AEW ‘Revolution’ preview: Solid show, aside from the main event
Tony Khan is doing everything he can to get “Hangman” Adam Page as the AEW world champion. It’s not working.
Page gets his first pay-per-view title defense Sunday night at “Revolution” against former NXT champ Adam Cole, the titular #1 contender, whose tenure in AEW has, to this point, anyway, been botched by Khan, the company’s founder and head of creative.
Cole debuted at the end of the “All Out” pay-per-view in September as a surprise addition to The Elite, and proceeded to spend the next four months on the periphery in singles and tag matches against a lineup of nobodies.
His insertion into a storyline with Page after the champ’s successful defense against Lance Archer on the Feb. 9 edition of “Dynamite” felt rushed, coming across as Khan acknowledging that he had nothing on the schedule for “Revolution” for Cole, nothing on the schedule for Page, so.
Cole deserves better than to be another building block for Page, whose ascent to AEW champ had been laid out by Khan dating back to his win in the Casino Battle Royal at “Double or Nothing,” the company’s first pay-per-view, in 2019.
As much as you want to admire the long-term storytelling, Khan needs to acknowledge that, it just ain’t workin’, that Page, even with his victories over Kenny Omega, Bryan Danielson, hasn’t grown into what you need out of a world champion.
Part of it might be the move to align him with the Dark Order, a jobber faction that provides sophomoric comic relief on “Being the Elite,” a YouTube series featuring AEW talent.
A big part of the problem with Page is that he just doesn’t exude world champ – in the ring, or on the mic.
On the mic, Page comes across as a guy who is memorizing promos written for him by someone else, which makes him stand out, in a not good light, in a company full of talents (Danielson, CM Punk, MJF, Britt Baker, Jade Cargill, Chris Jericho, Eddie Kingston, Max Caster) who know how to get themselves over, and do so consistently.
It’s perfectly OK for a top guy or gal to need help from a manager to get over on the mic (think: Paul Heyman/Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar), but you only do that for a top guy or gal who can get it done in the ring.
And with Page, as much as it hurts to say, he wasn’t the guy you came away impressed with after his matches with Omega and Danielson.
He was just the other guy there, and will be again on Sunday in his matchup with Cole, who will be the latest AEW top talent asked to make Page look good.
The rest of the card: Ranked
AEW Women’s World Title: Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa
Baker, the AEW women’s world champ, lost her lights-out match with Rosa last year, but it was Baker whose career went to the next level afterward. The rematch, this time for Baker’s title, is the reason to plunk down the money to watch this show.
Bryan Danielson vs. Jon Moxley
You’re not necessarily paying to watch this one, but this match will end up being the reason you’re glad you did. These guys should be in the main event for the world title.
Dog Collar Match: CM Punk vs. MJF
The gimmick is interesting, until they actually have to start to wrestle. I would have liked to have seen just another wrestling match with these two. The first one was that good. That said, this one is the other reason to pay for this show, just to see what the two actual top stars in this company (no apologies to the top of the card) have in store.
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Kingston
Jericho, and his newfound abs, vs. Kingston, and his peanut butter pie in catering. This one should be a solid, classic brawl. Another good reason to pay for this show.
AEW World Tag Team Title: Jurassic Express vs. The Young Bucks vs. reDRagon
Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus are miscast as the tag champs in a company with a deep, deep, deep tag team division. It’s obvious that this one will end with either the Bucks or reDRagon winning the belts amid some controversy to initiate a feud, with Adam Cole in the middle, because that’s where things have been building the past few weeks. Which is why it’s even odder that Cole was thrust into a throwaway match with Page at the top of the card.
AEW TBS Title: Jade Cargill-Tay Conti
Conti is solidly top-mid card in the women’s division. Cargill, the TBS champ, is still quite green as a worker, but Conti should make her look good here.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match
Three big guys – Keith Lee, Wardlow, Powerhouse Hobbs – and three guys you’d expect to see in a ladder match – Ricky Starks, Orange Cassidy, Christian Cage. Seems like a lot to go through just to get a shot at the TNT title. Especially when said title isn’t even being defended on this show.
Andrade El Idolo/Isiah Kassidy/Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara/Sting/Darby Allin
Somebody needs to jerk the curtain. It’s weird that one of the guys doing it, in a six-man match, is the TNT champ, Sammy Guevara, who just had a plus triple-threat match on “Rampage” with Darby Allin and Andrade, two of the other guys. The booking would have made more sense if the six-man match had been on Friday night, and the triple-threat title match was on Sunday, but, hey, my booking days are over.
I’d definitely hit the purchase button, but not for the main event.
My hope there is that we get some sort of surprise newcomer after Page retains. Otherwise …
Story by Chris Graham