Time to settle the debate once and for all whether professional wrestlers or MMA athletes are the superior fighters. Kind of. Sort of. Okay, not really.
AEW is teetering along that line in the story of the Inner Circle versus martial artists Men of the Year and MMA competitors American Top Team. It began with Dan Lambert voicing his grievances of seeing jabrones cosplaying as tough guys in an AEW ring. He took matters into his own hands by bringing real fighters with him and daring anybody to step up. Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle answered the call. The only way to settle such a dispute is in a street fight at the Full Gear PPV on November 13.
After Sammy Guevara defeated Ethan Page to retain the TNT Championship, the Inner Circle earned the right to call out which members of American Top Team would be their opponents. Jake Hager wanted a piece of former UFC heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos. Santana wanted to test the pitbull nature of former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski. Jericho added the sizzle to the steak by choosing Dan Lambert.
On the go-home episode of Dynamite, the bad guys stood tall after an ambush to declare their goal of having Lambert pin Jericho at Full Gear. Lambert added insult to injury by slapping on the Boston crab to ‘submit’ Jericho.
Days before their Minneapolis Street Fight @ScorpioSky, @OfficialEGO, @junior_cigano, @AndreiArlovski & @AmericanTopTeam left the #InnerCircle bruised and beaten on #AEWDynamite & made it clear their goal is for #DanLambert to pin @IAmJericho THIS SATURDAY at #AEWFullGear! pic.twitter.com/Ubh81MCvb3— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 12, 2021
X-factors: The aura of Jorge Masvidal has loomed large throughout this feud by knocking out Jericho with a running knee strike. Not once.
#AmericanTopTeam out in full force in defense of #DanLambert. @GamebredFighter, @junior_cigano, @paigevanzant, @austinv170mma, @AndreiArlovski, @DaltonRosta, & #MenOfTheYear dismantle @IAmJericho and @RealJakeHager - Watch #AEWRampage: Grand Slam NOW on @tntdrama! pic.twitter.com/pjAC1gUPAt— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 25, 2021
A distraction from @paigevanzant and @GamebredFighter just knocked out @IAmJericho with a running knee strike - Tune in NOW for #AEWRampage LIVE on @tntdrama pic.twitter.com/iFn83Lqr17— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 16, 2021
Masvidal has been away lately preparing for a UFC fight in December. That made it unlikely for him to appear at Full Gear. Masvidal withdrew from that fight this week due to an undisclosed injury. That really makes it doubtful for Masvidal to show up for the street fight. Even if he could do some sort of spot, the optics would look terrible for him due to pulling out of the UFC bout.
Who could replace any planned physicality from Masvidal? The answer is likely Paige VanZant. She’s turned the rudo meter up to 100 and deserves some sort of comeuppance.
One other x-factor could be any tributes in the street fight. Since the Full Gear show is in Minneapolis, the match is appropriately named a Minneapolis street fight. When I think of Minneapolis, the first thought is professional sports teams. A close second is Prince. I wouldn’t be surprised if AEW felt the same, since Le Champion is a musical artist and Tony Khan is hip to the hop. The issue would be I’m not sure how a tribute to Prince would fit. If they went the cinematic route, VanZant could be purified in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. If not, then maybe Jericho can wrestle in butt out jeans.
Who will win?
This poll is closed
Men of the Year & American Top Team