All Elite Wrestling began its campaign to change the world of professional wrestling with AEW Double Or Nothing.
Double Or Nothing wasn’t just one of the most important wrestling shows in recent years. It was one of the best.
With a greater emphasis on presenting pro wrestling as “sport” rather than “sports entertainment,” AEW didn’t raise the bar. It built a new one.
Not all nine matches were mat classics, but they set the tone for what this new product will be. If this was only the appetizer, then we’re ready for the main course.
Casino Battle Royale
We start with the clubs – Michael Nakazawa, MJF, Sunny Daze, Dustin Thomas, and Brandon Cutler. By the way, did we mention that Dustin Thomas has no legs? I spit out my drink, as MJF calls Thomas “Lieutenant Dan.” Nakazawa dumps baby oil on himself to make him harder to eliminate. Um. Okay?
The diamonds come out next, led by Brian Pillman, Jr., and he and Isaiah Cassidy mix it up on the ramp. Pillman chucks Cassidy into the barricade, but gets suplexed by Joey Janella and Jimmy Havoc on the entrance ramp. Shawn Spears (a perfect 10) is next, and we’ve now got 10 men in the ring. MJF flips off the crowd – it’s been so long since I’ve seen birds flipped on a wrestling show. It’s beautiful.
Hearts (Billy Gunn, Ace Romero, Jungle Boy, Glacier, and Marq Quen) are out next. Romero eliminates Nakazawa, and Glacier takes out Daze before getting dumped by MJF. Janella lights a cigarette in the ring, and Havoc staples it to his head. Um. Damn.
Spades make their way out. Sonny Kiss, Luchasaurus, and holy crap, it’s Tommy Dreamer! The E-C-W chants start up in earnest. A tope suicida from Romero takes out five guys, and Dreamer and Havoc end up in a hardcore-off with a trash can, which Dreamer wins with an ace crusher. This is madness. Also, Tommy Dreamer looks like everybody’s dad now.
The final entrant comes out, and it’s Hangman Page, still limping from an encounter with Pac earlier this week.
Page and Janella face off, picking up from their All In match last year. Page hits the Dead-Eye on Janella, and it’s one of the most horrifying finishers I’ve ever seen. Think a reverse Styles clash. Jungle Boy, who weighs about 9 pounds wet, takes out Romero, who looks like a white Yokozuna who really likes bratwurst.
Dustin Thomas (WHO HAS NO LEGS) hits a 619 followed up by a 450 splash on Joey Janella, only to eat a superkick from MJF. MJF goes for the elimination on Thomas, but Shawn Spears pulls him off. He tries to eliminate Thomas, but the Legless Wonder uses his momentum to eliminate Spears instead.
Havoc, still armed with a staple gun, staples Dreamer’s nuts and eliminates him. Jungle Boy gets knocked over the top but hangs on, so Havoc bites his fingers for the elimination.
The final four are Page, MJF, Luchasaurus, and Havoc. MJF suffers a 3-on-1 assault, and heads under the rope for safety. Havoc, Page, and Luchasaurus go at it. Havoc hits a Death Valley Driver off the top on Page. He goes for an Acid Rainmaker, but Page uses his momentum to push him over the top, and Luchasaurus kicks Havoc to the floor.
Luchasaurus murders Page with an inverted powerbomb, only for Page to eliminate him. He thinks he’s won, but MJF sneaks back in and tries to eliminate Page. Page hangs on, though, and hits a Buckshot Lariat on MJF before clotheslining him over the top to win the match and a shot at the AEW Championship.
WWE is in trouble. So much trouble.
Winner – “Hangman” Adam Page
Backstage, Alicia Atout interviews Smiley Kylie Rae, who comes across like Bayley on uppers, before being shushed by Peter Avalon, the Librarian. Linda Bates comes in and declares herself the real Librarian, and we get possibly the only shush-off in pro wrestling history.
Sammy Guevara vs. Kip Sabian
Guevara wears a panda skin on his head. That’s heel heat.
We start with some rolling on the mat and a little actual wrestling (you folks at home remember wrestling?). Sabian gets a hammerlock, but Guevara kips up. Announcers Alex Marvez and Excalibur mention that AEW will track wins and losses, and title shots will be based on a merit system. About time.
