AEW WrestleDream 2023 Meltzer’s Star Ratings Revealed (Winners & Losers)

Hamish Woodward

Updated on:

AEW WrestleDream 2023 was broadcast on October 1st, 2023 from the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington. It was the first ever “WrestleDream” show AEW ever produced, and fans were quick to understand the reason behind the event.

The show was revealed by Tony Khan on the AEW All In post-show press conference, revealing it was to pay tribute to the death of legendary Japanese promoter Antonio Inoki. The NJPW founder died on October 1st 2022, and WrestleDream was held on the one-year anniversary of his death.

It will be the seventh pay per view added to the calendar for AEW this year, making 2023 the company’s biggest year yet. The Pay Per View buy rate for the show and other details can be found here.

This page will detail Dave Meltzer’s Star Ratings for AEW WrestleDream 2023, looking at every match on the card. We will also detail the Cagematch rating for the event.

Cagematch is a website which aggregates fans opinions on wrestling match. Fans can log on and rank the matches on a scale of zero to ten, which then calculates an average score for the matches.

Great matches can expect a 9+ rating while the worst matches may not even be worth giving a rating to at all.

Only matches over 5 minutes may be rated on the website. This means fantastic, yet shorter matches like KENTA vs Ricky Marvin will not be given a rating but that does not mean they are bad bouts.

The highest rated match on the site is the Kazuchika Okada vs Kitsuyori Shibata match was NJPW Sakura Genesis 2017.

AEW WrestleDream 2023 Match Card

  • ZERO HOUR: The Acclaimed vs TMDK (AEW World Trios Championship)
  • ZERO HOUR: Luchasaurus vs Nick Wayne
  • ZERO HOUR: Josh Barnett vs Cladio Castagnoli
  • ZERO HOUR: Shane Taylor, Lee Moriaty, Diamante & Mercedes Martinez vs Satoshi Kojima, Keith Lee, Athena and Billie Starkz
  • Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr
  • Adam Page vs Swerve Strickland
  • FTR vs Aussie Open (AEW Tag Team Championships)
  • MJF vs The Righteous (ROH Tag Team Championships)
  • Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi vs Konosuke Takeshita, Sammy Guevara & Will Ospreay
  • Eddie Kingston vs Katsuyori Shibata (ROH Championship & NJPW Strong Openweight Championship)
  • Kris Statlander vs Julie Hart (TBS Championship)
  • Young Bucks vs The Gunns vs Lucha Bros vs Hook & Orange Cassidy
  • Ricky Starks vs Wheeler Yuta
  • Christian Cage vs Darby Allin (TNT Championship)

AEW WrestleDream 2023 Star Ratings

Here are the star ratings for every match at AEW WrestleDream 2023. These will be taken from Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer, the users at Cagematch.net and our own rating at Atletifo.

If you disagree with any of the star ratings on this page, let us know in the comments what match rating you would give to the matches.

ZERO HOUR: Shane Taylor, Lee Moriaty, Diamante & Mercedes Martinez vs Satoshi Kojima, Keith Lee, Athena and Billie Starkz

The opening match from the first ever WrestleDream show came on the “Zero Hour” pre show, in a huge eight-person mixed tag team match. It saw the mix-and-max teams of Shane Taylor, Lee Moriarty, Mercedes Martinez and Diamante taking on the legendary Satoshi Kojimi, and his teammates Ketih Lee, Athena and Billie Starkz.

The match started with the two heel women teaming up on Billie Starkz, but it soon turned into a free-for-all between the four women. Athena impressed (as she always does), with fan calls for the ROH Women’s Champion to be featured more on AEW Dynamite seem to get louder and louder with each passing week.

As the women and men were not allowed to wrestle each other, Athena was forced to tag in Keith Lee to take on Shane Taylor. Despite his recent issues with illness, the giant Keith Lee managed to hit both a Gorilla Press and a Hurricanrana, showing the Keith Lee that took fans breathe away in PWG and NXT. Despite this, it was Satoshi Koijima who got the biggest pops of the match, for his “Machine Gun Chops” in the corner celebrated with a chorus of “Bread!” by the crowd.

The bout soon devolved into a scrappy affair that saw all the wrestlers running into the ring at the same time. After Athena hit her “O-Face” on Lee Moriarty, he took a huge spinebuster from Keith Lee, before Kojima hit him with his famous Lariat and pinned him for the victory. The Japanese legend honoring the great Antonio Inoki in victory.

