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

Watch: PPV / Bleacher Report / TrillerTV (Non-US)

Meet our reviewers

Sean Sedor: Well, it’s a day before New Year’s Eve, and it’s the final AEW PPV of 2023. Penn State lost their bowl game today, which put a bit of a damper on things, but Sean is hoping that another quality AEW PPV can help close out the day on a positive note (we’ll see how The Devil storyline plays out, if it does at all). You can find Sean on Twitter @SASedor2994. If you’re interested in some of Sean’s other escapades, you can watch him play the Formula 1 games on YouTube (just search his name and you’ll find the channel), and you can also go to the Be The Booker forums if you’d like to check out Sean’s EWR Diary, where he plays as WCW (started in 1998, currently in May of 2002).

Suit Williams: It’s the end of the world as we know it. Remember those Jericho promos from like, 2012? With the kids in the school? Those were pretty cool. Check out Suit’s work on F4WOnline, covering Collision and ROH TV and here on Voices of Wrestling. Don’t follow him on Twitter. Please. Get off of there.

AEW Worlds End 2023 Zero Hour
Willow Nightingale def. Kris Statlander

Sean: This matchup between two native Long Islanders was set up last night on Rampage as Stokely Hathaway (who joined the commentary team here) has been trying to drive a wedge between these two. I’m really not sure about teasing a heel turn with either of these two, but I guess we’ll see where things go. We were treated to some solid back-and-forth action early as the crowd was still filing into the Nassau Coliseum (kind of gave off the same vibes as WWE PPV pre-shows from several years ago). With some of the shenanigans we’ve gotten in the women’s division as of late, it’s nice to see just a straight wrestling match involving two really good talents. At one point, Statlander tried for a Scissor Kick, but Willow avoided and hit The Pounce before going on a flurry of offense that got her a nearfall. Statlander recovered, and tried for a 450 Splash, but Willow stopped her connected with a big powerbomb on the apron. Statlander managed to recover and tried for the 450 Splash again, but Willow managed to avoid it.

At this point, things were going pretty well (aside from a few kicks from Willow that didn’t exactly hit flush), but then the finish got REALLY clunky, as they messed up the Doctor Bomb twice before Willow finally managed to connect on the third try. Up until the final minute or two, it was a notch below their TBS Title match from a few months back, but still very solid. Unfortunately, the finishing sequence takes it down. It’s a shame, as I’m a fan of these two and felt they were doing well up to that point, but sometimes you’ll get miscommunications like that. ***1/4 

AEW Worlds End 2023 Zero Hour
20-Man Battle Royal for a shot at the TNT Title
Winner: Killswitch

Sean: I guess the most interesting story right out of the gate is that Darius Martin and Action Andretti came out sans Dante Martin. This one starts off with everyone brawling on the floor, with the end result beating Lance Archer and Killswitch (formerly known as Luchasaurus) buried under a bunch of tables. The first portion of the battle royal was VERY average and lifeless until Lance Archer and Killswitch got in there and started cleaning house on everyone. The final four were those two monsters plus Trent Beretta and Danhausen. Beretta and Danhausen managed to work together to eliminate Archer, but then Beretta turned around and tossed out Danhausen. The two eventually end up on the apron, and Killswitch eliminated Trent to score the victory. Again, this wasn’t a very interesting match until Archer and Killswitch got in there fully. Killswitch (still getting used to that new name) winning makes sense in the context of the Adam Copeland vs. Christian Cage feud, and with the match later being No DQ, I feel like we might be seeing him again a little later tonight. **

Suit: The Butcher and the Blade kept their good reputation in battle royals, lasting to the final five. Danhausen and Beretta ganged up on Archer to dump him out, then Beretta sent Danhausen to the floor after the hug spot. Beretta and Killswitch fought on the apron before Killswitch knocked him down with a headbutt to win. They teased Killswitch turning on Christian before Copeland took him out with a con-chair-to a few weeks back, so the TNT Title match is still in question. It was a fine battle royal, in that it didn’t stink too much. **1/2