Sabian runs the ropes and hits a hurricanrana on Guevara before hitting a running leg lariat. Guevara dodges Sabian’s next attack and hits a flipping drop kick. More cruiserweight flippity-floppity leads to Sabian getting a springboard flipfrom the middle rope to knock Guevara on the floor. Sabian goes for a top rope dive, but Guevara dodges, and Sabian crashes hard.
Guevara grounds Sabian in the ring and lays in the punches. Sabian catches him in a submission to put pressure on Guevara’s knee, but Guevera gets to the ropes. Sabian rushes him from the corner but eats a Guevara powerslam. A standing shooting star press gets a two-count for Guevera.
Both guys go for a suplex over the top and reverse one another on the way down, and Sabian and Guevara both wind up murdering each other on the floor. Guevara tells the front row spectators to move back, and he dumps Sabian over the barricade. Guevara goes to the ring apron and hits a shooting star press onto a hanging Sabian! Have I mentioned that WWE is in trouble?
Guevera goes up top for a 630 splash, but Sabian gets the knees up and hits the Deathly Hallows for the pin.
Winner – Kip Sabian
Backstage, Jim Ross gets his own live introduction, and the crowd goes nuts. Yeah, I missed real commentary, too.
The Elite — Kenny Omega, Cody and Brandi, and the Young Bucks — come out to officially open the show. The guys all fight over the microphone to see who gets to welcome the crowd and announce open Double Or Nothing proper. Omega gets the honors and starts an “A-E-Dub” chant. See, this is an occasion that warrants doing a giant promo in the middle of a show.
And here. We. Go.
Double Or Nothing
So-Cal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Scorpio Sky, and Frankie Kazarian) vs. Strong Hearts (CIMA, El Lindaman, and T-Hawk)
Christopher Daniels from SCU does his worst Freddie Mercury impression and sings a little ‘Don’t Stop Me Now.’ I’ve heard worse.
Daniels and CIMA start off. They trade armdrag takedowns and both wind up on the mat in a stalemate. Daniels tags in Kazarian, and T-Hawk replaces CIMA. Kazarian gets a quick two-count with a fireman’s carry. T-Hawk his a shoulder block and goes for a German suplex, but Kazarian breaks free. Scorpio gets a quick tag and takes T-Hawk down with a drop kick. A powerbomb gets two for T-Hawk, and El Lindaman tags in.
Scorpio bodyslams Lindaman, and tags in Daniels. He and Kazarian hit top-rope leg drops on Lindaman before Kazarian hits a shotgun drop in the corner. Kazarian covers for two before tagging Daniels back in. A flying neckbreaker from Kazarian gets a near-fall for Daniels.
Hawk tags in and cleans house, chopping Kazarian off the top rope. CIMA hits a running knee on Daniels in the corner, and Strong Hearts isolate Daniels in the ring before CIMA actually tags in and hits a senton over the top. CIMA and Hawk hit a pancake and double drop kick on Daniels. Lindaman tags back in and tries to lift Daniels. Daniels fights back but eats a jawbreaker.
Lindaman tags Hawk back in, and he hooks a crossface on Daniels while his partners hit a tandem dropkick. Scorpio breaks up the submission. Daniels hits a STO and manages to tag Scorpio back in. Scorpio cleans house and gets a double stomp across CIMA’s back before turning his attention to Lindaman, but the Strong Hearts triple team him before Lindaman hits a German suplex for a two-count.
Scorpio hits a low dropkick to Lindaman’s jaw and tags Kazarian back in and gives SoCal some much needed momentum A Northern Lights Suplex on Hawk gets two, and Daniels tags back in. Madness reigns for a few seconds (the awesome kind), and DDTs and stunner variants are on the menu for everybody. A double lariat between Daniels and Hawk slows things down, and the referee starts his 10-count.
Hawk and Daniels are back up, and Daniels hits his finisher (a jumping pedigree variant), but Lindaman sneaks in a tag and hits a German suplex for two. CIMA dives off the top rope onto Daniels, but Kazarian breaks up the pin. This is amazing.
