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It's a long one... but its worth it! - AEW WrestleDream Review

Welcome to the recap of AEW’s new PPV WrestleDream out of Seattle Washington!

Antonio Inoki, who passed away a year ago, is being honoured with this celebration. Many wrestlers who looked up to the Japanese icon were excited to honour him on Sunday since his legacy has had a long-lasting impact on countless talents.

The pay-per-view card was loaded, although there were some problems. Adam Cole was unable to participate in the competition due to an ankle injury he sustained a few weeks earlier.

But Bryan Danielson and Zack Sabre Jr.'s long-awaited dream bout finally materialised.

Let's review everything that transpired at the inaugural WrestleDream and trust me…. There is A LOT!

Zero Hour!

The Zero Hour pre-show's first 30 minutes were broadcast exclusively on YouTube, however All Elite Wrestling held off on airing the actual matches until after the first half-hour.

From inside the ring, Tony Khan welcomed us to the event with NJPW athletes Rocky Romero and Katsuyori Shibata as well as Inoki's grandsons. Before we saw a multimedia package honouring the renowned wrestler, they celebrated the life of Inoki.

The eight-person mixed tag battle featuring Moriarty, Taylor, Martinez, and Diamante vs. Starks, Athena, Lee, and Kojima was the first contest. Kojjima won the match with a spinning forearm finish to Moriarty.

Castagnoli was escorted by Jon Moxley as he entered the ring to face Barnett. While the two guys in the ring engaged in a highly technical match, he provided insightful analysis. Barnett gave Castagnoli a nod of respect after Castagnoli won with a pin.

On the pre-show, Wayne and Luchasaurus faced off in the third match. The 18-year-old faced The Living Dinosaur alone since Cage and Allin were not present. But the adolescent was no match for Luchasaurus, who won with a devastating punch to the back of the head.

In the final pre-show bout versus TMDK, The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass successfully defended the trios titles. With the Mic Drop, Max Caster giving his team the victory and put a positive cap on the pre-show.

MJF vs. The Righteous (ROH Tag Titles)

Now this is the age old saying…if you aren’t last…BE FIRST!

With both ROH tag belts slung over his shoulder, MJF entered the ring for his handicap match against The Righteous. He quickly made a statement in which he denied hitting Jay White on Collision.

This contest was never intended to be taken completely seriously from the beginning. The crowd enjoyed every second of MJF playing up the "I'm your scumbag" schtick while also cheating and receiving cheap pops.

When Dutch and Vincent were in charge, they would try to be more violent, but while MJF was in charge, he did everything in his power to elicit laughter and applause.

MJF's attempt to slam Dutch was put on the back burner in favour of his primary objective of regaining the titles without the ailing Adam Cole. The audience screamed as he finally slammed Dutch however!

It was pure sporting enjoyment to see. Danielson and Sabre will provide a technical display for you. This match was for you if you were looking for laughs.

Eddie Kingston vs. Katsuyori Shibata (ROH World and NJPW Openweight Titles)

The only contest on the schedule in which a single guy was defending two titles from two different promotions involved Kingston and Shibata.

They quickly tried to hit each other with their biggest shots after exchanging strikes in the beginning. Although the foundation of this bout was respect for one another, both men also wanted to leave the other with injuries once it was over.

Given how much both guys have openly stated their admiration for Inoki and how much they have modelled their fighting styles after his, this match was perhaps the biggest tribute to him on the entire programme.

This was a hard-hitting bout, but they were also doing a wonderful job of playing by the book. It wasn't enough to simply acquire the victory; it had to be earned. Despite a fierce battle between the two guys, Kingston was able to prevail. After it was over, he and Shibata sat in the ring together and gave each other a handshake and a bow of respect.

Shibata's song began to play when Kingston exited the ring, and the audience gave him a standing ovation.

Kris Statlander vs. Julia Hart (TBS Championship)

The TBS championship was on the line in the following contest as Statlander faced up against Hart to defend the title. The challenger entered this match with a 28-match winning streak.

Hart may have had more victories, but Statlander has established herself as The Defeated of the Undefeated, so she wasn't concerned. She was just concerned with keeping her title.

Hart's assertiveness enabled her to level the playing field despite the champ having a clear size and power advantage. Statlander was too much for her to handle, even with Brody King providing support at ringside, especially after receiving several tombstone piledrivers.

