Crown Jewel 2023 Preview

We’re going back overseas for this one as WWE returns to Saudi Arabia for another big show. One of the best things that could have happened to these shows is that WWE has begun treating them like the big show of the month (or one of two in this case) rather than some unique ordeal. For now that means Roman Reigns actually defending his title against LA Knight, plus a bunch more. Let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Sami Zayn vs. JD McDonagh

This is the next step in the rather long running battle between the good guys of Monday Night Raw and the Judgment Day, or in this case the guy who wants to be on the team. Zayn seems to want to wreck the whole team and beating their would be associate would be a good place to start. At the same time, McDonagh could use a win and it would not be out of the question to have him win here.

That being said, this almost has to be Zayn winning so we’ll go with that instead. Zayn is likely getting ready for a big match, likely inside WarGames, at Survivor Series and he can get some momentum here. Granted I’m not sure how much momentum there is to get out of beating McDonagh, but at least we might get something to start the show here, as Zayn can fire up any crowd.

US Title: Rey Mysterio(c) vs. Logan Paul

We’ll start the main card with what should be one of the easier calls. Paul has been one of the more consistent stars in WWE, even though he hasn’t been around very often. Someone who can draw in that much heat is worthy of giving a push and he might be in the right place here. It’s hard to imagine another part time champion, but in this case it is the right call.

So yeah absolutely Paul wins the title here, as there is no reason to keep the title on Mysterio. From the second he won the title, Mysterio felt like a transitional champion, which has been the case for more than one of his title reigns. Let Paul have the title in his big moment and build up someone else to come after it in the future. This should be a layup and I think WWE knows that this time.

Smackdown Women’s Title: Iyo Sky(c) vs. Bianca Belair

This is a rematch from Sky’s Money In The Bank cash-in at Summerslam. Belair had a good win over Bayley on SmackDown to get things ready but I’m not sure I can imagine her getting the title here. Belair held the title for such a long time that she doesn’t really need to pick up another win here, but it’s hard to imagine Belair losing a singles match to just about anyone.

With all that being considered, I’ll go with Sky retaining here, as Belair really doesn’t need the win. There is also enough depth in the division that Sky can defend against a few interesting choices going forward (Shotzi getting a big shot, say at the Royal Rumble, wouldn’t surprise me). For now, this is Sky’s match to win and hopefully it comes after a heck of a match.

Cody Rhodes vs. Damian Priest

This is another match that seems destined to move into the WarGames match later this month at Survivor Series and that should be a good thing. These two have mainly been working in tag matches lately but Priest has been teasing that Money In The Bank cash-in even more. At the same time, Priest could use a few big wins of his own, but beating Rhodes is another level.

I’ll go with Rhodes here, possibly with the rest of Judgment Day and Jey Uso getting involved. At the end of the day, I’m a bit tired of seeing these people fight each other over and over, but that is what we will probably be seeing for weeks to come. At the very least the match should be good, as they both know how to wrestle a rather good match. Rhodes wins here though, as he should be doing.

John Cena vs. Solo Sikoa

Now this one really has me interested as it could go either way. Yes it would make sense for Cena to win his first singles match in five and a half years or whatever the specifics are this time, but there is a very interesting story to be told if Cena loses again here and loses confidence in himself. Granted that might all depend on how long Cena is going to be around, but there is certainly a story to be explored there.

I’ll play it safe and go with Cena win, even though that isn’t what I want to see happen. Cena beating Sikoa isn’t going to hurt Sikoa’s value as there is no shame in losing to Cena, but my goodness it could be interesting to see Cena lose. I just can’t imagine it happening though and we’ll go with Cena winning, as it probably makes the most sense all thins considered.

Raw World Title: Seth Rollins(c) vs. Drew McIntyre

We have another intriguing one here as McIntyre has had quite the chance to explain why he is upset again and he kind of has a point about not getting his moment in front of people. At the same time, Rollins telling him to get out of it is a rather accurate response and it makes for what should be a heck of a showdown between two main event level stars in one of the show’s top matches.

While I could see McIntyre winning here, I’ll go with Rollins to win and retain the title. Rollins is going to drop the title to a big name along the line but I don’t think it’s McIntyre here. At the same time, I’m not sure what is next for McIntyre as a loss here could send him into a full fledged heel turn. A Survivor Series rematch wouldn’t be out of the question, but for now, Rollins retains.

Raw Women’s Title: Rhea Ripley(c) vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Nia Jax vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Zoey Stark

This is something you don’t see every day as we have an actual hoss fight in the women’s division. All five of them are rather hard hitting and we could be in for a big time fight. That is something that could go in a variety of ways and that makes it all the more interesting. The five way aspect makes a title change that much more likely, though there is one thing standing in its way.

I’ll go with Ripley retaining here, as she is by far and away the biggest star in the division and is not likely to lose the title anytime in the future. Unless Ripley loses here and wins the title back rather soon in a one on one showdown, it’s hard to imagine the reign ending anytime soon. Ripley is a star on another level and she can easily get a fall over one of these four while the other three move on to do something else. Ripley retains here though, as she should.

Smackdown World Title: Roman Reigns(c) vs. LA Knight

This almost has to headline the show and the story here is the rise of Knight. Despite not actually winning anything of value, Knight has become one of the biggest stars in all of WWE. He’s the kind of guy who gets a reaction no matter what he does and has that look in his eyes that lets you know you’re seeing something special. I’m just not sure that’s enough to take the title from Reigns.

I really just can’t imagine Reigns losing the title here so we’ll say he keeps the belt, but they better not have Knight lose clean. Knight is someone who could be something very special in WWE and a clean loss would hurt that more than anything else. Reigns should keep the title as he seems all but destined to face Rhodes (again) at Wrestlemania next year, but Knight shouldn’t be flat out beaten here.

Overall Thoughts

This feels like one heck of a pay per view card on paper and I could imagine it being rather good I the matches get the chance to work out. I’m not sure I can imagine some big title change outside of the US Title but that might be good enough all things considered. This show has me interested and that is more than I can say about most of the shows in this series so far.


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Fastlane 2023 Preview

We’re wrapping up the dead period of the pay per view calendar before we get to Crown Jewel and Survivor Series next month. That means we could be in for something interesting here and the card does look better than last month’s Payback. At the same time though, as of the night before the show, there are only five matches announced so far. While we are probably going to get a bonus match, this is all we have to work with at the moment. Let’s get to it.

Smackdown Women’s Title: Iyo Sky(c) vs. Charlotte vs. Asuka

We’ll start with a match that has a bunch of options and that could make for an interesting showdown. While it does feel like we’ve had more than a few triple threat matches for the title in recent months, it’s nice to see Sky getting to hold the title for a little bit. At the end of the day, almost nothing matters until you beat Charlotte and that might be what we see happen here. Maybe.

As nervous as I always am about the idea of Charlotte getting the title back, I’ll go with Sky retaining here. Asuka was champion not too long ago and Charlotte has been champion far too many times already. Sky needs the win a lot more than the other two and it would help establish her as a bigger deal. Hopefully it doesn’t take Damage CTRL helping her, but what matters is Sky leaving with the gold, which she should.

Tag Team Titles: Judgment Day(c) vs. Cody Rhodes/Jey Uso

This was a match that got a big boost from Smackdown, as Rhodes and Uso made a big save to help fight against the seemingly united Judgment Day and Bloodline. That spiced things up a bit more, though Rhodes and Uso do make for interesting challengers. While they might not be a regular team, they are the perfect choice to come after the titles right now.

That being said, I can’t imagine the titles change hands here, as the Judgment Day have just started something a lot bigger. I’m not sure if the whole thing is going to be a success, but it would be a surprise to see them losing the title so fast. It wouldn’t surprise me to see some interference to keep the titles on the champs here, but it’s going to come at the end of a heck of a fight.

Latino World Order vs. Bobby Lashley/Street Profits

This is a match where we are going to be in for a surprise as Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar are going to need a new partner after Lashley and the Profits obliterated the rest of the LWO. There is a name rumored that I’ll leave out to avoid spoilers but it would be quite the sweet moment if the prediction is right. Other than that, we are going to be seeing a strong six man tag, as Lashley and the Profits are already clicking and the LWO works well together.

While it would make sense for the new member of the LWO to get the win, Lashley and the Profits feel like they could be a big deal in the near future. That would involve them winning here and we’ll go with that as the pick. Escobar would likely be the one to take the fall, as I can’t imagine the newcomer or Mysterio taking the fall, but I’m curious to see what that means for the team. For now though, Lashley and the Profits win.

