2023 was a wild year in professional wrestling. AEW brought its year to a close with AEW Worlds End. This was a show that faced an uphill battle for reasons that kicked off well before the first bell. But there is a lot to take away from this PPV heading into 2024 with ramifications that should shake up AEW in several ways.
The Good: Veterans Lead The Way
There’s a lot to make about AEW’s roster featuring some of the best young talent in the industry. The company has several people under thirty years old who are poised to be the foundation for the future. But AEW Worlds End was saved by men who are well into the later years of their careers. Adam Copeland (50), Christian Cage (50), Samoa Joe (44), and Eddie Kingston (42) must be recognized for saving this show.
Heading into the TNT Championship match between Cage and Copeland, this show wasn’t living up to the run that AEW has seen in 2023. This has been a big year with excellent shows each time out. Worlds End didn’t live up to that. Until Copeland and Cage went out there and put on a match right out of the Attitude Era that fans loved. The swerve at the end was “WWE-esque” in the best way.
Then, Kingston and Jon Moxley put on a barn burner that looked like a real fight. Kingston finally getting his big moment, one that clearly meant the world to him, was an example of what makes wrestling so much fun for the masses.
A few short years ago, many were worried that Samoa Joe’s career may have been over. WWE was hesitant to put him back in the ring. But look at the time he’s had in AEW, especially this year. Joe reminded the world that he’s one of the best performers in the world. All the while the lights were the brightest.
The Bad: AEW PPVs still feature too much fluff
Fans are used to AEW PPVs featuring 10-12 matches, sometimes more. But AEW Worlds End showed once again that it’s too much. There were several matches at this event that did not need to be here. Miro versus Andrade, the eight-man tag match featuring Chris Jericho, and the eight-man featuring competitors from the Continental Classic did not need to be on this card. In their way, they felt like matches that would occur on either Dynamite or Collision – no real stakes were on the line in any of them.
The match between Swerve Strickland and Dustin Rhodes was a bit different because Strickland versus Keith Lee was advertised. Fans want to see Strickland so AEW found a way to keep him on the card. Even the preshow featuring three matches that all went 10+ minutes was a bit much. AEW must make it a point to feature fewer matches on PPVs, especially as the promotion looks to increase its PPV schedule soon.
The Actually Not Ugly: The Devil Is Revealed
Adam Cole is The Devil. He along with Mike Bennett, Roddy Strong, Matt Taven, and Wardlow left MJF laid out. Sending him on his way for what is to be an extended period off. Cole released a video later in the evening pointing toward MJF’s pride being the actual devil, but regardless there’s a lot of meat on the bone for this feud and several others. The Devil attacked both Adam Page and Jay White – they will have to answer for those actions in angles that fans will want to watch.
This isn’t the first time that AEW went with the most predictable outcome. And just like several matches for its top titles, giving fans what they want is the right call. Many predicted for months that Cole was the man to make the turn, and looking back there were hints along the way. This is going to set up some intriguing angles in the future, without tying the main championship to those moments. Expect some great developments to come out of this long term.