It’s been a while since we’ve had one of these, but it’s time for AEW’s next Pay-Per-View! I’ll admit, with all the hype surrounding NXT Takeover, Summerslam & Payback, I’ve let my AEW viewing fall short somewhat. However, I dedicated this past week to catching up on the past month & a half of Dynamite, and I’ve got to say, I’m really enjoying the shows they’re putting out. Almost every week, there’s at least one match that feels like a big deal, and I can’t say that about Raw or Smackdown these days. Even NXT seems to be cramming its weekly shows with more and more filler (the past couple of weeks not included).
Regardless, there are nine matches on this show, and I’m going to predict them, because if I don’t do it, then you will? You know…other than any wrestling fan with any kind of minor online presence. If you saw my predictions for Double or Nothing, earlier this year, you’ll know that I got almost every match wrong, let’s see if I’ve learnt anything since then.
Britt Baker vs Big Swole
(Tooth & Nail Match)
Britt Baker’s injury was certainly unfortunate, but I’ll be damned if she hasn’t turned it into one hell of a positive for her character. It’s allowed her to play a properly slimy heel that can never seem to get her comeuppance because she’s hurt. Sort of like what MJF has been doing, but in a different way. Baker has been using it to take shot after shot at anyone she feels like dissing, and no-one can seem to do anything about it. Which is why I think there’s going to be some serious shenanigans at play during this Tooth & Nail match. Looking towards Big Swole, for one thing, that’s a dumb name, I don’t care what you say, but when it comes to her wrestling, she’s definitely got ‘future star’ written all over her. At the moment she’s not much more than a no-nonsense babyface who wants to kick people’s arses, and that works for her. It might not work forever, but that’s a problem for future Homer.
I’m curious as to what the Tooth & Nail stipulation entails. On Dynamite, it was implied that this is going to take place at Baker’s dentist surgery, and Tony Khan confirmed a few days ago that it would be a cinematic match, so honestly, anything could happen. Given that Big Swole picked the stipulation though, it seems an odd choice to give Baker the home-field advantage, but whatever.
I’m struggling to pick the winner though. Big Swole should definitely be being built up as a star, but I don’t think it’s going to be her time for a good 6-8 months or so. Meanwhile, Britt Baker is a ready-made opponent for Hikaru Shida already (spoilers), so provided she’s healthy, I don’t see any reason to delay that feud. Plus, as much as she’s been promoted as one of the spearheads of AEW’s women’s division, Baker isn’t a point yet where she can take innumerable losses and not suffer, she still needs big wins. So that’s why I think Britt Baker is coming away victorious in this one.
Casino Battle Royale
So, normally in big multi-man matches like this, I run down the possible candidates that I think could win the thing, but realistically, I think there are only two in this one.
I’m of two minds with AEW’s strategy for running a bunch of number 1 contender matches on their PPVs. It’s an excellent opportunity to give someone the spotlight who might not have received it otherwise, and I like that it gives the world title scene a constant sense of direction. However, I’m not sure a bunch of one-and-done title shots are doing much to elevate the contenders. I don’t know about you, but Brian Cage’s match against Moxley didn’t really do much to elevate him in my eyes. However, it’s a fun battle royal, and I like fun battle royals.
So, the two people I could see winning this thing (other than a surprise entrant) are Lance Archer & Darby Allin, and to be honest with you, which one I think is going to win mostly depends on the result of the main event. Lance Archer would be a great next challenger for Moxley, they’ve got recent history from their time in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and I would be down for a really brutal feud. Meanwhile, Darby Allin would be the perfect first opponent for MJF. From a character perspective, they’re perfect foils for one another, they’ve got in-ring styles that should mesh amazingly, and it would be a great showcase that AEW is willing to invest in its future with young stars.
Other factors that have played into my decision to pick Darby Allin as the winner though. For one thing, Allin’s been on the brink of breaking through for ages now, and they’ve got to do something with him before the fans stop giving a shit. Also, Lance Archer has plenty of options without needing to go after the world title. I would sure as hell like to see Archer vs Cage, even if it was heel vs heel.
The Dark Order vs Matt Cardon, Scorpio Sky & The Natural Nightmares
That TNT title sure has been going strong, hasn’t it? I still think the belt looks a bit boring, even with it’s improved look, but that doesn’t matter, because the booking team have been treating it very prestigiously. A series of open challenges is an excellent way to get me interested in any title/champion, and the run Cody had with the title was fantastic. Then, to have Brodie Lee come along and absolutely eviscerate Cody was the perfect next step. For one thing, Cody is easily one of the most sympathetic babyfaces out there, for another thing, it reestablishes Lee as a massive threat following his high-profile loss to Moxley. Not to mention, it’s given The Dark Order the credibility it’s been lacking, meaning I’m now a hell of a lot more interested in what they’re doing than I was before.
