wrestling / Columns

411’s AEW Worlds End 2023 Preview

December 30, 2023 | Posted by Ryan Ciocco
AEW Worlds End CC Image Credit: AEW

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the newest installment in my preview series for the next AEW PPV! I am Ryan back here with the newest take and my two cents worth of opinions on the upcoming show entitled “World’s End”, emanating from Long Island on Saturday, and as the name may play an understated role to, this is the end of the PPV schedule for the year 2023 for All Elite Wrestling.

Going into this event, we will have many interesting matches to look forward to, starting off with the culmination of the Continental Classic Round Robin Tournament, as respective Gold and Blue League winners Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston will rekindle their love/hate relationship to crown the modern day, US based version of a Triple Crown Champion. Speaking of putting feuds back on the fast track, Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee are set to settle some unfinished business from a little over a year ago, and the former best friends will look to bash it up, as Adam Copeland will challenge Christian Cage for the TNT Title once again, this time in a no disqualification match. But above all that, the richest prize in the company is on the line as Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman defends against the killer known as the Samoan Submission machine, Samoa Joe.

All this, and so much more will fill out the World’s End card, so join me as I look through all the matches more comprehensively, won’t you?

Zero Hour Battle Royale For Future TNT Championship Shot
Competitors TBA

Image Credit: AEW

Without really knowing who is in this match to begin with (as no one was announced as of this week’s edition of Dynamite), you could make a case for a lot of different wrestlers to win this one. And I know that a lot of fans groan when it comes to Battle Royales and Ladder Matches within the company, but in this instance, I’m not very upset about it, as it is the final big show of the year for the company, and so the more PPV paychecks, the merrier!

So, who should win this match and earn that TNT title shot? If it wasn’t for the heel versus heel dynamic that would be breached, I would say I’d like to see Konosuke Takeshita win this match and get the shot, and perhaps win, since he could use a major singles title run. I’d also make an argument for someone like Ethan Page, who not only had a great match with Kenny Omega recently on Collision, but he also has been doing some really good work in Ring of Honor. And then there is someone like Roderick Strong, and what a statement it would be for #NECKSTRONG if he were to win and go on to take the TNT Title? In the end, this match is completely open ended, so going with my gut with this one.

WINNER: “All Ego” Ethan Page

Zero Hour FTW Championship Match
Hook vs. Wheeler Yuta

Image Credit: AEW

Before I talk about the match itself, it should be noted that this match is only for HOOK’s FTW title belt in FTW Rules match, and Wheeler’s ROH Pure Title is not on the line, because if you think about it, the rules that govern both titles being implemented at the same time would be the same as mixing oil and water.

Be that as it may, they have been teasing this confrontation for some time now, seeing as to how HOOK is a friend to Orange Cassidy and Trent Baretta, who helped to initially train Yuta in wrestling (alongside Chuck Taylor, but he’s currently out due to injury). The match not only makes for a fun clash between two young, talented wrestlers, but two guys who work a very similar grappling and throw based formula, although Yuta has been known to fly around a little bit. It would be belligerent of to mention the fact that, because HOOK is the only one with a title on that the line, that the result seems to be telegraphed, but I feel like Yuta will give the young prodigy a run for this money, even though he will inevitably come up short in defeat.


Brodie King, Jay Lethal, Jay White & RUSH vs.
Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, Daniel Garcia & Mark Briscoe

Image Credit: AEW

You know, I understand the point behind this match, but there are some weird looking teams that we have in place. If anything, though, as I mentioned regarding the 20-man Battle Royale for the future TNT title shot, it gets some people on the show and a PPV check. Although, if I’m being completely honest, something as chaotic as this match would have worked much better if it was an elimination match and not just a one fall to a finish.

While the teams are fairly divided as neutral/face and neutral/heel teams, there aren’t many, if any, threads to link the King, Lethal, White, and RUSH team. The same can’t be said for the team of Garcia, Briscoe, Danielson, and Castagnoli, since it wasn’t that long ago that Danielson tried to recruit Garcia to the BCC, with Danny instead opting to “sports entertain” us in the Jericho Appreciation Society. Also, Danielson and Castagnoli have original ROH history with Briscoe and, of course, his late brother Jay. So, if there is a winner to be found here, I’ll go with the team who has some history between them, even if most of it is chemical.

WINNER: The BCC, Daniel Garcia, and Mark Briscoe

Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Sting & Darby Allin vs.
Ricky Starks and Big Bill, Konosuke Takeshita & Powerhouse Hobbs

Image Credit: AEW

I think the expression, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” works well in this match, except on a vastly plural platform. That is to say, the two tandems who comprise each side probably wouldn’t hang out with each other much except for this match, but the dynamic of the interwoven stories between each side will make this more interesting, and another one that seems to have been pulled back into the fold as well.

