This is a big moment in recent wrestling history, folks. AEW’s Double Or Nothing, coming to us from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida, is taking place in front of a full-capacity group of fans. I don’t give two Chicken McFucks about whether or not AEW is your favorite, most hated, or whatever it is… this is a beautiful thing, and I’d be saying that if this was an NXT show, WWE show, etc. It’s just great to watch a wrestling event in front of live fans again. If the pre-show is any indication, this is going to be a red hot crowd, too. I’m ready. Are you ready? You know the deal, so say it with me…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:00) I know it wasn’t a major change, but kudos to AEW for the slight shift in the layout of the venue. Everything looks fresh. I love it. It’s also fun to have an outdoor venue hosting a show that is, for the time being, happening while the sun is still out. Not only does it look different on television, but it’s also going to make the performers in the ring do things differently until the sun has gone down.
(0:01) Our opening match is “Hangman” Adam Page vs Brian Cage. This is where everyone makes the same jokes about Diamond Dallas Page, Ethan Page, Nick Gage, Robbie Rage, a Nokia N-Gage and Christian Cage joining them inside of a Steel Cage, but whatever. Sure enough, the crowd is red hot for both men, but especially for Page.
(0:07) This fucking crowd hasn’t stopped making noise yet. Cheering for something, booing something, chanting, etc. This is wild. It’s the kind of thing that is going to have all the wrestlers amped up like crazy.
(0:09) “Brock Lesnar Guy” appears to be sitting in the front row. Meh. Call me when Brock Lesnar himself is in the front row.
(0:12) A suplex from Brian Cage, sending Hangman to the outside, absolutely BOUNCING him off of the ramp. Ouch.
(0:14) Cage is a terrifying human being. Nobody that looks the way he does should be able to do the things he does.
(0:15) Ricky Starks and Hook make their way to the ring. Hook distracts the ref while Starks goes to hand the FTW Title to Cage. After contemplating things, Cage throws the title back at Starks, saying he doesn’t need the help. In the mayhem, Hangman is able to nail a Buckshot Lariat for the win. Really fun opener. I’ll call it 3.5 stars, and I have a feeling that will be low for a lot of people.
(0:17) After the match, Cage gets in the faces of Starks and Hook, shoving them both. We have dysfunction in the Team Taz junction, folks!
(0:21) Our next match is the AEW Tag Team Title bout, with The Young Bucks defending against Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston. Shout-out to Eddie Kingston for his Bad News Bears baseball jersey.
(0:22) As expected, Daily’s Place came unglued for Moxley and Kingston, singing along to “Wild Thing” and just going nuts.
(0:25) I got a chuckle out of the Bucks’ tights saying “Tights” on the side, and then having it say “Pocket” right next to the pocket.
(0:27) After a couple minutes of pre-match brawling, the match is finally underway.
(0:28) Kingston looks like he’s having the time of his life, with the combination of working with his friend and being in front of a crowd like this. He has earned this, and he must be protected at all costs.
(0:31) The Bucks are REALLY leaning into the heel tactics. Painfully overacting, as they always do, but that’s not a surprise.
(0:34) Karl Anderson has finally torn himself away from random floozies to walk down the ramp, but he gets taken out by Frankie Kazarian. Behind the ref’s back, Moxley is sprayed with an aerosol can and then has the can driven into his head… and now he’s bleeding. Poor, poor Renee.
(0:35) Meltzer Driver on the ramp! It didn’t lead to the end of the match, but it was a nice visual.
(0:37) Moxley is an absolute bloody mess. My goodness.
(0:39) The Bucks have never been known as great strikers, but their strikes look even more pillow-soft when they’re in a match against guys like Moxley and Kingston.
(0:39) The crowd explodes for a hot tag to Eddie Kingston. I love it.
(0:42) “Young Bucks Drip” sign in the crowd. I hate you fucking dorks. They never should’ve let wrestling fans learn about that word.
