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AEW Revolution 2024 preview & predictions: best in a while

It’s time once again to forensically analyze guys – and girls – fighting in tight shorts.

Quick reminder, there are three categories: star quality, match quality, build.  For each we’ll assign a score out of 10.  To get a total score with which to rank the matches.

Star quality is within the company/to the company’s fans.  Scores are intended to be objective.  If scores are even, matches’ll then be ranked according to personal preference.

We’ll then predict the winner(s) of each contest. 

Without further ado.

Matthew & Nicholas Jackson vs Sting & Darby Allin (Tag Titles)

Star quality: 7

Sting is Sting, Darby’s ever-popular and the Bucks are as hot as they’ve been in ages.  Which is, of course, relative.  But better is better.

Match quality: 10

The EVP’s did an interview with Sports Illustrated this week:

‘It’s a lot of responsibility on our shoulders. Sting has had a legendary career, and it’s up to us to stick the landing.’

Think what you will about the brothers Buck, they know how to have a good tag.  And that quote, along with Darby’s presence, means the bell-to-bell can be considered taken care of.  And while this is perhaps getting a little cute with the term ‘quality’, it was their talking about a previous bout with the Stinger which really caught the eye:

‘I remember more about how I felt in that match, and less about what happened.’

Because there is more to a match than moves right?  And to those in NC, Sting will be an absolute god.

So if AEW aren’t totally stupid they’ll have concocted some sort of cool, lengthy entrance*, emotions will be high and the wrestlers won’t have to do a lot for the crowd to go banana.

Darby will bump for ten men as he’s cut off time and again by a team likely booed out of the building by many old school fans come to see off their hero.  The Bucks will flip, flop and fly for Sting after a hot tag, the crowd absolutely wild, the atmosphere electric.  Before a final Death Drop sees close to 20,000 people lose their damn minds.

It’s quite a picture.

*Selfishly I’d love to hear the Crow theme one last time but presumably that’s property of those in Stamford

Build: 7

The wrestlers have done their bit with what’s been good creative.  AEW have failed them in terms of replays, emphasis, reminders.

Kicking off with an excellent angle which saw Matthew and Nicholas interrupt the new champs’ celebrations, bloodying their own white suits as they beat down Darby, Sting and sons.  Then wrestling in them in what was a touch of genius.

Leading to a solemn response:

Allin showing a picture of Sting with his kids at the same ages the Bucks’ kids are now.  Highlighting family being the only truly important thing in life, a point driven home when Sting lost his dad recently, time coming for us all as the aging vet prepares for one last stand.

All of which believably drew Sting back into his Crow character as he rappelled from the rafters to beat down the Bucks.  In a cool moment undercut by Darby having his skull caved in all so Ric Flair could poke them in the eye.  Overbooking 101.

Overall Score: 24

It seems we’re finally getting that long talked about tag main event.  Most of the 16,000+ are there to see their guy one last time.  More specifically, to see him win one last time.  And most everything points to that outcome.

Especially since strong heel angles like the bloody beatdown usually see the good guys emerge in the end.

Though the babyfaces did get a little back Wednesday and an unselfish guy like Steve Borden is probably open to losing on his way out.  He’s even recently spoken of his desire to help the company grow.

Then again, we all know how much Mr Khan loves his tournaments.  They could even transition to Darby picking a new, younger partner to ‘pay it forward’.

All of which, of course, would leave some very much Stung Bucks.  Thank you, here all week.

WINNER: Sting & Darby Allin

Bryan Danielson vs Eddie Kingston (Continental Crown; if Kingston wins, Danielson has to shake his hand)

Star quality: 8

There’s no doubt Danielson’s vanity projects have harmed his overall appeal.  A man who once played his part in Dynamite nearing 1.5m viewers and squaring off against Kenny Omega in a match we never thought we’d see because they were stars in opposing companies now can’t drag Collision much above the 400,000 mark, in matches we never thought we’d see because most of us had never once thought about seeing them.

To be clear, he is absolutely not to blame for Collision’s ratings.  But he isn’t helping either.

All that said, to this audience he is still a top star.  And Kingston’s a beloved babyface with whom they identify more than most anyone on the roster.

Match quality: 9

As noted above, the Dragon seems to have planned a year of dream matches for himself as he winds down his full-time career.  Those plans will not include anything less than stellar.  Which is the level these two hit in December as each won once.

