The John Report: AEW WrestleDream 2023 Review

aew wrestledream 2023 review tjrwrestling

It’s AEW WrestleDream featuring Bryan Danielson-Zack Sabre Jr. along with Christian Cage defending the TNT Title against Darby Allin and more.

This is the first ever AEW WrestleDream pay-per-view. It’s taking place one year after Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki passed away, so AEW was paying tribute to him with this show as well.

I wasn’t home on Sunday night to write about the full four-hour show. I came home late, wrote about half on Sunday night and finished it on Monday morning. I ordered the show on Fite TV here in Canada.

Here are the ZERO HOUR pre-show results.

* Satoshi Kojima, Keith Lee, Athena, and Billie Starkz defeated Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor and Lee Moriarty), Diamante, and Mercedes Martinez.

* Claudio Castagnoli defeated Josh Barnett. Jon Moxley was on commentary for the match.

* Luchasaurus defeated Nick Wayne.

* The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) and Billy Gunn defeated TMDK (Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, and Bad Dude Tito) to retain the AEW Trios Tag Team Champions.

That was it for pre-show matches. The main show was next.

AEW WrestleDream
Sunday, October 1, 2023
From Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington

It’s Sunday and you know what that means. Excalibur welcomed us to the show with Nigel McGuinness and Taz on commentary.

The Righteous duo of Vincent and Dutch got no reaction from the crowd. Maxwell Jacob Friedman got a big reaction as he made his entrance as the AEW World Champion as well as one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions.

MJF had both ROH Tag Team Titles around his neck along with the AEW World Title around his waist. The fans chanted “MJF” for him. MJF said that “The Devil has arrived in Seattle.” MJF said that there was some bullshit that he attacked Jay White aka “Tofu” so the fans chanted that. MJF said he had nothing to do with it while some schmuck stole his mask. MJF mentioned Adam Cole is hurt and he’s not here tonight. MJF said that when Cole comes back, these titles will still be with him. MJF talked trash about his opponents saying he’ll hit them with a body slam (a “body slam” chant started) and MJF told “white boy with dreads” he’ll tie his hair up and shove it up his partner’s fat ass. MJF did his catchphrases to end it.

Analysis: A strong promo from MJF as usual. It’s still weird seeing him as a babyface since I like him so much as a heel.

ROH Tag Team Championships: Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. The Righteous – Vincent & Dutch

MJF started with Vincent and then Dutch got into the ring leading to The Righteous getting control. Vincent, who is the guy with dreadlocks, hit a low flatliner. The bigger man Dutch applied a gentle chinlock. When MJF tried a body slam, Dutch landed on top of him and got a two count. Dutch hit a Powerbomb followed by Vincent tagging in with a splash for two. Dutch hit a Bossman Slam for two. That was executed very well. Dutch distracted the referee, Vincent tried using a chair, so MJF squeezed Vincent’s groin area while the referee wasn’t looking. The referee turned back around and Vincent knocked down MJF. Vincent went for a senton bomb, but MJF moved out of the way. Dutch tagged in leading to MJF hitting a body slam on Vincent. MJF slammed Dutch’s head into the top turnbuckle pad repeatedly followed by MJF doing the ten punches to Vincent along with some head biting. MJF sent a charging Dutch into the turnbuckle. MJF hit the body slam on Dutch and then MJF bumped to the mat as the fans cheered. MJF sent Vince face first into Dutch’s groin area followed by MJF doing his kangaroo kick – split-legged dropkick. MJF hit the Heatseeker DDT on Dutch and put his feet on the ropes (the referee never saw it) for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Maxwell Jacob Friedman

Analysis: **3/4 It was an entertaining match because of how talented MJF is at being able to pull off anything in the ring. MJF got the crowd to get excited about a body slam in the pre-match promo so when he did it, the fans exploded like it was a big deal. I didn’t know much about The Righteous going into this although I think they do a nice job as a team and worked well with MJF in this match. It’s not really about star ratings. It was more about having a fun match, which is what they did.

A brief video aired about the next match with Eddie Kingston defending two titles.

ROH Championship & NJPW Strong Openweight Championship: Eddie Kingston vs. Katsuyori Shibata

This is for both of Kingston’s titles. Shibata’s the ROH Pure Champion, but that title is not on the line.

Kingston hammered Shibata with several chops to the chest. Shibata delivered a snapmare along with a kick to the back. Kingston allowed Shibata to deliver chops, which were followed up by a Shibata kick to the back. Shibata with a trip leading to an Ankle Lock submission, but Kingston got to the ropes. Shibata applied a Figure Four Leglock submission for about 30 seconds until Kingston got to the rope to break the hold. Shibata kept on grounding Kingston with submission attempts. Shibata had a side headlock applied as Kingston hit a backdrop driver. Kingston delivered hard chops to the chest to knock down Shibata. They went to the other turnbuckle with Shibata delivering another kick and a corner dropkick. Kingston was back up with chops, Shibata with two boots, Kingston with a lariat and Shibata with a boot to the face to knock Kingston down. Kingston hit an Exploder Suplex, Shibata no sold that and Shibata did a back heel trip slam, so then he decided to sell after that. Shibata applied an octopus hold submission with Kingston looking like he was fading, but then Kingston got his hand on the bottom rope. Kingston came back with spinning back fists to the head and Shibata hit a running kick. Both guys laid down again. Back up, Shibata with forearms, Kingston with chops and a spinning back fist again. Kingston with a Northern Lights Bomb for two. Kingston with another spinning back fist and Kingston did a Powerbomb leading to a high stack pin for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Eddie Kingston

Analysis: ***1/4 A very physical match that featured a lot of chops by Kingston. Shibata did a lot of strikes as well. The fans weren’t into it that much considering the style of match this was. I know it’s Japanese style, but having multiple spots in the match where you do moves, don’t sell anything and then both guys lay down to sell loses its lustre after the first time. Anyway, there wasn’t that much drama in my opinion since it was obvious that Kingston was going to get the win.

