AEW
DYNASTY
APRIL 21, 2024
CHAIFETZ ARENA
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Watch: Traditional PPV/YouTube/TrillerTV/BR LIVE/PPV.com

MEET YOUR PREVIEWERS

Suit Williams: Suit was the one who put this preview together, yet was the last one to finish. Go figure. Anyway, Suit is previewing this show before hopping on a plane to St. Louis for Dynasty. You can read Suit’s longform previews and reviews of wrestling from around the world here at Voices of Wrestling. You can also find his weekly reviews of AEW Collision over at F4WOnline.com. Follow Suit on all social media platforms @SuitWilliams

Jeri Evagood: The most adorable member of VOW is here once again to join in on a preview. When she’s not doing “redacted” or “censored”  she is still making time for pro-wrestling as she sees fit. You can find her on X at TheJerriest_Jer. Follow at your own risk. 

Joey O’Doherty: In between a kick ass new job and trying to juggle a crazy family life with kids, Joey likes to enjoy the exploits of AEW’s finest. Don’t find me on X or Twitter or whatever the cesspool is called these days. 

Will Young: Will’s happily procrastinating a certain AEW-themed project. You’ll be able to read it at https://creativecontrolpw.wordpress.com/ and you can stay abreast of his wrestling comings and goings on Twitter, @CC_PW

ZERO HOUR

TRENT BERETTA VS. MATT SYDAL

Suit: I love a simple match like this on a pre-show. Beretta beaned Sydal with a chair on Dynamite, Sydal wants his payback on the Zero Hour. Easy stuff. While I swear I saw this match on a FloSlam-era EVOLVE card, this is a first time singles match. This feels like the third or fourth time I’ve seen a Beretta push get started. He had a couple of starts during his time in New Japan, but all got cut off for one reason or another. AEW is giving him a shot here, having him butcher Orange Cassidy’s friendship while Chuck Taylor is stuck in the middle. Beretta gets the showcase win. Prediction: Trent Beretta

KATSUYORI SHIBATA & ORANGE CASSIDY VS. SHANE TAYLOR PROMOTIONS (LEE MORIARTY & SHANE TAYLOR)

Suit: Speaking of Orange Cassidy, he teams with one of his remaining friends in Katsuyori Shibata to take on Shane Taylor Promotions here, after STP laid out a solo Cassidy on Dynamite. What a collection of names this is. Shibata has become a solid addition to the AEW midcard, looking as close to his old self as he’s ever looked. I compare it to Russell Westbrook becoming a solid contributor for the Clippers off the bench the past few seasons in the NBA. Is he the MVP he was a decade ago? No, but he understands that and has found a way to still make a positive contribution. STP are getting a small push as a new unit on television and are making the most of it with some solid performances. I expect the same here as Cassidy pins Moriarty. Prediction: Katsuyori Shibata & Orange Cassidy

WINNER TAKES ALL TITLE UNIFICATION MATCH
THE ACCLAIMED (ANTHONY BOWENS, MAX CASTER, & BILLY GUNN) (AEW TRIOS) VS. BULLET CLUB GOLD (JAY WHITE & THE GUNNS) (ROH WORLD SIX-MAN)

Suit: I get why The Acclaimed won the Trios Titles. They were a hot act, and they sold a lot of merch. They had a nice moment at Wembley winning the titles. I figured they would have a short reign and move the titles onto a more suitable act for those titles. Then, they kept holding them. And holding them. And holding them. And now, some EIGHT MONTHS LATER, we may finally be at the end of this run. I’ve got no problem with the Acclaimed doing their comedy, as some of it makes me laugh. But they’ve essentially iced these belts, having not defended them in three months while building this eventual unification match with Bullet Club Gold. The Bang Bang Scissor Gang probably did well at the merch stands. And having been at a Dynamite they were on, they were over in the buildings. But after the complete abomination that was the Billy Gunn/Jay White match on Dynamite a few weeks back, it’s time to be done with this. Bullet Club Gold put a merciful end to this title reign and merge these trios titles. Prediction: Bullet Club Gold