The latter of which saw Kingston get his first ever win over Danielson in a brilliant finish which suggested whoever struck the final blow would be the victor.  And Eddie just happened to get there first – not much between the two.

There seems to be genuine animosity and they don’t hold back.  As evidenced by some wince-inducing heel stomps which left the Continental Champ bloody Wednesday.

Build: 7

You might see this a couple of different ways.  Largely dictated by your viewing habits.  The first is that they’ve done some excellent, believable work highlighting Danielson’s disdain for the Mad King.  It’s been drilled home, the entire basis of the match.

The counterpoint might be that this all happened on the ‘B’ show.  Before half of the Dynamite audience.  And even then somewhat sporadically – not helped by the pre-emption for All Star.

Topped off by AEW – in very AEW fashion – assuming their viewers all realize Danielson vs Jun Akiyama is Danielson vs Kingston’s Idol and thus Danielson trying to get under Kingston’s skin.  Which in fact did an even lower audience than usual for what was a very effective angle – the Dragon disrespecting Kingston in front of, then booting his idol in the balls as Eddie watched.

So it’s a simple story about pride between two people who come across as real.  These guys are not playing characters.  And it’s hard to tell whether Danielson genuinely does not like Mr Kingston.

It’s also a great contrast – the mentally strong, chiseled-bodied natural vs the doughy brawler guy with his demons.

Overall Score: 24

I had totally forgotten the Continental Crown existed until last Saturday.  Then totally forgot about it being defended here until checking notes.  Yet it being so suggests the victor.  Since this is, what, Eddie’s second defense?

And he did pass out Wednesday in the clutches of his foe.

Though it is possible Danielson could claim the title and use his final months trying to raise its prestige to give the Saturday show some sort of purpose.  Before losing it on his way out.

Even if Kingston does win, the intrigue remains, will Danielson shake his hand as promised?  Nice stuff.

WINNER: Eddie Kingston

Samoa Joe vs Swerve Strickland vs Hangman Adam Page (AEW Title)

Star quality: 8

All are popular in their own way.  All have drawn cheers on the way here.

Joe at least doesn’t court them and has been a steadying force as champion: the no-nonsense badass who whines just enough to make it clear he’s a bad guy.  Hangman’s new heel persona is an entertaining, believable spin-off of his previous babyface one.

But it’s hard to truly get behind Swerve when he won’t stop reminding us what he did to a baby.  And when he comes across as sinisterly menacing before anything else.  Yes he’s popular, how popular would he be if it was made clear he’s a good guy, and he’s the one to get behind?  We won’t know until they try it.

Match quality: 8

Triple threats rarely satisfy on the level of mano-a-mano.  Not helped by the stupid dumb –no DQ in a 3-way! ­– rules.

Which might allow AEW to indulge their favorite pastime of not having name wrestlers lose cleanly.

On the positive side, any of the three could emerge here.  And Page’s maniacal quest to ensure Strickland does not become champion at any cost adds intrigue the whole way.

Build: 7

Here’s a rare defence of the rankings:

Strickland and Page had even records heading into their #1 contender’s match.  Strickland was technically #1 on account of beating Page twice at the end of 2023.  But both were heavily tainted victories.  And then they wrestled to a draw.  They can’t be separated.  So both should be in this match.

It’s a good thing Hangman can go since he’s fundamental to the narrative of his wanting to stop Swerve winning the title more than he wants to win it.

Which some have criticized since it should always be the A1 goal.  But as a one-off for a heated personal rivalry, this is totally fine.  In fact it only aids Hangman’s heel persona.  Since hurting yourself in order to hurt someone else is a very childish trait – it’s breaking your favorite toy so your brother can’t play with it.

Overall Score: 23

Page has vowed to stop Swerve becoming champ at any cost; he can’t beat Strickland.  Where does that leave us?

It’s hard to know for sure but this not going on last suggests Carolina won’t be Swerve’s house.  Since ideally the crowning of a new babyface champ would close out a show.  And he just doesn’t seem ready.  Historically, a babyface needs to overcome some obstacles on the way.

And Page can be that obstacle.  He’s becoming more insane by the day about stopping Swerve.  Even to the point of now preferring death.  And there are a million ways to do it.  Folks more creative than me have suggested Page seeing Swerve’s about to win so tapping out immediately and etc.

Which can divert Strickland back into his feud with Page, roles reversed, and hopefully see him emerge as a true babyface who beats Page cleanly.

