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AEW WrestleDream match card: Eddie Kingston is respecting Antonio Inoki with PPV title fight

AEW is coming hard toward WrestleDream in Seattle, WA on Sunday, October 1, 2023. The card picked up a bunch of matches this past week, and one bout in particular is quite intriguing.

Tony Khan explained, “We’ll pay tribute to the dreamer who made this all possible, the late, great Antonio Inoki, with an event one year in the making!”

Inoki was on the mind of Eddie Kingston as a double champion when personally requesting his opponent. The Mad King will defend the ROH World Championship and the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship against Katsuyori Shibata.

Eddie Kingston: Next Sunday, AEW has a PPV going on, and it’s all about respecting Antonio Inoki. A man that I’m going to challenge, who represents a style that Inoki loved and believed in, the Pure wrestling champion, and that’s you, Shibata. This is about honor.

I’m not just going to put up the New Japan Strong Openweight Championship, I’m going to put up the Ring of Honor World Championship. I want you to bring everything you got. I’ll see you at WrestleDream, dog.

Kingston versus Shibata is going to be an interesting battle. Kingston represents the streets in his fighting style relying on emotion and grit to carry him through. Shibata is presented as the prototypical master of professional wrestling. His technique is flawless, his mind calculates steps ahead of his opponent, and his spirit can not be broken. In my mind, I struggle to envision Kingston overcoming this challenge. However, the Mad King has all the promotional momentum behind him. It is likely that Kingston will win, and I’m very curious to see how. That match is going to be a badass fight.

The WrestleDream lineup currently includes:

  • Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
  • AEW World Tag Team Championship: FTR (c) vs. Aussie Open
  • ROH World Tag Team Championship: MJF & Adam Cole (c) vs. The Righteous
  • TNT Championship: Christian Cage (c) vs. Darby Allin in 2-out-of-3 falls
  • TBS Championship: Kris Statlander (c) vs. Julia Hart
  • ROH World Championship & NJPW Strong Openweight Championship: Eddie Kingston (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata
  • Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, & Kota Ibushi vs. Konosuke Takeshita, Sammy Guevara, & Will Ospreay
  • Swerve Strickland vs. Hangman Page
  • Young Bucks vs. Lucha Bros vs. The Gunns vs. Orange Cassidy & Hook with the winner earning a future AEW tag title shot

The fresh bouts came about with the Righteous earning their ROH shot in victory of a four-way contest on Rampage, Christian Cage winning the TNT title on Collision in a three-way with Luchasaurus and Darby Allin then Tony Khan using his power to book another title shot for Allin, Julia Hart threatening never-ending violence until she receives a fight with Kris Statlander for TBS gold, and Sammy Guevara turning on Chris Jericho to join the Don Callis Family and driving Jericho to trust Kenny Omega for the greater good of kicking Callis’ ass. The four-way tag bout for a future AEW tag title shot has no story attached to it.

That looks like a complete card for WrestleDream. Perhaps one or two more matches will squeeze in, such as Saraya defending the AEW Women’s World Championship or Athena wrestling a joshi for the ROH Women’s World Championship.

Is this lineup for WrestleDream one you will buy? What’s your take on Eddie Kingston versus Katsuyori Shibata?

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