PPV

FTW TITLE – FTW RULES
HOOK (C) VS. CHRIS JERICHO

Suit: Chris Jericho has done another one of his pivots, now as a delusional veteran trying to give advice to talent that doesn’t need or want his advice. Get it? Anyway, Jericho takes on Hook here for the FTW Title. Hook has already beaten Jericho on TV, so my thought would be that Jericho takes Hook’s title and forces him on a chase. Jericho said the phrase “The Learning Tree” on TV a couple times, so my guess is that Jericho will bring in a toady to help him win this title and learn from him. This should ultimately help Hook, as despite what some people may believe, Jericho tends to do more good than harm when it comes to putting guys over in the long run. Prediction: Chris Jericho

Jeri Evagood: Ah Jericho. I remember how relevant you first felt when you came into AEW. I was genuinely interested in seeing what you brought to the new company, and for awhile I generally enjoyed what you brought to the table. But your well runs dry, and your tank is on empty, and you’ve become a leech. Attaching yourself to angle after angle, performer after performer, sucking the joy and fun out of them while not giving anything back in return. Hook? He feels like just another guy now. The aura is dead and gone, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be fun. I don’t find much entertainment in the idea of this match though. It’s going to be what is it is, and what it is is not all that great. Jericho will win, he will probably named the FTW something Jericho related and harp on how clever he is about it. Prediction: Chris Jericho

Joey: A haggard, over exposed vet takes on a meandering young 2nd generation star. No it’s not Cody Rhodes vs the Rock, it’s young upstart Hook taking on the reinvented “learning tree”, Chris Jericho. While Jericho is in dire need of a refresh, this feud has done very little to make me excited about him despite his best efforts at a rebrand. Jericho needs to go away for a while and I believe his ever increasing age is making him hang on to his run for dear life in fear of not being able to get back on the horse upon a return.

I like Taz’s kid, but Hook hasn’t done much of not since his mini feud with Samoa Joe ended and as a result he feels a fair bit cold. Jericho’s ability to heat people up is also suffering from the law of diminishing returns. He’s put so many people over that it doesn’t feel like a huge deal when a young upstart conquers him. Prediction: Chris Jericho via some underhanded tactics but I’m not that invested

Will: Bluh. Chris Jericho has long been a total flat-line for me in AEW and this program with HOOK is no different. After the FTW Champion had a spirited mini-program against Samoa Joe, the nigh-trademarked Jericho Vortex struck again, leading us to this. I could see this going either way but in the sense that I don’t care either way. Let’s say Jericho so he can rename the belt the Calgary Championship or something. Prediction: Chris Jericho

AEW INTERNATIONAL TITLE
RODERICK STRONG (C) VS. KYLE O’REILLY

Suit: I liked Sinclair-era Ring of Honor as much as the next guy. I remember getting a Secret Santa match review a few years ago where I talked about how well that period of ROH will age when we look back on it. It was a fun point in wrestling history. With that being said, it was all almost a decade ago. And ever since then, the group of Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, Mike Bennett, Matt Taven have been consistently grouped together, doing the same heel act based on the same point in time a decade ago. ENOUGH. These are all talented people. I want them doing something else. It’s time to let the good old days be the old days. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to get that. I think this feud will continue after this show with how abruptly this match came together after O’Reilly’s return. I expect a solid match with little heat (AKA an Undisputed Kingdom segment) that Strong wins with shenanigans and interference. I then expect Kyle O’Reilly to become the Undisputed Kingdom Hunter, much like Bullet Club Hunter YOSHITATSU. Oof, that feels mean. Sorry, Kyle. Prediction: Roderick Strong

Jeri: In theory, this should be a fun little match. I could even border on great if they can kick it into second gear. However, there is ALWAYS the potential for Undisputed Kingdom bullshit (Also known as anything the Undisputed Kingdom does, it’s all bullshit) I don’t think they’ll take Roderick strong’s title away from him so soon, but I also don’t Kyle O’Reilly loses clean as a sheet. I am not really all that interested in this match, and AEW really hasn’t done jack all to make me care. Roddy wins, the feud continues, and it doesn’t affect my enjoyment in either a positive or negative way. Prediction: Roderick Strong

Joey: On paper, these two should have the ability to have a nice 3 star match at a minimum and perhaps steal the show at most. But as on-screen personalities, these guys both bore the hell out of me so I’m not really too excited either. 