AEW Worlds End 2023 Zero Hour
FTW Title – FTW Rules Match
HOOK (c) def. ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta

Sean: These two have been teasing a match since all the way back in October. Since then, Wheeler Yuta regained the ROH Pure Title for an unprecedented third time, but it’s HOOK’s title that’s on the line here. Yuta cuts a promo before the match trashing Long Island, but is interrupted by the New York Islanders goal horn before HOOK makes his entrance. They started brawling immediately, and end up on the stage, where HOOK delivers a suplex. Yuta would respond with a trash can lid shot, and at this point, takes firm control of the match. Trash cans and a stop sign are in the ring now as HOOK finally starts to fight back. They trade german suplexes before HOOK sends Yuta into one of the trash cans. Yuta then avoided a Redrum attempt by dropping HOOK on a different trash can. He follows up with a DDT onto a stop sign. 

Yuta then tried to use some sort of board, but HOOK pulled out a hockey stick and just cracked him with it. He locked in the Redrum with a broken piece of the hockey stick, and that was it. This was by no means bad, but it really had the vibes of a house show Hardcore Match. While the action throughout this one was perfectly fine, the crowd didn’t seem to care about it that much until that hockey stick spot. A solid win for HOOK, which I guess could lead to a ROH Pure Title shot? I guess time will tell. **1/2 

Suit: Yuta cut a very bad promo to start this thing. There was a cool production touch here, with HOOK being projected in the rafters like the Batman signal. Very cool. These two had a garden variety “hit each other with stuff” hardcore match. Nothing stood out in a major way, other than Hook’s hockey stick breaking too early on the finish. Hook won with a broken stick-assisted Redrum. *1/2

Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli), Mark Briscoe, & Daniel Garcia def. Brody King, Jay Lethal, “Switchblade” Jay White, & RUSH

Sean: It’s really cool that we’re getting a match like this involving most of the wrestlers from the Continental Classic. Feels very similar to the types of matches we usually get on the final night of the G1 Climax. The big highlight from the entrances was easily Nigel McGuinness gloating on commentary over Bryan Danielson’s loss to Eddie Kingston on Wednesday in the Blue League Final. This one started off hot with Claudio and RUSH going at it before Jay Lethal and Mark Briscoe tangled once again. Bryan Danielson and Jay White then had what I think was their first exchange ever before Brody King just went after Daniel Garcia. He destroyed Garcia on the floor before getting in Matt Menard’s face (he was with the commentary team for this one).

The heel side isolates Garcia for the next few minutes until he’s finally able to make the tag to Mark Briscoe. Things then break down as the babyface side cleaned house for a brief period. Claudio gets to show off his power by hitting Brody King with an impressive delayed vertical suplex. He followed that up with a giant swing on the big man with an assist from Danielson in the form of a kick. The action then breaks down once again, with everyone hitting signature moves, until Daniel Garcia catches Jay Lethal with the same jackknife he used to beat Brody King to score the win! This was a great match to kick off the show. No nonsense to be found here. Just eight guys going out there and having an entertaining eight-man tag packed with action. It was awesome to see Garcia get the win here, and hopefully he’s in for a renewed push in 2024. Not much to complain about here. A strong way to kick off the show. ****

Suit: I lost a minute on the rising action there due to a feed issue, but I saw most of this one and it was a hell of an opener. The focus was on Daniel Garcia, who got worked on for the heat before eventually getting the pin on Lethal with the Jackknife cradle he beat Brody King with on last week’s Collision. This was an awesome showcase for all these guys, teasing big matches for down the line like White/Danielson and Rush/Claudio. Garcia getting the shine here and staring down Danielson post-match is a good sign for him, but the follow-up has to pay off. That’s been an issue for AEW for a long time, and fans can only hold out hope for so long. ****

Miro def. Andrade El Idolo (with CJ Perry)

Sean: Here we have a battle between two….malcontents, shall we say? While this is a match that’s been building ever since CJ Perry (who’s making her first appearance in AEW since her recent health scare) took Andrade El Idolo on has her client, it’s been overshadowed over the last twenty-four hours with the news that Andrade is imminently on his way out of AEW, and could potentially be back in WWE as soon as RAW on Monday Night. The fact that he lost his singles match against Volador Jr. the night before in CMLL further adds fuel to that fire.