(0:43) A Doomsday Device from the challengers, with Moxley using a Dior Jordan shoe, is called a Diorsday Device by Excalibur. That’s why he is who he is.
(0:45) Paradigm Shift by Moxley gets a 2.999, and the crowd is losing their minds for this.
(0:48) Four consecutive BTE Triggers win the match for the Bucks. The champions retain. That was a great match. Like the opener, I think this rating will be low for a lot of people, but I’m giving that 4.25 stars. Fun stuff from bell-to-bell.
(0:51) Time for the Casino Battle Royale, with 21 people competing for a future AEW World Title shot. Paul Wight is out as a Guest Commentator for this one.
(0:53) The “Clubs” group is out first for this match. Leading the way, and the first man to make his way to the ring, is Christian Cage.
(0:54) Matt Sydal is the next man out, followed by Powerhouse Hobbs, and then Dustin Rhodes. Dustin continues to be in tremendous shape.
(0:55) Max Caster is out next as the last member of the first group, and it’s time for a rap that is going to be overrated by people all over social media. The guy says “YO” wayyyyy too often.
(0:58) Sydal is the first man eliminated, sent out by Caster. Matt Sydal doesn’t exactly do his best work in AEW battle royal matches.
(1:00) It’s time for the next group to enter. The “Diamonds” group is next, led by Matt Hardy. 10 of The Dark Order is the second member, followed by Nick Comoroto. That’s one big, bad motherfucker.
(1:01) Serpentico is now in the match to close out the second group.
(1:02) Well, Serpentico is now out of the match, being eliminated already. Okay then.
(1:02) Comoroto nearly took 10 out of his fucking shoes with a sick Spear, but then both men get eliminated from the match by Dustin Rhodes. Dustin gets brained by a cowbell as payback, and then he gets eliminated.
(1:03) “Hearts” are up next, with both members of The Varsity Blonds coming out. Colt Cabana is the third member of the group. Anthony Bowens is now on his way to the ring, followed by Penta El Zero Miedo, to a big pop, closing the group out.
(1:06) Cabana is eliminated, followed by Bowens. I know I’ve already missed some eliminations. If you’ve read my Running Diaries for these things, you know how much I hate having to cover matches like this. Too many eliminations in a very short period of time. Griff Garrison was eliminated as I typed that sentence out.
(1:08) “Spades” time. First out for the group is Jungle Boy to a great pop from the crowd.
(1:09) Marq Quen is next, followed by Aaron Solow. Brian Pillman Jr. was just eliminated, and Evil Uno is the next entrant.
(1:09) Lee Johnson is the final announced entrant, as chaos continues to reign. There is only one person left to enter the match, and that, of course, is person with The Joker card. Some say it will be Paul Wight himself. Others say someone like Bryan Danielson or Samoa Joe. We shall see. Evil Uno is now eliminated, and so is Penta. This is a match that can be fun to watch, but an absolute nightmare to cover in a style like this.
(1:12) Christian eliminates Hobbs. Eh.
(1:13) Lio Rush is The Joker! What a great addition to the AEW roster. He’s not a “huge” name like Danielson or Joe would’ve been, but this is great nonetheless. Good for him.
(1:15) Or not. Rush has already been eliminated, sent packing by Matt Hardy.
(1:16) We have Matt Hardy, being backed by both members of Private Party, and we also have Jungle Boy and Christian Cage.
(1:16) Cage and Jungle Boy team up to send Private Party the fuck up outta here. It’s down to Matt Hardy, Christian Cage, and Jungle Boy. Hardy tries to align with Christian, who immediately throws him over the top rope. Christian Cage or Jungle Boy is going to earn an AEW World Title shot, and the crowd is firmly behind Jungle Boy here.
(1:19) The crowd is so behind Jungle Boy that they’re booing Christian. Wow.
