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AEW Double or Nothing
by Samoa Rowe
May 30, 2021
From Daily's Place, with a FULL CAPACITY crowd of roughly 4,000 fans! Our hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur.
FTW Champion Brian Cage vs. Hangman Adam Page
14 months since the last full capacity crowd, and Hangman still gets a red hot ovation. Fans chant "Cowboy Sh!t" and boo when Cage is on offense, and pop for Page dishing out a leaping clothesline. Page follows with a tope suicida, but Cage blocks the plancha and hits a ring post powerbomb. Hangman takes a beating but then counters into a crucifix bomb for 2. They both tumble to ringside, Page sells a knee injury, but then lands a top rope moonsault anyway! Hangman's super rana is nearly blocked, but the crowd pops when he hits it for a nearfall. Page's powerbomb is blocked, so he hits a discus lariat. Cage answers with a one armed neckbreaker, and then suplexes Hangman over the ropes onto the ramp! Super F5 by Cage. Cage tries to steal the Buckshot, and Page hits an F5 of his own. Cage hits a nasty German suplex and Buckle Bomb, but Hangman pops up for a jackknife nearfall. Cage's Liger Bomb gets 2, and the crowd is continuing to eat up these false finishes. Ricky Starks tries to distract the ref so Hook can slip in the FTW title, but it backfires. Page finishes with the Buckshot Lariat at 12:06! This kicked into third gear in a big way down the stretch, rewarding the fans for cheering, booing, and chanting at all the right times, ***¾.
Winner: Hangman Adam Page
Video package highlighting the Young Bucks' turn to the dark side. Most of the talking heads are disappointed by their behavior.
AEW Tag Team Championship:
The Young Bucks © (Nick and Matt Jackson, with Don Callis) vs. Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston
Okay, the full capacity crowd loves Moxley's "Wild Thing" entrance and sings and dances along, it can stay. Mox and Eddie jump the Bucks while the streamers go off and shove them down their throats. The Bucks try to double team Mox, so Eddie saves him with a tope suicida. Brandon Cutler runs in to spray down Matt, but Mox and Eddie catch him with their suplex/lariat combo. Nick and Eddie settle in as the legal men, and Eddie hits a knee lift. Mox and Eddie cheat a bit, just to be rude, not because they have to, while Matt protests to the ref. Nick thumbs Eddie's eye, allowing the Bucks to swarm him with rapid running attacks. Nick blows a kiss at Mox, but then Eddie flapjacks him onto the top rope. Matt prevents a tag and mocks Eddie while pummeling him. Nick tags but dives into Eddie's exploder suplex! Moxley storms in on a hot tag and destroys both Bucks. Moxley serves a pair of piledrivers and puts Matt into the Bulldog Choke, but Nick hits a running kick to the face. Moxley plants both Bucks with a swinging DDT, the fans LOVE this. Karl Anderson creates a diversion on the stage, but Eddie sees Doc Gallows sneaking in and dives onto him. Frankie Kazarian attacks Anderson on the stage, living up to his promise to hunt down The Elite. Matt clocks Mox with the spray can to bust him open, and the Bucks then hit the Meltzer Driver onto the ramp! The Bucks are allowed to liberally double team Moxley, but he makes them pay with a novel double German suplex! Eddie storms in on a hot tag and nails Nick with a belly to belly suplex. DDT onto Matt, Nick saves him from an armbar. Loud "Eddie" chant while Kingston hits rapid chops, but the Bucks put him down with a flurry, including an assisted Sliced Bread. Eddie blocks Nick's Swanton Bomb! Moxley tags but walks into stereo superkicks! Moxley blocks More Bang For Your Buck, and pulls Matt into the Bulldog Choke, Nick breaks in time for Matt's 450 splash, but MOX KICKS OUT! They take turns blocking tandem offense, and Mox and Eddie hit a DOOMSDAY DEVICE, but Nick saves it. Nick puts Mox into a Sharpshooter, but Eddie boots him free. Eddie hits Matt with a backdrop driver, Moxley spins Nick with a lariat, and the Paradigm Shift gets broken up by Matt! Mox gets caught with more stereo superkicks, but pops up for double clotheslines! The Bucks throw another superkick party, but Mox kicks out at 1! Mox makes a crazy face, but is still helpless for a series of BTE Triggers, and the Bucks win at 23:33! This was a hellacious match, the different styles of each team meshed together remarkably well, and I'm blown away by the Bucks' ability to put on these high level, athletic stunt shows while managing to get booed throughout, ****½.
Winners and still AEW Tag Team Champions: The Young Bucks
Paul Wight joins commentary to offer his unique perspective on battle royals.