Miro jumped Andrade during his entrance to get this one started. Andrade managed to finally take off his jacket about a minute into the match, but Miro was in firm control of the bout early on. They split out to the floor and brawl by the announce table for a bit before they end up back in the ring. Miro nails a big superplex, and the two exchange strikes in the middle once they got back up. Andrade finally finds an opening with a dragon screw in the ropes and hits his first long string of offense of the match. Miro manages to fight back and locks in Game Over, but Andrade gets to the ropes. Andrade responds with a Figure Four, which turns into the Figure Eight, but CJ breaks it up behind the referee’s back. Miro gets a nearfall off a kick before locking in the Game Over for the submission. Looks like the husband-and-wife duo is back together. 

This was a good match that had the right result with the guy on the way out doing the honors. I was really enjoying it at one point, but then it went on a few minutes longer than it needed to go. I don’t have a ton of comments on this one beyond that. A fine match for its spot on the card involving one guy who’s for sure leaving and another guy who also probably doesn’t want to be there anymore at this stage. Down with the malcontents, I say! ***1/4 

Suit: This was weird. Andrade is reportedly leaving after this show to return to WWE. Combine that with a feud centered around CJ Perry, who I and most of Long Island don’t give a shit about, and the opening minutes of this match were a drag. But credit to Andrade, he worked hard here to get the crowd into this one. Andrade got the Figure Eight on, but CJ pulled his arms out from under him. Miro locked on Game Over to score the win. Credit to them, but this match shows that whatever this CJ Perry deal is – motivation? denial kink? – is not that over. Meanwhile, Andrade did business the right way. A lot of the NXT Black and Gold crew should take a page out of his book and do jobs before leaving the company. **1/2

AEW Women’s World Title
“Timeless” Toni Storm (c) def. Riho

Sean: It’s always fun seeing Riho in AEW. She’s always over with these crowds whenever she shows up, and I wish we’d get to see her more frequently instead of the “come in for a brief title program and then disappear for multiple months” routine they’ve been doing with her lately. They built this one around bodyslams early on, with Toni Storm firmly in control. Luther got involved one-too-many times and was eventually ejected by Rick Knox. This gave Riho the opening to mount a comeback, and she managed to connect with a bodyslam of her own. She followed up with some of her high-flying offense before Toni cut her off with the Storm Zero for a nearfall. Riho recovered and got a close nearfall of her own off a flash pin, but Toni would respond with a new finisher (some sort of DDT variation that started off as that one backbreaker Randy Orton always does) for the win. Even with the Toni Storm silliness, I thought this was a perfectly fine match that really picked up once Luther got thrown out. These two could’ve had a much better bout if Toni Storm wasn’t in her current gimmick, but alas, this is where we are. ***

Suit: The early part of this match saw Toni working big man style on Riho’s back to general silence, with Luther getting involved repeatedly. The gimmick is not over once the bell rings, and any gimmick like that is completely ineffective. After Luther got caught pulling the rope away from Riho on a submission attempt, Riho got her comeback in. She kicked out of a Storm Zero, but Storm yanked her off of the ropes and hit a twisty-doo DDT for the win. Mariah May celebrated with her after the match with roses. The match was technically fine but nothing special. **

Swerve Strickland (with Prince Nana) def. Dustin Rhodes

Sean: Earlier today, there was an interesting tweet from Keith Lee that gave the indication that he wasn’t 100%. Tony Khan later confirmed on Twitter that Keith Lee wasn’t medically cleared to wrestle, and put Lee’s sometimes tag team partner Dustin Rhodes in his place. While it’s quite possible that Lee is not cleared, there’s been a lot of speculation and rumors that Lee not being in this match with Swerve is due to…other non-injury related reasons.

