During a time of global uncertainty, All Elite Wrestling promised to bring some much-needed distraction and enjoyment, something it certainly accomplished. AEW’s Double or Nothing featured the crowning of the first-ever TNT champion, and the AEW Women’s World Champion Nyla Rose came under threat from Hikaru Shida. Whether or not Jon Moxley would retain his AEW World Championship against the exalted one Brodie Lee, a 9-Man Casino Ladder Match to decide the next number 1 contender for the AEW World Championship, and the fallout from an 8-month feud between the Elite and the Inner Circle in the Stadium Stampede match.
The Buy In Show: Private Party Vs Best Friends
Since the no-crowd era of AEW has begun, Best Friends have been extremely well booked and developed. They have become a standout tag team for the company, one team it would be easy to see wearing the AEW World Tag Team Championship belts very soon. These two teams gave this match everything they possibly could as they fought for the number 1 contender spot within the division. Both teams outdid themselves as Best Friends focused on a harder hitting moves while Private Party showed the world their supreme high-flying ability, this match could have easily been featured on the main card of Double or Nothing.
These two teams wanted everything from each other as neither seemed to be able to make head waves in dominating the match, one after another they countered each other’s moves and changed the match into their favour once again. This match had all the ingredients to be one of the best matches featured on Double or Nothing, we saw Private Party proving once again that their team working ability is better than any other team within AEW. Private Party also showed the world their incredible high-flying ability as they made their high-flying moves look easy. Even though Best Friends seemed to be the far more beaten team, they also showed their star power as they focused on hitting a harder style or moves, though this clearly took its toll as Trent struggled to take advantage at points. Once he finally got back to his feet, there was a fire lit in Trent Beretta as he and Chuckie T hit Quen with a Top Strong Zero and won not only the match but the top contender spot as well.
Private Party vs Best Friends was a brilliant opening match. While I have voiced some complaints about Private Party’s in-ring gimmick in recent weeks, there were no complaints I could make during this match if they continue to show such amazing in-ring ability I am going to quickly become a Private Party fan. Best Friends came out on top and that was a smart move from AEW as this team will make for great competitors against the current champions Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page.
Winner: Best Friends – Rating: 3/5
Casino Ladder Match for An AEW World Title Shot
How do you start the second-ever Double or Nothing PPV? Well, of course, you throw 8 AEW stars and one mystery competitor into a Casino Ladder match to hopefully win a shot at the AEW World Championship title. Bizarrely enough, the first two competitors were Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky, both members of SCU. Next entered Superbad Kip Sabian who turned back on his earlier promise to compete on his own as Jimmy Havoc got involved in the match. It was then time for Darby Allin to enter, in typical Darby Allin fashion, he climbed onto the top of a ladder and jumped through the air on a skateboard.
Orange Cassidy’s entrance into this match was pure comedy gold, as he did not seem to understand what a ladder match was nor did he really care. Colt Cabana entered next, he was followed by Joey Janela who came into this match as the replacement for Rey Fénix. Janela had an explosive entrance into the match as he jumped straight off the entrance ramp and worked his way around the ring taking out anyone he could. Luchasaurus shortly followed.
The mystery ninth competitor was none other than Brian Cage, who appeared on the entrance ramp with Taz. Cage came straight in and dominated every other opponent. The other eight men in this Ladder match quickly realised they would need to work together, they managed to bury him under shrapnel. The other eight men went about taking one another out until Luchasaurus was left, Brian Cage smashed through his grave of shrapnel before facing off against Luchasaurus, followed by beating Darby Allin, Cage climbed to the top of the ladder and won the title shot.
Casino matches have become quite the staple at AEW PPVs over the last year. AEW decided to try something new with this match and I thought it paid off. In my opinion, this was easily the best casino match AEW has put on so far. It had everything you could want from a multiple man match, there was humour, hardcore spots, beatings and two giant monsters facing off. The match also provided to be a great introduction to Brian Cage within AEW, they made him look like an insane beast, someone that could only be taken down once eight other men worked together. It was not a perfect match there were some small mistakes and missed moves but it did not take anything away.