But I’m hoping for the best. I’m optimistic that both men can work to a high standard and beat the shit out of each other for my enjoyment. My fear is Undisputed Kingdom run-ins will ruin what could be a fun match. Wardlow will most likely keep Roddy from losing and cause the finish of a decent bout to hit the wall. Prediction: Roderick Strong

Will: Although this particular turn in their story together feels a bit under-cooked, I’m certainly excited for what Strong and O’Reilly can get up to in the ring. This will be Kyle’s biggest test since returning from injury and I’m hopeful that he and former tag partner Roddy can put together something very fun and heated. I’ll say Strong retains with help from his brochachos. Prediction: Roderick Strong

AEW CONTINENTAL TITLE
KAZUCHIKA OKADA (C) VS. PAC

Suit: Look at this match just casually sitting on the card. This match has every capability of stealing the show because in another world, this could be the main event of this show. Kazuchika Okada, one of the biggest stars in the history of Japanese professional wrestling, has walked onto American television and somehow EXCEEDED expectations. His pairing with the Young Bucks has accentuated his prick energy perfectly, as the big money free agent that they brought in to replace the ailing Kenny Omega. His charisma radiates through the screen as he completely no-sells jobbers and smugly lays them out with Rainmakers. This past week’s Dynamite was a great example.

Okada teamed with the Bucks to wrestle PAC, Daniel Garcia, & Pentagon. At one point in the match, PAC ran wild on the Bucks before screaming at Okada to get in the ring. Instead of doing that, Okada stood on the apron and shouted that he wasn’t the legal man, allowing the Bucks to cut PAC off. That’s funny if anyone does it but coming from a guy who had only sporadically worked on US television made it so much funnier. It’s charisma that can’t be taught, you either have it or you don’t. This guy is a mega-star in any language, country, or promotion. He takes on PAC here in his first defense of the Continental Championship. PAC is a great re-addition to the roster, stacking another world-class name on what is one of the greatest rosters in the history of pro wrestling. However, he only serves as Okada’s V1 defense in what should be an excellent title match. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Jeri: Holy shit calm my tits. This is going to fucking rule. This is probably my most anticipated match up. I’ve been giddy and excited about the idea of this match the moment it was teased. Okada has fit wonderfully in AEW so far, but he hasn’t had a blow away Okada match yet. Here it comes I predict. This match is going to rock. PAC back is always a pleasure and this match up is going to be hard press to fail to deliver. PAC is going to put in one hell of an effort but this is Okada’s match, and he’s going to make it rain. Who is really going to be the winner though is all of us. Grab your favorite snack, lean back and enjoy it folks. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Joey: God I can’t wait for this one. Okada has been effortlessly cool and bad ass as an condescending heel since arriving in AEW.  His first big PPV singles match should easily be great affair once he had a decent opponent.

And his dance partner is one hell of an opponent. I’ve missed PAC so much. As a character and an in-ring performer, the Newcastle lad is one of the best in the business in his day.  This match could easily be match of night and has the potential to be a match of the year contender if both men turn up on the night. Just hook it to my veins.

Despite hating the idea of PAC losing his first big singles match back so soon, Okada isn’t losing here. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Will: Here we go, baybeeeeee. Okada certainly came in with a wave of momentum, hitching himself to the Bucks and almost immediately relieving Eddie Kingston of his belt (which I’m surprised the famously fickle Okada deigned to “stoop” to). PAC is a tremendous first challenger for him, as it demonstrates the ongoing ability of AEW to put on must-see matches between world-class talent, and it’s a fairly easy retain for Okada that likely won’t stifle PAC’s shine all that much. Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

AEW WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE
TONI STORM (W/LUTHER & MARIAH MAY) (C) VS. THUNDER ROSA

Suit: Steamboat Toni rolls up the Mississippi into St. Louis to defend the title against Thunder Rosa, the woman who never lost the title. Rosa’s last title defense was scheduled against Toni Storm back at All Out 2022, but she pulled out due to back issues. Rosa’s long absence has taken a ton of steam away from her. That lightning that she caught in the bottle back in 2021 that made her a red-hot name in the business may have died out. Meanwhile, Storm is already building a feud with Mina Shirakawa over the attention of Mariah May. Toni retains. Prediction: Toni Storm