The match was quite short, but it was a fun opener that got the crowd going, and gave the faces the chance to hit all their signature moves.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • Fans chanting “Bread!” for Kojima as soon as the match started.
  • Keith Lee hit a running head scissors on Shane Taylor, despite being the biggest man in AEW.
  • Athena nailed Lee Moriarty with her finishing move, despite it being against the rules of the match.

Shane Taylor, Lee Moriaty, Diamante & Mercedes Martinez vs Satoshi Kojima, Keith Lee, Athena and Billie Starkz star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 3 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 5.35
  • Atletifo Rating – 2 Stars

ZERO HOUR: Josh Barnett vs Claudio Castagnoli

Once handpicked by Antonio Inoki to be the face of the ill-fated Inoki Genome Federation, Josh Barnett took on Claudio Castagnoli in a huge match-up on the pre-show.

Jon Moxley joined Claudio at the commentary desk, making his first appearance since suffering from a concussion against Rey Fenix at AEW Grand Slam 2023. His appearance was a huge surprise to the crowd, who gave Moxley one of the biggest pops of the night when the first few notes of “Wild Thing” rang out through the arena.

As expected, Josh Barnett and Claudio Castagnoli started off with some classic European wrestling. They grappled in the technical style of wrestling, beloved by Nigel McGuinness at ringside. Barnett quickly targeted the leg of Castagnoli, locking in a leg bar before nailing his Swiss opponent with a Spine Buster.

After being bested on the mat, the Blackpool Comabt Club member resorted to elbow his opponent repeatedly (at the behest of the yelling Moxley at ringside). Barnett continued to lock in knee bars onto Castagnoli, bringing a style of wrestling not often seen in the US. Excalibur noted that he would be “at home in the Wigan Snake Pit”, the legendary training facility that stars like Dynamite Kid graduated from.

Castagnoli resorted to uppercuts to try and get the upper-hand on Josh Barnett, but the American continued to lock him in a series of intricate submission holds. The match was a clear representative of the philosophy of “Inokism“, and definitely showed the fans what the late-promoter believed to be the future of pro-wrestling.

Josh Barnett lost the match when he was forced to go blow-for-blow with Castagnoli. Despite resisting The Neautralizer, he was locked into Inoki’s Octopus Stretch before being rolled up for a pin fall.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • Castagnoli hit the giant swing, in a way that made sense within this “shoot-style” match.
  • Jon Moxley made a shock appearance on commentary, for the first time since his injury.
  • After the match, Josh Barnett grabbed the microphone and paid respect to Castagnoli, claiming Inoki would be a fan of him.

Josh Barnett vs Claudio Castagnoli star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.17
  • Atletifo Rating – 3 Stars

Luchasaurus vs Nick Wayne

After losing the TNT Championship to Christian Cage just two weeks ago, Luchasaurus looked to get back to winning ways in his match against Nick Wayne at WrestleDream 2023. Wayne was wrestling out of his hometown of Seattle, Washington, and he received a huge pop from the crowd, while his mother beamed at ringside.

Luchasaurus continued to find his groove, after his fantastic match with Darby Allin at All Out 2023. It was a classic high-flyer vs giant match, with Luchasaurus swatting away Nick Wayne’s kicks before launching him into the air with a devastating German Suplex. The Dinosaur continued to dominate the 18-year-old wrestler, with some terrifying chops and a big British Bulldog-style Powerslam.

Nick Wayne tried his best, and managed to use his speed and agility to avoid some big hits from Luchasaurus. He hit some big kicks, but the power of the dinosaur proved too much for the youngster time and time again. The biggest hit from the match was when Luchasaurus nailed him with a chokeslam, over the top rope and sending Wayne right onto the edge of the ring (the hardest part of the ring), before beating him up right in front of his mother.

It took a quick dodge and a moonsault (that nearly missed) to get Nick Wayne his first near-fall, and continued with a flurry of kicks. He went for his top-rope cutter, but Luchasaurus sent him packing with a big clothesline to the back of the head, giving Luchasaurus another impressive win.

Notable Moments from the Match:

  • Luchasaurus hit a chokeslam onto the outside of the ring, throwing Wayne over the top rope.
  • Nigel McGuinness claimed Nick Wayne’s mother was only there because she wanted to sleep with Christian Cage.
  • Luchasaurus is quickly and quietly becoming the best big-man in wrestling.

