Reviews

TJR Retro: AEW Double or Nothing 2019 Review – AEW’s First PPV One Year Later

Today is the one year anniversary of All Elite Wrestling’s first ever pay-per-view called Double or Nothing 2019. I wrote a review of the show the next day and I was very impressed by it. If you missed my review of the 2020 edition of Double or Nothing then check that out here.

What I’m going to do now is paste in my review from last year and then add in some updated 2020 Thoughts in blue font to let you know what I think of the wrestlers after one year of seeing them in action.

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AEW Double or Nothing
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
May 25, 2019

The arena was set up with an entrance ramp, a stage that had two video screens and two entrance tunnels. The entrance reminds me of what TNA had in the mid-2000s on their TV show. I don’t mind it, though.

(2020 Thoughts: They picked a great venue for the event and I really liked how the set looked. I’m also a gambler, so the casino set is a welcome sight to me.)

The announce team for the Pre-Show match is Alex Marvez and Excalibur. Jim Ross will join the announce team for the main show. The ring announcer is Justin Roberts, who we know from spending over a decade in WWE.

(2020 Thoughts: Marvez was a bad call on commentary. They removed him after a couple of shows and now he’s just a backstage guy. Tony Schiavone was a nice signing and I like Tazz the most of all their announcers and I’ve always been a big JR fan. It’s just that JR isn’t in his prime anymore.)

Casino Battle Royal

There were five guys in the ring to start the battle royal. Michael Nakazawa did some comedy bits where he put some baby oil on his body to avoid some moves. Brandon Cutler was nearly eliminated by Sunny Daze, but he held. MJF sent Cutler into the ropes and Cutler hit him with a forearm. Dustin Thomas, who has no legs, sat in the corner for most of the first few minutes. More wrestlers made their entrance like Brian Pillman Jr. Isaiah Cassidy, Joey Janela with Penelope Ford, Jimmy Havoc and Shawn Spears got a big pop – he’s the former Tye Dillinger and the fans chanted “10” for the Perfect Ten. MJF did some eye pokes followed by some middle fingers for the crowd. Spears with an Ushigoroshi followed by the “10” and a middle finger of his own as fans chanted “10” for him. The heart suit was next with Billy Gunn, Glacier, Jungle Boy, Mark Quinn and Ace Romero who is huge. Jungle Boy with a headscissors. Glacier swept the leg on MJF and took him down. Daze knocked Glacier out of the ring, but did not eliminate him. Daze eliminated Nakazawa, who was the first man eliminated. Janela was smoking a cigarette. Glacier eliminated Daze, then MJF got rid of Glacier. Gunn tried to eliminate MJF, but MJF saved himself. Pillman hit a springboard clothesline off the top. Janela had a cigarette against his forehead for a few minutes. The final entrants were El Luchasaurus, Marko Stunt, Sonny Kiss, Tommy Dreamer and one more wild card. Stunt hit a neckbreaker. Romero hit a suicide dive to take out three guys on the floor. Luchasaurus and Romero got into a slugfest as Dreamer tossed a trash can full of goodies into the ring. Dreamer hit multiple guys with trash cans to the hit and Dreamer hit an Ace Crusher on Havoc. Fans chanted “Tommy Dreamer” for him. Luchasaurus hit the Private Party tag team with a double Chokeslam. The 21st man is a wildcard and it is “Hangman” Adam Page, who was favoring his left knee from the match against PAC last week. Page got a nice pop.

Page cleaned house with punches and a lariat. Page with a boot to the face of Spears and a fallaway slam on Jungle Boy. Janela got into a slugfest with Page, Janela with a forearm and Page with a forearm followed with the Deadeye that spiked Janela’s head. Romero punched Luchasaurus into the ropes. Page tried to lift the big man Romero, but that didn’t work. Stunt was launched into Romero, Jungle Boy kicked Romero in the leg and then Romero dropped his weight on Stunt and Boy. When Stunt went for an attack, Romero picked him up and tossed Stunt out of the ring onto Private Party on the floor. Jungle Boy with a dropkick to the back of big man Romero and Jungle Boy eliminated Romero. Spears with a DDT on Janela. Dustin Thomas hit his 619 attack on Janelo and a 450 Splash (sort of) on Janela. MJF kicked Thomas for some cheap heat since Thomas has no legs. Spears saved Thomas and then Thomas grabbed a headlock to eliminate Spears. MJF eliminated Thomas shortly after. Gunn hit his Fameasser on Cutler, then Cutler eliminated Gunn shortly after. MJF tossed out Cutler right away. Luchasaurus grabbed Janela and gave hi ma Chokeslam through a table on the floor to eliminate him. Sonny Kiss did a move that involved sending Dreamer’s face into the ass repeatedly, but Dreamer eliminated Kiss. Orange Cassidy entered the match to do his routine of light kicks that the crowd reacted to it in a big way while Dreamer laughed about it. Dreamer with a punch, Cassidy with a kip-up to his feet and Dreamer eliminated Cassidy. Havoc with a low blow on Dreamer with a staple gun and Havoc eliminated Dreamer. Havoc with a facebreaker on Havoc. MJF tried to eliminate Jungle Boy, who held on, but Havoc bit Jungle Boy’s fingers to eliminate him.

The final four in the match were Page, Havoc, Luchasaurus and MJF, who has been in there the longest. MJF was punched out of the ring, but not over the top to the floor. Havoc with a lefty clothesline on Luchasaura. Havoc with a Death Valley Driver on Page and a kick to the chest. Page sent Havoc to the apron and Luchasaurus with a boot to the face to eliminate Havoc. Page was selling the left knee as he battled Luchasaurus, who hit a sitout front slam. Page went to the ropes, Luchasaurus charged and Page dumped out MJF. The bell rang as if Page won, but MJF was still there and MJF sent him to the apron thinking he would win. Page hit the lariat on MJF and eliminated him to win the battle royal. It went 23:50.

Winner: “Hangman” Adam Page

Post match, Page limped up the ramp selling the leg injury and he celebrated the win. The win by Page means that he will compete for the AEW World Championship against Chris Jericho or Kenny Omega later this year.

Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay. It was longer than most battle royals because they had the intervals in order to drag it out longer. I think that hurt the match. It just dragged on too much. Page was the expected winner after his match with Pac was changed due to that conflict and Page is also one of the best friends of the EVPs of AEW, so of course he’s going to get booked strong. I’m not saying that’s the only reason he won because Page is a good worker too. I’m just saying he was one of the first guy that was signed to AEW, so they are going to push him. I was very surprised that Shawn Spears wasn’t in the match longer because I figured he would have lasted until the final four. Luchasaurus was booked well. MJF was the star of the match that was the biggest heel and he was featured heavily.

(2020 Thoughts: It was too long for a battle royal. We would come to learn this was AEW’s style because they like long matches so that their wrestlers can “get their shit in” during the matches. I’m glad that MJF was featured heavily in the match because it was sign of things to come for him as a guy with a very bright future in AEW. I was familiar with Adam Page going into the match, but I didn’t envision him becoming as popular as he is over the last year. Looking back on this, it’s fair to say Page and MJF have been booked as well as anybody in the company’s first year.)

