AEW Double Or Nothing Hit List: The Elite vs. The Inner Circle in a Stadium Stampede, Jon Moxley vs. Brodie Lee for the AEW Championship, Nyla Rose vs. Hikaru Shida for the AWE Women’s Championship, Cody vs. Lance Archer to become the first TNT Champion, Casino Ladder Match

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

AEW Double Or Nothing Hits

Matt Hardy, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, and Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho, Santana, Ortiz, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager in a Stadium Stampede: As much as I’ve grumbled about some of the cinematic matches we’ve seen during the empty venue era, this was a really creative and well produced spectacle. Some of the football related gags worked for me because they combined my love of football and pro wrestling, though I can totally understand if some viewers found some of those moments to be too silly. Guevara was a blast throughout the match. He had the perfect facial expressions when he was chased by the horse and the golf cart. The bar brawl was a lot of fun, even if it was strange that Hager would opt to find Page rather than lean into the man advantage that the Inner Circle had while Page was off boozing it up. Matt Jackson deserves props for doing everything he did in this match despite his rib injury. The big spot at the end looked amazing with Omega performing the One Winged Angel on Guevara. Sure, there was a crash pad below and I’m not always big on those types of stunts, but a big spectacle match needs a spectacular ending. As much as I enjoyed this match, I can’t say that I’m keen on the idea of making this an annual event. AEW initially claimed that this would be an authentic feeling product. And while I totally understand that strange times call for strange measures, as a traditionalist I really hope to see AEW and other promotions get back to taking a more traditional approach coming out of the pandemic.

Nyla Rose vs. Hikaru Shida in a no disqualification, no count-out match for the AEW Women’s Championship: The only thing I didn’t care for was the outcome, though it’s cool if it was done as a feel good moment following the tragic death of Hana Kimura. Rose was really clicking as the monster of the women’s division. One loss isn’t the end of the world, but it does take away from that invincible feeling that she was starting to develop. The actual match was a really well worked brawl. It may have been better to put some distance between this match and the AEW Championship match due to the similarities, but this match totally exceeded my expectations.

Jon Moxley vs. Brodie Lee for the AEW Championship: Although it was billed as a double main event, this match didn’t have the burden of being the true main event of the show. As such, they were able to have a fast paced 15-minute brawl rather than feeling the need to go longer and deliver something more epic. It was a good match with a clever finish that gives Lee an out in that he did not submit.

MJF vs. Jungle Boy: A strong match that showed off the improvement of both wrestlers. MJF has already proven himself to be a world class talker, and he’s clearly putting in the hard work to become the total package. I liked that MJF didn’t steal the victory with help from Wardlow or by some other heel tactics. While every heel will get those types of wins from time to time, it’s important to give MJF some clean wins over quality opponents to establish that he’s more than just a mid-card pest heel.

Best Friends vs. Private Party to become No. 1 contenders to the AEW Tag Titles: A decent pre-show match with the Best Friends picking up the win to earn a title match against Hangman Page and Kenny Omega. The athleticism of everyone involved was enough to offset some of the clunky moments. I remain surprised that Private Party has slipped into the background. They missed some time due to the pandemic, but they’ve been relegated to AEW Dark since then. If the team formerly known as The Revival come to AEW, I hope they end up being paired with Private Party, who would definitely benefit from working with a more traditional tag team.

Kris Statlander vs. Penelope Ford: A minor Hit for a brief but solid match. I continue to hope that AEW will come up with some explanation for Statlander’s alien gimmick, as I find myself nodding along whenever Jim Ross takes issue with it on commentary. I enjoy Statlander’s work and she would be a star within the division if they can find the right approach.

Overall show: AEW delivered a consistently strong show. Sure, I found some Misses that largely consist of personal dislikes that other viewers may have enjoyed, but I was never bored. That’s actually high praise in this empty venue era. It can’t be mentioned enough that AEW benefits from being the only company with wrestlers serving as spectators at ringside for their matches. It was asking a lot to charge full price for this pay-per-view given the state of the economy, but those who opted to pay the $50 fee likely came away very satisfied with their purchase. AEW did a really good job of building up Lance Archer, Nyla Rose, and Brodie Lee as monsters only to have all three lose their pay-per-view matches. As such, I assume we’ll be getting an Empire Strikes Back edition of Dynamite to put some heat back on those heels and the Inner Circle. Assuming that AEW will be signing some talent that was cut from WWE, they have a chance coming up at the end of those 90-day non-compete clauses to create the old Monday Night Wars feel that you had to watch their show because you never knew who might show up next. They didn’t take that approach when Dynamite launched because they opted to have most of the talent debut on their shows prior to Dynamite’s debut. When the time is right, AEW would be wise to make a big fuss over the possibility of new faces appearing, as it’s a major advantage that they have over their Wednesday night competition. Sure, NXT can bring in wrestlers from Raw and Smackdown, but it feels much bigger when a wrestler jumps from one company to another.