Casino Battle Royal:
In case you don't know, there are 21 competitors. The first 20 guys are split up between four groups and enter in waves. The last competitor is "The Joker" and traditionally is someone from outside AEW. The first entrants are Christian Cage
, Matt Sydal
, Powerhouse Hobbs
, Dustin Rhodes
, and Max Caster
. The fans give Caster a huge reaction and pop for his rap disses. Dustin goes right for Caster while Hobbs mixes it up against Christian and Sydal, and settle into the usual battle royal kicky/punchy action. Caster hits Sydal with a knee lift and tosses him. Christian throws out Caster and gets BOOED by the fans. The next five entrants are Big Money Matt Hardy
, Isiah Kassidy
, Nick Comoroto
, Serpeintico (with Luther)
, 10 has to fight through Hardy and Kassidy to get to the ring. 10 quickly eliminates Serpentico, and then brawls with Comoroto. Dustin tosses both 10 and Comoroto with a sneak attack. Comoroto clocks Dustin with a cowbell from the floor, which allows Hobbs to toss him. Christian and Hardy find themselves alone for a standoff, but Kassidy chop blocks Christian from behind. The next five entrants are Brian Pillman Jr
., Griff Garrison
, Colt Cabana
, Anthony Bowens
, and Penta El Zero M
. They all enter one after the other, and get a turn to run wild. Kassidy dumps Colt. The Varsity Blondes dropkick Bowens and throw him out. Penta navigates through the action while the Varsity Blondes fight the Hardy Family Office. The next five entrants are Jungle Boy
(to a big pop and a singalong to "Tarzan Boy"), Marq Quen
, Aaron Solow
, Evil Uno
(to a nice pop!), and Lee Johnson
. Penta meets JB with sling blades. Private Party hit Silly String and dump out the Varsity Blondes. Solow fails to toss Johnson and gets uppercut off the apron. Uno hits a Flatliner onto Kassidy, but Penta eliminates him with an enziguri. JB takes out Penta, and saves himself by skinning the cat. Hobbs had been napping after taking a Killswitch and returns to run wild. Christian had also been napping, and back drops Hobbs to the floor. Private Party stomp Christian while Hardy stomps Jungle Boy. The Joker is revealed to be LIO RUSH
! Lio dives in onto Kassidy and leap frogs to hit Quen with a Poison Rana. Rush bounces all over the place and hits a standing Spanish Fly! Rush hits a glancing springboard stunner onto Hardy. Private Party attempt Silly String, Rush blocks, but Hardy sneaks up to dump him. The Hardy Family Office dominate and dance along with the "Delete" chants. Jungle Boy pops up to spear Matt! Private Party try Silly String again, and Christian and Jungle Boy work together to eliminate them! Hardy is now alone, so he tries to form an alliance with Christian, only to get easily tossed out. It's down to Jungle Boy vs. Christian Cage! The fans sing "Tarzan Boy" while they frantically fight back and forth. Jungle Boy hits a pendulum kick on the apron and swings around the ring post! Jungle Boy backdrops Christian to win at 23:38! The fans are thrilled with this result! Well, this was waaaay too long, and not all that interesting for long portions, but it sure did end on a hot note once it got down to the Christian/JB mini-match, **¼.
Winner: Jungle Boy
Christian looks upset but ultimately pulls Jungle Boy into a hug. Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt join the party while the fans sing some more "Tarzan Boy." This PPV feels like one big party.
Anthony Ogogo (with The Factory) vs. Cody Rhodes (with Arn Anderson)
Cody blocks the liver punch and traps the arm. Uppercut by Cody, but then Ogogo connects with a body shot. Angle Slam by Ogogo gets a great early 2 count. Cody winces in pain but manages a power slam. Ogogo answers by stomping Cody's chest to the canvas, but Cody comes right back with Cattle Mutilation. Ogogo blocks Cody's dive with a forearm shot, and follows with a German suplex. QT cheap shots and Arn chases him away. Ogogo dominates until he accidentally cuts his own eye open, and Cody rallies with clubbing offense. Cody Cutter by Rhodes, but Ogogo blocks a superplex with another body shot. Frog splash by Ogogo gets 2. Dropkick by Cody and then a Figure Four! Ogogo escapes and hobbles into another body punch and uppercut. Cody blocks the Guv'nor's Hammer and hits a Vertebreaker to win at 10:57. This started out feeling like a three star match, but seemed to lose a half star every few minutes as the fans became increasingly disinterested, and Ogogo kind of got exposed while on offense. I think they only had a five minute match in them tonight, **.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Miro © vs. Lance Archer (with Jake Roberts)
Archer dives onto Miro on the ramp! Archer leads Miro back into the ring and hits his tightrope press for 2. They brawl on the floor and Archer nails a spinebuster through a table. Miro answers with a belly to belly suplex over the guard rail. Miro earns scattered crowd approval for his bruising offense, but Archer fights back with a crossbody block. Archer crashes and burns on a moonsault, and Miro hits a fallaway slam for 2. Miro signals Game Over, but Jake returns with a snake bag. Miro knocks Jake down and amusingly throws the snake all the way to the tunnel. Archer blocks Miro from attacking Jake and nails a chokeslam for a good nearfall. Miro blocks Everyone Dies, but Archer hits a hard shoulder block. Miro snaps the ropes into Archer's midsection and hits a snap suplex. Miro applies Game Over, Archer nearly escapes, but Miro wrenches the hold to an extreme measure and wins at 10:07. Overwhelmingly solid hoss fight that looks and feels different than anything else on the card, ***.
