With Covid-19 preventing some wrestlers from performing and fans from attending shows, All Elite Wrestling had to improvise with some of their plans going forward. Double or Nothing had previously been scheduled to take place live in Las Vegas, but the Coronavirus forced this PPV to happen at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
Even without a full roster in place and fans in attendance, All Elite Wrestling delivered a spectacular show that blew anything WWE has put on in the last two months out of the water.
Private Party vs Best Friends – #1 Contendership for AEW Tag Team Championship
Private Party had been out of action for about two months due to the quarantine, so they had some ring rust going into this match. They were slow to get to spots and also a little sloppy at times, but Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen still have a bright future ahead of them. This match certainly would have been better if Private Party had been wrestling through the Covid-19.
I am excited to see Best Friends vs Kenny Omega and Hangman Page. That will certainly be a great match that will likely happen at Fyter Fest. Trent and Chuckie T are two great wrestlers that are bound to have a solid match with possibly the best wrestler in the world in Kenny Omega and his partner Hangman Page.
Casino Ladder Match for future AEW World Championship Opportunity
This match benefited from the Casino part of this match where a new wrestler was added to the match every two minutes. This allowed the chaos of the match to build over time instead of being off-the-wall crazy from the start like how most multi-man ladder matches go.
Darby Allin’s crash and burn at the start of his entry really played into his thrillseeking persona, and it helped set up his eventual confrontation with the debuting Brian Cage. AEW has been building an angle with Tazz and Darby over the last couple of weeks, and it looks like it will culminate in the coming weeks of AEW dynamite.
There were a lot of great spots in this match especially with the comedy of Orange Cassidy. He is such a unique character that is so entertaining to watch.
Brian Cage winning this match is totally fine. People complained about having someone be boosted into the title picture after just debuting, but it makes sense for him to win. Kazarian and Scorpio Sky already had matches with Jon Moxley, Colt Cabana and Kip Sabian are currently in an angle with each other, OC is currently at odds with the Death Triangle, and Joey Janela was a last minute replacement so it was unlikely for him to win.
Luchasaurus vs Moxley would be a great, and I do hope to see Luchasaurus boosted into the title picture in the future, but the match would not work well with both guys as faces. While Cage does seem to be starting an angle with Darby, he makes the most sense as Moxley’s next opponent. Darby Allin’s time will come, and I do expect him to make a run for the TNT Championship, which will eventually boost him into the main event.
MJF vs Jungle Boy
This was my favorite match on the card, as it was really well done. MJF targeted Jungle Boy’s left shoulder the entire match presumably to set up “The Salt of the Earth” armbar. This limited Jungle Boy’s offense the entire match, and Jungle Boy did a great job at selling his shoulder throughout the contest.
It seemed just about every time there was a counter or kick out in the match, it was because one of the men was injured and could not carry through. At one point in the match, Jungle Boy had a crossface locked in, but had to relinquish the hold due to the pain in his shoulder. MJF also tried to finish the match with a Tiger Bomb, but he could not get Jungle Boy up for the move due to spasms in his back.
Both these guys stole the show with this match. Jungle Boy only wanted to win the match straight up, while MJF tried to take every underhanded tactic he could get, which really fits his character. The match finished with MJF poking Jungle Boy’s eyes, which led to a couple of different roll up combinations before MJF locked in an innovative cradle while grasping Jungle Boys injured arm in the pin combination.
It will be exciting to see where both men go after this. These guys certainly have more incredible matches in their future.
Cody vs Lance Archer – Tournament Final for Inaugural TNT Championship
This was a nice back-and-forth and physical contest for the majority of the match. My main issue with the match is the interference angle. For some reason, Jake Roberts, Lance Archer’s manager, decided to distract the ref while Lance Archer was in control and walking the ropes. This allowed Arn Anderson, Cody’s manager, to sweep Archer off the ropes.
Roberts distracting the ref does not make any sense in that scenario. They doubled down with this bizarre angle by having a second ref come out to kick Arn Anderson out, as Bryce Remsburg, the referee for this contest, did not see the interference.