Jeri: A more appropriate name for this gimmick isn’t Timeless, it’s Endless because it keeps fucking going. I get it, and I respect that there are circles that enjoy the gimmick, and I think Toni has done well with the material, but the material is not for me. I feel like the shelf life is running out. Doesn’t help that Toni’s match quality has suffered SIGNIFICANTLY since taking this gimmick. The match won’t be good due to it. It sucks because I want the women divison to succeed and grow, and I feel having Toni with this gimmick in this position hampers it significantly. Still Thunder Rosa will put in a good effort, and maybe Toni will kick it up a step. One can only hope. Toni wins by the way. Prediction: Toni Storm

Joey: If the pop Mariah May got last month at Revolution told you anything, it’s that no one gives a shit about this Timeless gimmick and are ready for Toni Storm to return to bring a bad ass wrestler. Yet here we are over a month later and it’s still dragging down the show. 

The lukewarm gimmick poisons any feud Storm is involved in and this Thunder Rosa match will suffer as a result. 

It feels less important as Storm’s last PPV defence, which died a death when surrounded by a top notch card. To be fair, Toni had her best match to date only recently at Collision, so maybe these two can muster up something good, but I fear this will be the lull in the show just like last month at Revolution. I don’t see Storm losing here either so I’m unenthusiastic more so because I know the gimmick will continue beyond Dynasty. This will be another slog of a Toni Storm match in which she will emerge victorious. Prediction: Toni Storm

Will: Toni Storm’s Timeless character is, as you’ve read, certainly not popular with a segment of the audience. I’ve certainly cooled on it, personally, but there is still a bit of gas left thanks to the Mariah May of it all. As it is, I don’t expect Storm to drop the belt any time soon, at least not to a challenger whose name doesn’t rhyme with Shmercedes. ThunderStorm collides, but it’s still Toni time, even if it’s beginning to wear. Prediction: Toni Storm

ADAM COPELAND, EDDIE KINGSTON & MARK BRISCOE VS. HOUSE OF BLACK (BRODY KING, BUDDY MATTHEWS & MALAKAI BLACK)

Suit: I gotta take the L on Adam Copeland. I was nonplussed when he debuted for the company back at WrestleDream, but he has read the room and worked his ass off to fit into AEW. He teams with Eddie Kingston and Mark Briscoe here to take on the House of Black, who have been feuding with Briscoe since January and jumped Copeland a few weeks ago. I would expect this to set up a Malakai Black/Copeland TNT Title match, but Black is one of these flaky ex-WWE guys who don’t seem to be too keen on doing jobs, so I can’t call that match with any certainty. I’ll say Copeland spears Matthews for the win here in a match that shows how good trios matches can be when the titles aren’t on a tired comedy act. Prediction: Adam Copeland, Eddie Kingston, & Mark Briscoe

Jeri: Edge has been FUN in AEW. House of Black can be nonsense but in the ring they can usually get it done, and I have a feeling on this night they will get it done. Kingston and Mark are proven commodities and all and all this is going to be solid, possibly hard hitting, and a lot of fun. I see House of Black winning to possibly set up some future one on one matches. It’s going to lose control, it’s going to break down, and we are all going to enjoy it because of that. I am looking forward to having fun with this one. Prediction: House of Black

Joey: This has the potential to be the dark horse match of the show. The former Edge has been surprisingly solid in AEW at the very least, while Eddie and Mark usually deliver when given opportunities to shine. While I have distain for The House of Black’s spooky shit, unlike Ms Storm this trio’s in-ring performances can help me overlook the nonsense. 

I reckon this will be a fun affair at the very least considering all 6 combatants. The result could go either way depending on the direction AEW has for those involved. Prediction: House of Black

Will: I wouldn’t have necessarily guessed that this would be PPV-worthy, especially because a lot of the matches leading up to the PPV are at this level of star power, but I imagine this will be some level of fun. Copeland and King continue their feud, while ROH Champion Briscoe and NJPW Strong Openweight Champion Kingston continue to prove their staying power on AEW television. After the ending of the mixed tag on Dynamite, I’ll call a win for the House of Cope, but I could see this going either way. Prediction: Adam Copeland, Eddie Kingston, & Mark Briscoe