Winner and still TNT Champion: Miro
AEW Women's Championship:
Hikaru Shida © vs. Dr. Britt Baker (with Rebel, not Reba)
The fans respect Shida, but are totally behind Britt during introductions. They slug it out, and Britt looks for LockJaw right away, and avoids Shida's knee strike. The fans offer a dueling chant while Shida looks for a bow and arrow, but settles for body scissors. Britt dodges a dropkick and flees to Rebel. Britt lures Shida into a knee lift, but Shida answers with a rana and dropkick. Shida throws Britt into the rails in nasty fashion and then sets up a chair. Britt doesn't let her leap off the chair, but Shida recovers with a crossbody onto Britt and Rebel. Britt cuts Shida off with a swinging kick to the face and takes control with a curb stomp. Shida rallies with punishing running offense. Shida rakes Britt's face and hits a vertical suplex and running knee strike for 2. They trade hard kicks until Britt nails a fisherman neckbreaker for 2. Shida counters a curb stomp with a stretch muffler. Sling blade by Baker, and then an Air Raid Crash, but Shida kicks out! Britt relentlessly goes for Lockjaw, but Shida continually slips out. German suplex by Shida, and a lunging elbow to the face gets 2. Britt's pinning predicaments go nowhere, and Shida goes for the Stretch Muffler, but breaks when Rebel hops onto the apron. Rebel misfires a crutch shot and blasts Britt, resulting in an incredible nearfall for Shida. Falcon Arrow by Shida, but BRITT KICKS OUT! The ref ejects Rebel, but misses Britt curb stomping Shida onto the belt, but SHIDA KICKS OUT! The fans are booing that! Shida blocks Lockjaw and nails a jumping knee strike. Shida hits her running knee but Britt kicks out! Britt finally gets a proper Lockjaw and SHIDA TAPS at 17:18! This was nonstop, urgent action, and hit the right dramatic notes down the stretch, ****.
Winner and new AEW Women's Champion: Dr. Britt Baker
Tony Shiavone leaves the desk to congratulate Britt on the stage and whisper something nice. This gave me all the feels.
Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky vs. Darby Allin and Sting
We're treated to a short film of Darby and Sting riding through the desert together and it's more bad-ass than I can articulate. Allin starts the match by launching himself into Sky and Ethan against the rail. Sting takes on Sky while Allin pulls the rails onto Ethan. Sky suplexes Sting onto the stage, but the Stinger pops right back up. Sting throws Sky onto Ethan, and then LEAPS OFF THE STAGE ONTO THEM! Excuse me while I mark out. Darby and Sting swarm Sky in the ring, and the fans are loving this. Ethan breaks up Darby's springboard attempt, shifting the momentum into their favor. Darby does well ragdolling for Ethan and Sky. Ethan particularly relishes the chance to hurt Darby and press slams him into the front row! Darby eventually catches Ethan with a stunner, and Sting storms in on a hot tag. I can't properly express the joy of seeing Sting hit Stinger Splashes and hit Ethan with Code Red for only 2! Darby tags but gets tripped on the top rope by Sky, leaving Ethan to stomp Sting. Page throws Allin onto Sting! Sting saves Darby from the Ego's Edge and puts Ethan into the Scorpion Deathlock! Allin helps with a Fujiwara Armbar, but Sky puts him into the heel hook. Allin and Ethan slap each other while stuck in submissions, and I'm marking out yet again. Aubrey Edwards restores order but everyone is wounded. Sting squares off with Scorpio, who kicks the outside leg. Sting misses a Stinger Splash, but Sting blocks a cutter and nails the Scorpion Deathlock to win at 14:12! This MASSIVELY over delivered, thanks to the molten hot crowd and carefully planned match layout. I'm tempted to go ****, and you know what, who cares, I'm going with it.
