AEW Revolution is upon us and after last year's stellar event, 2021's edition has a very high standard. As indeed it has set itself on its own merits by the sheer level of excitement it's caused.
The road to Revolution has been bumpy and not without its faults. It simultaneously feels like the most hyped AEW pay-per-view as well as the worst built, which is somewhat of an oxymoron. However, when the card is as good as this and the potential surprises are as great as this, you don't really need a super hot build.
Nine exciting matches, all playing their role on the card with a killer surprise set up by Paul Wight, this promises to be an incredible show.
Thunder Rosa & Riho vs Britt Baker and "Rebel"
by Gareth (@RHWGareth)
There’s been very little build to this match. This isn’t really a surprise, it’s a buy-in match, a tag between singles competitors and in the women’s division. It’s not really a big issue either but there is one intriguing element to this match, Rebel’s replacement.
It’s not 100% confirmed she will be replaced but rumoured strongly. Who could it be? Many have immediately jumped to the Thea Trinidad conclusion but that would feel very underwhelming, especially on the same night as two other big debuts.
Aside from Thea we could see a return of Kris Statlander. This would be a surprise as it’s still earlier than we were expecting her back. Another surprise could be Deonna Purrazzo from Impact Wrestling. The alliance with Baker makes sense as Purrazzo tweeted; “I don’t want to fight @RealBrittBaker. I want to run BOTH women’s divisions, together. Just like best friends should.” So that is certainly a possibility.
Or we could just see Baker align with a fellow heel such as Penelope Ford who she previously teamed with, or the woman who knocked her out of the Women’s Eliminator Tournament, Nyla Rose. Jade Cargill coming off a great debut on Dynamite another choice.
There’s not really anything to judge which of these possibilities is most likely but whatever it is it’s hard to know how much stock to put in the finish of this match. The women’s division all feels rather inconsequential at the moment and a tag between singles wrestlers only exacerbates that feeling.
Prediction: Thunder Rosa pins Britt Baker to continue their rivalry.
Tag Team Casino Battle Royale
This battle royal is going to be a fun watch to break up the card nicely. There’s no denying the depth in AEW’s tag team roster and this match is absolutely stacked. Going into this match we must survey the landscape of the AEW tag team championship match where MJF & Chris Jericho challenge Young Bucks. There are so many possibilities of who could potentially win and where stories could lead which makes this match somewhat hard to predict.
Naturally, there are a few teams who I don’t think are close to being in the running as winners. The likes of Varsity Blondes, Butcher & Blade, The Pretty Picture and Bear Country fall into that category for the time being.
There are, however, two teams who could potentially go the whole way. Proud & Powerful and Death Triangle. Storyline wise, MJF and Jericho being the tag team to represent Inner Circle makes sense as MJF is trying to break this faction down. But we all know that Proud and Powerful are the real TEAM. Their match alone with the Young Bucks recently showcased how good they are and, in coming so close to winning that match, they will have a chip on their shoulder.
My pick, however, is PAC and Rey Fénix representing Death Triangle. They are the only team I see challenging for the AEW World Tag team Championships right now. Who knows, if they do win, we could get a match of the year contender in a match with the Young Bucks and, if we’re honest, this is a match everyone wants to see.
Prediction: PAC & Rey Fénix.
Miro & Kip Sabian vs Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor
This feud has been going on for a while now, starting way back when Best Friends wrecked Kip and Miro’s gaming machine. Miro arrived on AEW as the best man for Kip’s wedding whilst Orange Cassidy was flying high off wins against Jericho and TNT Championship shots. Since then, unfortunately Trent has been injured and that has taken a bit out of the story.
We had a Miro vs Chuck match with the stipulation that if Chuck lost, he would have to be Miro’s man servant till the wedding. This gave us a few weeks of Miro forcing Chuck to be his waiter while Orange was only able to watch.
The feud blew up at the wedding of Kip and Penelope where Chuck handcuffed Miro to the ring and attacked Kip, Orange popped out of the cake and both destroyed the wedding and stood tall.
Miro has not lost a match in AEW since he arrived and is currently ranked. Orange is a protected wrestler with a 17-9-1 overall record. But I feel Miro needs a big win and to move on to something else after this. So, Miro will get the win over Chuck leaving potential for Miro vs Orange Cassidy if they decide to keep the feud going.
Prediction: Miro & Kip to defeat Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor.
Big Money Match by Scott (@thescottster21)
Wrestling often makes for strange bedfellows, a fact proven once again by “Big Money” Matt Hardy. The former member of “Team Extreme” is no stranger to alliances forged from necessity, but the Native of Carolina is now taking these dalliances in another direction. Hardy is living the Gordon Gecko dream; Greed is good could well be his new mantra. The pursuit of wealth has seen the Broken One take a relatively young tag team under his wing in the form of Private Party. Young hungry guys who can’t help but be flattered by Hardy’s sweet nothings whispered in their collective ears. And who in tag team wrestling doesn’t respect and admire Matt and his younger brother Jeff? It's a short list this writer surmises.
