It’s that time again.
AEW Double Or Nothing is mere minutes away from getting underway, which means YA BOY is back with another Running Diary to cover the happenings and goings-on that will take place.
Are you ready?
Well, if I’m ready, and if you’re ready, then there’s only one thing left to do. I need you folks to say it with me…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:02) We’re getting things started with Wardlow vs MJF. Maybe. Possibly. I mean, MJF is making his entrance at this very second, but there has been so much controversy surrounding him over the last few days. He no-showed a Fan Fest, and then supposedly had a plane ticket in his time to leave town before the show. Obviously he didn’t leave, but there’s still a lot of buzz about what his future with AEW is.
(0:05) Wardlow gets the Goldberg entrance, with AEW “security” removing him from the arena’s holding cell and walking him to the ring.
(0:07) Old school heel work from MJF before the bell even rings. As soon as Wardlow entered the ring, MJF hopped out to ringside. As soon as he got back in, the bell rang, and he took another dive to the outside.
(0:09) We’re watching a prime “Rowdy” Roddy Piper match here. MJF strikes Wardlow, who no sells it and taunts MJF… who then pokes Wardlow in the eyes. Beautiful work.
(0:09) “Fuck you, M-J-F” chants from the crowd. They’re pretty amped up for this.
(0:11) After multiple teases, Wardlow finally nails MJF with a Powerbomb. The crowd wants more. They probably want several more.
(0:12) Another Powerbomb. Wardlow asks the crowd if they want another, and of course they do, so they get one. We’re at three now. Four. Five. Wardlow goes for the pin with a foot on MJF’s chest, but he breaks the pin himself. Oh boy.
(0:13) Six Powerbombs now. Time for seven, which he nails.
(0:14) Eight. Nine. Ten Powerbombs. Wardlow gets the win. The big man looks to be fighting emotion, as he looks to have tears welling up in his eyes.
(0:16) MJF gets the stretcher job after the match as fans chant that he deserves it. I’m not going to rate that, because it wasn’t much of a match at all, but it did every single thing it was supposed to do.
(0:18) After the match, Tony Schiavone announces that Wardlow is OFFICIALLY “All Elite” now that he has defeated MJF. Once again, Wardlow fights off emotion over the announcement. That’s quite the sell of a storyline advancement.
(0:20) Time for The Hardy Boys vs The Young Bucks. The Bucks get an Elvis and Las Vegas-themed video opener to their entrance, and they’re wearing Elvis-like jumpsuits. When in Vegas, I guess.
(0:23) I honestly don’t know what to expect from this match. These teams have had some really entertaining matches against each other in the past, but at the same time, I haven’t exactly enjoyed much of anything Matt or Jeff Hardy have done in AEW. Time really seems to have caught up to both of them.
(0:29) The Bucks are getting their THOT on, as they appear to be wrestling with body glitter. That’s certainly a choice.
(0:31) Nice of the AEW production team to focus on Jeff Hardy and Nick Jackson talking to each other and calling the next spot as they chilled on the mat together.
(0:33) Both Hardy brothers are moving like they’re wrestling underwater. It makes me sad. Well, the Jeff stuff makes me sad. Matt has been wrestling like that for years. Jeff aged an entire decade in the five months between his last WWE match and his AEW debut. I don’t know what the deal is there, but you notice it immediately.
(0:38) This has not been a good match so far, but hey, at least the crowd has been into it. As soon as I praise the crowd, they pull an outright fucking lie by giving this a “this is awesome” chant. Fuck you.
(0:42) With Matt Jackson atop the ring steps at ringside, Jeff Hardy lands a Swanton on him. Ouch.
(0:43) The Hardy brothers pick up the win after another Jeff Swanton. Look… if you enjoyed that, good for you. That’s awesome. To me, that was not a lot of fun. I’ll call it 2 stars, and that might be generous.
(0:45) Time for the TBS Title match, with Jade Cargill defending against Anna Jay. This is a strange card. This is our third match, and you could make an argument that all three matches don’t belong on pay-per-view. There is ZERO heat behind this match, which was just thrown together at the last minute.
(0:52) Okay, these two aren’t clicking right now. It makes sense. Both of them are still new to the business, with not a lot of experience. There’s no “ring general” to lead things.
(0:54) We’ve seen interference from Red Velvet and Kiera Hogan, then interference from “Smart” Mark Sterling, and then John Silver to counter Sterling.
(0:55) STOKELY HATHAWAY (aka Malcolm Bivens)!!!
(0:55) Stokely’s debut was enough of a distraction to let Cargill pick up the win.
