23/05/2024

Bryan Danielson and Zack Sabre Jr. would meet in one of the most anticipated matches of 2023 at AEW WrestleDream. Photo Credit: AEW/Twitter

AEW added a new pay-per-view (PPV) event to it’s ever growing schedule, with WrestleDream being confirmed as an annual event by Tony Khan.

WrestleDream was created in honour of the founder of New Japan Pro Wrestling Antonio Inoki, with the event taking place on the one-year anniversary of his death on October 1.

With a total of 14 matches taking place at WrestleDream, The Inner Sanctum breaks down the biggest talking points to come out of the event.

MJF does not need a tag team partner

With Adam Cole suffering an injury in the lead-in to WrestleDream, it was announced that Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) would defend the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships in a handicap match against The Righteous.

MJF would need to use the dark arts to win, firstly by taking advantage of the ROH Code of Honor by eye-poking Dutch during the customary handshake. He later grabbed Vincent’s groin for an extended period of time while the referee was distracted.

Friedman would hit a heatseeker on Dutch to end the match, but put his feet on the ropes during the pin attempt which the referee missed during the three count and it saw MJF retain the titles.

Jon Moxley might have been the most entertaining member of the Blackpool Combat Club

Despite being the only member of the Blackpool Combat Club (BCC) to not have a match at WrestleDream, Jon Moxley did join the commentary table for the three matches involving members of the BCC.

He firstly joined on the pre-show for Claudio Castagnoli vs Josh Barnett (Castagnoli won) and brought a much different style to the booth than anyone expected.

The former AEW World Champion then rejoined for Ricky Starks vs Wheeler Yuta (Starks won), apologising for swearing during Castagnoli’s match on the pre-show and self-censoring himself a little bit during this match.

While still finding a way to entertain, Moxley forgot he had a headset on at multiple points and was actively cheering on Yuta like he would if he was a manager at ring-side. He then covered his microphone and started swearing again, which was pointed out as being ineffective because the other commentators all had microphones as well.

Moxley would stay at the desk for Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr. and would find himself warring back and forth with Nigel McGuinness (who was firmly behind Zack Sabre Jr.) on the call at points, and Moxley would once again keep swearing for no reason.

Moxley’s performance on commentary garnered a lot of support across social media and was easily one of the focal points of WrestleDream up until that point of the PPV.

Julia Hart’s winning streak comes to an end

Battling Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship, Julia Hart put her 28-match winning streak on the line in a chance to claim gold.

The House of Black member was accompanied by Brody King and she put up an incredible fight, pushing Statlander to the brink of defeat.

However, she was unable to finish the job and Statlander would retain the title.

The talking point from this match was it showed just how good Hart is in the ring. It is something that is often forgotten given she spends a lot of her time as a manager for the House of Black, but she knows how to steal the show.

If it was not for the fact WrestleDream was such a stacked show, this might have gone down as one of the best matches of the night.

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Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr. was everything it promised to be and more

It was a match that was supposed to take place over a year ago at Forbidden Door, but was postponed after Danielson suffered an injury that disappointed fans everywhere.  

With the two having only faced each other once back in 2008 and with both being vastly different wrestlers than they were then, this match-up promised to be a technical wrestling clinic.

It was exactly what fans were treated to, with counter maneuvers, submission holds, mat grappling, demonstrations of strong style and more.

There are honestly not enough superlatives to describe how fantastic this match was, as it was a true 10 out of 10 contest.

While Danielson may have picked up the win over the Brit, the real winners were the fans who got to be treated to such a match and it was a true way to honor Antonio Inoki.

In a post-match promo, Zack Sabre Jr. expressed disappointment with Danielson, who “chickened out” in his eyes of determining who the best technical wrestler was, and demanded a rematch in either England or Japan.

AEW is now Rated R

Christian Cage, who has been doing some of his career-best work, would take on Darby Allin in the main event of WrestleDream and defend the TNT Championship in a two out of three falls match.

The clash itself was amazing, as Allin once again became a human crash test dummy and put himself through absolute hell to try and hold the title for a third time.

Allin would secure the first fall, before Cage put him through hell by powerbombing him onto the ring steps and secured the second fall via count-out.

As Allin was being stretchered out of the arena, Cage would do a frog splash onto the stretcher, before getting his opponent back in the ring on the now-exposed wooden planks of the ring.

Christian Cage performs a frog splash onto the stretcher carrying Darby Allin during their two out of three falls match. Photo Credit: AEW/Twitter

Allin would kick-out and with the referee Bryce Remsburg having fallen victim to a spear, Nick Wayne would come down to help Allin, before turning on his now-former tag-team partner, allowing Cage to secure the final fall and retain the title.

Wayne and Cage would begin to beat down on Allin, before Sting came out to help his ally. This would lead to Luchasaurus stepping in to assist Wayne and the TNT Champion.

As Cage attempted a con-chair-to on Sting, the lights went out and a vignette played. After the vignette ended, the very familiar music of Adam Copeland hit the arena, as the WWE Hall of Famer (previously known as Edge) would make his AEW debut.

Initially appearing to side with his long time best friend Christian Cage, he would take the chair and begin to beat up on Wayne, before spearing Luchasaurus as Cage escaped, and shook hands with Allin and Sting.

It was announced in the post-event media conference that the Rated R Superstar would make his in-ring debut against Luchasaurus on the October 10 edition of Dynamite, having signed a full-time contract with AEW.

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