Chris Jericho led the Inner Circle against the Elite at 'AEW Double Or Nothing 2020'
Facebooktwitterpinteresttumblrmail

AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 was bound to be a different kind of show.

The empty arena PPV format for pro wrestling has produced some mixed results over at the competition. Same goes for live TV.

But AEW: Dynamite continues to thrive in its restrictive new, coronavirus-centric setting. And the same was true of AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

On paper, it looked like it was going to be a weak card. And injuries suffered on this past week’s AEW: Dynamite looked to make it even weaker. Or at least more haphazard.

But AEW continued to exceed expectations. They delivered a solid – if not exactly perfect – show in the form of AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Nine men participated in a Casino Ladder Match for an AEW Championship match at 'AEW Double Or Nothing 2020'

Casino Ladder Match (Winner Gets AEW Championship Match) – Orange Cassidy Vs. Darby Allin Vs. Kip Sabian Vs. Scorpio Sky Vs. Frankie Kazarian Vs. Colt Cabana Vs. Joey Janela Vs. Luchasaurus Vs. Mystery Opponent

Okay, so AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 starts with the car wreck match. Cool. There’s a giant poker chip hanging above the ring, representing the title shot. Also cool. If we’re being fair, it’s not as cool as the MITB briefcase.

Vickie Guerrero is on the babyface side. Without a crowd, there’s potential for this show to be unbearable.

Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky start. Well, that’s awkward. Every two minutes (not 90 seconds, as I reported earlier this week), another wrestler enters the match. Frankie and Scorpio each head for a ladder right off the bat, but they decide to throw them away to fight like men. Babyfaces are idiots.

Scorpio vs. Frankie isn’t as good as you’d think it would be. Lots of dodges and near-misses before they take each other out, just in time for Kip Sabian to enter the match. With SCU out, Jimmy Havoc throws a ladder in their face to help Sabian. Havoc helps Sabian take SCU out, but Kazarian suplexes Havoc into a ladder.

On the outside, Sabian has Scorpio laid out on the ring steps and climbs to the top of a super-tall ladder. He notices Kazarian scaling a ladder and heads inside, and they slug it out. Scorpio is the only man standing, just as Darby enters and immediately dives after Sabian and Havoc before slamming Scorpio into the ringpost. In the ring, Allin cleans house.

He starts rearranging furniture and goes for a flying skateboard stomp from the top of a ladder, but Kazarian moves, and Allin’s knees just crumble beneath him. That was awesome and horrifying.

Next out is Orange Cassidy, who asks Jim Ross and the announcers what the rules are. I love Cassidy.

With nobody in the ring, Cassidy tries reaching up from the mat, but can’t reach. Orange can’t figure out how to set up the ladder, and Colt Cabana heads out next. He pushes Cassidy out of the ring and starts climbing, but SCU tips him over before slamming Sabian onto the ladder.  Janela runs out and missile dropkicks Cabana. He starts climbing, but Kazarian pulls him down.

For as much as there is going on right now, there’s not a whole lot of energy behind any of it at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020. As soon as I say that, Luchasaurus comes out and starts murdering people. He tries to chokeslam Sabian over the top, but Sabian fights up only to get powerbombed out of the ring. Allin climbs onto the apron, and Luchasaurus drags him to the top only to eat a Code Red from Allin.

And the mystery entrant is – Brian Cage, accompanied by Taz, who’s none too happy about Darby blowing off his coaching the last few weeks. Cage hits not-the-F5  on Darby before murdering Sabian. Cassidy clings onto Cage’s back as Cage climbs, but the rest of the competitors drag them down.  A ladder to the face and a slam into the ringpost finally puts Cage on the ground. Everybody tries to bury Cage under everything they can find, including ladders, barricades, and the poker chips from the set.

 

There’s entirely too much going on here. Cassidy tries to chokeslam Luchassaurus. Oh, now he wants to put effort into it? Marko Stunt runs in with a tiny ladder, and they double chokeslam Orange. Yeah, this is dumb. Janela finally gets back into the swing of things and hits the Death Valley Driver onto the pile of stuff that’s burying Cage on the outside.