It’s no secret that Jericho and Omega (AKA the Golden Jets) secured a future AEW Tag Team Title match when they defeated Nick and Matt Jackson, however, due to Omega being sidelined indefinitely with diverticulitis, Jericho will need to find someone else to help aid him in that conquest. That it happened to be the return of Guevara originally interrupting a gift giving session with Don Callis and his Family only heightened the drama when the Family attacked Sammy, and Jericho made the save for him. Things spiraled out of control after that when the AEW Tag Champs attacked Chris and Sammy, and finally, Darby and Sting came to their aid. So, that’s how we got here, but the question is, which quartet will be able to coexist long enough to win the match? When you consider the history between Jericho and Sting, and the “Pillars” history between Guevara and Allin, that may just end up being the better bet than two vastly different and egotistical heel teams.

WINNER: Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Sting, and Darby Allin

Swerve Strickland vs. Keith Lee

Image Credit: AEW

From a strong run to the semi-finals in the Gold League of the Continental Classic and straight back into the feud he thought was over with Keith Lee, Swerve Strickland has been a busy man. So too, but to a lesser degree, has been Lee, in the pursuit of his former tag team partner and champion who turned on him over a year ago when he crushed a cinder block on his chest. Lee earned the right to face Strickland when he defeated Embassy heavy Brian Cage, and so we’ll see if Lee can extract his final revenge on Strickland.

Obviously, as AEW Tag Team Champions when they were allies, Strickland and Lee formed a fun “Thunder and Lightning” duo and within that they knew each other quite well. As time went on after they dropped the belts to The Acclaimed, Strickland felt Lee was underneath him, hence his alignment with The Embassy and the attack on Lee. Undeterred, Lee bid his time after recovering from the attack and general inactivity to force his way back into Swerve’s business. And to me, the choice of winner in this match is going to be extremely interesting, as you can make an argument for Lee getting the ultimate revenge that he has been seeking for a long time. However, how can you have Strickland eat this loss after the run he had in the Continental Classic, as it would seem the best way to keep his upward trajectory is to have a game plan to fight back the challenge of Lee. If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t throw away too much unwise to the fact that Strickland would be two steps ahead of the big man.

WINNER: Swerve Strickland

Andrade El Idolo vs. Miro

Image Credit: AEW

Obviously, we all know how we got to this point in time and how this match came together, but can we take a minute to just appreciate the scientific beauty of the components of this match? The clash in styles between the brutal, ground-based attack of Miro and the Lucha Libre influenced styles of Andrade will make for a real fun mashup in this one, if Miro doesn’t have narrow-minded rage in store for Andrade.

Why is that you ask? Well, if you recall, when Miro’s real life wife CJ Perry debuted at All Out back in September, Miro wanted nothing to do with her. Undeterred, Perry made it clear she wanted to start her own clientele group. Unfortunately for young Action Andretti, he put himself out there for her services, and the jealous and angry Miro crushed him as a result. However, Andrade has become a full-fledged member of the Perry Group, and Miro was forced to bide his time and cut promos while Andrade made a respectable, third place run in the Blue League of the Continental Classic. Now that the tourney is over, Miro is free to go after Andrade for aligning himself with his wife, but can Andrade use the blind rage of Miro against him? And will we see the return of Perry, who has been documented suffering an infection in her arm, and who knows if she will be there for her client. Even if she doesn’t appear, I feel like Andrade will do just enough to recapture the momentum he had in the Blue League run against a largely idle Miro, and his anger will be his downfall.

WINNER: Andrade El Idolo

AEW TBS Championship Match
Julia Hart vs. Abadon

Image Credit: AEW

After months and years of appearing as a happy-go-lucky cheerleader for the Varsity Blondes tag team, Hart has finally found her niche and has excelled as the Stevie Nicks of the House of Black, so much so that she was the one to end Kris Statlander’s TBS title reign (even if Kris wasn’t pinned to lose the title). On the other side of the ring, Abadon has returned after a lengthy absence from the ring, and they have been putting together a nice winning streak, so something will give in this match.

One thing that I have noticed since Abadon returned is the ability to sell; you will recall before they took a long absence from AEW, that Abadon didn’t exactly sell very well and as such they were often wrestling on Elevation and Dark, squashing enhancement ladies. That, fortunately, has changed a good bit, and so has the ability of Hart in the ring and in terms of her psychology within match structure. There’s a long way to go with Hart as the TBS Champion, so it makes no sense for her to drop the title right now, especially with the developments of one Thunder Rosa returning to the ring after her own long absence from it.

WINNER: Julia Hart (STILL AEW TBS Champion)

AEW Women’s World Championship Match
Toni Storm vs. Riho

Image Credit: AEW

While I for one am happy for the return of Riho, the original AEW Women’s Champion will have to come to the realization that this is a different time and period, one of which everyone is living in the day and age of the TIMLESS one, Toni Storm! That Storm could stand to gain a lot of momentum from beating her is obvious, and this feud is clearly a stopgap one until another lady steps up to face Ms. Storm.