Winners: Sting and Darby Allin
AEW World Championship:
Kenny Omega © (with Don Callis) vs. Pac vs. Orange Cassidy
Omega and Pac push Cassidy to the side so they can duke it out. They both go for crossbodies and wipe out, and Cassidy casually saunters in to make convenient cover attempts. OC fakes putting his hands in pockets and hits a double rana, followed by a flurry resulting in a DDT on Omega. Pac sends Omega packing with a rana and follows with an Asai moonsault. Pac takes his time setting up a missile dropkick onto Cassidy. Pac meets Omega with a shotgun dropkick, and then hits a double missile dropkick. If you think I'm tired of typing "dropkick" you might be right. Omega recovers with a Finlay Roll on Pac and backstabber on OC. Omega and Pac square off, and Cassidy tries to slip in, but eats Omega's backbreaker. Omega marks out for himself after hitting a running plancha onto both challengers. Cassidy counters Kenny with Stundog Millionaire, can't hit Beach Break, and trades nearfalls until Pac crashes onto them with a brutal 450 splash! Omega stumbles while hitting a flurry of snap Dragons. OC eats a V-Trigger, but Pac counters Omega into a nasty German suplex. Pac hits OC with a superkick when Omega ducks, and Kenny blasts a desperation lariat. Omega looks for an avalanche Dragon suplex on Cassidy, who mercifully blocks by putting his hands into pockets. Pac leaps up to hit Kenny with an avalanche release German suplex! Cassidy hits a somersault senton onto Pac and kips up, but Kenny catches him with Tiger Driver ‘98! Pac blocks One Winged Angel, but eats a dead lift German instead. Kenny gleefully kills Cassidy with V-Triggers, but OC defiantly puts hands in pockets while collapsing. Cassidy pops up for a Michinoku Driver, but Pac ambushes with a brainbuster for 2. Pac reverses a top rope One Winged Angel into a sunset flip bomb! Avalanche Falcon Arrow by Pac, but Cassidy steals the cover for a red hot nearfall! Cassidy hits Pac with sloth kicks, for old time's sake, so Pac kicks him square in the netherregions. Black Arrow on Cassidy, but Omega makes the late save! Black Arrow on Omega misses, but he gets the Brutalizer. Cassidy breaks it up and hits the Orange Punch and Beach Break for an insane false finish on Omega! Fans chant "Fight Forever." Cassidy blocks Pac's low blow and hits him with the Orange Punch. Cassidy has the fans' full support as he hits another Orange Punch on Pac, but Don Callis pulls the referee out to prevent a 3 count. Cassidy is fired up but flies into Pac's suplex and Brutalizer. Omega can't break the Brutalizer with stomps, so he blatantly knocks out referee Bryce Remsburg. Callis systematically throws in Omega's many title belts for attacks against Pac. Cassidy returns with an Orange Punch and referee Aubrey Edwards rushes in to count, but Omega reverses the pinning predicament to win at 27:10! Wow, they aimed high and delivered an instant classic that should elevate both Pac and Cassidy for having been a part of this match. Omega comes out of this looking simultaneously dangerous and weasel-like. ****¾.
Winner and still AEW World Champion: Kenny Omega
Coming this fall: Full Gear 2021 in St. Louis!
Tony Shiavone introduces Mark Henry as the special analyst for Rampage on Friday nights! The fans give him a standing ovation.
The Pinnacle (MJF, Shawn Spears, Wardlow, Cash Wheeler, and Dax Harwood, with Tully Blanchard) vs. The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz, and Jake Hager)
MJF steps out of a limousine in the stadium and vows to finish the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle then rappel down from the top of the scoreboard! They chase MJF back into the limo, but FTR's truck peels in with the other Pinnacle guys and they proceed to brawl all over the field. Guevara matches up against Spears and head into a ring. Sammy hits a leaping cutter, boots Wardlow, but can't hit a SSP. Spears hits Sammy with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Meanwhile, MJF cautiously exits the limo, but Jericho is waiting for him. MJF sprays Jericho with an extinguisher and flees into a hallway. Jericho chases him into a WWF No Mercy backstage area. MJF throws coffee into Jericho's face and declares himself to be the GOAT now. Jericho screams into a megaphone to deafen MJF and smashes him against the wall with a table and other various weapons. They brawl into the coach's office, and Jaguars' coach Urban Meyer marks out while Jericho wheels MJF over a handrail. MJF attacks the arm brace, so Jericho flips a white board into his face.
