We will soon find out who is next in line to challenge for the AEW World Championship, because tonight marks the beginning of AEW’s World Title Eliminator Tournament.
After its official announcement at the end of September, the competitors were announced over the following few weeks. The semifinals will likely start next week, and the finals will take place at Full Gear on November 7.
The winner receives a future title shot, regardless if it’s against Jon Moxley or someone else.
Wardlow, Colt Cabana, Joey Janela, Jungle Boy, Penta El Zero M, Rey Fenix, ‘Hangman’ Adam Page, and Kenny Omega make up the list of competitors for the tournament. The official bracket came out last week, and all four first round matches will air tonight on Dynamite.
We are in for some rather interesting matches, especially brothers Penta and Fenix having to wrestle each other. There’s also the David vs. Goliath contest of Wardlow and Jungle Boy. But perhaps the most intriguing match-up is one that could potentially make up the finals.
It’s no coincidence that Page and Omega are on opposite sides of the bracket here. One can only assume that this is setting up an inevitable showdown, with the number one contender spot on the line.
If this does happen, it will be the culmination of something that has been brewing since last year. Both men are looking to rebound after a challenging few months that ended with them losing the AEW Tag Team Championships at All Out.
On one hand, Omega wants to move on and shift his focus back to singles competition. He plans on giving people a taste of what they’ve expected from him since the beginning. If he makes good on that promise, he will show us what made him a bona fide star on the independent scene.
Then there’s Page, a broken man whose tumultuous downward spiral was not only a long time coming, but also 100% self-inflicted.
He allowed FTR to get in his head, leading him to single-handedly costing The Young Bucks a well-deserved title shot. Understandably upset, they confronted him afterwards and subsequently kicked him out of The Elite.
He admitted he felt ashamed of what he did, stating that he was filled with poison.
However, he believed that him and Omega, despite their problems, still remained the best tag team in the world. That meant they could work their way back up to getting a rematch for the titles.
The answers both men gave were rather telling. While Page seemed optimistic and talked about the team in the present tense, Omega talked about it in the past tense. One is holding out hope and the other wants nothing to do with it anymore.
I’m all for seeing them continue to feed into this dynamic throughout the tournament. Both have been on commentary during the other’s matches, providing two sides to the story that could not be any more contradictory. It would be great to have that continue, especially if they inevitably come closer to facing each other.
The storyline potential here is off the charts; Page becomes increasingly uneasy as he advances, while Omega is more focused than ever. Once the finals roll around, Page doesn’t even want to compete against his former tag partner. Omega doesn’t really care, and either brings out Hangman’s best or shows him no mercy. Regardless, it’s The Cleaner that moves on to challenge for the AEW World Championship.
This loss finally pushes Page over the edge, causing him to snap and cost Omega his title shot. He justifies it by saying that he just wanted to reconcile and continue competing as a team, but clearly his feelings meant nothing to Omega. The feud then kicks into overdrive and all hell breaks loose for months on end.
While I could fantasy book this all day long, you just never know what’s going to happen. Even though a Page and Omega final is the most likely scenario, AEW could always throw us a curveball.
One could potentially cost the other their first round or semifinal match, but I feel like they’re going to want to make this a slow burn. It’ll give them more time for emotions to continue to escalate until things finally reach a fever pitch.
Whether it’s relatively soon or a little bit later, these two will come to blows eventually. When they do, look out.