AEW Worlds End 2023
December 30, 2023
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Uniondale, New York

Watch: PPV / TrillerTV (Non-US)

Meet our previewers:

Steve Case: When history looks back on AEW’s 2023, what will it say? Will it speak of Wembley Stadium and one of the biggest shows of all time? Will it speak of Bryan Danielson’s Godlike in-ring output despite wrestling for only ¾ of it? Will it speak of CM Punk’s firing and shacking up with the enemy? Will it speak of the Continental Classic proving that a G1-style tournament CAN work on American television? Will it talk about a true generational prodigy having one of the most uneven title reigns ever? This is all in one calendar year, people. And it all ends with this show. This writer’s predictions never come true, and even though he doesn’t expect them to start now (you shouldn’t either), he wouldn’t have it any other way. Buy his wife’s children’s books instead! They made great holiday gifts. Who actually has Christmas on Christmas Day anymore? 

Jeri L. Evagood: The Magic Writing Girl will be joining in on this review! AEW has had a year of tremendous highs and lows. High-profile signings, high-profile firings, great to amazing matches, and mediocre to downright awful storylines. AEW was once that bright light at the end of the dark tunnel that was mainstream American wrestling. It was going to show you the way out of what American wrestling had become, but then the light started to fade, and the tunnel started to extend. AEW had the “Sports entertainment” whisperers in its ear, and Tony Khan listened and ignored so much of what AEW promised to be. MJF became Super Max, which is appropriate as he’s held the World Title scene as his prisoner and has sentenced it to extended mediocrity. Still, the light has faded, but it is not out. There is hope, and the Continental Classic is that hope. Hope is a dangerous thing though, but it can also be the only thing that keeps you going. There is just enough of what I want out of AEW left for me to keep watching, and while I have very low hopes for this PPV, one match, in particular, might make it all worth it. 

Andrew Rich: Festivus may be over, but Andrew still has some grievances to air, and you people are gonna hear about them. Will he go full Frank Costanza, or will he have some nice things to say as well? Follow him on Twitter @AndrewTRich, check out his podcast Music of the Mat (which is currently on hiatus because he doesn’t feel like doing it right now).

20-Man Battle Royal for Future AEW TNT Championship Match
TBA

Steve: if we are doing a show long story, this would be a great spot to bring Jack Perry back. It would give Copeland a young heel to work with (this is pending my prediction is correct, mind you) and cast doubt to the devil reveal later in the show. Or maybe a man in a devil mask wins. Let me be clear: I don’t want that, but you can see it, can’t you? AEW battle royals are usually quite good, so this has potential. A lot if the usual suspects are already booked on this show, so we could get some fun entries too. This should be fun, unless it isn’t. Prediction: Jack Perry

Jeri L. Evagood: It’s a battle royale, people will get thrown over the top, there will be narrow misses, there will be moments of “WHY DID YOU SAVE THEM?” and moments of “WHY DIDN’T YOU THROW THEM OUT” the crowd will cheer, the crowd will boo, and it might end up being good. AEW has a good track record with Battle Royals so you know what, I’m not shoo pooing this. I like Steve’s prediction of Jack Perry so I’m going to go with it as well. Prediction: Jack Perry

Andrew: AEW historically is a good battle royal company. Since we don’t know who is going to be in this sucker, it’s hard to give a prediction. I don’t think Jack Perry is coming back after all this time in a pre-show battle royal, but I could be wrong. Let’s go with Brian Cage for the hell of it, why not. Prediction: Brian Cage

FTW Championship
Hook © vs. Wheeler Yuta

Steve: Hook used to be cool. He used to seem like he had “it.” He now seems like just another guy on the roster. Wheeler is another guy who is still trying to find himself. I’d like to see Hook do a Super Juniors tournament next year similarly to what Wheeler did this past year. See if he can find himself a little more than Wheeler has. This will likely be well worked and rather short, which is fine for these two in this spot. A very high floor/low ceiling type match. Let’s see if they can exceed expectations. Prediction: Hook

