I’ve been a really big user of eBay over the last few decades. In that time, using multiple accounts, I’ve bought thousands of things using the site, and I’ve probably sold just as many things. My main focus has generally been sports cards and memorabilia. At times, it was high end stuff, and others, it was cheaper stuff for personal collections. Either way, I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in those worlds. I like to know when all of the different card sets are being released, as well as what’s hot, not-so-hot, and what would be good to invest in for the future.
With that in mind, I was browsing through my Facebook feed a little while ago, and I got a sponsored ad for Upper Deck (a collectibles company known for high-end sports cards and autographed memorabilia). A couple years back, Upper Deck and AEW signed an exclusive deal that would see the very first AEW trading cards hit the market in 2021. Now, Upper Deck was advertising that they have limited-edition autographed memorabilia from various AEW wrestlers. As I said, that is one of my main hobbies, so I was definitely curious.
The first thing I saw was a framed 16×20 print of Jamie Hayter, autographed and limited to only 75 copies. The price was $499.99, but you get free shipping within the United States if you spend more than $99 on the Upper Deck website.
Next up, a framed 20×16 print of MJF, autographed and limited to only 99 copies. The price was $699.99, but again, free shipping within the United States.
Next, a framed 20×30 print of Sting, autographed but not limited to a specific number of copies. The price was $899.99, free shipping, blah blah blah.
Next, a framed 44×18 print of Britt Baker, autographed but not limited to a specific number of copies. The price was $1,499.99, free shipping, blah blah blah.
Next, a framed 36×36 print of Adam Cole, autographed and includes an inked handprint of Cole’s right hand in the middle of it, limited to only 25 copies. The price was $9,999.99, free shipping, blah blah blah.
Finally, that same framed 36×36 with an autograph and inked handprint, limited to 25 copies, but instead of Adam Cole, this one was for Sting. The price? A cool $14,999.99 for that bad boy, but hey… free shipping! Most people didn’t spend $14,999.99 on the car they’re currently driving at the moment. At that point, we’re approaching “I spent that much for the down payment on my house” levels.
It was right then and there that I realized that the people in charge of Upper Deck are all spending their free time smoking nothing but the finest of crack cocaine. Ten motherfucking thousand dollars for an autographed picture and hand print of Adam Cole? As the great philosopher R. Clayton Davis said… sheeeeeeeeeeit.
Let’s play a game, shall we? I like to call this game “What Authentic Autographed Merchandise Of Pro Wrestling Legends Costs On eBay.” These are some actual samples of verified sales (completed, not just what someone listed it for with zero bids) that eBay has seen recently.
Fan of Hulk Hogan? For $439.99 (including shipping), you could’ve purchased a legit ticket stub from a CCTV screening of WrestleMania 3, autographed by Hogan, and authenticated and graded by PSA, the “largest and most trusted third-party grading and authentication company in the world.” Now, I know Hulk Hogan has seen his popularity take a hit in recent years, but he’s still one of the biggest stars in the history of the business, and that is an incredible piece of said history. I’m a big fan of Adam Cole, but ten stacks for his autograph and handprint or $440 for Hulk Hogan’s autograph and a ticket stub to a viewing of one of the events that helped make the sport what it is today? I’d choose the Hogan ticket stub every single day of the week. If it were a ticket stub from the actual event itself in 1987? My God, that would be worth so much more.
Still a fan of Hogan, but you’d prefer a trading card instead? For $542.25 (including shipping), someone won an auction for a 2022 Panini Immaculate WWE Dual Autographed Card of Hogan and The Iron Sheik, numbered to 25 copies. While something like this, and the ticket stubs, aren’t as physically large as a 36×36 print, it’s incredible to me that you could have an autographed card from two WWE Hall Of Famers for approximately FIVE PERCENT of what that Adam Cole print would set you back.
One more item from Hogan, and then I’ll move on to another wrestler. For $809.99 (including shipping), someone had their offer accepted to win a 2022 Leaf Decadence Octet Autographs card, numbered to only six copies. Not only did Hulk Hogan sign the card, but you also get the autographs of Ric Flair, boxing legend Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, “Iron” Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather Jr., UFC Hall Of Famer Georges St. Pierre, UFC Hall Of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Chuck Norris (!!!). $810 for the autographs of seven of the biggest names in combat sports and one of the most iconic actors and martial artists of the last 50 years?!?!? For just eight percent of what the Adam Cole print costs, that card could’ve been yours.
