With historic first time evers, an appearance from Mike Tyson, the crowning of an inaugural champion and unpredictable showdowns, AEW Double or Nothing was definitely something to tune into.
With plenty to enjoy and a solid build despite the circumstances, All Elite Wrestling provided fans with several hours of must see wrestling entertainment. Today we are going to be re-living the action discussing some of the best and worst moments on the card. So, grab a treat and let’s go back through AEW Double or Nothing.
The Buy In: Number One Contenders Match for AEW Tag Title: Private Party defeated Best Friends
Grade – B
In recent weeks Best Friends have been gaining plenty of momentum and are well on their way to serious tag team success within All Elite Wrestling. Whether it be singles or tag team action, the pair have stood out on Dynamite, so competing in a number one contenders’ match against Private Party made for an important kick off show bout.
We haven’t seen all too much of Private Party in recent weeks, but they remain one of the highest ranked teams. Despite their lack of experience the two competed in yet another fantastic match up, showcasing them to be serious names to keep an eye on. This was an entertaining match and while predictable in terms of the end result, it was great to see Private Party in action once again and for Best Friends to officially become the new number one contenders.
Colliding with Omega and Page is sure to be must see with a potential title change on the cards.
Casino Ladder Match: Brian Cage defeated Darby Allin, Kip Sabian, Kazarian, Scorpio Sky, Luchasaurus, Orange Cassidy, Colt Cabana & Joey Kanela
Grade – B
We all love a good ladder match, don’t we?
Last night AEW presented us with a huge star-studded Casino ladder match with a future AEW World Championship shot on the line. With big time fan favourites in Darby Allin, Colt Cabana, Orange Cassidy, Joey Janela, Kip Sabian, Frankie Kazarian, Luchasaurus and a mystery ninth contender there was plenty of speculation and predictions around this must see match up.
The action started with Scorpion Sky and Frankie Kazarian which, in my opinion, was brilliant. Seeing two current teammates square off makes for simple and effective booking that had my attention from the get-go. This was done very differently to most ladder matches we see today with gauntlet rules added to the match stipulation.
Each opponent would make their way to the ring every two minutes or so which added something unique and interesting to the already must-see bout. What we got from this was a little of everything. We had comedic angles with Orange Cassidy which took added great character and entertainment. We also had fast paced and thrilling spots from Darby Allin and Kip Sabian, alongside good storytelling with Scorpion Sky and Kazarian. We only had Luchasaurus bringing the power and so when the ninth competitor was revealed as Brian Cage, there was a shift in the feel of this match.
Cage was not the man I was expecting to see as the mystery ninth competitor, but what a brilliant surprise it was. Accompanied by Taz, who appears to have taken on the role of Cage’s manager, we have something new on the AEW roster sure to shake things up and add something totally new to the main event scene.
Cage has debuted in AEW and what a way to do so. I also must mention that outside interference in this match did divide fan opinion. Personally I wasn’t a fan of that – Jimmy Havoc, we are looking at you.
MJF defeated Jungle Boy
Grade – B-
You don’t often see two wrestlers quite as different as MJF and Jungle Boy.
Their one on one encounter told the age old story of the good vs the bad, a loveable babyface and one of the best heels in the business today. We saw a clash of styles with two stars of the future setting the bar high, complimenting each other very well indeed. There was a level of intensity I wasn’t really expecting, and the match was very physical and exciting to watch. We had some explosive moves executed by Jungle Boy and the selling of MJF was fantastic throughout. I do think in terms of wrestling skill Jungle Boy really brought out the best in MJF.
There was a great simple story being told with strong character work from both sides and the fantastic wrestling here kept me entertained; this bout did in fact stand out as one of my personal favourites of the evening because of how different it was to others on the card.
The end result wasn’t a huge surprise – the way MJF got the win fitted his character well and the match as a whole was the type of showing both men needed.
TNT Championship Tournament Finals – Cody defeated Lance Archer
Grade – B+
One of the best builds to a match on the AEW Double or Nothing card was Cody vs Lance Archer.
Everything done here left me extremely excited for this collision as we looked to see who of the two would be crowned the first-ever TNT Champion. The two had fought an intense tournament, and as the weeks developed the rivalry between both men grew incredibly personal.
Alongside Mike Tyson presenting the championship and both Lance and Cody having support at their side in the form of legends Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Arn Anderson, the match felt especially important indeed and had a big fight feel.
From the get-go there was a clear power and size advantage at the hands of Lance Archer who looked to dominate Cody and close things immediately. However, both men displayed their different approaches early; Lance’s power was going to have to go up against the speed and wrestling skill of Cody. Throughout Archer looked to slow Cody down, always managing to regain momentum quickly whenever it looked as though Cody was about to gain the upper hand.
I also liked that we got to see more of Archer’s character as he played up to the cameras and the “crowd”. This was Lance’s best performance to date as we saw more to his move set and what he brings to the table. There was a great focus on submission holds from Cody as he looked to ground his much bigger opponent. However, with Jake Roberts at ringside, Cody was distracted throughout and missed key opportunities
The closing moments saw Mike Tyson play a little role and Cody was able to hit two Cross Rhodes to make history and become the first TNT Champion in a decision that has also divided fan opinion massively. Was it the right call? Only time will tell.
Kris Statlander defeated Penelope Ford
Grade – D+
With Britt Baker out of action due to an injury fans saw Penelope Ford step in to face Kris Statlander in what was a collision between two very athletic female stars.