Kazarian does a suicide dive to take down CIMA and Hawk and sets them up for another suicide dive from Kazarian. And we’re back down to Lindaman and Daniels in the ring. Kazarian and Daniels set up for the Best Meltzer Ever (doomsday device piledriver) and get the pin.
Winners – SoCal Uncensored
Allie from the women’s division joins JR, Alex, and Excalibur for commentary on AEW’s first women’s match.
“Smiley” Kylie Rae vs. Nyla Rose vs. Dr. Britt Baker
Kylie is so happy. She’s literally waving at and applauding the other women as they enter the ring. She’s gonna get destroyed, and it’ll be glorious.
Brandi Rhodes comes out before the match begins in full wrestling gear and a microphone and says that while the three in the ring could make the first women’s match at Double Or Nothing great, it needs to be awesome – so she introduces WWE alum Awesome Kong!
So now we’ve got …
“Smiley” Kylie Rae vs. Nyla Rose vs. Dr. Britt Baker vs. Awesome Kong
Kylie’s smile disappears immediately. We start with Nyla (who looks like the horrifying child of Chyna and Nia Jax) in a slap-off. Kong shoves Nyla out of the ring. Kylie tries to jump on Kong’s back for a headlock but gets slammed to the mat for her troubles. She throws Baker on top of Kylie. Kong rushes Baker, but Baker puts her over the top.
The Smiley One sneaks up and tries to get a pin on Baker. They square off, but Baker gets a two-count on Kylie.
At this point, I’d like to note that Jim Ross hasn’t missed a beat, and it’s wonderful.
We stay with Baker vs. Kylie while the monsters sleep outside. But Kong wakes up and holds Baker up for a bodyslam, but Kylie hits a tope suicida over the top to take Kong and Baker out. Nyla wakes up and throws Kylie into the ring and goes for a pin. It only gets two. A bodyslam into a splash also gets two for Nyla.
Kylie tries to take down the 200-plus pound Nyla with punches, and works out about as well as you’d expect. Nyla gets another two-count. She goes for a powerbomb, but Baker comes in and hits a sling blade on Nyla for two. Kong is still knocked out on the floor, and Nyla hits a Samoan drop on Baker. Nyla lifts Kylie up for a powerbomb, but Kylie escapes and covers for two, but Baker breaks it up.
Nyla goes back to work on Kylie and Baker and stands alone in the ring. She heads up to the top rope, but Baker intercepts her and goes for a superplex. Kylie joins in and they go for a Tandem superplex, but Kong wakes up and nails a triple powerbomb!
Kong destroys Baker on the outside before tossing her back onto the apron. She sets up Baker for a powerbomb on the apron, but Baker escapes and hits a dropkick. Nyla wakes up and spears Kong into the steel ring steps. We’re down to Baker and Kylie in the ring.
Baker goes for a quick pin but only gets two. Kylie reverses a hip toss and kicks the brains right out of Baker’s head. She lifts Baker up for a German suplex, but Baker fights out and nails a swinging neckbreaker for 2.99999. Baker goes for a superkick, but Kylie deadlifts Baker into a German suplex for another near fall.
And just like that, Kylie Rae gets mad. Doesn’t do her much good, as Baker hits another superkick and hits a horrifying-looking neckbreaker for the pin.
Winner – Dr. Britt Baker
Best Friends (Chucky T and Trent) vs. Angelico and Jack Evans
Full disclosure, I know nothing about any of these guys. Also, I had no idea until tonight how much I missed Jim Ross.
Trent and Evans start out. The announcers say that there’s a tag team rule that a wrestler has a 10-count to get into the ring (and his partner has 10 to get out) once a tag is made. Trent takes Evans down and tags Taylor in. They trade corner splashes on Angelico and Evans, but Angelico breaks the Best Friends up.
Evans hits a handspring elbow in the corner on Trent, and the double-team continues for Angelico and Evans. Angelico punts Trent’s face off, and a tandem 450-splash gets a two-count for Evans. A tag to Angelico brings him back in and, he also gets a two-count. Angelico hits a powerbomb and Trent and then hooks him in a half-crab.