(1:20) Jungle Boy wins! The crowd is losing their shit! A fun ending to a wild match, with a surprise winner on top of that. Jungle Boy looks genuinely touched at the great support from the crowd. I don’t rate matches like that, but it was everything you would expect it to be, for better or worse.
(1:25) El oh fucking el @ Anthony Ogogo getting his ring entrance for our next match after a lengthy Memorial Day video package and praise moment for the American military. “PLEASE DON’T BOO CODY! HERE ARE SOME VETERANS AND SOME SERVICE DOGS! YOU CAN’T BOO THE AMERICAN NOW!”
(1:28) Cody gets cheered as he comes to the ring looking like a futuristic confederate soldier, and Justin Roberts announces him as “the grandson of a plumber ANDDDDD a father-to-be” which makes me throw my lunch up. This is lame as fuck. They’re laying it on WAY too thick.
(1:31) It’s crazy that social media was wildly behind Ogogo in the build for this match, but none of that matters at the show itself.
(1:34) Ogogo comes up bleeding above the eye.
(1:36) A GORGEOUS frog splash from Ogogo gets a two-count.
(1:39) Cody hits a Vertebreaker to get the win. Honestly, I’m not impressed. Cody put this together like he was anything like his father, and all we got out of it was a stupid build for a match and a 2.75-star performance. No more of this shit, please.
(1:42) We’re moving along quickly in this show, and now it’s time for the TNT Title match, with Miro defending against Lance Archer. Hoss battle!
(1:46) Miro tosses Archer over the barricade into some obviously planted fans. Way before Archer started running at Miro, those plants were getting into position and side-eyeing everything to brace for impact.
(1:49) The crowd went mostly quiet for the last match, and they aren’t exactly on fire for this one, either.
(1:50) Jake Roberts makes his way to the ring, carrying a bag. Miro grabs the bag and throws it up the ramp and onto the stage. That got a laugh out of me, simply because of how obvious it was that a snake wasn’t in the bag.
(1:53) Miro picks up the win after making Archer pass out in a submission. That was a disappointing match. It wasn’t all that long to begin with, but then a good chunk of it was dedicated to the attempted interference by Jake Roberts. 2.5 stars.
(1:55) AEW’s next pay-per-view is All Out, coming to us from Chicago, Illinois on September 5th.
(1:56) Keeping the pace up, it’s already time for the next match. Hikaru Shida, in her 372nd day as AEW Women’s Champion, defends the title against Britt Baker. The crowd has woken up, giving both women a great ovation. I was wondering if the crowd had worn themselves out, but it just seems they didn’t care enough about Cody vs Ogogo or Miro vs Archer.
(2:00) This is a physical one already. Britt Baker is RED HOT right now, both with her character work and her in-ring performances. Shida, of course, is Shida. She hasn’t been the champion this long for nothing.
(2:06) The crowd isn’t back like I thought they were from the ring entrances here. There are some chants and reactions, more so than in the last two matches, but they’re still considerably quieter than they were to start the show.
(2:12) I’m sorry to have to harp on this, but the crowd hasn’t been the same since the end of the Casino Battle Royale. They’re trying. God knows they’re trying. It just comes across as if Cody vs Ogogo sent them on a downward spiral that they haven’t truly come back from yet.
(2:14) Rebel, in her usual awful fashion, accidentally hits Britt with a crutch, but it isn’t enough to end the match. Then, we get another ref distraction, allowing for Baker to deliver a Curb Stomp onto the title belt for a 2.999 count.
(2:16) Lockjaw! We have a NEWWWWW Women’s Champion! Hikaru Shida’s great title reign is over, and now, the DMD Era is underway. I’m going to go with 3.5 stars, but I think I’ll need to watch this one again to see if my rating changes upon a second, closer viewing.
(2:18) Sting and Darby Allin vs Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page is up next. WWE has conditioned us all so well that it seems SUPER weird for a wrestling show to move from match-to-match without ten minutes of video packages and backstage segments in between each one.