Jeri L. Evagood: I still like Hook. His name is fun to chant (as Steven Spileberg’s HOOK taught me as a kid. ..terrible movie though…. Fight me.) He’s lost a lot of luster, and he does feel like just another guy now, but I think there’s still fun to be had out of him. Wheeler always feels like the lesser man of the BCC. That’s not to say he’s terrible, just I’m never as invested in his dealings as I am the other members. I expect this to be a solid but unspectacular affair. HOok will win, and I will chant his name in amusement until my friends tell me to shut up. Won’t take long. Prediction: Hook

Andrew: I agree that HOOK has lost some of his mystique now that he’s wrestled more often in longer matches, but he can still come off as cool. Yuta cannot, and that’s a good thing. He’s found his niche as the nasally little shithead in a pack of killers. HOOK has only been pinned twice in his AEW career; first to Jack Perry and second to Yuta. I expect HOOK to get his win back here in a good pre-show match. Prediction: HOOK

Big Bill, The Don Callis Family (Konosuke Takeshita & Powerhouse Hobbs) & Ricky Starks vs. Darby Allin, Le Sex Gods (Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara) & Sting

Steve: Just when Sammy thinks he’s out of the Jericorbit, he gets pulled right back in. This match has the shadow of Kenny Omega all over it, which is unfortunate. But hey, Sting multimans are often the most fun on a given show ago let’s see if we can be pleasantly surprised. Maybe we get a small tease that starts the build to Sting’s final match, which should be with Darby. Sting isn’t losing. Prediction: Sting, Darby, & Le Sex Gods

Jeri L. Evagood: Sammy Guevara with Jericho again. If you get your angles to close, he’ll suck them in. He’ll leech off of them and pretend he’s your friend. He’ll benefit from it all, and you’ll be back where you begin. Jericho was a boon when AEW first started no doubt, but now he feels like a bane. But if this match has any good news it’s the inclusion of STINNNNNNNNG. This could be a fun affair. We are several months way from Sting’s retirement (Which I will be attending live) lets get the gears going on that! But if not, just give us a fun match with some trainwreck sprinkled in please! Prediction: Sting, Darby, Jericho, Guevara

Andrew: Alright, let’s start airing some grievances. Sammy Guevara turns heel on Chris Jericho as a way to get out of his shadow. He gets injured a few weeks later at WrestleDream (after pinning Jericho via cheating), takes time off for recovery and paternity leave, then comes back and immediately turns face again to reunite with Jericho. Meanwhile, Sting and Darby Allin are now aligned with Le Sex Gods, despite the last time they met it was as opponents in that crazy Tornado Tag match on the Dynamite after Forbidden Door. Similarly, Starks and Hobbs had a big blood feud last year after Team Taz broke up, and now they’re on the same team. I’d hope they would acknowledge all that history and show tension, but given the shoddy nature of this match being thrown together in haste because of Kenny Omega’s illness, I have my doubts. Anyway, Sting hasn’t lost a match yet and he’s not going to before Revolution. Prediction: Darby Allin, Le Sex Gods, & Sting




Andrade El Idolo vs. Miro

Steve: I am getting real “Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX” vibes with this one. The issues with these two have, not with each other, but with the company, been well documented. The story is the Miro’s wife is now Andrade’s valet and Miro only sees her as a past he’s tried to leave behind. If not for both these guys incessant whining behind the scenes, that’d be a pretty fun hook to this match between two extremely talented wrestlers. So will these two have something to prove? Or will they phone it in like those two bulls did in the Garden years ago? Andrade has been great in the C2, and when Miro does get a big match, he typically delivers. This could be great, or it could be atrocious. Either way, I’m here for it. Prediction: Miro

Jeri L. Evagood: Hmmmmmmm, I don’t know. Miro is good, Andrade when he turns it up to eleven is great, but I don’t see this ending up very good, nor am all that excited to see it. I’m sure Miro will get in some power, El Idolo will get in some athletics, CJ will get involved somehow, and maybe just maybe it’ll turn alright in the end, but this match has major three star energy to me. If it exceeds that I will be very happy. If they are both motivated to go, I could be proven massively wrong here, and I’m okay with that. I’m not afraid to be wrong, especially when it comes to match quality being better than expected. If these two do indeed click better than I am expecting, we could be looking at a fun fun match. Prediction: Andrade El Idolo