This was unquestionably Hart's strongest match to date and a strong champion defence for Statlander.

The Gunns vs. Bucks vs. Lucha Bros vs. Hook and Orange Cassidy

The following bout was the Fatal 4-Way tag match to decide who would be the upcoming No. 1 contender for the AEW tag titles.

Every team has previously won the AEW tag titles, except for Hook and OC, therefore this new combination was seeking to stake a claim against three other partnerships who had more partner experience.

Unless the competition has a lot of time, it is never simple to try to find enough time to highlight all eight guys, but all four teams performed a fantastic job of managing their pace and moving fast from sequence to sequence.

After a short while, Fenix left, and the commentators mentioned that the doctors were examining him.

The fans were popping left and right as the seven remaining men worked their tails off to give the audience as many near-falls and high points as they could.

Penta El Zero Miedo was pinned by the Bucks using the BTE Trigger following a protracted series of counters and superkicks.

Yep still going…. This was long even for Mania standards!

Swerve Strickland vs. 'Hangman' Adam Page

As he followed Swerve to the ring for his duel against Hangman, Prince Nana danced heartily. It was all about pride because there was no title at stake in this situation.

This match came the closest to being a pure grudge fight on the schedule. Both men did an excellent job portraying the tension and hostility they feel for one another.

The audience was boisterous the entire time, chanting, jeering, and cheering for whatever was taking place.

After a short period, it appeared that the crowd was shifting its support from Hangman to Swerve. The more time passed in the contest, the more you could feel the momentum shifting in Swerve's direction.

Many fans had high expectations for this match because both of these men have a reputation for being able to put on excellent contests. Fortunately, both rivals were competent for the job.

While the medical professionals were examining Page's elbow, the head of The Mogul Embassy delivered a double stomp to him. Eventually, Prince Nana was removed from the ring, but not before Swerve used his crown as a weapon behind the referee's back.

This made it possible for him to strike the JML Driver and earn his best AEW career victory.

Ricky Starks vs. Wheeler Yuta

When the next match between Yuta and Starks came along, Moxley was back at the commentary desk.

The mood and start of this fight were very different from the first one, but they ramped up the ferocity until they were trading blows like two prizefighters.

This was a competition between two up-and-coming stars who were seeking to see who was the best since both men entered with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. Although the plot didn't require much more development, Danielson's involvement from their previous conflict helped to turn Starks into the antagonist.

Big Bill appeared at the ringside and briefly distracted Yuta enough that Starks could execute a tornado DDT. A short while later, he delivered a Spear and his finisher to secure the victory.

Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Danielson vs. ZSJ was one of the most eagerly awaited contests on the schedule. Before they ever touched each other, the crowd began chanting, indicating that everyone anticipated this to become a classic right away.

They got off to a slow start by displaying some counters to demonstrate their parity. They were starting out slowly since they knew they would soon be moving at full speed.

Initially, they weren't aiming for punches or kicks. They were attempting to take each other down to the mat by grabbing each other in submissions. They appeared to be making little to no effort while still putting on a technical clinic.

Every time Danielson made a counterpoint, you could see Sabre's aggravation level rising. The American Dragon's reputation is already well-established, but for Sabre, this was about establishing his right to be regarded in the same light.

Their offence became more ruthless as the match dragged on. Both men began to exhibit indications of desperation as each attempt to win was unsuccessful since neither wanted to depart as the loser.

One of the best technical performances you'll witness in a wrestling ring this year was this one. This should be the match you watch if you only watch one from the show.

Danielson had to use two running knees to finally pin the opponent, but he eventually succeeded, winning the match.

The Don Callis Family vs. Chris Jericho and the Golden Lovers

For this important trios match, Jericho was the first guy to enter the ring. Guevara, Takeshita, and Ospreay were faced by the squad of Jericho, Omega, and Ibushi.

The bout began with Omega and Ospreay trading fantastic takedowns and counters, but it didn't take long for Guevara to enter and challenge The Cleaner.

The Demo God joined in so that he could pursue his ex-friend, but The Spanish God fled as quickly as he could. However, Callis, not the babyface team's actual opponent, was the source of most of the babyface team's disputes during this storyline.

The match had the unfortunate problem of coming right after a contender for Match of the Year, but everyone put a lot of effort into making sure this felt utterly different while still being enjoyable.