After the match, Kingston and Shibata sat in the ring, shook hands and raised their hands. Kingston left first and told Shibata to salute the crowd. The fans cheered, but it wasn’t that loud.

A video package aired about Kris Statlander defending the TBS Championship against Julia Hart. It featured comments from Hart talking about how she was reborn with the House of Black. Kris said she was the fighting champion who called Hart a “spooky little bitch.”

Tony Schiavone joined commentary for this match replacing Taz.

TBS Championship: Kris Statlander vs. Julia Hart (w/Brody King)

Hart won 28 matches in a row leading into this match. Hart connected with a superkick, but Kris came back with two shoulder tackles in a row. Hart got a rollup for two. Hart sent Kris into the turnbuckle, but Kris caught a running attack leading to a vertical suplex. They left the ring with King doing a distraction, so Hart sent Kris into the barricade three times in a row. Hart did some gentle head bouncing into the mat (her hands are hitting the mat) along with knees to the back. Hart slipped stepping on the back and hit a senton on the back for a two count. Hart with an abdominal stretch with Nigel saying Antonio Inoki popularized the move. Kris came back with a hiptoss. Hart off the ropes, but Kris was ready for her with a powerslam. There was no pin attempt. Kris hit a running uppercut along with a knee to the head and a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Kris missed a clothesline attempt and stumbled into the ropes, so King trash talked her. Hart rolled out of the ring, then she was back in and Kris punched Hart to prevent the mist spit. Kris hit a spinning sitout slam for two. Kris hit a German Suplex. Kris went up top, she took way too long and Hart went after her. Hart hit a belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope. Hart went up top, but Kris held her leg to stop it initially. Hart kicked Kris down and was back up with a moonsault for a two count because Kris put her foot on the bottom rope. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them. Hart applied the Hartless submission, Kris turned it over and Kris got back up to her feet. Kris got Hart onto her shoulders followed by a Tombstone piledriver. Kris hit the Sunday Night Fever piledriver for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kris Statlander

Analysis: ***1/4 An impressive win for Statlander hitting two variations of her finisher to put Hart away. Kris does it safely by taking the bump on her knees and protecting the head of her opponent. I think Hart has improved a lot over the last year. Hart is a unique character who certainly can be a champion at some point in AEW, but I figured Kris would win here. They worked well together and made the most of the time given. With that said, I wish AEW would spotlight the women’s division more because they usually only get one match on a PPV main show. I think they deserve more than that.

There was a video about Orange Cassidy & FTW Champion Hook bonding as a tag team. That led to this four-way match.

The Gunns – Austin & Colten Gunn vs. Lucha Brothers – Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix vs. The Young Bucks – Matt & Nick Jackson vs. Orange Cassidy & Hook

The winners will receive an AEW Tag Team Title match. Three of the four teams are former AEW Tag Team Champions while Orange & Hook are not. Hook is FTW Champion. Fenix is the AEW International Champion. The Young Bucks are ROH Trios Tag Team Champions with Adam Page. There are so many titles around.

There was a lot of chaos early in the match as usual with eight guys involved. I missed a few minutes, but came back with The Gunns beating up Fenix and Penta. Fenix was taken out of the match after being thrown into the barricade. Orange got a rollup on Colten for two. The Gunns tried to do something where they were both legal leading to a pin attempt, but the referee didn’t allow it. Young Bucks did a double team backbreaker and Matt launched Nick into a hurricanrana. Matt tagged himself in, the Bucks did a double kick to Colten and Matt launched Colten out of the ring. Nick kicked Colten for good measure. Hook tagged in against Matt with punches to the body. Matt hit a Northern Lights Suplex and then Hook did it to Matt, so they took turns doing the move. Nick and Orange in the ring, so they each took suplexes. Hook hit an overhead suplex on Matt across the ring. Austin tagged in. Orange & Hook hit double suplexes. Orange hit a suicide dive onto two guys on the floor. Guys were entering the ring illegally to hit moves because it’s AEW. Colten hit Penta with a forearm to the back. The Gunns isolated Hook in their corner. Austin did his Road Dogg punch combo on Hook for a two count. Colten punched Hook in the jaw leading to a two count. Austin prevented Orange from tagging in. Hook managed to tag in Penta, who hit a cross body block off the top. Penta with a Slingblade followed by a DDT. Penta hit a backstabber on Austin and superkicks for both Gunns. Penta hit his Made in Japan slam on Colten for two with Ausitn making the save. Matt went in illegally with a DDT, Orange with a DDT to Matt, Nick sent Orange out of the ring and Nick hit a facebuster. Nick hit a moonsault off the apron onto Orange on the floor. Orange had to wait five seconds for it. Penta hit a somersault dive over the top to the floor. Hook tagged Penta to become legal against Austin with Hook going for his submission. Orange hit his Orange Punch on Austin. Hook applied the Red Rum submission, but Nick tagged in. Nick hit a 450 Splash onto Hook/Austin and covered Austin for a two count. Penta was in the ring corner and still allowed to make a tag…because AEW doesn’t give a shit about rules. Anyway, Nick tagged himself in as Penta held up Orange and Hook and Nick hit a double foot stomp. Young Bucks hit a bunch of superkicks. Nick slipped on the ropes as the Bucks hit a clothesline/kick combo. Young Bucks connected with the BTE Trigger knee on Penta for the pinfall win. It went about 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Young Bucks – Matt & Nick Jackson

Analysis: ***1/2 The usual multi-team tag team match in AEW with a lot of chaos and guys running into the ring illegally so they can do their flippy spots. It was a fast-paced match with all four teams getting some moments to shine. The Gunns especially did a nice job as they continue to impress me. It’s too bad Fenix was hurt and taken out of the match because his presence would have helped. The Young Bucks winning is okay with me although I find them boring as faces and a lot better as heels.

