haven’t exactly been the highest quality in the world with a bunch of spots after another. Hence why making this a ladder match is a good idea, as that’s the entire point of such a match.

Go and climb the ladder:

video
I’ll go with the Lucha Bros to win here, as they’re going to wind up as champions in the end and we don’t need to do another match to decide things between them. Let the Bros win as the Bucks are likely to go far in the tournament anyway. The Bros aren’t as big of a team as the Bucks (it helps when you founded the company) so going this way is what makes the most sense.

Cody vs. Shawn Spears

Spears is going to have Tully Blanchard in his corner for the odd yet cool pairing. I’m still not sold on Spears as a top name but he’s far from being written off. They can get somewhere with this match and hopefully show that they’re capable of turning someone WWE didn’t use very much into a big star of their own. That’s going to be tricky, but not impossible.

What a great concept:

AEW All Out - Cody vs Shawn Spears Live on Pay Per View this Sat, August 31st - 8e/5p

AEW All Out - Cody vs Shawn Spears Live on Pay Per View this Sat, August 31st - 8e/5p

I know I’m doing this a lot but I’ll go with the heel again. Cody is already going to be a top star no matter what he does and as mentioned, Spears needs that bump up the ladder. Let Blanchard interfere to give Spears the win or something, but either way, Cody loses. Much like the Bucks, Cody is already a made man because it’s his company, so Spears needs this a lot more than he does.

A Boy And His Dinosaur/Marko Stunt vs. SoCal Uncensored

I know this has been said many times now, but they have something with A Boy And His Dinosaur. The name alone gets your attention and they’re great for the little man/big man combination. It’s one of those things that has worked forever in wrestling and that is going to be the case here too. Stunt is….well he’s there too and try as he might, it’s still hard to take him as anything other than a novelty act.

The old guys can still go:

video
This time around there isn’t much of another option as Stunt and company have to win this one. They’re the more popular act and while SoCal Uncensored can get in some good lines, they belong on their backs at the end. Let Stunt and/or Jungle Boy sell for a few minutes and then have Luchasaurus come in and wreck everything. Again: it’s a formula that has worked before so why mess with it?

Darby Allin vs. Joey Janela vs. Jimmy Havoc

This is a Cracker Barrel Clash which just makes me want chicken and dumplings. AEW certainly loves their three way matches and it’s no surprise to see one on this show too. Allin has looked like a bigger star than the other two, though Janela did main event one of the smaller shows against Moxley. That being said, Havoc and Janela are both more niche performers than Allin and that is going to hold them back.

It sounds better than Darby Allout:

video
Therefore, I’ll go with Allin here as he is starting to become a player around here. It’s another case of AEW trying to make a star and coming close early on. They have a long way to go with it, like giving him a big win, so maybe he can get a medium one here. Janela and Havoc are going to be able to get over with their presence and character stuff so going with Allin makes the most sense both in the short and long terms.

Pac vs. Kenny Omega

Pac is substituting for the injured Jon Moxley in a match that was supposed to take place at some point after Double Or Nothing. Since Pac is no longer Dragon Gate Champion, he can wrestle and potentially lose here. Omega is one of the top stars in the promotion and Pac isn’t far behind him, but the question here would be is Pac close enough to him to win?

This is what Pac could have done:

Watch - PAC vs HANGMAN PAGE - 5/18 Nottingham, England - Wrestlegate Pro

Watch - PAC vs HANGMAN PAGE - 5/18 Nottingham, England - Wrestlegate Pro

I’m thinking no on that one as Omega wins, likely setting himself up as a World Title contender down the line. The other problem with pushing Pac is the same as before: if he’ll leave due to winning a title elsewhere, how far can you push him in AEW? This one should go to Omega, which I’m sure it will, just after about 18 V Triggers, 19 reverse hurricanranas and 20 stars from those Philistines who don’t use letters.

AEW World Title: Adam Page vs. Chris Jericho

Is anyone else not that interested in this one? They set the match up all the way back in May and now that it’s taken this long to get here, I kind of don’t care who wins. Page took a lot of time winning his most recent match and Jericho has wrestled once since then (on June 9 in Japan). The promo and segment they had at Fight For The Fallen was good, but I need a little more than that to get me interested.

Talk are Jericho and Page:

video
I’ll go with Jericho to win the title, though I can’t shake the feeling that we’re getting the surprise win. Jericho is the one who is going to make this company a lot more appealing to fans from outside the AEW bubble and that’s what they’re going to need. Jericho isn’t likely the long term champion so it can go to Omega or Moxley, but for now, he’s the biggest star they have by a mile and the right choice for the first champion.

Overall Thoughts

I don’t know if it’s the NXT move or the lack of running shows but AEW doesn’t feel as hot as it was just a month ago. Maybe they can get that back at All Out, but it’s not the best thing to have happen so close to the big TNT debut. That being said though, they’re cooling down a bit before getting a live, weekly show on TNT. That’s some rare air for a wrestling show and I can’t imagine any major trouble, at least not for the first few weeks. October 2 is what matters now and once we get there, we’ll see where things really are. For now though, holding steady is more than acceptable.

Oh and no Punk, but MJF trolls the fans about him.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.

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