The ongoing feud between AEW TNT and ROH World Television champion Samoa Joe and Wardlow will see its first singles meeting between the two powerhouses before the new year. After Wardlow defeated Exodus Prime in swift fashion on the December 16 episode of AEW Rampage, he called out the "King of Television" to face him for the TNT Title on the spot in Dallas. Joe was not too fond of the idea, saying he never wanted to defend a championship in the state of Texas ever again. Instead, Joe said he'd face Wardlow at the New Year's Smash televised event on December 28 in Denver.
Wardlow and Joe have been intertwined since Joe's return from injury at AEW All Out 2022. Initially on the side of Wardlow and FTR to battle Jay Lethal and company, Joe quickly formed a close alliance with Wardlow, presenting a united front with the then-TNT Champion throughout September and October. However, as Wardlow entered a feud with Powerhouse Hobbs, Joe was not a fan of being pushed into the background. The November 9 episode of "AEW Dynamite" saw Joe turn on his partner, ending the short-lived "WarJoe" tandem.
From there, Joe won Wardlow's TNT Championship in a three-way battle that also involved Hobbs at AEW Full Gear 2022. Now holding both the ROH World Television and AEW TNT titles, Joe declared himself the "King of Television."
Joe was quick to become a fighting champion with his newly acquired TNT title, defending the belt against AR Fox and Darby Allin in the weeks following his win. However, Wardlow presents Joe's biggest challenge in AEW to date.