AEW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT FINAL – LADDER MATCH
THE YOUNG BUCKS (MATTHEW JACKSON & NICHOLAS JACKSON) VS. FTR (CASH WHEELER & DAX HARWOOD)

Suit: This one’s had a bit of a clunky build. A cold tag team tournament, followed by a poorly received angle featuring the CM Punk Wembley footage (an angle I liked, but I’ll sit on my island) before randomly making this a ladder match. The funny thing about all of this is that this match will probably be high quality. The dynamics of the teams are right, with the hard-working babyfaces FTR working at the disadvantage against the smarmy Bucks in a match that suits their strengths. These two teams have had very good matches in the past, the off night at Wembley aside. And although it’s a shortcut, the ladders will probably get the crowd into it on the night. So, I expect this to be a good match.

As far as a finish, I can see this going both ways. FTR overcoming the disadvantage and beating the Bucks at their own game would probably make the most sense story-wise. But the Bucks have all but announced that they’re bringing in Jack Perry to help them out and pay off the showing of the Wembley footage. That would tell me that he’s going to help them win the titles here. With the incoming debut of the Motor City Machine Guns, I’ll say the EVPs win here to set that up. Prediction: The Young Bucks

Jeri: Okay, first things first I think this will be a great match. That said I’m having a hard time looking forward to it, and I can’t put my finger on it. The build has been okay, both teams have had great matches before, but I’m not all that excited about either of them being tag team champions again. I like the Young Bucks current gimmick okay enough, it especially worked for Sting’s retirement, but it’s getting a little annoying (and not in a great way) to me, while at the same time FTR while a great team in their own right aren’t doing much for me at the moment. It’s weird, and I can’t put my finger on the pulse. It’s a **** + star match that I’m having a hard tiem looking forward to. I think the Young Bucks win though. Prediction: The Young Bucks.

Joey: Two of the best tag teams in the world collide once again, but this time with a ladder gimmick attached. They didn’t click into 5 star territory in Wembley but they may have a better chance with belts hanging overhead to achieve a match of the year contender. 

The build has been poor, with the odd choice of adding former employee Phil Brooks to the mix to add some juice (it did not). I do enjoy the Bucks’ new direction but I have found it hard to root for FTR knowing what a self absorbed, thin skinned asshole Dax has become in recent years. Can’t see past the Bucks winning here. Prediction: The Young Bucks

Will: Here we go again. No disrespect to either team, but once I saw the brackets for the tag tournament, this certainly stood out as the result that was the most predictable and, to me, least interesting. Sure, they’ve done their part to juice the story as much as possible and it’s an admirable attempt, but aside from the inherent quality of these two teams in a ladder match, I’m not as invested as I could be. I guess part of it is that I don’t have the energy anymore to hate the Bucks; yes, they’re annoying and all that, but my years of truly loving to despise them are behind me, even though I’m pretty sure they’ll win. I’m hopeful this will be a show-stealer. Prediction: The Young Bucks

AEW TBS TITLE
JULIA HART (C) VS. WILLOW NIGHTINGALE (W/STOKELY HATHAWAY)

Suit: This is a big match here, as the winner will wrestle Mercedes Moné’s first match at Double or Nothing. Everyone expects Willow to win the title here to set up the Moné match that has been building on TV, but I don’t follow the logic there. Mercedes is not losing her first match. So the plan would be to have Willow as a lame duck champion for a month? I think that runs a risk of turning people against Mercedes, which I doubt is the plan. My prediction is that we get a Kris Statlander turn on Willow, costing her the title and distracting her for a few months. That allows Julia Hart to creep her way to Double or Nothing, drop the title, and give a more sensible build to Willow taking the title from Mercedes at some point further down the line. Prediction: Julia Hart

Jeri: I am looking forward to this match more than I am the women’s championship. I like Julia Hart. I like her a lot. She still needs to work a bit on her in-ring but she’s got her character down and if the House Of Black can point at anyone as a success story, she is it! Congrats to her. Willow Nightingale is talented, likable, and I’ll be rooting for her in this match. She’s getting built up for Mone, so I don’t see any scenario where Nightingale doesn’t win this. Do I think it’ll be a great match? Honestly, no, but I do think if the crowd can get into it and with enough hard work it can be good, fun, and give us a feel good result as Nightingale prepares herself for what is coming. Prediction: Willow Nightingale