Just as Luchasaurus is ready to start climbing, Cage frees himself and powerbombs Luchasaurus into a ladder. Cage sets up the ladder and climbs, but Darby Allin slides in with a ladder of his own. Unfortunately, Cage murders him for a while before Taz comes out for more coaching. After a Botchamania moment, Cage props Allin flat on a ladder before picking it up and chucking Allin out of the ring. He climbs to the top and retrieves the chip to win at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Not bad, but it wasn’t orchestrated particularly well.

Winner: Brian Cage

Match Rating: ***1/4

Jungle Boy took on the Salt of the Earth at 'AEW Double Or Nothing 2020'

MJF (W/Wardlow) Vs. Jungle Boy

In the run-up to the match, we get our first “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry from JR. Well, it’s better than I was expecting at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Both guys lockup to start, and we switch to comparing flippy-flops and kip-ups. That continues until Jungle Boy manages to throw MJF out of the ring. MJF goes for a test of strength, but when their hands lock, they start literally matching each other move for move until Jungle Boy cinches in a headscissors. That was cool.

Still locked at the legs, now they match each other headstand-to-headstand before Jungle Boy comes out on top and makes with the punches. MJF gets the advantage until Jungle Boy whips him out of the corner. On the whip, though, MJF’s knee gives out on him, but IT WAS ALL A TRAP! MJF kips up and attacks Jungle Boy in the corner.

The Salt of the Earth hits a backbreaker on Jungle Boy before hitting a vicious arm-whip into the bottom turnbuckle. That looked painful. MJF starts taunting Jungle Boy, but all it does is fire him up, and he makes with the chops. They fight on the outside, and Jungle Boy hits a trifecta of topes suicida.

Inside, Jungle Boy hits a swinging DDT, but MJF gets a foot on the ropes. The match devolves into a chopfest. MJF eats a superkick and falls on top of Jungle Boy for a pin, but Jungle Boy kicks out and reverses into a crossface. MJF bites him to break free and hits a destroyer for two.

They fight on the apron, where Jungle Boy hits a reverse rana, and holy crap! Jungle Boy picks him up with his one good arm to roll MJF into the ring. He goes up top, so MJF causes Ref Aubrey to tumble into the ropes, crotching Jungle Boy. MJF goes up top, but Jungle Boy counters with a headbutt into a powerbomb from the second rope, but it only gets two.

Jungle Boy tries to deadlift MJF, but the arm gives out again, and MJF goes for the Salt of the Earth. He fights it off as long as he can, even rolling MJF up for two. Both guys trade roll-ups, but MJF bridges into a European clutch for the pin and the win.

AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 is the night Jungle Boy became a bona fide star.

Winner: MJF

Match Rating: **** 1/4

Cody and Lance Archer faced off to win the TNT Championship, presented by Mike Tyson, at 'AEW Double Or Nothing 2020'

TNT Championship Tournament Finals – Cody (W/Arn Anderson) Vs. Lance Archer (W/Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts)

Well. The TNT Championship belt sure is ugly. Tony says it’s not complete yet due to coronavirus restrictions. Mike Tyson’s looking pretty good at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Archer hits the Blackout immediately, and Cody rolls out of the ring. The Murderhawk Monster follows and gets Cody back in the ring. Archer goes for the claw, but Cody hooks in a triangle armbar. Cody tries to turn this into a fist fight, but Archer gets the better of that. The American Nightmare goes for the cutter, but Archer takes him out.

They brawl into the stands until Archer throws – literally throws – Cody back to ringside. Back in the ring, Archer goes “old school” and hits a moonsault off the ropes for two.

Sloppy camerawork catches Tyson yawning at ringside. That was me during the ladder match. Cody drags Archer to the corner and stretches him like a bow around the ring post. The Nightmare goes up top, but Archer intercepts and just throws him outside into the barricades.

