5 Bold Predictions For AEW In 2023

The year of 2022 was the year the world turned back to some form of normality following the pandemic. We should be thankful to every single performer in every company that risked their health, safety and time away from their families to still put on a show for us wrestling fans sitting at home. Seriously, wrestling in empty arenas couldn’t have been easy, especially when so much of actual wresting is reliant on feeling the crowd’s energy.

So sincerely from this wrestling fan I would like to thank every single wrestler that performed during the pandemic. THANK YOU!
With that said I think 2023 is going to be a very important year for AEW. This will be their 4th year in operation so the buzz of something “new” has definitely worn off and they run the risk of becoming “just another wrestling company.” It happened to TNA (now known as IMPACT,) and if we are being honest it happened to WCW before it was run into the ground and gobbled up be the WWE. That won’t happen to AEW, but it does run the risk of becoming a high profile “indie” company. I can already hear some of you now (you know who you are) “they are already a glorified indie company! They can’t draw ratings! They sign all the WWE off-casts!” BLAH BLAH BLAH. The fact is that since AEW have a big national television deal (unlike IMPACT or MLW) it makes them an easier target for hate as they dare to challenge the mighty WWE.

Will they become the market leader in wrestling? Probably not in the next 3-5 years, but they said that about WCW before Russo tried turning it into “A shoot bro.” The reason WCW overtook WWE was that they were doing something different that people were interested in seeing, AEW just have to make sure they stick to what’s working for them and be patient. I have said it many times, wrestling is always evolving. Now with that rather long tangent out of the way, here is my top 5 predictions on what will happen in AEW this year.

1: Surprise Debuts

Let’s start with a relatively easy one. AEW signs new wrestlers, like a lot! Some signings work and some get lost in the shuffle, its just how it is. Yes, Tony Kahn brough Ring of Honour so he will probably use that the way WWE uses NXT. As of this writing there are 2 BIG potential debuts about to happen, Mercedes Mone (FKA Sasha Banks) and Kota Ibushi. The one thing AEW is great at is dropping little easter eggs and hints about potential debuts without outwardly saying “hey! This person is going to show up.” They Did this with CM Punk Where Darby Allin used Punks catchphrase in a promo, and Kenny Omega wore different t-shirts to the ring with different mixes of characters starting with the letters C and M in them (Cookie Monster and C. Montgomery Burns from the Simpsons to name a few.) Kenny has since done this as he wrestled in a Kota Ibushi t-shirt and Britt Baker has called herself The Boss in an interview backstage. So, look for these two to debut very soon. But that’s easy, why don’t I throw another name into the mix, one that hasn’t been hinted at yet, just for fun. Current IMPACT Wrestling World Champion, Josh Alexander!

2: Rampage Moves To Two Hours

If we are being honest with ourselves, Rampage is, for a lack of a better word, skippable most of the time. Too many times the one hour run time is dedicated to quick squash matches to get a wrestler “over” and the main event is usually a feud between mid-carders or a top star wrestling an up and comer where the result is never in any doubt. Wrestling fans like unpredictability and advancements of storylines, you just can’t squeeze all that in in an hour of tv. In order for AEW to continue to grow, they need to be able to get an extra hour for Rampage. That way they can blend it with up and comers, mid card guys and main eventers, all while creating and advancing storylines. They also need to stop pre taping most of their Rampage shows to prevent spoilers. Yes I know it saves them money in recording Rampage the same night as Dynamite but as a wise Peter Griffin from Family Guy once said, “sometimes you gotta spend money to make money Champ, movin’ on.”

3: Forbidden Door 2 Happens

The very first Forbidden Door PPV while a really good show was snake bit from the beginning. Injuries to major stars and a lack of involvement from some of New Japan’s biggest players really hurt this show. CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Tomohiro Ishii all pulled out of big matches with injuries, Kenny Omega was still on the sidelines recovering from multiple surgeries, and the show was without big names from NJPW like Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Tama Tonga and KENTA, not to mention the guys from their Junior heavyweight division. This year hopefully will be different. While it is great that these promotions can have a working relationship, you can’t really do a “Supershow” without all the Superstars from each promotion. It is great that they are giving younger guys a bigger platform to perform on, but when you think of New Japan wrestlers the first names that spring to mind aren’t Clark Connors, Yoshinobu Kanemaru or anyone from the NJPW LA Dojo. This year they have a chance to right the wrong of the 2022 event and truly bring us a co promoted Supershow that could have potential to be the best PPV of the year.

4: MJF Loses The World Title But Regains It Before 2023 Ends

Hear me out on this one. There is no way MJF should be beating Bryan Danielson in a 60-minute iron man match after Danielson has stated that since Max doesn’t wrestle that often he won’t have the endurance to keep up with him. He has a point. Danielson is arguably the best technical wrestler on the planet and the fact that MJF is having him jump through hopes every week just to face him means he will have more match time than Young Maxwell. Yes, MJF can stack the deck and yes, he can even have someone injure Danielson leading up to the match at Revolution to give him an advantage. But Bryan needs to win this match convincingly in order to set MJF up for the chase. Max’s whole character is doing the least amount of work possible and cheating whenever the opportunity arises to take the easy victory every time. Let him have his temper tantrum after losing the title and become more unhinge in his pursuit of the gold again, desperate to raise his stock in time for the end of his contract and the “bidding war of 24.” MJF has been champ for a bit over a month now and he already feels stale, we don’t need a reign of terror much like HHH in 2003-2004. That would be enough for any die hard to go reaching for the remote. He can beat Danielson down the road cheaply and then continue his feud with CM Punk. Speaking of which.

5: CM Punk Returns

Come on! You knew this had to be the last one, right? So much has been said about the “Brawl out, from the Fall out of All out” that it got the entire wrestling world wondering if things were a “work” or not. I am not going into all that again, if you want to know my thoughts on the matter you can follow me on twitter and check out my other articles that are on there in regard to it all. What I am predicting is that Punk will be back! There is way too much money left on the table for him not to be back. Punk is smart and he has stated that he wants to come back and do business, but Punk knows that his body is breaking down and he doesn’t have long left in the ring. But he is a genius when it comes to storytelling and knows there is a lot of money to be made. On the flip side of things, you have The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, the current EVPs of the Tony Kahn owned company. If you have read the Bucks book you would know that the trio got to where they are in the business by doing things their own way. The “more conventional” way didn’t work for them, so it’s safe to say that they have a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. The trouble is things ARE broke, very broke. It is a clash of egos from the old school and new school of pro wrestling but there is room for both philosophies. The ego’s need to be checked at the door, Punk needs to apologise for the media scrum hoopla and everyone needs to get on with their jobs. If they can do that in 2023 then there is no telling what 2024 could bring for the company.

Author : Ric Othen

Photo Credit: AEW

Published by One Stop Wrestling

Wrestling fan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: