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Worker of the Week 35

Coming off the heels of one of the biggest wrestling shows of all time and one of the most newsworthy weeks in AEW history, the hype going into AEW All Out 2023 was minimal to say the least. Coming out of the show however, AEW felt more like the original product than ever, as they produced one of the best shows in wrestling history (in my opinion). We also had a great N-1 final and 5 Star Special over in Stardom, with the return of Konami challenging for the Wonder of Stardom title.

Honourable Mentions:

- Nick Wayne (Wayne & Vikingo vs Sabian & Loco & Wayne & Komander vs Aussie Open, AEW, 1/9 & 2/9)

- Becky Lynch (Becky Lynch vs Trish Stratus, WWE, 2/9)

- Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens (Zayn & Owens vs Balor & Priest, WWE, 2/9)

- Dragon Bane (Bane vs Wolf vs Alejandro vs Mack, NOAH, 3/9)

- Syuri (Syuri vs Mayu Iwatani, Stardom, 3/9)

- MJF & Adam Cole (BTYBB vs Dark Order, AEW, 3/9)

- Luchasaurus (Luchasaurus vs Darby Allin, AEW, 3/9)

- Kris Statlander (Kris Statlander vs Ruby Soho, AEW, 3/9)

#10 - Eddie Kingston

Eddie had a good couple matches this week on AEW programming, including his first NJPW STRONG Openweight title defence against Wheeler Yuta on Dynamite, and a really cool tag match with Shibata against Claudio and Yuta on AEW All Out.

The Dynamite match was a short but violent affair, with Kingston going full King's Road mode on the BCC member. He went all out with Backdrop Drivers, Saito Suplexes, and Backfists, taking it to Wheeler like he owed him money and you could tell Eddie had a lot of passion going into this match. The post-match happenings got him even more heated leading into All Out, too.

The All Out match was a fantastic little match compared to a lot of the other big matches on the card. Thrown onto the show during the week, people were excited to see Eddie and Shibata tag, but as the match got underway we saw all these men take it to the next level. This was a vicious match that saw Eddie's eyes fixed on Claudio from the very beginning, but he had to wait a bit before getting his hands on him. When he did though, it was wonderful. Eddie's storytelling through his moves and his overall actions in the ring is special, and Claudio is great at that too, so it really gave this match some extra depth, and it was something different from every other match on the card.

#9 - Miro


Ok you get what I'm talking about. Big meaty men slapping meat, slapping holy meat, and meating forever. This match was awesome, helped by a great crowd that gave this match a life of its own. The match itself would have held up on its own, too. Hobbs and Miro had great chemistry and pulled of a fairly simple match formula to perfection, with great back and forth strikes that shook the United Center to its core.

Not much more to say about this one, but the post match angle with CJ Perry debuting should help progress Miro's story after it being a little stagnant the past couple weeks.

#8 - MIRAI

MIRAI defended her Wonder of Stardom against fellow God's Eye member, Konami, on Stardom's 5 Star Special in Hiroshima.

This was a great match with a very clear difference in personalities and demeaner. Konami played it cool for the majority of the match, hitting stiff kicks that left MIRAI laying multiple times, but MIRAI fired up more and more with each set back. MIRAI got off some great shots of her own, especially the final lariat that looked like it broke Konami's neck in half. Konami even worked on the arm of the champion the whole match, so MIRAI coming back and continuing to use the injured arm, and selling it was a great way to showcase her grit. It gave her a real accomplishment on top of retaining the white belt.

A great fiery underdog performance from MIRAI this week, who's white belt reign continues to produce quality matches.

#6 & 7 - Natsupoi & Saori Anou

Anou and Natsupoi defended their Goddesses of Stardom championship against the unusual team of Suzu Suzuki and Mei Seira on the 5 Star Special show.

Both these teams worked so well together for multiple reasons, but the main one being their similarity in their differences. If that makes any sense. Suzu and Saori are more known for stiff shots and a more brutal wrestling style in general, so every time they got in the ring together it was a stark contrast to the high speed style that both Natsupoi and Seira are known for. And to take it a step further, everyone in the match as the ability tap into both of these styles, allowing for the match to smoothly transition between the two.

It was a quick 13 minute match, packed full of high-speed action as well as the aforementioned, more hard hitting offence.

#5 - Go Shiozaki

Go is back on the list again this week after an amazing performance in NOAH's N-1 Victory final, against Kenoh, in their sixth singles match to date. It was one of their better ones too!

The match started slow, as most Japanese style main events do, with both men going for their strike of choice. The chops for Go, and the kicks for Kenoh. Their strikes were deliberate and very thought out as they would ramp up the intensity until they boiled over into a smooth and urgent feeling sequence of dodges and counters. Go knew when to pick his spots and go for the big offence like the Gowan Lariat and the Go Flasher, but still couldn't keep Kenoh down, reverting back to the chops to wear down his opponent. This would leave him vulnerable to some attacks, but in the end, after another few sequences of big moves, Shiozaki missed a Moonsault, got back in the game, hitting the Emerald Flowsion for a two count, but eventually connecting with one final Moonsault for the pin-fall, winning his first N-1 (or Global League)!

Kenoh was a great antagonist in this match too, and definitely played an important role in creating the drama of the match, attacking Go's midsection with his kicks in brutal fashion, but Go's passion shone through in this one after having a rocky return earlier in the year. A great match to cap off the N-1!