Would somebody let Cody know it’s okay for him to get over at some point? He doesn’t have to play Cena-at-SummerSlam 2014 every single time out.

Cody finally manages to lock in a crossface, using the murderhawk for leverage and covering Archer’s mouth. The referee breaks up the hold, and Jake distracts Cody, who hits Archer with a DDT, never breaking eye contact with the Snake.

Jake tries to fight his way into the ring just in time for Archer to hit a spinebuster, never breaking eye contact with Arn. Cody hits a springboard cutter from the top, but it only gets one.

The Bionic Elbow leads to the fireman’s carry drop for Cody. He hits crossroads, but Archer kicks out almost immediately. Next he tries a Stinger Splash, but he walks into an Archer chokeslam for two. Not sure what Cody’s going for with that little memory lane business at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Archer locks in the Claw, but Archer can’t make the cover. The Murderhawk goes “old school” again, and while the referee is distracted by Jake, Arn crotches Archer on the turnbuckle. Cody hits an avalanche splash, but another referee comes out to tell the official referee that Arn intervened. Mike Tyson concurs, so the referee throws Arn out.

It looks like both guys are being thrown out, but Jake comes back with Damien, until Mike takes his shirt off and threatens Roberts.

Jake retreats. Archer goes for the Blackout, but Cody reverses into the Crossroads. He hits another for good measure to pick up the win and to become the first-ever TNT Champion.

Okay, that finish surprises me. Match was pretty slow, and it took forever to get going. But once it finally got going, it was pretty solid at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Winner: Cody

Match Rating: *** 1/2

Penelope Ford was a last-minute stand-in to face Kris Statlander at 'AEW Double Or Nothing 2020'

Penelope Ford (W/Kip Sabian) Vs. Kris Statlander

Sabian comes out with Ford on crutches with cartoon bandages on virtually every part of his body. As opposed to a lot of the Casino Ladder Match itself, that’s how comedy should be done at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Statlander gets a side headlock takeover, but Ford escapes with ease only to take an armdrag takeover from Ford. Ford falls to a leg sweep, and Statlander starts doing sommersaults around the ring. Statlander goes for a boop, but Ford slaps it away. The Galaxy’s Greatest Alien takes exception, though, and she gets her boop in before throwing Ford out of the ring.

Back inside, Ford hits the second-rope dangling DDT for two. Ford cinches in a headlock, but Statlander fights to her feet only to take some chops from Penelope. Statlander fights back with some chops and forearms of her own. The Alien hits a tope suicida and crashes onto both Ford and Sabian.

Ford goes for a roll-up, but Statlander kicks out, so Ford starts banging Statlander into her own knee. Statlander goes for the Big Bang, but Ford reverses to a stunner. Ford hits a huricanrana from the top and goes for a stunner, but Statlander hits a blue thunder bomb into the Big Bang Theory for the pin.

This was pretty good. Honestly, from a workrate standpoint, it was probably better than Baker vs. Statlander would’ve been. Still, the Role Model’s presence was missing from AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Winner: Kris Statlander

Match Rating: ***

Dustin Rhodes will face Shawn Spears at 'AEW: Double Or Nothing'

Shawn Spears Vs. Dustin Rhodes

Spears comes out in a suit and declares that Dustin isn’t there, and as such forfeits. Then he makes a Batman reference about Dustin’s location (“He’s at home! Washin’ his tights!”).

Dustin’s music hits, and Spears turns and looks at the entrance, trembling. It’s just Spears heeling it up, though, and he instructs the referee to start the 10-count. The music hits again, and Brandi walks out. While Spears is distracted with Brandi, Dustin pops up from behind and starts beating the crap out of Spears.

Spears gets an advantage and wraps his belt around his knuckles, but he walks into a powerslam from Dustin. The Natural strips Spears down to his underwear, so of course JR makes a “prison movie” joke. We’ve come so far since the Attitude Era, haven’t we?

A close-up reveals Tully Blanchard’s face on Spears’s underwear, and Dustin ends it mercifully with the Final Reckoning.