However, that doesn’t mean that this match cannot be good, considering how talented Riho is and her never say die spirit going up against the psychologically intimidating and sneaky strong Storm. All that to say, however, is that Riho doesn’t have her own Deathmatch legend turned butler in Luther, nor does Riho have her own biggest fan in the world club leader in Mariah May to help her out in this match. These factors, albeit one or the other if not both, will play a large role in helping the TIMELESS one fends off the very feisty Riho and continue her reign as the greatest Women’s Champion in AEW history, DARLINGS!

WINNER: TIMELESS Toni Storm (STILL AEW Women’s World Champion)

AEW TNT Championship No Disqualification Match
Christian Cage vs. Adam Copeland

Image Credit: AEW

For years, we wondered if both Copeland and Cage would ever wrestle again, having to fend off career ending injuries for most mortal men to return to the sport that they love so much and hold so dear. Then, it became a matter of seeing them both in the same ring one more time, and once we got that on a seemingly throw away edition of Dynamite (one where a lot of people, me included, wondered why this wasn’t a marquee PPV match), we have now landed at what should be the proper blow-off match for these long-time best friends turned bitter rivals.

The parameters for this match have been set, and the no disqualification stipulation for the match means that Copeland, who was snubbed of an “E&C” reunion with Cage upon his return, can let loose on his former tag team partner and best friend. But, given the Patriarch that Cage has built for himself including both Nick Wayne and his mom Shayna, is that really the match Copeland wants? One also must account for the absence of Killswitch within this family; while Cage has been flaunting two generations of the Wayne Family, it’s been the former Luchasaurus who has been conspicuous by his absence, and before he was taken out by Copeland, he had shown some reluctance to help Cage out. Will he make his return to the Patriarchy, or will he instead return to help Copeland and stop taking the verbal abuse of Cage? I’m guessing nothing changes on any front, but I am open to being surprised by it.

WINNER: Christian Cage (STILL AEW TNT Champion)

AEW Continental Classic Finals
Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston

Image Credit: AEW

I don’t know about anyone else who reads this preview, but I got a lot of enjoyment out of the Continental Classic. It had a little bit of everything, from a singles breakout performance for Brodie King, to nearly unbeatable runs by Jon Moxley, Swerve Strickland, and Jay White, to the feel-good story of Mark Briscoe and Danny Garcia not being shut out from winning a match in their final matches in their respective Leagues. Perhaps lost within these stories was the frantic run that Eddie Kingston went on; after starting off 0-2 in the Blue League, Eddie would go on to win his final three matches to finish with nine points, and then knock off Bryan Danielson, he who edged out Kingston 10-9 in round robin points, to win the Blue League.

So, who does he end up facing for the Finals of the Continental Classic? Why, it’s none other than his sometimes best-friend, sometimes rival, and sometimes enemy Jon Moxley, who had to win a 3-way match between himself, Strickland, and White, who all tied atop the Gold League with 12 points apiece, to advance to the Finals to face-off with Kingston. That Kingston got to the finals is not a coincidence, since he was the one who put up both the New Japan Strong Openweight title and the Ring of Honor World Championship that he had to unify that with a yet revealed third belt to make the Triple Crown happen. And I don’t know about you, but if that isn’t motivation enough for Kingston to finish the job and take home the Triple Crown, then I don’t know what will be. I expect this one to be violent, bloody, and brutal, but in the end, Kingston will emerge victorious with all three belts.

WINNER: Eddie Kingston (FIRST-EVER Triple Crown Champion)

AEW World Championship Match
MJF vs. Samoa Joe

Image Credit: AEW

When this match was made official for World’s End, I was a little conflicted over it to be honest; not only had MJF “defeated” Joe once already at Grand Slam back in September, but there was a little bit of worry that perhaps the angle with the Devil and his nameless masked men might overshadow another encounter between them. Instead, what we have gotten was a nice tuck and build, a bait-and-switch here and there, but mostly some compelling story telling between MJF and Joe, the latter of whom swore to protect MJF until he got his world title rematch on Long Island.

Well, that all changed on the go-home episode of Dynamite, where MJF, after choosing to foolishly go it alone in a handicap match against the Devil’s Masked men to defend the ROH tag team titles, not only lost the match, but then had Joe hit him from behind with a chair before getting the muscle buster. So now the stage is set for the AEW World Title match between MJF and Joe, but the cloud known as the Devil continues to hang over this match; who is the Devil, who are his masked men who now are the Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions, and will we get the answer to all these questions at World’s End? Given that Joe had a business dealing with The Devil, it’s clear that Joe knows who the man is, but can MJF continue to defy the odds and retain his precious Triple B in his hometown, the most magical place in the world, Long Island, or will the numbers game (combined with his bad shoulder) finally commiserate to sink MJF? Call me crazy, but I feel like we get a title change in hostile territory, and a culmination of this Devil angle and a reveal of who these folks are.

WINNER: Samoa Joe (NEW AEW World Champion)

AEW World’s End will take place this Saturday, starting with Zero Hour at 7PM, and the main show starting at 8PM, available on PPV, Bleacher Report, and select movie theaters in the US. Outside of the US, you can catch it on DaZn and Youtube.

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AEW Worlds End, Ryan Ciocco