Chucky T breaks up the submission, but the damage has been done. Trent hits a dropkick and tries to get to his corner for a tag, but he can’t make it. Evans tags in and goes for a charge, but Trent hits a giant clothesline. Trent finally makes the tag, and Chucky goes to town on Evans. Theres a reverse bucklebomb from Chucky, andthen he hits a Falcon Arrow on Evans but only gets two.
Chucky gets to the floor and hits a guillotine stungun on Evans, followed by a suplex on Angelico on the outside. Trent comes in and hits a top rope DDT on Evans. A diving foot stomp from Chucky on Evans only gets two.
Remember tag team wrestling?
Trent hits a Pele kick on Evans. Angelico rushes in to help but gets taken out by a double team move from the Best Friends. Chucky sets Evans up in a crucifix slam. Trent goes for the pin but can’t get the win. Angelico and Evans hit some tandem offense with a corkscrew knee on Trent, but it only gets two.
Anghelico sets Trent up in the corner, but Evans uses Trent as a springboard to hit a moonsault on Chucky outside the ring. Trent charges Angelico in the corner, but gets a knee to the face. Angelico sets Trent up for another Crucifix and hurls him into the corner.
Evans nails a 630-splash, but Chucky breaks up the pin. This is madness (have I said that already). Evans gets a surprise roll-up on Evans for a two-count. Angelico throws Trent’s face into the turnbuckle. Evans sets up Trent for a superplex, but Chucky makes the save. Trent is back up and he and Chucky hit a curb-stomp piledriver for the pin.
No car-wreck spots. No over-the-top theatrics. Every move meant something. Man, I didn’t know how much I needed actual pro wrestling until Double Or Nothing.
Winners – Best Friends
All four guys go for a group hug, but the lights go out. When they come back on … a bunch of people I don’t know are in the ring with a bunch of other people I don’t know outside the ring. Jim Ross plays the role of “me” and asks who everyone is and what’s happening. But one of them hits a lifting backbreaker.
Crowd breaks out in a “Who are you?” chant. I’ll let it ride for this show, because this is the literal first show. You can afford to set up some mysteries.
Riho, Ryo Mizunami and Hikaru Shida vs. Team Aja (Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, and Emi Sakura)
If you can’t tell from the names, this is a Japanese women’s match. Sakura (a long-time women’s wrestling trainer) is out in Freddie Mercury-themed gear. Did Japan only just get Bohemian Rhapsody or something?
Aja Kong is a freakin’ giant. She’s out with a giant lock box of some kind, and Sakura has a kendo stick, so there’ll probably be some extra-curricular activities in this one. Sakazaki (a Japanese Bayley/Kylie hybrid) starts off against Shida. They quickly tag out and bring it to Aja and Mizunami (the giants of their respective teams).
After a few unsuccessful attempts, Mizunami manages to take Aja down, but Aja takes Mizunami down with a single clothesline. Riho and Sakura tag in, and Sakura bridges Riho. Riho powers out (which is impressive, since she weighs about 14 pounds) and gets a two-count. Sakazaki tags back in and hits a top rope Thesz press followed by a huricanranna. Sakazaki hits a drop kick for a two-count.
Sakura tags back in and goes for a Mexican surfboard submission before tagging Aja back in. Aja isolates Riho and kicks a hole through her back. Riho tries to lay in some punches, but it’s kind of like trying to break a cinder block with a pebble. Aja hits a diving elbow for two.
Aja nails a piledriver, but Ryo and Shida break it up. Riho manages to get Mizumani back in, and she cleans house. Mizunami spears Aja out of the ring before going chop-crazy on Sakazaki in the corner. Sakazaki goes for a Uranagi, but Mizunami drops her on her head and follows with a lariat before tagging in Riho.
Aja is back in, and Riho hits a headscissors into a 619. Riho goes up top, but Aja kicks her out of the air and hits a backdrop driver for two. Aja goes for the second rope elbow, but nobody is home. Shida tags back in and goes for a brainbuster, but Aja breaks it up. Sakura tosses Aja the lock box, but Shida gets her hand on the kendo stick, and they have a lightsaber fight behind the referee’s back.
A shot to Shida’s head with the box turns the momentum, and Sakura tags back in. She goes for a corner splash into a backbreaker on Shida. Shida fights back, and we get a slug fest for a few seconds. A running knee finally takes Sakura down, and Shida sets Sakura up for a superplex. Mizunami hits a leg drop from the top. Shida goes for the cover and only gets two.