The Young Bucks celebrated the win to earn an AEW World Tag Team Title match.

Analysis: I assume they will get the title match at Full Gear next month in Los Angeles because they are from California. That’s just my hunch anyway.

A video package aired for the Swerve Strickland-Adam Page match. This was one of the best built matches on the show. Swerve made it personal with Page saying he wanted to take his spot while Page said he would bring his best to the match.

“Hangman” Adam Page entered first. Swerve Strickland entered with Prince Nana and the rest of the Mogul Embassy group, but the others in the group went to the back while Nana went to ringside. Swerve asked “Whose House?” and the fans shouted “Swerve’s House” after that. Swerve did it three times.

Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) vs. “Hangman” Adam Page

Swerve is from Tacoma, Washington, so he was in his home state. When Page knocked down Swerve with a boot to the face, the fans booed. The fans chanted “Hangman sucks” as Swerve delivered some chops. When Page stomped on Swerve, the fans booed him. Swerve got some offense going with a spinning kick to the jaw. Page was seated in the ring, so Swerve jumped off the middle rope with an uppercut to the back. Swerve hit a neckbreaker. Page landed on his feet after a German Suplex attempt and Page hit a fallaway slam across the ring. Swerve was on the apron, so Hangman hit a springboard clothesline. They left the ring with Page hitting a Powerbomb onto the apron and a Powerbomb into the barricade. Page went up top and hit a moonsault onto Swerve on the floor. Page does that so well. Page hit a Ligerbomb for a two count. Swerve left the ring, so Page hit a suicide dive onto Swerve on the floor. Page slammed Swerve’s left hand into the top of the steel steps. Back in the ring, Page hit a clothesline off the top rope for a two count. Page hit a German Suplex, Swerve no sold it and hit a flatliner followed by a brainbuster for a two count. Swerve hit a backbreaker. Swerve went up top and Page squeezed on the injured left hand. The fans chanted “Swerve” as Swerve punched Page, who had to hang onto the top rope for three seconds while Swerve jumped up and connected with a double foot stomp to the chest. It’s such a silly move. Swerve hit a jumping kick called the House Call for a two count. Swerve jumped off the top with a double foot stomp, Page avoided it and Swerve sent Page face first into the turnbuckle. Swerve tried a piledriver. Page got out of that by ramming Swerve’s hand into the ring post. Page hit a Deadeye where he takes the bump on his knees, but we are supposed to act like Swerve’s head hit the steps. It’s the selling that matters anyway.

They went back in the ring with Page getting a boot up while he was on the apron. Page got a hold of Swerve’s injured left hand and bit it. Page wanted a Buckshot Lariat, so Swerve avoided it and Swerve pulled back on the right arm. Swerve put his foot against Page’s right arm so it hurt the arm that Page uses for a clothesline. The doctors checked on Page at ringside as Swerve went up top and hit a double foot stomp on Page. Swerve went up top and hit a 450 Splash on the injured right arm for two. Swerve applied an armbar on the right arm, but Page got his foot on the rope to break the hold. Page came back with a pin attempt for two. Page went for a clothesline, Swerve blocked and Page hit a lefty clothesline. Page tried a lift, but Swerve countered that with an armbar again. Page delivered forearm shots to the damaged left hand of Swerve. Page charged, Swerve avoided him and hit a German Suplex. Swerve went up top, jumped off with a double foot stomp attempt and Page avoided it. Page to the apron leading to the Buckshot Lariat with no cover right away because Swerve was in pain. Page did a slow cover for two because Nana put Swerve’s right boot on the bottom rope. Referee Paul Turner saw it and he ejected Nana from ringside. The referee was looking at Nana in the aisle, so Swerve grabbed Nana’s crown with the jewels on it and hit Page in the head for a two count. Swerve hit a running House Call kick to the head. Swerve hit another House Call kick to the head. Swerve hit the JML Driver for the pinfall win after 20 minutes. The fans cheered for the win.

Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland

Analysis: ****1/4 That was an excellent match. Swerve found a way to win by using Nana’s crown for the cheap shot following by two kicks to the head and the JML Driver for the pinfall win. It took a lot to put Hangman away, which tells the audience how tough Hangman is and how Swerve had to do a lot just to get the win. What I really liked about the match was that there was actual psychology with Hangman working over Swerve’s left hand throughout the match while Swerve targeting the right arm made sense because it prevented Hangman from making a quick cover after hitting a Buckshot Lariat. Psychology is good for storytelling, my friends. As I wrote in our preview, I felt like this match was the start of the rivalry rather than the finish, so I wouldn’t be shocked if they have a rematch fairly soon with Hangman getting the win. This was definitely the best match of the show up to this point.

After the match, Swerve Strickland celebrated the win with Prince Nana, Bishop Kaun, Teo Leona and Brian Cage of the Mogul Embassy.

They showed NBA legend Shawn Kemp at ringside watching the show.

Jim Ross replaced Tony Schiavone for the next match. Jon Moxley of the Blackpool Combat Club joined commentary for this match to support his buddy Wheeler Yuta.

Ricky Starks vs. Wheeler Yuta

I think both guys are heels. The BCC guys are usually heels, except for Bryan Danielson, but it’s not like the roles are that defined in AEW. Moxley said he got fined for some of the language he used during the pre-show, so he had to be smart about what he says.

