The last two episodes of All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) weekly tv show, “Dynamite” have been on fire in the lead up to this weekend’s “Revolution” PPV. This past Wednesday, we saw Shaquille O’Neal compete in a mixed tag match with newcomer Jade Cargill taking on Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet, in a match that was more impressive than it had any expectations to be. Shaq dominated Cody in the ring, giving him absurdly loud open palm slaps to the chest. Cody desperately attempted to take control, but Shaq’s strength and sheer size was near impossible to overcome. That’s really what made this match work.
Seeing a back body drop in today’s wrestling landscape is pretty routine, but we don’t often see one given by a seven foot tall monster of a man. Cody came back, but his momentum was once again cut off, this time with a textbook powerbomb from Shaq, slamming Cody to the mat from damn near eight feet high. They then took the high spot in the match with Shaq standing on the ring apron and Cody launching himself in a crossbody over the top rope, sending both competitors crashing through a table set up on the floor. These moments gave the match an electric atmosphere that perfectly meshed with the real focus, Jade Cargill and Red Velvet. Their spots were very well worked and the animosity between the two felt real. This had all the makings of a career-defining legacy feud between both women that could serve them well into the future, especially as they both get better in-ring. That said, their strikes were hard, their movements were quick, and their personalities showed through.
Jade brought a Scott Steiner energy to her debut match, frequently taking time to flex and taunt her opponent between slams. It was great heel work and felt like an obvious fit for someone with her physique. Red Velvet deserves equal praise for both the way she sold every move from Jade, as well as an insane top rope moonsault to the floor. With Shaq and Cody splayed out on the outside surrounded by bits of exploded table, the ending sequence was flurry of moves in the ring, first Red Velvet hitting Jade with a nasty spear for a close two count, but saw Jade quickly regain control, hitting Red with a chicken-wing face-buster type finisher for the 1-2-3. Giving the pinfall victory to the debuting Jade Cargill was the right move for AEW to make, obviously setting her up to be a huge presence in their women’s division going forward. There have been a lot of celebrity matches in wrestling, but this one with Shaq was good enough to easily be a Top 3 consideration.
This brings us to AEW Revolution airing on Bleacher Report and PPV this Sunday, March 7th. It’ll feature three title matches, the men’s, women’s, and tag team championships, as well as the in-ring return of Sting. There will be a six-man ladder match for a shot at the TNT Championship, as well as a tag team battle royale with a future tag title match on the line. It promises to be an exciting night, so let’s get our predictions set in stone.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Penta El Zero M vs. Lance Archer vs. Max Caster vs. Mystery Entrant
This has the potential to be the most electric match of the night. The amount of in-ring talent involved and the freedom AEW gives their performers to tell a story, should add up to make this a banger from start to finish. The mystery entrant adds another layer of intrigue. AEW President Tony Khan has indicated there will be two “huge” debut signings appearing at the PPV, and speculations are flying. I don’t expect I’ll be able to accurately predict who it will be, but the person everyone hopes to see is CM Punk. That would be an incredible grab for the company and would dominate the post-PPV talk. I’ll wager a bold guess as to the mystery man for this match specifically and say someone from NJPW. Fingers crossed for either Kazuchika Okada or Tetsuya Natio. An exciting new signee would be a refreshing challenger for Darby Allin’s TNT Championship.
Winner: Mystery Entrant
Big Money Match: “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Matt Hardy
The build up for this match isn’t what draws intrigue, but the continued evolution of Adam Page as a character is. He’s been in constant battle with his inner demons ever since the breakup between him and The Elite (the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega). His budding friendship with the Dark Order has led to a newfound confidence and sense of purpose. It finally feels like he’s turned onto the road destined to lead him to the top of AEW. He’ll be the face to carry the company into the future.
Winner: “Hangman” Adam Page
Miro and Kip Sabian vs. Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor
There’s not much exciting to say about this match. It serves as the final chapter in a wedding storyline that’s gone on for far too long. That’s a shame, considering this is the first program that Miro (formerly Rusev of the WWE) has found himself in. The main hope here has to be that Miro dominates the match like the monster he should be, and goes on to a proper singles program where he can be the focus to further his character development. This has also been a lackluster program for Orange Cassidy following his electric feud with Chris Jericho. Let’s just get this over with.