They had some bad sketch with librarians that was not very well done.

Sammy Guevera entered and his nickname is “The Best Ever.” That’s not much of a nickname, but you can tell from the way he walked he was the heel. Kip Sabian’s nickname is “Superbad” and he’s British.

Kip Sabian vs. Sammy Guevera

Sabian took down Guevera with a headscissors. The announcers were pushing that these guys are the future of AEW as exciting young talents with bright futures. Sabian with another headscissors followed by a jumping side kick and the announcers noted he was 27 years old. Guevera came back with a dropkick. Guevera charged in, Sabian sent him to the apron and kick to the head sent Guevera to the floor. Sabian with a springboard attack off the middle ropes onto Guevera on the floor. Guevera came back with a dive onto Sabian, which the camera missed. It’s not a good thing for the broadcast when they miss the move to the floor. Back in the ring, Guevera with a double foot stomp to Sabian’s back. Sabian locked the knees of Guevera for a submission, but Guevera got his hands on the bottom ropes. Sabian with a boot to the face, Guevera came back with a powerslam, he did a couple of backflips and he barely connected with a standing Shooting Star Press that Sabian sold as if it connected. Sabian with a jumping kick followed by a springboard dropkick to knock Guevera down. Sabian with a kick to the chest. They put the hashtag #AEWDON on the screen. They did a great spot from inside the ring with a suplex onto the apron and Guevera hit a suplex on the floor. There were “AEW” chants. Guevera put Sabian against the barricade and Guevera hit a Shooting Star Press off the apron onto the back of Sabian. That was impressive and pretty crazy to watch. Back in the ring, Guevera went for a 630 Splash, but Sabian got the knees up and Sabian hit a sitout slam onto the stomach of Guevera for the pinfall win at 10:04.

Winner by pinfall: Kip Sabian

Analysis: **3/4 It was pretty good with Guevera busting out some cool high spots, but there were some sloppy parts too. Sabian was impressive with his selling and that was a good finisher for the win.

(2020 Thoughts: That’s less analysis than what I usually put, so my apologies to the wrestlers. Sammy Guevara is another talented wrestler that’s 26 years old and has really blossomed in AEW’s first year. Sammy went from opening this show to main eventing Double or Nothing 2020 in the tag team match. Sabian has a bright future too, but Guevara has definitely been utilized more in the first year.)

They did not show replays of the action in the match. That’s a mistake. People want to see replays of the cool moves, so that’s something they need to do.

A video aired about Sadie Gibbs in the women’s division. It was just a clip of her training in an empty ring. There wasn’t much to it.

Jim Ross was shown walking backstage as he made his way to the broadcast position. The fans gave JR a nice ovation when he was shown on camera.

There was a shot of a truck pulling up to the arena. It was Brandi Rhodes, Cody and their dog Pharaoh.

Analysis: I follow Cody on Twitter and he posted a pic of him backstage in the arena already, so the arrival video wasn’t necessary.

Kenny Omega was shown backstage looking at a laptop. Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks walked down a hallway. Matt Jackson walked down a hallway, shook Michael Nakazawa’s hand and kept walking. That must be some “Being The Elite” thing. Nick Jackson was there. Some guy said he needed to see credentials, so Nick gave him a superkick.

The Elite group appeared on the stage together: Cody, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson and Brandi Rhodes. They are four Executive Vice Presidents of AEW and Brandi is a Chief Brand Officer. The fans chanted “AEW” for them. They couldn’t decide who should welcome us to the show, so Kenny welcomed us and fans chanted “AEW” repeatedly. Omega said he felt like he couldn’t do anything wrong since the fans wanted to party like them. Matt said it’s so cool to see 20,000 people, Cody said this building holds 13,000 people and Matt said in pro wrestling you round up, so Cody said they set the MGM Grand record with 20,000. Brandi said that this is the first sensory inclusive event in wrestling history. It was time for the show to begin.

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AEW Double or Nothing Main Show

The national anthem was sung on the stage at the start of the show by Grammy and Emmy Award winner Chris Jackson, his wife Veronica and his daughter. There was some pyro.

A video package aired about the launch of All Elite Wrestling with some clips from the introductory press conference that they had.

There was an exterior shot of the MGM Grand Garden Arena and Jim Ross welcomed us to the show. Ross was joined on commentary by Excalibur and Alex Marvez. They did a rundown of the card with the SCU match coming up first.

The SoCal Uncensored trio of Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky made their entrance. Daniels led a “SCU” chant. Sky said that Las Vegas is the worst town he’s ever been in and the fans chanted along with the promo. Daniels said that Las Vegas is a bad, bad town, but tonight they’re going to have a real good time because the All Elite Era starts tonight and who better to kick it off than the official ambassadors of California. Kazarian led the crowd in saying “SCU” for them.

Their opponents are called Strong Hearts, who are Cima, T-Hawk and El Lindaman. They are from the OEW promotion in China.

SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) vs. Strong Hearts (Cima, T-Hawk and El Lindaman)

Daniels and Cima did a spot early on where they kept on countering eachother leading to a double arm drag spot where they had a staredown. Kazarian tagged in against T-Hawk with a fireman’s carry takeover followed by a clothesline. T-Hawk with a hard chop to the chest of Kazarian followed by a shoulder tackle. Sky tagged in with an impressive dropkick. When Sky went for a jumping attack, Hawk slammed him down with a spinebuster like move. Lindaman tagged in with a splash on Sky for two. Sky with a body slam on Lindaman followed by an elbow drop and leg drop from Daniels and Kazarian. SCU worked together leading to Kazarian hitting a shotgun low dropkick to the chest. Kazarian with a neckbreaker on Lindaman and Daniels was sent to the ropes, so Cima hit a double knee attack to Daniels’ back. T-Hawk with a chop that sent Sky to the floor and there was a running double knee attack on Kazarian against the turnbuckle. Cima with a senton splash on Daniels, double team slam and a double dropkick put Daniels down. Jawbreaker from Lindaman on Daniels. T-Hawk held Daniels in a submission hold leading to a double dropkick from his teammates to break it up. Daniels with a STO on T-Hawk and Sky tagged in against Lindaman. Sky with a back elbow, clothesline and a stomp to the back. Sky was launched into the air, knee to the face, enziguri kick and Lindaman with a bridging German Suplex got a two count. That was the first good nearfall of the match. Lindaman went for a sunset flip off the ropes, but Sky hit a dropkick to the face. Kazarian hit a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Daniels with a tope suicida on the floor. Cima with a dropkick on Kazarian. Cima with a Michinoku Driver. Sky with an Ace Cutter. Lindaman with a dropkick on Sky. Kazarian with a DDT on Lindaman. T-Hawk sent Kazarian out of the ring to the floor. Daniels and Cima with a double clothesline as all six guys were down. Daniels hit Angel’s Wings. Lindaman back in as the legal man and a German Suplex got a two count. Cima off the top with a meteora knee attack for two because Kazarian made the save. Kazarian with a guillotine leg drop to the back. Kazarian with a dive over the top into a hurricanrana. Sky with a somersault plancha on two guys on the floor. Kazarian had Lindaman in his hands for a Tombstone and Daniels hit the moonsault off the top for the Best Meltzer Ever. Yes, that’s the name. It went 13:40.

