I’m really glad All Elite Wrestling is spacing out their pay-per-view events. It not only gives them time to build up to them but also allows fans like myself to really breathe in-between them thanks to the month-long gaps. Well, it just may be a budgeting issue but I still appreciate giving us a little time off in-between them. It just makes them feel a whole lot more special.
Anyway, AEW’s first big show of the year, Double or Nothing, is over and done. So, how did they do? Let’s go see… in order! Before we do, I will be apologizing in advance because, for some strange reason, All Elite Wrestling doesn’t want to upload clips of their big Double or Nothing show on their YouTube channel, which means I’ll be scrounging around the Internet looking for clips of the matches or maybe just post screencaps… like this.
AEW, maybe you should hire a YouTube curator or something to help you out. I mean, you have AEW Dark on the site yet no clips for Double or Nothing? For shame!
The first match of the night was the big Casino Ladder Match with the winner automatically becoming the Number 1 contender for the AEW World Championship. This is a unique take on the classic ladder match as the Casino Ladder Match is more like a ladder match with a Royal Rumble as a new entrant comes in every 2 minutes. This was a good way to start things out as the action did get better and better as more entrants came in. Some highlights include Darby Allin trying to land on Kazarian with his skateboard (and crashing down hard), Kip Sabian using the No DQ rules to the fullest by bringing in Jimmy Havoc and Penelope Ford to help out and everyone teaming up against the debuting Brian Cage by piling up debris in the hopes he can’t dig his way out.
The finish saw Luchasaurus getting rid of the remaining wrestlers but Brian Cage emerged from the rubble. The two behemoths battled it out in a rather athletic brawl, flips and all, but Cage finally taking out the big man of Jurassic Express by powerbombing him onto a ladder. Allin tried to get in front of things but Cage was just too powerful with a suplex-to-piledriver then stacking Allin on a ladder and then tossing him out of the ring, along with the ladder. Cage then climbed another ladder to get the chip to get his title shot.
This was a fun match with a lot of stuff happening but things never got overwhelming. There was a good mixture of comedy with Orange Cassidy questioning what a ladder match is and some great stunt work. I do have to question things like the members of SCU battling it out at the start since they’re teammates as well as giving the debuting Brian Cage the number 1 contender spot. If wins and losses matter, why even allow the new guy to compete in this kind of match? Either way, this was entertaining and worth a watch.
The next match had MJF duking it out with Jurassic Express’ Jungle Boy. I had high expectations for this one and I was not disappointed. This was a good old classic arrogant heel versus the honorable face. I loved how Jungle Boy managed to match move for move against MJF and how MJF had to fake an injury to sucker punch the babyface in order to get the advantage. There was also some really good in-ring storytelling with injuries affecting who got the upper hand.
The finish was also really executed well. MJF went for a rollup with a handful of tights but Jungle Boy reversed it with a rollup of his own. However, the more technical sound MJF went for a bridging pin to garner the win. No real underhanded tactics like outside interference or foreign objects to get the win. It was just good and sound wrestling. This is my “standard” match of the night, in my opinion.
The next match had Cody (with Arn Anderson) taking on Lance Archer (with Jake “The Snake” Roberts) for the TNT Championship finals. AEW did get Mike Tyson to present the belt so you know some shenanigans was going to happen. Looking at the match, I think it was a bad idea to get Mike Tyson because, well, he looked really out of it and I don’t think he was all that interested. A paycheck is a paycheck, I guess?
The match itself was actually pretty good. Cody did a wonderful job taking a beating from Lance Archer and Lance Archer did, well, a good job really showing what a monster he is. I also really liked how Cody nailed a DDT to Archer to get under Jake Roberts’ skin with Archer returning the favor by connecting with a spinebuster right in the face of Arn Anderson.
The finish, however, was terrible. For some reason, Jake “The Snake” Roberts distracted the referee, allowing Arn Anderson to clip Archer as he was doing his top-rope tightrope act. Another referee came from the back and informed the in-ring official of what happened, leading to Anderson and Roberts being ejected from ringside? I get why Arn was but why Jake? Anyway, Archer got the upper hand again and motioned for something. This led to Jake “The Snake” Roberts coming out from the back with his snake bag. For some reason, Mike Tyson decided to block Roberts, distracting Archer. Cody took advantage and nailed a couple of Cross Rhodes to get the pinfall victory and become the first ever TNT Champion.
Like I said, the match itself was going swimmingly until the very end. It was nonsensical and overly complicated. Things really didn’t make a whole lot of sense by the end. Still, this wasn’t a terrible match. It was just a good match with a terribly executed finish.
The next match pitted Kris Statlander against Penelope Ford, who was replacing the injured Dr. Britt Baker. This was the worst match of the night, which is a shame. I really like Penelope Ford and I think she’s one of the most underutilized talents in AEW’s roster. She’s got a good look and her wrestling acumen is, at least, above average. I also think Kris Statlander is the same way. However, everything was just sloppy from bell to bell. The standout blah moment for me was the dodging bridge into a stunner by Ford to Statlander. That stunner looked really awkward and had totally no impact!
The finish had The Bad Girl attempting her cartwheel cutter but The Galaxy’s Greatest Alien blocked it and reversed it into a blue thunder bomb. She followed it up with her Big Bang Theory spike piledriver to get the victory. This was a bad match and I was going to say this was the worst match of the night…
…Then came Dustin Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears.