Raw World Title: Seth Rollins(c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

This is a rematch from Payback where Rollins won, but this time it’s Last Man Standing. In other words, this one is going to be about the violence, which is where something like this should go. Rollins can have that kind of match and Nakamura has shown the ability to go extreme if need be. We should be in for a heck of a fight here, and the title being on the line makes it even better.

I’ll play it safe and go with Rollins to retain here, as it is hard to fathom the idea of Rollins losing here, with Survivor Series right around the corner. Maybe they do a quick loss here to give Nakamura a bit win before Rollins wins it back, but I’ll stick with Rollins winning. And again, no Money In The Bank cash-in, because they pushed it a bit too hard this week on Smackdown.

John Cena/LA Knight vs. Bloodline

Odds are this is going to be the big main event as it has all of the star power. Knight is on a roll, Cena is Cena, and the Bloodline, even without Roman Reigns, feels important. The Judgment Day tying in with the Bloodline this week should make things more interesting and now we get to see what could be a big step on the way to one heck of a story later on this year.

While I could see the Bloodline winning here with the help of their new friends, Cena and Knight winning here is a better way to go. Knight can get a win over Uso and move even further into the main event. Reigns is going to be back next week on Smackdown and that should be enough to make things more interesting in the big picture. Or now though, Cena and Knight win to send the fans home happy.

Overall Thoughts

They more or less have to add in another match or two, as a five match pay per view is either going to have a few forty minute matches or be done in about two hours. We do have a good card as it stands though and that means we could be in for a pretty nice B (or even C) level show. WWE is doing well right now and it would be great to continue that momentum on the way into one of their busier seasons.


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WrestleDream 2023 Preview

So here we have WrestleDream, which is a show designed to honor the passing of Antonio Inoki one year ago. Therefore it’s another AEW show with New Japan guest stars, though New Japan is running a big show of its own on the same day so the visiting stars are limited. There is some good stuff on the card though and hopefully that’s enough to carry it. Let’s get to it.

Zero Hour: Nick Wayne vs. Luchasaurus

This is a side story from Darby Allin vs. Christian Cage as both have interfered in the other feud. It’s a speed vs. power match and that is something that can work under almost any circumstances. AEW really seems interested in pushing Wayne every chance they can these days but at some point he is going to need to win something. I’m just not sure he gets to do it here.

I’ll go with Luchasaurus to win here as he’s coming off the TNT Title reign and isn’t likely to lose to someone with so little experience on this level. I’m sure Wayne will get a bunch of stuff in and get to showcase himself again but that doesn’t mean he’s going to win. Hopefully Wayne gets to throw everything he has at Luchasaurus, but he’ll fall short in the end.

Zero Hour: Trios Titles: Acclaimed/Billy Gunn(c) vs. TMDK

This is the first New Japan match on the show and in this case it was built up as “whoever wins the title match on Rampage defends against TMDK tomorrow night”. That’s not exactly a thrilling story but it’s a way to get the titles on the show. Thankfully in this case it’s just on Zero Hour, meaning it won’t extend the show with a match that has very little in the way of drama.

Of course the champions retain here, as a group of guest stars aren’t going to be the ones to end the reign that is bringing the Acclaimed and the Gunns back to prominence. The (arguably) good thing about these titles is you can throw any three challenges out there and have a title match. That’s more or less what they’ve done here, though at least it’s a regular team from New Japan.

Zero Hour: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Josh Barnett

So this was added the night before the show as the result of a Castagnoli open challenge. Barnett has never wrestled for AEW before but does have experience in Japan so here we are. That makes for a tricky preview because there isn’t any kind of a story going into the match, and Barnett being a complete stranger around here makes it even more complicated.

Since Barnett is not likely to stick around, I’ll go with Castagnoli to win as there isn’t much of a reason to do anything else. Castagnoli needs a big win coming off his loss to Eddie Kingston and while this won’t be some kind of a game changer for him, it should be enough to give him a boost. I’m not sure why this match needed to be added, though more Castagnoli is often a good thing.

Zero Hour: Shane Taylor/Lee Moriarty/Diamante/Mercedes Martinez vs. Satoshi Kojima/Keith Lee/Athena/Billie Starkz

This is another match added during the Collision because MORE MEANS GOOD. There are a few people with some history here but a good chunk of it has been in Ring Of Honor. Taylor seems to be one of the new flavors of the month for AEW and it makes sense that they would want to get him out there in front of people as often as possible. Throw in Lee and this could be a lot worse.

Give me Lee and company to win, as Moriarty being thrown half a mile by Lee would be a good way to get the show going. Other than that, there is always the chance of Athena beating Martinez or Diamante. Either way, there are going to be a bunch of people in this match and there is a good chance that a lot of them are not going to be able to get in that much ring time.

TBS Title: Kris Statlander(c) vs. Julia Hart

Statlander has been a mostly dominant champion in her still relatively short title reign, but Hart has caught fire in recent weeks and suddenly feels like she could be a major threat to the title. The good thing here is that you are seeing two mostly fresh women in the title scene, which is what AEW has been needing for a very long time now. In other words, there isn’t a bad option for a winner here.

I think I’ll actually take hart to win the title, as it would be very deflating for her to lose after the big push that she has gotten in the last few weeks. Granted that might have been just to make her feel like a threat, but the House of Black needs to get something back after losing the Trios Titles, so this would be a nice fit to help get them on track. I’m not sure what is next for Statlander, but I’m thinking she should lose here.

Ricky Starks vs. Wheeler Yuta

This was thrown onto the card earlier in the week as Yuta doesn’t like how Starks has been going after Bryan Danielson. Starks has been on a roll as of late without winning much of anything, which leaves him in a weird place. Granted that is kind of why you put someone like Yuta in this spot as he could go a long way with making Starks look like a bigger deal after his losses.

I’ll go with Starks to win here, as there is little reason for Yuta to win. His role in the Blackpool Combat Club is to put up a good fight in defeat and that is what he’ll be doing here. Starks is red hot and for someone who keeps losing so giving him a win here would be the right way to go. They’ll have a good match, but at the end of the day, Starks needs this way more than Yuta.

Young Bucks vs. The Gunns vs. Lucha Bros vs. Orange Cassidy/Hook

For a future AEW Tag Team Title shot, which sounds a bit like a Money In The Bank deal. We’ll start with getting rid of Cassidy and Hook, who are a fun team, but I can’t imagine they actually get put into the title picture so soon. That leaves a few options, and I could picture any of the three getting the shot. It’s nice to have options here, and unfortunately none of them really stand out.

While the Bucks would be the interesting way to go, I’ll take the Gunns getting the win here. FTR vs. the Lucha Bros doesn’t sound like it would be the most engaging match and the Bucks vs. FTR has been done so many times now. Go with FTR vs. the Gunns, which does have a history but hasn’t been hammered into the ground. This is going to be the “everyone flies all over the place” match and it should be entertaining enough. Just don’t do the Money In The Bank deal, please.

AEW Tag Team Titles: FTR(c) vs. Aussie Open

This one is a little more interesting as I could see the titles changing hands. Aussie Open has come a long way and established themselves as one of the better teams in AEW at the moment. That means they can be put into this spot for a shot at the best team around without much trouble. The teams have even traded some promos to hype things up even more and so far, they’ve done their jobs.

With that being said, for the life of me I can’t imagine FTR losing the belts They can have good to great matches with just about any team and it would feel like a waste to take away that option, especially with them frequenting Collision. The Aussies will give them one heck of a run for their money, but FTR comes out on top of this by retaining the titles, and that’s the right choice.

Chris Jericho/Kenny Omega/Kota Ibushi vs. Konosuke Takeshita/Sammy Guevara/Will Ospreay

This is the Don Callis Family match, which has seen two feuds combined into one for the sake of taking away some of Callis’ television time. Ignoring that aspect though, we should be in for a heck of a match here, especially if Ibushi is able to wrestle more like his old self than the version we have seen in AEW so far. Everything else should work well and I’m wanting to see how this goes.

After dominating for a good while, this should be the match where Callis and company can drop a match to the conquering heroes. Guevara taking a fall from Omega or even Jericho won’t ruin him as they can get set up for another singles showdown in the future. Either way, this has the potential to steal the show and if they can get to that higher level, it very well may be the best thing on the show.

