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AEW Double or Nothing 2022 Reaction: 5 Thoughts

aew world champion cm punk

AEW Double Or Nothing took place last night and overall it was a pretty good show full of action in front of a hot crowd in Las Vegas.

It was way too long at 4 hours, 40 as John Canton mentioned in his detailed review. Nearly five hours for a pay-per-view in 2022 is not a good idea. Especially if you are going to put it on a Sunday. There were 13 total matches and one title change. The pace of the show stayed steady all night. It was just really long. They were going up against Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals (the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat), so Tony Khan figured to limit the action on the pre-show and load up the back end of the show after the game ends. That resulted in at least an extra 40 minutes being added, which I’m not sure contributed to the enjoyment. Let’s get into it.

 

#5: WARDLOW IS ALL ELITE

One of the hottest topics in the 24 hours leading up to Double or Nothing was the status of MJF after he no-showed a meet and greet the night before. Many wondered if he would even show up. Well, he did and his match with Wardlow went on first. MJF came out and something just looked off. He looked uninterested like his heart wasn’t in it. He played it off like the heel he is but you could tell in his face. Wardlow came out and then proceeded to beat the ever-loving hell out of MJF. It was a glorified squash. It was what it needed to be.

Wardlow needed this moment to officially jump-start his mega push in AEW. If they were smart, they’d put the TNT Title on him as soon as possible. The TNT Title hasn’t been the same since Miro lost it last year. Giving it to Wardlow could be the boost that title needs. As for MJF, who knows what his future holds? He is clearly unhappy. Can that unhappiness be fixed? We’ll see, but it is going to be a long 18 months if something doesn’t change and change quickly. (I wrote a lot more about the MJF situation earlier this month in case you want to check it out again.)

 

#4: ATHENA AND STOKELY HATHAWAY DEBUT IN AEW

The AEW roster continues to grow. Jade Cargill defeated Anna Jay to retain the TBS Title. It was probably the worst match of the night, but that is not the story. During the time between entrances and post match, we got two new debuts in AEW. I actually like the addition of Stokely Hathaway, formerly Malcolm Bivens of WWE NXT. AEW has always leaned into managers, but they’ve been hit or miss. Taz is a hit, Sterling is a hit, Tully was a hit but Vickie is a huge miss, as is Jake Roberts, while Chavo is no longer there. Stokely can add so much to AEW. Stokely with The Baddies is a match made in heaven. I figured that was a natural progression. Also as a side note, hearing Justin Roberts say “The Baddies” on the microphone may be one of the most unintentionally funny things you will hear in any given week. He tries so hard to say a name like The Baddies with seriousness and conviction. You get an “A” for effort buddy.

The second debut was a more noteworthy one because it was Athena, the former Ember Moon. I thought this was a good signing. She’s been rumored to join AEW ever since she was released from WWE. I think she is a great addition to the women’s division. I just hope she is actually utilized since it is hard to get that on television. She can add so much if given the opportunity. I’m just worried and skeptical that she won’t be given that opportunity as much as she should be.

 

#3: ADAM COLE AND BRITT BAKER ARE YOUR OWEN HART FOUNDATION TOURNAMENT WINNERS

The finals of the Owen Hart Foundation tournament went about how I expected them to. Adam Cole and Samoa Joe came out first and delivered a banger of a match. Cole wearing the pink and doing the Sharpshooter was a nice touch. I could’ve done without the interference from Bobby Fish. It watered down the finish for me. Nonetheless, it was a good match and Adam Cole was the right choice. He needed something big after losing two big World Title matches to Adam Page and a big match to Orange Cassidy right before that. Cole needed a big win and I’m glad he got it.

Somebody who did not need a big win was Britt Baker. She faced Ruby Soho in the women’s finals and all I kept seeing online was how this was Ruby’s time. How they’ve built to this since Grand Slam and they “already had the idea of who was going to win back then.” Then, she lost…again. It was a good match. Ruby put on probably the worst-looking Sharpshooter I’ve ever seen. In the end, Britt Baker won in a way that was similar to the way Owen beat Bret. I liked Britt offering her hand in the post match. It showed that Ruby had earned her respect. I’m not sure what’s next for Ruby. She lost the Women’s Title match to Britt in 2021. This is her second tournament final loss in 2022. People will start losing confidence in her if she keeps losing these big matches.