One of my biggest pet peeves in wrestling is when a second ref comes out to inform the actual ref of interference or when instant replay is used to reverse the decision of a match (not including the funny instant replay moment of the Stadium Stampede match).
We are going to see countless interference moments from outside managers in AEW matches for the rest of the year, but 9 times out of 10, a second ref will not come out to inform the actual ref of the interference. If you’re not going to use a second ref every single time there is cheating in a match, then it should never be used.
Kris Statlander vs Penelope Ford
I thought this was a great match between two rising stars of the women’s division. Penelope Ford has seen an increase in appearances with Covid-19, and she has taken full advantage of it. When Britt Baker, Statlander’s original opponent, was ruled out of Double or Nothing, Ford was the only logical replacement.
Both women looked good, and with another year of experience, both these wrestlers will be headliners of a women’s division that may actually surpass WWE’s roster in terms of talent.
Dustin Rhodes vs Shawn Spears
This match did not add much to the card other than an easy transition to the Women’s World Championship match. Dustin Rhodes is clearly not retiring and will be a staple of the AEW roster for the foreseeable future.
I am disappointed to see Shawn Spears relegated to a comedy jobber role with him wrestling this contest in his underwear that had Tully Blanchard’s face on the front of it. It seemed like Spears had some strong character development in the last couple of weeks, but it looks like it went nowhere.
Nyla Rose(c) vs Hikaru Shida – No DQ & No Countout for AEW Women’s World Championship
This match surpassed all expectations with both women going all out in their no DQ and no countout match. I loved their involvement of all the different casino themed props throughout the arena from Nyla Rose throwing Hikaru Shida through a poker table to Shida returning the favor by kneeing Nyla’s head into a giant poker chip.
Shida is going to be a fantastic champion, but it will be interesting to see who her first challenger will be. With Britt Baker currently sidelined, Kris Statlander may take the role of the #1 contender, and that should be another fantastic match.
Jon Moxley(c) vs Brodie Lee – AEW World Championship
This match did not have too much build to it as plans had to be rushed. Typically the challenger for the AEW World Championship, or any AEW title in general, will be at the top of the AEW rankings. This was not the case for Brodie Lee, as he created the opportunity for himself by attacking Jon Moxley.
There are obviously big plans for Brodie, and I do not think his title push was rushed. This was a very physical match with both men fighting outside the ring into several props.
The match culminated in Moxley delivering the Paradigm Shift on Brodie into the stage. Brodie came out a bloody mess and would still need a couple of Paradigm Shifts to keep him down. I’m not the biggest fan of finisher kickouts, but it works with Brodie Lee.
He’s been built up almost superhuman like, so it is going to take more than normal effort to keep him down. Brodie losing to referee stoppage certainly keeps his credibility in check. He did not get pinned and did not submit, so he still looks like a monster.
It will be interesting to see what the plan for Brodie Lee is now. Maybe he will set his sights on Cody and the TNT Championship. Brodie’s character likes to feel powerful, and there is no bigger feeling of power in wrestling than holding a championship. After not being able to beat Moxley for the AEW World Championship, Cody could be Brodie’s next opponent.
The Elite & Matt Hardy vs The Inner Circle – Stadium Stampede
This match is really hard to grade considering it is more of a production than your prototypical wrestling match, but that does not take away from how awesome this match was. There were a lot of moving parts that all flowed nicely with each other.
Going into this match, I knew the Jaguars stadium had a pool, so I was hoping they would somehow incorporate that into the match, and they did a fantastic job at that. They really used everything at their disposal from Matt Jackson monnsaulting off a goal post, Hangman Page and Jake Hager brawling at a bar, and Nick Jackson diving from the stands onto the field. The Elite even found a new way to kill Sammy Guevara by having Omega hit the One-Winged Angel onto him off a platform in the stands to a crash pad below.
It will be interesting to see where The Elite and Inner Circle go from here. Both factions are full of some of the most talented guys in wrestling, so the sky is the limit.
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