There are also now a ton of options for champion with the arrivals of Ospreay and Okada.  If Ospreay is winning at Wembley, this is really the last chance to move the belt beforehand if you want to maximize the impact.  Him dethroning a two-month champion wouldn’t quite be the same.

‘Total it all up and put it on a tab,’ as Ma$e once rapped, and it seems the Samoan retains.

WINNER: Samoa Joe

Will Ospreay vs Konosuke Takeshita

Star quality: 6

It’s tough to grade the new guy off a solitary appearance as an AEW talent.  But it was a good start.  Takeshita’s the victim – very deliberate word choice – of terrible stop/start booking.  But will likely be popular with the attending audience who value ability first and foremost.  And will recognize what a treat they’re being served here.  So the atmosphere should only add to what will likely be the best match on the show.

Match quality: 10

When you set the ceiling at Match of the Decade, you’d better come in at a floor of MOTY contender.

What truly sets apart the elite (NPI) these days seems to be quick-twitch, instant-acceleration athleticism.  There are of course exceptions but these two definitely tick those boxes.  And if all Scarface had were his balls and his word, all Takeshita has is the infrequent chance to have a banger.  So he’s going to.  Likewise, Ospreay’s not going to come in here aiming for anything less than stealing the show on his official debut.

They’re blurs.  And motivated ones.

Build: 5

They haven’t done a lot here; what they have has been effective.  Plenty of dissension’s been teased: Ospreay was warm with Hobbs, indifferent to Don, downright cold to Takeshita.  All topped off with a very reluctant handshake both refused to let go of.

AEW are often criticized for appealing to a niche, hardcore audience.  And this is absolutely for those people.  Which is fine.  There’s nothing wrong with catering to that audience as long as you cater to the wider one too.  And that burden here is on Sting’s retirement and the triple threat.

That said, they do need to ensure the entire Dynamite audience knows who Will Ospreay is going forward.

Overall Score: 21

Since this company sorely needs a top babyface.  And Ospreay can be that.  He’s fresh, he’s popular, he has a relaxed air and speaking style which make him come off as an ‘everyman’.

So after he wins here, AEW need to make sure he turns rather than being turned on.  Dumb wrestlers do not make for top babyfaces.

WINNER: Will Ospreay

Claudio Castagnoli & Jon Moxley vs FTR

Star quality: 7

FTR remain popular with the core audience, despite a weird feud with the House of Black.  Claudio’s a featured performer and Moxley’s a star.  Though perhaps not as hot as he might be; it seems a while since he’s been involved in anything truly teeth-sinking.  In fact the BCC as a whole seem a little stale in a company flooded with poorly defined factions.

Match quality: 8

Some or all have participated in singles, tags and trios in recent weeks.  The matches bottomed out at good.  And during that six-man, Mox and Cash just basically had a fight.  So this one will get physical in a meshing of wrestling and brawling, helped by FTR who are likely the best in the world when it comes to structuring a classic, psychological tag.

It would be nice if they manage to persuade Moxley he doesn’t need to bleed in such a match.

But then it would be nice if Tinashe rang the doorbell wearing giftwrap.

AEW haven’t helped them by being inconsistent about when there are time limits, cues and what not.  Presumably those are present here.  Though that does risk losing the fans as they wait for either another draw or a finish in the dying seconds.

Build: 5

‘It’s very simple…’ as the Undertaker once said.  He’d go on to say ‘but also very complicated.’  This isn’t.  It’s about pride.  The BCC challenged anyone to come ‘get stepped on’ and FTR didn’t like that very much.  Mox won a singles; they drew in a tag; the BCC won a trios but it was Danielson who got the W.  So who’s better?

As Claudio put it last Saturday, ‘All you have to do, is be better than Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and the Blackpool Combat Club’.

Overall Score: 20

Mox won the singles.  A tag favors FTR.  And they might need teams for a tournament after the show.

WINNER: FTR

Timeless Toni Storm vs the Virtuosa Deonna Purrazzo (Women’s Title)

Star quality: 5

Only peak-Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter rival Storm for women’s popularity.  Purazzo’s matches have played to very quiet crowds.

Match quality: 5

The champ seems hell-bent on proving she’s a match for Purrazzo in the technical department.  Including debuting a new ankle lock submission.  So the match will likely be based around holds.  Which provides a structure but doesn’t scream exciting given the new girl’s outings thus far.

Not helped by Toni’s performances being hard to predict in the guise of her ‘Timeless’ character.

