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MJF vs Adam Cole is our Most Anticipated | AEW All In London Preview | Excitement Power Rankings

Hello and welcome to our AEW All In: London Preview. Where we look at AEW's biggest ever show, by far, as 80 000+ fans will witness the biggest paid wrestling show of all time hosted by a company only four and a half years old.

In this preview we will look at the ten announced matches post-Dynamite after having ranked them by how excited we are for each match. This is how our vote went:

PWMusings' Contributors Excitement Power Rankings for AEW All In: London

Adam Cole vs MJF and FTR vs Young Bucks were the clear one and two in our vote. Then we had the Trios match, Jericho/Ospreay, the Coffin match, Stadium Stampede and the ROH Tag match comprising a close middle group. CM Punk's match was a little bit behind the middle group with the Trios Championship and the Women's World Championship matches struggling to generate much excitement.

PWMusings' Contributors Excitement Power Rankings for AEW All In: London - Voting Breakdown

PWMusings' Contributors Excitement Power Rankings for AEW All In: London

1. MJF vs Adam Cole

The #1 match on the PWM Excitement Ranking didn't get there by accident. It's the main event; it's the men's singles World Championship match; everyone agrees it's the hottest program AEW has going. BUT, at the same time: it's a rematch of a feud nobody was that excited about when the first match happened; it's a match with no heat; with no heel. On paper, this does not sound like a recipe for excitement. How is it this program seems so hot and this match so anticipated, without any of the usual elements used to build that?

The answer is that MJF and Adam Cole are doing something very new and unique, by looking at the essential building blocks of making an exciting program and assembling them in a brand new way, but those essentials are still there, underneath.

The conventional wisdom is that you need a beloved babyface and hated heel involved in a match to get the fans truly fired up for it. But what's really important is that the fans have an outcome they are invested in and rooting for, and a credible threat of something spoiling that outcome. For the Friedman / Cole program, the outcome the fans are truly rooting for isn't a particular match outcome, it's for the boys to remain friends! …As we can see from the passionate "HUG IT OUT" chants anytime there's any friction between the two.

As for the match itself, I think back to MJF's Iron Man match– the pressure there was fantastic: a match stip that emphasizes technical wrestling and cardio against Danielson, the performer widely believed the best in the world, especially in those two aspects of the game. The current AEW World Heavyweight Champion (men's singles) thrives under pressure and I expect that the pressure to live up to both main eventing the biggest wrestling show ever AND blowing off (?) the hottest and most unique program in years will bring out his absolute best!

I hear this Adam Cole isn't too shabby, either.

Will AEW give us the show-closing hug that we want? Or the most hurtful betrayal ever? A heel turn (by either guy, really) seems like the obvious call. Maybe this whole "friends" thing has run its course, and it's time to go back to traditional ways of getting heat. The Kingdom is just waiting there for either guy to take the reins as their evil minions.

But in my opinion, there are still plenty of storytelling possibilities in Max and Adam confounding observers and remaining friends and allies after this match. This crazy ex character Roddy Strong has been portraying is the most interesting he's ever been, and I'd much rather see if he can pull off being the leader of AdaMJF's antagonists going forward, rather than reverting to his villain- lieutenant comfort zone. I think the "good sportsman" story has especially rich possibilities if MJF were to be the one to lose– seeing him learn both to lose and to allow his friend his moment in the spotlight with grace should be fascinating!

Writer: Sergei Alderman

2. FTR vs Young Bucks

With all the last-minute changes that have come to the final All In card, you would have imagined that this match would have been the first on the chopping block. The highly anticipated rubber match between FTR and the Young Bucks was in jeopardy when Cash Wheeler was arrested on August 18 on the grounds of aggravated assault with a firearm. He was allegedly seen flashing a handgun during a road rage incident on July 28. However, the match has gotten the green light to go ahead as per Tony Khan and AEW programming this week.

In our poll amongst PWM writers, this tag team match is only second to MJF vs Adam Cole, which is telling of just how crucial it is in the pecking order on Sunday night. If you asked any British fan at the start of this year to fantasy book their All In card, this match would’ve been the first.