(2:19) We’re not getting a cinematic match here, but we got a cinematic entrance for the face squad. Darby on his skateboard, rolling down the highway, before being picked up by an old school convertible-driving Sting. Both Sting and Allin receive very good crowd pops from the fans.
(2:23) Sting takes a suplex onto the ramp, and he no-sells it?!? Then he dives off the stage, taking Sky and Page out! What fucking year is this?!?!?
(2:26) Page has a bloody nose now. Lots of blood tonight, and I have a feeling this won’t be the last blood we see.
(2:29) Sting got a hot tag to a nice pop, but it was less than half the volume of the hot tags earlier in the show. It didn’t matter, as Girl Hebner didn’t see the tag, so it never counted.
(2:30) Page just tossed Darby from the ring into the crowd, a la Bam Bam Bigelow and Spike Dudley from the ECW days. Darby landed on his brother. How fun.
(2:34) Sting with a lazy ass Scorpion Deathlock on Ethan Page. No worries, Stinger. Not like it’s your move or anything.
(2:36) A Scorpion Death Drop by Sting picks up the win for his squad. It’s really strange to see one move like that pick up the win on a show where people have basically kicked out of way worse. The match wasn’t bad. It wasn’t particularly good, either, but that wasn’t the point. It was all about Darby bumping like crazy and Sting getting his spots in, and it delivered on both counts. I’ll go with 2.5 stars because I’m feeling generous.
(2:40) Our next match is the co-main event. Kenny Omega defending the AEW World Title against Pac and Orange Cassidy in a Three-Way Match. I like both Cassidy and Pac, but this was a weird, weird build. This isn’t coming across like a “main event” on pay-per-view. It just seems like a match that should be on Dynamite, and that’s a shame.
(2:47) The crowd came alive for the ring introductions. Omega being there just makes a match feel bigger and more special.
(2:50) Cassidy is really, really over with AEW crowds. Can you imagine how angry some folks would be if a character like that became a World Champion?
(2:58) Omega tries to bridge out of a pin attempt by Cassidy, only for Pac to land on them with a 450, squishing Cassidy like a bug.
(2:59) Back-to-back Snapdragon Suplexes from Omega to Cassidy sold very well by the challenger. Then again, there’s not much to “sell” there, as he lands on the back of his head.
(3:02) Omega absolutely spikes Cassidy with a Tiger Driver ’98, but it doesn’t get the three-count. That kinda goes back to what I said about how Sting won his match, but whatever works.
(3:06) SICK Sunset Flip Powerbomb from Pac makes Omega land with a thud, and then he follows it up with an Avalanche Falcon Arrow. Cassidy sneaks into the ring to get a 2.999 count that popped the hell out of the crowd.
(3:09) This fucking match has been off the chain. It has mainly stayed away from the tired formula in these types of matches where one man is out of action for minutes at a time. All three of them are involved, which makes everything happen at a quicker pace.
(3:12) LOUD “Fuck you, Don” chants from the crowd after Don Callis pulls the referee out of the ring to break up a three-count for Orange Cassidy.
(3:12) Pac locks the Brutalizer in on Cassidy, but he won’t let go of the submission when Omega kicks him repeatedly. Omega then goes for the next best thing and he takes the referee out. With no ref, Omega decides to use all 1,832 title belts he currently owns to take Pac out. Orange Cassidy gets back in the ring and takes Omega out with an Orange Punch for a near-fall from Girl Hebner, who took over, but Omega rolled it over for a three-count to retain. What a match. That was so much fun. I’d say 4.5 stars, easily.
(3:16) Full Gear is on November 6th, coming to us from St. Louis, Missouri.