We get uncontrollable madness (why does wrestling have referees, anyway?), and we’re back down to Aja, Sakura and Shida in the ring. Aja hits the brainbuster, and Sakura goes from the top for a moonsault, and the referee screws up the count. She counted three but says it was only two. Well, Botchamania needed more content anyway …
Shida goes for a German, but Sakura holds her up for Aja. Shida escapes and hits a running knee for an actual three-count.
Winners – Riho, Ryo Mizunami, and Hikaru Shida
A video package for Cody vs. Dustin reveals that Cody doesn’t just want to beat his brother; he wants to kill the Attitude Era. You and me both, Cody.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Cody
By the way, every match tonight has been announced has having a time limit. You folks at home remember time limits?
A throne is unveiled at the entrance, as a voiceover from Cody declares that wrestling “has only one royal family.” It’s kind of like a Triple H entrance, but without the midlife crisis cringiness. Brandi pulls a sledgehammer from under the ring and hands it to Cody who goes back to the entrance and smashes the throne. Is that what the kids call “shade?”
Dustin is out next with a cool variant on the old Goldust entrance theme.
Earl Hebner is the referee for this one (fitting), and amazingly, he’s not trying to sell bootleg t-shirts from the ring.
The crowd is super hot for this match. A “Dusty” chant goes up and both guys are visibly rattled by it. Cody takes Dustin down to the mat early. Dustin paces himself in the corner, not fighting back yet. Dustin gets caught in a headlock. He manages to get Cody on the mat, but Cody punches him and sends Dustin to the outside. The American Nightmare (that’s Cody, by the way) hits a suicide dive onto Dustin on the floor.
He goes to throw Dustin into the ring, but Dustin spins around and catches Cody with a kick before hitting a senton off the apron. “You-still-got-it” indeed.
Back in the ring, Dustin hits a bulldog and puts Cody in the corner for ye olde 10 second-rope punches. Dustin stays on the attack, but Cody slips out of the ring. Cody goes over the barricade and tries to take a time-out among the crowd. Cody finally comes back inside, and Brandi distracts Dustin with a water bottle to the face.
A gutbuster from Cody gets two. The younger brother stays on the account and hooks Dustin into a cross abdominal stretch. A dragon legsweep gets two for Cody. Dustin tries to fight his way back into it but takes a powerslam for another near fall. Another submission hold from Cody keeps Dustin on the mat.
Dustin fights back again. Cody whips him into the ropes, but Dustin takes control with a pair of clotheslines. Dustin has Cody propped up on the second rope and teases Shattered Dreams (a Greco-Roman nutshot), but Cody takes off the turnbuckle pad to make Dustin think otherwise.
The older brother rushes Cody, but he slips out and toe-holds Dustin’s face straight into the exposed steel turnbuckle. Dustin goes outside to regroup and takes a spear from Brandi. Hebner ejects Brandi from ringside. Because if there’s one thing Earl Hebner won’t stand for, it’s uninvited guests at ringside. Who knows what trouble they might cause?
Montreal Screwjob jokes. Ask WWE about those.
Diamond Dallas Page comes out and drags Brandi backstage.
Dustin’s face is busted open (remember blood, kids?). Cody smells it and goes for the cut above Dustin’s eye. Cody shoves Dustin back into the ring but not before rubbing Dustin’s blood on his chest. Gross. Cody goes for a pin but only gets two. Seriously, that’s the most blood I’ve seen on an American wrestling show in years.
Cody keeps up the attack with a dropkick but can’t get the pin. With Dustin blinded, Cody stomps a mudhole in the corner (because Attitude Era). Dustin gets to his feet but immediately gets Irish whipped into the opposite corner. Cody curb-stomps Dustin’s bloody face into the mat, and blood is literally streaming from Dustin’s head.
Anybody at Double Or Nothing share Dustin’s blood type?
Dustin staggers to his feet again and gets a double-axe handle from the second rope. Cody goes up top but misses a splash attempt. Dustin catches him with a powerslam on the way down for two. Cody hooks in the figure four but Dustin reverses to put the pressure back on Cody.