It comes naturally to all four men in this match to deliver beautifully on the biggest stage. Sunday will surely be no different, and the trilogy could elevate this rivalry to legendary status. Much like the greats of the past helped define their promotion with iconic feuds, this one should rightfully define AEW.

The Bucks took the first victory at Full Gear in 2020 and FTR evened the score out in April last year on an episode of Dynamite. The match on Sunday removes all and any variables of COVID, television time limits and crowd sizes aside - setting up the perfect recipe for a classic in open air. There aren’t many matches in pro wrestling I would expect a 4.5/4.75 rating from beforehand, but this is the exception.

There is no So-Cal or Carolina bias to lean the crowd towards either side. There is no sentiment of it being the last time. In fact, we hope there’s many more special moments shared between these men in the ring before FTR hang up their boots in the next few years. This is going be a pure wrestling spectacle by two world class tag teams. So Dax, Cash, Matt, Nick… We are all ready to give you your flowers on Sunday.

Writer: Abdullah Mamaniyat

3. Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi and Hangman Adam Page vs Jay White, Juice Robinson and Konosuke Takeshita

If you had no prior knowledge of these performers prior to the last month of AEW television then you may struggle to understand why this has placed so highly in our ranking. It is no secret that this match was late to come together; a direct consequence of the re-signing of the Elite and the addition of the FTR-Bucks match to the card.

The on air build hasn't been anything special since that point. Page has been MIA for most of it, Jay White's promos haven't explained why Bullet Club Gold have suddenly become Don Callis mercenaries outside of laying claim to the Bullet Club name and the Omega-Takeshita issue is colder now than at any point since May. It seems that none of these issues have dampened our anticipation though and it's for good reason.

This is the match on the card with easily the most interwoven history, with every performer linked across companies, decades and continents. At the centrepiece of all of this is Kenny Omega. Omega, who arrived in DDT in 2008, struck up a pivotal partnership with Kota Ibushi. The Golden Lovers became a seminal story in both DDT and New Japan, establishing a different brand of storytelling that focused on themes not often addressed in pro wrestling previously. The relationship between them and Omega's battle to live up to the achievements of his more established partner drove him through both his failures and successes. Even in AEW, on the final night of his World Championship reign, Kota Ibushi would play an unseen part.

The reunion of the Golden Lovers at New Japan's New Beginning in Sapporo is often remembered for their confetti ladened hug but not for what came before it, much to the annoyance of the other parties involved. Jay White won the US Championship from 'the Cleaner' on that night in what was his first singles triumph only to see it play second fiddle to the reunion. That feeling has been something the 'Switchblade' has had to battle ever since, especially after replacing Omega as leader of Bullet Club in January 2019.

Jay's lowest point in NJPW, his complete breakdown into desperation and dismay, came at the hands of Kota Ibushi. Utterly convinced he could beat the 'Golden Star' and achieve his 'Destino' at WrestleKingdom 15, Jay found himself defeated and perhaps, more importantly, abandoned by his Bullet Club stablemates. His post show comments on that night may still be the most impressive promo of his career and the most emotional. Jay White can't forget the Golden Lovers, he has more reason to want vengeance on them than anyone.

He isn't alone in those sentiments on this team though. Juice Robinson, who teamed with Ibushi on his first night in NJPW, defeated Omega in the 2016 G1 and held the US Championship for 152 days. He was never seen or spoken of at the same level. Konosuke Takeshita, a man Omega dubbed the 'future of DDT in 2014, felt that Omega had worked to suppress him underneath the praise.

And that leaves us with the forgotten man of Sapporo and lately, the forgotten man of AEW. Adam Page stepped up that night to challenge Jay White in the wake of Omega's defeat. Omega's reaction to the challenge led Hangman to oppose him in the Bullet Club civil war, to the point of labelling Ibushi a 'homewrecker' ahead of their Supercard of Honor matchup in April 2018. The spring of 2018 were a rough few months for Page outside of the Bullet Club. His challenge of Jay White ended unsuccessfully and the press conference dressing down he was given by his Kiwi opponent made him question his own worth. This is the origin point of the 'Anxious Millennial Cowboy' character that many have labelled the protagonist of AEW and who's journey a lot of fans can effectively relate to.