Winners by pinfall: SoCal Uncensored

Analysis: ***1/2 Good match that was very fast paced and there were some cool spots in there. I was impressed by Lindaman, who was the least experienced guy in there, but they gave him a lot of offense to make him stand out a bit. Sky was impressive. The finisher from Daniels and Kazarian looked great as well. I would have liked to see the less established OEW guys get the win just to give them a bit of a boost right out of the gate in their AEW careers.

(2020 Thoughts: A nice choice for the PPV opener because they’re all experienced and skilled workers. It was also a bit of foreshadowing in a sense because later in the year, SCU became the first AEW Tag Team Champions. Scorpio Sky has really impressed the most out of the SCU group.)

The lovely Allie joined the commentary team for the women’s match.

The entrances took place for the women’s match with “Smiley” Kylie Rae and her gimmick is that she’s excitable and happy. Kyla Rose was up next looking intimidating, and she is nicknamed “The Native Beast.” It was Dr. Britt Baker up third, she’s a dentist, so that’s something they like to mention with her.

(2020 Thoughts: It’s a shame that Kylie Ray didn’t work out in AEW. She moved on from the company. She would have been a nice traditional babyface women’s wrestler to build around.)

Brandi Rhodes appeared on the stage with her wrestling gear on. Brandi claimed that she ran into a problem, she didn’t want a great match, she wanted a match that is awesome. That led to the surprise appearance from Awesome Kong, who drew a big pop from the crowd. Good to see her here. She had a great run in Impact and she is on the Netflix show GLOW. It was announced that this will be a Fatal 4-Way match. Brandi was at ringside to watch the match.

Awesome Kong vs. Nyla Rose vs. Britt Baker vs. Kylie Rae

Kong with a back first to Rose and she kicked Rose out of the ring. Kong slammed Rae and then she slammed Baker onto Rae. Baker sent Kong out of the ring leading to Rae getting a rollup on Baker. Baker hit an overhead suplex on Rae. There was a corner charge from Rae, but Baker moved and Baker jumped into Kong’s arms. Rae hit a suicide dive to knock down Kong and Baker on the floor. Good spot. Rose got back into it with a leg drop on Rae. When Rae tried a charging attack, Rose dropped her with a spinebuster. Baker hit a weak looking Slingblade on Rose for two. Rose came back with a Samoan Drop on Baker. Rae with a sunset flip on Rose for a two count. Baker with a running knee on Rae, but Rose hit a lariat to Baker’s back. Rose with a body slam on Rae. They did a Tower of the Doom spot out of the corner with Kong slamming the three women down. Kong teased an Awesome Bomb on the apron, but Baker avoided it, Baker hit a superkick, Rae kicked Kong and Nyla Rose tackled Kong into the steel ring steps. Brandi wasn’t happy about what happened to King. Rae hit a superkick on Baker, who came back with a forearm and Baker hit a swinging neckbreaker for a two count. Rae hit a bridging German Suplex on Baker. When Baker got back up, she hit Rae with a superplex. Baker picked up Rae and drove her shoulder into the knee for the pinfall win at 11:10.

Winner by pinfall: Britt Baker

Analysis: *** That was a good match where Kong spent most of the match on the floor until they brought her back into the ring to set up the finish. I’m not surprised by Baker getting the win since AEW has pushed her a lot in media interviews and are clearly trying to position her as a star. That’s fine with me because she’s talented. Kylie Rae did pretty well as the AEW version of Bayley.

(2020 Thoughts: Baker and Rose have been two of the women pushed the most in AEW so far. Awesome Kong is great, but she didn’t wrestle much for the company. Rose ended up getting a big push that led to a title reign that ended this past Saturday. Baker has really taken off as a heel that has gotten some significant promo time and that has helped a lot in terms of developing her personality. The fans reacted strongly to her with boos. Baker is out for about two months, but I think she might become AEW Women’s Champion at some point this year.)

The Best Friends duo of Chuckie T (Chuck Taylor) and Trent (Trent Beretta) made their entrance. Jack Evans and Angelico entered as the opponents.

Best Friends (Chuckie T and Trent) vs. Angelico and Jack Evans

Trent knocked down Evans and Chuckie came in with a dropkick. Trent and Chuckie hit corner forearms, teased a hug, but they were dropkicked by Angelico and Evans. Angelico held up Trent and Evans hit a springboard attack with a double foot stomp. Evans held Trent while Angelico hit a running kick to the face. Evans hit a 450 splash thanks to an assist from Angelico. Knee to the face from Angelico on Trent, slam off the shoulder and Angelico slapped on a submission on the left leg of Trent, who got out of it thanks to Chuckie’s help. Angelico charged right into the two feet of Trent to put him down. Trent was whipped into the turnbuckle, but he came back with a clothesline on Evans. Chuckie got the tag with a clothesline, back elbow and dropkick on Evans. Chuckie tossed Evans into Angelico against the turnbuckle, then Chuckie hit the Falcon Arrow and Excalibur said “nobody kicks out of the Falcon Arrow” leading to Chuckie saying the same thing. I guess that’s a thing. Chuckie hit a standing Sliced Bread slam on Angelico on the floor and a double foot stomp on Angelico on the floor. Trent back in with a Tornado DDT on Evans. Chuckie jumped off the top with a double foot stomp to Evans for a two count. Evans came back with a Pele Kick on Trent, but Chuckie hit a knee to the face of Evans and Trent wit ha kick. Angelico was suplexed out of the ring. Best Friends hugged eachother leading to a pop. Chuckie picked up Evans with a Crucifix Bomb (like a Razor’s Edge) into an Ace Crusher (RKO) by Trent for two. That could have been a finisher.

Evans with a sunset flip bomb on Trent thanks to an assist from Angelico. Evans with a corkscrew knee and Angelico slammed Evans onto Trent for a two count. Angelico held Trent on his shoulders and Evans hit a moonsault off the shoulders onto Chuckie on the floor! That was crazy. Trent charged and Angelico hit a knee to the ribs. Angelico with a crucifix buckle bomb into the turnbuckle. Evans with a 630 Splash for two because Chuckie made the save. The fans were really getting into this match. Trent with an inside cradle on Evans for two. Angelico whipped Trent into the middle turnbuckle. Chucky went back in, he put Evans on his shoulder and Trent with a knee off the top for a Doomsday Device. Chuckie with a dive onto Angelico on the floor. Trent held up Evans and Chuckie jumped off the top with a double foot stomp on Evans to drive Evans into the mat. Trent covered Evans for the win at 12:35.

