Las Vegas, Nevada was the site for a new chapter in the wrestling industry. A long-awaited, fan-friendly company started in a huge way. Double or Nothing lasted nearly 5 hours including the pre-show. The show trended on Twitter for a good majority of the night and was a stellar show.
21-Man Casino Battle Royale
It was an interesting concept that, admittedly, confused several fans of the Internet wrestling community. The rules seemed convoluted and in a night where the majority of the show landed, this was a bit of a miss. The Casino Battle Royale started with 5 people that had drawn a card of a deck with matching suits. These cards would represent their team. At random, a new card would be drawn and the next suit would come in with 5 more people. The final person would be the person who drew the Joker. In exchange for winning, the last man in the ring would be awarded a world title shot at a future date.
So, now that a puzzle has been added to the show, the action can begin. The first 5 men in the ring were Dustin Thomas, Ace Romero, Sunny Daze, Brandon Cutler, and MJF. If there is one takeaway from this show, it’s that MJF is on a path to absolute stardom with All Elite Wrestling. As soon as MJF came out, he was met with a massive amount of boos. The crowd reacted exactly as you should to the “Salt of the Earth.” As soon as the bell rang, MJF attacked Dustin Thomas, the wrestler with no legs. He carried this heat throughout the entire match.
We saw a few surprises throughout the match as more cards were drawn. Some announced surprises included Orange Cassidy and Shawn Spears (formerly known as Tye Dillinger). Amongst the surprises that were unannounced were Tommy Dreamer and Marko Stunt. Entering at 21, to the surprise of no one, would be Hangman Adam Page. He played up an injury throughout the duration of the match. A nice spot was executed toward the end as MJF tried to surprise Page and throw him over the rope. As one could assume, Page throws MJF over the top rope and is the last man standing. Page will face off against the winner of Jericho vs Omega at a later date for the AEW World title.
Sammy Guevara vs Kip Sabian
For me, it was a huge match. Wrestle Circus, a local promotion for me, has booked Sammy Guevara for years. He is a fan favourite at that promotion and has been just a ton of fun to follow. Kip Sabian brought a lot of intrigues based on his look and move set.
The show really started to hit it’s stride early here with this match. Kip Sabian and Sammy Guevara started slow but quickly sped up. A spot of note was the shooting star press from Guevara that was delivered to Sabian who was placed on top of the barricade. For the majority of the match, Guevara controlled the action and worked the crowd to boo him throughout.
As a babyface often does, Sabian worked hard and prevailed, in the end, winning the match. Excellent match.
SCU vs Strong Hearts
It’s unfortunate that this match will likely be forgotten based on the other matches on the card. SCU came out to a massive reaction from the crowd. It’s fun to think about where all the members of SCU were prior to All In. These three men have enjoyed an incredible resurgence.
This match was promised to be quick and athletic. No lies were told during the lead up to this match as all 6 men put on an incredible athletic display. Cima, a wrestling legend across the globe, displayed quickness and athleticism that were awe inspiring. Scorpio Sky of SCU really looked best in this match as he was able to show a lot of his athletic ability delivering a springboard cutter a few times throughout the match.
Shockingly, SCU pulled off the win, but I am definitely intrigued to see more of the Strong Hearts in All Elite Wrestling.
Kylie Rae vs Britt Baker vs Nyla Rose vs Awesome Kong
What is wrestling without a good surprise, right? One of the major surprises of the evening was Brandi Rhodes coming out in her ring gear prior to the start of this match. We all thought this was a Stephanie McMahon angle and that Double or Nothing would be another WWE trope filled PPV. Luckily, this was a swerve in the best way as Brandi said, “I want this match to be AWESOME.” Immediately, Awesome Kong makes her entrance to a massive reaction from the crowd.
Hard hitting, tough, and impressive wrestling was shown by all four women in this match. For me, Kylie Rae was the standout here. She was able to show quite a bit of strength with a deadlift German suplex spot and the crowd was absolutely behind her. All Elite Wrestling absolutely has their top babyface in Kylie Rae.