#4 - Jay White

Jay had two great matches this week. One on Collision against Dax Harwood, and the other in an eight-man tag team match at All Out along with the rest of Bullet Club Gold, as they faced off against the turbulent team of The Young Bucks and FTR.

He had a classic Collision main event with Dax even though the evil booker has now been terminated from the company, but it was great nonetheless! Jay and Dax went shot for shot with crisp chops between the two and a few fun counter sequences that reminded me of the N-1 finals (well now it does, this happened before the N-1 show). It's nice to see Jay in these long matches, as he has tons and tons of experience in them from his time in New Japan and this was the first singles match that resembled that, so that gets a big thumbs up from me!

Moving on to the eight-man tag match from All Out now. This was a great PWG style multi-man tag that was kept hot by an annoyed, but receptive Chicago crowd, who threatened to derail the match, eventually getting more into the kayfabe of the match, rather than the backstage tomfoolery their "hero" had caused the past week. In terms of the in-ring action, Jay was a great leader, controlling the flow of the match, even from the apron. The Bullet Club Gold team were in perfect sync the whole time, particularly in the finishing stretch where things got fast and furious, but they all were in the right places and the finish went without a hitch, which is impressive with that many people in the ring at one time.

#3 - Bryan Danielson

He was only gone for a month or so, but I missed Danielson on my screen so much. He made an unexpected return to AEW on this weeks episode of Collision, replacing Punk and signing the contract for a strap match with Ricky Starks for All Out, and oh man was it a good one.

Although he stated in the post show press conference that Ricky carried him in the match, he still gave one of his best ever performances, even with only one arm. His broken arm from Forbidden Door still wasn't fully healed, and he had a reinforced cast on is right arm for the whole match, but somehow managed to give us a complete and uncompromised five star match, which just so happened to be the best match in Ricky Starks' career.

The strap itself was used throughout the whole match and made for one of the most brutal bouts I've ever seen. Both men whipped each other all over, even right in the face. They did it so many times it started to become uncomfortable (In a cool way though), but it led to one of the most believable submission/pass out finishes I've seen in a very long time. After whipping Starks for 15 minutes Danielson synched in the LeBell Lock on Ricky, eventually switching to a choke with the strap. The visual of this was bloody brilliant, as Ricky was legitimately turning red in the hold, ultimately passing out to Danielson.

Even in victory, Bryan made Ricky even more of a star than he already was, something I don't think a match with Punk could have ever done. The best strap match I've ever seen.

#2 - Kenny Omega

Personally I thought that Omega vs Takeshita was the best match on the All Out card, and that's saying something when you had both Danielson/Starks and Moxley/Cassidy on the same show. Some people thought the build to this match was lackluster, and I guess you could say it was if you weren't as already invested in Kenny and Takeshita's story as I and many others are, but to me it felt like a massive match. Which is what it turned out to be.

I hesitate to call this a "New Japan style match" like many others are, because to me this seemed more like a DDT main event match. Then again there's not much difference there, but the heart of this match lies in DDT lore and action seemed a little more over the top (not in a bad way) than some of Kenny's New Japan work.

Talking about the match as a whole, well. It was insane, crazy, daring, and scary to watch. Seeing Omega working at this level still is utterly mindboggling. Taking moves like that Backdrop Driver right on the top of his head, as well as taking Take's massive forearm strikes, it really felt like Takeshita was dominating him with his youth and physicality, something that Kenny was so known for during his days in Japan.

The match was filled with hard strikes and perfectly placed and timed V-Triggers, forearms, and Suplexes, on top of some of the more dangerous and memorable spots like the Avalanche Blue Thunder Bomb. Moves like this made me wince and wonder how incredible and inhuman Kenny Omega is, being able to take this kind of offence and not die immediately on impact. The finish was fantastic, with Kenny kicking out of Take's jumping knee multiple times, only for his body to just give up, kicking out of the last knee at around the four count mark. This story isn't finished and I can't wait till we get the next Omega/Takeshita match in AEW.

#1 - Orange Cassidy

No longer the International champion, Orange Cassidy competed in his first ever AEW PPV main event against the backbone of AEW, Jon Moxley, defending his AEW International title.

The build to this match was incredible as Orange's record setting reign as the International title built up so much attachment between him and the audience, on top of his amazing performances throughout the past year showing everyone that he's one of the best wrestlers in the world. With all of that, going into this massive match with Moxley, it really felt like one of the biggest matches AEW could put on right now.

Both men wrestled like it was the biggest match ever, too. Orange bled a lot in this one, with Mox dominating most of the match while OC got off a few hot comeback spots only to be beaten down again by Moxley's vicious offence. Orange coming back closer to the end, hitting the faint kicks which progressively got harder and harder, really got the crowd rocking and out of their seats. There's nothing better in AEW than Orange getting fired up and taking it to his opponent like he wants to end their life.

The passion of Orange was off the charts and the whole crowd was living and dying by everything Cassidy did and by everything Mox did to him, too. Every part of this match was meaningful and it led up to an incredible finish were OC barrages Mox with Orange Punches, only to get Death Ridered once, kick out, and then one more Death Rider for the one two three.

If it had to end here, then this was the perfect ending to Orange's legendary International title reign and the perfect person to take it from him. They both made that title a true "IWGP Intercontinental" style title for AEW which is something barely any company has ever managed to do.

And with that there's been some big changes to the Worker of the Year leaderboard! Lets have a look at it:


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