Winners by pinfall: Best Friends (Chuckie T and Trent)

Analysis: ***3/4 It was a great match that was fast-paced, some awesome tag team moves by both teams and the fans were really into it. With no storyline going in and two face teams, there wasn’t much to go on before the bell, but then they won the crowd over with their work. I liked the chemistry of the Best Friends and Evans/Angelico compliment eachother well too. These are two teams that can be part of AEW’s great tag team division for the long term.

(2020 Thoughts: I look at my writeup now and realize that I wrote “Chuckie” at times and “Chucky” at other times. I probably should have just settled on Chuck, but I’ll leave it how I had it for now. Anyway, Best Friends have gotten consistent TV time for the last year and they’re very good at what they do. Angelico and Evans are mostly there to put over other teams. They might be on Dark, but I don’t really watch that show.)

Post match, the Best Friends hugged while the announcers put this over as AEW’s first tag team match. They shook hands after the match. Best Friends wanted a hug, so they hugged Evans and Angelico, which led to the lights going out.

When the lights came on, a new tag team was in the ring. The announcers just said: “What are they doing here?” I didn’t know who they were, but they are known as the Super Smash Brothers. The lights went out again, then there were masked guys on the floor that attacked the four wrestlers. There was a torture rack into a backbreaker given to Angelico. There was a double team move where Super Smash Brothers hit a double team blockbuster off the ropes. The Super Smash Brothers guys posed in the ring, the lights went out and that as it.

Analysis: It was a cheap heel attack to introduce some new guys to the roster. I don’t think they should have the announcers act like they are unaware of who the wrestlers are when Excalibur seems to know everything about these guys.

(2020 Thoughts: This was the group that would become the Dark Order in AEW. They are not loved by the fans the way some other AEW acts are.)

A video package aired letting us know that All Out would take place on August 31 at the Sears Center in Chicago. That’s Labor Day weekend. Tickets go on sale June 14. It’s the same venue as All In. It will sell out fast.

Hikaru Shida, Riho Abe and Ryo Mizunami vs. Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, and Emi Sakura

The next match was a Japanese women’s wrestling match. The only one I’m familiar with is Aja Kong. I know Kenny Omega played a big part in setting up this match.

Kong had a shoving match with Mizunami, then Mizunami tried to move Kong with shoulder tackles and then she knocked her down with a shoulder tackle after four tries. Kong with a double sledge to the chest. Riho hit a sweet sunset flip. She has been wrestling since she was nine years old and is only 21 now. There was a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Sakazaki tagged in with a diving Thesz Press and a step up enziguri. Sakazaki with a dropkick for two. Sakura did a hair whip to Riho for the surfboard submission attempt. Kong tagged back in with a hard kick to the back. Kong with a body slam followed by an elbow drop. Kong wit ha piledriver on Riho, but the partners of Riho made the save. Riho hit a double stomp on Sakazaki. Mizunami tagged in with a shoulder tackle, then she shoved Kong into a partner and Mizunami with a spear on Kong. Mizunami with a forearm smash in the corner on Sakazaki followed by a corner clothesline. Mizunami with a wheelbarrow suplex on Sakazaki followed by a clothesline. Riho tagged in with a headscissors on Kong, then the 702 kick (or a 619) and Kong avoided an attack off the top with a punch to the ribs. Kong with a backdrop driver suplex for a two count. Kong went for an elbow off the ropes, but it missed and Shida tagged in with a kick to the head of Kong. A trash can was tossed to Kong, the referee was distracted and then Shida got a kendo stick that she used. Kong hit Shida twice with a metal trash can to knock her down. Sakura tagged in with a running cross body block on Shida and a backbreaker. Sakura and Shida exchanged hard strikes, but Shida hit a knee to the face to end that. Shida hit a superplex. Mizunami with a guillotine leg drop off the top. Sakazaki made the save with a diving attack off the top. Kong with a double suplex. Sakazaki with a springboard cross body block on Riho and Mizunami. Kong with a brainbuster on Shida. Sakura with a diving body press off the top on Mizunami for a two count. The bell rang, but that was a mistake. It was only a two count. Kong with a back fist that hit her partner Sakura by accident. Riho took out Kong with a dive. Shida hit a running knee Shining Wizard on Sakura for the pinfall win at 13:10.

Winners by pinfall: Hikaru Shida, Riho Abe and Ryo Mizunami

Analysis: ***1/2 This style of wrestling isn’t for every type of wrestling fan, but they worked hard and had a fun match. The selling after big moves wasn’t great because they kept going to the next big move. In the last few minutes, it seemed like they forgot about doing tags because it was all about getting the big moves in. What hurts a match like this is that the fans have no idea what the story is, so we go into the match just watching these moves and it’s harder to be invested in it. This crowd cared, but I think AEW needs to do a better job of trying to tell the fans what the story is. The mistaken bell ring was a mistake that shouldn’t happen.

(2020 Thoughts: Most of these women weren’t known by most people watching the show, but some of them are now because Riho was the first AEW Women’s Champion while Shida is the current champion. Kong was well known going into this while Sakura has had plenty of fun moments. I think AEW’s women’s division still needs to improve in terms of character development, but they have a lot of talented women on the roster.)

The announcers were back on screen with JR saying that he wasn’t sure what was next. Then they figured out it was time for Dustin Rhodes vs. Cody.

A video package aired to set up Dustin Rhodes vs. his brother Cody. The story is that they are brothers that didn’t grow up together. Dustin was 30 years in the business (most of it as Goldust in WWE) and Cody, who is 16 years younger, wanted to prove he was better.

There was a throne on the stage that was empty when Cody made his entrance. The fans cheered him. Cody saw the throne that had skulls on it. It was similar to a Triple H entrance. Brandi, who is Cody’s wife, was there with him. The fans cheered for Cody since he was one of the guys that helped create AEW. Brandi gave Cody a sledgehammer from under the ring and she gave it to Cody. Cody went up the ramp, the fans cheered loudly and they knew what this was symbolized. Cody smashed the throne with the skulls with the sledgehammer and some pyro went off. The fans cheered that. Cody even did a Shawn Michaels-like flex on the ramp. Cody kissed the ring mat and posed on the turnbuckles as the fans cheered. He had a big smile on his face.

Analysis: The introduction was a shot at WWE since every wrestling fan knows about Triple H’s famous entrances, especially at WrestleMania, where he’s the “King of Kings” and has entered often on a throne. The sledgehammer is also associated with Triple H, so Cody taking the sledgehammer and hitting the throne was his way of sending a message to WWE’s Triple H, who is one of the key people in that company. The fans reacted to it in a big way.

(2020 Thoughts: This sledgehammer spot got a lot of attention for Cody because people saw it as a shot at Triple H. I think it was like a statement by Cody to represent AEW. I don’t think it’s a shot. More like a “wink, wink” to get people talking and it worked as a memorable moment.)

Dustin Rhodes got a nice ovation from the crowd as well. He wore a black and red outfit with red and black face paint on the left side of his face. He is 50 years old. Cody’s belt says “Attitude Killer” because the story was that he wanted to kill the Attitude Era that Dustin was a big part of.