The guys were exchanging strikes leading to Moxley saying “shit” on commentary, so there’s a swear word from him as expected. Yuta with a back elbow. Starks lifted up Yuta leading to send him ribs-first into the top rope. Starks with a body slam followed by a stomp to the head. Starks hit a suplex on Yuta while Moxley shouted “shit” while on commentary again because Moxley was shouting advice to Yuta. After Yuta got a nearfall, Starks came back with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Starks jumped off the turnbuckle, Yuta caught him with an atomic drop and a forearm. Yuta jumped off the top with an elbow strike for two. Yuta applied an armbar while Big Bill walked down to ringside to support his buddy Starks. Starks hit a Tornado DDT while using the ropes for an assist. Yuta went for a charging attack, Starks caught him and hit a Powerbomb for two. Starks hit some weak elbow strikes that Yuta didn’t sell and Yuta came back with hard forearms. Yuta bounced off the ropes leading to Starks hitting a clothesline. Starks went for a springboard move, but Yuta shoved him down and onto Big Bill. Yuta jumped out of the ring, Starks avoided it and Yuta shoved Bill into the ring post. Back in the ring, Yuta hit his own elbow smashes and the seatbelt pin attempt for two. Starks sent Yuta into the ropes followed by a Spear. Starks hit the Rochambeau slam on Yuta for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ricky Starks

Analysis: **3/4 It was just an average match. A predictable win by Starks, who is pushed a lot more than Yuta is. In our preview, I wrote that “Ricky Starks has lost twice to Bryan Danielson recently, so he needs a win. That’s why Wheeler Yuta is there.” That’s exactly what happened. They have had Yuta get some big wins in his career, but in a spot like this, he was here to do the job to make Starks look good. The crowd didn’t seem to care since both guys are heels.

A video package aired about the Bryan Danielson-Zack Sabre Jr. match.

Zack Sabre Jr. was up first with the fans giving him a quiet reaction. Bryan Danielson was cheered heavily since he is from the state of Washington in Aberdeen, so it’s close enough to call it a hometown. Danielson was wearing the Seattle Seahawks colors much to the delight of the crowd.

Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Jon Moxley and Jim Ross remained on commentary for this match with Moxley obviously there to support his buddy Danielson. Sabre is the NJPW TV Champion, but that title is not on the line.

They were both posturing for the first minute or so going for moves, which led to Bryan lifting him up with a takedown. They fought over the abdominal stretch submission and then Bryan got a takedown going for the ankle. Bryan had the ankle trapped, then Bryan bridge back and their legs were tied up as they fought over submission moves. They were back up to their feet for a moment before locking up again. Sabre applied a surfboard submission, Bryan got out of it and Bryan twisted the ankle. Bryan applied his own surfboard. Sabre grabbed the right arm (the surgically repaired right arm) to break free and then they separated again. Sabre delivered an uppercut to the chest with Moxley saying that was the first strike. Bryan did some lefty uppercuts with Sabre told him to use the right arm, so Bryan started to do that and when Bryan did that, Sabre knocked him down with a shoulder block. Sabre stomped on the right arm with Bryan grabbing his right wrist. Sabre used his legs to twist the arm. Sabre grabbed Bryan’s fingers leading to some finger snapping as the fans booed. Bryan ran to the ropes, jumped over Sabre and applied a single leg crab submission. Bryan stomped on Sabre’s knees to weaken him. Bryan did a dragon screw leg whip and then Bryan did another one that looked vicious. Sabre stepped through another leg whip attempt, Sabre twisted the neck with his feet and Sabre hit a dropkick to the back. Bryan set up Sabre upside down in the corner, Bryan kicked Sabre repeatedly and Bryan delivered several elbows as they battled by the turnbuckle. Sabre was pulling on the right arm again, but Bryan stopped him with a headbutt. Bryan hit a butterfly superplex off the top.

Bryan trapped Sabre on the mat while twisting his arms and Bryan turned it into a half crab submission, but Sabre got his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Bryan worked over Sabre with lefty kicks to the chest along with a righty kick to the head. Bryan captured the arms leading to stomps to the head with the fans chanting “YES” for it. Bryan charged, Sabre caught him and each guy hit bridging pin attempts for two. Sabre hooked the arms leading to a bridging pin again for a two count. The fans stood up and clapped for them for the nearfalls. Bryan hit a running kick in the corner, but Sabre came back with a drop toe hold. More counters from both guys, Bryan with elbow smashes and Sabre ranked back on the right arm. Bryan wrenched on the knee again, but then Sabre tied up the legs again. With their legs tied up, they exchanged slaps to the face while Bryan also did a spit to the face. Bryan rocked Sabre with a hard slap. Bryan used his boot to kick Sabre in the face and they were both back up after that. Bryan worked over Sabre with kicks to the back to the left leg. They hooked their arms together and hit back elbows. Sabre went for a pin attempt, then Bryan kicked out and Sabre kicked the right arm with a PK kick. Sabre hit a powerslam followed by Sabre pulling back on both arms. Moxley stood up, took the headset off and shouted “Let’s go Bryan, fuck that guy” so Excalibur said “swear jar” to react to that. That was funny. Anyway, Sabre had Bryan’s arms tied up and Bryan got to the ropes leading to a break. Sabre with kicks to the body, then Bryan came back with a kick to the head and another roundhouse kick to the head. Sabre trapped the right arm again. Bryan managed to get out of it and hit a shoulder capture suplex. Bryan hit the Busaiko running knee for a two count. Good nearfall. Bryan was back up with a Busaiko knee for the pinfall win at 22:47. Moxley: “Holy shit!” JR was just laughing and said “wow.”

Winner by submission: Bryan Danielson

Analysis: ****3/4 It was an awesome pro wrestling match with the contracted AEW wrestler Bryan beating the NJPW guy Sabre. That result is what I expected. Whether it’s the style that every pro wrestling fan likes is another story, but I certainly liked most of it. They obviously got as much time as they wanted and put on an incredible performance. Bryan going into the match with the surgically right arm helped the story of the match with Sabre targeting the arm for several minutes. This was not the kind of match where it was about getting nearfalls to show how close guys were to winning and trying to pick up the win that way. This was about wearing down an opponent, picking out body parts and weakening them as best you can. There might be some fans that think I’m underrating it while others might say I’m overrating it. I really liked the match, but I don’t think it was as good as the Bryan-MJF Ironman match from earlier this year. It’s still an outstanding wrestling match that was what it was expected to be – amazing technical wrestling from two of the best technical wrestlers ever. Once again, the result didn’t surprise me with Bryan winning. I hope Sabre wrestles more in AEW in the future because he’s so talented. I’m a bit surprised that they didn’t go with a submission finisher to end it, but obviously the running knee that Bryan does is a suitable and believable finishing move.