Is John Cena more your vibe? How about a two-for-one? For $1,205.85, someone had their offer accepted for a 2022 Panini Prizm WWE Iconic Rivals Gold Dual Autographs card, signed by both Cena and Roman Reigns, numbered to only ten copies. The card was also graded by PSA, scoring a Mint 9, which exponentially adds to its value. Cena’s autographed items have always been hot on the market, but Roman’s autographed items have been absolutely on fire over the last, oh, thousand days or so. I can only imagine this card will become even bigger if/when Roman starts breaking more records with his current title reign. Imagine what could happen in the very slim chance that Cena wins his 17th World Title. The value for this card would go through the roof, but even if it went back up on eBay, it would probably still sell for considerably less than that Adam Cole print costs.
While we’re talking about Roman Reigns, here are some of the highlights of his recent eBay sales…
– $3,104.99 for a 2014 Topps Chrome Autographs Gold Refractor card, signed and numbered to ten copies
– $2,205.75-$3,609.95 (different copies sold) for a 2022 Panini Immaculate WWE Bloodline Autographs card, signed by Roman, The Usos, Solo Sikoa, Rikishi, Afa, and Sika, numbered to 25 copies
– $2,504.50 for a (redemption card) 2022 Panini Immaculate WWE Quad Autographs Platinum card, signed by Roman, Goldberg, Edge, and Bobby Lashley, numbered to one copy, making it a true one-of-one
– $2,030.50 for a (redemption card) 2022 Panini Immaculate WWE Triple Autographs Platinum card, signed by Roman and The Usos, numbered to one copy, making it a true one-of-one
– $1,100 for a 2018 Topps Undisputed WWE Classic Matches Dual Autographed Relics Red card, signed by Roman and The Undertaker, with a piece of the mat from WrestleMania 33, numbered to one copy, making it a true one-of-one
I’m sorry, but I’m on a roll now. Let’s keep this going with some more noteworthy recent sales on eBay…
– $2,600 for a 2021 Topps Transcendent WWE Framed Autographs Green card, signed by Vince McMahon, numbered to 15 copies, and graded a Gem Mint 10 by PSA
– $1,405.60 for a 2019 Topps Transcendent WWE Tribute Cut (autographs taken from other documents like checks, paperwork, etc. and transferred to a trading card) Signatures card, signed by “Ravishing” Rick Rude, numbered to one copy, making it a true one-of-one
– $1,305.25 for a 2023 Panini Prizm WWE Throwback Signatures Prizms Gold card, signed by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and numbered to ten copies
– $2,715.25 for a (redemption card) 2022 Panini Immaculate WWE Quad Autographs Platinum card, signed by Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, Matt Riddle, and Shayna Baszler, numbered to one copy, making it a true one-of-one
– $1,005.65 for a 2017 Topps Heritage WWE Kiss Red card, signed by Charlotte Flair and featuring a lipstick kiss print by Charlotte herself, numbered to one copy, making it a true one-of-one
– $1,797.28 for a Legacy Replica Title Belt, signed by The Undertaker and authenticated by PSA, numbered to 500 copies, including the mini-coffin case that the belt came in, although the seller mentioned that the coffin was damaged, with the handle and one latch missing
– $1,050 for a beer cooler, signed by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Rikishi, authenticated by the WWF, and used in the post-show of the No Mercy 2000 pay-per-view (famous for Austin’s return to the ring after Rikishi ran him over with a car in kayfabe), although the autographs and the cooler itself aren’t in the greatest of condition
– $530 for a copy of the February 1988 issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine, signed by “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, and authenticated by PSA
– $510 for a sheet of paper containing hand-written promo notes by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper from 1979 (when he was feuding with Ric Flair in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling), authenticated by James Spence Authentication and also by Piper’s widow, Kitty
– $895.10 for a 2021 Upper Deck Spectrum AEW Autographed Memorabilia Gold card, signed by Britt Baker and featuring a piece of memorabilia worn by Baker that features the AEW logo (undoubtedly from a t-shirt), graded a Mint 9 by PSA and numbered to one copy, making it a true one-of-one
That last one, of course, is important for the sake of this column, as it is the most expensive item autographed by Britt Baker that has sold on eBay over the last several months. In case you’re curious, the most expensive item autographed by Adam Cole in that same time frame is a 2021 Topps Chrome WWE Autographs Red Refractor card, numbered to five copies, which sold for $151. If you’re an Adam Cole mega fan and wanted to scoop up every single autographed card of his that has popped up on eBay in the last few months, a grand total of $1,359.45 would be spent, but for that price, you’d end up as the new owner of 42 autographed cards. That’s an average of $32.36 per card.