What another waste of Shawn Spears. AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 can at least say it carries on a proud tradition of making Spears look like a joke.

Winner: Dustin Rhodes

Match Rating: **

Hikaru Shida challenged AEW Women's Champion Nyla Rose in a no DQ match at 'AEW Double Or Nothing 2020'

AEW Women’s Championship Match (No DQ, No Count-Out) – Nyla Rose (C) Vs. Hikaru Shida

Shida comes out with gear more befitting a street fight at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Nyla carrying around a kendo stick might be the most horrifying thing in the history of ever. Shida gets hold of the stick early and takes a whack at Rose, which has no effect.

So, of course, Nyla goes to town with the kendo stick. Thankfully, she tosses it pretty early, because it looks like she doesn’t exactly know what she’s doing with it.

A quick bodyslam from Nyla draws a quicker kick-out from Shida. Nylz goes for a roll into the corner, but Shida evades and dangles the champion on the apron before hitting the charging knee lift.

The challenger takes too much time screaming at the camera, so Nyla slams her into the barricade and tries to choke her out. With Shida down, Nyla starts to pull a table out from under the ring. Shida manages to get up to try to stop her, so Nyla slams her over the barricade into a prop poker table.

The champion sets up a chair and props Shida’s neck on the seat. She comes back with another chair and drives it into Shida’s throat. Nyla drives the chair into Shida’s gut on the outside before throwing her back into the ring. The champion goes for a beast bomb, but Shida escapes only to take a suplex from Nyla. Nyla clotheslines the challenger over the top rope.

Shida avoids getting posted on the outside and hits a running knee to the back of Nyla’s head. With Nyla down, Shida slams her into another giant prop poker chip and starts chasing the “crowd” out of their chairs. They do some back and forth before Shida is finally able to hit a hip throw, putting Nyla onto the chips. With the champion prone, Shida gets a running start and hits a running knee into another chip.

What would their plan have been without the props? Anyway.

The challengers clotheslines Nyla over the barricade, but she doesn’t follow until she retrieves her kendo stick. And she goes – to – town with it. Shida hits a brainbuster onto the stick, but Nyla kicks out. Another running knee only gets two for the challenger.

Nyla comes back to life and drapes Shida over the rope. The champ heads to the top turnbuckle and hits the knee drop. But it only gets two.

At last, Nyla brings Chekov’s table into the ring and props it up in the corner. She goes for a Death Valley Driver into the table, but Shida escapes. Instead, the champ goes for the Beast Bomb, but Shida fights it off. The challenger goes for a running knee, but Nyla cuts her off and finally hits the powerbomb into the table, but Shida kicks out.

I didn’t expect this AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 match to be quite this good.

Nyla goes for another DVD before going to town on Shida with the kendo stick again. With Shida prone in the center of the ring, Nyla goes to the top, but Shida recovers and chucks the stick at the champion before following her up and hitting super falcon arrow onto the stick, but Nyla kicks out.

The mark in me seriously thought that was it. Shida goes for the running knee, but Nyla pops up and kendo’s her in the knee. Shida hits it a second time, and she still can’t get the pin. A home run swing with the kendo stick leads to another running knee, and this time she gets the pin!

That was pretty great. I’m okay with being bad at predicting stuff at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020.

Winner (And NEW Champion): Hikaru Shida

Match Rating: **** 3/4

Moxley fought to retain the AEW Championship against Brodie Lee at 'AEW Double Or Nothing 2020'

AEW World Championship Match – Jon Moxley (C) Vs. Mr. Brodie Lee

Mr. Brodie Lee is out first, still holding on to the AEW World Championship. And still flanked by 10, sporting a fancy new sling, courtesy of Moxley on this past week’s AEW: Dynamite.

Mox comes out through the stands, as per usual. JR says he has it in his notes that Mr. Brodie Lee “hates sneezing.” Sigh. AEW, you guys are really testing me, going back and forth with how smart or useless the Vince McMahon references are.

