Revolution 2023 Pay-Per-View Preview
No one does pay-per-view quite like All Elite Wrestling, and AEW is back at it on Sunday night March 5th with our first PPV presentation of 2023! REVOLUTION has presented some historical moments since its first edition in 2020, including Jon Moxley becoming AEW World Champion and the legendary World Tag Team Championship bout in 2020, the infamous Exploding Barbed Wire match and Sting's return to action in 2021, and the Dog Collar Match and Kingston/Jericho from 2022.
Here in 2023, REVOLUTION hails from the Chase Center in San Francisco and with that first, also comes the first-ever 60-Minute Iron Man Match for the AEW World Championship! In the main event, MJF will attempt to survive the hour against “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, but that's not all this loaded card has to offer. The AEW World Tag Team Championship will be at stake when The Gunns defend against three challengers, Jamie Hayter will defend her AEW Women's World Championship against three challengers, The Elite will defend their AEW World Trios Championship against The House of Black, and Samoa Joe will put his TNT Championship on the line against former parnter Wardlow!
Those five championship matches are more than enough to consider this one of the most loaded PPV presentations in AEW history, but there's more where that came from! Three major grudge matches will go down when Jon Moxley and Hangman Page go to war in a Texas Death Match while “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Christian Cage collide in a No Holds Barred fight, and Ricky Starks battles Chris Jericho with EVERYONE barred from ringside!
The REVOLUTION 2023: ZERO HOUR begins Sunday at 7pm ET/6pm CT on the official AEW YouTube channel, with the REVOLUTION 2023 event beginning at 8pm ET/7pm CT live on pay-per-view! The extravaganza can be seen via Bleacher Report, PPV.com, traditional PPV providers, and in select locations around the United States courtesy of Joe Hand Promotions.
AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 60-MINUTE IRON MAN MATCH...
MJF(c) vs. “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson
A great deal was written about MJF's road to this match earlier, and what forces shaped his experience coming into this World Championship fight, his second defense since defeating Jon Moxley at FULL GEAR 2022, and his first time ever competing in a 60-Minute Iron Man Match. His tale is one of insecurities, ego, narcissism, and overcompensation, framed by manipulation after manipulation in order to finally get to the AEW World Championship he's been craving ever since he first started riding Cody Rhodes' coattails in 2019.
But the tale of “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson is one worth exploring as well; his is a tale that was never supposed to be, not just because of all the stereotypical outdated perceptions of what a wrestler “should be”, but because his own body seemed as if it no longer wanted the story to continue. After so many years earning his accolades as one of the best wrestlers in modern professional wrestling, of being considered The G.O.A.T by countless fans, and proving himself on every stage around the world, it seemed as if Danielson would never see the inside of a professional ring again, at least not as an active competitor.
Instead of just accepting that diagnosis as gospel, Danielson did everything he had to do to get his body right, to get his mind right, and get into a position in which he was medically cleared to return to the sport that he loves, and one that loves him back. And then at ALL OUT 2021, when Danielson stepped into the AEW ring for the very first time, it felt in so many ways as if Bryan had come home. AEW may not have been one of the places where “The American Dragon” grew into the multi-time World Champion whose sheer talent led to an annual wrestling award being christened the “Bryan Danielson Award”, but what AEW represents feels exactly like the type of professional wrestling environment where Danielson would make himself home.
It became quickly apparent just how true that was as “The American Dragon” engaged in an unforgettable time limit draw with Kenny Omega at GRAND SLAM 2021 in his very first AEW bout. He won the FULL GEAR 2021 World Championship Eliminator Tournament by defeating Dustin Rhodes, Eddie Kingston, and Miro en route to challenging “Hangman” Adam Page for the AEW World Championship. Their first battle would be one of attrition, a 60 minute time limit draw that pushed Hangman into deep waters in which he'd never been, and showed the world that “The American Dragon” was still alive and well inside Bryan Danielson. He may not have won the championship, but all he'd experienced from his AEW debut through this first World Championship bout demonstrated to everyone that Bryan Danielson was as much, if not more, of a threat than he'd ever been.