Shades of Goldust enter the match, as Dustin whips Cody’s ass with Cody’s own weightlifting belt. Dustin gets a near-fall that has the MGM Grand crowd on its feet. Dustin props Cody on the top rope and lays in the punches before going for an avalanche superplex into Cody’s own Crossroads finisher, but it only gets two. This is amazing. It’s bloody, it’s gross, it’s intense, and it’s amazing.
Dustin pulls Cody back up, but a mule kick from Cody sets up a Disaster Kick to Dustin’s face. Cody hits the real Crossroads, but it only gets two! Also, I now have blood pressure problems.
Both guys get back to their feet. Dustin hits Crossroads again, and Cody kicks out again. We revert to a slugfest, and these guys are just flat-out punching each other in the face. There’s so much blood on the mat that both guys are literally losing their footing.
Cody plants Dustin with an inverted backdrop piledriver and hits one more Crossroads for the pin. That was a fight, and it – was – brutal.
Winner – Cody
After the match, with the crowd throwing up a “Thank you, Dustin” chant, Cody cuts a promo and asks Dustin to be his partner against the Young Bucks for July’s Fight For The Fallen show. The two embrace, and AEW Double Or Nothing reminds the world that wrestling can tell stories with real emotion.
Next, we get highlights from the Casino Battle Royale, and … wait. No. No way. Bret Hart! The Hitman makes his way out to debut the AEW World Championship belt!
And Bret is … well, he’s not moving too well, which honestly scares me a little bit, because there doesn’t seem to be extra security around the ring for Double Or Nothing.
Bret brings Hangman Page out for the ceremony, but MJF crashes the party to make jokes about fans attacking Bret from behind. Okay, I’m an MJF mark now.
MJF demands that Page relinquish his title shot and continues to talk smack at anyone and everyone, but Jungle Boy (the son of Luke Perry, by the way) and Jimmy Havoc come out to help Page beat down MJF. Again, you get a free pass for stuff like this on the first show.
Hart holds up the championship belt, and it’s the biggest, gaudiest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s glorious.
AAA World Tag Team Championship Match – Young Bucks (C) vs. Lucha Bros
The Bucks enter in Vegas-appropriate Elvis costumes.
Pentagon Jr. starts for the Luchas, and Matt Jackson starts for the Bucks. Pentagon starts with a side headlock. Matt fights off, but Pentagon reverses into a piledriver attempt, and Matt escapes again. Rey Fenix tags in, and Matt slaps on a headlock. Nick Jackson tags in, and they go for the double team, but Fenix bounces off the ropes and sends the Bucks spilling onto the outside.
They spend a couple minutes exchanging near-misses with no contacts before they hit each other with a double dropkick. Neither Fenix nor Nick goes down, and the crowd rewards the one-upsmanship. Both guys get into a chop-fest, before a Fenix dropkick takes Nick down. Matt comes in for backup, but Pentagon rushes in to even the odds. They hit a double superkick on Matt.
Pentagon is the legal man for the Lucha Bros now and gets a near fall on Nick. Fenix tags back in, but Nick takes both guys down with a double armdrag. Nick makes it back to his corner and tags Matt back in. Matt takes both Luchas down with lariats but takes a boot to the face from Fenix before recovering and hitting a spear on Pentagon.
Nick is back in, and he puts the boots to Pentagon, and he and Matt trade tags, isolating Pentagon in the corner. Pentagon breaks up a double team move, but there’s no one for Pentagon to tag as Fenix is still out. The Bucks keep up the double team on Pentagon. A miscue between Nick and Matt allows Pentagon to escape and monkey flip Nick on top of his brother.
Pentagon finally makes it to his corner and tags in Fenix, who hits Matt with a roll-through stunner, but it only gets two. He tags Pentagon back in. Both teams continue to make frequent tags. It’s like they’re wrestling in a tag team match or something.
Matt gets back into it and hits a flipping stunner from the second rope on Pentagon. Both guys are down and scrambling to their corners to make a tag. Fenix enters and runs straight to the Bucks’ corner to take out Nick, but Matt hits a trio of suplexes. He goes for the Sharpshooter on Fenix, but Pentagon breaks up the submission.
