All Elite Wrestling (AEW) presents the most anticipated wrestling event of the year, as a sold out T-Mobile arena hosts Double or Nothing. In the main event, the AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page faces his toughest challenger of his title reign so far, when he goes one on one for the first time ever with CM Punk. Punk returned just over seven months ago and feels the time is right to face the young champion, but the Hangman has defeated Kenny Omega, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole to name but three tough competitors in their own right. Also on the show, three fantastic but unlikely teams will meet with the AEW World Tag Team Championships at stake: Jurassic Express, with Christian Cage at their side, feel they don’t quite get the respect they deserve, and will be looking to make their opponents respect them when they face both Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs of Team Taz and the newcomer team of Swerve In Our Glory, Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland. The champions most recently defended their titles on PPV in a three way at Revolution, and will be capitalising on the hatred Team Taz and Swerve in Our Glory have for each other to do the same again. The AEW Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa will face her toughest test, off the back of a very simple premise: Rosa wants be the champion for the fans, while Serena Deeb needs to be the champion for herself.
Chris Jericho has revolutionised his career once again. What started as a competition between Jericho and Eddie Kingston has turned into something far more personal, and now all members of the Jericho Appreciation Society will have to back their leader against the combined team of The Blackpool Combat Club, Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley, Santana and Ortiz. Jade Cargill has been unstoppable as TBS champion, undefeated in singles competition, and she will face off with The Dark Order’s Anna Jay. Jay has improved unprecedently since her first loss to Jade several months ago, and now poses the biggest threat to Jade’s TBS Championship reign. There will also be two huge tournament finals to honour the late, legendary Owen Hart: Adam Cole will face Samoa Joe in (surprisingly) a first time ever contest, while Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. will battle long time rival Ruby Soho. Who will be the first to have their names etched upon the Owen Hart Foundation Trophy? For over six months the The House of Black and Death Triangle have been entangled with each other, and they will finally get a chance to let loose their aggressions as Malakai Black, Brody King and Buddy Matthews answer the challenge of Penta Oscuro, Rey Fenix and PAC.
Double or Nothing will also host ‘The Elite versus The Delete’, where The Young Bucks and The Hardys will compete in a highly anticipated tag team contest. These two teams are the two best pairs of brothers in history, the best tag team of the 2000s versus the best tag team of the 2010s, the two best tag teams right now, and arguably of all time. A very personal mixed trios match will also take place, as The Men of the Year (Scorpio Sky and Ethan page) team with the debuting Paige VanZant to battle the threesome of Frankie Kazarian, Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti. If The Men of the Year and VanZant come out on top, then neither Frankie Kazarian nor Sammy Guevara can ever challenge for Scoprio Sky’s TNT Championship again. Darby Allin will also face Kyle O’Reilly, one week after O’Reilly viciously attacked Allin’s mentor, Sting. And finally, kicking things off, “Mister Mayhem” Wardlow finally gets his chance to beat some respect into MJF. Wardlow has survived being strapped across back 10 times, a lopsided cage match, and horrible insults and unnecessary humiliation for months since winning the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match. But if there’s one thing for certain, it’s that MJF always has a trick up his sleeve.
