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AEW Worlds End preview: It sounds like MJF is too banged up to continue on as the world champion

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AEW Dynamite

All Elite Wrestling returns to pay-per-view tonight (Sat., Dec. 30, 2023) with their Worlds End pay-per-view. The latest addition to the AEW PPV calendar comes our way from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York at 8 pm ET.

A Zero Hour pre-show will stream live and free starting at 7 pm ET on All Elite’s YouTube channel, Bleacher Report, and right here at Cageside Seats.

In the U.S., the main card can be purchased on Bleacher Report (and traditional PPV). Internationally, it’s available on Triller TV.

It sounds like MJF is too banged up to continue on as AEW world champion

The main event of Worlds End is MJF defending the AEW world championship against Samoa Joe. The Devil’s mystery identity is the major angle underlying this whole thing. As far as The Devil is concerned, Tony Khan told the media this week to expect “big revelations” and that it feels like “secrets will be revealed” at Worlds End.

If it is indeed time for The Devil to be unmasked, then that should probably coincide with MJF dropping the belt. And based on what MJF wrote in The Players’ Tribune this week, it might be time for him to take a break from AEW in order to heal up from all the injuries he’s working through.

Here’s what the champ had to say:

But I don’t know, man. I’m just so, so, so tired. That’s the God’s honest truth. My hip is a mess. My arm won’t lift above my head. I’m on painkillers, which are not my thing. I can’t sleep.

But like I said earlier…… I know it’s not only me who’s tired. I know our fans are a little tired of this run I’ve been on. And for the first time since this company started, I know there’s some MJF fatigue. Which is fine, by the way — no one stays hot forever...I don’t know what comes next.

That sounds like a wrestler whose body is too banged up to continue on as champion. Then again, the entire article he wrote at The Players’ Tribune could be part of his work to plant this idea in fans’ heads that his run on top is about to end.

Samoa Joe made a deal with The Devil and has almost everything pointing in his favor coming into Worlds End. Will MJF find a way to overcome the odds and the injuries to retain AEW’s top prize in his home of Long Island? How will The Devil and his masked goons affect the outcome of this match? Will we finally learn The Devil’s identity?

AEW is hoping you’ll plunk over your hard earned cash tonight to find out the answers to these questions at Worlds End on pay-per-view.

The rest of the card

These eleven matches are also currently advertised for tonight at Worlds End:

Christian Cage (c) vs. Adam Copeland in a No Disqualification match for the TNT title

Cage already retained the belt against Copeland earlier this month on Dynamite when Shayna Wayne turned heel and joined The Patriarchy. Adam responded by challenging Christian to this title rematch with no disqualifications. On the surface, Copeland looks foolish for choosing this stipulation because it means Shayna, Killswitch, and Nick Wayne can all interfere to help Christian win. Therefore, Copeland must have someone on standby who is ready to neutralize all of Christian’s cronies. How about his wife, Beth Phoenix?

Eddie Kingston vs. Jon Moxley in the Continental Classic Final

Moxley and Kingston have emerged from the 12-man field in the Continental Classic tournament to meet here in the final match, with the winner bringing home the Triple Crown ((NJPW Strong Openweight, Ring of Honor World & new AEW Continental titles). Kingston and Moxley have been friends for a long time, but they are going to beat the shit out of each other in this match, which comes with very high expectations as the capstone to a tournament filled with good-to-great matches. Kingston is the underdog local hero who has never beaten Jon Moxley before, so it will be a huge moment if he can slay that demon.

Toni Storm (c) vs. Riho for the AEW Women’s World Championship

Riho is back in AEW and earned this title match by recently defeating Saraya on Dynamite. However, Toni just won the title last month at Full Gear and likely won’t drop it so soon, especially with a bigger babyface star like Thunder Rosa on the roster who can challenge her in the future.

Julia Hart (c) vs. Abadon for the TBS Championship

Two of the spookiest women on the AEW roster are here to fight it out over the TBS title. Julia just won the title last month at Full Gear and likely won’t drop it so soon, especially with bigger babyface stars like Thunder Rosa and Hikaru Shida on the roster who can challenge her in the future.