Nick tags back in and hits a springboard facebuster on Fenix on the inside before propelling himself off the ropes for a moonsault onto Pentagon on the outside. He hits a double bulldog on the Luchas before tagging Matt back on. They hit springboard sunset flips into a double sharpshooters on the Luchas.
Another tag from the Bucks makes Nick the legal man. He hangs Fenix off the middle rope, and Nick hits a 450 splash, but it only gets two.
Matt is back in now. They prop Fenix up (and make another tag) on the top rope, and they hit a powerbomb-superplex combo (I don’t even know what to call that) for a near fall. Pentagon rushes in but runs straight into a superkick. Before you know it, all four guys are trading superkicks, and all four guys are on the mat.
Pentagon and Matt fight on the apron, and they take one another down with a double pump kick. Back inside, Nick tries to dump Fenix, but Fenix hangs on. On the apron, Pentagon just about breaks Matt’s neck with a rana, and inside, Fenix gets 2.9 with a Double Destroyer.
With the Bucks on the outside, Pentagon throws Fenix over the top to take them out. He keeps up the assault and throws the Bucks back in the ring. A sentan atomico from Fenix onto Nick gets another near fall. Meltzer is gonna have to reevaluate his rating system tonight.
Pentagon starts pounding Nick on the mat, but Matt rushes in out of nowhere with a superkick. Matt gets the hot tag and hits a double underhook suplex. Fenix comes off the top but eats a double superkick. With Fenix in the corner, Matt rushes and nails a Helluva Kick. He puts Fenix on top and hits a brainbuster, and Fenix’s skull crashes onto the top turnbuckle.
Matt has Pentagon propped up on his shoulders and rolls forward for a 450 splash followed by a moonsault, and it still only gets two.
More lethal exchanges follow, as all four guys find out what it’s like to have your spine turned to powder. Fenix takes the hot tag and delivers (another) superkick to Matt. And another. One more. Okay, guys, there are other transitional moves.
Fenix props Matt on the top turnbuckle, but Matt comes back down and positions Fenix for a piledriver. Nick jumps over the top rope to make it a Meltzer Driver, pushing Fenix’s neck into the mat. It gets the pin, and the Bucks retain their titles.
Winners and STILL Champions – Young Bucks
And here we go. Main event time. Alpha vs. Omega, and the winner will face Hangman Page for the AEW Championship down the line.
Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega – Winner Earns An AEW Championship Match
Jericho’s entrance is a highlight reel of all his past personas – his 1999 WWE debut, the List of Jericho, and the Lite Brite jacket, before … I guess you’d call it Demon Fedora Jericho?
There’s a Cracker Barrel, uh, barrel, in the ring for some reason, and getting it back out is a whole ordeal. It does lead to a funny moment where Jericho just takes care of it himself and calls the referee an idiot.
The bell rings, and they lock up. That degenerates into a slap-off, before Jericho locks in a headlock. Omega breaks free, and goes for a whip into the ropes, but Jericho takes him down. After delivering some knife-edge chops, Omega whips Jericho into the corner and runs after him but takes an elbow to the face.
He runs at Jericho again but finds his knee hung up in the turnbuckle. Jericho maintains control, but Omega leaps at him, only to get caught in the Walls of Jericho. Omega crawls under the bottom ropes to take a breather outside, but Jericho follows with a baseball slide dropkick.
There’s a brawl on the outside that Jericho gets the better of. He rings the bell and declares himself the winner, but Omega fights back, suplexing Jericho onto the timekeeper’s podium. Jericho gets some momentum and whips Omega into the barricade, but Omega stops himself before he can go over. He gets some help over the top, though, as Jericho throws him over the barricade and into the front row.
Jericho takes the camera from the cameraman, but Omega comes back up and sprays a fan’s soda in Jericho’s face. Omega follows up with a dropkick from the barricade. Back inside the ring, Omega keeps up the attack on Jericho. Omega hits Jericho with a fireman’s carry and rolls through to hit a moonsault off the second rope for two.