Build: 7

There’s a slight problem with Deonna Purrazzo.  Her look, moniker, music, mannerisms and move-set are all heel.  And she’s supposed to be the babyface.

Storm has the opposite issue.

Complicating what’s otherwise been a solid build.  Certainly the best involving the women in absolutely ages.  They’ve had tv time for matches and promos along with commentary appearances.  And they’ve established a past between them.

Capped by the aforementioned story of who’s technically superior.

And based around a matching tattoo shared by the former friends.  Which Storm turned into an issue by having daggers inked into during her latest flick.

Unfortunately, Deonna showed little emotion in response.  And when you resort to the word ‘bitch’, you’re already out of ideas.

But importantly, they finished strong with a good segment last night which saw Purrazzo looking less heelish and sans mannerisms, telling Storm she better have a bidet because she won’t be able to wipe her ass with two broken arms.  That’s a killer line to end with.

Overall Score: 17

Whether it happens sooner or later, Mercedes is likely the lady to dethrone Toni.  If she’s not, it might be Mariah May longer term.  Or Jamie Hayter at Wembley.  It won’t be Deonna Purrazzo.

WINNER: Toni Storm

Christian Cage vs Disco Daniel Garcia (TNT Title)

Star quality: 6

Cage doesn’t feel quite as hot as he did, after an overly-long feud with Copeland and an absence from tv.  Garcia’s crowd reactions vacillate.  The hardest of hardcore fans appreciate his in-ring; lots are waiting for him to dance; some appreciate the former but can’t take him seriously due to the latter.

Match quality: 8

If you were a betting man (or woman, or other) and fancied a flutter on match of the night, this’d probably be your best bang for buck.  It’s not as in-your-face obvious as the battle of the Callis Fam.  Or talent-laden as the top three matches.

But Garcia’s exceptionally skilled – see in particular his recent interactions with Nick Wayne in a Collision tag – and Cage is a master at putting matches together while still being able to ‘go’.  It’s a nice blend of youth, ability and experience.

Build: 2

Yet it’s hard to understand why it’s taking place.

Copeland was owed a shot because of his rank.  After a couple recent wins, including over a Cage underling, Garcia challenged him to establish the true #1 contender.  The veteran had emphasized ‘earning’ his opportunity and the youngster challenged his pride = all fine.

But then Garcia didn’t beat him.  So what’s he done to earn this?  At least in the case of the Bucks they’re heels and have some sort of storyline backstage power.  Dancin’ Daniel has neither.

Even disregarding that, the story comes down to the usual Cage stuff – Your dad’s dead, I can be a real father to you.  Which is becoming increasingly shtick-y.  The crowd now tend to laugh almost as much as any other reaction.  Though admittedly I never liked it much to begin with.

Garcia did begin the above segment with what came across as a very genuine moment thanking the fans for sticking with him.  But then was also kind of a dick.  Which we’ll get to below.

Overall Score: 16

It doesn’t feel like he’s been heated up enough to bring an end to a nine-month reign during which Cage fought off two more bitter rivals.  But then the same is more than true of Strong/Cassidy.  And it’s inarguable Garcia’s hotter than Roderick.

What makes this even harder to predict is Adam Copeland.  Who was feuding with Cage and did save Garcia from a conchairto.  But then he also saved Garcia from a conchairto.  And all the ungrateful little brat had to say was he’d have made him tap anyway.

(While we’re here – it’s a joke AEW haven’t made more of that injury angle.)

Considering Copeland was generally playing heel during his interactions with Garcia, it is possible he tips the balance on either side.  It’d be stupid.  Especially in a company with too many turns as is.  But it’s possible.  Just ask Shayna Wayne.

WINNER: Christian Cage

Roderick Strong vs Orange Cassidy (International Title)

Star quality: 5

Almost nothing has been done here to get Strong over and so he isn’t.  Go back pre-UK and this would’ve been a weak Dynamite defense.

Match quality: 8

Both tend to have good matches and Cassidy’s deck of crowd-pleasing spots should make for a decent atmosphere.  Strong’s general approach of working the back plays into the narrative that Cassidy’s beaten up and worn down.

Build: 1

This was supposed to be about Strong wanting Cassidy to dwell on losing to him.  Which is why he initially turned down the match despite Orange having just wrestled.

But on Wednesday he sent his lackeys to try to distract Orange into losing the belt.  Likely, it was simply a short-term crutch to make at least one person believe Nicky Wayne might win.

