Updated: Mar 16
Welcome to the ProWrestlingMusings preview for AEW Revolution 2023.
Below you can see the rankings for how excited people are for each individual match. The build to this pay-per-view has been criticised with some matches lacking, for many people. But as you can see a few matches are still highly anticipated.
In this preview we're going to look at why certain matches are so anticipated and why others aren't so much. As well as the usual speculation on what might happen in the match itself.
Jon Moxley vs. Adam Page - Texas Death Match
by Gareth [@Gareth_EW]
The most anticipated matches are those that tell good stories, and Jon Moxley vs. Adam Page being the highest ranked match ahead of Revolution is a great example of that.
What’s unique about this feud is how most of the story has been told through actual wrestling. Sergei writes below about how useful promos are in hyping a match. And this match had some great promos, especially Moxley on the go-home show. As well as some really nice character moments over the past couple months from Hangman. But ultimately it’s the wrestling where this story has been told and it’s this Texas Death Match at the pay-per-view where the story will end.
The story has all centred around Hangman being legitimately knocked out and given a concussion during their match in October. Ever since returning Hangman has sought after a sense of retribution, winning their re-match in a similar fashion which didn’t settle that craving. A third match being won with a roll-up pinning combination didn’t suit either man, because this feud isn’t about winning or losing. It’s not even really a personal grudge. It’s just about deciding who the biggest dog in AEW is.
The match will be brutal, and that’s where I feel both of these men thrive. They’re both well capable of more traditional matches but when you add some heat to the match they both seem to bring out their best. I expect this to be hard-hitting, if their other matches are anything to go by. And I expect it to be fantastic.
As for who wins, an argument can be made for both guys. But I think the most meaningful result would be a Hangman victory. It would show another side to his character and show how much he’s grown. And it could also open the avenue for a new side of Moxley to come out, potentially after a break. Dare I say a heel Moxley with a heel Blackpool Combat Club? Recent Dynamites might suggest that is the direction. We’ll see.
Bryan Danielson vs. MJF - AEW World Championship
by Sergei [@SergeiAlderman].
There is a very simple reason that this match and the Texas Death Match are in a dead heat for the most anticipated matches of the night. It's not because of their stipulations and it's not because of star power. It's the promos! "Promo" is short for "promotion" and is often thought of by us nerds as equivalent to a monologue in a play. But it's always been nearer to a carnival barker than Hamlet: the art of selling tickets with your words and with your voice. And four of the very best ticket-selling artists in the world happen to be in those two matches.
Max Friedman is reputed as the best of his generation (a "generational talent" you might say) at promos and character, and he earned that reputation (again) in this build. From showing enough nastiness to convince a crowd leaning towards cheering to boo him again, to the fear on his face planting seeds of doubt that this really might already be the end for MJF's reign. Danielson, on the other hand, has a reputation (and a character) based on the idea that his actions speak louder than his words. But that's always been smoke and mirrors: Danielson is slyly much better on the mic than he lets on, and that was showcased in the go-home moments of Dynamite.
As for the match, I anticipate a genuine strategic chess match, with each man possibly intentionally sacrificing a fall for a future advantage such as intentionally getting DQ'd for the sake of injuring a body part, or tapping out immediately to save one. In terms of technical skill, Danielson is widely acknowledged as the best in the world, while Friedman is far better than he is given credit for, and this is the type of match that leans greatly on grappling skill. But even more important will be in-ring storytelling—so key to keeping the crowd involved in a match that is both so long AND with no peril of a sudden ending to use for drama. This is where the mind of Danielson is key: a guy who applies inspiration from Cormac McCarthy novels to wrestling matches can keep the drama going for 60 minutes!
The Elite vs. House of Black - AEW Trio's Championship
by Craig [@CraigPWMusings].
The Elite have never been lesser in AEW than they feel right now, even when they were suspended last year it felt like they were a spectre haunting the show. With contract speculation swirling, The Elite may have checked out somewhat from the magic they weaved two years ago in a match that still sits as AEW’s best ever; Young Bucks vs Page/Omega.