Analysis: If you’re not keeping up with Cody post-WWE, he can use the Rhodes name, but he likes to just use “Cody” as his wrestling name. He has said that multiple times in interviews. Cody and Dustin’s real last name is Runnels, but obviously, we have known them as Rhodes because of their father, the late, great Dusty Rhodes.

Dustin Rhodes vs. Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes)

This one’s for Dusty. The referee for this match is Earl Hebner, who is 70 years old and is arguably the greatest referee in pro wrestling history.

The fans chanted “this is awesome” before they even locked up. When fans chanted “Dusty” it was acknowledged by Dustin, who pointed up to the heavens for his dad. Cody did a cartwheel followed a taunt. Cody sent Dustin out of the ring followed by a suicide dive on Dustin. Dustin with a running attack off the ropes to the floor, then several punches to the face against the turnbuckle and Cody bailed to the floor. Fans chanted “you still got it” for Dustin and later chanted “never lost it” for him. Cody bailed to the floor and when he went back in, Brandi threw a drink at Dustin. Cody hit a backbreaker to take control followed by a leg whip. Dustin charged into the turnbuckle leading to a powerslam by Cody. I almost typed “Goldust” there. I’ve been doing this a long time, my friends. Dustin came back with a hard punch to the face. Dustin has always thrown some of the best looking punches in the business. Dustin set up Cody in the corner for the Shattered Dreams kick and Cody ripped off the middle turnbuckle pad, so if Dustin were to kick him, he would hurt his own foot. Dustin tossed the turnbuckle pad into the crowd. Dustin charged and Cody sent him face first into the exposed steel of the middle turnbuckle. Dustin walked around on the floor and Brandi hit a Spear on Dustin on the floor. Earl Hebner saw it, so he ejected Brandi from ringside. Huge pop for that even though the fans were cheering for Cody ten minutes earlier. That led to Diamond Dallas Page coming out from the back and he carried Brandi to the back.

Dustin had a huge cut on his forehead and he was bleeding profusely from the head. It’s a crimson mask. Cody put some of his brother’s blood across his own chest. Dustin went for a punch, Cody moved, Dustin fell to the mat and Cody followed up with a dropkick for two. Dustin whipped Cody into the turnbuckle, he wanted a powerslam, but Cody held on and Cody hit a Curb Stomp for two. Dustin was bleeding heavily from above the right eyebrow and it was so much that you could see it leaking out of his head. Gross. Cody went up top with a double axehandle off the top. Dustin managed to avoid another double axehandle and Dustin hit a powerslam for two. Cody slapped on a Figure Four Leglock and Dustin turned it after about one minute leading to both guys going to the ropes. Cody tried to attack with his belt, but Dustin got it, pulled Cody’s pants down and whipped him in the butt! Dustin hit a Code Red (sunset flip powerbomb) into a two count. The fans gave them a standing ovation to show how much they were into the match. Dustin hit a superplex off the top rope where he almost knocked Hebner over. Dustin hit a move that was suplex turned into a neckbreaker for a two count. Great nearfall. Dustin teased a Cross Rhodes attempt, but Cody broke free with a low blow that Hebner didn’t see and a Disaster Kick. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes for the one…two…and no! Dustin got his shoulder up. That was an even greater nearfall. Dustin came back with a headbutt and a Cross Rhodes of his own for a two count. The fans were still standing while they popped big for the nearfalls. They got into a slugfest with Dustin’s punches looking more impressive. Cody with a dropdown uppercut, then Dustin did it and Cody hit a bicycle kick. They each ran the ropes leading to a double neckbreaker and Dustin covered with one arm across the chest for a two count. The fans chanted “Fight Forever” for them with JR saying this was one of the most emotionally charged matches that he’s ever been part of since he’s known them since they were children. Cody hit a Vertebreaker style move (that Shane Helms used to do) and Dustin was down looking like he was out of it. Cody got back up and hit Cross Rhodes again for the pinfall win at 22:35.

Winner by pinfall: Cody

Analysis: ****1/2 That was an outstanding match that exceeded the expectations I had for it. It was an old school fight where the blood from Dustin’s head helped tell the story. I don’t think he intended to bleed that match, but it certainly made it look like he was in a real fight. The first few minutes were slow paced and then it picked up after the spot where Brandi was ejected. This was one of the best matches I’ve seen from either guy. They had several months to prepare for it, so they used that time wisely. Cody did an excellent job of being a heel when he needed to be. Dustin had a very impressive performance as the grizzled veteran that wanted to prove he still had it and overcame all that blood loss to nearly win. Cody getting the win made sense since he’s the younger guy and that’s the result most of us expected. Great job, boys. Dusty would be proud just like all of us are.

(2020 Thoughts: This was an amazing match. Some people might call it the best match in AEW’s history, but I think the tag team title match at Revolution 2020 was better. I know there are some people that reviewed this match that gave it five stars – like Dave Meltzer – and I didn’t do that. It’s not like I am knocking the match by *only* going 4.5 stars for it. To me, it just didn’t reach the level where I would call it a five star match. I still stand by that rating. It’s interesting that Cody was the heelish one in the match because in AEW’s one year history it could be argued that Cody has been the best babyface wrestler in the company. The story of this match was really cool with Dustin getting cut open, doing a massive blade job and then coming back to nearly win the match even when his face was full of blood. The crowd was so hot too. It’s an outstanding match worth checking out if you’ve never seen it.)

They replayed the key spots in the match.

Cody went back in the ring with Dustin after the replays were shown. Cody told Dustin that he doesn’t get to retire here. Cody said he wanted to ask his brother a favor in front of God and the whole world. Cody said that he’s got a match at Fight for the Fallen in July where he will pick a partner of his choosing to face The Young Bucks. Fans chanted “yes” for this. Cody said he didn’t need a partner, he didn’t need a friend, he needs his older brother. The brothers were emotional and then they hugged leading to a huge standing ovation from the crowd! That was an awesome moment. Cody and Dustin left the ring together arm in arm as brothers. There was a great reaction for this moment.

Analysis: That was well done. They had this emotional match where they left it all the ring for this bloody battle, but when they reunited after the match, the fans loved it. It was very emotional. Cody and Dustin worked very well together as a team several years ago in WWE, so it will be fun to see them teaming up again.

(2020 Thoughts: Awesome moment and it was felt genuine too. Apparently Dustin had no idea Cody was going to do that promo or mention the tag team match that they were in. I don’t know if that’s true, but it does sound believable to me. The fans reacted to this in a big way and it was one of the most memorable things about this show. I thought this moment was really cool and I’m sure Dusty was looking down on his sons with a big smile on his face.)

There were highlights shown from the Casino Battle Royal with Adam Page getting the win to earn an AEW Championship Match against the winner of Omega vs. Jericho.

AEW World Championship Belt Presentation

Jack Whitehall was in the ring to introduce the new AEW World Championship and he introduced the “Hitman” Bret Hart. I did not expect that! Bret got a big pop from the crowd for this surprise appearance. Bret walked out to the ring with the new belt that had a grey cover on it.