Winners: Miro and Kip Sabian
The Young Bucks (c) vs. Chris Jericho and MJF for the AEW Tag Titles
MJF’s inclusion into the Inner Circle has driven a massive wedge into the stable, causing Sammy Guevara to quit and go his own way. His tag team formation with Chris Jericho has also led to heavy tension between them and Santana and Ortiz. This seems destined to boil over into a full blown feud should Jericho and MJF win the titles. For now though, they have their plates full with the Young Bucks as the stakes of their match rose to new heights following Jericho and MJF’s brutal attack on the Young Buck’s father, resulting in his hospitalization. As much as I’d like to see the Young Bucks get their revenge, I feel the more deft booking has to lead to an inner circle feud for the tag titles.
Winners: Chris Jericho and MJF
Casino Tag Team Royale for a future AEW World Tag Team Championship Match
This match is so stacked, it would take me way too long to list all of the teams involved. I think the count so far is twenty-eight people in total, so needless to say, it will be complete chaos. AEW has proven themselves fully capable of doing this kind of match while inserting plenty of storyline beats to set up future rivalries, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing what they do. Pac and Rey Fenix are the favorites to win. They’re legit two of the best wrestlers in the world right now, so they belong at the top of the card no matter what. However, the most interesting post battle royale program would definitely be Santana and Ortiz. Tension has been building within the Inner Circle for a couple of months now, and it’s bound to boil over. Santana and Ortiz turning face to challenge Jericho and MJF for the tag titles is exactly where this should lead.
Winners: Santana and Ortiz
Street Fight – Brian Cage and Ricky Starks vs. Darby Allin and Sting
Sting’s AEW debut back in December has led to his partnership with TNT Champion Darby Allin in a blood feud with Team Taz. The program lost a little bit of steam in the early months of this year, but regained it in thrilling fashion over the last couple of weeks. Speculation was abound as to whether the 61 year old Sting still had the physical capability to keep up with the younger talent involved in this match, but those worries were put to rest after seeing him not only take a powerbomb from Brain Cage, but also pull off his signature moves with all the gusto he had in WCW. He will surely take a few bumps in this street fight that will make you cringe with worry, but Darby, Cage, and Starks will be able to do most of the heavy lifting. There’s not much to be had in terms of where this program leads following the match. Sting and Darby Allin need to win and put an exclamation point on this feud so everyone involved can move on. Darby especially needs to get back to defending his TNT title.
Winners: Sting and Darby Allin
Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Ryo Mizunami for the AEW Women’s Championship
On the most recent episode of AEW “Dynamite” Ryo Mizunami defeated Nyla Rose in the surprising final of the wildly entertaining Women’s Championship Tournament. The tournament introduced viewers to new wrestlers from Japan never before seen on American television, while continuing to build up AEW’s own women’s division. This should be an annual occurrence in the same vein as NJPW’s G1 Climax. As much as I’d love to see Ryo carry the title forward, the usual wrestling pattern is to cycle between face and heel champions. I imagine Shida will retain here and go on to a feud with Brit Baker, but I hope I’m wrong. Either way, these two have the potential to absolutely steal the show.
Winner: Hikaru Shida
Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship
The exploding barbed wire deathmatch was conceived in Japan during the 1990s. If you ever watched ECW back in the day, you kind of know what to expect. It will be violent, bloody, and have lots of pyro. The ring ropes will either be lined with or completely replaced by barbed wire. Somehow, explosions will be involved. I only have a faint clue of what to expect. Omega and Moxley’s prior matches have all involved big, cringe-inducing spots like suplexes onto beds of barbed wire and DDTs through glass tables. In his early career, Moxley made a name for himself in deathmatches like these, and Omega has shown an extreme willingness to put his body on the line for a good match. This won’t be for everyone, but it could become the talk of the wrestling world.
Winner: Kenny Omega
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