If you’re looking strictly at autographed items by members of the AEW roster, the most expensive sale on eBay in recent months is a 2021 Upper Deck AEW Dotted Line Autograph card, signed by Chris Jericho, and graded a Gem Mint 10 by PSA. The card itself wasn’t numbered to an announced amount of copies, but all of the AEW autographs in Upper Deck card products are short prints that are tough to come by if you’re searching for them through packs and boxes.
Moving away from eBay for a moment, the official WWE Shop website currently has a framed 16×20 photo, signed by Roman Reigns, The Usos, Solo Sikoa, Sami Zayn, and Paul Heyman selling for $679.99 ($741.85 with standard shipping and tax included). It doesn’t say how many were made, but as of this very second, the site says that there are only seven left. That same item also comes without the frame for $599.99 at the moment. There’s currently a sale going on where that framed photo drops from $679.99 to $509.99, but I believe the sale will be expired by the time this column is posted, so it’s somewhat irrelevant. If you’re looking to drop a little less money, you could get a framed and autographed 16×20 photo of Legado Del Fantasma (Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, Cruz Del Toro, Zelina Vega) or Damage CTRL for $229.99 right now, but one of those Damage CTRL ones only has three left for sale. For framed and signed 16×20 photos of different members of the roster, you’ll spend a little less. $219.99 for Rey Mysterio with a “HOF 2023” inscription, $179.99 without it. $199.99 for Hit Row, Cody Rhodes, The Usos, The Brawling Brutes, Imperium, or the team of Drew McIntyre and Sheamus. $189.99 for Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods together. $179.99 for Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio together. $149.99 for Rhea Ripley, Kevin Owens, Gunther, Charlotte Flair, Sami Zayn, Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Drew McIntyre, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Bayley, or the team of Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro. $139.99 for Shinsuke Nakamura, Big E, Carmella, Bobby Lashley, Solo Sikoa, Austin Theory, Dominik Mysterio, Ricochet, The Miz, Braun Strowman, Zelina Vega, or Asuka. $129.99 for Michin, Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, LA Knight, Damian Priest, or Dexter Lumis. If you don’t need a frame, you can drop $119.99 for signed 16×20 photos of The Street Profits or Hit Row. Those same unframed signed 16×20’s will cost $99.99 for the duo of Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio or the duo of Chad Gable and Otis. All things considered, everything mentioned in this paragraph ranges from a pretty decent deal to a tremendous deal.
Let’s compare them to some “regular” autographed photos that the Upper Deck/AEW marriage is giving us, shall we?