Moxley goes straight after Brodie, but Brodie’s size and strength is too much for the champ. The champion dodges a running high kick and counters with at tope that puts Brodie over the barricade. Moxley follows with a suplex, but Brodie counters with one of his own.

The challenger props Moxley on the top turnbuckle, but Mox comes off the top only to get caught around the throat by Brodie and tossed. Brodie follows with his own tope.

Mr. Lee props up a section of the barricade at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020. Moxley turns the tables briefly, only for Brodie to suplex him onto the propped-up barricade.

Back inside, Moxley scores with a spike piledriver, but Brodie kicks out. On the outside, Moxley sets up the ring steps for some unscripted violence, but Brodie knows it’s coming, so he rushes out side and hits a Johnny Cage into Moxley’s gut. Brodie goes for a powerbomb from the steps into the timekeeper’s table, but Moxley backdrops him through the table.

More back and forth, and Moxley hits a superplex. The champion dives at Brodie from the Apron only to get release-suplexed into some giant prop playing cards. Again, what’s their plan if there were no props?

Moxley finally climbs his way back into the ring. Brodie calls for a powerbomb, but the champion escapes only to eat a big boot. The challenger hits a sit-out powerbomb, but Moxley kicks out at two. The champion crawls toward the entrance for a reprieve. Brodie follows, so Moxley throws more props at him. The champ goes for the Paradigm Shift, but Brodie tries twice to hit a powerbomb on the entrance, only for Moxley to hit the Paradigm Shift, taking both guys through the AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 set.

That was cool. Moxley climbs out of the hole in the stage and rolls into the ring. Brodie follows, with his head BUSTED WIDE OPEN, BAH GAWD!

Brodie goes for the Discus Lariat, but Moxley counters with the Paradigm Shift. But it only gets one. The champ punches the hell out of the gash on Brodie’s head and hits another Paradigm Shift. It only gets two that tie. Moxley goes for a rear naked choke to put the challenger out for the win.

Not the best brawl I’ve ever seen, and probably not even the best brawl on AEW Double Or Nothing 2020. But it was really solid, really physical, and it never dragged or felt slow.

Winner (And STILL Champion): Jon Moxley

Match Rating: ****

The Elite battled the Inner Circle in the Stadium Stampede at 'AEW Double Or Nothing 2020'

Stadium Stampede – The Elite (Matt Hardy, Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, The Young Bucks) Vs. The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana & Ortiz)

Okay, so. Can AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 stand up to the cinematic matches at WrestleMania or Money In The Bank?

Um. Okay, the Inner Circle is coming out in jerseys and shoulder pads. Ooookay? I also don’t know why the Jaguars cheerleaders are there.

Hangman Page is conspicuous by his absence, but Kenny thinks it’s going to be okay. Ref Aubrey Edwards in the ring blows the whistle, and both teams rush at each other with weapons and take each other out.

I don’t have a chance in hell of being able to follow this. Sammy finds himself alone, so Hangman makes his entrance and charges at him with a horse.

The Spanish God must have a natural fear of horses, because he runs clear into the parking lot, with the Hangman giving chase.

In the ring, Jericho and Nick Jackson go at it for a while while everybody else just tries to kill each other on the outside. Matt is in next to double team Jericho, so Santana and Ortiz make the save for their boss. The odds keep coming unevened until Hager makes it to the ring. Then Guevara runs out and goes for a Shooting Star Press on Matt Hardy, but Hardy dodges.

Matt plants Guevara with a Twist of Fate, and Omega goes for the V-Trigger, but the Inner Circle drags him out of the ring. Chaos reigns, but where is Page and his horse?

Matt sets up a ladder to climb to the top of one of the goal posts and hits a moonsault off of it onto the Inner Circle. He goes for a pin on Jericho, but he only gets two.

Backstage, Page continues looking for Sammy Guevara. He gives up, telling the horse to stay, and he heads to the stadium bar. That tracks.

Santana & Ortiz haven’t done their homework, as they try to drown Matt in the pool, reawakening Matt Hardy Version 1.0. Complete with Matt Facts!