Ring Of Honor World Title/New Japan Strong Openweight Title: Eddie Kingston(c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata

It’s a double title match with Shibata’s ROH Pure Title not on the line, meaning commentary has said that Shibata can become a triple crown champion. At least Shibata is someone who has wrestled in Ring Of Honor more than once, as there is far too much of a tendency for random people to get title shots (like earlier in the show or example). Shibata is also someone Kingston is going to respect so there is a real chance he’ll bring the work here.

As for a winner, much like the Trios Titles, there isn’t much of a reason to believe the title is going to change hands, especially so soon after Kingston won the ROH title in the first place. Kingston needs to rack up some wins to make him feel like a bigger deal and this would be a nice addition. It should be a hard hitting match as well and that should take them far enough, but yeah Kingston retains.

Ring Of Honor Tag Team Titles: Maxwell Jacob Friedman(c) vs. Righteous

So this was supposed to be a tag match with Adam Cole included but he’s basically destroyed his ankle, leaving us with a handicap match instead. That puts them in a tough spot and again I’m not sure where this is going to go. On one hand, MJF doesn’t need to have the titles anymore if Cole is injured, but the titles changing hands would involve the Righteous beating the AEW World Champion.

As little sense as it might make, I’ll go with MJF retaining, as I can’t imagine either Vincent or Dutch pinning him or making him give up. There is always the chance of some kind of screwy finish and that is probably coming later, but it is still hard to fathom that anyone but the Kingdom is taking the titles from Cole and MJF. Or is it just MJF these days? Either way, the Righteous don’t win here.

Hangman Page vs. Swerve Strickland

This is the match that has felt the most interesting throughout the build to the show and the contract signing this week kept that interest high. Both guys need a big win and they have me wanting to see them fight, which is a great sign for one of them. Hopefully the loser isn’t going to be hurt that badly but there is a good chance that this is going to continue beyond this match.

Give me Swerve here, as a Page win would seem to wrap things up between them with a tighter bow. As much as Page could use a win, he’s had success before and is a much more accomplished star in AEW. Let Swerve get his win and move up the card a bit, as a win over a former World Champion is going to do a lot of good no matter what. Page should be fine, but either way, this match should rock.

Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

What we have here is the kind of match that sells itself on name value alone. The idea of Danielson vs. Sabre Jr. is going to get hardcore fans interested and there is a very real chance that they could live up to or even exceed their expectations. That might be a very hard task to pull off, but these are the kind of stars who might be able to pull that kind of a miracle off.

As has been a trend here, there isn’t much of a reason for the star who is going to be going away after this show winning, so I’ll take Danielson to win here. Yes he did it in a pay per view main event against a guest star this year and that should cover him for well over a year, but I can’t imagine Sabre winning here. Danielson has things to do in AEW and downgrading him (as much as that can be done) with a loss to a one off guest star doesn’t make sense.

TNT Title: Christian Cage(c) vs. Darby Allin

This is the rumored main event for the show and with Allin as the hometown boy in a 2/3 falls match, that is not the worst idea. These two had a rather nice match a month or so ago on Collision and if they do that again with more time and on a bigger stage, we should be in for a pretty solid main event. That leaves a pair of questions though and I think I have the answer to at least one.

Of course I’ll take Allin winning here, as otherwise it would run a real threat of killing Seattle for AEW. Allin winning is the perfect way to go and it would be a great moment to end things on. Then again, there is also the chance that we get an Edge debut here to do something with Cage, though hopefully that doesn’t include giving him an assist to keep the title. Allin wins here, as he should.

Overall Thoughts

That’s a lot of matches. Once I get to the end of the card, I’ve already forgot a good few of the matches involved as there are too many for the show’s own good. Then again that is the case with almost every AEW show, which makes it all the more frustrating. The action will be rather good as it almost always is, but the way the show is presented is such a self imposed roadblock. It still feels like a B show, but now it feels like a rather bloated B show.



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NXT No Mercy 2023 Preview

NXT is back on the road as they head to California for No Mercy. This is the kind of thing that makes NXT feel like such a bigger deal as it is such a bigger stage than that little studio in Florida. The card happens to be stacked and it’s one of the better looking NXT cards that I have seen in a good while. That has been the case before but they have some more work to do. Let’s get to it.

Pre-Show: Blair Davenport vs. Kelani Jordan

This was announced after NXT went off the air this week so there isn’t much of a build here. That being said, Davenport has been a monster heel in recent weeks and Jordan is someone who had been looking up to Dana Brooke before Brooke’s release. In other words, there isn’t much of a reason to believe this is going to be overly competitive, but there might be one reason to believe otherwise.

I’m going to go with what should be the obvious pick in Davenport, but I can’t shake the feeling that Gigi Dolin will interfere to cost Davenport the win in a big embarrassment. Dolin vs. Davenport has been set up for a long time now and it would be interesting to see Dolin get one back on Davenport after she attacked Dolin earlier this week. I’ll go with Davenport here, but a Dolin inspired upset wouldn’t shock me.

Bron Breakker vs. Baron Corbin

Sometimes you need to let two power guys beat the fire out of each other and that is what we are going to be seeing here. These two got the big go home segment to end this week’s NXT as they literally went through a wall during their fight. Corbin can do rather well when he is given the chance and having a fired up Breakker could do just that. Breakker could use the win too and I think you know where this is going.

There is no reason to buy Corbin winning here so I’ll take Breakker getting another big win over a stronger name. Breakker has been kind of floating for the last few weeks but having him beat Corbin up for a little while, survive some big moves and then win is a smart way to go. It might even be a fun match on the way there, but Breakker wins here, as there isn’t much of a reason for anything else to happen.

Tag Team Titles: Tony D’Angelo/Stacks(c) vs. Lucien Price/Bronco Nima vs. Creed Brothers vs. Humberto Carrillo/Angel Garza

As is the case with most title matches, this was set up through a nice Italian dinner. The tag division has started a nice little rebuild, but at the end of the day, the Creed Brothers feel like they’re that much better than anyone else. I’m not sure if that’s going to be enough to get them to win the titles though, as it’s hard to fathom the Creeds being in NXT that much longer.

For now, I’ll take the champions retaining, though there is a case to be made for giving the titles to anyone but the Creeds. Carrillo and Garza are a more experienced team and need something to make them feel more special, while Price and Nima could get a heck of a rub by winning the titles so soon into their run. The good thing with a four way is that you still have contenders coming out of the match as only one team gets beaten, and we’ll say the champs get to do said beating here.

Heritage Cup: Noam Dar(c) vs. Butch

This is the result of a nearly month long tournament to crown a new #1 contender and that makes things interesting. It’s kind of hard to imagine Butch coming up short after that long. The problem here could be having Tyler Bate in Butch’s corner, which feels like a way to set up some kind of screwy finish. At the same time, it’s hard to imagine it’s hard to imagine having another main roster star winning an NXT title.

That being said, having a tournament go on that long with Butch winning, only to lose here and keep the title on Dar doesn’t make a ton of sense. Dar has been either champion or right there next to it for months now and I don’t see the need to keep it on him. Butch has been needing a win to get himself back up and I’ll say he wins here, though I have quite the feeling that I’m wrong on this one.

North American Title: Dominik Mysterio(c) vs. Trick Williams

So this one is a bit more interesting as you have Williams replacing the suddenly released Mustafa Ali. Williams has felt like someone who is being groomed for the next big step up the ladder, with a Carmelo Hayes match feeling like it’s on the horizon. That being said, it would be a big deal to take the title from Mysterio, who is quite the big deal in his own right on the main roster.

I can’t imagine Mysterio losing here so we’ll go with him retaining the title. Williams is someone who could become a big deal rather quickly but Mysterio losing the title so soon doesn’t feel right. At the same time, Mysterio losing the title without Rhea Ripley being involved doesn’t feel right. Mysterio retains here, likely with some interference to keep Williams looking strong.

Women’s Title: Becky Lynch(c) vs. Tiffany Stratton

This is Extreme Rules and a rematch from earlier this month when Lynch took the title from Stratton. That makes things all the more interesting, as Lynch already has everything on Monday Night Raw and she isn’t going to be the champion long term. At the same time though, I’m not sure I can imagine her losing the title here. Stratton feels like she is going to be a big star, but I’m not sure we’re at that point yet.

I’m not feeling overly strong on this one, but I’ll take Lynch to retain here. Stratton certainly has a lot of the tools needed to step up sooner than later, but beating Lynch is one heck of an upgrade. There’s a chance that Stratton wins here, though I’ll go with Lynch retaining after a better fight than the previous edition. Lynch goes over here, but after getting quite the test from Stratton.

