wrestling / Columns

411’s AEW All In 2023 Preview

August 27, 2023 | Posted by Ryan Ciocco
AEW All In RWT Image Credit: AEW

Welcome everyone to the preview for the show that is going to put AEW in the spotlight around the world, as for the first time in the existence of the company, they will be presenting a show outside of the North American continent. But this isn’t just any old show, oh no, as Tony Khan and his company will presenting a Pay Per View event known as All-In for everyone who cannot be at the historic Wembley Stadium in London to witness the pageantry, the sights, and the sounds of the spectacle that we are bound to witness on Sunday. Aside from the usual dose of title defenses, we will have a coffin match, the return of Stadium Stampede, and a Zero Hour match where new best friends will team, only to square off with one another for All-In’s main event!

However, before I dig into the crux and the premise of this preview, a word if I may; this week has been pretty difficult for the entire fan base of professional wrestling. Not only did we lose the legend known as Terry Funk (or perhaps also known to some Attitude Era fans of the WWF, Chainsaw Charlie), but then on Thursday we lost Windham Rotunda, better known to fans as Bray Wyatt/The Fiend. I feel like we as fans of a sport where this is, unfortunately, common place, also have developed something of a hardened callus to these tragic events and wish only the best for the individual’s surviving family members and recall the fond times and moments these fine folks gave to us. To me, however, times like these bring the issue of mortality into vision; I cannot speak to the lengthy life and career that Mr. Funk had over the past five decades, but from a personal standpoint, Wyatt was only two years younger at his time of death than I am now. Sometimes, it makes you stop and think that, while the wrestlers in the ring give us their all night in and night out, there are unfortunate consequences that can come from this rigorous activity, and so we should always think about how we should never take life for granted and live every single day to the fullest extent that we possibly can.

Thank you for your time, and now, for the reason we all are here!

ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
Aussie Open vs. Adam Cole & MJF

Image Credit: AEW

One of the best things (if not the best) about AEW stories right now has been watching Adam Cole and AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman go from despising one another to becoming the best of friends (with no disrespect meant to Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) in a matter of months. That the two men “randomly” drew names in the Blind Eliminator Tag Tourney held back in June, one week after Cole and MJF wrestled to a time limit draw in a World Title Eliminator no less, seemed sketchy at best. However, the two guys have, at least in part acted, like they really do care about each other, and that will be tested in the main event of the show.

However, Cole was able to convince MJF to help him in his conquest to regain the Ring of Honor tag team titles, which are currently held by the collective known as Aussie Open in Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis. After having to vacate their IWGP Heavyweight tag titles due to Davis being injured, Aussie Open have struck back by claiming the ROH tag titles at Death Before Dishonor last month. And having been a part of Will Ospreay’s United Empire (more on him later), the men have the chemistry between the ropes to be more than just afterthoughts against MJF and Cole and their visions for double kangaroo kicks.

The big question here is, after having lost their AEW tag team title shot to FTR, can Maxwell and Adam right the ship and get back on the same page and bring their individual singles profiles to be the better of a legitimate tag team in Aussie Open? Well, given what we are going to see in the main event, I don’t feel like the fans will get the happy result that they want here, and the dissension between “best friends” bleeds into the show’s proper main event.

WINNER: Aussie Open (STILL ROH World Tag Team Champions)

The Golden Elite vs. Bullet Club Gold and Konosuke Takeshita

Image Credit: AEW

When you look at the first match up for preview here on the main card, the team layout opposing The Golden Elite may look a little bit weird. It’s at this point, however, that you realize than an age old adage will ring true when it’s said that, “The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”. And so the insertion of Takeshita alongside BC Gold makes a lot of sense given that both Takeshita (and, of course, Don Callis) have issues with The Elite, while there is going to be the Bullet Club over-arc between White, Robinson, Omega, and Page.

There is going to be fireworks in this match for sure, and it’s always great to see The Golden Lovers tag together (that Page also is on the team makes it even better). And I cannot lie, the idea of Takeshita with White and Robinson sounds like a fantastic team as well, perhaps even leading to a scenario where Takeshita is putting the “Guns Up” along side the group as a full on member? I suppose IF they are to win that concept would not be too far fetched, however, the onus is on them to gel as a trio whereas The Golden Elite does have prior experience together as a unit.

Let’s just hope that, for the sake of the match and even if it has devolved into a personal affair, there is no broken glass, Lego blocks, or bed of nails in this battle.

WINNER: The Golden Elite

Chris Jericho vs. Will Ospreay

Image Credit: AEW

One of the very few matches on this card that doesn’t have a stipulation involved or a title on the line, and yet it still maintains the luster and swagger of any other match that will be featured at All-In. I must first confess to, upon the announcement of this show having been made months ago, wanting to see “The Aerial Assassin” featured on it, since it is in his relative backyard, so to speak.