Luchasaurus vs Nick Wayne Star Ratings:

  • Dave Metlzer’s Star Ratings – 2 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – N/A (Under Five Minutes)
  • Ateltifo Rating – 2.5 Stars

ZERO HOUR: The Acclaimed vs TMDK (AEW World Trios Championship)

The last match on the Zero Hour pre-show saw The Acclaimed put their AEW Trios Championships on the line against Mikey Nicholas, Shane Thorne and Bad Dude Tito – also known as TMDK. They are all part of the TMDK group, which is led by British star Zack Sabre Jr.

Max Caster’s rap was not his best before the match. He claimed the group watched tentacle porn, and he saw them kneeling before a “glory hole”. There’s only one reason he would be at that glory hole, so I’m not sure what he was insulting them about. No matter, onto the match.

If you’ve seen any Acclaimed match in their recent run, then you’ve seen this match. Lots of “ass-shaking” by Billy Gunn, as other wrestlers ran around him and bumped off the 58-year-old champion (the oldest champion in AEW history).

The Acclaimed hit all their signature moves, much to the delight of the crowd. They hit the “Scissor Me Timbers”, before doing the three-way scissor in the ring. This gave the heels the chance to get back on top, beating down Anthony Bowens while referee Aubrey Edwards was distracted by The Acclaimed.

Bowens was beaten down for a while by the three TMDK members, as the fans clapped along and willed him to tag in one of his teammates. He eventually made the tag to Billy Gunn, and the WWE Hall of Famer cleared out the ring being hit by a big Spinebuster. The ring then filled with both teams, who hit all their signature moves on one another (with some impressive tag team moves by TMDK).

Billy Gunn hit Tito with the Famasser, before Bowens and Caster hit the Arrival and Mic Drop combo to retain the AEW Trios Championships.

Notable Moments from the Match:

  • Bad Dude Tito looked like a big star in the match, going toe-to-toe with Billy Gunn
  • TMDK had some fun tag team moves at the end of the match.
  • Nothing from The Acclaimed’s end – their matches are starting to get stale.

The Acclaimed vs TMDK Star Ratings:

  • Dave Metlzer’s Star Ratings – 3 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 5.25
  • Atletifo Match Rating – 1 Star

MJF vs The Righteous

For the first time in AEW history, a tag team championship was put on the line in a handicap match. MJF once again opened the show, following his tag team victory over The Dark Order at AEW All Out 2023. Due to Adam Cole breaking his ankle at AEW Grand Slam 2023, he was forced to go it alone against The Righteous in the first match at WrestleDream 2023.

MJF came out to a huge pop, carrying all three belts (both tag team titles and the AEW Championship), with a mic in hand ready to cut a promo for the live crowd. He immediately addressed the rumors that he attacked Jay White on AEW Dynamite, denying he had anything to do with it – even claiming somebody stole his mask to put on the attack.

MJF then claimed he was going to bodyslam the larger of the two wrestlers (Dutch) up against him. He then threatened to grab the other’s (Vincent) dreadlocks and shove them up his rear end. With the preamble out of the way, MJF made his way to the ring for this two-on-match for the ROH Tag Team Championships.

Much like the other tag team title defenses, MJF played more to the character aspects of his newfound face wrestling. He played up to the crowd, encouraging the fans to cheer and posturing as he beat up Tne Righteous. However, it soon came back to bite him, as they ganged up on the AEW Champion and went to work in wearing him down.

MJF continued to do his best impression of Hulk Hogan, shaking wildly as he tried to escape from submission moves. He even tried to tag in Adam Cole after escaping, looking sad as he remembered his partner was gone. He tried multiple times to bodyslam Dutch, failing in various different ways.

The Righteous hit a number of big moves, including Powerbombs, Boss Man Slam’s and even attempted chair shots, but MJF fought back. He squeezed the testicles of Vincent to stop him nailing MJF in the face with the chair, as Bruce Remsburg caught Vincent red-handed with the chair.

MJF barely avoided catastrophe, sitting up to avoid a Swanton Bomb at the last minute. He crawled over to the corner, looking for tag to Adam Cole that would never come. Instead, he just performed the hot tag sequence himself, as the crowd chanted for him to “Bodyslam” the larger Dutch.