Matt’s ruthlessness has brought him into the orbit of “Hangman” Adam Page, a man who has touched the highest peaks and plumbed the deepest depths of professional wrestling over the last year. In 2020 Page participated in what is widely regarded as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) tag team bouts in the history of the sport with his then partner (and current AEW Champion) Kenny Omega. This colossal tussle was against perhaps the most acclaimed current team in professional wrestling, The Young Bucks. Although Page and Omega retained the tag championships in that thrilling encounter, they were soon after dethroned by the tag team specialists, FTR.
Whilst Omega’s end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 have been outstanding, “Hangman” has been in the doldrums, but his charming nascent friendships with the now righteous Dark Order have been a delight to observe. Nervous Millennial Cowboy he may be, but with the continued vocal support from the likes of John Silver and his partner Alex Reynolds have seen Page bounce back to something approaching his ass kicking best.
Which brings us full circle to the situation between Matt Hardy and Page. Initially Hardy’s ministrations to “Hangman” appeared to be in good faith. As a money man assembling a portfolio of talent fighters, Hardy of course would want to recruit Page, he’s a massive star who can only get better. But what’s in it for the “Hangman”? According to the contract Hardy had him sign while “Hangman” was in a characteristic state of drunkenness, he actually had a lot to lose. 30% of his winners fee directly into Hardy’s wallet!
Page was one step ahead though, the contract was not to hire Hardy, but to wrestle him. “Big Money”, but not “Big Brain” it seems! The match is set, whoever wins takes his opponents earnings for the first quarter of the year, this is a money match. Big money. So much so that Matt Hardy is paying off a cadre of renegades and mercenaries to take out “Hangman’s” Dark Order allies one by one, Jack Evans downed Preston Vance on Dynamite, others will surely follow. Can Page battle back against these odds and emerge victorious (and a lot richer)? Time will tell this Sunday at AEW Revolution.
Prediction: “Hangman” Adam Page defeats “Big Money” Matt Hardy.
Hoodlum Street Fight by Delboy (@DelboyxTweets)
This feud has built since Brian Cage's debut at AEW's Double or Nothing PPV last year after Darby Allin turned down Taz’s advice. He came into the company guns blazing, ladder shredding, stuffing Darby into body bags. Both sides went on their own journey as both Cage and Allin faced Mox for the world title whilst Allin ascended into TNT Championship contention. However, they were always destined to finish what started at Double or Nothing.
As Team Taz grew with additions of Hook, Ricky Starks and Will Hobbs, Darby was winning the TNT Championship. Soon after we'd see Darby chill in the rafters, title on shoulder and watch over the show. Sound familiar? As a viewer we'd see this, and we'd occasionally poke fun saying, 'They are trying to make the next sting' and so on. The comparisons were there. Not knowing, nor anticipating, that at Winter Is Coming, Sting would debut to even the odds against Team Taz after a post-match beatdown on Cody and Darby.
Fans who followed Sting's post TNA career, watching his run in WWE, there was a growing concern over Sting’s age and injury record. They say age is just a number and at times in wrestling I believe that. In Japan we see a lot of elder statesmen still putting on great matches. But it was hard to tell with Sting. So, when this tag team Street Fight match was announced it sent shockwaves through the AEW fanbase. The one thing that was missing was Sting’s physicality. But after he took that powerbomb bump from Brian Cage, most people were invested and on board and it only got better from there.
I do think that Sting and Darby Allin win this match. This match protects Sting’s limitations and will allow Team Taz to ragdoll Darby at times. My only gripe is where it’ll leave Team Taz. We likely see the story for Darby and Sting continue to build to a match between the two. Team Taz however need to move past this rivalry and utilised in a way that showcases them for the dangerous bad asses they are. It's getting a little tedious seeing them scared of snow and a man who isn't going to be wrestling at 100%, but who knows. I have faith.
Prediction: Darby Allin & Sting defeat Ricky Starks & Brian Cage.
AEW Women's World Championship Match
by Gareth (@RHWGareth)
The AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator tournament was a triumph in that it established various characters who are new to the AEW audience. For all its flaws in structure and broadcasting, the work was great and few, if any, shone brighter than Ryo Mizunami.
Shida has always been mainly a competitive, fighting champion. She wants to face the best as champion rather than being drawn into stories. Whether it be defending AEW’s honour against NWA Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa or overcoming number one contenders, defending the title has always been her main focus.