After the match, Bryan Danielson celebrated the win while Jon Moxley was standing up and he was in awe of how great it was. Bryan extended his left hand looking for a handshake, but Sabre left the ring with his title. No handshake from Sabre. Bryan had his hand raised by referee Aubrey Edwards. Bryan hugged her.

Analysis: Hugging a referee isn’t that common, but it just shows that Bryan is a good guy. Edwards was a fan in the crowd when Bryan retired in 2014 and then she became a referee. Cool story.

A video aired about the big six-man tag with the Don Callis Family against Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho and Kota Ibushi.

The commentary team for the final three matches was Excalibur, Nigel McGuinness and Taz.

Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho & Kota Ibushi vs. Don Callis Family – Will Ospreay, Sammy Guevara & Konosuke Takeshita (w/Don Callis)

Omega and Ospreay started going for some quick moves, but they kept on avoiding eachother to show how quick they are. Ospreay had the cupping marks on his back that people sometimes have when training. It’s a training method thing. Sammy was booed heavily when he tagged in. Sammy did some flips to avoid Omega leading to a dropkick. Jericho tagged in with chops for his former friend Sammy, who managed to tag out and brought in Ospreay. Jericho decked Ospreay with a chop followed by a belly-to-back suplex. Omega tagged in with a double team suplex on Ospreay. There were some strikes by the guys on the apron, so all six guys went into the ring to exchange punches. The faces cleared the ring leading to slingshot dives over the top onto the heels on the floor. Omega battled with Ospreay, who did a handspring kick on Omega. Takeshita tagged in with Omega chopping him while Takeshita did an eye gouge. Takeshita hit a leaping clothesline. Ibushi went into the ring illegally with a kick to the back on Takeshita. Ospreay was back in, Omega did a rolling senton and Ospreay got the knees up to block a moonsault. Ospreay trapped Omega with an abdominal stretch while the heels held hands for leverage. Omega did a hiptoss on Omega, Takeshita held Omega in the corner and when Omega tried to tag out, Sammy pulled Ibushi off the apron while Jericho was already knocked down. Takeshita tagged in with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Sammy tagged back in with a senton bomb off the top for a two count on Omega because Ibushi made the save. Omega got a boot up followed by some head slamming into the mat and Jericho tagged in again. Jericho knocked down Sammy with a shoulder tackle. Jericho went up top and hit an elbow smash on Sammy. Jericho did a bulldog leading to his own abdominal stretch and some hand holding for leverage. Jericho led go leading to an eye poke on Sammy. Ibushi tagged in, knocked down Sammy and Jericho/Ibushi posed in the ring. Ibushi kicked Sammy in the ribs followed by a standing moonsault for two. Ibushi with a kick to the gut followed by Omega tagging in with a leg drop splash to the head. Ibushi and Omega jumped onto the turnbuckles leading to moonsaults on the floor. Jericho hit a Lionsault for a two count on Sammy. The three faces were all in the ring with Ibushi hitting a German Suplex on Sammy after he was launched by Omega. Jericho wanted a Liontamer submission, but Takeshita hit a German Suplex. Takeshita hit a German Suplex on Omega with Kenny dumped on his head. Takeshita hit a German Suplex on Ibushi dumping him on the head as well. Ospreay and Takeshita did running attacks, but they hit eachother instead. Jericho and Omega cleared the ring with the heels on the floor. Omega got the crowd fired up as he ran the ropes leading to a somersault dive over the top onto two guys on the floor.

Jericho battled Sammy in the ring with Sammy hitting a Spanish Fly for two. I had no idea if they were legal, but the referee counted the pin. Sammy went up top and hit a Shooting Star Press onto a standing Omega on the floor. Sammy went for a springboard attack again, but this time Jericho got the knees up with a Codebreaker for a two count as Ospreay made the save. Omega and Ospreay were not legal, yet they were in the ring exchanging strikes. Ospreay with strikes, but Omega hit him with a Snapdragon Suplex. Sammy jumped off the top with a Cutter on Omega. Ospreay gave Ibushi a Powerbomb and Takeshita hit a running knee on Omega. Ospreay and Takeshita hit running boots to the face of Jericho. Sammy hit a Codebreaker on Jericho for no count because Jericho kicked out quickly. Jericho tried to fight back, but the three heels stomped on Jericho. Ibushi got back to his feet leading to a left punch knocking Ospreay down. Sammy delivered some weak forearms, so Ibushi stopped that with a hard palm strike to the chest. Takeshita and Ibushi exchanged forearms, Takeshita went for a lift, Ibushi stumbled backwards and Takeshita hit a huge clothesline. Ibushi hit his own big clothesline. Ospreay back up with a kick and superkick for Omega, but Ibushi/Omega hit kicks to the face of Ospreay. All six guys took turns exchanging strikes and leaving the ring after. Ospreay did a headscissors taking Omega out of the ring. Ospreay went up top with a Sky Twister Press onto Omega & Ibushi on the floor. Sammy did a rollup with tights on Jericho for two. Ospreay back in, he shoved Sammy out of the way and Jericho hit Ospreay with a Judas Effect elbow. Jericho and Sammy fought by the turnbuckle with Jericho doing some weak corner punches. Jericho did a Frankensteiner off the top. Ospreay was holding Aubrey Edwards to stop her from counting, then she broke free and got a two count. Sammy with a superkick on Jericho. Sammy went for the GTH on Jericho, but Jericho avoided it and wanted the Walls of Jericho. Callis went into the ring with Jericho’s bat and hit Jericho in the head with it. It wasn’t a great weapon shot but Jericho sold it anyway. The referee was trying to stop Ospreay from using the IWGP UK Title as a weapon. Ospreay left the ring and held onto Omega/Ibushi to prevent them from making the save as Sammy covered for the one…two…and three. It went 22:35.