Regardless, we get an angle where Swerve (who was insanely over with this crowd) jumped Dustin before the match and smashed his ankle with a cinder block. They teased Dustin getting taken to the back, but he struggled back to the ring and decided to go forward with the match. We get Swerve working over the clearly weakened leg of Dustin Rhodes for the first few minutes before Dustin finally gets in a spurt of offense after connecting with a crossbody off the top. We get Shattered Dreams, and even the Cross Rhodes, but Swerve survives, and locks in a Stretch Muffler that Dustin somehow didn’t tap out to. After flipping Swerve off and spitting in his face, Swerve nailed a few of his House Call kicks before hitting the Swerve Stomp for the win.

The actual wrestling was perfectly fine, but this match was booked all wrong. If you’re going to do such a heavy injury angle before the bout, Swerve has to either destroy Dustin in like two minutes, or you give Dustin maybe a move or two (but nothing more than that) before Swerve puts him away (or maybe just do the injury ankle after the match). The fact that Swerve, an ascendent star in AEW and future World Champion, went nearly 50-50 with a guy who, in storyline, had a severely injured leg, is as close to booking malpractice as you can get. Yes, Swerve won in the end, and that was the right result, but the booking did Swerve absolutely no favors. I do not understand why this was put together in the way that it was. **1/4 

Suit: This match would have been so much better if the order of it was reversed. If Swerve wrestled a game Dustin Rhodes and beat him, then crushed his ankle with the brick, this would have been an excellent segment in replacement of Keith Lee and whatever sickness keeps him from laying down. Instead, this happened in reverse, where a one-legged Dustin went back-and-forth with Swerve before Swerve definitively put him away with two House Calls, an arm snap, and a double stomp. This was close to being effective, but just done in the wrong manner. **1/2

Darby Allin, Sting, Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara def. The Don Callis Family (Konosuke Takeshita & Powerhouse Hobbs) & AEW World Tag Team Champions Big Bill & Ricky Starks

Sean: Chris Jericho came out to a more mixed reaction than usual (which isn’t a surprise given everything that’s unfolded on Twitter today). The match itself got off to a pretty standard start before we got our first interesting interaction of the match between Darby Allin and Konosuke Takeshita, which ended with Takeshita hitting an insane Torture Rack Bomb off the top rope (a crazy spot for that early into the match). Darby then gets isolated by the heel team, which included Big Bill and Hobbs just TOSSING him across the ring like a sack of potatoes. Darby is eventually able to make the tag to Sting, who runs wild before getting taken out by Hobbs.

Jericho was getting some boos while he was on offense, while the likes of Big Bill (who did not have a good sequence with Jericho) and Hobbs were cheered when they went after him. Takeshita dropped Darby on his head with a German Suplex, and then hit a German Suplex on both Darby and Sammy simultaneously. Jericho and Sting were able to respond with simultaneous submissions before that got broken up. The match comes to a close with a Guevara/Starks sequence that leads to Sammy pinning Ricky after a shooting star press. That finish likely sets up a match with Jericho and Guevara challenging Big Bill and Starks for the AEW World Tag Team Titles. This was….fine, I guess. There was solid action at points, but at other times, it was clearly clunky and messy. Obviously the biggest talking points coming out of this match will be the stuff involving Jericho. At least a portion of the crowd clearly knew about what went down online today, but I guess time will tell whether those mixed reactions continue. ***

