Fantasy, Logical, Dubious, Wildcard: Who Will Win AEW's Casino Battle Royale?
Who should go on to face AEW Champion Kenny Omega? We propose some candidates.
Sunday May 30 sees the third annual Double Or Nothing pay per view from All Elite Wrestling. The line-up for this year’s supershow is confirmed, with Kenny Omega defending the AEW World Championship against Orange Cassidy and PAC a shoe-in for the main event.
But what about the undercard? Adam Page is taking on Brian Cage, The Inner Circle and The Pinnacle are having a Stadium Stampede, and the Casino Battle Royale returns with the winner getting a shot at the AEW World Champion at a later date.
Confirmed for the Casino Battle Royale are Christian Cage, Matt Sydal, Powerhouse Hobbs, Evil Uno, Colt Cabana, 10, Jungle Boy, Matt Hardy, Marq Quen, Isiah Kassidy, Penta El Zero Miedo, The Blade, Griff Garrison, Brian Pillman Jr, Max Caster, Anthony Bowens, QT Marshall, Lee Johnson, Nick Comoroto, Dustin Rhodes, and one more entrant TBA.
So who comes out on top? Kenny Omega has a huge target on his back, and a host of wrestlers baying for his blood, but for our money four names stick out above the rest, all with varying degrees of likeliness. So here, we present to you ‘Fantasy. Logical. Dubious. Wildcard: Who Will Win The Casino Battle Royale?’
Fantasy - Kota Ibushi
Let’s talk about the ‘forbidden door’ (is that phrase passé at this point?) There is a working relationship between AEW and NJPW, no doubt about it. We’ve seen Yuji Nagata and KENTA on Dynamite, whilst Jon Moxley is the reigning IWGP US Heavyweight Champion.
But the match we all want is Omega vs. Ibushi.
Imagine it, Kota Ibushi being the last entrant, as Kenny Omega’s jaw hits the floor. Considering Double Or Nothing is set to go ahead in front of a capacity crowd, it would certainly be a moment that would have practically every wrestling fan on Earth talking about AEW.
As far as I am aware there’s no timeframe on when the Battle Royale winner has to use their championship opportunity, and a Golden Lovers clash for the AEW World Title at Wrestle Kingdom isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
What’s more, the IWGP World Heavyweight Title has been vacated, so there’s even the possibility of Ibushi reclaiming the gold and setting up a Title vs. Title match - a must if Kenny Omega truly wants to be ‘the belt collector’, and a test to see if he'd put his love of gold above his Golden Love.
The story writes itself.
But before we go too far down ‘fantasy booker boulevard’ we have to look at the real world factors. For a start, Ibushi is hurt, and with Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada also out with injury, there’s little chance New Japan will let one of their biggest stars take part in a battle royal that will likely only benefit AEW if there’s a chance they could do more damage to themselves. And given Ibushi’s in-ring style, the likelihood of further injury is high.
Then there’s that old chestnut of Covid-19. Although travel between Japan and the USA seems to be going ahead (albeit with quarantine either side) it’s again unrealistic to think Ibushi would come over for merely a battle royal, and possibly a match on NJPW STRONG. It’s not worth the risk for New Japan.
And lastly, if we’re honest there are probably better ways to set up Omega vs. Ibushi come to think of it. Watch the surprise entrant be Samoa Joe instead. Or Paul Wight. Urgh.