Special Event: All Elite Wrestling presents WrestleDream (2023)
October 1, 2023 2:32 PM - Subscribe

Following the extremely successful All In at Wembley Stadium, AEW President Tony Khan announced WrestleDream, to be held on the anniversary of the death of Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki, at Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena. Tonight the card is STACKED with title defenses, hometown heroes, and a dream-match main event several years in the making.

The ZERO HOUR pre-show card:

AEW World Trios Championship Match: The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) and Billy Gunn (c) vs. TMDK (Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, and Bad Dude Tito)
The other tag team with Australians from NJPW fighting tonight, TMDK are a crowdpleaser. But if The Acclaimed are booked to lose their bespoke belts on a pre-show I hope Seattlelites burn the arena down.
Luchasaurus vs. Nick Wayne
NIck Wayne heel turn or Luchasaurus' liberation from Christian? Any result has implications for the TNT title match later tonight.
Josh Barnett vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Your meaty men match of the night!
8-person mixed tag match: Shane Taylor, Lee Moriarty, Diamante, and Mercedes Martinez vs. Satoshi Kojima, Keith Lee, Athena, and Billie Starkz
So many internet darlings in one match? Yes please. Billie has been showing up at ROH as minion to women's champ Athena. There's every chance of some intergender violence happening, for example Mercedes trying to slap someone around, Billie reaching her breaking point, or Keith Lee picking up Athena and hurling her, fastball-special style, into their opponents.
MAIN SHOW CARD:

Ricky Starks vs. Wheeler Yuta
Starks' slow initiation into the Blackpool Combat Club (or whatever it's going to be called next) continues in what'll probably be a rousing opener.
#1 Contender's Match: The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) vs. The Gunns (Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn) vs. The Lucha Bros (Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo) vs. Orange Cassidy and Hook
Your Pro Wrestling Guerrila-esque kooky spotfest match of the night!
AEW TBS Championship Match: Kris Statlander (c) vs. Julia Hart
Strong vs. spooky, I have no idea who'll win. It's possible Julia will get victory through some sort of Brody-King-assisted shenanigans, or that her previous black mist victims (Willow and Kiera Hogan) have fallen under some spell? There's really nothing off limits with her character.
ROH World Championship and NJPW Strong Openweight Championship Match: Eddie Kingston (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Your super-Japan strong style match of the night! I doubt Eddie loses, but I do expect Shibata to make red hash out of his chest before it's over.
AEW TNT Championship Match: Christian Cage (c) vs. Darby Allin (Two-Out-Of-Three Falls Match)
I think Darby loses, honestly. As a champ, Darby has nowhere to go unless he's challenging MJF again, but he can lose in front of his hometown crowd and still make the match memorable. All bets off if a freshly-debuting Adam Copeland interferes, though.
Chris Jericho and The Golden Elite (Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi) vs. The Don Callis Family (Konosuke Takeshita, Sammy Guevara, and Will Ospreay) (with Don Callis)
Can't believe this is somehow not the main event. Does Tony have the guts to make this match a draw somehow, so the individual faction members can do a lot of individual matches on the road to Full Gear?
ROH World Tag Team Championship Match: MJF (c) vs. The Righteous (Vincent and Dutch) (2-on-1 Handicap match)
MJF promised to defend the tag titles himself after Adam Cole broke his ankle in the dumbest possible way. I don't think it's time to bust up the Brochachos yet, so MJF will find some way to dig into his scumbag-of-tricks (tm) and his own surprisingly versatile moveset to win.
AEW World Tag Team Championship Match: FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) (c) vs. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis)
FTR's got to lose, right? If they win, there's literally no one else, heck Tony had to import Aussie Open just to find believable opponents. Plus I have no idea how long FTR have on their contracts, but it might not be too long. Let the Aussies win, and they can defend it around the world while FTR regroups and figures out their next climb to the top.
"Hangman" Adam Page vs. Swerve Strickland
On paper, this match has no reason to exist. Swerve comes off as mad about how Hangman's had "all the attention", even though his 2023 records as a solo act is kinda mid tbh. But Swerve's a PNW legend, and he can bring all the heel swagger while Page plays the true babyface in peril.
Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Ooooh, this is it. The match we were cheated out of when Danielson couldn't fight in the first Forbidden Door. The battle to see who's the ultimate mat monkey, the greatest technical wrestler. I think Danielson wins if Swerve loses, and vice versa, because we can't have every hometown hero win the day. But my goodness are these bendy boys going to put on a clinic of grappling, strikes and submissions. ZSJ is more muscled than he used to be, and Danielson is soooo willing to bleed, but in the end I'm calling this for Zack: Bryan is secretly going to spend his final year putting over everyone else because no one loves pro-wrestling as much as he does.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta (5 comments total)
 
MJF opens the show and succesfully retains with only a soup├žon of scumbaggery, although you can't fault him for grabbing Vincent's yambag when the alternative was getting hobbled, Misery-style. It's interesting that, aside from MJF's emotionally grounded promos and tweener attitude, so much of his crowd work is straight out of 80s era WWF.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:25 PM on October 1, 2023


I think the story of the TBS Championship match is that Kris Statlander wisely scouted Julia Hart's moves. Octopus submission, she ground rolls to make Julia release. She keeps her eye open for Brody interference, and slaps the mist out of Julia's mouth before it could be released.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:10 PM on October 1, 2023


"It's always in their hometown, huh?" Because you come from a podunk hometown, Hangman.

Hangman and Swerve do some hellacious damage to each other, including a spot where I heard an audible popping from Hangman getting his right arm wrenched, and two spots where his shoulders get stomped into the ground. Swerve makes the most out of some precisely placed kicks (and considerable crowd support) for a victory that puts him in title contention.

Meanwhile Moxley's on commentary for the Starks/Yuta match as a fountain of restrained wit. In the words of someone on my Discord: "Mox talking about Yuta like a guy who's trying to rationalize his NFT purchase."
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:51 PM on October 1, 2023


Oh I am sooo glad Mox stayed on commentary for the Danielson/ZSJ match, I have never heard Mox this chatty before. Did he have a ketamine treatment before coming out?

Sure enough these men put on a clinic of holds and grappling. In the end, Danielson probably was out-wrestled, but he won by being the superior striker and thus (as Nigel pointed out) has left open the question of who's the best technical wrestler. And since ZSJ was too grumpy to shake the winner's hand, it leaves open the question that Danielson will (FINALLY) go to Japan and vie for that title.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 7:21 PM on October 1, 2023


Well, I unfortunately had to turn in before the tag title match or the TNT Title match for an early night, but there's no way I didn't watch this video this morning with a big smile on my face. Best entrance theme in the business, fight me about it.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 3:44 PM on October 2, 2023 [1 favorite]


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