CODY RHODES IS TNT CHAMPION | #AEWeekly Roundtable #4

Hello and welcome to the #AEWeekly Roundtable Discussion where ProWrestlingMusings contributors share their thoughts on the major talking points arising from the last week of AEW programming.

This weeks writers are Brian (@AEWMetrics), Andy (@AndyDCollier), Joe (@GoodVsBadGuys), Peter (@PeterEdge7), Trish (@TrishSpeirs48), Jae (@JaeFinley13) and Tim (@TimmayMan).


1) Kyle O’Reilly is All Elite. What did you think about the way he debuted and what it will mean moving forward?


[Andy] I'm delighted to have been wrong on this one!  Seeing O'Reilly and Cole standing together was a little jarring after the war they waged against each other in NXT this year but that was quickly forgotten about once I started thinking about the possibilities this brings us moving forward.

I think the safe bet is that reDRagon work with the Bucks for a short period before turning on them to set up an "Undisputed Era" and Elite feud - which was the stuff of fantasy booking this time last year. I think this could be dragged out until at least Double or Nothing. AEW have proven that they can tell long term stories so potentially this could go even longer - the dream trios match when Kenny returns will be electric.


[Brian] I got what I wanted for Christmas: Kyle O’Reilly in AEW! As childish as that sounds, it was definitely on my wish list. I suppose a run-in is probably better debut than literally coming out a box for the former ROH World Champion. The way he and Cole turned to face Best Friends could have been executed slightly better but that’s being nit-picky.


I’m ready for reDRagon vs The Young Bucks at Revolution in March and trust those involved to keep things simmering until the weeks before. With Fish already being outside The Elite proper, this further foments the divisive nature of AEW’s namesake stable. That being said, a month or so of friendly reunions and racking up wins will help establish O’Reilly to the uninitiated.


Andy, is it bad I didn’t think about Omega once during this segment and maybe the entire show? But you’re right, of course. There’s no bad combination of these six.


[Peter] Turns out the Bucks really have limited their social media presence because they were the only ones that didn’t see Kyle O’Reilly as Adam Cole’s present coming.


Looks like we’re getting reDRagon vs The Young Bucks down the line which will be an absolute treat. I would personally like to see the Bucks as heels in this deal as I’ve just loved their heel run in 2021.


With the Cole and Omega elements mixed in when Omega comes back later, as Brian said, any combination of the six is going to be great to watch. Kyle vs Kenny is going to be something for the ages in my humble opinion.


[Trish] It was somewhat of a beautiful irony that O’Reilly’s first action upon arriving in AEW was to cost Orange Cassidy, the man he was cruelly compared to for most of the summer as “cool Kyle”, the match with his former ally and foe Adam Cole. A singles match between the two as part of the escalating Chaos-Elite program before we progress to Bucks/ReDragon would be highly enjoyable.


For the longer-term O’Reilly’s signing and the return of his former team with Fish is a welcome addition for a tag division which has struggled in recent months and could really do with some fresh matchups.


[Jae] I think the length of this storyline depends on how long Omega is out for. There is no reason why this cannot be a real slow burn. That said, Matt Jackson’s facials indicated the burn might be quicker. We shall see.


One option, even if Omega is healing for much of 2022, is to have Hangman step in with the Bucks and continue their storyline. I love the heel Bucks, though, and this would mean a face turn. It will be fun!


[Joe] Kyle O’Reilly to AEW reforming the original Undisputed Era is an exciting move. It sets up the obvious UE vs The Elite feud everyone is talking about, but in the process of making it a slow burn storyline (like Jae was saying) to give Kenny Omega plenty of time to recover (and he might need a very long time based on injury reports) it could first lead us to a supergroup of The Elite/Undisputed Era vs Best Friends/CHAOS featuring Kazuchika Okada’s AEW debut.


I do like the idea of the Bucks being outnumbered & having to turn to either Hangman or even Cody for support in terms of the potential for deep, layered storytelling. Cody and Hangman becoming allies is the first step to one of my favourite story options for AEW in 2022. I’ll touch more on that later.