Bret thanked the fans for the warm reception and they chanted “holy shit” for him. Bret said he is thankful to be there, to be back in Las Vegas and he said that 26 years ago, he defended the World Title there (WrestleMania 9). He said that it’s an honor to be there for another sold out show. Bret thanked AEW for allowing him to present this beautiful belt. Bret introduced the man that will challenge Jericho or Omega for this title at the next PPV next month and then he corrected himself saying next pay-per-view – he joked that it’s been a while and fans laughed. Bret introduced “Hangman” Adam Page.

There was an entrance with pyro for “Hangman” Adam Page, who was back in his street clothes and he limped down to the ring because he was selling a left leg injury from his match against PAC last week. Page shook Bret’s hand when he got in the ring.

Analysis: That was a surprise I wasn’t expecting at all. I knew Bret was in town for Starrcast events, but as a two-time WWE Hall of Famer, it was a surprise to see him there. Bret is not tied down to a WWE contract, though, so he’s able to do as he pleases.

(2020 Thoughts: It was a nice get for AEW to have Bret Hart on their first show. I was impressed by that.)

Maxwell Jacob Friedman aka MJF made his entrance with the scarf around his neck, who was greeted with “Asshole” chants. MJF said that the fans paid money to see him and he reminded us he’s the fastest rising star in professional wrestling. MJF joked that a fan was going in the ring to attack Bret like at the WWE Hall of Fame and Bret laughed about it. MJF said he’s the future face of this company because God knows a horse (Page) can’t be the face of this company. MJF reminded Page that when a horse gets injured, they put them out of their misery. MJF told Page he got a fluke victory and he should relinquish his title shot. MJF went on the apron, told Bret to look at him (“look at me old man”) and he was going to do Bret’s catchphrase, but he said that the catchphrase sucks. MJF kept trash talking and Page tried to punch him, so MJF called him “Seabiscuit.” Jungle Boy, who is the son of Luke Perry, went on the ramp to try to stop MJF. When MJF tried to get to the back, he was also interrupted by Jimmy Havoc.

The trio of Page, Jungle Boy and Havoc worked over MJF. Page tossed MJF over the barricade. Jungle Boy and Havoc fought MJF into the crowd.

Analysis: That was an entertaining segment. MJF is a prototypical heel that must have studied Chris Jericho heel promos because he even stole the scarf gimmick. His delivery is good, though, so I don’t mind it. I’m just saying he reminds me a lot of heel Jericho and heel Miz. MJF is only 23 years old, so he does have a very bright future. No doubt about it.

(2020 Thoughts: You could tell AEW’s decision-makers were high on MJF from this first show. They put him in a big spot here and he did well.)

Bret Hart held the AEW Championship in the ring. It looked impressive. The camera work wasn’t that good. They didn’t zoom in on the title enough. Bret could be blamed since he didn’t hold it up to the hard camera long enough, but somebody could have instructed him at ringside too.

Analysis: It looks great and I like the color design. It’s not gold, but silver looks awesome too.

There was a video package featuring The Young Bucks, who are Executive VPs in AEW, talking about how they wanted to give the fans the best Tag Team division in the world.

The Lucha Brothers tag team of Pentagon Jr. and Fenix made their entrance. They have worked for several wrestling companies all around the world and really made a splash in Lucha Underground a few years ago. They are legit brothers in case you’re wondering.

The Young Bucks brother tag team of Matt and Nick Jackson entered to a huge ovation. They had the AAA (that’s Mexico) Tag Team Championships around their waists. The announcers talked about how the Young Bucks haven’t wrestled much this year because they were preparing for the AEW launch while Lucha Brothers wrestled regularly including the night before in Mexico. Justin Roberts introduced both teams.

Analysis: They are both legit brother tag teams. Matt and Pentagon were the older brothers in case you’re wondering.

AAA Tag Team Championships: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix)

Matt started with Pentagon with not much happening there as they did some trash talking. Fenix did an arm drag that sent both Young Bucks out of the ring. Nick and Fenix did a sequence on the floor where neither man could connect on a move and then they did a double dropkick at the same time, which led to cheers from the crowd. Fenix worked over Nick with a kick, Pentagon went in the ring and they did a double superkick to Matt. Pentagon with a Slingblade on Nick and Pentagon slammed Fenix onto Nick for a two count. Nick got back into it with an attack off the top rope that was an arm drag and a headscissors at the same time. Matt tagged in with clotheslines on both Lucha Brothers. Matt with a Gorilla Press on Fenix and then a Spear on Pentagon. Matt launched Nick into Pentagon with a headscissors and then Nick hit a dropkick on Fenix to knock him down. Excalibur talked about how the Young Bucks used some news moves in this match while also using some of their familiar offense. Pentagon avoided an attack from Matt, Nick accidentally dropkicked Matt and Pentagon gave Nick a monkey flip into Matt against the turnbuckle. Fenix tagged in and he did this amazing sequence with an arm drag off the top rope on Nick and then an Ace Crusher on Matt. That sequence drew a huge pop off the crowd while the announcers freaked out about it. Pentagon was back in there, but Matt nailed him with a flipping neckbreaker off the ropes. Fenix back in with a spin kick to Nick’s face and Matt hit three straight suplexes leading to a Sharpshooter and then Pentagon went in the ring, so Matt hit an overhead suplex on Pentagon. Nick tagged in with a facebuster to Fenix and a moonsault onto Pentagon on the floor. Nick hit a bulldog into a clothesline combination. Matt tagged in as the Bucks each did sunset flips into Sharpshooter attempts in the center of the ring with Pentagon and Fenix able to get out of the submission attempts.

Nick tagged in leading to a 450 splash on Fenix for two because Pentagon broke up the pin. Matt with a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle while Nick kicked Fenix in the back at the same time. The Young Bucks hit a double team reverse neckbreaker into a Powerbomb out of the corner for a two count. That was impressive. They did a sequence with all four guys where there were multiple superkicks and then a double clothesline spot where all four guys were down to sell the moves. The fans chanted “AEW” for them. Pentagon battled with Matt on the ring apron where they did a double kick to the face to knock both guys down. Fenix was sent to the apron, kick to the head of Nick and Pentagon hit a Canadian Destroyer on Matt on the apron! Holy shit. Fenix followed up with a Canadian Destroyer on Nick in the middle of the ring for one…two…and no! That was insane. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Fenix came back with an attack where he jumped off Pentagon’s shoulders onto both guys on the floor. Pentagon had Matt on his back and he hit a piledriver on Nick at the same time. Fenix hit a Swanton Bomb off the top on Nick for a two count. Matt saved his brother with a superkick on Pentagon. Matt with a suplex on Pentagon. Fenix jumped off the top right into a double superkick form the Young Bucks. Matt with a running kick to Fenix’s face. Matt hit a top rope brainbuster that sent Fenix face first into the turnbuckle. That was cool. Matt with a rolling senton on Pentagon, Nick with a 450 Splash and Matt with a moonsault for the More Bang for Your Buck with that spot, but Pentagon kicked out. Matt with a package piledriver that was assisted by a double foot stomp from Nick for a two count. Nick also hit an impressive dive onto Fenix on the floor. Fenix hit Nick with something, but the director missed it. Pentagon pulled back on Matt’s arm for what looked like a dangerous submission and then Pentagon hit a sitout slam for a two count. Fenix tagged in with a superkick to Matt’s face. Fenix charged at Matt, but Matt caught him and Nick jumped off the ropes with the Meltzer Driver (spiked Tombstone combo) for the pinfall win at 24:55.