They try to drown him again, and this time he pops up as the Broken One again. Also not having done his homework is JR, who isn’t even phased by references to the waters of reincarnation.

Santana tries to powerbomb Matt into a freezer, but Matt dumps Santana inside and barricades it shut, claiming it’ll help with his inflamation.

Backstage, Hager bumps into Page’s horse and sees a sign with directions to the bar, so Hager follows. Hager pulls up a seat next to Page, and they chit-chat about whether or not they’re enjoying the fight over a drink before going to town on each other.

Honestly, Hager vs. Page would make for a pretty good singles feud. Page swings a pool cue over Hager’s back, and it doesn’t even phase him. Hangman goes for a dive off the pool table, but he takes a uranagi on it instead before dragging Page face-first across the bar.

Omega comes in for the save, and they start breaking bottles of bubbly over Hager’s head. Kenny sets up Hager, and Hangman hits the buckshot lariat on him over the bar. Omega and Page make some semblance of peace, as Page pours Kenny a glass of milk, and Kenny pours Page a glass of whiskey.

Back on the field, Matt Jackson and Sammy Guevara are trading attempts at just about everything, until Matt starts clicking with the locomotion Northern Lights suplexes for fifty yards.

Meanwhile, Nick Jackson is trying to shove Jericho’s face into the smoke machine at the entrance. The Jaguars’ mascot comes out and starts taunting Jericho, so Le Champion hits him with the Judas Effect. Again, on the field, Matt is going for 100 yards of Northern Lights. Jericho puts a traffic cone on his head and does a Wicked Witch laugh, so Nick feeds him a superkick only to eat a face full of Jericho’s baseball bat.

Chris Jericho thinks he got a 3-count, but Aubrey only gives him two. Jericho challenges the play and demands a replay. The call stands. Meanwhile, Matt makes it into the endzone and spikes Sammy’s head into the ground, but he gets a 15-yard penalty for, okay, stop. I get it, it’s football references. Page drunkenly wanders out with the line-marker and runs it over Jericho.

Sammy finally comes to and thinks he’s won until he hears Omega and Hardy behind him in a golf cart. He runs into the stands but tries to strangle Omega, but Hardy’s new drone – NEO1 – shows up, and Omega hits a one-winged angel from the seats for the pin and the win.

Ultimately, this was fine, but it came across as what you’d do with a handful of buddies, a camera, and some random stuff laying around to use as weapons.

There wasn’t anything particularly groundbreaking about it, even if it was solid and entertaining. But for all the buzz that’s been going around it since it was recorded Friday night? I don’t get it. Aside from the cartoon goofiness with Matt Hardy and the pool and maybe Page’s drunkenness, there wasn’t even anything particularly funny or clever in the filming.

On the plus side, Jim Cornette probably hated it, so I can take comfort in that.

Winners: The Elite

Match RatingUm?

AEW - All Elite Wrestling

The Breakdown

Of the three title matches at AEW Double Or Nothing 2020, two were honest-to-goodness great matches. It was easily the best outing for both Nyla Rose and Hikaru Shida in AEW to date.

And Moxley and Brodie Lee exceeded expectations in ways I didn’t quite expect.

It was by no means a perfect show. Cody vs. Archer was slow to build, and the Casino Ladder Match disappointed in terms of execution.

Despite being unique, the Stadium Stampede match wasn’t all it could’ve been. But assuming the world ever goes back to normal, it’ll be a good jumping-off-point for Blood & Guts.

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

Double Or Nothing 2020

8.7

In-Ring Action

8.2/10

Booking

8.9/10

Storytelling

8.6/10

Entertainment Value

9.2/10

Pros

  • The Stadium Stampede was one of the coolest segments in wrestling ever
  • Shida and Rose tore the house down
  • Moxley and Brodie Lee crushed it in their match
  • Jungle Boy is a legit star now

Cons

  • The Casino Ladder Match was pretty uneven
  • Ditto for Cody vs. Archer
  • The Stadium Stampede was okay but not worth the hype
Facebooktwitterpinteresttumblrmail