Suit: This match desperately made me want to see Konosuke Takeshita vs. Darby Allin, but that would probably require Takeshita to be on Dynamite or Collision more than once a quarter. Hobbs and Bill swung Darby by his hands and feet, a spot I used to do to my baby sister with my older sister. Jericho got notable boos here. If you want more on that, check Twitter. This was another match where Sting was asked to do too much in a multi-man tag. I bet he’s up to do it all, but the man is literally my grandmother’s age. Gotta keep it simple for him. Guevara pinned Starks with a Shooting Star Press, building up to his and Jericho’s tag team title match. ***1/4

TBS Title
Julia Hart (c) def. Abadon

Sean: At this point, the show wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire. Abadon’s chosen “House Rules” stipulation was that biting would be legal. Alrighty then. The bell rings and the crowd immediately starts a “This Is Spooky” chant before Abadon connected with a cutter. Aside from the crowd doing the “This Is Spooky” chants, they’re really not that into this. Abadon finally does some biting, but Skye Blue comes out and stops her momentum. Julia then follows up with one of her worst moonsaults to score the win.

This was not very good. Easily the worst match of the show up to this point. The crowd largely didn’t care and it ended on a super flat note. It just didn’t work. Not much else to say. *

Suit: I thought Edge and Finn Balor locked up Worst Match of the Year back at WrestleMania, but these two got this one in just under the wire. What sucks is that I can’t really blame the women for it that much. Who thought putting Abadon, seasonal gimmick wrestler who has never been over, in the ring with 22-year-old Julia Hart on PPV for TWELVE MINUTES? Cagematch listed this at 11:57, and I swore that was in hours and minutes. This was heatless and boring, then Abadon started biting Hart, as her House Rule was “biting is legal.” What the fuck are we doing here? Skye Blue interfered, because it’s not an AEW show without her showing up. Abadon dealt with her before Hart jumped her from behind and missed a moonsault for the win. It’s somewhat lucky this match was on PPV so less people saw it. Hart has real potential, but she is NOWHERE near ready to lead a PPV title defense. Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to not make these decisions anymore. DUD

TNT Title – No DQ Match
Adam Copeland def. Christian Cage (c)

Sean: Adam Copeland is dressed for a fight as he comes out in jeans. The Wayne Family comes out with Christian Cage, but Copeland immediately jumps him on the ramp to get this one started. Copeland is fully in control as he’s beating up Christian all over the arena. They eventually end up back in the ring, and after avoiding the spear, Christian finally is able to get in his first offensive moves of the match. Christian went after Copeland’s neck with both a kendo stick and chair, but Copeland is able to fight back, and busts out a ladder. Christian connects with a sunset flip powerbomb off the ladder for a nearfall. Outside of the opener, this is the most a crowd has been into a match on this card the entire night.

The crowd went wild as Christian brought out some tables. “We want fire” chants quickly broke out. An attempted con-chair-to from Copeland to Christian is stopped by Nick Wayne, and Cage regains the advantage. That didn’t last long as Christian gets speared through one of the tables to a MASSIVE reaction. Shayna Wayne stops the pin by pulling out the referee, which allows Wayne to hit the Wayne’s World on the floor. A Killswitch in the ring gets a very close nearfall. LIGHTER FLUID then gets introduced, and it leads to Copeland hitting a less-than-impressive powerbomb on Wayne through the flaming table (guess he got enough of it). Copeland then hit the Killswitch in the ring and pinned Christian to win the TNT Title.

