Thursday, March 2, 2023

AEW Revolution 2023 Preview & Predictions

It feels like Full Gear 2022 was eons ago, doesn't it?  Welp, the wait for AEW's next PPV is finally over, this Sunday it's time for a Revolution!

As of this writing we have a lean eight-match lineup, due of course to the fact that the main event of this show will go 60 minutes.  Iron Man matches are always a challenge, as the average person usually doesn't have the attention span for a match that's guaranteed to go the full hour.  It's different when you have a regular match that just happens to go that long - there's suspense over how and when it will end - but when the format is inherently designed to go a certain length a lot of people tend to tune out till the final stretch.  That's certainly been the case when Iron Man matches are broadcast on free TV, the ratings always seem to suffer for most of it.  But hopefully the promise of an epic pro wrestling match featuring one of the best pro wrestlers to ever do it will draw people in, not to mention the promo work from both guys has been stellar.  Even aside from Danielson vs. MJF though, there's a pretty loaded undercard with a couple potential show stealers.  Let's take a look....

AEW World Tag Team Championship: The Gunns vs. The Acclaimed vs. Triple J vs. Orange Cassidy & Danhausen

This match is just....odd.  I figured when the Gunns won/stole the tag belts we'd just see a straight-up rematch with The Acclaimed to give them another big title win, but then AEW booked the two battle royals (neither of which was particularly good) to determine two additional challengers.  And oddly teams like Top Flight and Lucha Bros weren't the winners, when this match really could've used teams of that caliber.  I'm really not sure why Jeff Jarrett keeps getting PPV matches; this guy must be the world's greatest self-promoter because he's on the show every week despite never being someone who moves the needle.  Anyway it's nice to see Cassidy getting so much screen time of late as he's super over and a really great worker.  Also, Danhausen is making his AEW PPV debut!  This match should be fine, an enjoyable clusterfuck, and I assume Caster and Bowens will win back their titles, as it was way too soon for them to lose them.  

Pick: The Acclaimed

Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Starks

It's a rematch between the aging superstar and the plucky babyface up-and-comer.  These two had a fine match on Dynamite in January and should be able to top that on this larger stage.  JAS is barred from ringside for this match but I wonder if Jericho has another friend who might run in for the assist.  They did do an angle last night where JAS beat up Ricky ahead of this match, maybe that was Jericho's big swerve after agreeing to the stips here.  Regardless I think Ricky winning is the move unless they have some debut planned to set up a rubber match.

Pick: Ricky

No Holds Barred: Jungle Boy vs. Christian Cage

Finally we're getting the blowoff to this feud.  This one should be quite good and quite heated.  Perry is absolutely a future main event guy and a win here should catapult him into the various title pictures.  I wonder if Luchasaurus gets involved since he's been off TV since Full Gear.  

Pick: Jack Perry

AEW Women's Championship: Jamie Hayter vs. Saraya vs. Ruby Soho

Seems weird to not have Britt Baker wrestling on a PPV.  I figured a month ago they were building to a big six-woman tag pitting the AEW originals vs. the others, but maybe they're waiting to try and add Mercedes Mone to that?  Anyway there's plenty of talent in this one; Hayter is always awesome, Saraya seems to be shaking off the ring rust and Ruby is great when she's on.  Not sure if Ruby will join the babyfaces or the heels in the larger feud, or just stay on her own.  Another question is whether Hikaru Shida will get involved.  Anyway I don't see Hayter losing the title anytime soon, as Hayter vs. Britt is clearly the big money match.  But maybe this will help set up the women's team feud (Blood & Guts anyone?) of Hayter/Baker/Shida/Riho/?? vs. Saraya/Storm/??

Pick: Hayter retains

TNT Championship: Samoa Joe vs. Wardlow

This is kinda the hardest one to predict now that Powerhouse Hobbs gets the winner next week, in his home market.  Prior to last night's Face of the Revolution Ladder Match (which was insane by the way), I'd have put all my money on Wardlow.  But now it's kind of a tough call.  Do you have Wardlow win the title and go into Dynamite as the less popular guy?  Does he drop the title right away to Hobbs?  Do you have Hobbs lose his first championship match since Full Gear?  Or do you beat Wardlow unfairly here and move him on to something else while Hobbs gets a big push over Joe next week?  Seems like a Wardlow vs. Hobbs feud would be beneficial for both guys as rising monster stars.  Joe is sorta the odd man out in a way.  Whatever the outcome, this should be a pretty great slugfest and hopefully one of Wardlow's signature bouts from this phase of his career.  I still think the eventual move is to have Wardlow beat MJF for the title, but hopefully a match like this will help make him a hot star again.

Pick: Wardlow

AEW Trios Championship: The Elite vs. House of Black

Holy jeez this'll be great.  Kenny Omega vs. Buddy Matthews alone will be incredible to watch, nevermind the other four guys.  The big rumor of course is that they're setting up The Elite vs. CM Punk and FTR, but who the hell knows at this point.  If that is indeed true, Punk and FTR costing Omega and the Bucks the titles makes perfect sense.  If it isn't true, HOB could still win here to set up a rematch down the line.  Either way I think it's time for House of Black to become the Road Warriors of this Trios division and just destroy everybody for a while.  Kenny and the Bucks can survive a loss and will either have a huge money feud with the Punk trio or go back on the chase against a dominant heel faction.

Pick: House of Black

Texas Death Match: Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page

Another holy jeez.  All three of these guys' matches together have been great, but this one should blow them all out of the water.  Expect buckets of blood and painfully stiff action.  Not sure what else to say except Page should win and move on to a title chase against MJF.  Mox will obviously need a new feud, maybe something involving a Blackpool Combat Club implosion since Claudio and Wheeler are full-on heels now.  Or maybe an actual feud with Takeshita.

Pick: Hangman

AEW World Championship Iron Man Match: MJF vs. Bryan Danielson

This is one of the big money matches I've been looking forward to for ages.  Danielson is more or less untouchable between the ropes, and MJF is a deceptively great worker.  This should be a perfect mix of technical and character work; I expect MJF to sacrifice a disqualification or two to gain back control of the match, a la Brock vs. Angle in 2003.  Iron Man matches are one of my favorite gimmicks when they're done well and this has the potential to be one of the great ones.  I don't see Danielson unseating MJF here since Max is just getting started as a young heel champ, but the ride will be a fun one.

Pick: MJF retains

Looking at this card, the product may not be as hot as it was a year ago but there are no fewer than three potential Match of the Year candidates.  I hope the main card stays just the eight matches; you could easily fit the first seven into three hours and thus limit the show's length to four (plus a few pre-show bouts).  Also AEW needs to move their PPV start time to 7pm so these shows will be over around 11, particularly on a Sunday.  Anyway, should be a damn fine show.

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