Winners by pinfall: Don Callis Family – Will Ospreay, Sammy Guevara & Konosuke Takeshita

Analysis: ****1/4 Excellent match that had some flaws too. I don’t mind the cheating finish because it fits the story perfectly. That’s exactly what the finish should be with a heel group like that. There was a flaw to the match because it was the usual case of an AEW tag team match having random guys in the ring who were not legal. I loved the action as I’m sure a lot of AEW fans do, but having people hanging around in the ring for several minutes is not the proper way to have a tag team match. It’s a way to do a bunch of spots. Yes, it’s a great match and I admire the work of everybody involved. I just think they should just book a Texas Tornado Match or try to build to hot tags that mean something. Anyway, the last few minutes were absolutely incredible with all of the big moves. Callis playing a factor in the finish by hitting Jericho with the baseball bat was the right way to end the match with Sammy getting the pin. I thought maybe Ibushi would be pinned since he’s not an AEW full-timer, but Sammy pinning Jericho makes more sense since Sammy can brag about it as their feud continues. I thought Ospreay was the best guy on his team while Takeshita had some good moments, but didn’t stand out as much as he has in the past.

The heels celebrated the win. They showed no replays. Why doesn’t this company show replays of great matches with controversial finishes? You should do that, especially a finish like that where a guy used a weapon to win the match. Show replays, guys.

A quick video aired about FTR defending the AEW Tag Team Titles against Aussie Open.

AEW Tag Team Championships: FTR – Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler vs. Aussie Open – Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis

Dax started with Fletcher, who knocked him down with a shoulder tackle. Dax ran the ropes leading to a running shoulder tackle. Dax had kinesio tape on his left shoulder. Cash tagged in with a hard chop leading to an atomic drop, uppercut and a back body drop. Dax tagged in with a running elbow smash. Davis tagged in with a hard chop exchanged with Dax. The chopping was really loud as Davis said enough of this and hit a body slam along with a senton splash. Fletcher tagged in, Dax chopped him and hit a suplex followed by a leg drop. All four guys were in the ring leading to the faces FTR delivering punches, but then Aussie Open picked them up and ran the FTR boys into eachother. Davis and Fletcher picked up both guys leading to another running attack on the floor where they drove the opponents back to back on the floor. Davis was in control as he did a body slam and senton splash on Cash. Fletcher tagged in as the heels isolated Cash for a bit. Cash did a slingshot sending Fletcher over the top to the floor. Davis tagged back in, sent Cash into the ropes and Davis launched Cash toward Fletcher, who hit a Powerbomb on Cash, which led to Davis getting a nearfall. Aussie Open made more tags, Cash tried to tag again and Fletcher knocked Dax off the apron. Cash set up Fletcher on the turnbuckle and Cash hit a belly-to-back superplex. Davis pulled Dax off the apron to stop the tag. Fletcher hit a brainbuster on Cash for a two count. Davis charged at Cash, who hit an uppercut and Fletcher tagged in, which led to Cash finally tagging out.

Dax tagged in with punches, then two corner clotheslines and Fletcher hit a forearm. Dax hit a corner clothesline and another clothesline. Davis was into the ring illegally, so Dax punched him. Fletcher with a lariat, but Dax didn’t go down and hit his own lariat. Dax battled illegal man Davis with clotheslines to knock the big man. Dax hit two German Suplexes on Fletcher, Davis charged and Dax hit a back body drop. Dax hit another German Suplex on Fletcher. Dax hit another German Suplex. Dax went up top and jumped off with a headbutt, but Fletcher avoided it. Davis tagged in leading to a lift and a rising kick. Aussie Open hit an Aussie Arrow double team move that was Fletcher doing a Cutter off the middle turnbuckle. Cash pulled Davis out of the ring while Dax rolled up Fletcher for two. Dax hit a slingshot Ligerbomb for a two count. FTR wanted a Powerplex, Aussie Open stopped it and Davis jumped off the top with a superkick while Cash was on Fletcher’s shoulders. Fletcher covered Cash for a two count. Davis tagged back in as Aussie Open teased a Powerplex. Dax went into the ring illegally and hit a superplex leading to Cash hitting a top rope splash on Davis. Cash covered Davis, but Fletcher stopped that with a cross body block on Dax to break up the pin. The fans applauded as all four guys were down. The Aussie Open guys were in control again with clotheslines while Dax went to the floor. Aussie Open hit double team lariats on Cash. Dax blocked a double team move. Cash got a cradle for two. Dax was sent out of the ring with a clothesline. Aussie Open hit a weak version of the Shatter Machine. Aussie Open hit their Coriolis double team slam for a two count because Dax made the save. Davis was favoring his left hand/wrist because he hurt doing a move. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Aussie Open kicked Dax at the same time to knock him out of the ring. Davis tried a move to Cash on the apron, but Dax made the save and FTR hit a spike piledriver on Davis on the apron. Fletcher hit a suicide dive on FTR on the floor. Fletcher went up top, he knocked Cash down, Dax went up to the top rope and launched Fletcher across the ring leading to Cash hitting the double knees for the Super Shatter Machine! Cash covered Fletcher for the pinfall win at 20:27.

Winners by pinfall: FTR – Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler

Analysis: ****1/2 This was my favorite kind of tag team match because FTR does the best job of having traditional tag team matches in AEW. Aussie Open came close to winning a few times and showed they could definitely be the champions, but FTR were just too much for them to handle. The fans weren’t into this match as much as the previous match perhaps because of the star power. There were plenty of nearfalls from both sides with some clever pin breakups. Wheeler really took a beating for most of the match, then Harwood was there to keep making saves and eventually they put Fletcher away.