After a while, the regulations were ignored, and tags became less significant because everyone was engaged in simultaneous combat. The official was only present to ensure that no one brandished a weapon and to count the votes.

This was utter mayhem, but it was the kind of mayhem that inspired the crowd to chant, "This is awesome." Guevara was able to secure the pin for his team after Callis attacked Jericho with his own bat.

FTR vs. Aussie Open (AEW Tag Titles)

Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher had the same objective as Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, who wanted to demonstrate why they were still the top tag team in the world. The AEW tag titles were the means through which Aussie Open intended to demonstrate that FTR was no longer the highest point.

The match began with some fundamental chain wrestling between Harwood and Fletcher. The 25-year-old made a small celebration after getting a takedown to get the fatigued Seattle crowd going. By the time this match began, the show had been running for approximately four and a half hours, and many viewers (including me) were beginning to lose interest.

The good thing about it was that it was a much simpler wrestling fight than the last one, even though it was just as tough and competitive as you would expect from these teams. Up until they came close to the conclusion of the fight when all hell broke loose, both teams were following the rules a little bit more because they felt like they mattered rather than simply doing whatever they wanted.

Everyone did a tremendous job making ensuring that the last few matches on this show were unique in order to stand out from one another.

Following several close calls for Aussie Open, FTR was able to use the Shatter Machine on Fletcher to win back their titles.

Heres the big one!

Christian Cage vs. Darby Allin (TNT Championship, 2-out-of-3 Falls)

Cage sent Luchasaurus away in the main event so that he could compete against Allin alone in a 2-out-of-3 Falls match for the TNT Championship.

Before locking up, Captain Charisma played a lot of mind tricks by stalling a lot, but as soon as they locked up, he easily overcame Allin and cornered him to establish his control.

In this fight, the narrative was that Allin was driven to defeat Cage and do so in front of his local supporters. Both men performed a terrific job playing their roles, but Cage was and has been working at a different level. In terms of his character work, this may be his strongest run to date.

When Allin used Cage's own turtleneck against him, he earned the first fall. A few minutes later, it appeared as though he would get the second fall with a Coffin Drop, but Cage fought back with his knees before sending Allin into the announce table from the apron.

Allin was hit by Cage twice on the steel steps, resulting in a countout for the second fall and tying the score at one each. Cage was observed tearing apart the ring to reveal the wooden surface beneath the padding as Allin was being put onto a stretcher. The last few seconds were incredibly unpredictable.

Allin was hit with a frog splash by Cage while he was still on the stretcher, and as the crowd continued to jeer, he was then hauled back into the ring. He struck the Killswitch on the boards, but Allin kicked out at two, earning a thunderous cheer from the Seattle crowd.

Allin managed to reach the bottom rope while being in the Scorpion Deathlock applied by the TNT champion. After recovering, the challenger attempted a Coffin Drop, but he was unable to secure the pin. When Allin moved out of the way, Cage used the chance to knock the referee out with a Spear, attack Allin with a low blow, and take the title belt.

Nick Wayne entered and snatched the belt away from him, setting up a confrontation between Christian and Allin and Nick. Nick suddenly brought Allin to his back with the belt as his mother watched in full shock and horror. In time to make the decision and award Cage the victory, the referee recovered.

The story they also told was done about as effectively as it could have been done, and the match itself was thrilling. Wayne teaming up with Cage is a move that may or may not pan out, but for now, it's a delightful diversion.

When Luchasaurus arrived, it was too late for Sting meaning Wayne and Christian being attacked like a pack of dogs.

The lights went out and a video of a man driving a vintage car down a pitch-black street started. To the sound of "Metalingus," the crowd roared as Adam Copeland, formerly known as Edge in the WWE, entered the ring.

He appeared to be about to assault a downed Sting as he grabbed up the chair and held it over him, but instead he turned around and used it on Wayne and Luchasaurus. Copeland watched as Cage quickly left as a cheering mob was behind him.

The whole thing was great. It was entertaining even if you knew Copeland would appear because of the way it was done.

What an ending and what a long PPV!

Was this perfect? No.

Could it of been made shorter? Yes please.

Was the ending spot on and now Adam Copeland is here in AEW and I can’t wait to see him face Christian, the Hardyz and countless others? HELL YES!

This has been Nathan… over to Johnny on a Wednesday for the fall out!

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