For the first-time ever, Brian Cage will square up with Jon Moxley in a showdown that could dictate the next chapter for AEW and the World Heavyweight Championship. According to BetOnline, which in addition to offering global sports betting odds, is also part of online casinos usa, Moxley is a pretty big favorite to retain the title he has now held for over 130 days. But should he remain champion, or is it time for a new name to stand atop the pinnacle of the AEW landscape?
When Jon Moxley arrived in AEW, he issued a powerful statement. He was there to shift the paradigm of professional wrestling, and much like his challenger for Wednesday, he climbed the ladder to the top in short order. Currently undefeated in AEW, Moxley’s title reign has been a complicated one. After enjoying a feud with then champion, Chris Jericho, which centered around Moxley’s refusal to join the Inner Circle, the 34-year-old defeated Le Champion to become just the second man to hold the top AEW title. Unfortunately for Moxley, his title reign literally began in the midst of a global pandemic. While the United States had not yet begun to feel the affects of COVID-19 in February when Moxley won the title, the country certainly felt its impact in the coming weeks. So much so, Revolution marked AEW’s last major show to be held in front of an audience as all PPVs and Dynamite/DARK shows were moved to Jacksonville not even two weeks later.
The affect COVID-19 has had on Moxley’s title reign is important to note, because we’ve yet to really see what AEW looks like with him as world champion under the best of circumstances. Moxley has only been able to defend his title twice thus far, and has only wrestled six matches for AEW since winning the championship as well. Moxley was set to defend his title against Cage a few weeks ago at Fyter Fest, but due to his wife Renee Young recording a positive COVID test, Moxley has been out of action since the end of May. Needless to say, his biggest opponent since winning the AEW title has undoubtedly been the coronavirus.
So what does that mean for the champ going forward? There is still plenty of mileage and no shortage of contenders left to challenge Moxley. His title reign still has potential. But at the same token, there is a great opportunity here for AEW to make the most of Cage’s most recent debut, as right now, the Machine looks unstoppable and a win over Moxley, will only cement his status as AEW’s top guy.
They Call Him Cage
Cage came to AEW fresh off a successful run in IMPACT Wrestling that saw him win the world title and appear for a while as the top guy in the promotion. This was similar to Cage’s run in Lucha Underground prior, where he established the moniker of the Machine. And Machine he was. Cage was presented as a dominant force. His strength was unmatched and his talent was unparalleled. He was certainly one of the top names and by the end of his run, had a powerful gauntlet to prove it.
AEW’s Cage is not all that unlike the one who ran roughshod in IMPACT and LU before that. He’s yet to lose a match but it’s more than that. It’s the way he’s been presented in victory. Cage has wrestled just a few times, five to be exact, and has under eight minutes total in-ring time. One of the most powerful examples of Cage’s booking was in a recent DARK match. Robert Anthony, a well known indie wrestler with experience up and down the circuit, faced Moxley in a rare match for the champion on the Tuesday night program. Moxley and Anthony had history, as the two battled for the Combat Zone Wrestling title over a decade ago. Anthony brought everything he had into the rematch and gave Moxley just about all he could handle. 13+ minutes later, Moxley won, but it was certainly not an easy victory. A few weeks later, Cage took on Anthony, and in doing so made a huge statement to the champ. Cage defeated Anthony in a grand total of 54 seconds.
It was a total juxtaposition to Moxley, as Cage didn’t mess around and simply exerted his dominance over Anthony from the start. It was a message to Moxley that come their title match, Cage will do the same thing to him.
What’s Best for AEW?
There are two schools of thought here as to where AEW might go and why they might go that way. Moxley retaining the title has value. It’s a safe move but one that allows the current champ a real chance to establish a dominant title reign. And there’s no saying he has to win cleanly. Cage’s persona can still be protected in a loss, if done the right way.
Of course, the other option is for AEW to go with the hot hand. Cage has been booked perfectly thus far and with Taz by his side, he’s truly been presented as a force to be reckoned with. The rub he would get by beating Moxley, not just for the title but in the process giving the champ his first loss ever with the promotion, would be huge. A Cage title win means AEW will enter a period of an unstoppable machine, a dominant champion. Think Brock Lesnar but a guy who would be around fulltime to exert his will.
As mentioned above, Moxley is a pretty big betting favorite, currently -625 to +350 for Cage. It’s an interesting call given all the momentum right now resides with Cage. There’s some money to be made with a Cage bet and given he is AEW’s hot hand right now, it would make a lot of sense if AEW pulled the trigger on Cage as the third world champion for the promotion. We’ll find out soon enough as Fight for the Fallen takes place this Wednesday, on TNT.
Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW DARK Tuesday nights at 7 PM ET on YouTube.