I already mentioned the 20×16 signed by MJF for $699.99, but that same price will also get you a 20×16 signed by Jon Moxley, and that’s also limited to 99 copies. $699.99 will also get you a signed 20×16 by Chris Jericho, also limited to 99 copies, but a different $699.99 signed Jericho print isn’t limited to a set number of copies. CM Punk is also in the “signed 20×16 print, limited to 99 copies, for $699.99” club. $499.99 will get you a 20×16 print, numbered to 99 copies, signed by either Bryan Danielson, Britt Baker, or Jon Moxley. A different set of prints (AEW’s prints seem to have the same design for each wrestler) for Danielson, Baker, and Moxley are 16×20, numbered to 75 copies, and also carry the $499.99 price tag. That same price will also get you 16×20 prints signed by Kenny Omega, Jim Ross, or Cody Rhodes, all numbered to 99 copies. If you move down the pricing scale, $299.99 will get you a 20×16 print, numbered to 99 copies, and you can choose from FTR, The Acclaimed, The Young Bucks, Sammy Guevara, Ruby Soho, Anna Jay, Jade Cargill, Jungle Boy, “Hangman” Adam Page, Orange Cassidy, Brian Cage, Tay Conti (before she changed her name to Tay Melo), Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson, Matt Hardy, Miro, Pac, or Hikaru Shida. Got $299.99 to spend, but don’t quite have the space to showcase a print that is 20×16? For that price, you could get 8×10 prints of CM Punk, Jim Ross, Sting, Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, or Cody Rhodes, and those are all numbered to 75. For $199.99, the 20×16 group includes Hook, Athena, Rey Fenix, Keith Lee, Dustin Rhodes, Christian Cage, Wardlow, or Toni Storm, all numbered to 99. That same $199.99 will get you 16×20 prints signed by Luchasaurus, Andrade El Idolo, Nyla Rose, Jay Lethal, Eddie Kingston, Daniel Garcia, Tay Melo (after she changed her name), or Claudio Castagnoli, all numbered to 75. Samoa Joe was included in that last group, but all 75 copies of his print appear to have been sold. If you’re a Darby Allin fan, it seems like your options are limited to a signed 8×10, limited to 75 copies, for a $199.99 price point. It’s worth pointing out that everything in this paragraph from the point I mentioned Bryan Danielson and on doesn’t come with any sort of frame.
My sincerest apologies for the lengthy paragraphs there, but they came with a lot of relevant, pertinent information.
The thing with sports cards, memorabilia, and things of that nature is that the market is exactly what someone is willing to spend. If you’re willing to spend $9,999.99 on the Adam Cole print, then it’s “worth” $9,999.99 because you actually spent the money on it. You can read the Beckett (probably the biggest and most used price guide for sports and non-sports cards around) site all you want, but if they say a card is “worth” $50, but eBay has that card going for a minimum of $75 regularly, then the higher price is where things are going to lean.
This is a terrible look for All Elite Wrestling. I’m fully aware that Tony Khan isn’t simply sitting in his office saying “charge $1,000 for this, $2,000 for that, $10,000 for this.” I know that this is Upper Deck’s doing, but the reason I know that is simply because of my knowledge of the industry and the years I’ve spent researching and being involved in the buying and selling of autographed items. Fans who don’t have that time and knowledge, on the other hand, are putting the blame directly on AEW. I’ve seen the social media comments and read the discussions. These comments are from people who either do think Tony Khan and the AEW bigwigs are responsible for the pricing of these items, or that TK at least has the capability to talk to Upper Deck and tell them that the prices need to come way, way, way down.
What about that last part? How much “pull” does anybody truly expect Tony Khan and AEW to have in their deal with Upper Deck? This is AEW’s first trading card deal, so they certainly don’t have the reputation in the industry that WWE has. WWE has been involved in the trading card industry for 40 years now, with deals getting bigger and bigger as years went on. Tony Khan absolutely, positively seems like someone who wants to be as hands-on with every aspect of AEW as mentally, physically, and emotionally possible. I won’t deny that at all. I’m just not sure how much power he’s going to have in this situation. It would probably behoove him to have a discussion with the people in charge at Upper Deck, though. Perception can often be reality, especially in pro wrestling, and right now, the perception is that AEW and Upper Deck are taking extreme greed to levels almost unheard of before.
I want to hear from you, folks. If you’re someone who does, or did, collect any sort of sports cards or memorabilia (wrestling or otherwise), what’s your prized possession? Do you have a “holy grail” piece that you would love to get your hands on one day? What kind of memorabilia would you like to see from the world of wrestling in the future? As always, hit me up in the comments section below, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know what’s on your mind.
Weekly Power Rankings
My Biggest “Dream Match” Is About To Be Reality: If you’ve read my work at any point over the last several years, you would know that I have been calling Kazuchika Okada vs Bryan Danielson the biggest “dream match” I could think of, as far as being a realistic possibility with active competitors. When Danielson was in WWE, it certainly didn’t seem likely that we’d ever see the match, even when there were rumors that Okada was possibly on WWE’s radar. With Danielson in AEW, and with AEW’s working relationship with New Japan, I have been shouting from the mountaintops that we need to see the match before one, or both, of them retire. Well… here we fucking go. At NJPW’s Dominion event, the team of Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Tomohiro Ishii successfully retained their NEVER Six-Man Tag Team Titles over Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Shota Umino. After the match, Mox introduced a video from Danielson, and in the video, Danielson challenged Okada to a match. When the video was done, Okada accepted the challenge, saying that the “forbidden door” would be opened. Holy shit. It’s finally happening! If Forbidden Door is headlined by Okada vs Danielson, and Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay, the rest of the card doesn’t even matter. I’m pretty excited for this.