(0:57) After the match, Jade and the Baddies look to continue attacking Anna Jay, but Kris Statlander comes out to a big pop to make the save. As the women are arguing in the ring, Athena (aka Ember Moon) makes her debut! We get a standoff between the heels and the faces to end the segment. The match was… something… that happened. I’m going to be nice again and give it 2 stars. If you’re looking for match quality, this has been a poor start to the show. However, if you’re looking for news, we’ve seen plenty of that.
(0:59) Our next match is Death Triangle vs House Of Black.
(1:03) During Death Triangle’s entrance, Pac comes out wearing a mask that is half-Penta and half-Fenix in design. Good touch. Also in their entrance was Penta’s kid, fully dressed as Mini Penta. Cute stuff, but weird placement in the overall entrance.
(1:06) As I always say during the six-man tag matches in AEW, I am eternally thankful that I don’t have to do play-by-play coverage. These matches are balls to the wall from bell-to-bell.
(1:11) I love that House Of Black are all wearing matching face paint, outchea looking like a death metal band. They’ve found a way to look even more intimidating.
(1:13) I also love that Pac and Buddy Matthews are having a competition to see who can have the most abs at the same time.
(1:14) After one of those “everybody does suicide dives to the outside one after another” spots, Brody King gets the last dive. He barely clears the top rope and slammed his shoulders and upper back directly onto the ring apron. OUCH.
(1:16) Balls. To. The. Wall.
(1:19) Pac heads to the top rope, but the lights go out. When they come back on, Julia Hart is standing there and spits the black mist in Pac’s eyes. This allows for House Of Black to get the win. Julia Hart’s transformation is complete. That match was a lot of fun, as expected. I’ll give it 4 stars.
(1:21) Next up, the finals of the men’s Owen Hart Cup. Samoa Joe vs Adam Cole. This should be a blast.
(1:24) It is SO WEIRD to see Mike Chioda as an AEW Referee.
(1:26) I still find it amazing that WWE screwed up with Samoa Joe. There was a stretch of time when he was the hottest act in all of wrestling, in the ring and on the mic, but it didn’t lead to anything. He was able to be in the ring with people like Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns without looking out of place, but again… it didn’t lead to anything. Sad.
(1:29) Nice touch with Cole wearing pink trunks and knee pads, along with black boots.
(1:33) HUGE Lariatooooo from Joe nearly sent Cole’s head into the bleachers. Jesus Christ.
(1:36) Interference from Bobby Fish. As expected.
(1:37) Cole drops the boom on Joe and… picks up the win. Huh? That was out of absolutely nowhere. The fans didn’t even react right away, because they weren’t expecting that to be the end of the match. Wow. It was good while it lasted, though. 3.25 stars? Sounds about right.
(1:40) We go from the men’s Owen Hart Cup final to the women’s Owen Hart Cup final. Ruby Soho vs Britt Baker. This is going to be a very interesting set of crowd reactions. There are some people who think we’re going to see a double turn in this match after seeing the crowd on Rampage shit all over Ruby.
(1:44) Fozzy’s Rich Ward played Britt to the ring, so naturally, Rancid is performing “Ruby Soho” as Ruby makes her way to the ring.
(1:47) lol @ Rancid performing the entire song, and then the bell ringing the moment they finished.
(1:48) Jim Ross mentions Ruby’s “story” and saying that she’s a “crowd favorite” in this match, showing that he must’ve recorded Rampage on his DVR but has yet to watch it.
(1:52) It makes sense for Britt’s ring gear to be pink and black, just like Adam Cole. What makes it funny is that Samoa Joe and Ruby Soho both have black and green ring gear. The rivalry between the Harts and Shawn Michaels will live forever.
(1:54) Ruby and Britt haven’t done anything to make it happen, but this is as quiet as the crowd has been all night. We’ve gotten a couple of dueling chants, but that’s about it.
(2:00) Sigh. Ruby goes to play to the crowd by locking Britt in a Sharpshooter, but then she screws it up and the move looks ugly as all hell. She tried it a second time and was a little more successful, but it still wasn’t very good. Better than The Rock’s version, at least.
(2:02) Doc Smiley gets a roll up on a reversal and picks up the win. Another sudden win. The match wasn’t bad. It just didn’t seem to get into a super high gear. 3 stars.
(2:04) Owen Hart’s widow, Martha, is out to present the tournament winners with their trophies and title belts. The crowd immediately goes into a loud “Owen” chant, and she joins in. Now we get a “Thank you, Martha” chant.
(2:07) Martha Hart is giving a nice speech, thanking everyone for their love and the work that went into making this possible. I’m so glad that she’s getting to experience this love.
(2:09) Martha is now presenting the winners with their titles. Beautiful, old-school Stampede Wrestling style belts, with plenty of pink and black mixed in with the gold.
