The bomb was dropped on fans as well as the clearly caught off guard Hangman Adam Page last week on Dynamite. A confirmed 8-man tournament to decide the next number one contender for Jon Moxley’s AEW world championship, the current number one contender (Lance Archer) is challenging for the world title next week on the 14th. We know from what Excalibur has said that the final will take place at the next PPV, Full Gear and that 3 spots have already been filled. The winner of the tournament will likely get his title shot on Dynamite some time after the PPV, as a long build to have the match at Revolution might be too far fetched.
It’s an eight-man tournament, single elimination and the finals will be at FULL GEAR. And the winner will get a shot at the AEW World Championship Title. We can announce three of the eight competitors right now: the first is Jungle Boy, the second is Rey Fenix and the third is Kenny Omega.Excalibur
Though any list may not age well quite quickly as more participants are likely to be announced soon, it is still worth speculating about who could fill the remaining 5 spots in a tournament which will showcase some of the top level wrestling that AEW can produce. Who is a plausible threat? Who deserves a title shot? There are many but only a few who make this list.
1. Hangman Adam Page
After looking disgruntled after hearing Kenny Omega had entered the tournament, surely the Hangman will feel as if he has to enter now himself. The idea of him and Kenny being drawn against each other would continue to pull on the heartstrings of the fans who are invested in the emotional story that has been going on for months between Hangman and the Elite. On top of this, who wouldn’t want to see Hangman in the tournament? He has one of the best win/loss records in the company, he is one of the most popular stars and if he were to win, a match with Moxley or Archer for the title would draw a lot of attention.
2. Eddie Kingston
Kingston has already established himself as one of the best promos in the business as well as being a solid pro wrestler. Also having a current, ongoing feud with the world champion is a good way to get included onto lists like this. It makes all the sense in the world for Kingston to enter as he is looking for another title opportunity and this is his way of doing that.
3. Ricky Starks
Not every entrant is going to be someone deemed as a favourite to win, some entrants are going to be seriously talented guys who will still look good even without winning the tournament. Ricky Starks is that guy. He looks good when he wins and he looks good when he doesn’t. The more time Starks gets on TV, the better. He oozes charisma and is crisp in the ring. It’s worth paying attention to him and Team Taz.
The future of AEW looks solid with many excellent young talents; enough to make an article or two about how good they are and what the future holds for them but one of those articles would be solely dedicated to talking about Maxwell Jacob Friedman, MJF. He went unpinned from the beginning of AEW to his title match with Jon Moxley at All Out, he is the inaugural winner of the Dynamite diamond ring and has pinfall victories over the likes of Cody and Hangman Page. He is still a top contender and like Eddie Kingston, feels like he has unfinished business with the current champion.
5. Matt Hardy
Hardy has had a seriously rough couple of months. His feud with Inner Circle member, Sammy Guevara, was vicious and dangerous. Hardy has not competed since the incident at All Out. He has however been involved with backing the tag team Private Party and also out of the blue had his knee attacked by a still unknown, masked assailant. It would be nice for Hardy to be included in the tournament for the title after this rough patch and of course he would be considered as a big name to be thrown into the mix.
Wildcard: Scorpio Sky
This one is based on the observation that somebody is usually screwed over by a current storyline rival when competing in a tournament. Scorpio Sky and Shawn Spears certainly have a match coming down the line, mostly likely at Full Gear. You could easily picture Tully distracting the referee in Sky’s match whilst Spears uses something like his loaded glove to attack Sky and ultimately cost him the match. Costing Sky a shot at the world title is certainly a way for this feud to become more personal and seeing as both men are relatively big names, it would definitely be fit to be on a PPV card.
There are several other names who would easily fit onto this list and if this were a 16-man tournament, they would all have place.
We will likely find out who has been officially entered within the next couple of weeks.
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