El Hijo del Vikingo vs Dralistico vs Komander: I’ve seen almost everything there has been to see in the world of pro wrestling over the last few decades, but I still find myself blown away when I watch Vikingo wrestle. He continues to do things that simply should not be physically possible, and he makes them look easy. If he makes more appearances in AEW, they could have something really special with him and the different matches that he could have there.
Seth Rollins & AJ Styles vs Finn Balor & Damian Priest: These are four of the better, and more consistent, performers on the WWE roster right now, so it’s not exactly a surprise that they were able to have a really entertaining tag match here. It’s funny to see the differing opinions online about who the leader of The Judgment Day is. Balor was clearly the leader at one point, but then Priest seemed to be treated like a bigger deal, and then Rhea Ripley became completely dominant, but then Dominik Mysterio also became the single most dangerous person in the history of the business. They all have arguments to be made for their leadership.
Penta El Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix & Bandido vs Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta: A clash of styles to a wild degree. Those types of matches are usually pretty fun, and this was no different. All three members of the face squad deserve more than they’re currently getting in AEW/RoH, but the Blackpool Combat Club are just on a different level right now.
Zack Sabre Jr vs Action Andretti: I’ve said it before, but I’m still amazed at how AEW botched the follow up to Andretti’s shocking victory over Chris Jericho almost six months ago. Since that win, he is now 1-7 on television, and that win was in January, in his next match on television. He was supposed to use that to springboard himself to becoming a star like The 1-2-3 Kid did with his win over Razor Ramon in 1993. After Kid won that match, it would take a full 18 months before we saw him lose seven matches on television, and in those 18 months, he had wins on pay-per-view, a WWF Tag Team Title reign with Marty Jannetty, and a Match Of The Year contender against Bret Hart for Bret’s WWF Title. That win over Jericho has done absolutely zero for Andretti.
The Bloodline: In one segment, we went from assuming Jey Uso would turn his back on his twin brother to assuming Solo Sikoa would turn his back on Roman Reigns so that he could align with his blood brothers to assuming Roman Reigns would see the light and align with his entire family once again to eventually seeing Solo reveal that he was turning his back on his brothers to continue doing the bidding for his cousin. Quite the roller coaster, but I expect nothing less from this story at this point. Looks like we’ll be getting The Usos vs Roman & Solo soon, perhaps at Money In The Bank, and maybe Roman vs Jey or Jimmy at SummerSlam. Layers. Like an onion.
The Brawling Brutes vs Austin Theory & Pretty Deadly: Sheamus is in a bit of a slump right now. He hasn’t won a match on television in over two months. He’s doing better than his Brawling Brutes buddies, though. Butch hasn’t won a match on television where he wasn’t teaming with Sheamus in six-and-a-half months. Ridge Holland hasn’t won a match on television where he wasn’t teaming with Sheamus in a little over seven months. The group continues working well together, but maybe it’s time to shit or get off the pot, as the saying goes. Either push them as legitimate threats, or it’s time to move on.
Don Callis & Konosuke Takeshita: You know, I don’t think the people of San Diego like Callis or Takeshita very much. They both received quite the heel reaction, but that’s good. Callis is great at what he does, and he’ll continue to make the AEW crowds hate his guts, but it’s Takeshita that is really earning this. He was becoming so popular with AEW fans, and he repaid them by aligning with Don Callis, of all people?!? Booooo!!!
Katsuyori Shibata vs Lee Moriarty: This entire episode of Rampage was basically another edition of Battle Of The Belts, where every match looked fun on paper and delivered some goodness, but the outcomes of said matches were not even close to being in doubt. Nobody in their right mind thought Action Andretti was going to become the new NJPW Television Champion, just like nobody in their right mind thought Moriarty was going to become the new RoH Pure Champion here. Good matches, but that is becoming a huge problem for Rampage, and especially the BOTB episodes.