AEW Double Or Nothing Misses

Casino Ladder Match with Brian Cage vs. Darby Allin vs. Colt Cabana vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Joey Janela vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Kip Sabian vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Luchasaurus: My initial take was that the rules of the match were unfair because the match could conceivably end before everyone entered the match. Of course, there’s a trust factor that promotions have with their fans, so I can’t imagine that anyone actually thought this match would conclude until all nine entrants arrived. And while there is a potential storyline advantage for those who enter early because the match early, they also have the storyline disadvantage of wearing down while the later entrants are fresher. My biggest issue with the match was all the outside interference. The no disqualification rule in ladder matches, Triple Threats, etc. has led to lazy booking in all promotions when it comes to outside interference being tolerated. It would be so refreshing if AEW or one of the other companies adopted the logical and common sense approach of not disqualifying the wrestlers in these matches for anything they do to one another, yet having a zero tolerance policy for other wrestlers interfering. On a positive note, Cage worked as a surprise entrant for me and I really like the pairing with Taz as his manager.

Cody vs. Lance Archer for the TNT Championship: A good match and a Hit from an entertainment standpoint. It would have been even better had it not been overbooked with a second referee coming out to tell the actual referee about Arn Anderson’s interference, which caused the first referee to eject Anderson from ringside per the recommendation of Mike Tyson. This also led to Jake Roberts leaving at the same time as Anderson, and I’m still not sure if Roberts was also ejected from ringside or if he was simply going to get his snake bag. I would feel differently about this if I thought there was any chance that this would be enforced consistently, but there’s virtually no chance that it will. It was a great move to have Tyson at ringside, but it was strange that he didn’t play a bigger role by delivering a knockout punch to Roberts or even Archer during or after the match. I’m not a fan of Cody winning the title in this match. I strongly preferred the idea of Archer becoming the first champion and remaining the unbeaten monster so that Cody had a long term mountain to climb. A longer wait would have made for a better payoff. And if Cody proclaiming that he’ll never challenge for the AEW World Championship is to be believed, then he’s already reached the peak by winning the only singles championship he’s eligible to win in AEW. It also felt Roberts putting the snake on Brandi Rhodes hasn’t gone anywhere and didn’t even lead to a strong Cody promo.

Dustin Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears: Spears being stripped of his clothing to reveal sock garters and a Tully Blanchard image on the front of his underwear felt like something a WWE creative team member would write to get a laugh out of Vince McMahon. The Cody and Spears feud started because Spears took offense to Cody labeling him a good hand. Unfortunately, Spears has been booked to be just that in AEW thus far. And there’s no shame in being a good role player, but I continue to believe that Spears could have played a bigger role with the right creative push behind him.


Readers Comments (15)

  1. You said “Nia Jax” instead of “Nyla Rose” in the hits section. When you mentioned they built up Brodie Lee, Archer & Nia Jax.

  2. Write This Way May 24, 2020 @ 4:48 pm

    The main event is why 700k people are watching the show and no more. They buried Archer and Lee (Brodie Jabroni deserves it). It was just more Russo level overbooked nonsense. It’s every bit as stupid and product killing as the Boneyard, Funhouse, and MITB matches were.

    Cody is just a dime store HHH. Moxley is like the homeless version of Piper. The women’s division makes the original GLOW look talented. I don’t know if it’s possible to make worse use of Blanchard and Anderson.

    AEW is proving why Vince McMahon isn’t wrong about guys who don’t have “it.” He’s often wrong about who to push, but he’s absolutely right about not giving a second thought to mediocre “talents” like Lee and Spears. It’s also telling that Ambrose was the lowest drawing WWE champ since Diesel (until fatboy KO got the belt), and putting the belt on him has chopped 200k+ off AEW TV ratings. It’s also telling that he and Lee couldn’t even put together a match, they just had another nonsensical, mediocre brawl.

    Rose wasn’t clicking at all. That “monster” heel was getting bumped all over the ring in every single match. Shida at least seems competent. Easily clears the very low bar of best person to hold that belt.

    Statlander is a dangerous hack who has already taken out the one woman on their roster who was actually starting to get over. It was almost be best to shut the women’s division down until they sign a few people who can actually work.

    Best Friends winning a title shot is a perfect example of why Jacksonville Dixie and the EVPs have exactly zero chance of running a successful company.