Now, the women’s division in AEW is still something that needs work, but two women’s matches on the card was a great step up. Kris had a clear power advantage, but with both women still fairly new to the scene it was evenly fought. Kip Sabian at ringside worked as a great advantage point for Ford and while the match was not very long at all, the woman showcased highlights of their move set.
It was great to see these two women in particular booked on a PPV card, but while the two complimented each other well throughout, it was still a little clunky. In the end, Statlander picked up the win but it must be said that I cannot wait to start seeing even more of Penelope in the ring. The more she works. the better she will get.
Dustin Rhodes defeated Shawn Spears
Grade – D+
Over the past couple of weeks Shawn Spears has had a lot to say about the Rhodes family. This weekend, he was scheduled to face off against Dustin Rhodes. However, he came down to the ring in his street clothes confident Dustin wouldn’t make an appearance.
Of course, in true wrestling style, things didn’t go the way the heel planned, and Dustin soon made an appearance and the match began with Spears still in his suit. As the match progressed, we saw more and more layers of Spears’ clothing removed. While this was at least entertaining, it frustrates me not seeing either of these men involved in something more serious. On the flip side Dustin picked up a much needed win to regain some momentum.
AEW Womens Title, No Disqualification and No Count Out – Hikaru Shida defeated Nyla Rose
Grade – B
Adding the No DQ stipulation was the right gimmick to give these two and it’s great to see the women’s division given something a little extra.
From the get-go both women set out to use their surroundings, making the match intense and very physical straight away. Each woman brought something different to the table, with Nyla presenting sheer power against the speed and agility of Shida. What was also evident rather early in this encounter was the fact this would go down as a highlight for the AEW Women’s division. I said it earlier: there is still work to be done, but these two gave fans a great showing in a strong title match up.
Shida was on fire throughout and was incredibly fun to watch, working so well with the champion. The longer this match went on the more difficult it was to predict just who would walk out with the win. Both women came so close so many times and there were endless explosive moves being executed but in the end we saw a brand new champion crowned in Hikaru Shida.
This is a woman who has been working so hard and standing out from the beginning. She more than deserves this win. Congrats to our new AEW Women’s champion.
AEW World Championship Jon Moxley defeated Mr. Brodie Lee
Grade – A
There is plenty of history between Jon Moxley and Brodie Lee. With that in mind I was personally very excited for this match. Despite their similarities the two do represent something vastly different at this stage, so while this match was more predictable than many others on the night, this was still a contest with so much potential. Both men have a rough, edgy style with intensity and brutality, totally unafraid of putting their bodies through hell and punishing their opponents.
From the moment the action began, the two went back and forth. As expected, this championship match was violent and very entertaining but most importantly it was the match Brodie Lee needed. He hasn’t always had the chance to show just how good he is and what he can offer but last night the length of this match and the opponent he faced allowed Lee to show the world that he is a main event star.
What surprised me about this was the way the match concluded. While Brodie didn’t tap out, he did pass out and so the match was stopped after a choke (albeit after Brodie Lee was driven head first through the ramp) and Moxley retained leaving everyone wondering if there is still more to come between these two further down the line.
There was no surprise to see the title remain on Moxley but what a brilliant performance from Brodie.
Stadium Stampede: The Elite & Matt Hardy defeated The Inner Circle
Grade – A
Time for another first ever: the Stadium Stampede match between the Elite and The Inner Circle. What a main event this was.
Here we had an all out war between two teams consisting of some of the best names in the industry today. Ten men running around a stadium beating the crap out of each other definitely makes for entertaining viewing, but it was at times messy. There was a lot going on, but the intensity between the two teams added to why this did work. In the early stages of this match, The Inner Circle had the upper hand with numbers on their side. This was due to Hangman Page not making an appearance until later on where he appeared on a horse (and as someone with a very big fear of horses, this was hard to watch).
There was so much happening it was difficult to keep up but this was so different to anything we have seen before. From unique table spots, to Matt Hardy changing personas in a pool and brawling in a bar; there was nothing we could really compare this main event to. We also had plenty of character work from Matt Jackson, which is very entertaining indeed and the continuation of the angle involving Hangman Page.
The action went all around the Stadium and the work from the past few weeks tied together very nicely. After a lengthy, packed, intense main event we eventually saw The Elite pick up the win at the hands of Omega hitting a brutal One Winged Angel off a stage through a platform below. Now, this is something that is sure to split fans and be something you will either love or hate. I enjoyed this a lot but I do think it was messy at times and very lengthy.
Saying that, I was very entertained throughout and it made for a great special one off that was different to anything we have seen before. Hopefully Blood and Guts gives us that more serious end to this feud that it needs.
AEW Double or Nothing was definitely entertaining. From the moment the action started in The Buy In to its end in the Stadium, fans were given plenty to enjoy.
There were controversial booking decisions made such as Archer losing clean, but a big title change in the women’s division, a career highlight performance from Brodie Lee and the debut of Brian Cage meant this event gave fans so much to talk about and enjoy. With Best Friends and Brian Cage now in line for title shots, a new title in the mix and a new Women’s champion in Hikaru Shida, the landscape has changed to what should be a fascinating summer of action, fans or no fans.
It’s a tough time at the moment but All Elite Wrestling gave us a star-studded entertaining show we won’t be forgetting any time soon.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @TezangiVictoria. Thanks for reading!