But now Shida faces a personal foe, in kayfabe at least. Shida and Ryo’s friendship behind the scenes mask this match in a tad of nepotism. However, Mizunami isn’t undeserving. In kayfabe she has the tournament to stand on, and outside of kayfabe her story sells the match. She was close to retirement before the opportunity of AEW reared its head.
If you want a more stylistic breakdown of this match, then check out PWM’s very own Sergei Alderman’s ‘Styles Make Fights’ article. But it’s the story leading into this match that sells this as much as the stylistic dynamic.
AEW have built this as Shida’s career rival who she’s never defeated after Ryo told Shida “you couldn’t beat me in 100 years” after their first encounter. This story set-up does make the result fairly predictable, but nobody expects Ryo to win. Shida will retain but this division is starting to feel like it needs a new champion. This will be a great title defence for Shida, but hopefully her last victorious one.
Prediction: Hikaru Shida defeats Ryo Mizunami.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match
Scorpio Sky, returning from an injury that had side-lined him, currently has a 2-0 record for this year. He has lost a challenge for the TNT title previously and will want to correct that. Sky played somewhat heelish on Dynamite, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we got heel Sky vs babyface Darby Allin.
Lance Archer, the Murderhawk Monster, won a great match against Rey Fenix to qualify and has pushed hard recently, being involved in battles against Kenny, the Good Brothers and Kenta. He has a 3-2 record for 2021, after a strong 2020 where he challenged for both the TNT and AEW World Championships. I feel if Lance were to challenge for the title this time he’d have to win, so for that reason I don’t see him winning this.
Cody Rhodes currently is at 3-1 for this year having built for a massive match with Shaq and Jade Cargill. Despite losing that match, being a former two-time TNT champion as well means Cody will be considered a favourite. However, Cody does not need the title and I feel he’s going to be busy with something faction related.
Penta El Zero, also returning from injury, he currently is sitting at 1-0 for 2021. Penta is likely here to make up the numbers and take the match to new heights with his ladder match experience.
Max Caster currently sits with a 5-2 record for 2021 and has been more focussed on Tag-team wrestling. Caster has been picking up a few singles wins and defeated Dark Order’s 10 to qualify for this match for this, which will be his first opportunity at single’s gold. That said most people are waiting to see what his Rap will be for the match.
When AEW have debuted wrestlers as a surprise entrant they are normally well protected (Brian Cage for example). There have been a few names thrown around, but the most popular seems to be Ethan Page. He’s been rumoured with AEW for months and with Cody eager to work with his former-tag partner, his involvement in this match suggests that Page may just be it.
Prediction: Ethan Page.
Paul Wight's Big Scoop by Daisy (@boutmachines)
When Paul Wight made his debut on March 3rd, it’s safe to say not many were expecting what he had to say would set the wrestling world on fire. Wight had a “big scoop” to share. That scoop? In four days, at AEW: Revolution, a “Hall of Fame level talent” was due to be signed into a multi-year contract. For days now, speculation on who the mystery signee might be has dominated social media. Starting with two very fun, but also very unlikely possibilities: CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. Punk’s fabled return to wrestling has been romanticized for years - he’s been surrounded by rumours of a potential AEW debut since its inception and has had to officially deny his involvement several times. Punk hasn’t been afraid to praise AEW and its roster, and he isn’t averse to riling fans up about it either. He has made it crystal clear on Twitter however that he won’t appear on Sunday. Lesnar, my personal favourite, is a lot more mysterious. He let his contract with WWE lapse in late 2020 and is yet to renew. Is this because he’s not happy there anymore? Has a desire for creative freedom become more important to him than maintaining his famously ludicrous pay check? Perhaps. Brock is a strange, enigmatic human being. It’s difficult to decipher what’s going on in that big, blond head of his beyond “Brock want money” and “Brock crush” but despite that, he’s proven definitively after twenty years in the ring that his unique presence is unparalleled. Kenny Omega versus Brock Lesnar: best of three, anyone? Kurt Angle, the retired but well-respected legend of the group, is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Released during the early throes of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the now infamous ‘Black Wednesday’ of April 2020, Angle has been a free agent for almost a full year. If he is due to make his debut at Revolution, it’s safe to say he won’t be seeing much in-ring action and could be better used outside of the ring instead. However, Wight announced that the signee was “Hall of Fame worthy” and Angle has already been in the WWE Hall of Fame since 2017. This might just be a matter of Wight misspeaking (he did call Revolution ‘Evolution’ after all) but it’s still something to consider.
Thanks to a tip-off from Dave Meltzer, a popular contender is Christian. A report released on Friday revealed that talks with WWE, which should have locked him into a contract in early 2021, in actuality, fell through. Christian is officially a free agent. He’s in shape, ready to wrestle, and is a huge name in the industry. Christian also has a history with Tony Khan and has spoken highly of not only him but the rest of AEW’s EVP’s and their successes. A fresh start might be just what Christian is after, and his appearance and subsequent reunion with Edge in the Royal Rumble this year might have always been intended as a poignant goodbye to the fans.