Winner: Brian Cage – Rating: 3/5
MJF (w/ Wardlow) Vs Jungle Boy
The matchup between MJF and Jungle Boy was so well booked that it made you forget that we didn’t see either for a few months, you definitely knew who was the heel and the babyface within this match up. At the start of the match, both opponents were evenly matched, neither being able to get the one up on the other. Of course, this didn’t go down well with the Salt of the Earth, MJF, who focused on tricking everyone into believing he was injured, giving him the perfect chance to attack Jungle Boy from behind. MJF focused on beating Jungle Boy up as much as he possibly could. It was clear that AEW was focused on reminding you how much of a heel MJF truly is while making Jungle Boy become more and more of a babyface.
While Jungle Boy was being repeatedly beaten by his opponent, it made me cheer him on more and more. I so desperately wanted Jungle Boy, who was being shown as the underdog, to make a comeback and win the match. This showed how well the match was booked as I didn’t really care for it beforehand, but I found myself getting into the match. It became a battle between David and Goliath as both competitors were beaten down, MJF caused Jungle Boy’s left arm to be injured. During this match, we truly believed that either competitor could win and this showed just how effective this match. MJF won the match after a battle of submission moves, a great ending to a great match which shown both competitors as the future of All Elite Wrestling.
Winner: MJF – Rating: 4/5
TNT Championship Match: Cody (w/ Arn Anderson) Vs Lance Archer (w/ Jake The Snake Roberts)
Before the match started, Mike Tyson came out to present the new TNT title belt, not the most attractive belt in professional wrestling. It’s nowhere near the worst and it was mentioned on the show that the belt is unfinished due to restrictions in place by the pandemic.
Lance Archer came straight into this match up ready for blood as he straight away hit Cody with his finisher move, the blackout. Instead of being pinned Cody rolled out of the ring. I loved this start because straight away it showed Lance as a dominating monster who wanted to not only win but also cause as much damage as possible. This also showed that Cody had learnt over the last few weeks and was prepared to be the smaller competitor, Cody knew early on that if he was going to win this match he would need to use his smarts.
As the match developed, Cody looked far more beaten down than Lance Archer as Archer repeatedly hit Cody with huge devasting moves on after another. There was a nice hint to some of the wrestling greats as Cody hit Jake Roberts’ finisher and Sting’s stinger splash, while Lance Archer hit Arn Anderson’s finisher and a beautiful chokeslam. I didn’t enjoy the ending of the match though as it was spoiled by an incident caused by Arn Anderson and Jake Roberts. Roberts decided to distract the referee, allowing Anderson to hit Lance Archer, which was fine but then another referee ran to the ring to say that he had seen Anderson hit Lance. Therefore, the referee of the match threw them both out, giving Cody the opportunity to hit Lance with two Cross-Rhodes and become the inaugural TNT Champion.
The ending spoiled what was becoming such a great match between two strong competitors. I just felt it was really ruined, the ending probably looked better on paper but it didn’t come across right in the ring. My other problem with this match is that it was so built up that Tyson would knock someone out or Lance was going to beat Mike when he never really got involved other than with Roberts for a few moments. This may have just been built up a bit too much than it really should have been. It was good, the match didn’t squash Lance at all as he spent most of the match looking like a monster, besting Cody.
Winner: Cody Rating: 3/5
Penelope Ford (w/ Kip Sabian) Vs Kris Statlander
Before the next match, we saw one of the AEW doctors discussing Dr. Britt Baker’s injury, he explained that the patient was much worse than the injury as she is such a pain in the arse. He explained because Britt is a role model, she will announce when she will come back on next week’s episode of Dynamite. We saw this promo because the match was originally going to be between Britt Baker and Kris Statlander. Superbad Kip Sabian escorted Penelope Ford to the ring, he was covered in bandages and using crutches as he was so beaten up after the Casino ladder match earlier on.
It was a short and sweet match, only around eight minutes but it was good, both competitors put on a great match seeing as they were thrown in at the deep end only being told the day before Britt would not be competing. This match would have been completely different if Britt would have been facing Statlander, but Penelope filled in great there just wasn’t much of a storyline. Both competitors performed impressive moves and showed off their gymnastic backgrounds. It was a predictable ending as Kris Statlander won after hitting Penelope Ford with the Big Bang Theory.