    In a time when real pro wrestling fans want someone to create a compelling, well produced, gritty product like Joker, we’ve got two terrible companies trying to appeal to the bottom of the barrel of society by creating the wrestling equivalent of Team America World Police.

    It doesn’t help that every wrestling “journalist” is tripping over themselves to be the first pair of lips on the backside of the idiots putting this garbage out there.

    • Write This Way May 24, 2020 @ 5:03 pm

      But I also don’t know shit about anything, so I’m not surprised nobody agrees with my nonsensical statements.

    • You are an attention-seeking whore

    • I am 100% in agreement with the comments of Write This Way. I also hated the PPV. Perhaps I am too old school. I would love to see AEW reach out to Jim Cornette and learn how to really do wrestling and not overbooked spotfests.

      • Jim Cornette?! Really?!? The same clown who believes there is a time and a place for women to get pregnant? No. Just no. Keep that talentless hack away from everywhere please.

        • Jim Cornette is a bitter, raving old man ranting to basement dwelling trolls in order to pretend he’s still relevant.

          And this is coming from someone who agrees with him on multiple things! I was not a fan of the stadium stampede. I like Matt Hardy as a wrestler but I can’t stand his character. I also can’t stand Orange Cassidy or Marko Stunt and the only Best Friends tag team I care about is a joshi team. There is a lot of stuff Cornette doesn’t like that I don’t like either. But Cornette wants wrestling to go back to the days when people still believed in kayfabe, to the days when a single dive to the outside would be a move that took the opponent hit by it out for 2 weeks, and a single basic suplex was a devastating match ending move. Those days are gone, they aren’t coming back, and he needs to accept it and move on.

      • Write This Way May 26, 2020 @ 9:59 pm

        Absolutely not. Consult, on a limited basis, maybe. Cornette isn’t going to work a full schedule or run a company in any way in 2020 without blowing his top or saying something to offend the sensitive little feelings of the undersized, undertalented hacks out there today.

        I’d actually like to see Court Bauer get a shot, but he seems happy with MLW as it is.

        They’ve got guys like Blanchard, Anderson, Roberts, JR, and Schiavone around almost every week. How the hell they haven’t given one of them the book is baffling.

    • You’re off the mark attributing the decline in viewership to Moxley’s title reign. Viewership for wrestling across the board is down for every show. People have less disposable income due to job loss, etc… I guarantee you the buy rate for this PPV will be down. It’s the world we currently live in.

      Moxley is a talented dude. He’s gotten some rough breaks. His WWE title reign came on Smackdown, when Smackdown was clearly the “B” show. Now he’s carrying a title during empty venues, and tough economic times.

      • Write This Way May 26, 2020 @ 10:02 pm

        Moxley got the belt, the ratings went down by more than 200k. Broken Midcarder and Brody Jabroni debuted, popped a single good rating, and then everything went right back to the 600-700k plateau that they can’t get above.

        Moxley is a midcard bum at best. He can’t work, he can’t wrestle, and he looks like a garbage man on a 3 day meth bender.

      • Write This Way May 26, 2020 @ 10:03 pm

        Oh, and Moxley was literally the worst drawing WWE champ since the Diesel run in 94-95. That’s how bad he was. Ain’t got nothing to do with A or B show, and everything to do with a bad worker.

    • Well NXT must have no problem kicking the shit out of them every week then! ::checks notes:: Hold on, LESS people watch NXT despite having a huge promotional machine behind it?

      “Seymour, it’s the other children who are wrong.”
      “Yes, mother. It’s the other children who are wrong…”

      • Write This Way May 26, 2020 @ 10:05 pm

        Yes, the flippy midget indie darlings on the WWE C show barely lose to the flippy midget indie darlings on the AEW A show every week.

        Move that goalpost a little farther.

  3. “AEW did a really good job of building up Lance Archer, Nyla Rose, and Brodie Lee as monsters only to have all three lose their pay-per-view matches.”

    I enjoyed this show a lot, but this is baffling to me. AEW doesn’t have a huge amount of ‘monsters’ on its roster, and now it has just cut all of them off at the knees in one night. Wardlow also lost his first match. I get them wanting to keep the title on Moxley, but they shouldn’t have put Lee in the match in the first place. Where do Lee and the Dark Order go from here, when the Exalted One, who was hyped up for months, has already lost his first match against decent opposition?

    • Write This Way May 26, 2020 @ 10:07 pm

      Cage gets to be the next one they completely bury for no reason, after getting a title shot for no reason. What happened to their promise about using the rankings to determine who gets shots at the belts? That’s right, it was all BS as the EVPs said whatever the money mark told them to so they could get their comically undeserved enormous paydays.

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