AEW Double or Nothing took place this Saturday, May 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The new promotion made its debut with Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, Kylie Rae and Awesome Kong in a fatal four-way, Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes, the Young Bucks vs Lucha Brothers, Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega in the main event, the debut of Jon Moxley, and more.
Check out Double or Nothing results below.
Hangman Page wins Casino Battle Royale.
The first match of the evening to kick off the pre-show was the Casino Battle Royale, where the winner would face the winner of Jericho vs Omega for the inaugural AEW World Championship. Now I’ve seen many battle royals in my day, and this unfortunately was not the best. The format of the entrants was weird and it disturbed the flow of the match, because five wrestlers would come down at the same time.
It was a good enough way to start the show and had some entertaining moments though. There was going to be one surprise superstar that would come out last, at lucky number 21. That man would be Hangman Adam Page, due to his match with PAC being cancelled. He would eliminate Luchasaurus for the win, which got a nice pop from the crowd. While I picked MJF to win the match, Hangman was a great choice, it wasn’t the last we would see of those two either. A bit of a shaky start to Double or Nothing but ultimately it was a pre-show match so it didn’t really effect the main card.
Kib Sabian def. Sammy Guevara.
Now this was the match to show that would make people order a pay-per-view. Admittedly, I hardly knew anything about these two, but they had a killer match from bell-to-bell. Both men were extremely impressive, and each had big spots throughout. The biggest spot of the match though easily went to Sammy Guevara. Near the end of the match, he had Sabian leaned over the barricade, but rather than hitting a leg drop like we usually see, he did a shooting star press off the apron! The action was super high-paced and did a really good job betting the crowd hyped after the Battle Royale flopped a bit.
Sabian and Guevara were diving all over the place, and made fans, including myself. No doubt AEW wants to connect with fans internationally and I think Kip Sabian will be a big part of the United Kingdom market. This was definitely a showcase match for these two and it accomplished everything you could’ve asked for. It was obvious that they knew the size of the stage they were on, and they delivered from start to finish. This was a fantastic match and set us up for what was to come on the main card!
So Cal Uncensored def. Strong Hearts.
To kick off the main card for Double or Nothing, Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, and Scorpio Sky taking on the OWE Tag Team of El Lineman, Cima and T Hawk. Although SCU picked up the win here, establishing themselves as the top team in the promotion, this was a showcase for Strong Hearts. They wrestle for Oriental Wrestling Entertainment in China, and as a result were generally unknown to the American audience prior to this match. As far as I’m aware, this was the biggest American show the team has wrestled on and boy did they deliver.
The combination of fast paced, athletic, and technical wrestling was a masterpiece from Strong Hearts. Obviously SCU are one of the top tag teams in the world so I don’t need to tell you how good they were. There was no real massive spot in this match, just enjoyable action in a relatively short and sweet match that didn’t even go 15 minutes.
This was a match to establish SCU, get the audience familiar with Strong Hearts, and set the tone for the evening. It accomplished all of those things and was never slow or boring, but also wasn’t spot heavy. Fantastic opener!
Britt Baker def. Nyla Rose, Kylie Rae & Awesome Kong.
This match was originally scheduled to be a triple threat match, but AEW had a surprise up their sleeves. Baker, Rose, and Rae were all in the ring ready to start their triple threat match before they were interrupted by the gorgeous Brandi Rhodes. She came down the ramp and spoke about the match, then said the match could be great but she didn’t want a ‘great’ match, she wanted an ‘awesome’ match. Awesome Kong’s music hit to a thunderous reaction, nobody saw this coming and it added another layer to this match which I think helped it tremendously. Not the best match on the card, but still a very solid showing for the women’s division here. I think this was a smart booking decision because this way Britt could get the win, while Nyla and Kong cancelled each other out, keeping Nyla Rose strong.
Kylie Rae also had a breakout performance here and really connected with the audience, I think she will do great things in the company. There was one spot in this match that is not a new one but is impressive everytime. Rose was on the top rope then Britt Baker and Kylie Rae tried to hit a double superplex, then Awesome Kong came over and we got a powerbomb/superplex combo which was a fantastic spot.
Like the first match on the card, this one was also short. However, I felt they accomplished what they needed to within the time given, and any longer would’ve taken away from the match. It is obvious they are positioning Britt Baker as the centre of the women’s division. However, everybody in this match got a chance to shine and it helped establish Kylie Rae as a happy underdog figure going forward.
Best Friends def. Angelico & Jack Evans.
I was really looking forward to this match, because I used to watch Lucha Underground where Angeligo and Evans shined. This was a pure work rate match, going into it I was unsure how it would pan out. Best Friends, while they are very good wrestlers, are often booked as a funny team. Angelico and Jack Evans were easily the stars of this match with their fast, high flying offense. Another short match, but they packed a lot into the time they were given. I think Best Friends will be on top of the Tag Division, however, I sense a bright future for Evans and Angelico in the coming months and years.