Winner: Kris Statlander Rating: 2/5
Shawn Spears Vs Dustin Rhodes
The match between Shawn Spears vs Dustin Rhodes was only put together last week on Dynamite as Spears told everyone Dustin was retiring and then challenged him to a match at Double or Nothing. Spears obviously didn’t think Dustin Rhodes was ever going to turn up as he showed up wearing a suit to the ring. After playing Dustin’s music, Spears started laughing and told the referee she had to ring the bell and count Rhodes out. Of course, Dustin’s music started playing again but, this time, Brandi Rhodes wandered out to the ring, distracting Spears as Dustin turned up behind him.
This was put on to be more of a comedy-styled match, as we saw Dustin strip down Shawn Spears to his pants, pants which had Tully Blanchard’s face printed on the front. After a few moves by both opponents, Dustin won the match. It was a light-hearted match that was funny and filled a gap in the schedule before we headed into three big matches. The good thing about this bout was that Dustin didn’t come out and just killed Spears, he gave him a small amount of offence in the match. Beating Spears clearly relit a fire in Dustin and he now starts to rebuild Dustin after he was beaten by Lance Archer. At the moment Spears’ character doesn’t need to dominate, he seems to be becoming more of a comedy character, that may be because Tully can’t be at the shows right now, so Spears is trying a completely different character.
Winner: Dustin Rhodes Rating: 2/5
AEW will return with their next PPV All Out on September 5th, 2020, location to be announced.
AEW Women’s World Championship Match: Nyla Rose Vs Hikaru Shida
After spending weeks being undefeated on AEW Dynamite, Hikaru Shida finally had the opportunity to become the number 1 contender and challenge Nyla Rose for her AEW Women’s World Championship at Double or Nothing. It was also announced on last week’s Dynamite that this match would be a no disqualification and no count-outs one. Shida came right out of the gate and had an advantage over Nyla Rose until she started to lose some focus, while allowed Nyla to regain control. Nyla Rose now saw her opportunity to dominate and cause some real damage to Shida, as she threw her around both inside and outside the ring.
Shida had a few moments of offence but Nyla continued to dominate. It was great to see a hardcore match between two women on a mainstream professional wrestling PPV as this is a rare sight. AEW planned this match well as, even though it was a hardcore style, neither opponent cut the other and they stuck to more softcore moves which would make this match more appealing to the greater audience. Both competitors tried to break each other, they threw everything they could at one another but it was never overkilled. Nyla threw Shida through a poker table at one point and then later on Shida returned the favour as she threw Nyla through a number of barriers and a giant poker chip. It was a brilliant match because there were points when you truly didn’t know who would win, Shida and Nyla both received several long 2-counts, they both had moments of dominating. After a long-fought battle, Shida smashed Nyla Rose round the head with a kendo stick and then hit a perfect running knee strike to win the match, Hikaru Shida became the third ever AEW Women’s World champion.
This was a brilliant match, the best women’s match AEW has put on so far, it was thoroughly enjoyable and I couldn’t find a single fault with the match. It showed both competitors in a great light, Nyla wasn’t buried at all, in fact, I would say this was the best match I have seen Nyla Rose compete in. Nyla looked like a beast the whole way through this match even when she lost, she looked a lot stronger than she has before and showed some much better in-ring ability.
Winner: Hikaru Shida Rating: 5/5
AEW World Championship Match: Brodie Lee Vs Jon Moxley
This match became personal for Jon Moxley as Brodie Lee, leader of the Dark Order, had stolen the physical championship belt a few weeks ago on Dynamite. Due to the brawl, we were about to see AEW had placed several security guards in the middle of the ring to separate both Moxley and Mr Brodie Lee, this was great as it added to the in-ring psychology. Both men clearly just wanted to hurt one another, from the first few moments of the match to the end it was a proper brawl. Mr Brodie Lee was first to gain control during the match, he focused on using more psychological techniques as he went around the ring hitting Moxley in different places.
As soon as Moxley’s comeback started, Brodie Lee threw him straight out of the ring and then flew into Moxley, this is where the physical battle started to take place as they took turns to hit each other and cause as much damage as possible. Mr Brodie Lee made sure to cause as much damage to Moxley as possible as he threw him repeatedly into barriers. Moxley started to fight against the fatigue as he gains some control after hitting Brodie Lee with a close line and then a pile driver. Shortly after, though, the fatigue and beating started to take its toll on both men.
