SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The 2022 edition of AEW Revolution hits tonight and to prepare, I have one piece of advice. Get a nap in. Nothing crazy, but a short snooze before settling in for a long night of wrestling. 12 matches are what’s on tap, including the pre-show and you’ll need your energy.
Why? Well, you’ll want to be awake. Even though the show is probably four to five matches heavy, Tony Khan and company have built an intriguing show with interesting stories up and down the card. If there is a lineup that can hold an audience for as long as Khan will try, this one certainly is it.
Now, the build for the Revolution matches has been hit or miss. The highs of the C.M. Punk/MJF feud are balanced out by the pitfalls of the tag team title story and both main championship matches lack the proper framing that elevates the belts. All over the place is an understatement, but all should deliver nicely in the ring.
Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?
Darby Allin & Sting & Sammy Guevara vs. A.H.F.O
This feels like more of a Dynamite match than a PPV blowoff, but clearly Tony Khan wants Sting to wrestle on PPV. This feud lacks heat and though this should be fun from an in-ring perspective, the stakes aren’t there, leading to a flat story. The weak story allows for the babyfaces to go over cleanly and definitively.
Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa – AEW Women’s World Championship
Coming out of the stellar Lights Out Match between both of these women last year, the potential of a championship match between them anchored the direction of the AEW women’s division. The chemistry shown by both Baker and Rosa rightfully led fans to assume that a program with title stakes would enhance things and make for a memorable feud. We’ve gotten the opposite. Instead of leaning into the history between the women, the story has lived in the meta world and hasn’t kicked out of first gear. Rosa doesn’t have the momentum you’d want her to have to take the title off Baker here, so look for Britt to retain and move on.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match: Keith Lee vs. Christian Cage vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Wardlow vs. Ricky Starks vs. Orange Cassidy
The fact that all these guys qualified for the ladder match gives it credibility and a foundation. The stylistic diversity across the match should generate unique and memorable spots. Can you say “symphony of powerbombs onto ladders?” This match will be designed to showcase Wardlow in the end. He’s got a lot on the line with an obvious turn against MJF on the horizon. The more AEW can feed that, the stronger the audience anticipation will be for it when it happens. Wardlow wins and wins strong.
Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson
A traditional and simple build, but one between two stars that therefore feels like a big deal. The rawness of the story between both men fit each of their characters perfectly and the added intrigue of both joining each other in a faction of some kind gives the match layers. Look for Danielson to get the win and prove his point to Moxley. That outcome not only gives the feud longer legs, but it protects Danielson. Moxley is Teflon at this point, so keeping Danielson strong is the smart way to go.
ReDragon vs. The Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express – AEW World Tag Team Championship
Just a mess. The ReDragon vs Young Bucks material has felt forced and without direction. With that as the main point of focus for the match, Jurassic Express as champions and the championships themselves have taken a back seat. The story is the focus though, so Jurassic Express is victorious in a manner that further establishes Bucks vs. Dragon.
Jade Cargill vs. Tay Conti – AEW TBS Championship
Well, it’s happening and that’s about it. Conti and Cargill have interacted in backstage vignettes to give the program some juice, but with the outcome firmly known, it’s almost impossible to build drama. This is all about Jade Cargill and she gets the win in the end to continue her winning streak.
C.M. Punk vs. MJF – Dog Collar Match
What a build. Probably the strongest build to a match that AEW has put on to date. Punk and MJF have played their roles perfectly and the result is a sizzling hot program with a stipulation that fits like a glove. This has been a layered story that appeals to both strict fans of AEW only and fans that know the long history of Punk. Punk needs this win and he’ll get it. It may not be the end of the feud, but the dog collar stip was his and as a babyface, he needs to make good on it.
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Kingston
I’m not sure this feud should be happening at all given how over both are as babyfaces, but due to strong promo work, they’ve got something that is logical and meaningful. Kingston “winning the big one” is a story we’ve seen before, but Jericho being the guy to call him out makes for good drama. Like Punk, Kingston as a babyface needs to make good on his words and will finally win that big one on this show.
Adam Page vs. Adam Cole – AEW World Championship
Like the women’s title match, this has severely lacked the proper framing. AEW is an ensemble company, but the world title still very much needs to be the focal point and goal of most happenings. With so much else happening on the show, this title match has fallen down the steps of importance week to week. Cole, while undefeated, has had his attention split between this story and the issue between The Bucks and ReDragon. Page as champion has had some tremendous in-ring performances, but hasn’t found his voice as the alpha of the company that he needs to be as champion. Page losing here would damage him significantly, so he retains and in a really good match. As for Cole, well, we’ll see, but he simply isn’t as high of a priority right now.