Andrew: I really don’t have any interest in this Miro-CJ story. It feels like it’s been going on forever (an issue with plenty of AEW stories over the years), plus it’s a rehash of a WWE storyline from several years ago. Understandably, you can dub this one “Battle of the Malcontents” given Miro and Andrade’s reputations, but I will give Andrade his flowers. He had an awesome showing in the C2 and has working his ass off since Collision started. If Miro shows up like he did against Hobbs at All Out, this could be a hell of a match. Prediction: Andrade El Idolo

Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) vs. Keith Lee

Steve: I remember about 4-5 years ago when I was convinced Keith Lee would be the next big star in wrestling. A giant man with that kind of athleticism, charisma, and presence seemed can’t miss to me. A true old-school meets new-school kind of wrestler. Now it took a random ROH match for me to remember he’s still around. Call it lack of motivation. Call it missed opportunities. Call it bad luck. I’m afraid his time has passed. On the other hand, Swerve’s time is NOW. He’s been doing career-best work the last six months and has shown that he belongs with the tippy-top guys in AEW. This match should have happened over a year ago when Swerve in our Glory ran its course, but we are getting it now. If Keith is motivated, which there’s no reason he wouldn’t be, this could steal the show. That said, it’s not his house. It’s Swerve’s. Prediction: Swerve Strickland

Jeri L. Evagood: Is it wrong I go through periods of forgetting about Keith Lee? I hate that, I really hate that because I think he’s good, but he’s now pretty much a background character. I’m glad they are finally giving him and Swerve a big one on one match, but it’s too late, far too late, and Swerve should be doing bigger better things. BUT the match is happening, and I think it can be a good match. Swerve Strickland has had a hell of the year, especially the second half of it, and there is no way he should be losing this match. Keith Lee should get some good shots in, some good slams, should come close, but in the end Swerve finds a way to win and keep on with his momentum. Also, we get our final Nana dance of the year, and that is something to be happy about. Good match, Swerve Wins, Keith Lee hopefully in 2024 can find himself and some footing. Prediction: Swerve Strickland

Andrew: SIOG broke up a year ago, and to quote the Grateful Dead, “What a long strange trip it’s been.” We’ve had Rick Ross, Parker and Trench, gray hair, a one-time reunion in a tag tournament, and many many months where these two never interacted. And now, finally, we’re getting the singles match that should have happened forever ago. There’s long-term storytelling, and then there’s pausing a video game and forgetting to finish it. Swerve should win this. He’s riding a wave of momentum since the Hangman feud and the C2. There’s no reason to stop that now. Keith, I love the guy, but it’s not his time anymore, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s on the way out of AEW soon. Prediction: Swerve Strickland

AEW TNT Title No Disqualification Match
Christian Cage (c) vs. Adam Copeland

Steve: This has been a pretty good feud. Christian has been phenomenal since his heel turn and has been next level since winning the TNT title. Copeland has done his best, but he just can’t keep up. Christian has aged like wine, and Copeland has not. These two being the wrestling nerds and friends they are, will likely get a terrific match out of this stipulation that can hide some of Copeland’s deficiencies. I just cannot get myself to care one bit about him in 2023. It’s sad because he’s probably going to win this. He will overcome the Wayne’s and Killswitch, and I’ll only think about who should beat him, and soon. Prediction: Adam Copeland

Jeri L. Evagood: Christian the insulter of dead dads, the fornicator of living mothers. He has done pretty solid (if overrated) work as the TNT Champion, and his reign is about to come to an end to Adam Copeland. Adam Copeland is not a net gain in anyway for AEW, yet here he is. I know some people enjoy his act, and his one on one match with Christian in AEW was alright, but really he hasn’t brought anything to the table in AEW that I’ve found to be in my wheelhouse. I get that he’s motivated and energized to work in AEW, but that doesn’t mean I ahve to pretend to be amazed at it, because I’m not. Still, it’s a NO D.Q match which gives them some good leeway to smoke and mirrors things enough to have a fine match. Adam Copeland will find an…. Ugh ‘edge’ over Christian’s strategy and come up the victor. I’m not proud of myself for that. Prediction: Adam Copeland

