It seems that the era of AEW having just four PPVs per year is over. The first signs that might be happening reared their head when Forbidden Door was added to the calendar in 2022. Now higher-ups are keen to bump that number up further, possibly to having a PPV every month, and it looks like having All In and All Out a week apart will be an annual occurrence. A busier PPV schedule means new shows need to be created, and that begins with WrestleDream.
AEW’s first WrestleDream will be a tribute to NJPW legend, Antonio Inoki, taking place on October 1, 2023, the first anniversary of his death. The main card will begin at 8 pm EST with a Zero Hour show featuring a handful of matches starting an hour earlier. Fans in the US will be able to watch WrestleDream live through B/R Live, while fans elsewhere will be able to buy and watch the show live through Fite TV. All matches announced for WrestleDream so far can be found below.
Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Bryan Danielson and Zack Sabre Jr. were supposed to clash in a dream match at the first Forbidden Door. That match had to be changed due to a Danielson injury, but now The American Dragon is back, the match can go ahead and we can finally find out who the best wrestler in the world is.
Sometimes matches with this much hype attached can disappoint, but that doesn’t really tend to happen with Danielson. A prime candidate for match of the night that Danielson will win as he continues on his journey to winding down his career, wrestling every dream match he can find as he goes.
Chris Jericho and The Golden Lovers vs. The Don Callis Family
Six men in this match and an awful lot of bad blood. Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega both don’t like Will Ospreay, Omega also has an issue with Konosuke Takeshita, Sammy Guevara is now under Callis’s wing, and Kota Ibushi, well, Ibushi is Omega’s friend and loves to fight.
All of that means this match makes a lot of sense, and winners of previous matches involving stars from this six-man have me fairly convinced Team Jericho will win. Jericho will avenge the betrayal from Guevara and his All In loss to Ospreay, and Omega can finally get a win back from Takeshita.
Christian Cage vs. Darby Allin in a Two Out of Three Falls Match for the TNT Championship
Christian Cage is TNT Champion. No, he actually is now. Cage pinned Luchasaurus in a three-way match and is really champ now, not just carrying the title around and pretending to be. He’s not done with Darby Allin yet though and will defend his new title in a two out of three falls match this Sunday.
Luchasaurus naturally wasn’t very happy about how he lost the title. The cracks are starting to show, and while I can see Luchasarus aiding Cage win one of the three falls this weekend, I think AEW’s resident dinosaur will ultimately cost his master the match and the belt.
The Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Bros. vs. The Gunns vs. Orange Cassidy and Hook
AEW’s tag division runs incredibly deep. So deep that even though there will be two Tag Title matches at WrestleDream, there’s still room for four more teams to compete in what is guaranteed to be an absolutely chaotic match, a future title shot awaiting the winners.
Despite the tag team experience in this one, I fully expect the fledgling team to emerge victorious. Orange Cassidy and Hook are the tag team we didn’t know we wanted, and now they’re here, I see a Tag Title reign in their future.
Hangman Page vs. Swerve Strickland
Fed up of watching Hangman Page being handed endless opportunities, Swerve Strickland stepped up to the former AEW Champion, claiming he’d have been the company’s first black World Champion had he been given the same chances. The two wrestlers, and their respective factions, have been clashing ever since.
While Danielson and Sabre Jr. is an obvious match of the night candidate, this match is a little more understated but could potentially be just as good. Strickland to emerge victorious and get himself the push he believes he deserves.
FTR vs. Aussie Open for the AEW Tag Team Championships
FTR has been defending their Tag Titles against pretty much anyone as the duo continues to try and elevate the AEW tag division. Aussie Open has somehow missed out on all these title shots but will finally get their chance to dethrone the champs at WrestleDream.
Despite having opponents higher up the card for this match, I don’t think this is where FTR’s reign comes to an end. They’re doing a fantastic job of having great title matches with teams some fans haven’t even heard of, and I think there’s more of that to come.
Kris Statlander vs. Julia Hart for the TBS Championship
Not only is Kris Statlander TBS Champion, but the only former holder of that championship is now gone as Jade Cargill is WWE-bound. With Cargill gone, new challengers can now emerge, and Julia Hart is first up.
Hart may well be in with a shout for most improved wrestler of 2023. No, she doesn’t actually wrestle much, but her character work with The House of Black has been fantastic. She won’t beat Statlander at WrestleDream, but this will be another big stage on which Hart can show just how much she has improved.
Better Than You BayBay vs. The Righteous for the ROH Tag Team Championships
Adam Cole and MJF won tag team gold right before facing off for AEW’s richest prize at All In. That has given the pair quite the workload. No World Title match for Max at WrestleDream, but he and Cole will have to defend their Tag Titles against The Righteous on October 1.
The Righteous has certainly earned their shot here, beating The Hardys and winning a four-way tag match on the road to WrestleDream. I can even see them winning this match, giving Cole and MJF one less thing to worry about, but potentially driving a wedge between them in the process.
Eddie Kingston vs. Katsuyori Shibata for the ROH Championship and NJPW Strong Openweight Championship
Eddie Kingston is really living his best life right now. Holding both the NJPW Strong Openweight Title and the ROH Title at the same time, and beating his arch nemesis Claudio Castagnoli to make that happen. Not to mention competing in dream matches like this one while he defends those titles.
Kingston vs. Katsuyori Shibata should not be slept on, even though it’s almost a certainty Kingston wins. An outside contender for match of the night as you know both men will give it absolutely everything in this match.