Ultimately, some heelish antics from Britt Baker led to the finish of the match. She super kicked Rae so hard that her yellow bow went flying, which was a fantastic visual. Baker hits her finisher dubbed “novocaine” (get it, she’s a dentist) and pinned Rae for the win.
Best Friends vs Angelico & Jack Evans
Tag team wrestling is meant to be super important at All Elite Wrestling. This match was absolutely the start of that. If you follow the Best Friends, you know that they typically do not get to show off their wrestling ability too much. Typically found as a jobber team, Best Friends are often used to put other teams over. However, all four men here were impressive. Jack Evans & Angelico utilized fantastic tag team manoeuvres that added intrigue to the match.
While the match started a bit slow, the final third of the match really picked up. Chuckie T and Trent spent a lot of their time on retreat but pulled out the win in a final push of momentum. The match was built around the “Best Friends hug” that was welcomed with a huge pop by the crowd.
After the pin, the lights go dark.
An appearance by Super Smash Brothers is the second surprise of the night. A team that the Young Bucks have said are some of their favourite opponents are here in All Elite Wrestling. The lights go out a second time. And there are minions? Not really sure what was going on here, but I remember watching Super Smash Brothers vs Young Bucks last year during a Ring of Honor show and absolutely loved their work. Interesting to see how this will go.
Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, Emi Sakura vs Hikaru Shida, Riho, Ryo Mizunami
I was most interested in this match going into Double or Nothing. I was unfamiliar with the majority of the work from these women outside of Aja Kong. However, Yuka Sakazaki was such a delight in this match.
As advertised by Kenny Omega, this match was fast, hard-hitting, and unique. If you’re a fan of Joshi wrestling, this match was absolutely for you. I’m a huge proponent of All Elite Wrestling’s desire to bring wrestling like this to a bigger crowd.
The crowd was fully behind Yuka Sakazaki throughout this match. However, Hikaru Shida ends up picking up the pinfall victory here as could be expected since she is the only woman signed to the roster.
Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes
The most intriguing story was absolutely Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes. Dusty’s boys built an incredible story in just 8 minutes of total videos between the two on the Road to Double or Nothing Series. Cody and Dustin gave this crowd exactly what was wanted – a match to kill the Attitude Era.
As could be expected, Cody and Dustin told an incredible story in the ring. Dustin Rhodes has long been one of the best storytellers in the business. Cody’s in-ring work is best when he has a great dance partner for a good story.
The typical Cody shenanigans did exist here where we had Brandi get involved to help cheat for Cody. Earl Hebner, who guest officiated this match, did throw Brandi out which resulted in a huge reaction by the crowd.
Dustin was busted open in this match and it has to be stated that he lost so much blood. The ring was covered in blood in what was one of the more gruesome sights I’ve seen in a while in wrestling.
Throughout this match, the story was told that Cody was younger, fast, and strong than Dustin, but the crafty veteran had some moves up his sleeve. Dustin hit a Crossrhodes, which was kicked out of by Cody Rhodes before finally, Cody his own Crossrhodes and pinned Dustin for the win.
The segment after the match is where the magic happened. Dustin was left in the ring bruised, battered, and bloody. Cody was outside of the ring and ran back inside of it. Upon seeing Cody come back in the ring, Dustin jumped back, terrified he was going to be beaten down some more. Cody then cut a promo stating he has a match at Fight for the Fallen on July 13 against the Young Bucks with a partner of his choosing. He said he doesn’t need a friend, he needs his older brother. The two men embrace and the crowd was covered in tears. Beautiful segment and ending to a fantastic match. Easily the match of the night.
The All Elite Wrestling Championship Belt
To the surprise of everyone in the crowd, Bret Hart entered the arena to a massive reaction. He was here to unveil the AEW world title! Bret asked Hangman Page to come out as he was the first confirmed person in the eventual world title match.
Hangman arrived and was quickly interrupted by MJF who proceeded to cut one of the best heel promos I’ve heard in a while. I can not overstate just how over MJF is with the crowd. Anything he does or says is met with boos. MJF And Hangman brawl after MJF says that injured horses get killed.
Bret Hart ended the segment holding up the beautiful World title for the crowd and the world to see.