After a very fun, solid tag team match the two teams were about to hug when the lights went out. When they came back on there were two men in the ring that I did not recognize whatsoever. The faction that was unnamed by commentary and a group of minions decimated the two teams and stood tall. This fell a bit flat for me, usually a “blackout” moment is reserved for big stars but for two seemingly unknown wrestlers to debut and go unnamed by commentary it wasn’t a good ending.
Ending aside, the match was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it from start to finish.
Hikaru Shida, Riho Abe & Ryo Mizunami def. Aja Kong, Yuka Sazaki & Emi Sakura.
This is where the show fell down a bit. While this wasn’t necessarily a bad match, and was fun in spots earning a “This is Wrestling” chant, it was plagued by a tired crowd and a few big botches. It was a very fast match which made it entertaining, but there were far too many near falls and the match never really got into a groove. The thing that killed this match was a botched near-fall at the end. The referee only counted two (which should’ve been 3 but the break up was late) but the timekeeper rang the bell anyway, yikes.
I understand putting Aja Kong in this match for the nostalgia, but she was visibly limping going down the ramp, and did not add much to this match. With a show full of good to great matches, this one really fell down and felt far too long even though it was under 15 minutes.
Overall, this was a low point of the show.
Cody def. Dustin Rhodes.
This was the match of the night, but before I get into the match, I feel I should address the entrance.
When Cody came out, there was a throne on the stage with Triple H’s logo on it, very similar to the one he sat on at WrestleMania 22. Cody was then handed a sledgehammer by Brandi who accompanied him to ringside, and he destroyed it. Now I don’t know for certain if this was a shot at Triple H, but it’s too much of a coincidence to not be. If it was a shot at Triple H, it’s questionable to say the least. Of all the WWE people for AEW to go after, I think Triple H is the last one. Triple H obviously runs NXT and I think he is far more open to the Indie scene than Vince. He also has relationships with several.
Now as for the match, my god, words cant even do it justice. From start to finish, this was the most dramatic match on the card. I am not even going to try and break it down because it was just so good. At one point in the match, Dustin gets speared on the outside by Brandi, and gets thrown out. The biggest part of the match was Dustin being driven into an exposed turnbuckle and bleeds everywhere, I don’t know if he bladed and did it too far or what, but there was a lot. Multiple call-backs to the history of the brothers, including Cody doing his Stardust taunt.
After Cody picks up the win, he tells Dustin that he wasn’t allowed to retire here (Double or Nothing). Cody says he signed his name for a match of him and a partner of his choosing vs The Young Bucks at the July show Fight for the Fallen. He then says he doesn’t need a partner or a friend, “but I need my older brother” the two visibly crying embrace in a beautiful moment.
You just know Dusty was looking down proudly on his two sons as they put on the match of the night, and had one of the most touching moments in wrestling history. This was perfect.
Bret Hart Unveils AEW World Championship.
Then in another surprise of the evening, ‘The Hitman’ Bret Hart came down to the ring to unveil the AEW World Heavyweight Championship. He called Hangman Page down to the ring, who would be facing the winner of main event for that title. Before Bret could unveil the Championship, MJF interrupted them. Absolutely amazing heel work here from MJF, him and Page went back and forth in a Promo battle. MJF would then be confronted and taken out by Jungle Boy and Jimmy Havoc, Bret then unveiled the Championship.
Young Bucks def. Lucha Brothers.
This was pretty much exactly what you would expect it to be. If you don’t like flappy matches, this was not for you because it was an aerial display from bell-to-bell.
Both teams had huge spots in the match and got chances to shine and wow the tired crowd. The biggest near fall came when Pentagon ‘broke’ Matt Jackson’s arm and hit him with a ridiculous Package Piledriver. It only awarded him a 2-count. You could argue they potentially kicked out of too much, but you knew what you were signing up for with this match.
I think wrestling is more than just one style and as fans, we should be open to that, so I loved this. You aren’t going to get a dramatic match like Cody vs Dustin, but that’s okay because you need variety.
Chris Jericho def. Kenny Omega.
How crazy is it that the last time wrestling was on TNT (WCW), Jericho was there, and now almost 20 years later he’s main eventing wrestling’s return to the network? I’m not going to go over the match too much because it played second fiddle to what happened after. This was the half wrestling half brawling style we’ve come to expect from Jericho, and it was a very fun match that resulted in him getting the win and the title shot. However, this match never really became blockbuster ’till it was over.
After Jericho got the win, he began cutting a heel promo taking credit for AEW’s success and demanding a “Thank You”. He did not get a thank you, but he got Jon freaking Moxley who came through the crowd, blowing the roof off the MGM. Very similar to when Scott Hall made his WCW debut, coming through the crowd. Moxley hit a Dirty Deeds (if we’re still calling it that) on Jericho and the Referee. He tried to hit one on a bloody Omega, but Kenny fought back.
Moxley hit his move on the chips, and then dumped Omega off them right onto the stage, then stood tall to close the show.
For a debut PPV, this was fantastic and while it had its flaws and a couple production hiccups, those will be fixed. Jon Moxley is a massive get for the company and with him signing a multi-year deal, he will certainly be a fixture of the company. I think it’s ridiculous to say WWE is in trouble.
Keep an eye on AEW!