The AEW Champion mimicked Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III, calling for the bodyslam before sending Dutch slamming to the ground – a clear reference to Hogan vs Andre The Giant. He then threw Vincent headfirst into the bottom of Dutch, completing his promise before hitting his famed Kangaroo Kick. MJF then hit Dutch with the Heatseeker Piledriver, but put his foot on the ropes so he could still cheat to win.

This was a fun performance from MJF, who retained the ROH Tag Team titles in one of his most hilarious performances. He is embracing being a face, and made it clear that he can keep those belts until Cole is back from injury.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • MJF laying out how he would win the match, then doing just that.
  • He tried to tag in Adam Cole, but was saddened to remember that he was not there.
  • KANGAROO KICK!

MJF & Cole vs The Righteous Star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 2.75 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 5.28
  • Atletifo Rating – 3 Stars

Eddie Kingston vs Katsuyori Shibata (NJPW Strong Championship)

One of Antonio Inoki’s favorite wrestlers took on Eddie Kingston at WrestleDream, with Katsuyori Shibata aiming to become a Triple Crown Champion in ROH and NJPW. AEW also drafted in one of the referees for NJPW, who wanted dearly to be part of the event honoring the wrestling Icon.

Katsuyori Shibata paid clear tribute Inoki to start the match. Referencing Inoki’s famous match against Muhammad Ali, Shibata lay on his back on the mat, kicking at the legs of Kingston. This only lasted around 10 seconds, as opposed to Inoki doing it the entire match against Ali.

Kingston the invited Shibata to chop and kick him – this was a bad move, as he was absolutely nailed in the chest before being locked in a technical submission move. He continued trying to make Kingston tap out, but the ROH Champion kept finding the rope to force a break of the hold.

Shibata transition from submission to submission, keeping control of the match. However, Kingston managed to find an opportunity to hit a back Suplex on his Japanese opponent, getting some respite from his relentless attacks. Kingston laid in his own chops, both men showing their immense fighting spirit. They gave each other some of the hardest chops ever seen in AEW, before a number of big moves by both men left them both lying on the mat.

This was a much more “Japanese-style”match you’d usually see in AEW, clearly showing the influence that style of wrestling has one both men (especially given that Shibata was a student of Inoki). Shibata controlled Kingston for most of the match, with huge strikes and submission giving him the edge for the bulk of the match.

Katsuyori Shibata looked to have won the match, when he locked in Inoki’s Octopus Stretch. Kingston looked to be passed out, but a flailing arm reaching for the ropes saved him. The pair traded more huge strikes that left them both reeling. Kingston looked to have won with a Uraken, but Shibata kicked out at just one – showing his immense fighting spirit.

It took one more Uraken and a powerbomb to take out Shibata. Kingston won the match and retained his title in a match that was a fine tribute to Antonio Inoki.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • Shibata referencing the Ali vs Inoki match at the start of this bout.
  • Both men threw some of the hardest chops ever seen in an AEW ring.
  • Shibata kicked out at one from Kingston’s Uraken.

Christian Cage vs Darby Allin Star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 3.75 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.37
  • Atletifo Rating – 4 Stars

Kris Statlander vs Julia Hart

One of the best matches of both Kris Statlander and Julie Hart’s careers so far came at WrestleDream 2023. Julia Hart has clearly come a long way in this past year, as she proved why she should be considered one of the best workers in the AEW Women’s Division.

This TBS Championship match had a clear and simple story. It pitted Kris Statlander’s power, as one of the strongest women in AEW, against the speed, agility and cunning of The House of Black’s Julie Hart. It gave both workers something to build the match around, and helped tell a great story in the ring.

However, the match wasn’t without it’s fault. While Hart has come a long way, and could be considered a top female worker, she still had some botches in her. One saw her leaping off the back of Statlander. What should have been a jumping elbow drop saw her slip and fall, looking awkward as she struggled to complete the move against the champion.

Julia Hart almost hit Statlander with the black mist, but Statlander punched her head away, giving a great shot of her spitting the black goo away. Statlander then hit a spinning piledriver and a deadlift German Suplex, hitting moves that you wouldn’t have dreamt seeing in an American women’s match just a few years ago.

Julia Hart almost won the match with her moonsault, but Statlander got her foot on the rope with just milliseconds before the three count. Hart then locked in her submission finisher, but Statlander showed her incredible power by rolling over, lifting Hart onto her shoulders before hitting back-to-back Tombstone Piledriver and Sunday Night Fevers to win the match and retain her title.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • Kris Statlander’s amazing strength to lift Hart for the finish.
  • Julia Hart having the mist slapped out of her mouth lead to a great shot.
  • Brodie King shouting some mean things at the champion while Hart readied her mist.