NXT Title: Carmelo Hayes(c) vs. Ilja Dragunov

This is a rematch from Hayes beating Dragunov at the Great American Bash where Dragunov was sent into a chair. That makes the question whether or not Hayes can win on his own here, and we could be in for a heck of a fight. Dragunov knows how to bring up the emotion with some outstanding near falls and selling the pain he’s going through, which should be the case again here. I’m just not sure how it’s going to end and that’s confusing.

I’ll go with….geez I guess Hayes here, as it doesn’t feel like he’s ready to lose the title here, but dang it’s hard to imagine Dragunov losing another big match. Hayes needs to win here to prove that he’s the big star and he has Williams waiting on him sooner or later. That match doesn’t necessarily need to be for the title, but for now we’ll say the title stays with Hayes after a better match than their first showdown.

Overall Thoughts

The more I look at this card, the better it’s looking. NXT has figured itself out in recent months and that has made it a good show to see again. Now they need to figure out how to make the big shows work, but the pieces are all there to have a successful night. I’m excited about this show and that’s a nice feeling to have, though having it actually be a good show is what matters most.



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All Out 2023 Preview

Well we’re back on pay per view about a week after the last one and that might not be the best idea. The build to All Out, the full week that we’ve had for it, has been a bit lacking, as AEW does not seem to have the most steam coming out of All In. Some of that can be attributed to the CM Punk debacle, but I’m not sure if that is going to be enough to make the show work. There is some potential in the card though and that is a good sign. Let’s get to it.

Zero Hour: Athena/Mercedes Martinez/Diamante vs. Hikaru Shida/Willow Nightingale/Skye Blue

This is some weird ROH vs. AEW style match and that is kid of indicative of how the women’s division has been going as of late. Thankfully the Outcasts are not involved in this one and we should be able to get some focus on some stars who could use the attention. Athena has been on fire in ROH and Martinez can work well with anyone. Throw in Shida and Nightingale and this has some potential.

I’ll go with Blue and company though, as she feels like the definition of someone in this match for the hometown pop. Blue can handle herself well enough in the ring, but the fact that she was in Chicago themed gear on Rampage told me all I needed to know about this one. We should be in for a fun opener, but odds are it gets about eight minutes, like so many women’s matches these days.

Zero Hour: Trios Titles: Acclaimed/Billy Gunn(c) vs. Jeff Jarrett/Jay Lethal/Satnam Singh

Normally the titles would be enough to drive the interest here but this is almost all about Dennis Rodman being in the champs’ corner. That’s another one pretty much entirely for the Chicago crowd and again, that isn’t a terrible idea. Rodman is going to stand in the corner for most of the match, put a cigar in his mouth, and probably punch Sonjay Dutt. Other than that though, we do have some titles on the line.

In what might be the easiest pick of the night, there is almost no chance of the titles changing hands here so we’ll go with the champs retaining. They just won the titles a week ago and there is no reason to believe that they are going to lose here. Just let the champs get another title victory and move on to whomever is next, though without Rodman after this one time.

Zero Hour: Over The Budget Battle Royal

This is a battle royal with no announced entrants, but the winner gets to make a $50,000 donation to the charity of their choice. That is the kind of thing that could make for quite the mess behind the scenes as AEW gets to pick a charity. Either that or we have the wrestlers all pick the same charity without letting it be known in advance. Now that being said, this is going to be a tricky one to pull off, as we don’t know who is actually in the ting.

Since the other two matches on Zero Hour have Chicago connections, and given the situation that took place this year, I’ll go with Colt Cabana to win the thing, both as a friendly Chicago deal and a big farewell to CM Punk. This is a match that pretty much can’t be previewed due to the whole WE DON’T KNOW WHO IS IN IT, but at least the charity stuff is a nice prize for a change.

TNT Title: Kris Statlander(c) vs. Ruby Soho

Here we have a match that isn’t likely to get much time but could do well for a match that gives the show a chance to breathe. Statlander has been built up rather well since winning the title and has been racking up wins, but that is going to have to end at some point. At the same time, Soho has to actually win something at some point, though I’m not sure if that is going to take place here.

I’ll go with Statlander retaining the title here, though after a rather good match. Soho is someone who can work with just about anyone and should be able to have a solid back and forth match with Statlander. At the end of the day though, the Outcasts having both titles doesn’t seem like the best idea so we’ll go with Statlander retaining, with the champ getting another nice win.

Eddie Kingston/Katsuyori Shibata vs. Claudio Castagnoli/Wheeler Yuta

This is a match that was added to the card without much fanfare and I’m not sure how good of a situation that is going to be. Kingston vs. Castagnoli has been going on for most of the last five months and at some point, Kingston almost has to win the Ring Of Honor World Title. For now though, we’re stuck here with another tag match, which is likely to help set up Yuta for another Pure Rules Title shot. That’s not the most interesting thing, but here we are anyway.

I’ll take Kingston/Shibata for the win here, as there is really not much of a reason for them to lose. Since the Pure Rules Title shots are pretty much handed out, Kingston getting a pin, likely over Yuta, will keep the feud going. At the very least, we should be on the way to Final Battle for Kingston vs. Castagnoli, but since ROH takes it sweet time, we have to get through something like this on the way there. Kingston and Shibata win here.

Ring Of Honor TV Title: Samoa Joe(c) vs. Shane Taylor

So this is taking place on the AEW pay per view for reasons I do not fathom whatsoever. Taylor has wrestled two matches ever in AEW (both on Dark) and is basically a stranger unless you watch ROH. That doesn’t make for the most thrilling match, though Taylor did win a tournament to get the title shot. We have the potential for a heck of a hoss fight here, and if that is the case, we’ll be good to go.

There is no reason or Taylor to get the title back here so I’ll take Joe to retain. Joe has held the title for over a year at this point and could drop it at any time without losing any status, but I don’t think I can picture Taylor being the one to take the title from him. These guys are going to beat the fire out of each other and that should be a lot of fun, but Taylor doesn’t get the title.

Bryan Danielson vs. Ricky Starks

This is a strap match as the American Dragon is stepping in for Ricky The Dragon Steamboat after a slightly clever tricky contract signing. In this case, Danielson’s return feels like something of a way to calm the fans down after Punk was fired and he might be about as good of an option as there was. The strap thing has kind of been Starks’ thing in recent weeks, so at least there is an idea here.

This one could go either way, but I think I’ll go with Danielson winning, as he might become the face of Collision in a hurry. With nothing Blackpool Combat Club related during his Collision return, there is a chance that he is going to be doing something else. For now though, at least he is getting to be in a big match and while Starks needs the win (and I’m not convinced Big Bill won’t help him get it), losing to a returning Danielson is hardly some terrible result.

Ring Of Honor Tag Team Titles: Adam Cole/MJF(c) vs. Dark Order

Yes the Dark Order is getting a title shot on pay per view and I’m still not entirely sure why. In theory this is going to be followed by a Cole/MJF vs. the Kingdom showdown, though it wouldn’t have to be for the titles. The Dark Order has been needing some kind of a big win seemingly for years now and they at least have a chance at one here, though that might be a long shot at best.

I don’t see a reason for the champs to drop the titles here so I’ll go with MJF and Cole retaining. They already have something set up with the Kingdom and taking the titles from them here would take away a big aspect of their story. Also, at the end of the day, it’s hard to imagine the Dark Order actually winning anything that mattered, so we’ll go with the titles being retained.

Miro vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

This is one of the matches where what you see is what you get. You know what you are going to see from these two monsters hitting each other rather hard and that should make for a fun match. They’ve been out there brawling already and just the taste was fun, so letting us get the full version should be even more fun as it can go even longer than the first previews.

I could see either of them going over here, but Miro seems like he would be hurt more by a loss than Hobbs so I’ll take the former. While Hobbs has lost multiple times already and doesn’t need to again, a loss from Miro would seem to be quite the blow. What matters here is just having two monsters slugging away at each other and that should work out well. Miro wins though, but it’s a coin flip.

Bullet Club Gold vs. FTR/Young Bucks

This isn’t exactly a strong follow up to FTR vs. The Bucks at All In but if we’re not getting a title match, I guess this is about as good as we can have. There is a history between the Club and FTR and I could go for another title showdown between them, but I’m not sure if that is enough to carry an eight man tag. It could go either way, though the Bucks and FTR’s relationship is rocky at best and that could be a problem.

I’ll go with the Club winning here, as they should be in for another Tag Team Title shot to complete the trilogy. White and Robinson are a heck of a team and the Gunns are fine enough on their own. That should be enough to overcome FTR and the Bucks, who don’t really have anywhere to go if they win. The Club wins here, after things break down and everyone gets to go nuts.

TNT Title: Luchasaurus(c) vs. Darby Allin

This has been one of the most entertaining stories in AEW in recent months, as Christian Cage has been tearing it up as the delusional mastermind who things he is the real champion. Luchasaurus has barely been a factor as Cage’s disdain for all things dead fathers is rather entertaining. Allin just wants the title back because he had it before, and now we get quite the showdown.

As much as I could see Allin winning the title, I want Cage to keep up his delusions of grandeur and those can’t happen as well without the title. At some point Luchasaurus is going to snap and destroy Cage, but for now, Luchasaurus manages to retain the title, perhaps with Allin’s friend Nick Wayne turning on him. This could go either way, but hopefully it ends with Cage holding the title again.

Kenny Omega vs. Konosuke Takeshita

The more I see of Takeshita, the more talent he clearly has. He needs a big win over a top name and Omega would it that description, but I’m not sure I can imagine him actually beating someone as big as Omega. Takeshita already pinned him last weekend in a tag match, but there is a fine line between that and actually pinning him in a singles match, clean or not.

I’ll go with Takeshita winning here, as I don’t think we’re far enough into the story for Omega to get his big win. With Don Callis out there, Takeshita can get the win off some straight up cheating or maybe just a distraction. Either way, we should be in for one of the bigger matches on the show here and there is even a chance that this headlines the show, despite Callis taking the life out of anything he touches.

International Title: Orange Cassidy(c) vs. Jon Moxley

This has been treated as the biggest match on the show and it has the best chance of headlining the event. Cassidy has held the title for a LONG time now and it is time to either have him lose the thing or get the biggest win of his career over one of the biggest stars AEW has ever seen. This could go either way and they have been treating it as something serious, so some doors are certainly open here.

I’m torn on this one but I’ll go with Cassidy winning. While there is a grand total of no reason for him to keep the title, it would do a lot of damage to him if he loses the belt in his first match against a top challenger. Cassidy feels like someone AEW wants to move up to the next level, but that takes a big hit if he loses here. I could be entirely wrong and Moxley winning would make sense, but if AEW wants Cassidy to go a lot higher, he has to win here.

Overall Thoughts

This show does not feel like the best in the world and I’m not sure how much of a spark it is going to have. Now the good thing about that is the talent is there to make it work, even if a thirteen match card is still rather long. If the big matches can deliver and nothing is too bad, we could be in for a show that gets by its lackluster build. That is where AEW tends to shine, and maybe they can make it work again.



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Payback 2023 Preview

So WWE has brought another of its shows out of mothballs and in a way, I like the idea of there not being a major theme. There is no big signature match or concept to the show, instead leaving it as just a show with matches. Now that being said, this show has not had the strongest build, with part of that being due to last week’s Smackdown being thrown off the rails after Bray Wyatt passed away. There isn’t much of a card to go over so far but let’s get to it.

Women’s World Title: Rhea Ripley(c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez

We’ll start out with the hoss fight as these two are going to be able to hit each other really hard. They aren’t exactly hiding about what this is supposed to be and that is a fine way to go. Sometimes you need to just present two powerhouses doing powerhouse things and that is exactly what we’re getting here. Ripley is a star but Rodriguez has risen to the occasion before so we should be in for some fun with this one.

That being said, as entertaining as the match might be, there is no reason to believe that Ripley’s title reign is in any serious danger. Ripley is looking like she could have the kind of record setting title reign that WWE has been using in recent years and while Rodriguez will get her reign one day, it isn’t going to be here. They’ll have a heck of a fight, but it won’t include a title change.

Tag Team Titles: Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens(c) vs. Judgment Day

This is a street fight and that should make for a fun match. Owens and Zayn can work a regular match but they can also do the wild brawling stuff rather well. It also helps that the Judgment Day can work that style as well, with Dominik Mysterio and perhaps JD McDonagh getting involved as well. At the same time though, you have the internal issues for the Judgment Day and things could get rather complicated rather fast.

Again I don’t see much of a reason to believe that the titles are going to change hands here, as Zayn and Owens have cooled off as champions, but I don’t think they’ve cooled off enough to lose. Judgment Day has to win something, but that briefcase Priest is carrying around makes the Tag Team Titles feel like a downgrade. Owens and Zayn retain here, but I’m not sure how much longer they’ll keep the belts.

United States Title: Rey Mysterio(c) vs. Austin Theory

Mysterio is in a more vulnerable place than most champions as he does not feel like anything resembling a long term champion. He is someone who could put someone else over at any time and Theory getting the title back is not completely out of the question. It makes for a more compelling match, but the fact that Mysterio beat him so easily a few weeks ago brings that back down.

I still can’t go with a new champion here though, as Mysterio retains and likely drops the title to Santos Escobar sooner than later. That is the story that has been set up and I don’t see much of a reason for anything else to happen. Theory has held the title for so long that it doesn’t make sense to put the belt back on him, as he is desperately in need of something new. Therefore he doesn’t win here, as Mysterio gets ready for his eventual showdown with Escobar.

LA Knight vs. The Miz

This has been built up on a string of promos and that is where both of them shine. The match gone from what felt like an easy win for Knight into something more personal as Miz has been in serious mode in the last few weeks. That can make for a good Miz feud and he has made it work well enough here. Now they just have to stick the landing and Knight can be well on his way.

So yeah of course there is no reason to believe that Miz wins here, as Knight is one of the hottest stars in WWE at the moment. He can move up the ladder a bit with a win here as he gets into title contention, with this kind of a win helping. What matters most is that Miz has been serious coming into it, which will make the win feel that much more important. This match doesn’t have to be great, but it needs to be good enough with Knight winning, and that should work out.

Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

They’re inside a cage, which should be the end to this longer than necessary feud. However, that has been the case for a few months now and the thing just keeps going. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt though as a cage match should be a sure fire way to wrap it up. Lynch has already taken out Zoey Stark as well, so they have a way to make this one work out.

Since there is no reason to believe that Stratus is sticking around after this one, I’ll take Lynch to win so she can move on to something else (like Tiffany Stratton for example). Unless they jump start some new feud way faster than necessary, this should be Lynch going over to finish Stratus off or good. The feud has lost steam, but having them get a good, dramatic and violent match here would be enough to get out of it as unscathed as possible. Lynch wins.

World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins(c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

This is the only match that I can imagine headlining the show, but like most World Heavyweight Title matches so far, it feels like a glorified midcard title. Rollins is trying and they have enough of a feud, but this headlining the show doesn’t seem like the easiest move. It’s about all we have for now though and they should be able to have a good match in this slot.

As much as I would love Nakamura to win the title for once, there is no reason to believe that he is anything more than the challenger of the month in between Rollins’ bigger feuds. Rollins does have a bad back and that is going to need to be addressed sooner than later, but for now, Rollins wins. He also doesn’t have to deal with Money In The Bank just yet, as they haven’t ignored it long enough to have Priest cash it in.

Overall Thoughts

And that’s the show for now. It’s a six match card as of the end of Smackdown and that isn’t exactly feeling like something major. There is also Cody Rhodes on the Grayson Waller Effect and John Cena as the guest host, and it wouldn’t shock me to see Cena and Rhodes cross paths. The show needs something else and setting up a potential Rhodes vs. Cena showdown could work. Odds are we get a bonus match somewhere, but there isn’t much that can be done to hide how much of a C-list show this really is.


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All In 2023 Preview

We have finally arrived in London for the biggest show in AEW history and very likely the biggest event the company will ever run. There are going to be a bunch of big matches as the card is stacked, meaning we should be in for a great night if AEW’s history is anything to believe. In theory the main event will be Adam Cole challenging MJF for the World Title so let’s get to it.

Zero Hour: FTW Title: Jack Perry(c) vs. Hook

This was made on Collision and as you might expect, it will be under FTW rules, meaning street fight. These two have more or less been feuding over the legacy of ECW, but thankfully the ECW legends have stopped showing up. The interesting thing here is that this could go either way, as Perry losing the title seems a bit soon but it seems like a perfect place to give Hook the title back.

I’ll go with Perry winning here, but the FTW Title needs to go away sooner than later. It’s nice to have Perry winning and holding onto something but at some point he has to get away from the ECW/Taz and Hook stuff. Losing the match here isn’t going to help him at all though so we’ll go with Perry retaining, likely through some shenanigans, but I’m hardly convinced that I’m right.