(3:17) Tony Schiavone is in the ring to announce that Mark Fucking Henry is the new analyst for AEW Rampage, their new show coming to TNT in August. Henry is also announced as a new coach for the company. That is a major, major get. It hasn’t been public, but Henry has put in a ton of work to scout new talent for WWE in the last several years. I’d love to see him continue doing that for AEW.
(3:18) Main event time. The Inner Circle vs The Pinnacle. Stadium Stampede.
(3:20) The Inner Circle is rappelling from the top of the scoreboard in the stadium! What a visual, paired by the Daily’s Place crowd singing along to “Judas” with everything they have. Fucking fantastic.
(3:23) This is going to be damn near impossible to cover, too. There are ten men brawling all over a football stadium.
(3:24) lol @ MJF’s sparkly skinny jeans.
(3:26) We’re now spending multiple minutes covering MJF and Chris Jericho brawling through the backstage area, with no shots of anybody else the entire time.
(3:27) Brand new Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer and Jaguars Assistant Head Coach Charlie Strong make a cameo, giving out footballs and a laptop to help Jericho. That was a nice touch.
(3:29) Hey, we’re finally seeing other people, as Jake Hager and Wardlow are brawling around. Wardlow went to lock Hager in a freezer, but Hager made his way out before the door closed. They battle into the freezer, where we see an obviously fake pig hanging on a hook. Wardlow then grabs an equally fake “icicle” and tries to murder Hager with it.
(3:32) Wardlow and Hager go crashing through… say it with me… an obviously fake wall, looking like they went through a few pieces of paper. Yikes.
(3:33) This has been entertaining so far, but I hate the layout of the match. It’s five-on-five, but it’s being broken down into singles matches. We get to watch two guys fight for a few minutes, then it cuts to another two guys fighting for a few minutes, then cuts to another two guys fighting for a few minutes, and so on. The way it’s being cut makes it just look like the new set of fighters are awaiting their cue to start fighting.
(3:37) Well, we cut to a tag team match, with FTR squaring off against Santana and Ortiz in a makeshift nightclub backstage, with Konnan as the DJ.
(3:39) Konnan breaks up an attempt at interference by Tully Blanchard. We’re still doing the “one battle for a few minutes, then cutting to another battle for a few minutes” thing. I hate it. The action itself is good, but this layout is fucking awful.
(3:42) Now… back to Hager and Wardlow.
(3:42) …and now, back to Jericho and MJF. At least that last transition only took a moment. Progress!
(3:44) Jericho staples a card to MJF’s forehead. Why not?
(3:46) MJF is thrown through a glass window and comes out with less blood on his head than you’d get if you bit a fingernail too much.
(3:48) Jericho and MJF make their way to Daily’s Place, totally not after pre-taped stuff from earlier, and now, all of a sudden, MJF is a bloody mess.
(3:49) Sammy Guevara hops into a golf cart and chases Shawn Spears down. Spears, like a moron, decides he doesn’t want to get out of the way and basically runs in a straight line before getting run over.
(3:52) Spears and Guevara are fighting in the ring. So, after everything we’ve seen, we’re back to this basically being a singles match.
(3:53) Spears gets curb stomped into a steel chair. Good. Do it again.
(3:54) A picture perfect 630 from Guevara gets the win for The Inner Circle. Now, even though they were battling all over the state of Florida, the rest of The Inner Circle make their way to the ring at the same time. It’s almost like all of that didn’t actually happen live or something. I have no idea how the hell to grade what I just watched. Like I said, the action itself was really good. A wild brawl with everyone involved getting some good spots in, but I could not stand how the match was laid out. I have to find some sort of way to balance things out, though, so I’ll give it 3.5 stars and call it a night.
Really fun show. There were a couple slower moments, but overall, that was definitely worth checking out. The World Title match was great, and the Tag Team Title match was only a small notch below that. There were a few matches that bordered on the 4-star mark. Again, it’s worth checking out if you didn’t already do so. Thank you all for joining me. I’ll be back in my usual Wednesday spot. Be good to each other.