I enjoyed the coronation ceremony. Personal feelings on Martha Hart aside, she gave a nice speech and I’m glad to see how happy the power couple Adam Cole and Britt Baker were. They weren’t their usual heel characters. I’m happy they dropped that for this segment at least.

 

#2: JERICHO APPRECIATION SOCIETY STANDS TALL

That means this feud is pretty much going to continue. This feud is essentially about Chris Jericho and Eddie Kingston. However, much like the Jericho and MJF feud, they feel the need to put factions around them to make the feud feel fresher. The Anarchy in the Arena was just essentially Stadium Stampede without the Stadium. It was redesigned for a live crowd. It was a good match, but a cluster at times. The win by JAS means the feud will likely continue since Eddie Kingston won at Revolution. I just do not want to see them try and stretch this another three months until All Out. That didn’t work for the MJF feud last year as it was on its last legs by the time they finally blew off the feud. If it is going to continue, blow it off at their Fight for the Fallen show they have every year.

At some point, Santana and Ortiz need to do something significant to get their revenge. Jericho and his group have gotten the upper hand at almost every turn during this rivalry. Moxley and Bryan added a lot to the match, but I feel like it is beneath them to be stuck in this rivalry. They should either be going for the tag titles or in high-profile singles matches. The match was great, but I would’ve gone with a different winner.

 

#1: CM PUNK IS THE NEW AEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

CM Punk raising the AEW World Championship

The AEW World Title reign of “Hangman” Adam Page is over as CM Punk emerged victorious with a GTS. I thought for sure CM Punk was going to turn heel because I feel like heel CM Punk is the way to go in AEW. He could do so much more if he dropped the “happy to be here” gimmick where he just goes out and mimicks Bret Hart for 20 minutes a night. If I wanted to watch a Bret Hart match, I’d fire up the Peacock app on my television. That said, it was a good match as you’d expect.

I felt Adam Page put on great matches during his reign but booking-wise, he felt like an afterthought for much of it. When Kenny Omega was AEW World Champion, you knew he was the top guy in the company. Same for Moxley and Jericho. I never felt AEW treated Adam Page as a true top guy. Hopefully he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle now that he is no longer champion. I assume CM Punk probably main events at the Forbidden Door PPV in Chicago as well as All Out. Get ready for the Summer of Punk part 3.

 

Quick Hits

The Hardys defeated The Young Bucks: It was a decent match but you could tell something was off. The Hardys really showed their ages in this match. Maybe try to keep their matches special. The Hardys are one act we do not need to see every week.

Thunder Rosa defeated Serena Deeb: This was the best women’s match on the card. Rosa gets the win as expected. Good match. I just wish the build was a lot better.

House of Black defeated Death Triangle: Good match. Finally, a pay off to the Julia Hart angle that started six months ago. It’s what should’ve happened. It just shouldn’t have taken six months.

American Top Team/Men of The Year defeated Frankie Kazarian/Sammy Guevara/Tay Conti:This was a mess. There were some good spots. but good lord PVZ was not ready for this spot. Hopefully this feud is finally over and we can move on.

Jurassic Express retained the Tag Team Titles: This, along with Britt and Ruby, was probably the most confusing result of the night. Jurassic Express have felt like placeholders in other angles during their last two feuds. AEW has the best tag division in the world and one of the most uninspiring teams in it has the Tag Team Titles. Get them off of them and put Jungle Boy in a singles feud.

 

Final Thoughts

That is it for Double or Nothing. I enjoyed the show for the most part but felt it was a step down from Revolution. Part of that is probably the near 5-hour runtime. Never do that again, please. Now, we wait for Forbidden Door in about four weeks and then All Out later in the summer. Hopefully this allows AEW to gain some momentum going into the summer.

Thanks for reading. Check out my TJRWrestling writing archive here. I’m on Twitter @GiftedMoney talking about wrestling among other things, so feel free to message me on there with any thoughts or comments.