Yet, this match sits in third after the votes of PWMusings' Contributors. With the build so minimal the reason for this match being more anticipated than most of the card is simple… The talent and reputation of the six men in this match. House of Black are yet to fully deliver on their unit’s collective potential, but The Elite are experts in this kind of match; one with several moving parts.
The talent in this match need to deliver, The Elite need to create some momentum and House of Black need to prove their trio is worthy of the fans’ excitement. Expect reactions as Omega comes face to face with any of the three opponents; any of the three would be tantalising singles matches and the fans will recognise that in the body of this match.
As for the direction for this potential show-stealer? Personally, I’d like to see The Elite drop the belts to their opponents and go on to do more interesting things. There are story threads with Adam Page; Bucks/Page trio, Adam Cole is returning and seems to be a babyface now, and Kenny Omega has the IWGP US Championship which has a history of being defended in singles matches on AEW Dynamite.
It’s time for The Elite to feel like The Elite again, surely!?
'Jungle Boy' Jack Perry vs. Christian Cage - The Final Burial
by Tim [@TimmayMan].
More than three years into AEW’s existence, it’s nice that they can still showcase something that is a first for the league. With the name “The Final Burial” I’m assuming this is going to be a buried alive match. A match like this hasn’t been seen by a mainstream audience since 2010 when Kane put the Undertaker six feet under.
Is that what we’re getting though? Will there be a large mound of dirt that one of the competitors will find themselves at the bottom of? Will this be a cinematic match a la the Boneyard Match (also featuring the Undertaker)? Or will this be a meta-heavy burial where Christian cuts a 15 minute promo devaluing Jungle Jack Perry?
It’s a curious end to a feud that has nearly spanned two years. All stemming from Christian’s jealousy of Jungle Boy, add in some betrayal by Luchasaurus, and sprinkled with some generational animosity. Christian is viewed by many as the number-two heel in the entirety of AEW (second only to MJF). The crowd should be hot, my biggest hope is that the stipulation doesn’t veer too far into goofy elements that may take away from the personal dynamics.
Wardlow vs. Samoa Joe - TNT Championship
by Samuel [@BigBadaBruce].
I can’t say I am completely surprised by the placing of this match when comparing anticipation, because the other four before it are either dream matches (MJF vs Danielson, Elite vs HoB), or two bitter feud enders featuring some excellent storytellers (Page v Moxley, Perry vs Christian). But I think what gives this match the little bit of an edge over the others, is two things: the championship, and the motivation.
The TNT Championship has been an integral part of the AEW presentation since its inauguration, allowing opportunities for unsigned talents such as Ricky Starks and Eddie Kingston, who are now fan favourites and recognised talents. It made Cody, Mr Brodie Lee, Darby Allin all look bonafide main event talents, who could be trusted to kick off or main event any show and make it matter. But in 2022, the glamour dulled a little, as the TNT Championship bounced nonstop between Cody, Sammy Guevara and Scorpio Sky in a manner that ended up overshadowed by Top Teams, contracts ending, and uncomfortable levels of public display of affection that seemingly accomplished the impossible: making Tay Conti unlikeable. Even Wardlow’s winning of the TNT Title was unfortunately overshadowed by the MJF contract issues. The ship needed righting.
Enter Samoa Joe. A man renowned for making championships great, he shocked many by defeating Wardlow at AEW Full Gear, and then, slowly, began to reinforce the old ideals of the title: multiple defences at high standards. At the same time, a new story for Wardlow was introduced, the man who previously was only held back by MJF’s control of him now had a new challenge: the original Wardlow. No longer could Wardlow just manhandle his opponent, now he was facing the ultimate destroyer, the man who held the ROH World Title for 600+ days, the man who beat Wardlow for the title and then retained it at New Year’s Smash.
But in loss, a lesson was learned, and a new motivation was granted. While Joe lost the title to Darby Allin and Allin went on to renew an excellent streak of matches, continuing the reinvigoration of the TNT Championship that Joe began, Wardlow withdrew, recuperated, and waited until Joe regained the title from Allin, to lay his challenge anew. Wardlow wanted another chance at the man who not only took his title, but the man who’d severed the ponytail that was in honour of Wardlow’s father. Now, the motivation has become personal.
Samoa Joe enters AEW Revolution as a double champion having previously defeated Wardlow twice, taking advantage both times. Wardlow enters a new man, the first time having been distracted PowerBombing ‘PowerHouse’ Hobbs, and the second time having been attacked with a lead pipe beforehand. Now Wardlow enters at 100%, determined to avenge his loss. But most interestingly for Wardlow, is that the last time he won the TNT Championship, it had suffered damage in its prestige, whereas this time, he could win a TNT Championship revitalised by Joe and Darby, and use it to catapult into a title reign that could rival the heydays of Cody, Darby and Miro. The question is, can he conquer the Destroyer?
Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Starks
by Peter [@PeterEdge7].
I think I was the only guy who picked this in fourth in my most anticipated match on the PPV. But there is a reason for this.
Let me take you back to a couple of weeks ago when Jericho signed the open contract. Now while the segment might have been more or less a carbon copy of the Jericho/Scorpio Sky segment in the early days of Dynamite and the logic gaps that have been present at time in this rivalry were present in this segment according to some. There was a moment which made me think that something very interesting could happen during this match.
“No-one outsmarts the Ocho” were the final words from Chris Jericho before leaving the ring in Phoenix and while the inference was that Ricky Starks had outsmarted Jericho by getting him to sign the contract for the match that he wanted all along. Those words from Chris have me wondering. Has he got a trick up his sleeve? The stipulation that JAS is banned from ringside could be a red herring, an illusion to distract us from what might happen.
I'm going to be bold and make a prediction with my preview. We will see a new member of the Jericho Appreciation Society at Revolution and he will help Chris Jericho beat Ricky Starks in what will be an action packed match.
AEW World Tag Team Championship Four-Way Match
by Tim [@TimmayMan].
The biggest detriment this match has going into it is the reigning champions. Whether the Gunn Club are deserving champions or not, they may be the least interesting of the four teams being featured. They lack the crowd support and charisma that the Acclaimed and Best Friends possess and they lack the ability to generate heat that Triple J does. That said, there’s a lot of varied personalities to be featured and this could result in a surprisingly entertaining match.
I can’t imagine many people were thrilled with the Gunn Club taking tag team gold away from the Acclaimed. I feel that most fans are just hoping for the return of FTR to take the championships. This match isn’t going to break the star-meter or anything but it should provide some laughs and levity for the PPV.
Saraya vs. Ruby Soho vs. Jamie Hayter - AEW Women's World Championship
by Dirk [@DarkElevation].
Coming in as Least Anticipated is the Women’s TItle Triple Threat, which only received the fourth-most last place votes, but suffered from the lack of people voting putting in their top half for Most Anticipated. This voting breakdown is a fair assessment of the hype going into the match: there's enough there to make it feel like it belongs on a Pay Per View, but not enough to make it feel like it’s going to be anyone’s favourite match.
At PPV time it always feels, fairly or not, that the women’s matches serve as sort of a quarterly report on the women’s division at large. This time it’s more so than usual, because of the rather ambitious roster-encompassing storyline being told as a faction war between AEW originals, represented by Jamie Hayter, and those who came in later after building their names in an unmentioned Connecticut-based company, represented by Saraya. Ruby Soho, meanwhile, is trying to position herself as part of some non-aligned movement like a punk rock Yugoslavia.
At stake is not only the title belt, but the answer to the question of who is responsible for the growth of the women’s division: the invigorating new blood or those who’ve built it from the ground up. The problem being that last quarter’s Full Gear had three women’s matches, as did last year’s Revolution (counting the pre-show), while this year’s Revolution has only this. So even if you could prove without a doubt that you are the leader of this women’s division, why would you want to take credit for that backslide?
Despite these flaws, I do expect to see an intriguing fight. Hayter is the most over any women’s champ has been with a crowd in the 3+ years of the company and Saraya has shown to be as consistent in-ring as she was in the first iteration of her career. Ruby is a bit of a wildcard, who could serve as anything from the emotional centre of the match to the person who’s there to eat the pin. An overbooked finish is not out of the question considering the multi-wrestler parameters, but a best case scenario would be something straightforward and high quality, anything less will just go to highlight the poor emphasis on the division that is antithetical to the entire feud.