Kris Statlander vs Julia Hart Star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 3 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 6.77
  • Atletifo Rating – 3.5 Stars

Young Bucks vs Hook and Orange Cassidy vs Lucha Bros vs The Gunns

Three former AEW Tag Team Champions (plus Hook and Orange Cassidy) faced off in a lightning-fast paced four-way tag team match to decide the next number one contender for FTR’s AEW Tag Team Championships.

The match made little build up, but due to the men involved in the match, the promise of a quality match made up for the absence of storyline going into the bout. It was your usual AEW tag team match, each wrestling hitting their big spots, with about six people in the ring at one time for most of the match.

One of the most exciting part of the match was when Hook was tagged in. It was the first time he’s shared the ring with a star as big as the Young Bucks, and he was immediately put to task by Nick Jackson, trading Suplexes and attempting pin falls on one another.

The vast majority of the match, a typical multi-man tag match in AEW. The Gunns dominated the rest of the field, just waiting for Penta to tag in and take out the brothers with his usual, incredibly entertaining offense. The Young Bucks won the match in the end, setting up a bout with FTR or Aussie Open down the line.

Notable moments:

  • Penta hitting a double piledriver on Hook & Cassidy
  • Hook facing off with Nick Jackson in a Suplex battle.

Match Star Rating

  • Dave Metlzer’s Star Rating – 3.75 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 6.38
  • Atletifo Rating – 2 Stars

“Hangman” Adam Page vs Swerve Strickland

One of the most anticipated matches from WrestleDream was the dream match between former AEW Champion “Hangman” Adam Page and Mogul Embassy leader, Swerve Strickland. The show took place in Seattle, which is the hometown of Strickland, explaining the huge pop he had upon his entrance.

Before the match, Swerve Strickland grabbed a microphone to ask the question “Whose house?” multiple times. The crowd responded each time with a “Swerve’s House”, although the crowd was clearly split between Page and Swerve for this match.

However, Page did his best to play the heel in the match, while retaining his character. He mocked Swerve, asking the crowd “Whose house?” it was, drawing huge jeers from the Seattle natives. Swerve took this as an opportunity to get back on top of the match, and began controlling the bout with kicks and submissions.

Hangman used his power to fight back, throwing Swerve around with a series of big moves, ending with a pop-up Liger bomb for a close two count, following a moonsault onto the outside. If his brown trousers (taking inspiration from Shawn Michaels’ worst attire ever) didn’t annoy the crowd enough, his continued beat down of Strickland certainly did.

He even bit the hand of Swerve when he couldn’t hit the Buckshot Lariat. They were clearly playing up to Swerve being the hometown hero, especially when he took out the arm of Page so he could no longer hit the Buckshot, to a huge pop from the crowd. He then hit a disgusting Swerve Stomp onto Page on the edge of the ring, his head bouncing off the mat with a sickening thud. He did completely miss a 450 splash, but the announcers played it off well.

After some fantastic sequences, Page finally hit the Buckshot. However, due to his injured arm, he couldn’t cover Swerve at first, which gave Prince Nana the chance to save the pin fall before being thrown out of the match. This also gave Swerve the chance to hit Page with Prince Nana’s crown, but somehow Hangman still kicked out.

Swerve hit Hangman with two House Calls, before a JML Driver to pickup his biggest win so far in AEW, beating Adam Page in a classic match from WrestleDream 2023 – certainly due a big star rating from Dave Meltzer.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • Whose House?
  • Hangman wore terrible brown trousers that made Shawn Michaels’ look stylish.
  • Swerve’s Flatliner into Falcon Arrow combination looked really good.

Swerve Strickland vs Adam Page Star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 4.75 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 9.00
  • Atletifo Rating – 4 Stars

Ricky Starks vs Wheeler Yuta

Jon Moxley returned to the commentary desk for the second time tonight, calling the match between Ricky Starks and the Blackpool Combat Club’s Wheeler Yuta. This match was hastily thrown together, with Starks feud with Bryan Danielson ending before he was lumped into this match with Wheeler Yuta.

While both men are good in-ring wrestlers, they failed to bring anything new to the table. They executed their moves well, hit some fun combinations and sequences and hit each other with some big, exciting moves.