The match itself was pretty great, and easily one of the hottest things on a show that desperately needed a jolt of energy. This crowd was into pretty much everything these guys did, and both worked very hard. What followed was a really fascinating angle, which we probably should’ve seen coming with the benefit of hindsight. Killswitch comes out and destroys Copeland. It appears that he’s going to cash in his TNT Title shot, but Christian comes in and demands that he gives him the contract. He begrudgingly does so, and Christian pins Copeland with a spear to win back the TNT Title. I have mixed feelings on this. I hate the idea of AEW doing cash-ins period, but at the same time, I felt the way this was done (with Christian worming his way back to the TNT Title right after losing it, continuing the storyline with the former Luchasaurus, AND calling back to Copeland’s history of cash-ins) sort of worked? As long as you don’t do it again, I feel like I can live with it in this very specific instance. ****

Suit: Speaking of Edge, I wouldn’t have had him saving an AEW PPV the same year, but here we are. This match was a jolt of energy and life into this dead show, with these two brawling on the ramp and through the crowd with an intensity that was missing from the early portion of the card. These two have done plunder matches for as long as I’ve been alive, and they displayed their expertise here in a fantastic match. Copeland speared Nick Wayne onto a burning table before hitting Cage with the Killswitch (the move, not the wrestler) to win. 

After the match, Killswitch (the wrestler, not the move) jumped Copeland and chokeslammed him through a chair. He went to cash in (ugh) his TNT Title contract he won on Zero Hour, but Christian whispered something into his ear to get him to give Christian the contract. Christian then cashed in and hit Copeland with a spear to win the title back. Not a fan of the immediate cash-in, as I think this show needed a feel good moment and the cash-in could’ve waited until Wednesday. I also don’t want AEW doing cash-ins at all, as it’s a burned out trope associated and overdone by WWE. But otherwise, this was the highlight of the show so far. ****1/4

AEW Continental Classic – Finals
Eddie Kingston def. Jon Moxley

Sean: HERE WE GO. After a month of really strong action in both blocks, the first AEW Continental Classic is coming to close as Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston face off in a one-on-one setting for (I believe) the first time since their I Quit Match over three years ago at Full Gear 2020. The crowd is hyped for this one, and we’ve also got Eddie Kingston wearing yellow and black kickpads. After the initial opening exchange, there was a big dive Kingston where he landed pretty bad. Moxley would take advantage of this miscue and gained control. A nasty piledriver only got two, but Kingston managed to get back in the fight, and got into a brutal chop exchange with Mox that ended with Moxley going down after a backfist.

Another awesome exchange sees a cutter from Mox, another backfist from Kingston, a big lariat from Mox, and a Northern Lights Bomb from Kingston for a nearfall. The two then exchange chokes with Moxley getting the better of Kingston. Eddie is able to respond with another Northern Lights Bomb for a nearfall. The two then get into a brutal strike exchange in the middle of the ring, and Kingston hits another Backfist out of nowhere to win the match and the AEW Continental Classic! This was an awesome match that, while not the best match in the tournament overall, was easily the best match on this card. Brutal, hard-hitting offense from both guys throughout, and the crowd was invested from start to finish. Eddie Kingston was one of the favorites coming into this tournament, and he ultimately came out on top. A result that I certainly have no issues with. We still don’t know how they’re handling this Triple Crown in terms of how it’ll be defended, but as far as the final went, it totally delivered. ****1/4 

Suit: The dream is alive. Eddie Kingston, who talked about how watching Japanese wrestling saved his life, became the first American Triple Crown Champion after winning a G1-style tournament to do it. The match was pretty good, as these two beat each other up something fierce. Chops, slaps, punches, and kicks. Headbutts that made Katsuyori Shibata jealous. These guys left it all in the ring before Kingston landed one final backfist to win the Continental Crown. Kingston was presented with the titles he put on the line, before getting his new third title. Moxley embraced with him after the match, allowing him to celebrate with New York. The happy ending this show needed. ****

AEW World Title
Samoa Joe def. MJF (c)

Sean: Well, we’re finally here. MJF and Samoa Joe going at it once again for the AEW World Title. These two actually had a really strong match back in September at the Arthur Ashe Stadium show, but this one has a lot of different elements going into it, with MJF’s noted injuries as well as the whole Devil storyline looming over everything going on with the World Title scene. After MJF makes his entrance (which included a funny little video package involving Max and Long Island), we get the surprise appearance of Adam Cole, who comes out on crutches to be in MJF’s corner.

