wrestling / Columns

AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament Preview & Predictions

October 21, 2020 | Posted by Blake Lovell
AEW Tournament

AEW is set to begin its AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament on Wednesday’s edition of Dynamite. The question is, who will come out on top at Full Gear and go on to face the AEW World Champion – presumably either Jon Moxley or Eddie Kingston – for the belt?

Let’s preview the matches and make some predictions for the tournament.

Penta El Zero M vs. Rey Fenix – First Round

This is easily my most anticipated first round match, and that’s not a knock on the other six men in the tournament. It’s just that these two are so good at what they do. The Lucha Brothers have been one of the highlights of AEW since the company first launched simply because they bring such an action-packed style that makes any match they’re in worth watching.

Even in reviewing AEW Dark each week where their competition is typically no match for them, their offense and teamwork still make it entertaining. Of course, there will be no teamwork here as both get a chance to show off their stellar skills. I’m curious which first round match will main event, but for my money, it should be this one.

Choosing a winner here is tough since we know their likely second round opponent (we’ll get to him shortly) can have great matches with either of them, but I tend to think the story of Fenix winning would give AEW more storyline possibilities. The company has to be considering pushing Fenix as a future singles star, and him winning this match could lead to an interesting story arc. AEW has such a loaded tag team division, and as much as I enjoy watching Penta and Fenix do their thing as a unit, there have already been teases of dissension between them.

The younger brother getting the win against the big brother? That could be enough to push that a step further. That also puts Kingston in the unenvious position of trying to keep the two brothers on the same page moving forward.

No matter who wins, I just want AEW to turn these guys loose and let them do their thing.

Blake’s Prediction: Rey Fenix

Kenny Omega vs. Joey Janela – First Round

These two squared off a little over a year ago on AEW Dark, and man did they deliver quite a match. So, you figure they’ll try to do more of the same here as we begin the march towards Kenny Omega once again being a main event player as a singles competitor. Obviously, the result here isn’t really in question, unless AEW decides to go off the rails and have both Omega and Page lose their first round matches. Please don’t go King of the Ring 2000 on us, AEW!

But in all seriousness, this match is intriguing because it could almost serve as another bullet point in the journey of Omega’s character switch. We’ve seen hints of it recently, but I’d love to see him come out aggressive with the intent of destroying Janela.

While I don’t think this will be a squash, I would like to see it be a premier showcase for Omega rather than having Janela be even with him the entire match. Sorry, Joey.

Blake’s Prediction: Kenny Omega

Hangman Page vs. Colt Cabana – First Round

Talk about two guys who have gone in different directions with their characters. Cabana was just sort of on the roster without any real character arc before joining the Dark Order, but that move has reinvigorated him as an interesting figure in the group. Meanwhile, Page has become even more of a mess after his fallout with Omega, not knowing what to do or who to align himself with.

Maybe Cabana will try to lure Page to the Dark Order where he can find himself. If Cabana can’t get the job done, he should turn it over to the true recruiting specialists in John Silver and Alex Reynolds. Silver is FREAKIN’ JACKED, BABY! Of course, that’s not gonna be the plan in this one, as it should be all about Page finding a way to advance to push things one step closer to him having to square off with his former best bud.

There figure to be some Dark Order shenanigans involved, but Page moves on to the next round.

Blake’s Prediction: Hangman Page

Wardlow vs. Jungle Boy – First Round

Most are probably picking Wardlow to get the win, but I don’t know that it’s as straightforward as it seems. That could be overthinking it on my part, but a Page vs. Jungle Boy match would be a hell of a semifinal bout and maybe even one that would grab more attention.

The problem is, how do you beat Wardlow? MJF probably won’t be adding any shenanigans since he’s set for a steak dinner with Chris Jericho, and Luchasaurus interfering as the babyface wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. So, in a 1-on-1 setting with Wardlow vs. Jungle Boy, I have a hard time picking the latter.

I do expect it to tell the story of the undersized Jungle Boy giving everything he has to slay the giant (this is where AEW’s excellent commentary team comes into play), but Wardlow advancing offers the biggest threat to the dream final that everyone wants.

Blake’s Prediction: Wardlow

Rey Fenix vs. Kenny Omega – Semifinals

Again, it really doesn’t matter who advances in the Lucha Bros match. You’re getting an excellent match either way. This Fenix vs. Omega showdown would be an absolute classic, and if you need proof of them already doing that, just watch their match from a year ago at AAA Heroes Immortales XIII via the video below. It’s fantastic.

Of course, the issue with picking Fenix in this one would be preventing Omega from reaching the final. That’s probably not a good idea, but it’s a Kenny Omega match, so you know the opponent is going to look good even in a loss.

I’d love to see each match in this tournament evolve Omega’s character a little bit more, leading to a memorable showdown in the finals against his former partner. Did I just give away my pick for the next match? It seems that I did, but you already knew what direction this tournament was headed in.

Give Omega vs. Fenix a good half hour and watch the stars align.

Blake’s Prediction: Kenny Omega

Hangman Page vs. Wardlow – Semifinals

As mentioned, the best story you can tell in this scenario is one of Wardlow trying to prevent Page from reaching the final. You could technically do that with Jungle Boy, but the visual of having Wardlow standing in his path is probably the better way to go.

I’m intrigued by the possibility of having this match be the one that goes on second in the semifinals, as AEW could play up Page’s inner turmoil with having to face Omega if he wins. There’s a lot you could do there throughout the week leading up to the semifinal, whether that’s on BTE or simply with backstage promos on the show.

It’s also worth noting that Wardlow’s only AEW singles loss thus far was in the Cage Match against Cody, so you would expect AEW to really push that throughout this tournament. Page handing him his second loss would certainly be a feat you could play up for a while, which could allow you to go back to that match in the future.

I’m not exactly sure how Page wins this match, but the suspense of getting to Omega vs. Page and how Page chops down the giant is an easy sell to get the audience hooked on the story.

Blake’s Prediction: Hangman Page

Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page – AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament Final

I was thinking about the possible options outside of an Omega vs. Page final. Someone vs. Wardlow? Jon Moxley vs. Wardlow would be a fine match I’m sure, but I don’t think anyone believes Wardlow is winning the title just yet. Page vs. Fenix or Penta? Moxley has an ongoing beef with Eddie Kingston, and one of Kingston’s boys winning the tournament – Fenix, in this scenario – could continue that grouping for a while I suppose. Additionally, Moxley vs. Page for the title would open up another possibility. Omega vs. Jungle Boy? Even without a story, it would be a great match.

Something else I thought of was that Omega and Page don’t need to win the tournament to keep their spot as top players in AEW. But if someone like Fenix or Wardlow wins it? That vaults that person into the upper echelon immediately. For that reason, going that route would make sense if you wanted to elevate a new star.

They’re all interesting scenarios in their own right, and getting to those would certainly add another wrinkle to the Omega/Page story if one were to cost the other a match in this tournament.

However, AEW, for the most part, tends to give the people what they want. Except for maybe 16 matches on AEW Dark. I kid, I kid! With the finals of this tournament being at Full Gear, why wouldn’t you want an Omega vs. Page match on there to sell pay-per-view buys? There’s no other potential match that would come close to creating the buzz (drink) that this match would, and that’s a credit to Omega, Page, and AEW for building this into a story that people care about.

As for the match quality, we know it’ll be good. But let’s work through this in a long-term manner rather than a short-term manner. The way I look at it, AEW’s next big money match is Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega. From there, you have Omega win the title, leading to Omega vs. Page for the title after that. You can create a finish in this particular match that leads you back to Omega/Page again in the future, with Page having a justification for getting a shot at the title.

Another scenario, as mentioned above, is to have Page defeat Omega in the final, with Omega going back to The Cleaner after Page wins the title from Moxley. That also gets you to the Page vs. Omega title program. I don’t exactly know how it plays out, but that makes it all the more interesting and worth the $49.99 to buy Full Gear.

My only issue with picking this match as the final is that it may be too predictable. AEW is going into this knowing that everyone expects Omega vs. Page, so maybe they do in fact do the King of the Ring 2000 swerve where we get a different combination. But predictable isn’t always a bad thing in pro wrestling. If there’s a match people want to see, give it to them. I’d be more inclined to pick another finals matchup if the match were going to be on Dynamite. But again, you’re trying to sell pay-per-views, and this is the one that’ll allow you to do that.

Even if you do the match now, there are still so many elements you can add to the story of Omega and Page if one of them does eventually defeat Moxley for the title. For my money, going to Omega first and having Page eventually chase him for the title would be the most compelling storyline involving these two.

Blake’s Prediction: Kenny Omega

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Who are your picks for the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament? For more of my thoughts on pro wrestling, subscribe to the 411 On Wrestling podcast and follow me on Twitter @wrestleblake. Thanks for reading!