The rematch with Page didn't go Danielson's way either, part of that may be due to the blood loss he experienced, but Dragon wouldn't offer any excuses, he'd merely say Hangman was the better man that night and move on to the next thing. That next thing was something no one could have predicted though as it would first be a violent fight with Jon Moxley at last year's REVOLUTION pay-per-view that saw William Regal debut in AEW, pulling the two men together to form the foundation of The Blackpool Combat Club, a unit that now includes ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli and ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta. Fans witnessed Danielson go through hell at Anarchy in the Arena, become embroiled in a rivalry with Chris Jericho that nearly brought Bryan his second ROH World Championship some 16 years after his first reign ended, and here in 2023, begin his pursuit of Maxwell Jacob Friedman and the AEW World Championship.
What initially began as Bryan coming for MJF in response to his assault on William Regal post-FULL GEAR 2022 has slowly evolved into a very personal situation in which MJF has verbally attacked Bryan as a father, physically attacked him but only after other men have done the dirty work of softening Danielson up, and all while running “The American Dragon” through a circuit of matches in order to get to where we are this Sunday night in the main event of REVOLUTION 2023 with the AEW World Championship being contested in a 60-Minute Iron Man Match!
Now over the course of the last several weeks, Bryan Danielson has been put through the ringer in terms of match time. Since 12/28, he's been in the ring with Ethan Page, Tony Nese, Konosuke Takeshita, Bandido, Brian Cage, Timothy Thatcher, and Rush in singles match, with a tag match against Top Flight going down just two days after the Nese bout. That's eight matches in seven weeks, not to mention dealing with the assaults that were inflicted on Bryan by Cage and Rush after the fact, as well as MJF picking the bones when able. In that same time frame, MJF has wrestled exactly one time, a hard-fought victory over Takeshita in an Eliminator Bout, leaving the champ fresh as a daisy, relatively speaking, but also without the in-ring reps that Bryan has endured.
And that's what a body needs to survive the hour: repetition, in-ring reps and conditioning that cannot be replicated by a treadmill or elliptical or even by putting in road work. One can only prepare for what wrestling does to a body by actually wrestling, and that may be the major flaw in MJF's master plan to run Danielson down with this recent series of matches. While Bryan endured his share of suffering en route, in essence MJF set the table for Danielson to get exactly what the challenger needed to be prepared for spending one hour fighting for the AEW World Championship.
This is a bout stemming from ego; MJF's need to prove he is as good a wrestler as he says he is, that he is indeed “better than the best”, and what better way to do that than be topping The G.O.A.T on his own terms. But has Max allowed his insecurities and the overcompensating ego to put him in a situation in which he has little hope of survival? Can MJF survive one hour with the man many consider the best wrestler of the last twenty years? In this situation, Bryan can strike Max into oblivion for one hour, stretch him until everything rips and tears for 60 minutes, or wrestle circles around the champ for 3,600 seconds until that final bell rings.
How will a man whose only gone over 30 minutes one time in his career handle those deep waters when his lungs don't want to cooperate and his muscles aren't responding? This is MJF's opportunity to show and prove that he deserves to be AEW World Champion, not because he knew how to manipulate his way into the position like he did at FULL GEAR 2022, but because he truly is the best wrestler in the world today.
AEW WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Jamie Hayter(c) vs. Ruby Soho vs. Saraya
Jamie Hayter, as AEW Women's World Champion, stands as the centerpiece of the division and a walking target every time she enters a building. Every women in All Elite Wrestling wants to be the one to dethrone the champion, and step up into the spot in which Hayter resides as the face of the division. It's a goal Ruby Soho has been in pursuit of ever since she came into AEW at ALL OUT 2021, and one that brought Saraya to AEW in the first place earlier this year. It could have been a pretty straight forward situation of different women coming for the hotly contested AEW Women's World Championship, but the combination of Saraya and Toni Storm have turned his into something a bit uglier than just championship competition.
Saraya and Storm have made it their mission to humiliate those viewed as AEW originals, the homegrown athletes who make up the Women's Division, women like Willow Nightingale, Riho, Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, and of course, Jamie Hayter. And given their mutual history with another wrestling promotion, Saraya and Toni Storm have dragged Ruby Soho into the middle of the situation, assuming her allegiance would be with them despite the bonds Ruby has forged with women such as Willow.
