Wrestle Report Card Subject: AEW Double or Nothing

Doble or NothingDouble or Nothing was the first Pay Per View Event from the new promotion All Elite Wrestling.  It originated from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The event sold over 12,000 seats in just under four minutes.  The event featured seven matches on the PPV, and two matches on their pre show they referred to as the “Buy In”

Buy In Match 1:  Hangman Adam Page won the Casino Battle Royale in 16:00 last eliminating MJF to earn an opportunity at a future AEW World Championship Match

Grade:  3 stars (B-).  This match was a new concept that was aimed at being an abbreviated Royal Rumble.  Five men started the match and every three minutes thereafter, in theory, five new wrestlers would join the match until 20 men entered.  At the end one final competitor, “The Joker”, would enter.  The match had a few production flaws (the first group of five guys entered late), but other than that the action was solid with several fun spots of action.  The prize of a World Championship Match eliminated a little bit of a suspense, but it was still a good match.

Buy In Match 2:  Kip Sabian defeated Sammy Guevara in 10:00

Grade:  2.75 stars (C+).  This match was put in a bad spot.  It maybe should have kicked off either the Buy In or PPV itself.  These two guys made the best of it and put on a solid performance.  Guevara is a future star in AEW, and it will be interesting to see how much these two are featured once AEW premiers on TNT.

Match 1:  SoCal Uncensored defeated The Strong Hearts in 13:40

Grade:  3.5 stars (B).  A great choice to kick off the PPV.  S.C.U. played well with the group from OWE led by CIMA.  Scorpio Sky was the MVP of this match, but all six men impressed everyone.  My only gripe is that the Strong Hearts didn’t win, and I feel a victory would heavily establish the partnering promotion.  It will be interesting to see how much The OWE will be involved on the TNT show.

Match 2:  Dr. Britt Baker defeated Awesome Kong, Nyla Rose, and Kylie Rae in 11:10

Grade:  2.25 stars (C-).  This might have been the worse match of the show, but that’s actually a great thing.  It was originally scheduled to be a three way between Baker, Rose, and Rae, but Brandi Rhodes came out before the match and teased injecting herself into the match, but instead she declared that she wanted the match to be awesome and added Kong to the match at the last minute.  I feel this was a small case of subtraction by addition.  Kong didn’t really play a huge role in the match and Rose took her out towards the end.  I felt maybe this match would have been better as a three way with Kong coming out and destroying all three women at the end.

Match 3:  The Best Friends defeated Angelico and Jack Evans in 12:35.

Grade:  3.5 stars (B).  This match over delivered in a huge way.  AEW promised that Tag Team Wrestling would be the main event, but a lot of cynics felt that the division would be The Young Bucks and everyone else.  This match showed that the Mid Card of the division would be solid and produce great matches.  This match hosted a little controversy as after the match The Super Smash Brothers and a bunch of their masked minions attacked both teams.  The problem was that a lot of the live audience didn’t know who they were and started a “Who Are You” chant.  Now, I’m sure these two will get a solid build going forward, but their debut wasn’t the most impactful.

Match 4:   Hikaru Shida, Riho Abe, and Ryo Mizunami defeated Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, and Emi Sakura in 13:10

Grade:  4 stars (A).  This was a solid showcase of Joshi (Japanese Women) Wrestling.  Aja Kong was the only one I was familiar with going into this match, but I didn’t need to know the others to know they put on an outstanding match that made me want to see more.  If AEW wants to be an alternative to WWE, then showcasing these women on TNT would be a great idea.  I suggest AEW pick out the best of the group, preferably not Kong, and market her as their version of Asuka, the NXT version, not WWE’s

Match 5:  Cody defeated Dustin Rhodes in 22:30

Grade:  4.5 stars (A).  Wow, what a match.  If you can only watch 30 minutes of this show watch this match.  During his entrance, Brandi gave Cody a sledgehammer and Cody proceeded to destroy a throne representing Triple H.  a very loud shot of symbolism.  That would almost be forgotten by the end of the match though.  Dustin Rhodes bled enough blood to start his own blood bank.  The drama here blows everything else out of the water.  Watch this match.

Match 6:  AAA Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks defeated The Lucha Brothers in 24:55

Grade:  4.5 stars (A).  As dramatic as the previous match was, this match brought the athleticism.  But this match wasn’t a pure spot fest that some might have thought.  This match brought up the ring rust of The Young Bucks and the fact that Matt Jackson had to apply his finisher with one arm because of the damage that Pentagon inflicted on the other one beforehand

Match 7:  Chris Jericho defeated Kenny Omega in 27:00 to earn an opportunity at a future AEW World Championship Match.

Grade:  3.75 stars (A-).  This match wasn’t as great as their first match at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in 2018, but it was still a solid match.  Jericho won the match with his new finisher and will now face Hangman Adam Page at a future event, probably at All Out in August, for the inaugural AEW World Championship Match.  The match was over shadowed by the previous two matches and the cliffhanger debut ending of Jon Moxly.

Overall Show Grade:  3.53 stars (B+)

This show was a B+ show, but that’s not a bad thing like WWE would like you to think.  Only one match was below average and there were three matches that should be watched right now.  The production was a little rough at times, but didn’t hurt the product in the ring.  I’m not sure how the product will look on TNT, but it’s safe to say that WWE has a very serious alternative now.

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