Kenny Omega tries to keep up the attack, but Jericho hits a drop toehold and sends Omega into the bottom turnbuckle. Chop City from Jericho in the corner, but Omega fights back with a chop of his own. It’s not enough, as Jericho stays in control. Jericho hits a drop kick from the second rope for two. A Clothesline From Hell gets another two count for Jericho.
Omega works up a head of steam, hitting a rana followed up by a clothesline over the top that sends Jericho to the floor. Jericho, now bleeding, pulls a table from under the ring. Before he can set it up, though, Omega baseball kicks it into Jericho’s face.
With Jericho still holding the table upright, Omega hits a moonsault over the top rope driving it onto Jericho’s arm, sending it crashing onto the steel ramp. For good measure, Omega just drops the table on top of Jericho. Omega, now bleeding from the nose, hits a diving stomp and drives the table through Jericho’s prone body.
Omega sets the table up while Jericho makes his way back into the ring. A face crusher from Omega gets a two count.
Side note, Jim Ross keeps telling us to check out “aew.com,” which doesn’t exist. He finally corrects himself, and I breathe a sign of relief that I haven’t been visiting the wrong website for four months.
Omega props Jericho on the top turnbuckle and sets up for a top rope snap dragon, but Jericho elbows himself free for just a second, but Omega hits a top rope sidewalk slam that puts both guys down. Omega is the first to get back to his feet, but Jericho takes him back down with a back elbow into the Lionsault, but Omega gets his knees up.
A One-Winged Angel attempt from Omega doesn’t pay off, as Jericho escapes and nails back-to-back Lionsaults for a two-count. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker, but Omega blocks it, and goes for a tiger driver, but Jericho backdrops him over the top rope through the table at ringside.
Jericho is slow to get up in the ring, but Omega is even slower to come up since, y’know, he just died going through the table. Both guys are winded and slugging it out on the apron, and Jericho finally manages a springboard dropkick to send Omega off the apron.
Omega’s face is introduced to the top turnbuckle by Jericho, and he sets Omega up for. Jericho goes for a superplex, but Omega blocks and pushes Jericho down to the mat. Omega jumps off the top, but Jericho hits the Codebreaker on the way down, but it only gets two. A close-up shows that Jericho’s eye is starting to swell shut.
A vicious pair of snap dragon suplexes from Omega send Jericho’s spine into his feet. Omega goes for a third, but Jericho fights it off only to eat a knee to the face. He finally gets the third, but Jericho rolls through to put Omega in the walls, but Jericho rolls out of that. A powerbomb from Omega only gets two.
Omega goes for the V-Trigger, but Jericho locks in the Walls of Jericho in the center of the ring. Jericho holds on forever, and just as Omega is a fingertip away from the ropes, Jericho drags him back to the center. Omega rolls to his back and breaks free. He lifts Jericho up for another V-Trigger, but Jericho reverses into a DDT. It takes more out of Jericho than Omega, and Omega gets a two-count out of it.
Jericho goes for another Lionsault, but Omega props Jericho up for the One-Winged Angel, but Jericho reverses to yet another DDT. Another Codebreaker, but Omega won’t go down, so Jericho hits him with the Judas Effect for the win and a shot at the AEW title.
Winner – Chris Jericho
After the match, Jericho grabs a mic and chides the crowd for booing his winning effort. He pats himself on the back for his star power carrying AEW to where it is and demands a “thank you” from the fans and the company.
Instead, he gets Jon Moxley running in through the crowd.
Moxley nails the double-arm DDT on Jericho (it’ll probably need a new name) before doing the same to the referee before turning his attention to a battered and beaten Omega. In a rare show of sportsmanship, Moxley helps Omega to his feet. And goes for the DDT, but it just wakes Omega up, and they trade punches before brawling into the crowd.
Finally, Moxley carries Omega to the top of a stack of giant poker chips at the entrance before throwing Omega off the top onto a platform below. And Double Or Nothing ends as it began. With sheer carnage.
I don’t have words for this show. Truly. I don’t know what to say.
Before anyone remarks as such, I know full well that I’m coming off as a mark for AEW. I’m not. It’s a first show, and Double Or Nothing is not enough to judge an entire promotion on.
But it was something different, and it was well-presented and well-executed.
I knew this show would be good. But I didn’t know how much I needed AEW Double Or Nothing until tonight.