The action cuts to Wardlow and Hager brawling in a warehouse area. Wardlow tries to lock Hager into a walk-in freezer, Hager escapes, so Wardlow smashes water jugs over him. They head back into the freezer, past some pig carcasses, and Wardlow tries to stab Wardlow with an icicle! They head back into the warehouse, and Wardlow bonks Hager against an equipment cart. Hager flips double birds, so Wardlow tackles him through an amusingly fake gimmick wall.
Meanwhile, Sammy Guevara is storming through the halls and gets summoned by Spears beating a chair in a dramatically lit chair room. Sammy attacks, and we get a makeshift Mortal Kombat fight sequence! Spears seats Sammy for a running boot! Guevara backflips off a wall and hits a springboard kick off of a forklift! Spears lawndarts poor Sammy into a steel door. Spears finds bolt cutters, a bat, and a chair on a table, and opts to use the chair, but Sammy blindsides him with a running kick. Spears sends Sammy into a scissor lift with a drop toe hold, but Sammy chokes him with a power cord. Sammy climbs up a warehouse rack, but Spear moves away before he can dive. Spears hits a ladder shot and handcuffs Sammy to a rack and leaves him, not realizing that he left bolt cutters nearby.
Elsewhere, Santana and Ortiz find FTR and Tully hanging out in a disco! Did FTR forget they were in a match? Shut up, brain, I'm trying to enjoy this! They clear out the room and share a drink, and a camera zoom reveals the DJ to be KONNAN! LAX flip the table and they have a proper barroom brawl. Konnan neutralizes Tully, Santana throws Wheeler against a chair for a rare pin attempt, and Ortiz pummels Harwood with a trash can. Ortiz throws beer bottles at Dax, Wheeler slams him into an elevator, and they disappear.
Back to the warehouse, Wardlow seemingly has Hager down and out, but he misses a smash with a wooden pallet. They brawl onto a golf cart, Hager hits a low blow and puts Wardlow through a wooden platform with a chokeslam!
Meanwhile, MJF and Jericho are brawling through an upscale part of the stadium, MJF misses a wild swing and punches a Shad Khan cardboard cutout. "You're in so much trouble now!" Jericho staples a Thank You card against MJF's forehead and rips it off! Jericho is really struggling with his arm brace, and MJF hits a piledriver onto a board room table. MJF grabs a hammer, but Jericho clocks him in the head, pulls Floyd out of a random cabinet, and smashes MJF In the head. "You really are an @sshole" says Jericho as he throws MJF through a glass door.
Somewhere else, Shawn Spears is confronted by the Inner Circle Motorcycle Club and runs away before they can run him over.
Jericho leads MJF into Daily's Place, and the fans are thrilled to see the action in person. Jericho crotches MJF onto a handrail, but MJF smashes the arm brace into another rail. MJF tries to kill Jericho by dropping him over the balcony. Instead, Jericho powerbombs him through a Box-like Structure, to massive crowd approval.
Guevara then crashes a golf cart into Spears right in front of the fans! They head into the Daily's Place ring, Sammy springboards into Spears' chair shot for a good nearfall! Sammy gives a middle finger salute and takes a chair to the face for a hot nearfall. Spears sets a chair in the buckles, but Sammy cuts him off with a GTH! Sammy hits a curb stomp into the chair while shouting "I did this to you, b!tch!" Sammy hits a beautiful 630 senton to win at 32:34! The fans explode at this result and sing along with "Judas" while the other Inner Circle guys join Guevara for the post-match group celebration! We've seen many cinematic matches over the past 14 months, but this was the first one to end in front of a full capacity crowd. The symbolism is not lost on me. I felt like this was missing something while watching live the first time, but I enjoyed this more on my second viewing, partly because I was anticipating all the cool moments, stunts, and set pieces, and above all, the celebration at the very end. Chris Jericho and company celebrating with 4,000 passionate fans is what we all needed to see as the pandemic finally (hopefully?) comes to an end. Also, how perfect is it that Sammy Guevera was allowed to win the match, when this entire Jericho/MJF saga had him quit the Inner Circle for a period, and after he forfeited Blood & Guts? There is so much to this match that is above what we see in the wrestling business. *****
Winners: The Inner Circle
Final Thoughts: Double or Nothing is an all-timer. It has the right mix of smart booking, great in-ring action, and a molten hot capacity crowd, and is the kind of show I think most of us have been waiting for since the whole world stopped turning 14 months ago. This show gets a heartfelt recommendation from me, go out of your way to see it.
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