AEW WRESTLEDREAM PRIMER: Preview & Predictions for Danielson vs. ZSJ, Hangman vs. Swerve, Christian vs. Darby, Omega & Jericho & Ibushi vs. Takeshita & Ospreay & Guevara, more

By Javier Machado, PWTorch contributor


On October 1, 2022, Antonio Inoki, founder of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, passed away. Tony Khan decided to honor the one-year anniversary of Inoki’s passing with the AEW WrestleDream event in Seatle, Washington.

Brian Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr. 

Story in a nutshell: This is a dream match between two master ring technicians that Brian Danielson asked to have before he winds down his career.

AEW’s Brian Danielson was originally supposed to face NJPW’s Zack Sabre Jr. at Forbidden Door but Danielson was injured so the match never happened. Danielson has made it known that he’ll be winding down his career over the next year. Before he retires there are some wrestlers he wants to face and first on that list is Zack Sabre Jr. ZSJ, the current leader of The Mighty Don’t Kneel faction in NJPW, is a technical wrestling master that specializes in turning his opponent into a pretzel.

Prediction and Analysis: Since Danielson beat NJPW’s Kazuchika Okada, I expect Danielson to win any match he has against a NJPW wrestler until Okada gets his win back, likely at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom event.

“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Swerve Stickland 

Story in a nutshell: Swerve Strickland is going to try to make a name for himself by taking out Adam Page who he sees as being unmotivated.

Swerve Strickland called out “Hangman” Adam Page saying that the former world champion had been floundering as of late. Swerve noted that Page hasn’t had any worthwhile opportunities in a while, and that Page was on cruise control. Swerve claimed that Page has squandered the opportunities he’s been given, and that Swerve would have accomplished more than what Page has if he were in Page’s position. It wasn’t until Swerve brought up Page’s family that Page finally snapped back and agreed to face Swerve. Later, during their contract signing, Page stabbed Swerve with a pen to “prove” how motivated he was.

Prediction and Analysis: I say give the spot to Swerve and let’s see what he could do with it but AEW will likely continue riding with Page.

Kenny Omega & Chris Jericho & Kota Ibushi vs. Konosuke Takeshita & Will Ospreay & Sammy Guevarra

Story in a nutshell: Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega became unlikely allies thanks to Don Calis adding Jericho to his list of enemies when Callis turned Jericho’s protégée Sammy Guevara to Callis’s side.

Don Callis recruited Konosuke Takeshita and betrayed Kenny Omega. Callis assisted NJPW’s Will Ospreay when Ospreay successfully faced Omega for the IWGP United States Title. Takeshita soon defeated Omega in a one-on-one match. That done, Callis announced that Takeshita’s next target was Omega’s friend+, Kota Ibushi. Eventually Takeshita and Callis flew to Ibushi’s dojo in Japan and took him out.

While all this was going on, the ever-busy Callis was also trying to recruit Chris Jericho. This caused friction within the Jericho Appreciation Society that led to the group’s dissolution. Callis never expected Jericho to join so he had a trap set and Takeshita attacked Jericho. Sammy Guevara, who had been with Jericho since the start of AEW, was the only member of the JAS to help Jericho out. A standoffish Jericho caused friction between himself and Guevarra, all the while Callis made overtures to Guevarra. Things culminated in a match between Jericho and Guevarra that Jericho won. Guevarra attacked Jericho after the match and joined Callis.

In keeping with “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” Kenny Omega saved Jericho from a later beatdown from Don Callis’s Family. Now, two longtime rivals in Omega and Jericho need to set aside their differences.

Prediction and Analysis: The Callis family should win this to solidify their presence at the top of the card.

MJF (c) vs. Vincent & Dutch, ROH World Tag Team Championship 2-on-1 Handicap match 

Story in a nutshell: The Righteous, Vincent and Dutch, won a shot at MJF and Adam Cole’s ROH World TagTeam Championship, only MJF is forced to go at it alone due to an injury to Cole. 

At Rampage Grand Slam the Righteous, Vincent and Dutch, defeated the Best Friends, The Kingdom, and the Hardys to earn a shot for the ROH World TagTeam Championship. Unfortunately, when Adam Cole arrived to help MJF during MJF’s match with Samoa Joe, Cole injured his foot. On the following Dynamite Cole announced that his injury would require surgery and that as a result, he and MJF would have to vacate the titles. MJF, knowing how important the titles were to Cole, offered to defend the titles on his own in a handicap match instead. Cole was happy that his friend would do that for him and walked off with Roderick Strong (who has been exaggerating a neck injury and has been jealous of Cole’s relationship with MJF) and the Kingdom (Mike Bennet and Matt Taven).

As an aside that may or may not matter, Jay White confronted MJF on the same show but found himself on the wrong side of a four-on-one beat down at the hands of masked assailants with a fifth on wearing MJF’s devil mask directing the attack.

Prediction and Analysis: While it makes sense for this to be an opportunity to get the tag championships off of MJF, I can also see the belts used a lodestone that leads to MJF’s eventual downfall. Also, if Adam Cole is going to be out for a significant amount of time, I can see Roderick Strong fill in for his friend Adam Cole at MJF’s side at the last minute in order to continue this “love” triangle story they are telling.

Christian Cage (c) vs. Darby Allin, AEW TNT Championship Two-Out-of-Three Falls match

Story in a nutshell: The feud between Darby Allin and Christian Cage, now the ACTUAL AEW TNT Champion, continues with a two-out-of-three falls match.