The win means that The Young Bucks will likely challenge FTR for the AEW Tag Team Titles. That will probably be at Full Gear. They said Mark Davis was being attended to by the medical staff due to his left hand injury.

There was a video package for the TNT Championship match between champion Christian Cage and Darby Allin in his hometown of Seattle.

Christian Cage entered first as the TNT Champion with Luchasaurus. Christian told him to stay in the back. Nigel was pretty funny putting over various Christian things about turtlenecks. Darby Allin got a big pop in his hometown and he sent his buddy Nick Wayne to the backstage area. The fans were loud for the match.

TNT Championship 2 Out Of 3 Falls: Christian Cage vs. Darby Allin

Allin is a former two-time TNT Champion. Christian was wrestling in a black tank top that had a turtleneck. Allin got a wrist lock followed by a leg trip, which led to Christian getting to the ropes. Allin grounded Christian with a side headlock for about a minute. When he got back up, Christian hit a back elbow to the head. Christian chopped Allin a few times followed by some posing while Nigel said “look at that physique” and the fans booed. Allin went for a Coffin Splash off the ropes, Christian avoided that, Allin pulled Christian’s shirt over his eyes and Allin did a jackknife pin for the pinfall win.

Darby Allin leads 1-0

Christian stared at Nick Wayne’s mother standing at ringside. She was standing in the front row while others were sitting. Christian took over offensively with a hard whip into the turnbuckle with Allin doing a cannonball bump into the corner. Christian squeezed on the head/neck of Allin to ground him for a few moments. Christian avoided a punch and did a whiplash pulling the neck against the ropes. Christian tried a dive off the top, Allin moved and Allin hit a Code Red for two. Allin hit a cross body splash off the middle turnbuckle for a two count. Christian grabbed Allin by the waist and tossed him out of the ring. Christian threw Allin hard into the barricade at ringside two times in a row. Christian stared at Nick Wayne’s mom again with Nigel claiming she was blowing Christian a kiss (she was not). Christian walked over to her and she tossed a drink of water onto him. Allin capitalized on that with a suicide dive that led to him hitting the barricade. Allin up top, Christian to the floor and Allin hit a Coffin Drop on the floor. Back in the ring, Allin tried a Coffin Drop, but Christian got the knees up to block. Allin was on the apron, so Christian hit him in the back leading to Allin bumping into the commentary table at ringside. Christian moved the three level steel steps onto the floor by the ring. Christian picked up Allin and brought him toward the steps. Allin hit Christian with forearms while Christian was on the apron. Allin charged, Christian did a thumb to the eye and Christian teased a suplex onto the stairs. Allin tried to reverse it, but Christian just threw him to the floor. Christian picked up Allin and slammed him back first into the steel steps! Ouch. They were on the apron with Christin trying a suplex, but that didn’t work, so Christian gave Allin a body slam onto the steel steps! Excalibur: “This is not professional wrestling. This is humane assault.” Dr. Sampson checked on Allin on the floor. The referee Bryce Remsburg countered Allin out, so Christian won the second fall by countout.

The match is tied Christian 1-Darby Allin 1

Christian tried to go after Allin again, but referee Bryce Remsburg told Christian to move back. That led to Christian lifting up the ring apron and taking the ropes off that were used to tie the canvas to the ring. A stretcher was brought for Allin while Christian continued to untie the ropes around the ring. They replayed Christian slamming Allin onto the steel steps and it looked so nasty. Christian pulled off the canvas in the ring. Christian went up top and hit a Frog Splash onto Allin, who was on the stretcher! The fans chanted “holy shit” at that while Remsburg admonished Christian for it: “What’s your problem?” They did a good job of showing replays of this stuff, unlike other stuff on the show.

Christian threw Allin back into the ring. The canvas was pulled off and the wood in the ring was exposed. Christian gave Allin the Killswitch on the exposed boards for one…two…and no because Allin got his left arm up. There were “Darby” chants after that. Christian charged, Allin avoided it and Christian trapped Allin in a Scorpion Deathlock (Sharpshooter) submission move, but Allin got his hand on the bottom rope to force the break. Allin did an eye gouge with his hands in the eyes and a Scorpion Death Drop on the exposed wood. Allin went up top and hit a Coffin Drop splash onto Christian for one…two…no! Christian got his shoulder up. Allin went up top again, but Christian tripped him up on the top rope. Christian teased sending Allin into the steps again, but then Christian hit a Sunset Flip Powerbomb off the top instead. Christian charged for a Spear, but Allin moved out of the way and Christian hit the referee Bryce Remsburg. Christian hit a low blow uppercut punch on Allin. Christian brought his TNT Title into the ring and taunted Nick Wayne’s mom with it. Nick Wayne went ringside and grabbed the title from Christian’s hands. Christian was back in the ring with Nick and Darby, which led to Nick hitting Allin in the head with the TNT Title! Christian told Nick he did a good job. Christian pulled referee Remsburg into position and Christian covered Allin for the pinfall win. Christian wins 2-1. It went 25:27.

Winner by pinfall: Christian Cage (2-1)

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a wild match with some insane bumps from Allin throughout the match. It’s obviously not a clean ending to the match, but it puts over Christian’s ability to manipulate people and he did it to Wayne to get Nick to turn on his mentor Allin. I don’t know if Nick will be better as a heel than he was as face, but I hope Nick does well. That bump by Allin onto the steel steps was absolutely brutal. Maybe it doesn’t lead to long term pain or something like that, but just the thought of taking a bump like that is crazy to me. The spots exposing the canvas just added to the brutality of Christian being a sadistic heel who wanted to hurt his opponent. I’m not surprised that Christian won or that Nick turned because that’s pro wrestling. We already saw AR Fox turn on Allin in the past and then that angle ended abruptly, so now we have another guy turning on Allin, who is always going to be popular as a sympathetic face. Anyway, I liked this overall as a way to showcase the ruthlessness of Christian as a heel.