Dark Side Of The Ring: Their latest season is underway, and the episode on Chris Candido and Tammy “Sunny” Sytch was really good. If there was a complaint to be made, it’s that Sunny probably deserved her own episode. After reaching the part of the story where Candido tragically passed away, there was only a small amount of time left in the episode, so ALL of Sunny’s legal and personal issues were quickly glossed over. They could’ve found a way to make a two-part episode, with part one covering Chris and Tammy entering the wrestling business and all of the problems they encountered when they joined the WWF, going all the way up until Candido’s death in 2005, with part two covering Tammy’s demons, numerous arrests, joining the porn industry, and becoming a walking punchline.
Carmelo Hayes vs Noam Dar: I’m still not a fan of the group that Dar has surrounded himself with, but that doesn’t take away from how good he is in the ring. This was good, but if I’m going to call AEW out for something, I can’t skip over NXT doing the same thing. Nobody thought Dar was going to win the NXT Title here, especially when the match wasn’t announced ahead of time and was thrown together during a promo earlier in the show. As good as the match was, it won’t be remembered because what happened after the match was more newsworthy. Speaking of what happened after the match…
Baron Corbin: He made his return to NXT and attacked Carmelo Hayes, immediately positioning himself as the next challenger for Melo’s NXT Title. I like this move for two reasons. One, Corbin is actually pretty decent in the ring. He just receives too many pushes, and for some unknown reason, he ends up having matches that are a lot longer than you would expect them to be. Corbin has shown that, with the right opponent, he can have a fun match, especially when that opponent is the speed and athleticism to his size and power. Carmelo Hayes has speed and athleticism in abundance. More importantly, though, this gives Melo a different type of opponent to face. NXT isn’t exactly full of massive human beings at the moment, and most of the “big guys” on the roster aren’t ready for this type of spotlight. Sure, Dijak would be a good fit here, and would be preferred, but Corbin is listed as being taller and heavier than Dijak. It would be nice to see Dijak elevated to this level soon, though. I don’t see any way Corbin wins the title, but I also thought the same thing when Dolph Ziggler faced Bron Breakker last March, so we’ll see.
Montez Ford vs LA Knight: In many instances, WWE books Money In The Bank qualifying matches that will feature one name that is clearly going to win. That’s not what we got here. Montez Ford has been rumored to be on the verge of a breakout singles push for a long time now. LA Knight has become one of the most over acts on the main roster, no matter what WWE does, or doesn’t do, with him. The finish was a good decision, as Knight picked up the much-needed win, but it was done in a way that it gives Ford an “out” for losing. I will say that I’m ready for WWE to make a decision on The Street Profits already. Either keep them together and strengthen their spot in the tag division, or go ahead with the split, either by a heel turn or simply two competitors agreeing to try and become solo stars. Just do something.
Willow Nightingale vs Emi Sakura: It was to a lesser extent than the other Rampage matches on this week’s list, but I don’t think anyone really expected Sakura to win the NJPW STRONG Women’s Title here. As I’ve said before, she deserves to be in a bigger spot in AEW, and she continues to do great work when her number is called, but Willow just won the title (albeit because of an injury to Mercedes Moné) so it was pretty easy to make the assumption she was going to continue her reign.
CM Punk: He was officially announced as returning to AEW at the upcoming debut episode of Collision in two weeks. That show will take place in Chicago, so I fully expect Punk to receive yet another hero’s welcome from his hometown, especially after being away for nine-and-a-half months. What intrigues the hell out of me, though, is the reaction his return announcement got from the fans in San Diego. There were plenty of cheers, sure, but also audible boos and lots of people shown on-camera reacting negatively. This is pretty new territory for him in AEW. Does he end up turning heel? Or, will that reaction go back to the usual overwhelmingly positive ones he had before All Out 2022 once he’s back and fans realize that they’ve missed him? We shall see.