AAA World Tag Team Championship Match: The Young Bucks vs The Lucha Brothers
Not much needs to be said about this match. As expected, this was fast, full of spots, and full of jaw-dropping manoeuvres that will make anyone jealous of the ability the Lucha Brothers and the Young Bucks possess.
The Bucks hit many manoeuvres we haven’t seen in a while from them, including “more bang for your Buck” which was an awesome sight to see. Much of the match was spent on taking out Pentagon and capitalizing on Fénix together.
Strong double team manoeuvres from both teams were seen throughout the match and the crowd was electric throughout. Two tag matches into All Elite Wrestling’sexistence and so far, they have shown they may have the best tag team wrestling in the world. The Young Bucks win after a Meltzer Driver.
Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho
Alpha vs Omega, Jericho vs Omega, whatever you call it, you know what you want from this match. Two of the greatest in the industry right now and some consider Jericho to be the greatest of all time put on a very good main event.
Omega held the advantage for the majority of the match, controlling Jericho and keeping his violence under wraps. Omega teased multiple times for the one winged angel but never hit it.
Jericho hit a beautiful code breaker from the top topes on Kenny during this match. At one point, Jericho also gave a middle finger to a guy dressed up as Jesus at a wrestling show. I’m not sure why the guy did this but felt it was important to point out that absurdity.
Jericho finally hits another codebreaker and lands his new finisher – the Judas Effect which ends the match with a surprising Chris Jericho Victory.
The moment everyone is talking about now, however, happened during Jericho’s speech.
As expected, Jericho demanded a thank-you from the crowd stating that there is now All Elite Wrestling or Double or Nothing without him signing a deal. A huge moment would happen then. Movement in the crowd happens and the crowd is restless, going bananas. We all expected a debut here, but who was it.
Over the rails, a man went and he rolled into the ring wearing a jacket with spray-painted letters – M O X. Jon Moxley has debuted with All Elite Wrestling.
Many anticipated this, more wanted this to happen, and we had the first huge jump from WWE to All Elite Wrestling. Moxley hit a confused Jericho with a DDT. He picked up the ref, shrugged his shoulders, and gave him a DDT. Finally, he started to brawl with Kenny Omega all the way through the crowd up until they were both on top of the poker chips located right next to the stage. Moxley delivers another DDT and tossed Kenny off the stage. The PPV ended with Moxley looking at the camera before finally giving a middle finger to the crowd, something he could not do with his former employer.
For a first PPV, you have to make a major statement. There is no bigger statement right now that Jon Moxley debuting after the man received his own WWE special for his final day in the company. I was in the crowd for this show, so my overall thoughts on the show are from that perspective. As someone that was at All In and now Double or Nothing, I have to say that Dusty’s son and his friends are on to a great start. This PPV had exactly what was promised – excellent wrestling, entertaining segments, good promo work, and huge surprises.
The variation of surprises is what I liked the best. Super Smash Brothers, Awesome Kong, and Jon Moxley are an assortment of people you’d never expect to be on one show together as surprises. Here we are. The game has changed a bit for professional wrestling and it’s clear that All Elite Wrestling is in this thing to give the fans something they want.
In debuting Jon Moxley at the end of the show, you can see that they are committed to this. Moxley was one of the most popular superstars in WWE during his run with the Shield and after as Dean Ambrose. A commitment to this man as your top level, the mainstream guy is going to go a long way with getting some hardcore WWE fans to take a peek at All Elite Wrestling.
Great show, great start, and I can’t wait for the next one.
Double or Nothing Results
- Casino Battle Royale Winner: Hangman Page
- Kip Sabian defeated Sammy Guevara
- SCU defeated Stronghearts
- Britt Baker defeated Kylie Rae, Awesome Kong, and Nyla Rose
- Best Friends defeated Angelico & Jack Evans
- Team Yakura Shida defeated Team Aja Kong
- Cody defeated Dustin Rhodes
- The Young Bucks defeated The Lucha Brothers
- Chris Jericho defeated Kenny Omega
- Jon Moxley destroyed everything
All pics courtesy of AEW and ITV Wrestling