Just as Saraya and Storm are waiting, Baker and Hayter are looking for Soho to make a choice as well, to definitively pick a side in this burgeoning battle, instead of leaving her position up in the air. It is rather presumptive of both sides of the equation to assume Ruby has to pick one or the other, she could very well take her own path, and in some ways that seems like what “The Runaway” just may be doing. She was on the spot to help out Willow when Storm and Saraya attacked her, but she also rolled up Britt Baker to get the win in their Three Way with Toni Storm.
All of this indecision, this expectation of choosing sides, it's what led the reigning champion to be the one who made the challenge for this Three Way fight taking place at REVOLUTION 2023! It wasn't foisted upon Hayter by AEW management due to the circumstances, it wasn't one of the challengers laying it down, it was the champion asking for a fight with two top challengers simultaneously. That's the hallmark of a brave champion, one deserving of her position atop the division, a risky challenge without a doubt, but one that proves how confident Hayter is in her abilities to overcome any challenge.
Well it seems after Wednesday that Ruby Soho made her choice between the two sides trying to pull her into their fold, and she choose herself! Will Sunday night be the moment Ruby blazes her own trail straight to her first AEW championship victory? It could also be the night Saraya's comeback pays off with championship success, or it could be the moment Hayter reinforces her position atop the division by turning away two challengers in one single match!
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
The Gunns (Austin & Colten)(c) vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens & Max Caster) vs. Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett vs. Danhausen & Orange Cassidy
The Gunns pulled it off; several weeks ago they actually defeated The Acclaimed to become the AEW World Tag Team Champions and shatter the expectations of so many fans around the world. It was a moment of celebration for Austin and Colten, one they could rub in the face of their estranged father after he chose to stick with Anthony Bowens and Max Caster, but the realization of what comes with being the World Tag Team Champion at REVOLUTION 2022 had to set in quickly.
See for REVOLUTION 2022 the format of the champions defending their title against two other teams was first introduced, with challengers being determined by the REVOLUTION Tag Team Battle Royale and the Casino Tag Royale in the weeks prior to the pay-per-view. This meant, for their very first championship defense, The Gunns would have to defend against two challengers simultaneously live on PPV. But wait...
Sighting their rematch clause, The Acclaimed were inserted into the REVOLUTION 2023 championship bout, meaning Austin and Colten would now have to make their first title defense against THREE teams, including the men they'd screwed over to become champs in the first place! The first team to qualify for the bout via REVOLUTION Tag Team Battle Royale would be Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal, although Satnam Singh should get an honorable mention for all the help he gave in preventing the elimination of his allies.
The second team was determined by the Casino Tag Team Royale this past Wednesday night, and it was the substitute entrants of Danhausen and Orange Cassidy who secured their position as the third challengers to The Gunn's newly won championship titles! The odds are clearly not in favor of the defending champs; they don't have to be directly beaten in order to lose their titles and they've got to juggle three other teams trying to end their dream. Even with the alliance they seem to have formed with Lethal and Jarrett, it's a stacked deck against the champions, but one certainly deserved given how Austin and Colten won the titles in the first place,. So the question is if The Gunns can figure out a way to escape with the AEW World Tag Team Championship still theirs, or will we witness the crowning of new champions on Sunday night?
AEW WORLD TRIOS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson)(c)
vs. The House of Black (Brody King, Buddy Matthews, & Malakai Black)
It feels like an inevitability, these two trios colliding inside the squared circle, and something fans have speculated about since The House of Black was fully realized with the arrival of Brody King and Buddy Matthews. The birth of the AEW World Trios Championship seemed like the platform in which this would take place, but The HoB was eliminated from the tournament by The Dark Order before the dream match could come to fruition.