Given how close Lee winning the title has been to All Out, I don’t mind there not being any kind of title match on this PPV, because his presence around The Dark Order should be enough, especially if there’s an angle going down. As for the faces, I couldn’t care less. I’m happy to see that Cardona is making waves after leaving WWE, but unless he’s going to be a permanent fixture on AEW TV, then I’m not going to bother getting invested. I like Scorpio Sky, but this is not how I want to see him being used, he should be having high-profile singles feuds with anyone and everyone. I like Dustin, no complaints there, and QT Marshall is alright, but I haven’t really found a reason to like him yet.
Regardless, The Dark Order are winning this one, in fact, this is by far the predictions I’m the most confident about. They’re riding a huge wave momentum right now, and it’s way too early to hand them any significant losses. Combine that with the fact that the faces aren’t in a position to be hurt by taking a beating here, The Dark Order should absolutely wipe the floor with them.
Jurassic Express vs The Young Bucks
Yes, this is a match with nothing on the line, no build and is pretty much just ‘for the hell of it’, but it’s going to be excellent.
I’ve got very little to say about this match, other than that I’m really looking forward to it. Jurassic Express have been on fire ever since AEW began, and The Young Bucks have always been able to go with the best. The only there is to discuss is who I think is going to win. I think it would be nice for Jurassic Express to take it, but The Young Bucks have been jobbing themselves out like crazy since AEW began. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy they’re not going the exact opposite way and overbearing the whole show, but they’ve got to win big matches sometimes.
So I’m going with The Young Bucks, but really, I’m going to invoke the ‘we, the fans, win’ cliche in regards to this match.
Matt Hardy vs Sammy Guevara
(If Matt Hardy loses, he must leave AEW)
I don’t know why this pairing works so well, but I’ve been enjoying this feud a great deal since it began. Sammy’s sign schtick has been wearing a bit thin, but it worked for this feud and allowed for some cool moments. Not to mention, it made great use of the picture-in-picture aspect of the ad breaks. Their matches have been killer too, after recent events, Sammy was always going to have to earn his way back into a prominent role in AEW, and I think his matches with Hardy have done just that.
Apparently, a ‘Broken Rules’ match just means a Last Man Standing match, which admittedly, does take away from my hype for the match somewhat. I honestly can’t remember the last Last Man Standing match I actually enjoyed, but I do think it’s the logical progression given where they’ve gone with the feud so far. If nothing else, I think it’ll serve the story perfectly, even if the action suffers as a result.
If the ‘Matt leaves AEW’ stipulation wasn’t on the match, I’d pick Sammy Guevara without a second thought, but that’s really thrown things into the air. It’s entirely possible that Matt Hardy could be going away for a little while, many on the internet have already theorized that he’ll just come back under a different gimmick. The only problem there is that AEW has already acknowledged Matt’s multiple gimmicks to be the same guy, so I don’t think the logic would hold. Ultimately, I’d prefer to Sammy win this one, but as it stands, I’m going for the safe pick, Matt Hardy.
Chris Jericho vs Orange Cassidy
This match is going to be an absolute blast.
The in-ring action probably won’t be world-class, but in terms of pure entertainment value, this could easily be the most enjoyable match of the show. Jericho has proved time and time again that he’s one of the best comedic wrestlers when he wants to be, and Orange Cassidy is an absolute master of comedic timing in wrestling matches. Will it be over-the-top and a bit stupid? Probably, yes. Will that make it incredibly fun to watch? Hell yeah.
This feud as a whole has been really entertaining too. I love how dedicated AEW has been to getting Cassidy over as a real main-eventer, even despite his highly comedic persona. Jim Cornette and his screaming piss-babies will be forever crying about how comedic wrestling is the work of the devil and is ‘killing the business’, but it’s time to leave them behind and embrace the entertainment value of a guy like Cassidy for what it is.
The interesting thing about picking a winner is how the stipulation of the match is actually going to work. The way I see it, there is absolutely no way that Cassidy is going in the vat of mimosa. His character is one that can bounce back from any beating you give him, but humiliating him like that is insanely damaging to his persona. However, the match can also be won by pinfall or submission, so it’s entirely possible that Jericho could win the match via pinfall, only for Cassidy to push Jericho into the mimosa after the match to get the last laugh. Ultimately, I think that if Jericho’s going into the mimosa regardless, you might as well give Orange Cassidy as big of a boost as possible by giving him the win.