Winners by pinfall: The Young Bucks

Analysis: ****1/2 Awesome match from two of the best teams in the world. The pace of this match was insanely fast and it’s hard to keep up with everything they were doing. I know some people complain about Young Bucks style matches due to a lack of selling, but they did sell everything pretty well and it was just a case of continuing to top eachother with big moves. The Young Bucks were on offense for a lot of the match, but then Lucha Bros came back and nearly got the win. All four guys were impressive, but Matt Jackson had a great showing in this match as JR mentioned at one point in the match. I thought Lucha Brothers would get the win to get back the AAA Tag Team Titles, but I guess it didn’t matter that much. It’s not about AEW titles at this point. The reason I don’t think it was a five-star match is because it went on a bit too long. Maybe if they shaved some time off it would have probably helped.

(2020 Thoughts: These teams always had great matches together and this is no different. They worked at a fast pace and I think going 25 minutes sometimes is too long, which is a bit of an issue in AEW because you don’t have to go over 20 minutes in every big match. Sometimes the decision to go 15 minutes is the right one because then you can tell a better story and it won’t drag on at all. This also gave us a bit of a preview of how AEW referees ignore tag team rules a lot, which can be frustrating as a viewer. It’s still an awesome match. They would have more matches together in the future including a ladder match and others. Rey Fenix has been very impressive in AEW. I knew about him from Lucha Underground a few years earlier and watching him in other places, but getting to watch him regular in AEW has been a lot of fun. The Young Bucks are exciting to watch as well and Pentagon is great in singles or tags. They’re all really gifted athletes in the ring.)

The Young Bucks had their hands raised as the winners of the match as they retained the AAA Tag Team Titles.

A video package aired to set up Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega. It was started at the press conference a few months ago. Omega beat Jericho in their only match in Japan in January 2018, so this was their second match. Jericho claimed that he has been yearning for another chance at Omega. They are both from my country of Canada and both are from Winnipeg.

Chris Jericho entered first. They teased a few different Jericho style entrances in the past from the long hair days, to the List of Jericho days and the light up jacket. Jericho walked out wearing a leather jacket, a scarf and a black top hat. No face paint for Jericho like he did in Japan. Good reaction to Jericho, who is 48 years old and still performing at a high level.

Kenny Omega made his entrance where he shot off some guns with his fingers and some pyro went off. It wasn’t as spectacular as some of his entrances in New Japan. Omega greeted fans at ringside since he’s a face.

The winner of this match gets an AEW Championship match later this year (I assume at All Out) against battle royal winner Adam Page. A lot of these matches at the show didn’t have faces and heels, but in this case, Omega was clearly the heel while Jericho was the face.

Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega

They exchanged strikes early on. Omega tried a hurricanrana, but Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho and that led to Omega going to the floor. Jericho with a sliding dropkick that sent Omega to the floor. Jericho grabbed the ring bell and declared himself the winner. Omega gave Jericho a gentle slam onto the small timekeeper’s table. Omega went for a move off the barricade, but Jericho shoved him and sent Omega into the crowd. Jericho grabbed a camera and Omega spit some water in his face. Omega hit a missile dropkick to knock down Jericho on the floor. The referee left the ring with the wrestlers as JR said that the countout is at the referee’s discretion, so there was no countout. Omega with a rolling senton followed by a moonsault for two. Jericho took control of the action with some stomps in the corner followed by a dropkick off the middle ropes. They exchanged chops, Omega charged and Jericho decked him with a clothesline. Jericho didn’t like a chant from the fans, so he gave the middle finger to a fan. Omega had blood from the nose. The fans chanted “let’s go Jesus” I think because there was a fan dressed like Jesus in the crowd. Omega with a hurricanrana. Omega with a clothesline that sent Jericho over the top to the floor. Jericho grabbed a table from under the ring. Omega saw Jericho was holding a table so he dropkicked it. Jericho continued to hold the table, so Omega hit a somersault dive into the table that Jericho held, so Jericho bumped onto the ramp. Jericho’s left arm hit the ramp hard. Omega slammed the table onto Jericho. This referee was apparently going to be lenient with weapons in this match. Omega hit a springboard double foot stomp onto the table on Jericho. They showed Jericho’s wife and one of his daughters reacting in the crowd, but they didn’t say who it was. I just know from pictures that Jericho has posted many times. Omega set up the table on the floor. His nose was bleeding a lot. Back in the ring, Omega jumped over Jericho leading to a bulldog for two. Omega with a kick to the back of the head followed by a V-Trigger knee to the back of Jericho while Jericho was against the turnbuckle. Omega tried for a suplex off the turnbuckle, Jericho fought it off and then Omega connected with a belly to back superplex that got a lot of height, which got a two count for Kenny. Jericho got back up, he went for a Lionsault, but Omega got the knees up. Omega with a V-Trigger, Omega tried a slam, but Jericho sent him to the mat and Jericho hit two Lionsaults in a row. The first one did not look good, so that’s why he did it again. Omega got back with a knee to the face. Omega tried a Tiger Driver slam, but Jericho gave Omega a back drop over the top rope onto the table was on the floor. That was a big bump by Kenny. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them.

The match continued with Omega on the apron and Jericho in the ring as they got into a slugfest. Jericho hit the springboard dropkick that he’s done for over 20 years. Omega sold it with a flip bump where he landed on the back of his head. Most people just bump to the floor after that, but Omega bumped on the apron. They battled on the turnbuckle again with Omega punching Jericho down. Omega jumped off the top rope, but Jericho stopped him with a Codebreaker for a two count. Great nearfall there. Jericho worked over Omega with slaps, so Omega came back with a Snapdragon suplex. When Jericho got back up, Omega hit another Snapdragon suplex. Omega with a V-Trigger. Jericho countered a slam into a Walls of Jericho submission, but Omega countered it and hit a Tiger Driver for a two count. Omega went for a V-Trigger, but Jericho avoided it as Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho (or Liontamer) although it looked more like a Boston Crab in this instance. Omega was fighting to get to the ropes as Jericho stepped back on the upper body briefly. Omega kicked his way free, spinning elbow and a V-Trigger knee knocked Jericho down again. Omega went for a One Winged Angel, but Jericho countered with an ugly looking DDT. Omega covered Jericho for a two count. Jericho came back with an enziguri kick to the head. Jericho went to the ropes, Omega caught him, he went for the One Winged Angel and Jericho countered with a DDT, so there’s the spot they wanted to do moments earlier. Jericho hit a Codebreaker. Omega got back up and Jericho hit the Judas Effect spinning back elbow for the pinfall win at 23:54.

Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho

The win by Jericho means that he will face Adam Page for the AEW Championship at a future AEW event.

Analysis: **** It was an excellent match with an interesting finish with Jericho winning clean. The crowd reacted to the finish, but I think they were expecting Omega to kick out. Kenny kept going for the One Winged Angel, Jericho blocked it multiple times and Jericho hit a few signature moves to get the win. It was a notch below their match in Japan, but it was still a lot of fun to watch. Even though it was a regular singles match, they had some elements of a hardcore style match by using the table for some big moments in the match. The outcome surprised me because I thought Omega would go over as the face in the main event. The reason to have Jericho go over is because they can say it’s 1-1 in their series and they can build to a third match. Perhaps they wanted Jericho to go over because he’s going to New Japan to wrestle Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Title, so giving him this win gives Jericho some positive momentum going into that match. It was probably a combination of wanting to tie their series 1-1 and wanting to have Jericho look strong going into the NJPW match.

(2020 Thoughts: This was clearly the biggest match on the show and the main event. I didn’t think the match was as good as their NJPW match in 2018, but it was still really well done. It’s weird watching a Jericho match back without seeing the Inner Circle because ever since AEW started on TV last October, Jericho had that group by his side. It was obviously after this match, though. Omega winning would have been fine with me because I think he would have made a lot of sense as a guy in the title match, but I don’t think AEW made the wrong call by having Jericho win and ultimately making him the first AEW World Champion. This was “only” the third best match of the show and still a four star match, which shows how impressive the whole card was. For what it’s worth, I think Jericho has been AEW’s MVP so far.)

After the match was over, both guys were exhausted and selling the physicality of the match. Jericho grabbed the microphone.

Jericho called the fans “ungrateful jerks” for booing him after that match. Jericho said that you can say what you want, he didn’t care about the cheers or boos or 1…2…uh and said “lighten up marks” to draw some laughs. Jericho said he got the crap kicked out of him, but he’s smart enough to know it’s his time now. Jericho said for months he has been saying he is AEW. Jericho said this is not a company for the fans, it’s a company for him to prove the name value of Jericho. He said they got a company, a fancy logo, a giant television deal, they sold 12,000 tickets in four minutes and it’s because of him. Jericho said he told us when he beats Kenny Omega, he’s going to demand one thing from the fans and AEW, he’s going to demand a thank you. Jericho said he demands a thank you and the noise in the building got louder because of a surprise…Jon Moxley!

Jon Moxley (former Dean Ambrose in WWE in case you don’t know) walked down the steps in the crowd and walked towards the ring. The fans were cheering loudly for Moxley. Moxley jumped the barricade and got into the ring. Jericho asked him what he was doing there. Fans chanted “Holy Shit” for Moxley. Moxley kicked Jericho in the ribs and dropped him with a Dirty Deeds (double arm DDT). Moxley also kicked the referee and hit him with Dirty Deeds. The fans chanted “Moxley” for him.

Omega tackled Moxley out of the ring. They went brawling into the crowd. Omega threw Moxley into a poker chip that was part of the set. Moxley climbed up a stack of poker chips that were about eight feet high in the air and Moxley hit a double arm DDT on Omega. The crowd cheered loudly as Moxley looked like he was very happy to be there. Moxley picked up Omega and gave him a slam (almost like an Attitude Adjustment) off the poker chips through a table that was nearby. Moxley posed looking happy and they signed off there without showing any replays.

The runtime for AEW Double or Nothing was 3:47:35. That does not include the Pre-Show, so add another hour for that if you want to include it.

Analysis: The reaction for Moxley’s arrival was the loudest thing on the show. I wasn’t surprised to see him because when Moxley posted that video a few weeks ago, it sure looked like it was produced by a wrestling company. There was also a part of the video where they teased Double or Nothing and here he is in his Vegas where he lives. It makes sense for Moxley to be there because he was frustrated in WWE. He’ll get paid great money in AEW, work a lighter schedule and probably have more creative freedom too. It’s a perfect fit for him.

I liked the Moxley brawl with Omega. It will probably lead to a match between them at All Out on August 31, so that’s a fresh matchup that can be a main event level match although perhaps Jericho vs. Page will be the main event. Anyway, I like the idea of Moxley facing Omega because I think they will work well together.

(2020 Thoughts: A great debut for Moxley. I think a lot of us expected it to happen because we knew his WWE deal had run out and he was free to show up in AEW, but we had no idea when it was going to happen or who he would target. The attack on Omega would set up their match although it was delayed by a few months because of a Moxley injury. The crowd reaction for Moxley was one of the loudest reactions to anything that AEW has had so far. Moxley is a big deal and the fans know it. The slam off the poker chips looked very cool as a big spot. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about this debut.)

 

Five Stars of the Show

1. Cody

2. Dustin Rhodes

3. The Young Bucks

4. Lucha Brothers

5. (tie) Chris Jericho

5. (tie) Kenny Omega

 

Final Thoughts

It gets an 8.5 out of 10 from me.

(2020 Thoughts: When I read this again, I realize I probably should have given this a 9 out of 10. There weren’t a lot of down moments and I enjoyed the whole thing from top to bottom.)

This was an awesome wrestling show from top to bottom. Big thumbs up from me. I’m happy AEW is here and I am pretty sure most fans liked it. They had five months to prepare for this show, so I’m not surprised that it was great. The Jon Moxley surprise debut is what people are going to talk about the most, which is how it should be because they ended on a strong note.

I don’t think it was the best ever PPV or anything like that, but it was still fun to watch and I enjoyed the matches a lot. I thought it was similar to All In in a lot of ways, but this time we are more sure about what the future holds since AEW has TV in October. The reason why it’s not a higher score (8.5 out of 10 is still excellent) is they didn’t do that much in terms of storylines or introductions for some of these characters, so that hurt a bit. Great match after great match is fine, but they could have furthered some angles a bit. I think they can top this show once they get TV and there are storylines that we can be invested in with more clearly defined heels and faces. The last three matches were the best part along with Moxley’s debut.

My favorite match was Cody vs. Dustin. It was emotional, well worked and they had the crowd wrapped around their fingers during the match and after it was over too. That’s an incredible feeling for the wrestlers, I’m sure.

The announcers did well with Excalibur really standing out both in terms of play by play and being an analyst. He can do it all. Jim Ross has slowed down a bit, but he was good in the last three matches. Alex Marvez didn’t add much to the broadcast. I don’t think he’s needed.

There were some moments where I think the director missed some important moves and they could do a better job of replays. Also, one thing WWE really does well is have their wrestlers pose in the direction of the hard cam. That wasn’t as common here, so it led to some awkward camera shots. That’s just a minor gripe that they can fix as they get used to it.

I don’t think the show was too long at just under four hours. The battle royal in the pre-show was too long, but most of the match times were what they should be. I’m glad the last three matches all got over 20 minutes. I’m looking forward to more from AEW.

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