Spears came out in a suit and claimed Dustin was back home, washing his tights (is this a Tim Burton Batman reference?). He asked the referee to start the match and count out Dustin because, hey, a win is a win, right? Dustin did eventually come out and roughed Spears up a bit. The “Chairman” got some offense but, little by little, Dustin was beating him move for move and taking off his clothing. At one point, Spears was left with just his Tully Blanchard boxer briefs. Man, wrestling is weird!
Anyway, shortly after that, Dustin Rhodes landed the Final Reckoning to win the match. The less we talk about this match, the better.
We now get to the AEW Women’s Championship match pitting Nyla Rose against Hikaru Shida with No DQs. Now, I will say I really liked this match but there is a personal bias here because I really love Hikaru Shida and her wrestling style. There’s just something about her manner of wrestling that just works for me. So that’s already a hint regarding who’s going to win.
Both wrestlers did a great job of utilizing their signature moves while also integrating the entire No DQ stipulation into it. There was some good brawling outside of the ring and also using various props like a fake casino table and the giant tokens to their advantage. The most used weapon was the kendo stick and, while I do think it was a bit overused, I loved how it was used as both an offensive and defense weapons at various times by both women.
The finish came with Hikaru Shida nailing The Native Beast with a wicked kendo stick strike to the head. One running knee later and we have a NEW AEW Women’s Champion!
This was a wonderful match with both performers putting on a great show. Making this a No DQ match allowed Nyla Rose to lose the title but still look like a monster while also making Hikaru Shida look like a credible champion with a lot of heart. If I were to nitpick, I do wish they gave Hikaru Shida a clear finishing move. It looks like it supposed to be a running knee but, seeing as she uses it all the time, I guess it isn’t. If she really likes to finish matches with it, she should use a modified running knee to close out matches, not just use the same thing over and over again.
The next match had Jon Moxley defending his AEW World Championship against Mr. Brodie Lee of the Dark Order. Now, I also had high hopes for this match and, while it didn’t meet my lofty expectations, it was still quite a spectacle. Both Moxley and Lee worked their strengths and, yes, they seem to work well together as well. However, I do have some major issues with this match.
My first issue is how The Exalted One didn’t use the entire Dark Order gimmick to his advantage. I fully expected to have some of his lackeys around the ring, distracting Moxley from time to time. That didn’t happen for some reason or another. Another problem I have is how this inexplicably became another No DQ match even if it wasn’t stipulated! There were so many times when both competitors should’ve been counted out yet they weren’t! They also used a myriad of weaponry without even being admonished by the referee!
The finish was rather stupid as well. The match spilled onto the stage area and Mr. Brodie Lee attempted a powerbomb but Jon Moxley reversed it and nailed a Death Rider DDT through the stage! This led to Lee getting busted open. Moxley rolled back into the ring but Lee still tried to fight back with a discus lariat. Jon Moxley ducked underneath and nailed a Paradign Shift DDT for the count of 2. Moxley then switched strategies and locked in a sleeperhold to retain his AEW World Championship.
This was a good match overall but the issues I mentioned really irked me for some reason. I guess it’s more of a matter of feeling things could’ve been much better than it was.
We finally get to the final match, which is the Stadium Stampede. This was another “cinematic” match and it was a doozy! Now, I get how wrestling purists will utterly detest the Stadium Stampede. It’s not wrestling in its original form. It’s not serious and it breaks kayfabe several times. However, from a pure entertainment standpoint, the Stadium Stampede is pure gold!
There are just too many excellent moments to note here. There was Hangman Adam Page chasing Sammy Guevarra while riding a horse. Nick Jackson doing a diving splash onto a prone Chris Jericho through a table. Matt Jackson doing a moonsault from the goal post. Proud and Powerful slamming Kenny Omega through a barricade on top of bar tables. Oritz gingerly entering a pool with 3 feet of water because he can’t swim. “Broken” Matt Hardy reverting back to his former gimmicks when being dunked in the pool.
We also had Hangman Adam Page and Jack Hagar having a drink at a bar before fighting. Kenny Omega becoming faux ring ropes so Adam Page can launch himself at Jack Hagar with a Buckshot Lariat. Matt Jackson doing his locomotion Northern Light Suplex for the entire length of the football field. Jericho challenging a call from referee Aubrey Edwards and looking at the replay. There’s many more but I can’t really list down all the moments here because there’s just too many!
The finish was also really spectacular. Sammy Guevarra was fighting for his life and he almost got the advantage. He was throttling “Broken” Matt Hardy but NEO1, the upgraded version of Vanguard 1, distracted him enough for Omega to nail The Spanish God with a V-Trigger knee strike. Omega then connected with a One Winged Angel on Guevarra from the top of the stands onto a trick platform to get the win for his team.
Stadium Stampede is an instant “cinematic” wrestling classic and just pure fun from start to finish. It was an excellent way to end AEW Double or Nothing as it made everyone leave with a huge grin from ear to ear.
Overall, I really liked this year’s Double or Nothing show. While there were a few issues here and there, the Stadium Stampede definitely made me forget them.
Now, AEW, about your YouTube channel…
What did you think of AEW’s Double or Nothing show this year? Let me know in the comments section below!