(2:13) Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page, and Paige VanZant are out for our next match. Their opponents in this match are Frankie Kazarian, Sammy Guevara, and Tay Conti. This entire fucking storyline has been dumb. Really, really dumb. AEW has no idea what to do with Sammy and Tay, continuously trying to make them faces, even though crowds either hate them or simply don’t care about them. Sammy and Tay act like heels, and it doesn’t seem to matter.
(2:18) What exactly has Tay Conti shown in AEW to deserve the spotlight that she has been given? Not just being in this storyline, but the fact that she has had not one… not two… not three… but FOUR title shots since joining AEW. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
(2:26) Super fucking ugly stretch of action from Tay and PVZ. First, PVZ completely forgets to sell a forearm shot, only to sell it a couple seconds later for no reason. Then, Tay struggles to pick PVZ up and nearly kills her by dropping her.
(2:28) Scorpio Sky pins Kazarian after everyone is distracted when Sammy Guevara accidentally hits his girlfriend. Whoops. That was an acceptable match. It was above average, but not by much. 2.75 stars. The women really brought that down. Had it just been a tag match with the four dudes, it would’ve been better.
(2:31) No time to breathe between matches and segments, as per usual with AEW. Next up, Darby Allin vs Kyle O’Reilly in yet another match that has no fucking business being on this 817-match show.
(2:34) It took all of a minute or two into the match for Darby’s mouth to be busted open by a stiff KOR kick.
(2:35) Live crowds love them some Darby Allin, but this crowd is giving this match the reaction it deserves.
(2:36) Darby goes to perform one of his famous dives to the outside, but he clips the ropes and nearly rotated himself to death. This dude’s going to be in a wheelchair by the time he’s 40.
(2:40) He might not even make it to 40. Now he goes for a Coffin Drop on O’Reilly, who is tied up in the ropes, and his body rag dolls after impact, nearly hitting the ring apron before flailing to the floor.
(2:42) Knee drop from the top rope gets the win for Kyle O’Reilly. The match was good and all, but as I said, it had zero business being on pay-per-view. That was Dynamite through and through. 3.25 stars.
(2:44) Next, Thunder Rosa defends the AEW Women’s Title against Serena Deeb. As long as neither of them has to cut any sort of promo, this should be good. I might even add something to their star rating if we don’t have to hear them talk.
(2:48) Credit where credit is due… these women wrestle like they dislike each other. It adds a physical ugliness (in a good way) to the match that you don’t see in a lot of women’s matches in North America.
(2:54) This has been fun so far. A very good mixture of technical wrestling with that ugly physicality I just mentioned.
(2:59) They’re really beating the hell out of each other.
(3:04) A Superplex from the top, floated over into a Fire Thunder Driver, gets the pin and the win for the champion. Heckuva match. It wasn’t anything flashy, but it didn’t need to be. 4 stars.
(3:05) Time for some Anarchy In The Arena. Five-on-five. Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz vs The Jericho Appreciation Society.
(3:06) The JAS comes out in matching all-white attire, looking as though they, indeed… want it that way. If you know, you know.
(3:10) Anything goes in this match, and the fight is on in the arena, all while “Wild Thing” continues to play. Not quite New Jack hitting people with weapons while “Natural Born Killaz” plays, but it’s close.
(3:11) The song ended and then started all over again! As it plays again, Moxley drives a fork into Matt Menard’s head. Wild.
(3:12) Menard is a bloody MESS.
(3:14) With ten men fighting all over the arena, it’s almost impossible to follow everything that is happening.
(3:14) LMAO @ Jericho making his way to the sound board and smashing it to pieces, finally stopping the music from playing.
(3:17) Eddie Kingston and Matt Menard are now covered in ketchup and mustard as they brawl throughout the concourse area. Moxley appears to be bleeding. Menard is still bleeding. Angelo Parker looks to be bleeding, as well.
(3:19) Bryan Danielson is bleeding now, too, for those keeping score.
(3:20) Jericho goes to lock Moxley in the Walls atop a table, but the table collapses. Welp.
(3:22) Kingston is bleeding now. In the ring, Moxley undoes the top ring rope. Looks like the rest of this one will take place with only the middle and bottom ropes. Sure, why not?
(3:24) A barbed wire board is being pulled out from under the ring, because of course it is.
(3:25) Santana and Ortiz climb to the top of a huge ladder (on opposite sides, of course), and they both jump off with huge dives and send Parker and Garcia (I think, as I couldn’t tell from the camera work) through multiple tables. This match is as wild as it gets. There’s just something new happening every few moments to take the chaos to another level.
(3:27) As I type that, Eddie Kingston returns to the ring with a can of gasoline. Kingston pours the gasoline on Jericho, but before he can SET A MAN ON MOTHERFUCKING FIRE, Danielson knocks the match out of his hand. That causes Danielson and Kingston to brawl it out. In the madness, Moxley is knocked off the apron, crashing through a table that had the barbed wire board on it.