So, fast forward months ahead to this Sunday, and not only will Ospreay be featured on the card, but he’s facing a true veteran of the game in the Ocho, Chris Jericho. However, much like the Golden Elite and BC Gold/Takeshita match, this too also hovers around being the enemy of my enemy as well, since the true story here is Jericho refusing to join the Don Callis Family. That Will became available to attack Jericho (and work with Callis) hearkens back to June at Forbidden Door II, when Ospreay dethroned then-New Japan United States Champion Omega and helped Callis smite his “nephew”.

The build for this match has lacked a little bit, but I feel like, given the talent of both men involved in the match and in what should be an electric atmosphere for the British Lad Ospreay, this one should be relatively good. Oh, and Jericho will be playing his theme song to the ring along with his band Fozzy!

WINNER: Chris Jericho

Stadium Stampede
Eddie Kingston, Orange Cassidy, Best Friends & Penta El Zero Miedo
vs. Blackpool Combat Club, Santana & Ortiz

Image Credit: AEW

When we look at matches that have managed to stuff components, elements of stories between people, and surprise/interesting returns and alignments, this match definitely checks all of the boxes. That we’re having another go with the Stadium Stampede and an actual crowd is going to make this one even more interesting to see unfold (the original Stadium Stampede took place in the empty confines of the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium).

If I’m being honest, the premise of the match with, say, the first team is interesting enough, but then not only did the match get pared down from a 12-man match to a 10-man match (as it would be explained with the “injury” to Rey Fenix), but then the surprise return of Santana and Ortiz teaming up with the BCC adds another new level of suspense and intrigue to this fight. As an aside, it also allows for both Santana and Ortiz to be the only two wrestlers who will have competed in BOTH Stadium Stampede matches, but that is neither here or there.

The idea that you could believe the BCC and Santana and Ortiz could work together to eliminate common enemies seems plausible, but I am not entirely sure if you can trust Kingston with any of his teammates, even if he was very upset when the beat-down and “injury” of Fenix came to be. However, the entire premise of this show and in the capacity that we have, it feels like this should be a largely by the numbers good guys win and make the crowd happy match, and so for that reason I feel like Kingston is going to go rouge and try to somehow incapacitate either Wheeler or Claudio in order to win it for “his team”.

WINNER: Eddie Kingston, Orange Cassidy, Best Friends & Penta El Zero Miedo

Coffin Match
Darby Allin and Sting vs. Swerve Strickland and Christian Cage

Image Credit: AEW

You know, I could save people a LOT of time here and just tell you who SHOULD win this match, given that Darby wins Coffin Matches about as easily as he can use a skateboard. And originally, this match WAS supposed to feature AR Fox along with Strickland, but things changed, and now the match is a bit more interesting.

After Strickland and Prince Nana fired Fox from the Mogul Embassy this past Dynamite due to Fox losing to Nick Wayne in a tag team match, Nana and Strickland revealed that his replacement would be the “TNT Champion” Cage. Upon further consideration, the union of Strickland and Cage makes a lot of sense as not only does Strickland despise Allin, but Darby is also set for a TNT Title match at All Out the following Sunday against Luchasarus. And given the confines of this match, it would appear at least somewhat possible that Christian and/or Swerve could put Darby in a coffin before he ever gets that title shot.

But again, for the sake of repetition (it’s too late, I fear), Darby doesn’t love coffin matches and Sting doesn’t lose PERIOD. So the only question is, will both Christian AND Swerve end up in dual coffins?

WINNER: Darby Allin and Sting

“Real” World Championship Match
CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe

Image Credit: AEW

The history between Joe and Punk has not been kind to one “Pepsi Phil”, dating back to their original meetings in the first Ring of Honor. That was, until Punk knocked off Joe in the Owen Hart Tourney a couple of months back, but that obviously has not sat well with “The King of Television” Samoa Joe.

To be honest, you really did not have to sell anyone (or at least me) with a match between two long time rivals and veterans of the game on a show of this magnitude. But given the fact that Joe cost Punk a chance at the AEW Trios Titles (alongside FTR), and then Punk attacked Joe under the guise of the “Golden Vampire”, it has made short term sense and built it up relatively fast.

Again, though, Punk DOES need that signature and emphatic victory over Joe, as he did manage to luck out in there most recent encounter, and Joe had his number in the original trilogy of matches dating back to pre-2005 Ring of Honor. A decisive win here not only should give Punk closure in this chapter of the Joe-Punk rivalry, but should also shut Joe up for a minute or two perhaps.

WINNER: CM Punk (STILL “Real” World Champion)

AEW Trios Championship Match
House of Black vs. The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn

Image Credit: AEW

Let me completely and totally clear when I say that I for one second did not believe that Billy Gunn was in fact done with wrestling just yet. I will, however, admit that I believed the way his last appearance/title match loss ended that he would end up joining the House of Black, but this past week on Dynamite, “Daddy Ass” returned and made not only his allegiance with Max and Anthony clear, but also threatened to go back to his “Bad Ass” days once more.

In a way, this match serves as the proverbial “third time is the charm” outing, whereas Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews have already defeated the Acclaimed and Billy not once, but then again a second time in even more decisive fashion. In fact, it was after the second match where both Black and Matthews stopped to whisper in the ear of Gunn that convinced me that he was going to the dark side, but alas it never happened.