+ Hangman Adam Page (c) vs CM Punk (AEW World Championship): the last time CM Punk was wrestling full time, Adam Page was a young boy in ROH. The crowd was split here, as was the quality of the wrestling with fantastic strike exchanges giving way to lots of botches and awkward timing issues. Some of those less-clean moments did play into the story, so I give the benefit of the doubt and assume they were intentional. The crowd was the best part of this, but I’m a fan of both guys and they really did well together. It was jsut their own attempts at things that looked wonky
+ Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) (c) (w/ Christian Cage) vs Team Taz (Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs) vs Swerve in our Glory (Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland) (AEW World Tag Team Championships): this was a fantastic match, and I’m glad that the live crowd treated it as such. Ricky Starks is on his way to being a megastar, and I hope that the people behind the scenes in AEW can see that. Swerve can do some crazy stuff, and Jungle Boy has the most pure underdog hero aura you could ask for. The big boys of each team were also a lot of fun, with Keith Lee a real standout. I was genuinely hooked by a few of the false finishes to this one, which is the best praise I could give
+ The Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley & Bryan Danielson), Santana, Ortiz & Eddie Kingston vs The Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, Jake Hager, Angelo Parker & Matt Menard) (Anarchy In The Arena): this was insane. Daddy magic Matt Menard is my new all time favourite. This was an incredibly dangerous fight with several really good story callbacks, but it was the insane violence that I think most people will either love or hate. The first eight or so minutes are some of the wildest stuff you’ll see, and one moment with Eddie Kingston in particular was genuinely quite shocking. I liked this, but I know that there will be a lot of people that did not
+ Thunder Rosa (c) vs Serena Deeb (AEW Women’s World Championship): this was a little bit up and down, but overall it ended in the positive. Deeb is really, really good, and I have enjoyed everything about her over the past few months. Thunder Rosa still stumble sometimes, but overall I think she has been, and is coming into this match, a good champion. The final ending sequence in particular was really good
+ Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. vs Ruby Soho (The Owen Hart Foundation Women’s Tournament Final): after the incredibly underwhelming Men’s Final, this was thankfully a really good match. I feel like Britt does get presented as a bit better than her in ring skills, and Ruby sometimes a bit the same, but when they were on, they were on, and their stuff looked great
+ Death Triangle (Penta Oscuro, Rey Fenix & PAC) (w/ Alex Abrahantes) vs The House of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King & Buddy Matthews): this was fantastic, and easily my favourite match of the show. PAC is one of the best wrestlers in the world right now, and I cannot wait to see him versus Buddy Matthews, one on one. Except for a very scary Brody King moment, this was an incredibly crisp match that more than lived up to the eight months or so it’s taken to get here. AEW needs to get some trios belts soon, or bring in the ROH Six-Man Titles, because both of these triumvirates are more than worthy
+ MJF vs Wardlow: despite some alleged disruptions to the match before the event, this was exactly what you think it was. MJF is a slimy cheater and the War Dog is a beast. This didn’t need to be long, and thankfully it wasn’t
+ HOOKhausen (HOOK & Danhausen) vs Tony Nese & “Smart” Mark Sterling: this was on the BUy-In, and it was short. But I’ll give this a positive because it did exactly what it was intending to do. That said, I do think it’s time for HOOK to be in some more competitive matches
– Darby Allin vs Kyle O’Reilly: this was a stiff, dangerous match and I absolutely loved it, but it never felt anything like a PPV match. This was another very late addition to the show that didn’t need to be here
– The Men of the Year (Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page) & Paige VanZant vs Sammy Guevara, Frankie Kazarian & Tay Conti: overall this was perfectly acceptable, but it all felt unnecessary. PVZ’s debut was the big selling point here, but she was not ready for a match like this, on a stage like this, in a position on the card like this match was. Sammy did some good stuff, and Scorpio and Kaz always work well together, but overall I could have done without this
– Samoa Joe vs Adam Cole (The Owen Hart Foundation Men’s Tournament Final): this match did absolutely nothing for me. I’ve been sick of Adam Cole for a long time, and I was excited to see what Joe could do post-NXT, but both of them have been – and more importantly, were here – incredibly underwhelming. I do not buy for a single second that Adam Cole is a tough person, and Joe is clearly past his prime, as he was huffing relatively early into this match up
– Jade Cargill (c) vs Anna Jay (TBS Championship): holy smokes, this was really bad. There is no much else to say except that nothing went right in this match at all. The post match was clearly intended to be a big moment or two, but after following the very poor match it all just fell flat
– The Hardys (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) vs The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson): this match started really poorly, but it picked up enough to be just below passable. I don’t really know why it was here though, and as always I think they simply did too much stuff for a match so early on the show. Jeff was having some troubles with something, possibly his boot, and Matt just looked tired. The Bucks were working extremely hard, but this was just not good
> the aftermath of the two Owen Foundation Tournament finals was really, really poorly executed and killed the crowd. I’d strongly suggest working that out better in the future
> I think I disagree with every single result on this show, and that’s a rare thing for AEW
> I’ll say it definitively: AEW’s roster is too big, and with ‘shocking debuts’ coming every show, they need to split these into half AEW, half Ring of Honor. It’s just getting ridiculous
Should you watch this event: Overall, this was not a very good show. There were simply far too many matches that all required some measure of time and investment that it instead made everything feel one of two ways: either it was overly long, because it had to be due to its deemed importance; or it was far too short for the importance that it had been given. The Bucks/Hardys, Jade/Jay, Darby/O’Reilly and maybe even the mixed trio should all have been cut from this show. Seek out Hangman/Punk and especially the three way Tag Title match, and if you like blood and violence then the Anarchy match was good for you, too.