But that’s the problem with short-term thinking, it undercuts longer planning.  Either way, this is lacklustre booking.

And Cassidy being tired is itself tired.

Overall Score: 14

Roderick Strong is not over.  Roderick Strong is nowhere near the level of Cassidy or previous champ Moxley.  If Roderick Strong is the culmination of a year of Orange defenses, it’ll be a waste.

But if he doesn’t win, the Undisputed Kingdom are absolutely dead in the water.

They have nothing going on, the company seems to have forgotten that Adam Cole is the masked Devil who dominated storylines for the last three months of 2023.  A win here would at least allow him to appear on Wednesday and say ‘I told you so’.

WINNER: Roderick Strong

All-star 8-Man Scramble for an AEW Title shot:

Chris Jericho, Will Hobbs, Wardlow, Lance Archer, Brian Cage, Hook, Magnus (CMLL) and Dante Martin

Star quality: 5

A mixed bag of a lagging star, a couple guys they’re half pushing and a bunch of guys who appear only to lose.

Match quality: 6

Without knowing exactly what this is, it’s hard to predict quality.  Certainly Archer, Cage and maybe Martin are the only ‘plus’ wrestlers here.

Though there are at least feuds to play into.

Including Cage and Hook.  On whom the follow-up to his title match with Samoa Joe has been… okay?  Definitely better than usual but perhaps akin to a Mormon’s fourth wife: remembered but not a priority.

A quick singles win over someone of import would’ve been much more beneficial.

Then there’s Jericho/Hobbs.  Which they played up when the latter attacked the vet on Collision.  After the Ocho went back and forth on the mic with Wardlow.  Making it pretty clear one of those three is winning here.

Build: 0

Originally some of these guys were going to be in a ‘Meat Madness’ match.  Some have had to qualify; some have not, with no explanation as to why.  Most never, ever win.

Far from intriguing.

Overall Score: 11

Wardlow needs to win for both himself and his crew.  After a passionate promo about how you should be a top star, you cannot then fail in your next match.  He’s also about the only thing the Undisputed Kingdom have going for them right now.  If he’s not at least in the title picture, they have nothing.

The problem is that he would then undoubtedly fail in his title quest.  Unless this is going to be something like Money in the Bank and he carries it around as a latent threat.

There are arguments for Hobbs and Hook.  Particularly the latter if Joe retains.  Jericho absolutely shouldn’t win.  But cut a promo about it being four years since he last held the gold, is the biggest name of the bunch and could certainly afford a loss against the champ.

After initially being convinced this was Wardlow, I’m coming round on the Ocho.  Screw it.

WINNER: Wardlow

________________________________________________________________________

Overall Thoughts

It feels nice to have had a breather between big shows.  And the company have used their time wisely – this is the best work they’ve done leading to a pay-per-view in a long time.

The top matches feel better story-wise than in the past and the finishes are intriguing.  They’ve shown restraint in not jamming three extra matches on the card at the last minute.  The big picture stuff seems to be improving.

Now if they could just sort out the nuances: recaps of angles, faces being faces, heels being heels, momentum being followed up on.

Or having someone ready for Mercedes.

Since she’s coming in about ten days.  If they don’t have something planned, not only does it bode badly for their relationship with the notoriously particular Monet, it means Toni Storm is the only female on the roster who’s even close.

And I’m not wild about Monet’s first promo being interrupted by Storm cavorting weirdly down the aisle then confusing her with an actress from the 50s.

All of which, I’m hoping, means they haven’t neglected their duties and someone like Britt Baker is returning.  Jamie Hayter’s another option if she’s ready.  Maybe even both.  But it seems they’re going with Serena Deeb, who’s cut two very wooden promos about people coming in to challenge her. It’ll be a good match but a cold feud.  It’s not enough.

I also believe that show’s called Big Business for a reason.  I think a tv deal’s coming.  Here’s Ospreay, here’s Okada, here’s Mercedes, here’s a new tv deal.  We have momentum.

They’re loaded with talent like never before – just consider how good this lineup is then add Okada, Mercedes, Hayter, Kenny, Pac, MJF, Jay White, Penta and Rey Fenix.  Things are clearly improving.  As of now, I’m choosing to be cautiously optimistic.  Don’t be too shocked.

As ever, whether you’re watching live or doing so Monday while trying to ignore your work, have a great day and enjoy the show.  It promises to be very good INDEED (Taka/Bruce Prichard voice).

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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