Mustafa Ali: Like Corbin, Ali made a surprise appearance on NXT, and he has aligned himself with North American Champion Wes Lee and Tyler Bate in their battle against The Schism. On the bright side, it places Ali in a high-profile feud in NXT, and opens the door for a potential shot at Lee’s title. However, on the not-so-bright side, Joe Gacy has absolutely sucked the life out of everything he has been involved with in NXT, so feuding with him could make Ali colder than a polar bear’s toenails when all is said and done. If he survives, Ali is a great choice to be a champion in NXT. I don’t just mean the North American Champion, either. He could be the NXT Champion and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest, given the proper story.
Ricochet vs The Miz: A really fun match that will be completely forgotten about in a week, if it hasn’t already been forgotten. That isn’t necessarily a knock, mind you. Not every match can receive a million stars and be remembered forever, and not every match can be pure dumpster juice, either. Both men worked hard here, and they performed before an appreciative crowd. As an added bonus, the right man won. A little while back, I named Ricochet as a dark horse candidate to win Money In The Bank this year. Now, we’re one step closer to possibly seeing that happen.
Gigi Dolin vs Jacy Jayne: Their tag team split up four months ago, but it seems like it has been much longer because of injuries. In their first match, Jacy suffered a separated shoulder and the match itself wasn’t able to reach the level it should’ve reached. Their next match saw Jacy get busted open the hard way, with her face becoming a bloody mess that appeared to cause the match to get rushed to the finish. They were finally able to have a match that didn’t feature any sort of injuries derailing things! It was a good modern era brawl, at least under the WWE umbrella, but it continues to remain strange for “blood feuds” in the company to lack… blood. The story that was built up between these two would’ve been perfect for one, or both, of these women to end up bleeding all over the place, but that’s just not where we are.
Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler: WWE presented the Payback pay-per-view on August 30th, 2020. On that night, Bayley and Sasha Banks dropped the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles to Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Counting Jax and Baszler, there were 11 different sets of champions (covering 13 total reigns) before Rousey and Baszler won the titles. August 30th, 2020 to May 29th, 2023… 1,003 days… that’s how long it took WWE to put the Women’s Tag Team Titles on a team that isn’t just two randomly thrown together singles wrestlers with little-to-no story as to why they’re a team at all. Even with that said, Ronda and Shayna were still technically thrown together at random. They became tag partners four months ago, and then had to miss time after Ronda suffered a fractured elbow. Congratulations to the new champions, I guess, but these titles need A LOT of work to become worth much of anything. The 19 reigns before this one have averaged 76 days in length, so if things hold to form, Ronda and Shayna will lose them right around SummerSlam. It will probably be to a randomly paired duo, so let’s predict… Emma and Xia Li, who will then drop the titles before Survivor Series to B-Fab and Lacey Evans. Mark it down.
Leyla Hirsch: She was receiving a push before a torn ACL took her out of action. It has been 14 months since her injury, but reports are saying that she’s set to make her return very soon. Prior to the injury, she was in the middle of a heel run, adding a vicious side to her already strong amateur background. Hmm… a vicious heel that performs bigger than she actually is, and has a strong amateur background… sounds like she would be a great addition to a newly heel stable that is running around and dominating in AEW right now. I’m just saying.
This Week’s Playlist: “Annihilate” by Metro Boomin, Lil Wayne, Offset & Swae Lee… “Am I Dreaming” by Metro Boomin, A$AP Rocky & Roisee… “All The Way Live” by Metro Boomin, Future & Lil Uzi Vert… “Danger (Spider)” by Offset & JID… “Unlive” by Jelly Roll & Yelawolf… “Nobody” by Avenged Sevenfold… “PORSCHE TOPLESS” by Kid Cudi… “This Time” by Rebel Souljahz… “Never Dawn” by Lacuna Coil… “Poison for the Lost” by Sylosis… “guilt” by thrown… “Obsidian Blood” by INVERNO… “It All Returns To Nothing” by Burner… “Roll With Me” by Pretty Willie… “Cash Flow” by Ace Hood, Rick Ross & T-Pain… “All Bets On Ace” by Ace Hood… “Wanna Be A Baller” by Lil Troy, Fat Pat, Lil Will, Yungstar, H.A.W.K. & Big T… “I’m A Playa” by Paul Wall & Three 6 Mafia… “Sittin Sidewayz” by Paul Wall & Big Pokey… “Murder” by UGK