Joey: The TBS title has been getting a ton more attention since Mercedes Moné has popped up in AEW, but while Moné has floundered to a degree, Hart and Nightingale have certainly excelled in the situation and in my humble opinion have probably outshined the self proclaimed CEO. I feel a 3-way with Moné will eventually be the direction here, so either Willow or Julia could win here and make no difference. I’ll go with Willow to snatch a win. Prediction: Willow Nightingale 

Will: This one has been plugging away in the background for some time and I’d certainly like to see Willow finally make good in AEW’s eyes. I am glad that her recent go-around with Statlander and Stokley has given them all more TV time and a bit of a chance to flex their character muscles, but I’m doubtful that a PPV title match will lead to her going over in a big way. For now, I’ll stick with Julia Hart, whose track record of winning at important events outshines Willow’s, but I will be hoping for an upset. Prediction: Julia Hart

BRYAN DANIELSON VS. WILL OSPREAY

Suit: When Bryan Danielson faced off with Will Ospreay with the Dynasty date on the screen behind them, I booked a flight to St. Louis and bought a ticket to the show. This is one of those matches where I knew I would regret it if I didn’t see it live. These are two of my favorite wrestlers of all-time, wrestling each other as they’re both on the hottest runs of their careers. In the 2023 VOW Match of the Year poll, a poll with 221 voters that voted for a total of 380 matches from across the world, these two accounted for SIX of the top ten matches on the poll. Both men have won Most Outstanding Wrestler in the Wrestling Observer Awards multiple times, sitting on a short list of multiple-time winners (Flair, Liger, Kobashi, Misawa, Angle, Tanahashi, Styles, Omega). These are two of the best wrestlers of all time, coming together to have one of the last true dream matches in wrestling.

Much like with the Ospreay/Omega matches that topped nearly everyone’s Match of the Year lists last year, there’s no reasonable floor for this match. You can’t reasonably say that these two will have the Match of the Year on this show, however it wouldn’t surprise anyone in the slightest if they did. There is no doubt on the result, as Ospreay will be moonwalking to the main event of Wembley in a couple months. But that takes nothing away from what will be an incredible spectacle and a match that truly has no ceiling on how great it can end up being. Ospreay drops Danielson on his head with the Storm Driver, knocks his head off with the Hidden Blade, and justifies my rash decision making by giving me a incredible match. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Jeri: Well, my tits had just gotten calm, and then we got to this match. Danielson, one of my favorite wrestlers of all time is going to rock that joint with Will Ospreay. Ospreay has been on a tear since joining AEW. He came in as a big deal, was treated as a big deal, wrestles as a big deal, and the crowd is 100 percent behind him like a big deal. This is going to fucking rule and the crowd is going to be 100 percent in for a special treat. Danielson loses more than he probably should at times, and he’s going to lose here, but he’s going to make us doubt it as best he can. Ospreay and Danielson are going to mesh and clash at the same time with their espective styles and it’s going to be a hodgepodge of entertainment. Ospreay wins, but we all benefit as a whole. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Joey: Besides PAC vs. Okada, this is the match I came to see. It needs no words from me beyond saying two of the best in the business will lock up. I can’t see them not delivering. Just watch it, love it and appreciate AEW for providing matches like this regularly. Prediction: Will Ospreay 

Will: Well, I guess I gotta say it: I’m not a big fan of Will Ospreay. I’m obviously one of the few saying that and I don’t expect to change anybody’s minds in a little blurb, but I’m coming into this not quite as excited as everyone else is because I just am not into him the way so many other fans are. Now, that being said, I feel the exact opposite about the living GOAT, Bryan Danielson, one of my all-time favorite wrestlers. I’m confident that, if anyone can produce a match with Ospreay that even a non-fan of his will love, it’s Danielson. Credit to Ospreay as well, I may not prefer him but he’s not a total hump or anything, so I still have high expectations for this one. I’m sure we’ll all have a great time with this, no matter whose side we’re on, and I’d be a fool to predict anything other than Danielson putting over the young guy on the come-up. Prediction: Will Ospreay

AEW WORLD TITLE
SAMOA JOE (C) VS. SWERVE STRICKLAND (W/PRINCE NANA)

Suit: On September 6th of last year, Swerve Strickland walked up to Hangman Adam Page and told him that if he had Hangman’s spot, he would become the first black AEW World Champion. Swerve then went and took Hangman’s spot by beating him in two straight PPV matches, the latter – the Texas Deathmatch at Full Gear – being my match of the year. Swerve has received a groundswell of fan support that resulted in the beloved ace of the promotion Hangman Page turning heel as a result. Now, Swerve has Hangman’s spot. Now, he’s the man the people have rallied behind. Now he’s the man, and he’s got his shot to do everything he said he would do all those months ago.