Hikaru Shida(c) vs Thunder Rosa
(AEW Women’s Championship)
AEW really need to get their shit together when it comes to the women’s division because this match has not been hyped or built nearly as much as it should. Shida is the kind of wrestler that you can build a division around, with her running strong at the top, and yet she’s barely on TV, and even when she is, it’s almost never in the ring. The treatment of the women’s division has been AEW’s biggest problem since the company began last year, and it’s incredibly frustrating to see that they’re not learning their lessons.
However, the one thing they do at least do well, is that they give the matches plenty of time on the shows, which is why I’m still very excited about this match. I don’t know a lot about Thunder Rosa, but what I’ve seen of her, I really like. As much as AEW hasn’t been pushing her personality properly, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve got of it so far, and I think she’ll click really well with Shida in the ring. I just think AEW has been leaning too heavily on Rosa’s status as the NWA Women’s Champion to sell her to the audience when really, that should be secondary to her character.
Now, I don’t know anything about what AEW’s agreement is with the NWA, but I don’t think AEW would be willing to put their women’s title on someone who isn’t under contract with them. It’s certainly not unheard of, but I’m pretty confident in my belief that Hikaru Shida is going to retain.
Kenny Omega & Hangman Page(c) vs FTR
(AEW World Tag Team Championships)
I didn’t think anything from this year could top Omega & Page vs Young Bucks, but if any team can do it…it’s FTR.
The build for this one has been excellent. I don’t like how absent Omega has been from a lot of it, but it’s a case where the story works fine without him; in fact, you could argue it shrouds the dynamic between him & Page in even more mystery. Everything Page has been doing all year has been great, and it finally feels like things are coming to a head. FTR has been masterful heels, manipulating Page to get him to screw over The Young Bucks and cause a rift between him & Omega, while not being so overbearing that they can have deniability about the whole thing.
I mean, come on, you don’t need me to tell you that this match is going to be amazing. FTR were one-half of one of my favourite tag team matches of all time (vs #DIY at NXT Takeover: Toronto), and Omega & Page were one half of the other of my favourite tag team matches of all time (vs The Young Bucks at AEW Revolution). With guys who can go in the ring like these and a story as hot as this one, I’m expecting a match of the year candidate.
Funnily enough, I think the outcome is fairly obvious. FTR are coming away with the titles. There’s definitely still a route for the story to go if Omega & Page retain, but I don’t think it’s the right way to go. We all know that FTR vs Young Bucks is where we’re headed, and while you can argue that match doesn’t need the titles, it should absolutely still have them involved. Tully Blanchard said it himself, if you haven’t got the titles, how can you truly say that you’re the best?
Jon Moxley(c) vs MJF
(AEW World Championship)
This is a real toughie. The thing is, this is the moment that MJF’s AEW career has been leading towards ever since he first showed up. There’s no way he isn’t going to hold the AEW Championship at some point in the next year or two. The thing is, is it actually going to happen now?
The feud has been great. MJF is the epitome of a clever heel. He knows that Moxley’s attitude is ‘fight first, talk later’ so he’s taken every opportunity to prevent Moxley from resorting to violence. The whole campaign to ban the Paradigm Shift has been a wonderful satire of the political landscape, without diving too deep to feel like a straight-up parody. Moxley’s bounced off it perfectly too. I adored his performance in the contract signing, where he just sat there and let MJF shoot his mouth off for ages, his facial reactions, the little comments he’d make were terrific. I honestly think Moxley could do very well for himself as an actor if he really wanted to.
I’m interested to see what direction the match will take. MJF can absolutely go in the ring – just watch his match against Jungle Boy at Double or Nothing if you don’t believe me – so they could wrestle a largely technical match. MJF touched on the idea that he was going to do everything in his power to keep Moxley from taking the match out of the ring, so I think there could be a great story to be told with Moxley wrestling a technical style in the ring. Alternatively, this could be a huge story-based match, with lots of excitement, big spots and interferences. I think either way would be equally as entertaining, provided they’re done well.
I’ve got to pick a winner though, and I honestly don’t know. As I said, MJF is getting his hands on that title eventually, I’m just not sure if now is the right time or not. It’s one of those situations where I’d be happy with either result, I’d love to see Moxley continue the absolute tear he’s been on as of late, but MJF at the top of the mountain would make for some incredible TV. It’s a tough call, but I’m going to go for MJF. I don’t know why. It was just my gut feeling.
And there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post. Please, let me know what you think is going to happen tonight, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo! Finally, make sure to come back this time next week, where I’ll be running down my favourite tracks from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise!