Thursday, September 1, 2022

AEW All Out 2022 Preview & Predictions

Oh man, AEW may be going through some growing pains, but you'd never know it by looking at this weekend's All Out lineup.  Two weeks ago I was thinking this show may not live up to the last year of AEW PPVs.  Right now I'm thinking it could equal or even surpass what is in my estimation their best, last year's Full Gear show.  

All Out 2022 is an absolutely LOADED show, with nearly all hands on deck, a massive main event with a real emotional story at play (more on that in a bit), a real focus on elevating some of the homegrown stars, a focus on the new Trios division (three trios matches on this show, all of which should be pretty great), and what's sure to be a batshit crazy ladder match.  If you can't find something to get excited about on this PPV, I dunno what to tell you.

Let's get into it....

Pre-Show: Eddie Kingston vs. Tomohiro Ishii

Jesus, even the pre-show has two potential show stealers, starting with this slugfest.  Originally the plan was Kingston vs. Sammy Guevara, until a miscommunication over a Sammy promo led to a backstage scuffle between the two and Eddie was suspended (they've made amends and all seems to be well now).  So as a substitute we're getting something arguably even better, a match that would be right at home in the G1.  I'm guessing Eddie wins here since he's the AEW guy.

Pick: Eddie

Pre-Show: All-Atlantic Championship: Pac vs. Kip Sabian

Well this was a slow burn.  After months and months of Kip sitting front row with a box on his head at every AEW taping, he finally revealed his intention by going after Pac.  Sabian has been somewhat repackaged and will hopefully prove to be yet another promising homegrown talent.  Pac is incredible.  This should be a fun little match.  I don't see Pac losing the title yet.

Pick: Pac retains

Pre-Show: FTW Championship: Hook vs. Angelo Parker

Hook just won this title so he ain't dropping it here.  Interesting that he's defending against a Jericho Appreciation Society dude.  Does Hook align himself with the Blackpool Combat Club as a result?  He'd certainly fit in.  

Pick: Hook retains

House of Black vs. Miro, Darby Allin & Sting

This one was just announced this week but it's been building since Forbidden Door when Malakai Black spit black mist in Miro's face during the All-Atlantic Title match.  Black then tried to recruit Miro but was rebuffed with extreme prejudice, and Miro has now brought in reinforcements.  Should be a damn fine trios match - as I said, the first of three on this show, which is a smart way to make the new Trios Championship feel important - and I wonder if Miro's wife finally makes an appearance.

Pick: Team Miro's probably going over, since Sting is undefeated in AEW

TBS Championship: Jade Cargill vs. Athena

This one's hard to pick, I feel like if not Athena, who else could possibly be the one to beat Jade?  But this match also feels tossed together too quickly to be Jade's first loss.  Anyway, Jade's obviously had very mixed results in her matches, but hopefully Athena can get something really good out of her.  

Pick: I guess Jade retains this time and maybe Athena gets another crack later?

Jungle Boy vs. Christian Cage

JB is finally being pushed as a singles star, and he's got one of the great veterans in there to help guide him along.  This should be a pretty fantastic bout, with a strong story behind it.  The young rising star vs. the mentor who betrayed him; it's powerful stuff.  You have to wonder if Luchasaurus will factor into this, and if so, who he finally aligns with; his supposed heel turn was so brief, could it have been a red herring?

Pick: I'll go with Jungle Boy to win, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Luchasaurus fucks him over.

Wardlow & FTR vs. Jay Lethal & Motor City Machine Guns

The second trios match pits the TNT Champ and the triple tag champs against three former TNA/ROH stars, and while I don't see this going super long, it should be a very fun sprint.  With Wardlow in there you have to make him look dominant, and maybe we'll get an indication where he's headed next - he needs another major feud.  A lot of people, including Dave Meltzer, have complained about this match, asking why FTR weren't pitted against the AEW Tag Champs for all the belts.  Well, clearly the big pairing there is FTR vs. The Bucks, not FTR vs. Swerve In Our Glory, so why book the quadruple title match here?  This lineup doesn't need that match.  Wait till The Bucks have the AEW Titles again.  Anywho, this should be fun.

Pick: Wardlow & FTR

Ricky Starks vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

Very glad to see these two prominently featured on this show, as they should both figure heavily in the company's future.  Starks is a fountain of charisma with great athleticism, while Hobbs has the look and physical presence to be a top guy.  This is almost a reverse MJF-Wardlow feud.  Hard to pick a winner here, as both guys kinda need it.  But I'll go with Starks since he's super over.

Pick: Ricky Starks

AEW Tag Team Championship: Swerve In Our Glory vs. The Acclaimed

I don't see this one going super long either, maybe 10-12 minutes, but it should be an absolutely action-packed bout.  It is strange that The Acclaimed just recently turned babyface and are sorta playing the de facto heels here.  I suppose the Gunn Club may get involved to screw them out of the win.  Either way I don't see Swerve and Lee dropping the titles yet.

Pick: SIOG retains

AEW Women's Championship: Britt Baker vs. Toni Storm vs. Jamie Hayter vs. Hikaru Shida

Thunder Rosa apparently "lost her smile" and thus was unable to defend the title here.  That's mean, I'm sure her injury is legit, but she has evidently developed a reputation for not wanting to do jobs, and apparently the plan was for her to lose the title to Toni.  Thus Toni is the Vegas favorite to win here, but I dunno, if I'm Tony Khan I put the belt back on Britt Baker, the division's biggest star by a country mile, and build up to a Baker-Storm match later on.  Storm is awesome but she'll be a bigger star in the long run if she chases a heel like Britt first.  That said, this should be a very entertaining 4-way, as their tag match this week on Dynamite was quite good.  I don't see Shida winning the title back right now, and it's too soon for Hayter, who will eventually turn babyface and feud with Britt.  So it really is down to Britt or Toni.

Pick: Like I said, Britt makes the most sense at this point, unless Jamie's already going babyface

Casino Ladder Match: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Penta vs. Rey Fenix vs. Rush vs. Andrade El Idolo vs. Dante Martin vs. Wheeler Yuta vs. TBA

Jesus, this ladder match should be just absurd.  Gotta be one of the most talent-heavy bouts of its kind ever assembled.  Not in terms of star power so much, but in terms of sheer in-ring ability.  Those first seven guys are all incredible workers.  And of course there's the mystery slot, which pretty much HAS to be MJF, right?  Which means MJF is a mortal lock to win the whole thing, likely in underhanded fashion.  Boy has his presence been missed on Dynamite week-to-week.  Hopefully the company comes up with an organic follow-up to his profanity-laced tirade a few months ago that got him "removed" from the roster.  

Pick: Today we spell "T-B-A" "M-J-F"

Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Jericho

This might be the one I'm most excited for.  We never got a proper version of this when these two worked for WWE, because of course we didn't.  But this will almost certainly be better than any WWE version could've been anyway, as Danielson is currently enjoying a career high right now, and Jericho has once again reinvented himself as a lean big bout machine to prove he can still hang with the guys in their 30s and 40s.  Jericho's recent match against Moxley was maybe his best so far in AEW.  This match could top that one.  

Pick: I think Danielson probably wins and Daniel Garcia joins the BCC

AEW Trios Championship: The Elite vs. TBD (But let's be honest, it's Hangman Page & The Dark Order)

Yes, officially the opponents for Kenny and the Bucks are still to be determined, but it's obviously Page & friends, which is a wonderful way to continue this saga.  Anytime Kenny, Adam, Matt and Nick are in the ring together, magic happens.  This will be no different.  By the way, how incredible have some of these trios tournament matches been?  Between United Empire vs. Death Triangle and United Empire vs. The Elite, goddamn that's a lotta trios greatness.  Anyway, this will be action-packed, epic, and story-driven - a fantastic way to crown inaugural champs.

Pick: Gotta be The Elite

AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. CM Punk

I must confess, I was puzzled by the result of their first match.  Punk throws a kick, posts badly on his injured foot, gets obliterated in three minutes to lose the title to Jon Moxley.  Uhhhhh....ok, now what?  Well, unlike a lot of the reactionaries on the internet who absolutely trashed this booking, I decided to wait and see how they followed it up to get to a PPV rematch.  And I'll be damned if they didn't make this match much more appealing from an emotional standpoint than it otherwise would've been.  Come with me on a journey for a sec...

Scenario 1, which everyone expected, was Punk comes back from injury, faces Moxley at the PPV, defeats Mox to retain the AEW Title and end the interim one.  All well and good.  Championship unification match, high stakes, fine and dandy.  Returning champ wins, interim champ goes back to being a second-rung top guy.

Scenario 2 though, has the returning champion choke in the worst possible way and get demolished by the younger, more aggressive interim guy with a chip on his shoulder.  Now the former champion has a crisis of confidence, doubts he can even get back in there, contemplates walking away completely, until his friend and mentor fires him up and reminds him who the fuck he is.  Now the former champion has to overcome his doubt and redeem himself against an opponent who can't wait to tear him apart a second time, meanwhile said opponent is now seen as a destroyer of worlds instead of an afterthought who was just keeping the belt warm for a few months.

Which scenario do you think has a) a better, more layered story and b) more emotional resonance.  You're goddamn right it's the second one.  Is the first scenario tidier?  Sure.  But it's not nearly as interesting.  The version we got is simply a more compelling story, and isn't that what it's supposed to be all about?

Anyway, I think there's little question Punk is walking out with the title, in his hometown.  But goddamn, this should be a helluva main event.  A blood- and drama-soaked war where even the winner is left barely standing and both guys earn each other's respect.  And then waiting in the wings is the spoiled brat from Long Island....

Pick: Today we spell "redemption" "C-M-Punk"

I said it earlier, this show has the on-paper potential to equal or even surpass the near-perfect Full Gear 2021, and certainly the landmark All Out show from last year.  Eleven main show matches is a haul, but if certain ones are kept on the short side, this should be a magnificent PPV that doesn't overstay its welcome.

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