From Daily's Place, in front of a real crowd packed in around the ring! Our hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur.
Darby wants to avoid the obligatory post-match ambush and calls Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page out. Page and Sky appear on the stage and refuse to fight for free. They turn to leave, and the Wingmen jump Sting and Darby instead. Page and Sky rush the ring and attempt to Pillmanize Sting, but the Dark Order clear them out just in time.
Paul Wight hosts the official Double or Nothing weigh-in between Cody Rhodes (with Arn Anderson and Nightmare Family) and Anthony Ogogo (with The Factory). I get the sense that the crowd wasn't going to boo Ogogo until QT Marshall antagonized them on the mic. Cody has about a thousand people in his corner, mostly students, and the fans still love him. Wight struggles with the scale but eventually announces Cody's weight to be 218 pounds. Unrelated fireworks go off outside of Daily's Place, prompting USA chants. Wight announces Ogogo's weight as 219 pounds. QT makes a big deal about Ogogo being heavier than Cody and preemptively declares victory. The fans continue favoring Cody throughout a posedown, and Dustin has had enough and takes a shot at QT. Cody thanks the fans and the segment wraps up without any further incident. You know, after 14 months of pandemic shows, it's cathartic to say that this was a segment that only worked BECAUSE of the live crowd.
Stadium Stampede hype video. The Inner Circle are putting their existence on the line against the Pinnacle.
Powerhouse Hobbs attacks Christian Cage in the WWF No Mercy backstage brawl part of the venue. They're eventually pulled apart.
Taz sends Brian Cage out for a confrontation with Hangman. Page is ready for the Team Taz ambush, and shames Cage for needing help to whoop his @ss. Page dares Cage to leave the @ssholes out of it and face him without help at Double or Nothing. Cage takes the bait, because nobody is better than Cage, least of all Page. Now, maybe they can act their age, and let go of their rage.
Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston prepare to bury the Young Bucks' stolen sneakers. They've had it with Rod and Todd Flanders, and even though they're just a thrown together team, they trust each other with their lives, love championships, and are ready for war with the Bucks. Eddie thinks the Bucks will quit, just like they've quit on everyone else. Maybe Eddie and Mox will be EVP's after Double or Nothing. This was tremendous.
Tony Shiavone is ready to host Orange Cassidy in the ring for his response to Kenny Omega's offer to defer his title shot. Instead, Pac comes to the ring and orders Tony out. Pac feels overlooked and calls Omega pathetic for dodging challengers during this "prestigious" title reign. Don Callis appears on the big screen for a distraction. Kenny Omega tries to run in, but Pac is ready for him. The Good Brothers run in but get chased out by the Lucha Bros. Omega pulls himself up and prepares a One Winged Angel for Pac, but Orange Cassidy and Best Friends interrupt. Cassidy saunters into the ring and hands Kenny an envelope. Kenny finds a shredded contrat inside and eats an Orange Punch. OC is about to pick up the AEW title when Pac steps onto it. Cassidy avoids a powerbomb and blasts Pac with another Orange Punch! LOUD "Freshly Squeezed" chant while Cassidy poses with the gold. This was very good, albeit last-minute, build for the title match on Sunday.
Earlier today, Tony Shiavone spoke to Jade Cargill. She is offended by Tony calling her match against KiLynn King "typical" but Matt Hardy interrupts in an attempt to recruit her. Mark Sterling steps in to tell Matt to stop bothering his client. Sterling only gets paid when Jade wins, so they've got to go. Hardy doesn't like this one bit.
Jake Roberts and Lance Archer talk about Miro's TNT title defense against Dante Martin. Jake thinks it would be neat if the super young Dante won, but Archer is looking ahead to Double or Nothing.
Jake Roberts and Lance Archer interrupt Miro's celebration. Jake says that Miro's fairytale story will end at Double or Nothing, and he'd better shut the F up, because they've had enough of his bullying. Miro tells them to shut up, and dares Jake to unleash Lance for once. Archer charges in, Miro escapes a chokeslam, and and ducks out while referees rush in to restore order. Archer throws the TNT belt at him and stands tall. This match suddenly feels like an incredibly big deal.
Tony Shiavone hosts AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida in the ring to celebrate her full year as champion. She's awarded with a brand new championship belt, which totally means she's losing at Double or Nothing. Shida expresses her pride at being able to finally celebrate with the fans after a year of empty arena or limited capacity shows. Dr. Britt Baker interrupts to spoil the mood. She acknowledges that Shida was champion during the hardest time in pro wrestling, but when she wins the title she'll be the face of an entire era.
An army of Stingers swarm Ethan and Sky in the ring. One of the Stingers is the real Sting, which sends Ethan and Sky scurrying. Ah man, this reminded me of TNA, which is hardly ever a good thing.
Eric Bischoff hosts the Celebration of the Inner Circle in the ring. Chris Jericho relishes having fans singing his music again in close quarters. They air a video package highlighting the complete history of the Inner Circle in AEW. The fans reward them with an "Inner Circle" chant. Santana puts the group over for all the cool sh!t they've done and for carrying AEW through a pandemic. Jake Hager adds that if this is the end, he wants to see highlights of the bad times, when they left their souls in the ring. Sammy Guevara says they've been through everything together, including when he had to quit the group, and now he's ready to do everything in his power to keep them from disbanding. Jericho says he usually doesn't play well with others, but the Inner Circle always felt right. Jericho says that if they lose at Stadium Stampede, they'll go down in a blaze of glory, and he loves them all. They share a group hug and middle finger salute. MJF interrupts on the big screen. He and Wardlow have Dean Malenko at their mercy against the goal post. The Inner Circle runs into the stadium, and right into a trap set by the Pinnacle. FTR put Santana and Ortiz through tables with piledrivers while Shawn Spears puts Sammy down with a chair. MJF declares that the Pinnacle are always on top, and they stand tall.
Final Thoughts: Bringing fans back in-person still makes me nervous, but GD it, they made for a great atmosphere, and this episode just flew by. This was a particularly strong PPV go-home show and I am ready to open my wallet on Sunday.
Comment about this article on Da' Wrestling Boards!