Luchasaurus was the AEW TNT Champion when Darby Allin made his intentions clear that he was coming after the title. Christian Cage, however, was the one carrying the belt and referring to himself as the champion. Christian tried to get Darby off balance by coming after Darby’s protégée, Nick Wayne. Eventually, there was a three-way match for the TNT Championship between Darby, Luchasaurus, and Christian. Darby was able to take out Luchasaurus but the opportunistic Christian stole the pin. Now Darby and Christian go at it again with both men agreeing to keep Luchasaurus and Wayne away from ringside.

Prediction and Analysis: This can go a lot of ways. First off, Darby was a bit dismissive of Nick so I can see Nick turn on Darby (not necessarily joining Christian) and costing Darby the match. Luchasaurus could get fed up with Christian and cost him the match. There is also the question of free agent Edge/Adam Copeland who can help out either side. I’d like to see Christian hold the title and go after more wrestlers with dead fathers. 

Kris Statlander (c) vs. Julia Hart, AEW TBS Championship match

Story in a nutshell: Julia Hart has not lost a match since she last wrestled Kris Statlander over a year ago and now challenges Statlander for the AEW TBS Championship

Julia Hart is a member of the House of Black. She’s won every single match she’s had for over a year, most recently over Willow Nightingale. This record has earned her a shot at Kris Statlander’s AEW TBS Championship. Statlander is, coincidentally, the last person to defeat Julia.

Prediction and Analysis: As much as Julia’s improved, Statlander wins this.

Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson vs. Austin Gunn & Colten Gunn vs. Rey Fenix & Penta El Cero Miedo vs. Orange Cassidy & Hook, Four-way Tag Team Match for a future AEW World Tag Team Championship match 

Story in a nutshell: The winner gets a title shot for the AEW World Tag Team Championship.

And… that pretty much it.

Prediction and Analysis: Who wins depends on when the challenge takes place. If it takes place on Dynamite or more likely Collision, I see Hook and Cassidy pulling the surprise win here. If the payoff happens at Full Gear in November, then I have the Gunn Club winning since there’s still been hostility between FTR and Bullet Club Gold.

Eddie Kingston (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata, ROH World Championship and Strong Championship match 

Story in a nutshell: After winning the ROH World Championship from Claudio Castagnoli and the Strong Championship from Kenta, Katsuyori Shibata is his next challenger for both belts.

The powers that be decided that ROH’s and New Japan’s Katsuyori Shibata would be the next challenger for both of Eddie Kingston’s titles, NJPW’s Strong Championship that Eddie won from Kenta, and the ROH World Championship that Eddie won from Claudio Castagnoli. After Eddie successfully defended the Strong title from Rocky Romero on Rampage, Shibata came out to get in Eddie’s face.

Prediction and Analysis: I wouldn’t doubt that this would be a dream match for Eddie. Eddie retains.

Cash Wheeler & Dax Hardwood (c) vs. Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis, AEW World Tag Team Championship match

Story in a nutshell: Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis challenged Cash Wheeler and Dax Hardwood for a match at WrestleDream and it was decided it would be for the AEW World Tag Team Championship.

FTR, Cash Wheeler and Dax Hardwood, successfully defended the IWGP Tag Team Championship against Aussie Open, Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis, at NJPW’s Royal Quest II on October 1, 2022. The match was considered one of the best of the year. Aussie Open challenged FTR to do it again one year from that match at WrestleDream, titles or no titles on the line. FTR agreed and it would be for the AEW World Tag Team Championship.

Prediction and Analysis: Aussie Open hasn’t really been on fire lately, something they admitted in one of their promos, so they’ll likely stick with FTR as champions. But this will be their second match and Tony Khan does love his rubber matches so Aussie Open has a chance to surprise everyone. 

Ricky Starks vs. Wheeler Yuta 

Story in a nutshell: After losing to Brain Danielson in his feud with him, Ricky Starks crossed paths with Wheeler Yuta triggering a confrontation that led to this match.

The Brian Danielson/Ricky Starks feud ended in a Texas Death match that Danielson won. After the match, Wheeler Yuta, Danielson’s faction mate in Blackpool Combat Club, went to check on Danielson. Big Bill had come out to check on Ricky Starks and things got chippy between Yuta and Bill. Later, Yuta went to apologize to Starks, but Starks wasn’t having any of it and so this match was made.

Prediction and Analysis: Ricky Starks gets his win back.

Zero Hour match: Anthony Bowens & Max Caster & Billy Gunn (c) vs. Shane Haste & Mikey Nichos & Bad Dude Tito AEW World Trios Championship match

No story here outside of Shane Haste, Mikey Nichos, and Bad Dude Tito are members of TMDK which Zack Sabre Jr. leads.

Prediction and Analysis: The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn retain but it’s nice to see “Big Teets” Bad Dude Tito get some AEW screen time.

Zero Hour match: Luchasaurus vs. Nick Wayne

An appetizer for the Darby Allin/Christian Cage match.

Prediction and analysis: Luchasaurus wins but if Nick Wayne pulls off an upset victory, I can see Luchasaurus getting fed up with Christian and costing Christian his match.

RECOMMENDED NEXT: AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES (9/27): MJF and Jay White exchange, Julia Hart, Swerve, TK’s workload, Christian-Darby segment, more

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s AEW Dynamite Hit List: Swerve Strickland and Hangman Page contract signing for AEW WrestleDream, Rey Fenix vs. Jeff Jarrett for the AEW International Title, Julia Hart vs. Willow Nightingale

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