MJF’s left shoulder is covered with tape and a giant black brace. The champion tries to go on a flurry early, but Joe quickly slams him down on the bad shoulder. Joe worked over the bad arm and shoulder as Max tried everything he could to end the match as quickly as he could. At one point, MJF attempted to get back in the ring after being tossed over the top, but his injured arm heavily impeded him, and left him wide open for an attack by Samoa Joe.

Back in the ring, Joe continues to dish out punishment to the arm and shoulder area with some suplexes. Then we get a Muscle Buster ON THE APRON, which looked absolutely brutal. MJF somehow survived that, and did his best to fight back, but he was clearly wounded. While he tried to lift Joe up for some sort of move, he couldn’t support the weight on the injured arm and shoulder. He does manage to hit the Heat Seaker, but it only gets two. Joe regains control and continues to work over MJF as Adam Cole urges him to keep fighting. MJF avoids a choke, but the referee gets taken out. It appears to be intentional on Max’s part, as he uses the opening for a low blow, followed by an F5. Cole passes MJF the Dynamite Diamond Ring, but Joe still managed to get the choke locked in. Max’s hand falls down three times, and that’s it! Samoa Joe is the new AEW World Champion! 

I’m surprised that we didn’t really get that many Devil shenanigans in the actual match itself. Aside from the one ref bump that led to a low blow from MJF, it was wrestled pretty straight, and I thought it just got over the hump into notebook territory. MJF really did a great job selling the fact that he was broken down and injured (and a lot of that is true as he’s dealing with legit injuries) while Joe played his role to perfection, as he picked MJF apart and eventually got the win and the title. The fact that Samoa Joe is the AEW World Champion is very cool (he’s done some great work over the last year or so). Afterwards, we got the big angle which finally revealed that the Devil was, in fact, Adam Cole, while his henchmen were Roderick Strong, The Kingdom, and Wardlow. An outcome that is….not really surprising. These were pretty much the guys everyone was expecting (in terms of who was most likely), though it does make the last three months feel like a giant waste of time. Why didn’t Adam Cole just turn on MJF at the Wembley Stadium show when it made more logical sense (especially with the World Title on the line)? Why did Adam Cole concoct this master plan that doesn’t even involve him being the World Champion? There’s just so many aspects of this that seem silly and stupid and nonsensical. The best thing about it is that the reveal happened and we can finally move on in some form or fashion. I hope MJF takes a break after this, because I think we can all go without MJF for awhile after this run on top. ****

Suit: MJF fails in his 11th defense of the title. Samoa Joe becomes the 10th AEW World Champion.

Oh yeah, this match. MJF got the hometown pop after a funny pre-match video with the locals talking about how great he is. MJF has the Chris Brookes shoulder gimmick on to help with his torn labrum. The match was pretty good. I’ll give it to MJF, he will destroy himself to get these matches over. The problem is that he has to do that because his stories are anchoring him down. He took a Muscle Buster on the apron that looked sick. MJF fought back “valiantly”, cheating when the ref got bumped and trying to get the Salt of the Earth locked on. But Joe got the Coquina Clutch on, and to the shock of everyone, MJF got choked out and lost. Samoa Joe, who has been excellent since coming into the company in April 2022, has earned the top spot in the company and should do well in this reign.

After the match, Adam Cole – who came to ringside before the match in a surprise – consoled MJF before the Devil’s Goons arrived. But it was a swerve, bro. Adam Cole was the Devil, and the goons were Roderick Strong, Wardlow, and The Kingdom (presumably the ROH Tag Champs). Joe being the Devil would’ve made more sense with the actions the Devil has taken. Not to mention that Cole helped MJF retain the title against Joe back at Grand Slam, so that will need to be explained. But at least the Scooby Doo mystery aspect of this story is done, and we can try to get back to a more traditional style of feud here. ***1/2