Long story short, if Caster, Bowens, and Gunn don’t win the titles THIS time, I feel like that time will never come. However, I feel like the House have had a decent enough run with the titles, and with not only the return of Gunn, but also his promise to return to his New Age Outlaws roots, it’s setting up for a title change to be had here.

WINNER: The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass (NEW AEW World Trios Champions)

AEW Women’s World Championship Match
Hikaru Shida vs. Toni Storm vs. Saraya vs. Britt Baker

Image Credit: AEW

Upon first glance, this match looks particularly interesting if only for the fact that half of the components in it are in the same Outcasts group that has made it their mission to embarrass and run down the “Originals” of AEW. Should the title eventually come down to them, would it be the “Best Woman wins” mentality, or could the thought of being the champion split Saraya and Storm, the latter of who will no doubt be looking for her third run with the title?

On the other side of the spectrum, we have a former champion in Baker and the current champion Shida, who have attempted to team together to try and neutralize the threat of the Outcasts. Admittedly, they haven’t done a bad job by and large, although their tag team effort on this past week’s Rampage ended in defeat at the hands of Saraya and Storm. And no doubt that, should the title come down to them two, there will be no ill will spared as Shida will do anything to retain her title with already diminished odds in a 4-way dance.

And then there is the elephant in the room (or rather in this case, giant football stadium), as this will be the homecoming for one Saraya. Could it be that, in front of her fellow country folk, that she adds the AEW Women’s Title to the accolades she has achieved in a past life? While the intrigue is there for such an event to happen, I feel like the safest route to take here may not be one that makes the home country fans happy, assuming Saraya doesn’t alienate them by denouncing her home field advantage.

WINNER: Dr. Britt Baker, D…M…D (NEW AEW Women’s World Champion)

AEW World Tag Team Championship Match
FTR vs. The Young Bucks

Image Credit: AEW

Wrestling purists might argue (or at the very least, openly scoff at) the fact that there is indeed a rivalry between the two teams who will be going to battle for the tag team titles. That it took this long to get to the “rubber match” may have seemed like the conclusion would be left hanging, however, not only have we reached that third match, but it also happens to be at the company’s biggest show to date.

Enough has been made about the unfortunate circumstances that one half of FTR in Cash Wheeler finds himself in, so I’ll save the nanny gossip for everyone else. In terms of this match, however, I expect nothing less than a very strong outing. They say that style clashes make for the best matches, and the previous meetings between these teams have proven that; the smash mouth style of Dax Harwood and Wheeler versus the flash and pomp style of Nick and Matt Jackson makes a great showing on seemingly every level.

However, while I did allude to the fact that I wouldn’t mention outside the ring activity in this preview, it does bring up a legitimate question; is the title reign of FTR in danger of ending on Sunday? Even before anything was reported involving Wheeler, I had it in my mind that the Jackson Brothers would go over in this match just based off of the reign that FTR have had, and how long it’s been since Nick and Matt held the titles. And now, I’m almost completely sure there will be a change, and I will be legit surprised if FTR do retain the belts.

WINNER: The Young Bucks (NEW AEW World Tag Team Champions)

AEW World Championship Match
MJF vs. Adam Cole

Image Credit: AEW

And so we’ve reached the end, the reason for why we are here, and the match that was among the very first ones to be announced by the company, however, it is the main event of the show and the biggest domino to fall in London on Sunday.

It’s nearly impossible to not like the story that has unfolded between Max and Adam; Cole, a guy who he himself has been an unsavory human being, has turned for the better, and has shown MJF that not only can he be a better person too, but has provided the champion with a true friend in the process. While I lamented the fact that the drawing of their names in the Blind Eliminator Tourney clearly was intentional, it was fun to watch them make it the whole way to the finals and defeat Sammy Guevara and Daniel Garcia. That they did not end up defeating FTR despite clear fan support for Cole and MJF is a severe slight of justice.

However, even before the AEW Tag Team Title match took place, MJF promised Cole not only a World Title match, but THE World Title match, more to the point, at All In in the main event in London. To say that MJF has been sincere in the past would be gross exaggeration, and we’ve seen him turn on a dime on other people, but could this be him turning over a new leaf?

We also cannot forget about the possibility that Roderick Strong plays a role in this somehow; the clearly frustrated true friend of Cole has tried to warn him against befriending MJF, and now Strong himself seems to be aligned with Matt Taven and Mike Bennett of The Kingdom. Is there a possible wrench to be thrown into the title match by the aforementioned Kingdom and Strong?

Finally, I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that a turn from someone is a strong possibility. And it may not even be MJF, it could be Cole, coming to the realization that Strong was right all along, and Cole, Strong, and the Kingdom are a new updated version of Undisputed Era and Cole sticks it to MJF instead.

So many ways this one can go, and I’m here for ALL of it!

WINNER: Adam Cole (NEW AEW World Champion)

article topics :

AEW All In, Ryan Ciocco