Worlds End Preview

One of the inherent perplexities of weekly episodic TV for pro wrestling is dealing with new title reigns. No booker wants to end one too early for fear of being criticized for “playing hot potato” with a title. Time must pass in-between a champion earning their title and losing it. But you can’t just hold off having title defences. For Toni Storm and Julia Hart who both won their championships 38 days ago, we’re in the doldrums of their championship reigns where challengers must predictably lose. But that doesn’t mean some good can’t come out of the situation. You just need to find things other than the chance of a title change to intrigue fans.

For Toni Storm, she’s getting a highly worthy challenger in Riho so defeating her in a great match would be some great first steps to making this a great title reign. Meanwhile, as odd as it may sound, Abadon is getting a rub from 22 year-old Julia Hart and hopefully when it’s all said and done, the appetite for an Abadon title reign of some sort will be increased among the fanbase.

The Challengers

Riho and Abadon are at drastically different points in their wrestling careers. For Riho, she’s as trustworthy of putting on a great match as there is in AEW while also being acceptable fodder as a bit player against the wider backdrop of Mariah May & Toni Storm’s “All About Eve” storyline. For Abadon, this is a huge test and that’s part of the intrigue in and of itself. Abadon has never had a pay-per-view match (outside of being in a Casino Battle Royal). To a lesser degree than Riho, Abadon is also something of a side character in a somewhat abstruse Julia Hart and Skye Blue storyline. That’s not to say I dislike it—the visual of Hart & Blue together kind of makes it worth it alone—but the plot points to get there haven’t been my favourite. Unlike Riho though, I could see the dark character of Abadon continue being tied to this House Of Black & Blue. And now they’ve added somewhat dark-adjacent Thunder Rosa to the mix. I honestly don’t know where it’s heading. Hopefully it’s plotted out better than the Julia Hart/Skye Blue storyline has been so far.

Predictions

Obviously I’m predicting that both champions will retain. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if either match doesn’t have outside interference. Mariah May appears poised to cost Riho the World Championship. And my only question for the TBS Title match is whether Thunder Rosa accompanies Abadon to the ring or joins in once Skye Blue interferes on Julia Hart’s behalf. Does someone come out to defend Riho? I doubt it.

On thing I’ll finally add is how cool it is how fast Julia Hart has gone defacto House Of Black mascot, to someone who can be wrestle a pay-per-view match (albeit in the capable hands of Kris Statlander), to now being one leading her own PPV title defence. That match will be a big test for Julia as well. We haven’t seen much outside of punchy 4-minute sprints from Abadon. A lot more on the line in this one than just the TBS Title. I’m looking forward to it.

update – Dec 29, 2023

The night before Worlds End on Rampage, Long Island natives Kris Statlander and Willow Nightingale were pitted in a match… Against each other?! (sorry) Yes, following Stokely Hathaway trying to build a wedge between them, Willow tried to clear the air with Kris and even suggested they team up at Worlds End since it’s in their hometown when Stokley butted his Milkdud head in again challenging them to face each other. Willow is apprehensive but Kris likes that idea. So it’s on! But where’s this leading?

The previous week Stokely made a point of telling Kris Statlander she’s better off alone. He’s telling her that Willow is hogging all the credit and saying that she’s carrying Statlander when they team together. It feels both too unbelievable for Willow’s character to do that and too transparent from Stokely’s character for Stat to buy it. Maybe in the heat of battle one of them (or both) will get over-aggressive or even lose their temper on the other. All things being equal, if it’s a clean finish I’d expect Statlander to win as she’s higher on the totem pole. Maybe Willow pulls it out inadvertently using an underhanded tactic to pull out the victory? It’s really hard to predict what will happen given the story is so new but I’m just gonna predict Statlander wins clean and Willow isn’t happy about it after the match and we start to see some seeds of dissension. Afterwhich, Stokely is on the scene to further drive a wedge between the two friends.

Have any thoughts on these matches I may have missed? You can let me know in the comments below or look me up on Twitter. Thanks for reading and remember to let the women in your life know how much you appreciate them.

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