Yet still the possibility lingered, and when The Elite reclaimed the titles they never lost in Escalera De La Muerte II against Death Triangle, the questions swirled as to what trio would next step up to challenge Kenny Omega and the brothers Jackson. Would it be The Dark Order, men who have one of the strongest trios records in AEW at the moment? Could it be The Blackpool Combat Club who come together as a unit to claim the titles? Or would fans get to see The House of Black rise up to challenge The Elite for trios supremacy?
The answer didn't come right away; Kenny, Matt, and Nick turned away the challenge of AR Fox and Top Flight on two occasions, and stopped The Firm trio of Ethan Page, Matt Hardy, and Isiah Kassidy from taking the titles to Stokely Hathaway's unit. But The House would soon let The Elite know that they were coming...
So following The Young Bucks victory over Aussie Open on RAMPAGE, Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews made their presence felt in the life of The Elite. They did not assault the World Trios Champions, they didn't even try, but it was quite clear what The House wanted and there was no hesitation in making the championship match official for this Sunday night at REVOLUTION 2023! It's a dream match, but one that could quickly become a nightmare for the defending champions as soon as the bell rings in San Francisco.
TNT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Samoa Joe(c) vs. Wardlow
“The King of Television”; that is the moniker which Samoa Joe placed upon himself after defeating Wardlow and Powerhouse Hobbs in their Three Way FULL GEAR 2022 TNT Championship match. The end result came about when Joe clocked Wardlow with the title belt, then beat the prone Powerhouse after he'd been incapacitated by a Powerbomb Symphony. As both the ROH World Television Champion and the TNT Champion, that “King” label was somewhat appropriate and even though his first reign as TNT Champion was interrupted by a loss to Darby Allin, Joe would ultimately reclaim the title.
But prior to Joe's defeat at Darby's hands, the former WarJoe partners closed out DYNAMITE for 2022 with a one-on-one championship rematch that not only ended in Joe's favor, but came to a conclusion with the TNT Champion laying out his challenger after the match, and inexplicably clipping off Wardlow's hair as if it was some kind of trophy.
Wardlow would not be seen on AEW television for several weeks, but when he returned, after Joe had reclaimed the TNT Championship from Darby, it was clearly with a target placed squarely between the now 2-Time TNT Champion's eyes! We would all also learn just what the significance of Joe's actions where at the end of 2022, of why it mattered to Wardlow to have his hair forcibly cut by a man in whom he once confided:
Now these two former partners will collide come Sunday night at REVOLUTION 2023 with that TNT Championship at stake once more! For Joe it's about cementing his dominance, for Wardlow it's about vengeance and redemption; which motivation will prove stronger when AEW debuts at the Chase Center in San Francisco?
TEXAS DEATH MATCH...
Jon Moxley vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
Jon Moxley and Adam Page are entrenched in the very fiber of All Elite Wrestling; as two former AEW World Champions, multi-time in the case of Mox, they are essential to the existence of AEW. They are the heart, soul, and backbone of the company, flag bearers one might say, standing strong for their beliefs in what AEW means and willing to fight for just that. So when they finally collided over the AEW World Championship months ago in Ohio, it felt as if the two most important individuals in All Elite Wrestling were finally coming to blows to determine who is the lead dog.
Unfortunately for Hangman, that night was not the night he would step up into that position, it would not be the night he defeated Jon Moxley to become a 2-Time AEW World Champion, instead it would be a night in which Page left the arena in an ambulance. In one of the scariest moments in AEW's history, Hangman was knocked unconscious by a clothesline from Jon Moxley:
While Hangman would thankfully recover from the incident, in the moment it was a truly terrifying situation for the former World Champion as he could remember where he was, he could remember what happened, but couldn't recall the name of his own child when asked. It would be several weeks before Hangman would make his presence known on AEW television, and in his absence Jon Moxley would be screwed out of the AEW World Championship at FULL GEAR 2022 by the combined efforts of MJF and William Regal. It was a heartbreak for Mox, knowing he was screwed over by a man he considered a mentor, but one which he would have to recover from quickly because Adam Page would return to the fold shortly thereafter with his sights clearly set on vengeance.