Zero Hour: Ring Of Honor Tag Team Titles: Aussie Open(c) vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman/Adam Cole

There is a lot to unpack here and we’ll start with the fact that the Ring Of Honor Tag Team Titles are being used as a plot point in the AEW World Title feud. That isn’t a great way to make the titles look important, but then again what does look important in ROH? Anyway, MJF and Cole are still set or the main event of All In, and this match is likely going to play a big role in how that goes.

As I don’t think the MJF vs. Cole feud ends here, I’ll go with new champions. It’s not like the titles have any value otherwise so maybe they can get a temporary boost here. At the very last, I want to see the Kangaroo Kick and a double clothesline for the titles so there could be something to look forward to here. MJF vs. Cole is the biggest story in AEW at the moment and the Aussies can get the titles back later, as they should drop them here.

Golden Elite vs. Konosuke Takeshita/Bullet Club Gold

There is quite the variety of matches on the show and I’m not sure where else to start. This is one of two matches that are built around Don Callis, who has become pretty much the second biggest heel on the roster, depending on how you currently view MJF. The main feud here is going to be Kenny Omega vs. Takeshita, but the more I get of the Club these days, the better things go.

I’ll take Takeshita and the Club to win here, as Hangman Page or Kota Ibushi are both there to take the fall for the team. Omega vs. Callis N Pals feels like a feud that is going to keep going for a VERY long time and right now we are only kind of getting the fight between them. The villains have to win early so the hero can win later, meaning Takeshita and the Club go over here.

Darby Allin/Sting vs. Christian Cage/Swerve Strickland

This is a Coffin Match, which doesn’t quite fit in with the heels, even though Cage had something similar to one earlier this year. The Coffin Match idea seems to favor Allin and Sting, in addition to the fact that they have interacted for more than about half an hour if you count a 21 minute tag match Strickland and Cage teamed in this week on Collision. That doesn’t exactly bode well going forward and makes me think this match might not be the most surprising.

I don’t see any reason to have Cage and Strickland here, as Allin and Sting have all of the advantages here. Outside of Luchasaurus interfering (which is certainly a possibility), there isn’t much of a way to get behind the villains. It should be the usual wacky all over the place match with Sting doing some big dive before winning in the end, which is the most logical way to go here.

Real World Title: CM Punk(c) vs. Samoa Joe

What we have here is a good example of going back to a classic feud that works rather than just trying to recreate the past. They have issues that are going on at the moment and it makes the match feel like another step after a long break rather than reheating something for the sake of a nostalgic reaction. It helps that both of them are awesome talkers and the hype has been pretty good throughout.

I’ll go with Punk here, as he is a bigger star in AEW and it isn’t like the ROH TV Champion getting pinned is going to hurt him very much. There isn’t much of a reason to give Joe two belts and again, I can’t imagine much of a way for the villain to win here without some kind of interference (Ricky Starks and/or Big Bill in this case). What matters here though is having a legendary rivalry renewed (and likely ended) on a huge stage. With Punk winning.

Trios Titles: House Of Black(c) vs. Acclaimed/Billy Gunn

It’s another case where it really could go either way but there is one way that it needs to go. This is the fallout of Gunn retiring/possibly dying based on how the Acclaimed was reacting, but now he’s back for the big fight in his chance for one more run with his friends. That should tell you where this is going, but there is something to be said about the dominance of the champs.

As dominant as the House has been, there is little reason to not put the titles on Gunn and the Acclaimed here, as having them lose would feel very anti-climactic after everything that has gone on. At the same time, the House has already run through most of the believable challengers so changing the titles here makes the most sense. I could see the House retaining, but the good guys getting their moment is the better way to go.

Tag Team Titles: FTR(c) vs. Young Bucks

Here we have the big showdown that should have happened about a year ago but instead we were left standing around because….something about the Trios Titles being absolutely necessary. FTR has been back to doing what they do better than anyone else in the world over the last few months while the Bucks have wrestled two regular tag matches since February. But it’s a big feud so reheating it this fast isn’t that big of a stretch.

As much as I want to pick FTR to retain here, I have a bad feeling that the Bucks are going to get their big moment here and get to be the first three time champion. Throw in Cash Wheeler’s legal issues in the last few days and it would be hard to picture FTR retaining. FTR should win, and while I would certainly hope that I’m wrong, I think they’ll go with the “special” moment of the Bucks winning the titles. Again. At least it isn’t a ladder match.

Women’s Title: Hikaru Shida(c) vs. Britt Baker vs. Saraya vs. Toni Storm

If there is one thing that AEW does very well, it is give you a match where you could see multiple winners. Here you have Shida, who has not gotten the big moment as champion, Saraya as the home country girl, Storm doing some of the best work in his career, and Baker, who REALLY needs the boost but hasn’t been doing much of anything interesting in months now. Three out of four isn’t bad though and we have some real options to leave with the title.

I’ll go with Shida retaining here, as there is something to be said about her getting the big moment. She had a long title reign the first time around but never got to do anything special like retain the title here. It’s also hardly a stretch to keep the title on here and only Storm feels like someone who is ready to take it off of her, but her whole thing is being upset over NOT being the champion. So yeah, Shida wins here, just hopefully not beating Storm in the process.

Eddie Kingston/Orange Cassidy/Best Friends/Penta El Zero Mideo vs. Blackpool Combat Club/Santana/Ortiz

This is Stadium Stampede, which we’re doing in theory a week before the already set up matches between Moxley/Cassidy and Castagnoli/Kingston. I’m not sure how they’re going to do one of these things with all of the people around but why go sane when you can go insane? The previous versions of this have been quite the spectacles, but their quality has been a bit up and down. Odds are we’re going to get some more totally out there stuff though and that can be fun.

This feels like the way to set up some rematches between the members of the team, which will hopefully include Moxley getting to take the International Title from Cassidy. Therefore, I’ll go with the villains winning as Moxley pins Cassidy to set up their match. The other option of Kingston beating Castagnoli is out there, but it wouldn’t shock me to see them wait for Final Battle in December to finally give Kingston the title. For now though, I’ll take the villains to win.

Will Ospreay vs. Chris Jericho

So here we have one of the most successful British wrestlers of all time and one of the most entertaining stars going today being presented as a heel (he’s with Callis so yes he’s a heel) on the biggest wrestling show in British wrestling history. I’m sure there’s a logic to that move, even if the face/heel dynamic could be all over the place here. That being said, the promo battle to set this up was one of the best I can remember in recent months so they’re certainly onto something.

As was the case earlier with the six man tag, the villains have to win early so they can lose in the end. Jericho losing here is the way to go as he can continue dealing with the fallout of initially wanting to join Callis’ family. Ospreay is probably coming to AEW full time sooner rather than later so it would make sense to give him the big win here. You can all but guarantee Callis’ interference, which isn’t likely to be enough to overcome the cheers Ospreay is going to get as he wins here.

AEW World Title: Maxwell Jacob Friedman(c) vs. Adam Cole

This is the biggest story in AEW right now and my goodness it needs to keep going after this show. The good thing is that the story has all kinds of ways it can go and that’s not even factoring in the Roderick Strong side. The question becomes who turns on whom here, but the options of both or neither are strong possibilities. Having that many options is a great sign and now we get to figure out where it goes.

With all of the options available, I’ll go with…..Cole wins, but neither turns yet. It opens the doors for a rematch, likely at All Out, but what is going to matter is seeing where it goes from here. Cole has already failed to beat him once and having MJF be revealed as this big criminal mastermind would make Cole look like the biggest loser in the world. I might as well be flipping a coin here, but yeah I’ll take Cole to win and Strong to not get overly involved just yet.

Overall Thoughts

The best thing that I can say about any show is that I have almost no idea who is going to win most of these matches. There are different ways that you could go in almost every match and that makes for a rather interesting care. This show is going to be about the spectacle though and if AEW does it right, the place is going to look incredible. The wrestling has to back it up though, and the good thing is the potential to do so is absolutely there. Now just make it work.


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Summerslam 2023 Preview

We’re up to one of the biggest events on the WWE calendar as it’s another stadium show in Detroit. As has been the case in Summerslams of yore, there isn’t one match that really stands above the others. Odds are Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso for the WWE Universal Title will headline, but there is at least one other option, which makes for a top heavy show. Let’s get to it.

Logan Paul vs. Ricochet

We’ll start with a match that is here to be a spectacle and nothing more. You have a pair of athletic marvels here and those are the kind of stars who can put on one heck of a showcase if given the chance. That is what they are going to get here, and the fact that Paul has done so well so far in his WWE career has me interested in seeing what they can put together here.