Standing in his way is another man who lives up to his word in Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe has taken the title – and the promotion at large – and recentered it. After the season of the Brochachos, Joe has steadied the ship and pointed it back in the right direction being the no-nonsense badass that he’s always been. His presence at the top of the cards has brought a needed focus and serious nature back to the title, as opposed to the comedic(?) stylings of Adam Cole and MJF. Joe has done a great job as World Champion, but it ends at Dynasty. Any other scenario feels like working against nature. Sure, Hangman Page could cost Swerve the title to extend that story out, but do you want to end a PPV on a screwy finish when you could just as easily main event Double or Nothing with a Hangman/Swerve title match? Sometimes, you just gotta take the easy win. This is a gift horse, no need to look it in the mouth. This is an easy win for AEW. Belt up Swerve, pay off this six-month story, and enjoy having a new bonafide name in the mix at the top of these cards. Prediction: Swerve Strickland

Jeri: I’m calling it, Swerve Strickland leaves Dynasty as the AEW World Champion. It’s time. I know there are some who think he has a few holes in his game and I got to be honest, I don’t give a singular shit. He’s great in the ring, capable on the microphone, has the crowd with him, works his ass off, has charisma, and if he doesn’t check off everything I am convinced he checks off enough boxes to warrant his time has now come. It’s nothing against Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe has done EXACTLY what he needed to do during his time as world champion. Be believable, be badass, and make sure when someone beats him it will benefit them. Samoa Joe has been a great short time champion and I’m glad he got that fucking reign. But it’s Swerve’s house now. With Adam away, Swerve can play, and what’s going to infuriate Adam even more is being at home watching his rival win the big one. I am practically begging AEW to pull the trigger. You got something potentially special with Swerve, give him the ball and let us see what he can do with it. Prediction: Swerve Strickland

Joey: While this has been an enjoyable feud, it has never felt like the main attraction of AEW in recent months. Last month’s 3-way was overshadowed by Sting’s farewell and this month’s offering, which should crown Strickland as the top dog in AEW feels less than Ospreay vs. Danielson. I’ve enjoyed the feud but it feels so secondary and despite their best efforts to build it up, it feels more like HHH vs. Jericho of Mania X8, while Will vs. Bryan is the Rock vs. Hogan of Dynasty. Swerve is on the up and fans have warmed to him considerably in recent months despite his previous dastardly deeds, but I still don’t think he’s ready to be the champ yet. Joe has been perfectly used as champion since the departure of MJF and has steadied the AEW main event ship. 

I’m conflicted. On one hand I feel that if they don’t pull the trigger on Swerve now, he may suffer being down-cycled. But I don’t think he’s ready yet despite his recent elevation and may flounder at the top of the card. Swerve winning just about us the best option for him even if it doesn’t work out. Give him the ball and let him give it a shot. At worst, he will have good matches and at best it will give him the juice to be considered a permanent main event player. Prediction: Swerve Strickland 

Will: It’s gotta be now, right? AEW are on the cusp of something special here and, traditionally, they are not as likely to mess it up. Swerve Strickland’s momentum has been building naturally since around this time last year and it has felt like a matter of time before he gets the nod and gets to run with the torch for the entire company. It’s certainly not a done deal yet, as the spectre of his arch-rival Hangman Page looms in the shadows, and hey, for whatever reason, it may not be his time yet in the minds of the Powers That Be. Based on the work that’s been done, I will go out on a limb and say that the first-ever show called Dynasty begins with Swerve enacting his own and becoming the new AEW World Champion. The question is, can AEW actually book a popular (ostensibly) babyface world champion as good and interesting? Time will tell. Prediction: Swerve Strickland