It would take several weeks for Hangman to get his medical clearance, but that didn't stop him from coming after Moxley at every possible turn, clearly unwilling to follow the edicts set forth by medical in order to be given the go-ahead to compete. Finally, on the January 11th edition of DYNAMITE, Hangman got his chance for redemption and just as Mox left him laid out, so too did Page leave the former 3-Time World Champion in a crumbled heap. Jon didn't require an ambulance or emergency room trip, but he was left banged up by the collision and needed a few weeks of his own to recuperate from the battle.
With their head-to-head record at 1-1, a rubber match would take place on the February 2nd edition of DYNAMITE, coming to a conclusion in favor of Jon Moxley, but instead of a hard-hitting lariat, a Bulldog Choke, or the Paradigm Shift, Hangman found himself trapped in a pinfall situation from which he could not escape. It was a frustrating loss, getting caught like that rather than being put down the hard way, and it left Page feeling unfulfilled by the outcome. If he'd been beaten decisively, dropped by one of Mox's signature maneuvers, perhaps Adam would've been more settled by the outcome and been able to move on to whatever came next. Instead he found himself wanting one more fight with Moxley, but it's doubtful he anticipated a Texas Death Match as the means to get it.
In All Elite Wrestling, Hangman has done this dance twice, successfully defending the AEW World Championship against both Lance Archer and Adam Cole under just such a stipulation, whereas Moxley has “only” done it once under the AEW umbrella, also against “The Murderhawk Monster”, but in a losing effort with the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship at stake. That being said, it's not as if Jon Moxley is alien to the kind of blood and guts battles that run parallel to a Texas Death Match. He's done the Blood & Guts cage, Anarchy in the Arena, Falls Count Anywhere, Lights Out, No DQ, I Quit, and Exploding No Rope Barbwire, just to cover part of his AEW career; if there is a form of violence in which pro wrestling can be contested, Jon Moxley will embrace it.
While not quite as versed in the pro wrestling violence, Hangman has never shown a reluctance to get down and dirty, after all this is a man who wrapped barbed wire around the skull of Adam Page before dropping him with a Deadeye, and who found a way to hit a Buckshot Lariat on Lance Archer after the top rope had been removed to use as a weapon! And under the circumstances, this is a Hangman Page who has been pushed to the level of Moxley, who is infuriated by the way Jon has treated him yet was simultaneously concerned for Mox's welfare after how their second outing concluded.
Sunday night will be a night for violence, it is professional wrestling after all, but the violence that will come out of this Texas Death Match will undoubtedly push the boundaries of that violence. There's a sadistic side to both men, Moxley's is clearly worn on his sleeve but Hangman has it in him too (just ask Adam Cole), and there has already been plenty of hard-hitting action, as well as blood and guts, from their previous matches contested under traditional pro wrestling rules. So what will these two warriors do to one another in a situation where everything under the sun is acceptable? And even as one man is declared the winner, what will be left of either competitor entering into this Texas Death?
EVERYONE BANNED FROM RINGSIDE...
Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Starks
The ego of Chris Jericho has repeatedly proven a fragile thing, something easily bruised, and when that happens the snapback is usually quite brutal for those who have damaged him. The dissolution of The Inner Circle birthing The Jericho Appreciation Society, Eddie Kingston forcing Jericho to tap out, Action Andretti beating him, Ricky Starks defeating him; all of those ego-bruising incidents led to violent repercussions for those on the bad side of the original AEW World Champion.
Just speaking to his recent history, Andretti received a fireball as a receipt for his victory over Chris, a victory earned cleanly in the center of the ring, but one treated by Jericho as if he was somehow shafted in the upset. Ricky Starks, after being called a “flavor of the month” by Jericho in an offhand comment, found himself being recruited for The J.A.S. shortly thereafter, an overture that Starks quickly squashed, and one that led to him defeating Jericho in the middle of the ring as well.
So between being turned down by a man he dismissed as a flash in the pan and then being pinned by that same man, as well as being upset by a relative unknown commodity, Chris Jericho's ego needed vengeance, and that's led to plenty of hurt being put on Ricky Starks and Action Andretti. But as is typical for The J.A.S., most of that hurt has been committed by playing the numbers game; after all, when it comes right down to brass tacks, this is a case of 2 men trying to deal with the potential onslaught of six other men. It's been Starks and Andretti against Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Daniel Garcia, Jake Hager, Angelo Parker, Matt Menard, and let's not forget Floyd the baseball bat.