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_gif) May 24, 2020
Moxley started to crawl out of the ring and up the entrance ramp after another brawl between them, Moxley hit Brodie Lee with a Paradigm Shift which ended up breaking the entrance ramp and both opponents fell through. This is the moment where Moxley won the match, as Brodie Lee’s head was busted open. Once back in the ring, Moxley hit Brodie Lee with another Paradigm Shift and retained the championship.
This was a great brawl, both men came out looking impressive and although this was Brodie Lee’s first main event match, he wasn’t buried in any way. In my opinion, he didn’t have any less strength than before and I don’t think this will stop the Dark Order’s growth as a dominate group within the company.
Winner: Jon Moxley – Rating: 4/5
Stadium Stampede Match: The Elite Vs The Inner Circle
On October 2, 2019, AEW Dynamite was born and so was the Inner Circle. The first-ever Stadium Stampede match was created to showcase the extreme feud between The Elite and The Inner Circle, which started on that day in October. There is just too much to say about this match, if you don’t want to watch the full PPV you must sit down and watch this match. It was just brutal, hilarious, and completely brilliant. We were taken to Jacksonville’s Jaguars American football field where the cheerleaders and marching band were all set up for the match to begin, each competitor ran out onto the pitch through an insane amount of smoke and fire. Though Hangman Adam Page didn’t turn up with his Elite teammates. The match started as they ran across the football field holding weapons and breaking into their own little brawls. Hangman finally saw his opening to arrive as he rang onto the pitch on horseback chasing down Sammy Guevara.
The match split up into three different matches, The Young Bucks stayed with Jericho and Guevara on the football pitch, Hangman headed towards the bar with Jake Hager, and the rest headed onto the upper VIP area. Kenny Omega and Matt Hardy took out Santana and Ortiz, both teams beat the absolute hell out of each other. Omega smashed Ortiz into a plastic trash can and Santana into a barrier, which they quickly counted by throwing salt into Omega’s eyes and smashing him through a barrier. They turned their attention to Hardy as the threw him into a swimming pool, Matt Hardy used this to regenerate into Matt version 1.0, before turning back into Broken Matt Hardy. Hardy was now mad, he tapped Ortiz into a wheelchair and locked Sanatana into an ice chest.
Jake Hager found Hangman Adam Page sitting drinking at the Jaguars bar. After having a quick drink, the two started brawling and beating each other all around the bar. Hager lifted Hangman and slid him down the bar, smashing all the glasses and bottles. The brawl was beaten up as Kenny Omega ran in to save his tag team partner. The AEW World Tag Team Champions smashed multiple bottles over Hager’s head before hitting him with a V-trigger.
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_gif) May 24, 2020
Back on the football pitch, Matt Jackson climbed onto the top of one of the goalposts and flew into Chris Jericho, his brother Nick, and Sammy Guevara. After everyone recovered from this crazy spot, Matt decided to hit Sammy Guevara with a repeating Loco-motion the full length of the football pitch. Nick Jackson and Jericho focused on hitting one another with anything they could find on the field, with Nick even being thrown into a giant Jaguar head. Chris Jericho hit Nick in the head with Floyd the baseball bat but only got a two-count, which he decided to challenge with the referee as they headed to the replay booth. Floyd then decided to turn on the Inner Circle as he was used as a weapon to choke Jericho before Hangman took the line marker and covered Jericho in chalk.
After being soaked by water sprinklers, Sammy Guevara was met by his worst nightmare, another golf cart. Sammy tried to escape into the stand but was followed by the Elite, Omega quickly gained control with the help of Neo 1, Matt Hardy’s newest drone, and this left Kenny Omega to perform a One-Winged Angel off the stands, completely smashing the entranceway below, winning the match. This match was simply specular, I promise you this Stadium Stampede is one of the most insane wrestling matches of all time, one definitely for the history books and I loved every second of it.
Winner: The Elite – Rating: 5/5
The agony of defeat.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) May 24, 2020
Overall, Double or Nothing was a really enjoyable PPV, probably the best AEW have been able to produce since Dynamite debut. The lack of crowd was not a problem in itself, it probably gave the company reasons to do something different, funny, and at the same time, amazing.
All pics and videos courtesy of AEW, TDE Wrestling and Les Gaulois du Catch