The build to WrestleDream embarrassed the profligate, experimental misfire that was the All In/All Out double-header.
While it never approached the on-fire, to-the-moon feeling generated ahead of Revolution 2020 and All Out 2021, Tony Khan, mostly, did a very good job of building the anticipation. It helps that he opted for a more pared-back approach with two key matches. Bryan Danielson Vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. and FTR Vs. Aussie Open operated under a simple, beautiful premise: who is the absolute best in their field of expertise?
This credible, sporting platform was refreshing in contrast to the convoluted, unfocused subplots that plagued AEW throughout August.
Khan did much of his signature dovetailing ahead of the Trios match between Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi and Chris Jericho Vs. the Don Callis Family, but it all worked. It felt far more believable than the Elite Vs. Blackpool Combat Club series. Bluntly, it was easy to pinpoint why every wrestler involved hated the wrestlers on the opposing side.
Also, since Brawl Out, Omega has felt strangely distant from the promotion. Pairing him with Chris Jericho, who is never going to say no to a spot of mic time, has allowed Omega to feel present. Turns out a bit of exposition is quietly crucial. Omega felt like a concern again.
Julia Hart was one of the strongest contenders for a women's title match in quite some time, Swerve Strickland was long overdue a real test at the top of the card, and the Young Bucks, too, felt like they belonged.
Did the show live up to the hype...?