Andrew: Like I did with Andrade, I will give Big Cope some credit. Has he meant a lick in terms of moving business? Absolutely not. BUT! He’s showed up in AEW motivated and willing to eschew the WWE trappings of his presentation like the spotlight stool promos or Going To That Place. Granted there’s a chance he could Go To That Place in this match, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. And what can I say about Christian? The guy is on the run of his life, and he’s delivered in several PPV matches this year (The Last Burial at Revolution, the Coffin Match at All In, the Darby match at WrestleDream). I’m sure there will be plenty of shenanigans, but both dudes have shown their willingness to take crazy bumps in their 50s, so I’m banking on that to have me hooting and hollering. Prediction: Adam Copeland

AEW TBS Title Match
Julia Hart (c) vs. Abadon

Steve: When it comes to horror movies, I much prefer the psychological to the gorefests. I don’t hate gore, if it’s used properly. Gore for the sake of it stinks. My wife and I watched The Fall of the House of Usher recently. Tremendous show. Well built stories that led to some gnarly payoffs for the awful family. Why am I talking about horror movies and television? Because it’s more interesting than this match. Hope they prove me wrong. Prediction: Julia Hart

Jeri L. Evagood: Abandon has worked their butt off. I get that, I see it. They look in good shape, they have a look, and I know they are trying. It’s just not enough, they aren’t that good in the ring, and I have no interest in this match. Julia Hart has been improving and she is fine for this level of the championship I think, but she’s not strong enough to carry Abadon to an good match. If this match hits the three stars it’ll be a lady’s three as I don’t think they’ll get there without a little leeway or generosity. But, I’m sure they’ll try, they are professional after all, but trying doesn’t always equal succeeding. Prediction: Julia Hart

Andrew: Steve, I also enjoyed The Fall of the House of Usher. It was fun to see every one of Mike Flanagan’s regular actors show up. I don’t think it was my favorite of his Netflix shows, that would be either Midnight Mass or The Haunting of Hill House. I didn’t see The Midnight Club though. What’s that? Oh, uh, yeah Julia Hart will retain here. Prediction: Julia Hart

AEW Women’s World Title Match
Toni Storm (w/Luther) (c) vs. Riho

Steve: I was one of the folks who thought the Timeless Toni gimmick was unique and kind of well done for awhile, especially as a classic movie nerd. I’m now out on it. If she was playing it as the old guard losing her mind and grip on the spotlight, ala the women’s title, I’d be into it more. It’s just goofy schlock and I wish it would end. The TBS title match has a better chance of being good than Riho has of winning this match. Prediction: Toni Storm

Jeri L. Evagood: “deep breath” I know Wrestling Twitter has an infatuation with Toni Storm’s gimmick, and at first I understood. At first I thought it was amusing, but then it kept going on and the novelty of it began to die off for me. Then Toni Storm became champion with that gimmick and I completely lost all use for it. I’m not anti-gimmick. I think gimmicks in wrestling serve a very good purpose when wielded correctly. However, Toni Storm’s gimmick is one I cannot take seriously. It’s become a detriment to a division that desperately wants to be taken seriously, and I want to be taken seriously. I don’t want “tits out, shoes off” or whatever she says to be the top of my division. (For the record, if I’m complaining about tits being out, we have a problem) It’s made it secondary comedy, it’s made it non-serious, it’s deluded what value the title has had and could have. Now don’t get me wrong, Toni, is a great wrestler, and if the gimmick was toned down a bit and certain aspects done away with, I could see it working, but we get the full ten yards with it. She’s gone up to eleven (This goes up to eleven) when she should’ve dialed it back to maybe a six. I just don’t think it’s the right call for Women’s World Champion. But she is the champion, and Riho (Who is amazing) isn’t going to change that. Prediction: Toni Storm