2) ‘Hangman’ Adam Page and Bryan Danielson will face off again in two weeks after their draw last week. How did you feel about their segment this week on Dynamite? With judges being announced to avoid another draw, which legends could you see appearing to score this re-match?


[Andy] I am finding it increasingly difficult to find flaws with anything Danielson is doing at the moment. He is a performer on another level to everyone else right now and he is bringing Hangman Page up to his level.


The announcement gives plenty of time to hype this for a viewership boost on the first TBS show and will clearly start the night given the time constraints. I don't think this will go the hour, perhaps around the 50-minute mark maybe even the 59-minute mark - it will be interesting to see how they make this different to their previous match given that they are only a few weeks apart.


For the judges - I think this would be a good space to utilise the old guard on the roster - Mark Henry, Paul Wight, Arn, Tully and Dustin have to be shouts, heck maybe even Sting. But perhaps they will go for some of the names that wrestled 60 mins in the olden days or respected wrestlers not under contract elsewhere. Is this a chance to test the waters with Flair? Is Steamboat available? How about Bret Hart - potentially linking to the Owen Hart tournament. Kurt Angle is another name available.  Whilst there are some exciting possibilities, don't let that take away from the fact that this match will be an absolute classic.


[Brian] I would like all three to have no current alliances or allegiances within AEW. Put it another way, I think all three should be outsiders/legends from the past.


My first thought was Bret Hart, who unless I’m mistaken, hasn’t made any kind of appearance for the promotion since the original belt unveiling at Double or Nothing 2019. I think this is unlikely due to his renewed relationship with Vince, but it would be a great tie-in with The Owen.


Damnit, Andy! My second thought was Steamboat. For one, he’s the man I associate with time limits and WrestleWar 1989 remains one of my earliest wrestling memories. Look it up if you have the time. Secondly, even for just a throwaway line or moment, can we please have the American Dragon Bryan Danielson go face to face? The two have history as well as Ricky has officiated two Danielson matches, one in ECWA and one in ROH.


Lastly, Jushin Thunder Liger! Make it happen, AEW.


And for those wondering, and to save you the time, the only other time AEW has done this so far was Full Gear 2019 with Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko and The Great Muta when Cody challenged Jericho.


Just please don’t bring in Ric Flair; we don’t need the headache.


[Peter] With the match quite possibly being the first match on tbs in over two decades, it’s safe to say that sometime associated with WCW/JCP will be one of the three judges with the favourite being Ricky Steamboat with his link to the judges at ringside concept that was part of the 3rd match of the trilogy with Ric Flair. Personally, I would have had JR as a judge to celebrate his return after his treatment for skin cancer with Paul Wight or Mark Henry in the third seat. Or maybe Jason Hervey and Patty Mullen are available.


One thing I’d like to see with the judging stipulation is updates given on how the judges are scoring the match with the updates giving extra tension and making the later parts of the contest compelling viewing.


Speaking of the Steamboat/Flair trilogy, I see Hangman-Danielson II going the way of the second bout in that series (my favourite of that trilogy) with the fall coming in the final 10 minutes of the hour time-limit.


[Trish] Firstly, it was good to finally see our champion featured on Dynamite outside of last week’s match, it’s something which has been sorely lacking since the first Dynamite post Full Gear. Both men delivered in a strong exchange in which Hangman’s confidence built from feeling undeserving at the start to knowing he could beat the American Dragon by the end.


Whilst I originally thought they would put this match on the “Battle of the Belts” show in Charlotte after the success of “Fight for the Fallen” in the same venue I’m glad it is on the TBS debut and the focal point of the show. Their first encounter deserved a much higher rating (and probably aided in the increase of interest in this week’s show) to go with its critical acclaim and I believe the second one will be rightfully rewarded come January 5th.


Judges I could see going either of two paths- they could have names with some connection to Danielson in order to stack the deck further against the champion or, as Peter suggested, legends associated with previous wrestling content on TBS.


[Jae] Listed above are tremendous ideas. Steamboat would be beautiful. Steamboat, Crockett, and Bret Hart—why not?