Now in the summer of 2023, Adam Page is a former AEW World Champion and AEW Tag Team Champion (alongside Omega) trying to balance rebuilding friendships with wanting individual success. Even after July's 'Blood and Guts' match, it was Omega and Ibushi at the forefront of celebrations despite Hangman having won the match for his team.

The themes of friendship, trust, jealousy and self worth dominate this trios match that also pits some of the very best in ring performers of this generation against each other. Many of these athletes are used to the stadium environment and excel in multiman matches. It is bound to be full of athletic feats, callbacks and genuine moments of emotion.. Don't be surprised if this one steals the show ahead of the 'last call' on Sunday night.

Writer: Trish Spiers

4. Chris Jericho vs Will Ospreay

Chris Jericho versus Kenny Omega was a really important match for New Japan Pro Wrestling, Kenny Omega, the eventual formation of AEW and for the reinvention of Chris Jericho out with the WWE system he had once stated he’d never leave.

The intrigue and spotlight Jericho brought allowed Omega to further display his critically acclaimed style of wrestling to even more fans, it allowed NJPW to hit record NJPWWorld subscriber levels and this match happening outside of the WWE opened the door to him eventually leaving for pastures greener. It also elevated Jericho’s stock to someone who could move the needle if given prominence.

This match, versus Will Ospreay, feels like an echo of all this. A match with a former WWE World Champion, a former AEW World Champion and a man in a position of stature after four years of prominent spots on TV is a good spot for Ospreay. The ‘masses’ will pay attention to a Jericho singles match on the grandest stage AEW have ever had and Ospreay has the immense talent to benefit from it.

That doesn’t mean this match has been built in a manner deserving of the stage or the legacy of Jericho/Omega. Ospreay cut an incredible promo on the go-home Dynamite and Jericho played his role well. However, the previous week’s angle was confusing and muddied the motives of both Jericho and Callis. It has also trodden all over the lightning in a bottle potential of the heat towards the Callis/Takeshita duo.

It’s hard to put a finger on how this one will or will not deliver in the ring. Jericho has been hit or miss in recent months. If he can recapture the form of his ROH Championship run in late 2022 then Ospreay will have something to work with. That being said, Ospreay doesn’t need much to work with to create something special and is the most notorious wrestler around at the moment when it comes to mind-bending athletic and dramatic performances.

How this match will be received and the potential after-effects of it are fascinating. How much of an appetite is there for a Judas sing-a-long pre-match? Probably loads even if some of the more hardcore plugged in AEW fans are sick of Jericho soaking this in before every match or in-ring segment. In terms of the match itself, if Ospreay and Jericho find a way of working together to a level that befits the stage then this will threaten for match of the night. But its floor is also high as even if they don’t mesh well together or Jericho can’t keep up with a man two decades his junior then Ospreay’s talent is such that it’ll still be at least very good.

Is this match going to play a part in Ospreay’s possible road to an AEW contract? That’s a strange one. Ospreay still hasn’t had a proper run as IWGP World Champion as his only one was in the pandemic and cut short due to injury. With the way he talks about that company, it seems likely he may want to achieve that again, and have a significant run. That being said, his Dynamite promo hinted at so much and Will Ospreay on weekly television is tantalising.

Writer: Craig William

5. Darby Allin and Sting vs Swerve Strickland and Christian Cage

One of the matches that has been affected by circumstances out of AEW’s control and if Bryan Alvarez reporting on WOR is correct, AEW only found the in the 48 hrs before Dynamite that Fox said he couldn’t do Wembley, has been the Coffin Match. AEW’s scramble to change plans might have jarred at first sight but in the canon of AEW it makes sense with All Out the next week seeing Darby and Luchasaurus facing off for Christian’s TNT Title and also, the star factor has increased with Christian Cage in the match.

While one of the main focus’ of the contest is the rivalry between Swerve and Darby, those who love TNA lore will look at this being a rematch of the Sting vs Cage match from the 23/11/06 Impact.