Andrew: I don’t know why Toni Storm had to become Timeless Toni. She was doing just fine as a normal wrestler who looked cool and had more straightforward matches. The Outcasts stuff wasn’t great, but she was still a believable character. Now she’s devolved into a 1940s film star who says things wrong and has a black and white filter on the screen. I guess she’s fallen into that common sports entertainment trap of “You need a wacky character to get over.” You don’t, it’s not necessary. Jamie Hayter has proved that. Shida has proved that. Riho has proved that. But trying to stop this gimmick feels like yelling at the wind to stop blowing. God bless Riho, this will not be her night. Prediction: Toni Storm

Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli), Daniel Garcia & Mark Briscoe vs. Brodie King, Jay Lethal, Jay White & Rush

Steve: This match has a ton of great wrestlers who have great matches. Think of what they’d do for the BOLA also-rans, but with a list for blood instead of goofiness. This should rock and it’ll be interesting to see if they set some things up out of it. Preview Prediction: BCC & Frienemies

Jeri L. Evagood: Note: this match was posted after everything else I wrote. That said….. That said…… THAT SAID THIS MATCH KICKS ALL THE ASS. You’ll read below me calling this show a potential one match show. This however will probably be the second best match on the show. Just an amazing collection of talent… and Jay Lethal is here also. I’m messing, he’ll do his part fine. This is going to be a kick ass affair, and I’m all for it. I’m so glad they will all be getting a spot on this show as the show really needed something with OMPFH, and this is plenty of god damn OMPFH. Alright! Well done Tony Khan. Prediction: Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli), Daniel Garcia & Mark Briscoe

Andrew: This match looks pretty damn awesome. It’s an all-star match of eight great wrestlers, they’re all gonna get their shit in, Mark Briscoe is going to be a delight, and Jay Lethal will take the fall. That’s all you need. Prediction: Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli, Daniel Garcia & Mark Briscoe

Continental Classic Championship Final Match
Eddie Kingston vs. Jon Moxley

Steve: Two promos in under three minutes. That’s all it took. We know these guys. We know their story. They didn’t need long expositions. We’ve seen it over the last couple years. One of the first things Moxley did when he was freed from WWE was participate in the greatest pro wrestling tournament today. Although his output in the C2 might not quite have hit those highs, you know it means a lot to him to compete in a tournament like this on American soil. Eddie grew up on the Champions Carnival. Eddie was able to compete in the G1 like Moxley. He’s been one of the top performers in this tournament, with every match getting maximum effort. The promos these two have put out during this tournament elevated everything they did. And now they meet once more in Long Island. Is this yet another chapter in Eddie’s close but not quite career story? Or is this finally his big moment? Both would have interesting paths with a win and questionable ones with a loss. My head tells me Moxley is much more valuable as the first C2 champion, but Eddie makes a much sweeter end to the story of this tournament. I’m a softy. Give me the sweet ending. Preview Prediction: Eddie Kingston

Jeri L. Evagood: Now, I’m not SAYING AEW World’s End is a one match show, but I will not be surprised once the PPV is over that we all look at each other and say “it turned into a one match show” and it will be this match. There is very little way in my eyes this match fails. Hell, this is what I want AEW to be. The emotion, the passion, the desire, the violence, the energy. The story isn’t outside of the ring, it is in the ring, staring each other in the face ready to punch each other’s lights out. The wrestling tells the story. We don’t need Devils, we don’t need black and white imagery, we don’t need any of that shit. The Ace and the Underdog with legit history with and against each other toughing it out to win the Continental Classic. I always root for Jon Moxley. Always. Not today, not now, not in this moment. I am a Jon Moxley girl through and through, and on this night, I want Eddie Kingston to get his flowers. I want him to pin Moxley in the middle of the ring and the crowd going absolutely nuts for the absolute king. This has been Eddie’s Kingston story. The entire tournament has been Eddie Kingston’s story, to being down and out and on the verge of quitting, to rising back up and proving not just to us, but to himself he belongs and that he is one of the best. He’s not the prettiest, he’s not the smoothest, he’s sometimes awkward, but Eddie Kingston has over come it all, and on this night, he will over come Jon Moxley ..but he’s going to have to endure a lot of pain (and blood) to do it. Prediction: Eddie Kingston