As much as I’d like to see Ricochet win, this one almost has to go to Paul. He hasn’t won a singles match since last Summerslam and that is going to have to change soon. Ricochet is a name but he isn’t someone with some kind of perfect resume that would be crushed with a loss. This is going to be all about putting together a highlight reel and if they don’t get too crazy, this should be a blast with Paul winning in the end.

Shayna Baszler vs. Ronda Rousey

This is under MMA rules, though we still don’t exactly know what that means. The interesting thing here is that Rousey is likely done with WWE in the near future, which should give you a good idea of where this is going. The hype for this video has done a great job of humanizing Baszler and that could make things a lot better for her going forward. You know, because she’ll be around.

I’ll go with Baszler here, as there is no reason to put Rousey over if she is on her way out of the company. It would be nice to have Baszler finally get a big win and then hopefully move into the title picture. The rules should make things a bit more interesting, but at the end of the day, this needs to be Baszler getting the biggest win of her career, which is long overdue to say the least.

Raw World Title: Seth Rollins(c) vs. Finn Balor

This one has me more interested than I would have expected and that is due to a mixture of Balor and Damian Priest. While Balor winning the title is not out of the question, WWE has set up the idea of Priest cashing in the Money In The Bank briefcase. While that is regularly done without going anywhere, it would be great to pull the trigger on the thing and get rid of it. But what happens with the title?

I think I’ll actually take Balor to win the title here, as WWE has built him up as a big enough threat to become champion that he almost has to win it here. That being said, I don’t think Priest cashes in here, but I do think he’ll do it soon. Either Balor or Priest feels destined to turn face soon and Balor winning the title would be a big step there if done in a certain way. Rollins very well may leave with the title, but Balor feels like the right move here.

Slim Jim Battle Royal

Now this one is extra tricky because we only know about half of the twenty five entrants. That means there is always the chance of a surprise entrant taking the whole thing, but for now we’ll have to settle on twelve entrants. There hasn’t been a ton of focus on this match, but that is kind of how a battle royal has to go most of the time. One name in particular stands out, though it wouldn’t stun me to see WWE go another way.

In my prediction sure to go wrong, I have a feeling that instead of LA Knight winning, as would make sense, Grayson Waller gets the nod instead. It would be very WWE to have him pick up the surprise win and then brag about it forever, even if Knight needs the win a lot more than anyone else right now. Knight being eliminated from a battle royal isn’t some death knell, but Waller winning would be a huge boost for him. I hope I’m wrong, but Waller winning feels like a real possibility.

Intercontinental Title: Gunther(c) vs. Drew McIntyre

This one has some extra weight to it, as Gunther winning could almost guarantee that he breaks Honky Tonk Man’s all time record for longest title reign (about five weeks away). McIntyre is probably the last big name standing to try to prevent him from braking the record and it would absolutely not be out of the question to see the title change hands here. I’m just not sure it’s going to.

It’s kind of hard to imagine WWE getting this close to Honky Tonk Man’s record and then just hitting the breaks a little over a month out. While it’s weird to think that McIntyre came back to lose in his first major match, that makes more sense here as Gunther can retain and move on into September to take the all time record. This should be a very hard hitting fight, but Gunther retains. I think. As he should. I think.

Smackdown Women’s Title: Asuka(c) vs. Charlotte vs. Bianca Belair

This is a match that got a lot more attention on Smackdown and that is a good thing. The build for this has been a bit all over the place, but the gist of the whole thing has been that everyone wants the title and to be the best. That is how wrestling is supposed to work and in that sense, it has gone rather well. In the other sense, it is a match that could go in any direction, which is always a good thing. The fact that I have almost no idea who leaves with the title makes it that much better.

I think I’ll actually go with Asuka to retain here, in an overdue win. Charlotte winning the title would be the most cliched result imaginable, which means it is a rather strong possibility. Belair winning would make sense given that she has been more aggressive as of late, which would make a title win all the more logical. That leaves Asuka, who would seem likely to lose, but by WWE logic, I’ll take her winning and retaining. Makes sense right?

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes

It’s the rubber match between these two and oddly enough there is no stipulation. This match has felt like it needed to be something violent so the two of them could go to war, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the rules lightened up at last a little bit. Either way, it should be a heck of a test for Rhodes, who needs another big win to get him back to the main event scene.

I can’t picture a result where this goes to Lesnar so I’ll take Rhodes instead. It makes all the sense in the world for Rhodes to win here, as Lesnar is likely going away again until Wrestlemania season. Rhodes on the other hand could very well be back in the World Title picture after a win. Give this one to Rhodes and let him get the boost, which seems to be the entire point of the feud (not a bad idea at all).

Smackdown World Title: Roman Reigns(c) vs. Jey Uso

This is Tribal Combat, which seems to mean Street Fight. It’s also the latest big step in the Bloodline Saga, and in this case, you can all but guarantee that Jimmy Uso is going to return here. That makes the question what Jimmy does and how it will impact the ending, as you almost have to imagine it going in that direction. At the same time though, there is another direction that is hard to fathom as well.

No matter what though, I can’t imagine Jey wins the title here. It is just hard to imagine him actually winning the title, no matter what story is being told. It’s going to be a heck off a fight with both of them working and he weapons evening things out a bit but this it Reigns and I don’t think that will be the biggest surprise. Jey has been playing with the house’s money for a long time now and he will do it again here, even as he loses.

Overall Thoughts

The more I look at this card, the more interested I am in seeing the show. There are a lot of matches on the card that have me curious and that is a nice feeling to have. There is a little bit of everything on the show and that should make for a good Summerslam. The show has an up and down history over the years but there is a real chance that this show brings the quality.


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NXT Great American Bash 2023 Preview

NXT is back on the road as these trips are starting to be a big more frequent. This time the show is around Austin, Texas and we have a pretty strong card. The main event will see NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes defending against Ilja Dragunov, which should make for a big fight feel. Other than that we have a lot of title matches, including Dominik Mysterio in action, so let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Dragon Lee/Nathan Frazer/Yulisa Leon/Valentina Feroz vs. Meta Four

Now this is how you Kickoff Show, as it’s one match with a lot of people running around, which should make for a nice way to get the crowd going. I’ve never been a big fan of the giant Kickoff Shows with multiple matches, especially when the show itself is only seven matches. This is a feud that has been going on rather quietly but could make for a good start to the night.

While the Meta Four winning seems like the more logical way to go, I’m rarely a fan of starting things off with a heel winning so we’ll go with Lee and company getting the pin. The good thing about an eight person tag is there will be someone there who can take a fall without getting hurt to keep the feud going. This should be a relatively light match and that’s how a show should start, including with the villains losing.

Baron Corbin vs. Gable Steveson

After nearly two years of waiting, Steveson FINALLY makes his in-ring debut, even if it might be one of his only matches before he heads back to amateur wrestling. This is a good example of a match that needs to be a degree of difficulty of five (or less) and an execution of ten rather than the other way around. Steveson needs to look crisp and effective rather than trying to do something too complicated and falling on his face. If he can do that, this will be a success.

And yes, of course Steveson wins, as you don’t bring Corbin in to give him a victory in a spot like this. Corbin is there to walk Steveson through the match and that is something he can do well. This is ALL about Steveson and if Corbin can work some magic here and make him look good, it will be a success. Just don’t try to do too much and this could work, but it needs to work very well.

Tag Team Titles: Gallus(c) vs. Tony D’Angelo/Stacks

It took me time to think of who held the titles at the moment. Beyond that, I couldn’t tell you a thing about Gallus’ reign, which has almost reached SIX MONTHS. It says a lot that the NXT tag division, which used to be a large chunk of its backbone, has fallen this far, but here we are. The titles have very little value at the moment and it is pretty clear that something needs to changel.

I’ll go with D’Angelo and Stacks to take the titles from Gallus here. Gallus has been almost ice cold as champions and there is no reason to keep the titles on them any longer. The division isn’t what it used to be, but D’Angelo and Stacks are more than good enough to get the belts here. If nothing else, they need to for the sake of breathing some life back into the championships already.

Roxanne Perez vs. Blair Davenport

This is a Weapons Wild match, because we needed another name for Street Fight. Perez has been on quite the downward slide in recent months and probably needs this win a lot more than Davenport at the moment. However, Davenport is still the new star on the block and it would make a lot of sense to give her the win on the bigger stage as she hasn’t had that kind of success just yet.