But something was missing. I found myself wondering why I should be caring about that match. There seemed no reason for his match to happen, and the in-ring action failed to convince me that I needed to care about his match, and who I even wanted to win. Both men are ostensibly heels, so I really want them both to leave.

They clearly tried to position Ricky Starks as more of a heel, by having Big Bill come out in the middle of the match. However, Moxley was already at ringside, so both wrestlers looked equally heelish during the bout.

Ricky Starks won with the Roshambeaux (yes, that’s how you spell it) after Big Bill interfered, but I didn’t really care about any of the action in the ring.

Notable moments from the match:

  • Ricky Starks referenced The Undertaker by hitting his finishers – the Old School and Last Ride.

Ricky Stars vs Wheeler Yuta Star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Ratings – 3.75 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 6.21
  • Atletifo Rating – 2 Stars

Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr

Finally, the dream rematch that the world has been waiting for has happened. Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr happened once before, in a tiny match in 2008 in a much different time. Both men have evolved in huge ways since then, and this match proved just how good technical wrestling can be.

Jon Moxley stayed on commentary for his third match of the night – the most matches by a “special guest commentator” in AEW history – to watch history be made, as two of the all-time great technical wrestlers faced off in a dream match at WrestleDream 2023. He dominated the commentary booth for this match, explaining the intricacies of the bout and all the techniques used in the match with infectious glee.

The match was a masterclass in the British-style of technical wrestling. It is a style that Danielson learnt from William Regal in his youth, while Zack Sabre Jr has brought the style back into fashion in Japan, where Antonio Inoki was clearly a big fan of that kind of wrestling.

Zack Sabre Jr was the first to start the strikes on Danielson. The pair traded uppercuts, before Sabre goaded Danielson into using his recently-broken arm – shoulder checking him mid-attack and getting the upper hand over The American Dragon. However, Danielson fought back, and the pair traded holds, with Danielson hitting in particular one of the most painful Dragon Screws I’ve ever seen – both men’s selling was brilliant in this bout.

The pair become locked in a leg lock, as they kicked and slapped the taste out of each other’s mouths before making the way to their feet. They traded kicks and strikes, ZSJ targeting the injured arm of Danielson, while The American Dragon focused on the leg he had targeted for the entirety of the match.

In the end, Bryan Danielson won a physical war to show that he is the best technical wrestler in the world. It took two running knees to put away Zack Sabre Jr, in what Jon Moxley declared “the finest displays of wrestling I’ve ever seen in my life”.

If this is not a five-star match in Dave Meltzer’s eyes, then I don’t know what could be.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • Zack Sabre Jr yelling at a fan “Shut up d******, I’m working!”.
  • Jon Moxley explaining every single thing happening in the match, adding a lot to an already fantastic bout.
  • The whole thing. You need to watch this match.

Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 5.5 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 9.65
  • Atletifo Rating – 5 Stars

Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi vs Sammy Guevara, Konosuke Takeshita & Will Ospreay

Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay started the match, and had some brilliant grappling and counters to get the fans excited, after the incredible Bryan Danielson match immediately before this.

Chris Jericho then tagged in to face Sammy Guevara, after Guevara taunted Jericho with a pair of middle fingers aimed squarely at The Ocho. The pair fought for a bit until Ospreay tagged in, before all six men got into the ring for a “hockey fight” brawl.

The story of the match saw the various feuds building into this match come to a head. Jericho face doff with Guevara, Omega grappled in the ring with Ospreay, while Kota Ibushi aimed his aggression toward Konsouke Takeshita. The one thread linking them all together was Don Callis, who received the biggest boos of the entire night.

Jericho and Ibushi got into the ring to beat up Guevara, to one of the biggest pops of the night. A newly-face Jericho happily threw his former partner around, before he posed with Ibushi in the ring as a team named by Excalibur as “The Golden Sex Gods”. The Golden Lovers then got into the ring for some of their classic tag team offense. Sammy Guevera then kicked out of a Lionsault.

https://twitter.com/PuroresuFlow/status/1708677534877970597

The rest of the match was just a mess, but in the best way possible. You didn’t know who was the legal man or not, but you didn’t care. Unlike the tag team match earlier in the night, they made you care about every single man in the match, and all the insane high spots (like a dive into a code breaker, or shooting star press to the outside) made complete sense in the story of the match.