Jericho & MJF vs Young Bucks
The Young Bucks v Chris Jericho & MJF is a battle of ideologies in many ways. At its most basic it is two brothers trying to fight for their family against two men who would exploit that to get under their opponent’s skin. It is a battle between two men who want to represent tag team wrestling to the world against two who have formed a team to attain individual gains. Even on a meta-level it is the tag team that most epitomises spectacular athletic wrestling against the most sports entertainment pairing possible in AEW. These two teams are oil and water, they cannot co-exist and at Revolution we will find out which one triumphs.
Even beyond this very intriguing matchup there are so many story wrinkles going into this match, will MJF and Jericho manage to get in The Buck’s head? Can The Bucks deal with the inevitable presence of The Inner Circle at ringside? And for Jericho and MJF, what role, if any, will Sammy Guevara play in this match?
In relation to picking a winner, I can see pros and cons for both sides, Jericho and MJF winning the tag team championships before Proud & Powerful would certainly help progress the Inner Circle drama and would give them something to lose when either MJF or Jericho turns on the other. However, I think The Young Bucks still have a significant amount they want to achieve at the top of this division, and I cannot see them losing the titles any time soon.
Regardless this is a match with four wrestlers that can’t help but draw a reaction from the crowd, so I expect spectacular things from this match.
Prediction: The Young Bucks defeat Chris Jericho & MJF.
Kenny Omega vs Jon Moxley
Exploding. Barbed-wire. Deathmatch.
The full-stops practically write themselves. I think it’s pretty fair to say that the overwhelming majority of wrestling fans today have never seen one of these matches play out live. Even back in the glory days of this particular type of deathmatch, the 1990s and early 2000s, most had to watch months later via the long-lost wrestling tape trade or look on in disbelief at the pictures published in wrestling magazines. The ring, on paper, is a death-trap. Three sides are to be wrapped in barbed wire that sets off explosives on contact (one side, according to Omega, has to be kept clear in case of an emergency), and on the floor below, lays what’s been ominously named ‘Triple Hell’. Triple Hell consists of three large platforms wired to explosives that will, again, detonate on contact. To top it all off, there will be a timer that counts down from thirty minutes. When those thirty minutes are up, every single explosive in and around the ring will set off. One wrong move in this match - one missed spot, one botched manoeuvre, could result in serious injury. In Mick Foley’s famous version of this match (Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk, 1995) he required over forty stitches on his head and arms and sustained second-degree burns to his body. That’s big when the two participating in this match are arguably AEW’s top guys: Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega.
These two already have a bonified classic under their belts with 2019’s light’s-out match at Full Gear - a near forty-minute clash of chains, barbed wire, shattered glass and screwdrivers. Their second match at TV special “AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming” was just as impressive despite the contents being the polar opposite. Kenny demanded they wrestle this time, no gimmicks, and it paid off with a title change in his favour.
They continue to draw in viewers with their unique chemistry and blend of styles. Of their two singles and three tag matches held over the past two and a half years, not one sits below an average user score rating of 7.7/10 on cagematch.net, with the highest at 8.82/10. Moxley and Omega demand attention - a fan favourite from one of the most popular factions in WWE history in Moxley, and the man who became the face of the alternative in Omega. What’s not to love?
Omega comes into this match seemingly on the verge of insanity. Off the back of a series of increasingly deranged backstage segments including but not limited to: aggressive “Moxley Extermination Chamber” crafting, kindergarten readings of the Young Bucks book “Killing the Business” and strange interviews with Don Callis in the back of their shared tour bus. This new Omega is far different to the one we saw a year ago. Kenny is desperate to prove once and for all that he is the better wrestler. Their Light’s-Out match didn’t count on the record after all, and according to Omega, Moxley couldn’t beat him on the mat, even though we all watched him cheat for the win. Kenny wants everyone to know he’s the best in the business, and if it takes literally blowing himself up to do it, he’s willing to take that risk.
Deathmatches of this calibre have never been in Omega’s wheelhouse, and while they were a long time ago for Moxley, he hasn’t done anything quite like this in a very long time. What makes the rivalry between these two so special is that they’re just as eager as each other to push their bodies to the limit in increasingly reckless ways, all in the pursuit of paving new legacies for themselves and the company they both represent. They have found perfect rivals in one another and while yes, this is their rubber-match, the one that should decide it all, I have no doubt that Omega and Moxley will meet in the ring again.
Prediction: Kenny Omega defeats Jon Moxley.
What are you predictions? Let us know over on Twitter @PWMusings.