In kind of a hard decision, I’m going to go with Davenport, as I think she is going to get more out of a win and a sustained push at the moment. Perez is someone who has already gotten the title reign and special moment. While Perez needs the win more, she can also absorb a loss a bit better, which puts her in a weird position. As strange as it is, I’ll go with Davenport, but this could be either of them.

North American Title: Dominik Mysterio(c) vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Wes Lee

This is a lot trickier than I thought, as it is a result that depends on where WWE wants to go next. On one hand, you could have Ali win and get his big moment….and we’ll write that off right now, because I just can’t picture it happening. That leaves us with two realistic options and I could actually see this going in either direction, which makes the match more interesting.

That being said, there is a grand total of NO reason to take the title from Mysterio here. He is getting WAY more mileage out of a title that doesn’t have a ton of value on the main roster and that is a great thing to see. Mysterio is more or less the modern day Honky Tonk Man with the title and Lee doesn’t need to get the title back anytime soon. Let Mysterio milk the heck out of the thing, starting with him retaining here.

Women’s Title: Tiffany Stratton(c) vs. Thea Hail

They’ve put themselves into a weird place here as the stakes are almost too stacked against Stratton. It’s a submission match and Hail has turned into a mini submission master, while Hail has only talked about introducing a submission move. Maybe they have a plan for this, but it would be almost weird to see the title change hands in this case, as the field is tilted so much towards Hail.

I’ll go with Stratton retaining here, even though Hail losing again is going to hurt her a lot. There is a chance that this is some kind of screwy finish, where Hail has to give up to save someone else, though I have no idea how that would be set up. I’d love to see Hail win the title and FINALLY give Chase U something to brag about, but I don’t think it happens here, nor should it.

NXT Title: Carmelo Hayes(c) vs. Ilja Dragunov

While the reason for the match is pretty basic, there is a lot to be said about having Dragunov in this spot. Dragunov is the definition of someone you just want to watch because it feels like he is leaving everything in the ring every time he is out there. You can imagine what he is going to do when he is on perhaps the biggest stage he has ever been on. That being said, I’m not sure it means he wins the title.

This is the trickiest decision of the show, as both options are very viable. Hayes hasn’t really felt like one of the great NXT Champions yet, but it’s almost hard to imagine Dragunov losing. I’ll take Hayes to win, but I’m not convinced this is the end of the story. Hayes needs the win more and will get more out of it, though Dragunov taking the title would not shock me in the slightest.

Overall Thoughts

The more I look at this show, the more interested I am in seeing the show. I’m not seeing some instant classic or all time show here, but I’m seeing a potentially strong show that makes everyone involved look good. There is still no reason to compare these shows to the Takeover series because it’s not the same thing, but we could be in for a very entertaining two and a half or so hours of wrestling, which I would certainly call a success.


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Money In The Bank 2023 Preview

We’re back to one of WWE’s signature shows but this time they have taken it overseas to London (I think it’s in Paraguay) to spice it up a bit. As usual there are two namesake ladder matches but in this case we also have the Bloodline Civil War and some other stuff that probably won’t feel anywhere near as important. The show will certainly be a big one so let’s get to it.

Intercontinental Title: Gunther(c) vs. Matt Riddle

Gunther is in a weird place as while he is only a few months ago from breaking the all time record for longest Intercontinental Title reigns but it doesn’t feel like this must reach achievement. Gunther has long since been established as a big star and even losing the title won’t particularly hurt him. It might not be what happens here, but it’s something that feels like it’s possible.

Now that being said, no I won’t pick Riddle to dethrone the monster here as it doesn’t feel like the right change. Riddle has been built back up a bit as a serious fighter and the MMA stuff could give Gunther trouble, but ultimately this feels like a way for Gunther to get another nice win on his resume as the roster continues to be cleared out on the way to….whatever is next for him. Gunther retains, as he should.

Women’s Tag Team Titles; Ronda Rousey/Shayna Baszler vs. Raquel Rodriguez/Liv Morgan

This is a match that could go either way, though that might not be a good thing. Rousey and Baszler feel like a team who could dominate the division for a long time to come, but WWE LOVES itself some thrown together teams ala Rodriguez and Morgan. They only lost the titles in the first place so putting the titles back on them here would hardly be some big shock.

Perhaps for the sake of my own sanity, I’ll go with the champs retaining here. Rousey and Baszler haven’t even had the titles for a month and I would hope they don’t lose them to the combined forces of Rodriguez’s back and Morgan’s spunkiness. The villains winning here makes sense and dethroning them this soon would feel like a really bad idea. That makes me think I’m wrong, but I’ll hope that the champions retain.

World Heavyweight Title: Seth Rollins(c) vs. Finn Balor

Here we have a rather WWE dilemma: do you go with the title change that makes Balor a star all over again and give him the chance that he never really had, or do you stick with the guy who makes the crowd “sing” and has a gimmick that is so odd that it really can’t be explained? I think you know where this is going and unfortunately there isn’t much of a way around it.

Rollins retains here, as for some reason that weird conducting the crowd deal is one of the biggest things in WWE at the moment. I’m not sure what the point of the whole thing is, but the fans being into it is at least a sign that they’re doing something right. Unfortunately that means Balor continues to spin his wheels, even as they close one of the bigger stories that he has had in WWE.

Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus vs. Zoey Stark vs. Zelina Vega vs. Bayley vs. Iyo Sky

As is usually the case with these things, we’ll go with a process of elimination. First of all, we’ll drop Stark, Bayley and Vega. While the latter is at best a dark horse underdog, Bayley and Stark just aren’t winning the thing and shouldn’t. That leaves us with four options, and it’s hard to imagine Stratus getting there either. Therefore, it’s down to Lynch and Sky and that opens up some doors.

I’m going with Sky here, as the women’s division is in serious need of some fresh blood other than Rhea Ripley. The Horsewomen are WAY past their peaks, Bianca Belair has been the top star for so long that she needs a replacement, and Asuka can only carry things for so long. They need someone fresh and Sky would fit that bill. As a bonus, Bayley can get annoyed at Sky for winning the briefcase and their issues can continue. Sky wins here, as she should.

Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match: LA Knight vs. Logan Paul vs. Santos Escobar vs. Butch vs. Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Damian Priest

This is a trickier one as there are more options for potential winners. Again, we’ll take out some people who just aren’t going to win, meaning Butch, Ricochet, Nakamura and probably Escobar are out. That leaves us with three options, which has kind of been the case for the last few weeks. In other words, it depends on if you want to go with the logical choice, the people’s choice, or the “HE’LL GET VIEWS” choice.

I want this to be Knight and it almost NEEDS to be him. Knight’s reactions have been growing bigger and bigger and at some point, WWE needs to pull the trigger on someone that hot, being 40 years old or not. I’ll hope beyond hope that they do, but Priest makes some sense as well given his recent history with Rollins and Paul is Paul. Those are some solid options, but this would/could/should be Knight so we’ll go that way.

Roman Reigns/Solo Sikoa vs. Usos

And now for the real main event, despite WWE announcing something else as the main event. The Bloodline story has dominated WWE for a very long time now and it is almost impossible to imagine that anything else is going to be nearly as important. This story has gotten one huge reaction after another and this is a showdown that has been built up for a long time. But someone has to win.

There is absolutely no reason for the Usos to lose here so we’ll go with that. The Bloodline is falling apart right in front of your eyes and Reigns has to lose everything before the end. I don’t think that involves him taking the fall here, but Sikoa getting pinned and earning a yelling from Reigns before they split as well makes sense. This is all about the Usos, and they’ll go over in the end.

Dominik Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes

Well not really the end because THIS is the main event due to reasons that should makes sense later. This is giving me a Kurt Angle vs. Mark Henry from the 2006 Royal Rumble vibe, as the only reason for the match to headline is for something screwy to happen. That something is likely to be from the king of “here he is to end the show” and I think you know where this is going.

I’ll take Mysterio to win here, as a mixture of the crowd hating him so much and Brock Lesnar returning to screw Rhodes over would fit nicely. Rhodes vs. Lesnar III has to be set up and that can be done with one heck of a massacre to end the show. Rhodes flat out told Lesnar where to come to fight him again so Rhodes will have no one to blame but himself. Lesnar interferes and gives Mysterio the win to end the show, because Lesnar is more important than anything else. Again.

Overall Thoughts

As much as I can’t stand the build towards Money In The Bank most years (though this year’s has been a notable improvement), the show has a tendency to be good. The ladder matches will both work by definition and some of the other stuff involved should hold up as well. If that is the case on both ends we will be in for a strong night as the Road To Summerslam can begin almost immediately.



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