Keith Lee vs. Swerve Strickland

Swerve Strickland turned on Keith Lee one year ago and used a cinder block to put him on the injured list (with help from Parker Boudreaux and Trench). Lee recently remembered that he never got his revenge on Swerve, so now he’s pissed off and plans to tear down Swerve’s house brick-by-brick. Swerve is a hot star right now, so even though he’s the bad guy, don’t be surprised if a lot of fans in the live audience are cheering for him to use that cinder block again.

Sting, Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Darby Allin vs. Big Bill, Konosuke Takeshita, Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks

Sting’s in-ring career is coming to an end in about nine weeks, and het gets a chance to pad his undefeated AEW record in this 8-man tag team match at Worlds End. This was originally supposed to be Bill and Starks defending the AEW world tag team ttles against The Golden Jets, but plans changed when Kenny Omega was hospitalized with diverticulitis. Guevara is now back with Jericho as Le Sex Gods after a falling out with the Don Callis Family, while Sting and Darby decided to get involved out of respect for Jericho.

Bryan Danielson, Mark Briscoe, Claudio Castagnoli & Daniel Garcia vs. Brody King, Jay White, Jay Lethal & Rush

Most of the losers in the Continental Classic tournament had nothing to do at Worlds End, so Tony Khan dumped them into this filler 8-man tag team match. Danielson’s team should probably try to pin Lethal, because he’s the weak link of his team who went winless in the tournament.

Andrade El Idolo vs. Miro

Miro has vowed to kill any man who is managed by his wife, CJ Perry; that’s why Andrade is on his hit list. Andrade’s run in the Continental Classic came to an end last weekend, so Miro now gets the chance to follow through on his words and destroy this guy. If Perry is ringside for this fight, will she help her client or her husband win?

HOOK (c) vs. Wheeler Yuta in an FTW Rules match for the FTW title (pre-show)

Wheeler Yuta is on the very short list of people who have pinned HOOK. It happened in a tag team match last month, and HOOK has been wanting to kick Yuta’s ass ever since. Yuta recently cheated his way to winning the ROH Pure championship, and now he’s looking to take the FTW title from HOOK. HOOK is the local hero in this fight, and I assume FTW Rules means he can use any holds or weapons to finally pay Yuta back.

20 man Battle Royal for a TNT title match anytime, anywhere (pre-show)

I don’t believe AEW has announced any of the participants in this match, which is not a great sign. There are several notable stars on the roster who are not currently booked for Worlds End, so maybe some of them will end up in this pre-show match. I’m looking at you, Orange Cassidy, Malakai Black, Hangman Page, FTR, Penta El Zero Miedo, and The Blade. The winner can challenge for the TNT title any time, so perhaps this person will choose to cash in on that prize later in the night when the dust is settled between Christian Cage and Adam Copeland.

Willow Nightingale vs. Kris Statlander (pre-show)

Stokely Hathaway is a jerk who is trying to convince Kris Statlander to turn her back on her current friends like Willow Nightingale. That this match is even happening shows his plan has potential to work. Willow and Kris remain friendly for now, but that can change in a flash if Kris loses this match and is tricked into thinking Willow cheated to beat her.

Summary

Worlds End is a strange PPV for AEW, with a main event at the top of the card that seems like it’s more about The Devil angle than the actual bell-to-bell match between MJF and Joe. It feels like Sting’s last career match in New York deserves better than just being a background part of an 8-man tag team match. The abrupt timing of Strickland vs. Lee is awkward, considering their big angle happened one year ago. Bryan Danielson is thrown in a filler 8-man tag team match on PPV with the clock ticking down on his full-time in-ring career. The is the first time the Young Bucks are not booked on an AEW PPV.

That being said, the match quality should be strong, just as it always is on AEW PPV. The Continental Classic Final could steal the show, and there is intrigue over whether or not MJF is finally going to lose the world championship, along with finding out who The Devil is. The work rate could be outstanding in Bryan’s filler tag team match, and nearly everything Swerve touches turns to gold right now. There’s also some curiosity about whether or not one of the wrestlers who WWE fired over three months ago might make a surprise appearance tonight.

What will you be looking for at Worlds End?

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