AEW Worlds End Zero Hour pre-show results: 20-man battle royale, Kris Statlander vs. Willow Nightingale, Hook vs. Wheeler Yuta for the FTW Title

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

AEW Worlds End Zero Hour Pre-Show
Aired live December 30, 2023 on AEW social media platforms
Uniondale, New York at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

-Renee Paquette and RJ City hosted the early portion of the show from the entrance ramp. They passed along the news that Keith Lee is unable to wrestle due to injury. Dustin Rhodes will replace Lee in the match against Swerve Strickland.

-Jeff Jarrett joined Paquette and City on the stage and helped preview the show. Stokely Hathaway walked out at the end of the YouTube portion of the show and headed to ringside. “MJF is losing the belt,” Jarrett said to close the 30-minute show.

-Excalibur, Nigel McGuinness, and Taz were on commentary. Hathaway joined them for the opening match. Dasha delivered the introductions for the first pre-show match.

1. Kris Statlander vs. Willow Nightingale. Statlander threw her jacket at Hathaway before the match. Hathaway sang the praises of Statlander throughout the match and said would deserve a shot at the AEW Women’s Championship if she were victorious.

Willow performed a nice spinebuster for near fall. She followed up with two of the Three Amigos and went for a third, but Statlander reversed it. Statlander went for Three Amigos and then Willow reversed the third.

Statlander got Willow in Electric Chair position and dropped her face first on the mat. Willow came right back with a Pounce. Willow hit Statlander with a cannonball in the corner and followed up with a Death Valley Driver for another near fall.

Statlander came back with an awkward slam and then hit a pair of scissors kicks for a near fall of her own. Statlander went to the ropes and was cut off by Willow, who powerbombed her on the ring apron. Willow performed a missile dropkick from the middle rope for another near fall.

Willow went for a Doctor Bomb, but Statlander countered her into position for Saturday Night Fever. Willow slipped away and countered into a pin for a two count. Statlander put Willow down with a discus lariat. Willow avoided a 450 splash. Willow connected with a lariat. Willow performed a clunky Doctor Bomb and covered Stalander for a near fall. Willow repeated the spot by hitting a second Doctor Bomb and scored the pin.

Willow Nightingale defeated Kris Statlander in 13:25.

After the match, Hathaway said he hadn’t been this disappointed since they cancelled the Martin television show…

Powell’s POV: This was pretty good until the last minute or two when things started to fall apart with some clunky moves. I’m not a fan of having the opening match of the pre-show have so many near falls, but it’s also par for the course when it comes to the AEW philosophy.

A Serena Deeb video package aired. She was shown in a straight jacket and talked about how she had been isolation. She said it takes 10,000 hours to become a master. She was shown escaping the straight jacket while additional footage showed her training in the ring. Deeb said she is ready…

A video package spotlighted the TBS Title match… Another video package focused on the Miro vs. Andrade El Idolo match…

2. The 20-Man Battle Royale for a shot at the TNT Title anytime, any place. The bulk of the competitors were at ringside. Action Andretti and Darius Martin, John Silver and Alex Reynolds, Danhausen, Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta, Lance Archer, Killswitch, and Dalton Castle received televised entrances. Some of the other entrants included Christopher Daniels, The Butcher, The Blade, Johnny TV, Lee Johnson, Serpentico, Bryan Keith, Kip Sabian, Matt Menard, and Angelo Parker.

Archer and Killswitch were left lying at ringside early on and stayed there until roughly half the field was eliminated. Archer returned to the ring first and eliminated Menard and Daniels. Apparently, Daniels stuck around at ringside for about a minute because Archer tossed Romero onto him to eliminate Romero.

Andretti did his water bottle spot (yes, apparently it’s a thing now) and got a few fans to cheer. He and Darius were eliminated a short time later. The rapid fire eliminations continues until the final four were Killswitch, Archer, Danhausen, and Beretta. Archer was eliminated by Danhausen and Beretta, who then hugged. Beretta eliminated Danhausen and was booed.

Beretta hit a kneeling Killswitch with a running knee and a pair of dropkicks. Killswitch rallied with a chokeslam. Beretta pulled the rope down, causing Killswitch to fall over the top rope before he grabbed it to save himself. Beretta ended up on the apron with Killswitch and hit him with a knee strike. Killswitch dropped Beretta with an elbow and then he fell off the apron to end the match.

Killswitch won the 20-man battle royale in 13:50 to earn a shot at the TNT Title anytime, any place.

A referee presented Killswitch with a contract for his TNT Title shot…

Powell’s POV: Jake Barnett and I pegged Killswitch as a strong candidate to win the battle royale during Friday’s Dot Net weekly audio show for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).. Given that the winner is allowed to cash in anytime, any place, that means Killswitch could get involved in the TNT Title match later tonight. The outcome felt predictable to me and yet I don’t mind the direction, so no complaints. Otherwise, it was a very standard battle royale.

Video packages aired on the AEW Women’s Championship match and the FTW Title match…

3. Hook vs. Wheeler Yuta in an FTW Rules match for the FTW Championship. Before the match, Yuta heeled on the Long Island crowd before a horn sounded and then hometown Hook made his entrance. Hook was dominant to start. Yuta pulled a trashcan out from underneath the ring and hit Hook with it to take offensive control.

Yuta stopped and glared at Taz, who was seated at the broadcast table at ringside. Hook caught Yuta with a shot, but Yuta quickly regained control and picked up a two count once they were back inside the ring. Yuta hit Hook with a stop sign. Yuta set up a trashcan in the corner and then performed a senton on Hook that led to a two count.

Hook reversed a suplex and then performed Northern Lights suplex for a near fall. Hook went for Redrum, but Yuta escaped and executed a German suplex. Hook shot right up and returned the favor. Yuta shot right up and hit another. Hook popped up and executed another German suplex.

Yuta bit the forehead of Hook, which Taz pointed out was legal. Hook executed a fisherman’s suplex for a two count. Hook came back with a high cradle suplex onto the trashcan in the corner for another near fall. Hook went for Redrum, but Yuta fell back and slammed Hook onto a trashcan. Yuta, who had a cut on his head, performed a DDT and covered Hook for another two count.

Hook rolled to the floor. Yuta rolled to the other side of the ring and returned with a board. Hook pulled a hockey stick out from underneath the ring and used it to trip Yuta (two minutes for hooking or tripping!). The stick broke in Hook’s hand. Hook brought a piece inside the ring and hit Yuta with it, then used it while he applied Redrum and got the submission win…

Hook defeated Wheeler Yuta in 10:20 in an FTW Rules match to retain the FTW Championship.

Powell’s POV: A decent match. I could have done without the FTW Rules. I’d prefer to see what Hook can do without the hardcore rules, but this was fine for what it was.

Paquette and City ran through the main card to close the pre-show…

Join me for my live review of the AEW Worlds End main card via the main page.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. THEGREATESTTHREE December 30, 2023 @ 7:48 pm

    “Hook bit the forehead of Hook.”
    I wished I had seen that.

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