(3:32) “NOW, I’M GOING TO KICK HIS FUCKING HEAD IN!!!” – Bryan Danielson
(3:32) He did not, in fact, kick anyone’s fucking head in. Hager attacks him from behind. The match ends with Jericho locking Danielson in the Walls, and at the same time, Hager chokes Danielson with the ring rope. Danielson passes out, and the JAS pick up the win. Wow. That was insanity. As pure chaos, that was more stars than you can count. I don’t even know what to give that as a match. 4.5 stars? I really don’t even know. Wild, wild, wild stuff that was impossible to keep track of.
(3:36) We get a pre-taped segment that sees RUSH debuting as Andrade’s new business partner. This fucking roster continues to grow. And grow. Then grow some more.
(3:38) In a backstage interview, Scorpio Sky wonders who is next to step up for a shot at the TNT Title. Dante Martin answers the call, and it looks like he will get the next title shot.
(3:39) Time for the AEW Tag Team Title match. Jurassic Express defends against Team Taz and the team of Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland in a Three-Way Tag. Normally, I would say that this could be a blast if given enough time. However, if this match gets a bunch of time, we’re looking at a pay-per-view that could clear the four-and-a-half hour mark quite easily.
(3:42) Whenever cameras cut to wrestling crowds and you see fans wearing tank tops, I feel bad for anyone in their immediate vicinity.
(3:50) Almost disaster just now. Ricky Starks was thrown to the outside, and it looked like Luchasaurus was supposed to catch him. Instead, Starks just rolled off of Luchasaurus and crashed to the floor on the back of his neck.
(3:52) Six men in this match. Four black guys, a dinosaur, and Jungle Boy. That’s pretty cool.
(3:56) The pace of the match is really picking up. To this point, it was fast with the smaller wrestlers, but now it’s fast no matter who is in the ring.
(3:58) Luchasaurus accidentally kicks Jungle Boy in the face. IN THE FACE!
(4:00) The champions retain! I’m not sure anyone predicted that. I think everyone thought it was going to be a loss for Jurassic Express, either in a normal fashion or due to a heel turn by Christian Cage. Wow. Whether or not you thought they WOULD lose the titles here, I think it needs to be said that they probably SHOULD have lost the titles here. Good match, either way. There’s definitely some fatigue being felt by this point in the show, but a good match is a good match. 3.5 stars, but I might be able to go higher on a second viewing.
(4:03) Main event time. Finally. “Hangman” Adam Page defends the AEW World Title against CM Punk.
(4:08) A very clear mixed reaction for Punk during the pre-match introduction. The same can be said for Page. This crowd is pretty split.
(4:10) Four hours and ten minutes into the show, we have the opening bell for the main event, which has a 60-minute time limit. I get that Double Or Nothing is AEW’s version of WrestleMania, but this is ridiculous. No show needs to be this long. I don’t care what company it is, or what the card is.
(4:12) Big fight feel for this. Even with the long day they’ve had, these fans are loud and passionate here.
(4:17) Very physical offense from both men so far.
(4:19) Page is absolutely, positively wrestling as a heel here. That’s interesting to note. Punk is clearly the face because his ring gear is kissing up to the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team.
(4:26) Punk locks Page in a Sharpshooter. Not a perfect one, but easily the best-looking one of the night. Somewhere, Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler are shedding a tear.
(4:28) Rough stretch for Punk, who tried his own version of the Buckshot Lariat twice, botching them both.
(4:33) REF BUMP! Punk goes to hit Page with GTS, but Page’s leg hits Referee Paul Turner in the dome.
(4:34) With the Ref down, a wild-eyed Page is staring at the World Title belt, thinking about using it. He picks the title up and thinks about it, but decides against it.
(4:36) Page goes to hit a Buckshot Lariat, but Punk reverses it and DRILLS Page with GTS. We have a new AEW World Champion! Punk has tears in his eyes. That was a lot of fun.
(4:37) Punk openly cries as he is handed the belt. I’m going to give that match 4 stars, but I think this is another one that might get a higher rating after I view it a second time, with no distractions around.
(4:39) The show goes off the air with Punk celebrating in the ring and thanking the fans.
Well, that was quite the mixed bag. Some really good stuff, and some not-so-good stuff. If this was a normal pay-per-view, you might be able to look at it in a more positive light, but as a WrestleMania-type show, I’m not sure how you can’t at least be a little disappointed. AEW pay-per-views are almost always home runs, but this was definitely not. That’s fine. They can’t always be.
You know the deal, ReaderLand. I want to know your thoughts on the show. Hit me up in the comments section below, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know what’s on your mind. I’ll be back in my usual Wednesday spot with a look back at the week-that-was.