Thursday, June 3, 2021

AEW Double Or Nothing 2021

Yeah, I know... it's a little late, but other stuff came up, as they usually do on Sundays. Besides, you can afford one less DON musings among many others on Monday, so whatever...

For what it's worth, I saw the show the night after but avoided spoilers for the most part... but yeah, the first AEW PPV with a full crowd and following a go-home show that is the first of several to be pre-empted to the Friday night death slot for the month of June due to playoffs and all, which is going to suck tremendously... but that's another story for another time.

Right now, let's just enjoy this AEW show, which has a bunch of big matches, fun matches, and whatever the hell Cody Rhodes is doing.

While I wasn't able to catch the PPV on Sunday, I did catch the buy-in show, which featured an awesome match between Serena Deeb and Riho for the NWA Women's title, with Deeb retaining the title. It is, without question, one of the best pre-show matches I've ever seen, which sounds like a bit of a backhanded compliment because most pre-show matches are forgettable. But no, this was a genuinely fun match to watch.

Hangman Adam Page defeated Brian Cage in the opening contest to get the crowd going. Why yes, there is an actual full capacity at Daily's Place for this show and looks to be the case now that Florida is allowing people to attend sporting events. It was going to happen sooner or later and there's going to be mixed feelings about it depending on your current situation, but all that aside, people were REALLY into Hangman and were happy to see him win over Brian Cage, who decided that he didn't need Team Taz's help to win and probably would have if they had stayed in the back... anyway, this was a fun match. I liked this one.

AEW World Tag-Team Champions The Young Fucks defeated Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston to retain the titles. This was another fun match and honestly, it was worth seeing a long-time veteran like Eddie get a hero's welcome from a large audience like this. And really, my only gripe was that they should've won and given the fans a happy moment... alas, it was not to be. Still, great match, lots of fun violence, a Good Jobber intervention thwarted by the SCU-less Kazarian, Bucks as heels are irritating in a good way that you'd want to see their asses get kicked, and just a wonderful roller coaster of emotion here. Good stuff.

Jungle Boy won the Casino Battle Royal to earn a World title shot in two weeks time, last eliminating Christian Cage, who then showed respect for the young lad and sort of gave his blessings, which I liked. It was a nice little moment of the veteran putting over the young guy, which... fuck me, how hard is that to figure out, right? Well, in any case, it's about time they did something with the kid... and yes, the crowd was into Tarzan Boy... also, the mystery participant who drew the final Joker entry? Lio Rush, formerly of NXT fame... meh. This was every battle royal in the universe, some spots are done, people are eliminated, some folks stay on the outside for long periods of time before rejoining the match, and nobody can keep track of who's actually in the match as a result, so... again, meh.

Cody Rhodes defeated Anthony Ogogo in what I will generously describe as a thing that happened. Cody tried and Ogogo isn't totally terrible, but the match did nothing for me and the circumstances surrounding it (the babyface hero defending America's honor against the evil foreigner) made me care even less.

TNT Champion Miro defeated Lance Archer via submission to retain the title in a good old-fashioned hoss fight featuring two big fuckers beating the fuck out of each other. Jake the Snake tried a run in, but was stopped by Miro, who promptly tossed the sac of snake away to a chorus of boos. This was fine for what it was.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida via submission to win the title and earn a hug from Tony Schiavone in what I thought was the best match of the show. People were HUGE into Britt, with notable DMD chants during the match. Both ladies busted their asses here, Britt didn't bust open, and it was really just a great match that could have gone either way, but only had one possible outcome. Yes, a fantastic outing of women's wrestling on PPV... and one on the pre-show. A good night for women's wrestling.

Sting and Darby Allin defeated Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky in a surprisingly decent match. Darby is his usual crazy self, but the show was all about the 60+ year old Stinger, who moved and bumped like he hadn't missed a beat despite not having a match since 2015 due to a bad buckle bomb that almost ended his career. Clearly, the young guys here did a better job taking care of a legend to make sure he didn't get hurt than Seth Rollins did.

AEW World Champion Kenny Omega defeated Orange Cassidy and PAC in a three-way to retain the title. For those wondering, this was the WWE-Style "one fall to a finish, no countouts or DQs" triple threat match, which I've learned to despise over the years since it's always been used as a crutch to protect a guy by having another guy take the fall or whatever. On top of that, you had a bullshit finishing sequence that saw Kenny knock out a ref, hit Pac with his many belts, before Orange makes the comeback, goes for a pin, but then Kenny reverses it to pin Orange for the win. It was a very convoluted finish that managed to elicit a Bullshit chance from the audience, which is NOT something you want because that means they felt ripped off. The match itself was tremendous, by the way. Kenny was great, Orange was great in his subdued way that plays more mind games than you'd think, and PAC is a goddamned beast. Only downside here was the lame-ass finish that almost reminds me of a shitty TNA finish.

On the bright side, AEW announces the signing of MARK HENRY, who will providing coaching services as well as commentary for their upcoming Rampage show. Should Mark Henry decide that he needs to have one more match, it should be against Marko Stunt... and then Big Show can launch whatever's left of that punk ass into the sun afterwards.

The Inner Circle defeated the Pinnacle in Stadium Stampede II when Sammy Guevara pinned Shawn Spears for the win. Started off in the stadium, shit was wrecked throughout, but eventually spilled over to the arena for the final moments of the match for the live crowd to enjoy. There was more of a focus on delivering a solid action feel and less on comedy for the sake of comedy like the last match was. The few comedic bits that did happen made sense within the context of the match. I particularly liked the nightclub scene, complete with a cameo by Konnan in a callback to his association with Santana and Ortiz from when they were whatever version of LAX they were in TNA. In the end, this was about the redemption of Sammy Guevara, who lost the first Stadium match, who had left the Circle due to differences with MJF, and who had submitted the surrender in Blood & Guts. In the grand scheme of things, it was a satisfying ending to a half-hour's worth of chaos.

So, I am going to go on a limb and say that this was AEW's best show since their Revolution show back in 2020. The crowd definitely helped make this feel like a big time show and the matches, for the most part, were very entertaining stuff despite some questionable booking along the way. Other than a bad finish and a wankering wankfest of a Cody match, I felt like I got my money's worth with Double Or Nothing. Great show.

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