Andrew: This is my most anticipated match on the show and it only took a three-minute promo exchange between Mox and Eddie on the go-home Dynamite. You don’t need Devil Goons or silent films to make me care about a pro wrestling match. You just need two of the best pro wrestlers out there to be authentic, be passionate, and promise to beat the other one up. It’s that easy. The C2 has proven that AEW can still do professional wrestling to an elite degree and they don’t need to be WWE-lite. It was chock full of stories told between the bells, and Eddie Kingston’s story was the heart of it. He put his own belts on the line for this new Triple Crown and went 0-2 at the start. And through sheer guts and heart and determination, he scratched and clawed his way to the final. He put Claudio in the rear view. He finally got the win over Danielson. And all that’s left is to beat Mox—his friend, his rival, his partner, his blood brother. The one guy he’s never beaten is standing in the way of his crowning achievement. That’s the kind of story that only pro wrestling can give you. Prediction: Eddie Kingston




AEW World Title Match
MJF (c) vs. Samoa Joe

Steve: I haven’t been a fan of this storyline for a lot of the reasons most haven’t, so I’m not wasting time on that here. I had a moment of fear recently. Remember when Max confronted Hangman in the hallway a few weeks ago? Joe walked in to pull Max away, but gave Hangman a glance saying, “I’ll deal with you later.” I swear to everything holy, if this devil crap is Hangman…..no I’m not going to go there. I want to use logic. Max is hurt. Going away would allow him to heal and give him a chance to freshen up and regroup a tad. He can feud with the devil or whatnot if need be, but the title doesn’t have to be anywhere near. Joe has been SO GOOD in AEW and I think a reign to Revolution would be pretty cool and produce a lot of great stuff. I told you I don’t mind being wrong right? Prediction: Samoa Joe

Jeri L. Evagood: MJF is talented as fuck. He’s had some great matches, amazing moments, and fantastic promos. I will not deny or take those accolades away from him. When he won the world title, I was really interested in seeing what he would do. And it started off promising. His match with Bryan Danielson may be his best match he’s ever had, and he’s had some great ones. Alas, things have gone south in that regard. He’s become Super Max always over coming the odds, always making his opponents look worse afterward.That’s not to say they can’t recover, they probably will, but they don’t benefit from anything Max does, Max benefits from Max. And now we got this Devil storyline that has been pure tripe and is right up there with the Black Scorpion. I love storylines, give me storylines, but they got to be good, they got to keep me interested, and all this storyline does is tune me out. And the rest of AEW is worse off for it. I don’t care who the Devil is, I just want it revealed so we can move on. Speaking of moving on, as we approach 2024, now is a good time to give Samoa Joe his thank you reign. It doesn’t have to be long, but it would be cool as hell to see him get it. I think now is the time. Get the title off MJF, move him on to feud with whoever the devil ends up being, and give Joe a thank you for all he’s done. Yeah, that’s what I want, will we get it? I’m predicting we will. Prediction: Samoa Joe

Andrew: I’m tired. I’m tired of MJF’s title reign where he cosplays as The Rock, Stone Cold, and Hulk Hogan all at once. I’m tired of him constantly promising to “restore the feeling” and then doing the opposite. I’m tired of The Devil and his Masked Men. I’m tired of the Grand Canyon-sized logic gaps in this story (Why did Joe say he wanted to wait until MJF was 100% for his title shot, spend weeks watching his back, then attack him anyway a few days before the PPV?). Mostly I’m just tired of the AEW World Title being bogged down with this nonsense. Jon Moxley carried that belt through the heart of the pandemic. Hangman Page bled buckets in 60-minute draws and Texas Death matches to keep it around his waist. That feels like forever ago. Hell, MJF’s match with Danielson at Revolution—one of the best matches I’ve seen this year—feels like forever ago. That was when MJF felt like an actual big boy champion. He doesn’t feel like one now. I’m almost positive Joe wins and MJF takes time off to heal from his injuries. Joe is awesome, he’d be a great world champ for a little bit. Still, the combined bad vibes of The Devil storyline, the Brochachos, crying about flavors of ice cream, and everything else MJF has done the past nine months puts a damper on my excitement for this one. Just get it over with and move on. Prediction: Samoa Joe