After the match, Christian Cage celebrated with the TNT Title while Wayne went into the ring and hugged his “father figure” Christian, who kissed Nick on the forehead. Chrisitan held Allin, so Wayne attacked Allin with punches and kicks.

Sting walked out to ringside without his music playing. The fans popped for that. Sting beat up Allin and Christian with punches. Luchasaurus showed up at ringside, he punched Sting who no sold it and Wayne grabbed Sting’s leg. Luchasaurus, Christian & Wayne beat down Sting in the ring.

Christian brought two chairs into the ring and it looked like he was about to do the Conchairto, but then a video aired saying “Our Feature Presentation.”

A car was shown driving down a road and towards the building. The lights came back on.

The “Metalingus” song played as Adam Copeland (former Edge) made his AEW debut. He posed in the aisle while pyro went off just like when he was in WWE. The fans popped huge for him.

Adam walked down to the ring, he got into the ring with his best friend Christian, who was holding a chair and the fans chanted “holy shit” for this moment. I should point out that the announcers didn’t say his name or anything at this point. Adam took the chair from Christian, Nick put Sting’s head on the chair and then Adam looked over to his best friend Christian. Adam hit Wayne with the chair to the back. Adam threw the steel chair at Luchasaurus and hit a Spear on him. Adam hit a Spear on Wayne as well. Christian Cage left with the TNT Title without getting touched by his friend. The announcers called him “Adam Copeland” which is his real name and Taz also called him the “Rated R Superstar.”

Adam Copeland stood in the ring and shook hands with Allin. Adam also shook hands with Sting. Christian was posing in the aisle with the TNT Title while Adam was in the ring staring out towards him. They showed Adam walking around the ring a bit more and that was it. The show ended there.

Analysis: That was awesome. I don’t know how many times I’m going to accidentally write “Edge” when writing about Adam Copeland in AEW, but I’m sure it will happen a lot. I’ve been watching Adam wrestle since before his WWE debut in 1998 when he was wrestling in the indies here in Ontario and he’s a local guy to me just like Christian is. The fact that both of them are still wrestling at nearly 50 years old (Adam is 50 later this month, Christian is 50 next month) is amazing and I love that those two best friends get to continue to live out their childhood dream together. I’m not pro one company in wrestling or anti another company. I watch a lot and I support the talent, so trust me when I say the fan in me is excited to see Adam Copeland in AEW working with some fresh talent. There are also some familiar opponents to him as well, so that’s going to be fun to see those rekindled rivalries. Based on the reports going into this show, it seemed like people knew Adam was coming to AEW, but it was never blatantly spoiled so it was a bit of a surprise. I’m happy he’s there as long as he’s happy and he certainly looks happy, so that’s great to see.

Anyway, regarding this segment itself, I thought it was the right move to bring in Adam as a face that goes against Christian. The key thing is that he didn’t actually hit Christian, who bailed from the ring. I’m sure that at some point Adam and Christian will reunite as a team in AEW, but for now making them opponents at some point in the coming months is certainly fine with me. The fans loved it, they erupted in a loud ovation and it was a lot of fun to just watch it play out. I think Adam shaking hands with Sting & Darby Allin is a smart thing to do during his debut as well because it shows that he’s on the side of the babyfaces. I really like how this was done and it was exactly how I would have done it. I also loved that Adam got to use the “Metalingus” song too. Perfect.

I know that at the post show press conference they said Adam will talk on the October 4th Dynamite this Wednesday. They also said Adam will face Luchasaurus on the October 10th edition of Dynamite on a Tuesday, so that’s a great move by AEW too. I’m all for this.

AEW WrestleDream had a runtime of 3:58:56 on pay-per-view.


Five Stars of the Show

  1. Bryan Danielson
  2. FTR
  3. Zack Sabre Jr.
  4. Christian Cage/Darby Allin
  5. Adam Copeland


Final Thoughts

It gets a 9 out of 10 from me.

I thought it was an excellent show that is probably my favorite AEW PPV of the year. The first hour wasn’t that exciting, but the show got better as the night went on. There were five matches that went over 20 minutes and all of them were awesome. They were all different kinds of matches too, so it wasn’t as repetitive as some AEW PPV cards are. Yes, the six-man tag team match had too much chaos and people randomly going into the ring, so I liked the FTR-Aussie Open tag team match a bit more. Both were still great tag team matches. I was so happy for Swerve Strickland having a breakout match with Adam Page. That match was terrific.

The Bryan Danielson-Zack Sabre Jr. match was an awesome technical wrestling match as expected. It may not be the style of wrestling that every wrestling fan is going to love, but I enjoyed it immensely. Maybe a bit too slow at times. I still think it was one of Bryan’s best matches in AEW so far. I think Bryan’s best AEW match this year was with MJF.

What puts this show over the top and above the others is the debut of Adam Copeland (Edge) in AEW. That’s a big moment we’re going to remember. Some of these AEW PPV shows are just match after match, yet they are lacking great moments. WrestleDream had that special moment and the fans reacting to it the way they did made it feel special. I wrote a lot about Adam’s debut in the review, so to summarize it I’ll just say I’m happy for him and for AEW. I think he’s a great addition to the roster that makes everybody around him better. I look forward to the new matchups as well as the stories he can tell with fresh opponents whether it’s singles or when he reunites with Christian as a tag team. We know that’s coming, but there’s no rush for it. When you end a four-hour PPV like that, you are ending it on a high note. I thought it was booked really well.

My AEW PPV reviews for 2023:

WrestleDream (October 1) – 9

Revolution (March 5) – 8.25

All In London (August 27) – 8

AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door (June 25) – 8

All Out (September 3) – 8

Double or Nothing (May 29) – 7.5


Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below.


Twitter: @johnreport