For many, this is an opportunity for many to see Sting for the first time and maybe for the last time. While Tony Khan said during the pre-event presser that Sting will be the guy to call his endgame when it comes to his career and Sting looks like he wants to fall on people from high structures well into his 70s, for some the last chance to see one of wrestlings icons in person will be on Sunday. Some people who will be at Wembley for All In would have seen Sting lose the WCW World Title to Big Van Vader just a 7 minute walk from the then Wembley Twin Towers at the adjacent Wembley Arena in the year 1993.

On a night where we will see 4 Observer HOF’s in person on wrestling’s greatest stage (and probably 4 or 5 future Hall of Famer’s), this little Stinger is excited by the man who’s World Title win over Ric Flair in 1990 I devoured, watching a VHS tape of The Great American Bash ‘90 that I bought from a video tape shop in Birmingham, England. The man who made Nitro can’t miss, who kept me into TNA way longer than I should have been. I watched Sting in 2002 at a WWA event at the Birmingham NEC Arena where he and Lex Luger beat Buff Bagwell and Malice in the main event of that show.

The quality of this match will probably be better than that November night in 2002 (I’m also expecting this match to be better than that time I saw Christian beat The Brooklyn Brawler in the same arena in 1999) but even if Sting’s batting average for belters has gone down in 2023, I don’t care. The Trios match with The Elite vs Bullet Club and Takeshita, FTR vs Young Bucks, Jericho vs Ospreay and Cole vs MJF will fight it out to be the greatest many would have seen live but The Coffin Match on Sunday will be an opportunity to chant “Thank you Sting” for many who have grown up in awe of the Icon.

Writer: Peter Edge

6. Aussie Open vs Better Than You Bay Bay

There have been some quibbles in the AEW fan base about MJF and Adam Cole getting two matches on the All In card. Some feel it may spoil the pop that the men will receive in the main event. Others feel that they are taking up an extra spot that could be filled by some of the many other deserving wrestlers who have been left to stew in catering and are missing out on the opportunity to perform on this historic show. If you, reading this right now, feel this way, I understand you. You are validated. However, I couldn’t disagree more.

This match was higher in my own personal excitement rankings. As someone who is attending All In, I popped out of my chair when this match was announced. It’s a match that no-one expected, but one I can’t wait to see. Every ‘Better Than You Baybay’ tag match has been an absolute riot, and I’d expect nothing less from this one. I think the massive pop that the Kangaroo Kick will receive will be enough to make this match worthy of its place on the card.

I won’t over analyse the build too much, as much of it is intertwined with the storyline going into the main event. The underlying tension between MJF and Adam Cole will definitely play a part in this match, especially with them facing off for the World Championship later on in the night. Aussie Open have picked up a few TV wins to establish themselves as strong champions and fierce opponents for the bromance of the summer.

The fact that this match was one of the first matches announced for All In gives me the impression that they have a plan about how events in this match will play into the main event. Will Cole let MJF get worked over more so he’s softened up and easier to defeat? Could Adam Cole sustain an arm injury that MJF will exploit to retain the title? There’s a million different ways they could use this match to propel the storyline between MJF and Cole forward, and I for one can’t wait to see it play out live (and yes, putting this match on the pre-show will also entice more people to buy the PPV, shrewd business Tony).

Writer: Saul Kiloh

7. Stadium Stampede

The third iteration of the Stadium Stampede has a comprehensive history to it, both in the choice of competitors and the match choice itself. The Stadium Stampede originated at the 2020 edition of AEW Double Or Nothing, where due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, AEW utilised the Jacksonville Jaguars home stadium for the main event match of the PPV (most of the other matches were in Daily's Place instead). A cinematic extravaganza that featured The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz) taking on The Elite (Kenny Omega, Adam Page, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) and ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy, it featured Page chasing Guevara with a horse, Hager and Page bar fighting, Santana and Ortiz failing to drown Hardy as Mattitude facts appeared, Matt doing Northern Lights Suplexes from one end of the pitch to the other, and Jericho demanding an instant replay on a two count. Full of imagination, unique set pieces and comedic elements, to this day it regularly brings smiles to fan’s faces.

