Wednesday, June 8, 2022

AEW Double Or Nothing 2022

(Yeah, this went up unfinished. So I finished it. Mea culpa.)

This past Sunday, WWE held their annual Hell In A Cell PPV event featuring another Cody vs. Seth match... I didn't watch it, but I did finish watching the AEW PPV, so let's talk about that, instead.

In all seriousness, folks, I'm sorry that the musings took a week longer than usual, but considering I had other plans during that particular weekend that prevented me from catching the show live - not to mention the ridiculous running time that meant having to break this down to smaller sessions over the course of several nights - it makes sense that I held off posting the musings until I was good and ready to talk about this show.

So I guess we should discuss the MJF situation that took place over the weekend, in which he no-showed an AEW fanfest meet-and-greet and entertained himself at a casino instead before booking himself a flight out of Las Vegas. There was some rumblings about the MJF-AEW relationship being on the rocks for some time and some wondered if he was even going to show up for the match... turns out he did and that leads us to our opening contest...

Wardlow defeated MJF in a short but sweet match that saw MJF try and fail to cheat his way to victory, only to get curbstomped and powerbombed to death by Wardlow. Exactly what it needed to be; Wardlow getting his hands on MJF, MJF getting his comeuppance, and eventually doing the stretcher number. As a result of his victory, Wardlow is no longer under MJF's employ and is now #AllElite... well, it was bound to happen, wasn't it?

And then Wardlow goes on to feud with the lawyer... what the fuck?

The Hardys beat the Young Bucks in a dream match of sorts. Hardyz looked old and worn out, but somehow survived a match with the Bucks, who probably did most of the work here. This was fine if not unsettling at times to watch. (And then this Sunday comes along and Cody tells the Hardys to hold his beer.)

TBS Champion Jade Cargill defeated Anna Jay after a billion run-ins to retain the title in a perfectly acceptable wrestling match minus all the goddamned run-ins. Then we get more run-ins that tops off with the debuting Atherna (fka Ember Moon in NXT) being teased as the next potential challenger to Jade's title... Kris is not happy.

House Of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King, and Matthews) defeated Death Triangle (Penta, Rey Fenix, and THAT GODDAMNED NO-GOOD MOTHERFUCKING BASTARD PAC) via someone turning out the lights (much to Jim Ross' chagrin - can't say I blame him as I also don't care for this blackout gimmick anymore) and turns back on to reveal Julia Hart misting PAC to FINALLY pay off that thing with the eye patch. Dreadful finish aside, this was a wild, fun brawl.

Adam Cole defeated Samoa Joe with outside interference... again... to win the Owen Hart Foundation Men's Tournament. Good match minus the run-ins... again.

Britt Baker defeated Ruby Soho via roll-up counter to a cradle after Ruby's DREADFUL Sharpshooter attempt to win the Owen Hart Foundation Women's Tournament... one day, Ruby has to win something and not just turn into the female Luger where she starts choking all over the place.

So Adam Cole and Dr. Britt are the winners of this thing, eh? I was kinda hoping they wouldn't run with this, but they did and... well, I guess it's a nice moment for the happy couple. I'm just suffering from PTSD flashbacks of when another real-life couple was pushed as a big deal on another promotion and it ended up sucking. Anyway, both get a cup and title to 

And out comes Dr. Martha Hart wearing a nice hat that she puts over in her speech congratulating the couple and expresses her joy in seeing Owen's legacy being celebrated by a proper wrestling company. Well, if she says so... personally, I don't know how much of a celebration of Owen's legacy this tournament was when it felt like any other tournament in AEW and one of the matches had two guys doing a bunch of stupid high spots off high places... would've been fine any other place, but in a tourney dedicated to a guy whose life ended from a tragic fall, it was absolutely idiotic and somewhat tone-deaf to run that match here. Quite frankly, I'm amazed Dr. Hart didn't just up and leave after that one, let along show up to award the winners and even give her blessings to make this an annual thing.

Alas, it is the first Owen tourney. And the first time is usually not always the best. Maybe next year, they'll do better.

Ethan Page, TNT Champion Scorpio Sky, and the MMA Chick whose name I don't remember defeated Frankie Kazarian, Sammy Guevara, and Tay Conti after Sammy accidentally superkicked his future wife while she was bickering with Frankie, which allowed one of the dudes to pin Frankie. As a result, neither Frankie nor Sammy can challenge for Sky's TNT title... I also most said "Sky's TNA title" and that would've been a different story... Um, yeah, this was a thing that happened.

Kyle O'Reilly defeated Darby Allin in a good TV match that somehow made it to PPV for some reason. This would booked as though it was trying to add time to the show and it felt like it.

The Jericho group (Chris Jericho, Danny Garcia, Jake Hager, and the 2.0 Guys) defeated the Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Eddie Kingston, Santana, Ortiz) in an Anarchy In The Arena match that more than lived up to its name. This was, for all intents and purposes, an old-school street fight mixed with equal parts WWF Attitude-era hardcore wrestling and clever little gags, such as the constant playing of Wild Thing for the first chunk of the match up until the poetic justice of Bryan getting choked out and passing out for the victory. A lot of shit was happening in this match and it make take a couple watches to catch everything, but either way, this was glorious stuff. Absolutely riveting.

AEW Tag-Team Champions Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus defeated Keith Lee/Swerve Strickland and some other team whose names I don't remember to retain the titles in a pretty good match. Surprised that that there isn't a title change, so I guess the long-awaited Christian heel turn is still long waiting. Though if I could offer a nugget of thought, because everybody is so sure that Christian is going to do the turn, but on the flip side, why not make it Jungle Boy who goes bad? Grow into a Jungle Man, leave behind the old timer and the dinosaur and become a big deal under his real name. Then Jim Ross won't have any problems saying the kid's name for once.

CM Punk defeated AEW World Champion Hangman Adam Page to retain the title. The ending was, ironically enough, another one of those masturbatory Bret Hart tributes, as there was a ref bump and Hangman had teased whacking Punk with the belt, but decided against it because he was a good guy and that's just not what he did. So he went for the Buckshot, Punk evaded, caught Hangman in the GTS, and scored the winning pinfall to capture his first professional wrestling world championship in over a decade to kick off another Summer of Punk. I assume this one will go more smoothly than the last one did. Anyway, this was a great match that woke the crowd up somewhat towards the closing moments. Would've been nicer had this been a bit earlier (and thus would've ended the show earlier), but as it is, I thought this was nice and entertaining with the possibilities going either way.

Some people might not agree with Punk winning the title here and honestly, I can see that viewpoint since Hangman still had some mileage. On the flip side of things, Punk is kind of a hot thing at the moment despite some detractors saying otherwise and so if you're going to strike, you may as well do it while the iron's still hot and not long after it's cooled off and by that point, nobody is going to give a shit. Hangman had a good run with the title and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he got another run with it down the road, but this is Punk's time and he's more than fucking earned it - something I don't say often to the veteran players his age.

And then Punk is off to get surgery for his foot... but he's still the champ... but they're gonna crown an interim champion and... my brain hurts.

And that was Double Or Nothing 2022, a good show hampered by a needlessly long running time that could've been shaved off by a half-hour to provide a great show. Not much else that I could say really; there's some good stuff and the worst stuff on the show is still very watchable, but some of it felt like padding for the sake of padding.

Next up is Forbidden Door, I guess... or maybe something else, instead...

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