And that is why this fight going down on Sunday night is being fought with a stipulation banning EVERYONE from ringside. No Andretti, no J.A.S., just Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho settling their score one-on-one. That being said, it's virtually impossible that Jericho can be trusted to adhere to the stipulation, but it's a virtual certainty that he will look for a way to skirt around the stipulation. Starks isn't a stupid man, he is fully aware of the games Jericho plays and the situations that arise from dancing with “Le Champion”, even in a situation where Starks should not have to have eyes in the back of his head. Will Jericho shock the world and actually fight this fight fairly by adhering to the agreed upon stipulation? Or has he been game planning a way around it from the moment the match was made official? Starks will be prepared to the best of his ability for the possibilities, but the end game is still the same: end this issue with Jericho and move on to the next step in his inevitable rise to the top of All Elite Wrestling.
THE LAST BURIAL...
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry vs. Christian Cage
This has been coming for quite some time now, this collision between Jack Perry and Christian Cage. In fact at ALL OUT 2022 it should have been the end, one way or another, but Christian Cage's continued manipulation of Luchasaurus saw to it that there was no satisfying resolution for “Jungle Boy”, just continued twisting of the knife.
Once thought of as a trusted mentor, Christian Cage turned out to be little more than a Judas-in-waiting, first sliding that knife in after Jurassic Express lost the World Tag Team Championship, and than repeatedly finding ways to slide it in deeper. Christian turned Luchasaurus against JB, he slandered the name of Jack's deceased father, spoke ill of his mother and sister, and did everything he could to make life a living hell for JB, and then he ran away from facing repercussions to nurse an injury. In his absence, Perry put an end to Luchasaurus at FULL GEAR 2022 inside a Steel Cage and the dinosaur has not been seen in AEW since, teamed up with HOOK on a pair of occasions, and declared his intent to become a singles champion in 2023. Then Christian Cage decided to make a return...
Unfinished business for both men; for Christian it's clearly about driving Jungle Boy out of professional wrestling and for Jack Perry it is all about avenging the betrayal inflicted upon him by someone he entrusted with his career, his family, his story. Perhaps this is how it all finally ends; in violence and fury, no love lost, none to be found, and no holds barred when these two men enter into the Chase Center on Sunday night!
And just when it seemed like there was no way for this to get even more heated, after the Friday night and the video embedded above, it looks like AEW will have it's first-ever Last Burial Match! The winner can only be determined when one man is put in their grave! Neither man will be the same after this one is over...
REVOLUTION 2023: ZERO HOUR
Mark Briscoe & The Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero Miedo) vs.
Ari Daivari & The Varsity Athletes (Josh Woods & Tony Nese)
They are certainly the unlikeliest of trios, but Mark Briscoe and the Lucha Brothers have found some common enemies here in All Elite Wrestling in the form of the Varsity Athletes and Ari Daivari! It began with Mark's AEW contest against Woods back on February 15th and continued to unfold in the REVOLUTION Tag Team Battle Royale. In that situation, Woods and Mark came to blows on the outside of the ring while Penta and Fenix eliminated Ari and Nese from the Battle Royale.
Sunday night the issues involving all six of these men will become one when Mark, Penta, and Fenix take on Nese, Woods, and Daivari in Trios action! It's going down during the REVOLUTION 2023: ZERO HOUR, live on the official AEW YouTube channel, starting at 7pm ET/6pm CT. With three daredevils like The Lucha Brothers and Mark Briscoe on the same side, this is going to get wild!
The REVOLUTION 2023: ZERO HOUR begins Sunday at 7pm ET/6pm CT on the official AEW YouTube channel, with the REVOLUTION 2023 event beginning at 8pm ET/7pm CT live on pay-per-view! The extravaganza can be seen via Bleacher Report, PPV.com, DAZN(www.dazn.com), traditional PPV providers, and in select locations around the United States courtesy of Joe Hand Promotions.