“Murder Ibushi” even appeared late in the match, taking out Ospreay and Guevara with just one punch each. This lead into a strike-off with Konosuke Takeshita, something Takeshita had waited 11-years to finally have. They then proceeded to have even more insane spots involving everybody in the match, at a breakneck speed.

After some of the most incredible action you’ll see this year, Don Callis cheated to help his team win. He hit Chris Jericho with Chris Jericho’s bat, “Floyd”, to help Sammy Guevara pin Chris Jericho to pick up a huge victory for The Don Callis Family.

This match couldn’t be more different to Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr, but both deserve a five-star rating.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • All four of the Don Callis Family linking arms to provide maximum torque on an abdominal stretch.
  • Sammy Guevara annoying Taz by trying to talk into his mic on the commentary desk.

Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi vs Sammy Guevara, Konosuke Takeshita & Will Ospreay Star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 4.75 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.74
  • Atletifo Rating – 5 Stars

FTR vs Aussie Open

Following two of the all-time great matches was never going to be easy. After the Danielson vs Sabre Jr, and the six-man tag team match involving the Don Callis Family, the crowd were always bound to be tired for the following bout.

Sadly, FTR’s title defense against Aussie Open was that match, and you could tell. The crowd struggled to get into the match, their voices gone after nearly an hour of watching the absolute peak of pro-wrestling. This match could have been the best match ever, it still would have struggled to get the crowd on their feet again.

The match was a good tag team match. Aussie Open beat down on FTR until they got the hot tag, which started the back-and-forth portion of the match. However, they simply did not do enough to impress after the two matches before. In a vacuum, this would be seen as one of the best tag matches of the year – in rewatches, I’m sure it will earn it’s accolade.

Sadly, FTR were placed in a position where they were doomed to fail, regardless of how good their match was. I can appreciate all the great things they did – especially the “Super Shatter Machine” to win the match – so we can give this match a three out of five star match rating.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • The super Shatter Macine from the top rope to win the match.
  • The crowd sang “Aussie Aussie Aussie”, much to the shock of Aussie Open.

FTR vs Aussie Open Star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 4.5 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.33
  • Atletifo Rating – 3 Stars

Christian Cage vs Darby Allin (TNT Championship)

Darby Allin main evented his first AEW Pay Per View at WrestleDream 2023, in one of the biggest matches of his career. TNT Champion Christian Cage put his championship on the line – with former Champion Luchasaurus in tow – against two-time champion Darby Allin in the end of the show that paid tribute to Antonio Inoki.

The match was a two-out-of-three falls match. Christian Cage chose the stipulation to try and expose Darby Allin. He figured that Allin was a hardcore-wrestling spot monkey, who could not hang with a legend like Christian when it came to a pure wrestling match.

Obviously, this was incorrect. Darby Allin came right out of the gate by dominating Cage with a headlock, keeping him grounding and out-wrestling Cage. Cage eventually got out of it and began to beat down Darby, using less-than-legal means to take control of the match.

Darby Allin quickly won the first fall of the match in the opening minutes. Pulling Christian Cage’s turtleneck over his head, he rolled up the TNT Champion to take the lead in the match. Christian soon took control of the match, until Nick Wayne’s mother, sitting at ringside, threw her drink over him as he tried to get her to kiss him on the cheek.

Allin came close to winning, but Cage sent him crashing into the announce table as the crowd roared with boos. A Falcon Arrow off the apron onto the floor, one onto the steps and then a bodyslam from the apron onto the steps completely took Darby Allin out of the match. He was counted out of the match, and Christian Cage won the second fall via countout.

As the EMT’s wheeled Darby Allin off on a stretcher, Christian Cage pulled the canvas off the ring, exposing the solid wood below. He hit a top-rope frogsplash onto Allin while on the stretcher, and hit a Killswitch onto the wood. While Nick Wayne helped Allin fight back, he actually hit Allin with the TNT Championship, helping Christian Cage win the WrestleDream main event and retain his title.

Oh, and then Edge debuted in AEW, with his classic theme song.

Notable Moments From The Match:

  • Darby Allin pinned Christian Cage after pulling his turtlendck over his head.
  • Christian Cage did a top-ripe Frogsplash onto Allin as he was being stretchered off.
  • Nick Wayne turned on Darby Allin, and he joined Cage and Luchasaurus in beating up Sting and Darby Allin.
  • EDGE DEBUTED IN AEW

Christian Cage vs Darby Allin Star Ratings:

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 4.5 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 9.13
  • Atletifo Rating – 5 Stars

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