The second Stadium Stampede was a huge occurrence, due to being the main event of the 2021 edition of AEW Double Or Nothing, the first show since the start of the pandemic to feature full capacity. A magical night for fans and wrestlers alike saw The Inner Circle return to face new opponents, this time The Pinnacle (MJF, Shawn Spears, Wardlow, Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood). Whereas the original was purely cinematic, this was a combined cinematic / live version, with the cinematic element seeing MJF and Jericho brawling through the manager’s office, Wardlow and Hagar hoss fighting in corridors, cameras from Tully Blanchard and Konnan as FTR and Santana & Ortiz had a bar brawl, all before returning to a live appearance in the ring, where Sammy Guevara’s push continued with a huge pinfall victory over Spears to keep the Inner Circle from disbanding.

And then the match was quietly withdrawn, replaced the following years by Anarchy In The Arena, which focused on violent madness and crowd immersion as compared to Stadium Stampede’s more comedic, isolated style. Though a crowd favourite, it seemed unlikely that the Stampede would return any time in the future. And then, Tony Khan announced Wembley Stadium for the second iteration of All In, combining AEW’S first event in the UK, first PPV out of North America, and the first wrestling event at a Wembley Stadium since 1992. On a night featuring Sting returning in a Coffin Match alongside Darby Allin, Swerve Strickland and Christian Cage, or a dream match between UK’s own Will Ospreay against Chris Jericho, or the rubber match between The Young Bucks and FTR, or the first ever Trio team of Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega and ‘Hangman’ Adam Page, they’ve also brought back Stadium Stampede.

The match features Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta of the Blackpool Combat Club teaming with the returning Santana and Ortiz to take on Eddie Kingston, Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Trent Beretta and Penta El Ziero Miedo, which in paper seems a strange mix of individuals and teams. But in actuality, this match is steeped in history from the early days of AEW. The match was originally supposed to be six on six, with BCC and three partners taking on the opposite team and Fenix. But with Bryan Danielson out injured, and Fenix having issues with his Visa, it turned into a five on five, built upon BCC’s rivalries.

You have Jon Moxley recently going after Orange Cassidy, who has been supported by the Best Friends, leading to Wheeler and Claudio getting involved, which included a recent Parking Lot Fight that left Best Friends bloodied and battered, intensifying a feud that began with Wheeler abandoning the Best Friends for the BCC. Having left the Best Friends in a pool of their own blood, Moxley and Claudio then focused on the Lucha Brothers, which brought back an old conflict: Eddie Kingston. Hated rival of Claudio, his fury had Eddie attacking Claudio and causing rift with his best friend Moxley, even leading to Eddie reuniting with another best friend in Penta El Zero Miedo, who supported Eddie during his previous wars with Moxley.

So the teams were making sense, BCC’s feuds with Cassidy and Eddie had transitioned into BCC against Cassidy, Best Friends, Lucha Brothers and Eddie Kingston, six of the best from the entirety of AEW’s history. Through their actions of blood and violence, BCC had stacked the field against themselves. But then, a forgotten team returned. Santana and Ortiz, veterans of the Stadium Stampede, who once left the Inner Circle to support their friend Eddie, only for Eddie to abandon and betray them in his determination to take down Claudio, had risen like forgotten phoenixes. To Eddie’s shock, Santana and Ortiz attacked Eddie, siding alongside his arch enemy Claudio in the process, the repercussions of Eddie’s anger hitting back on him. Santana and Ortiz not only may be the secret weapon of their side, having performed in all iterations of the Stadium Stampede, but they also have similar experience to BCC in a classic Parking Lot Brawl several years back against…you guessed it, Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor.

In a weird way, this match becomes a love letter to the last five years of AEW, a classic match being brought back, ties to several classic feuds and continuing present day stories. With a hot Wembley crowd likely to be fully invested in all these superstars, this match has the chance of stealing the entire show if worked correctly. But more than that, what repercussions could there be for the future? Claudio vs Eddie in a rematch? Moxley vs Cassidy for the International title? Or even Santana and Ortiz finally earning the AEW Tag Team Titles they’ve long deserved?

Writer: Samuel Preston

8. CM Punk vs Samoa Joe

One of the most legendary feuds of the 21st Century finally on the kind of stage it always deserved and the anticipation is… Meh. Honestly, it's understandable. Joe vs Punk is coming to Wembley, but we just had Joe vs Punk in Saskatchewan and it just wasn't anything special like we had remembered. And some would say the reason for THAT is that Punk (and maybe Joe, too), are cooked; beyond their "best by" date, and that Punk, particularly, has nothing positive left to contribute.

But… what if? What if Regina was just an off night, and, inspired by the opportunity to do their thing in front of an historic crowd, Punk and Joe do a miracle and turn back the clock to better days?

Samoa Joe vs CM Punk has one of the biggest downsides to potentially be a mess that doesn't rate making a card this important, but at the same time it has one of the biggest upsides: to be a genuine all-time classic where the uniqueness of a decades-spanning feud combined with a crowd the likes of which wrestling has never before seen adds up to magic.

As far as the outcome? Punk doesn't lose often, and evidently has some plan for the unauthorized world title he's carrying around, so a Punk win seems the obvious outcome. But outside of that context, if we were to imagine Regina as book one of a new trilogy, it would be clear Joe has to win this one to set up a (modern-era) rubber match.

Writer: Sergei Alderman

9. House of Black vs The Acclaimed

Confession time, I fully bought into Billy Gunn’s retirement. I thought that after a career that has spanned across five different decades (80’s to today) that leaving his boots in the center of the ring was a nice understated way of calling it quits. Understated? For the man who’s most famous moniker is Mr. Ass? For the man who participated in one of the most divisive segments in pro-wrestling history (the wedding of Billy and Chuck). No, understated is not how Billy Gunn’s career is going to end.

Billy Gunn may even have one more title run in him if he and the Acclaimed can get a win over the most dominant faction in AEW in 2023. The House of Black are nearing a six month reign with the titles. They possess a win percentage over 85% (only the Acclaimed come close with a win percentage of 83%). They are dark, mean, and credible in every victory. That said, it may be time to move the titles off them. You can only do so much with a group that’s this dominant. While the “House Rules” stipulations were fun, it never felt like teams took full advantage of the rules.

House of Black don’t need the trios titles to be interesting or to have good feuds. It’s been a while since Allastair Black had a good singles run, Brody King is on the verge of breaking out as a monster heel (or even a face based on recent crowd reactions), and Buddy Murphy has been under-rated for too long. Then there’s Julia Hart who may very well earn the most improved worker of 2023 by year’s end.

There’s more upside to the Acclaim walking out of Wembley with championship gold. You get the feel good story of Billy Gunn and you get validation for the fans that feel that the Acclaim’s run with the Tag belts was cut too short. Plus, you’d certainly get the largest scissoring session in human history. I don’t know for sure if that’s true, but in my heart I believe it is.

Writer: Tim Morehouse

10. Hikaru Shida vs Toni Storm vs Saraya vs Britt Baker

The Women's World Championship match is the match that got the least "excitement" votes in our poll of PWM writers. And I get why that would be, but I personally think that's unfair, (on my ballot, the four-way was smack in the middle.)

The knocks on the match are that a) it has Saraya in it, b) the build has been lackluster, and c) the women's division has a history of disappointing multi-competitor matches at PPV.

But on the flipside, I think it's unfair to lump all multi-woman matches together. This match has Hikaru Shida, AEW's most consistently excellent performer in her division coming in as champion, and Toni Storm coming in off an amazing character facelift as an Old Hollywood diva since her championship loss. Britt Baker hasn't been very impressive since her babyface turn a few months ago, but a match on this scale should inspire her to bring her A game. And whatever shortcomings Saraya may have at this point in her career, a four-way seems a perfect setting for the smoke and mirrors to hide them.

This certainly doesn't have the storytelling excitement of a fated confrontation in a heated rivalry, but it should make up for it with intriguing possibilities for betrayals and new directions, and with fast-paced action.

Writer: Sergei Alderman


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