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Wrestling

AEW Double or Nothing (2021)

The Buy In show featured 1 match, between Serena Deeb (C) and Riho, for the NWA Women’s Championship. It was an awesome contest between the two and would not have felt out of place on the main card.

The crowd seemed divided between the two and only changed their minds when Serena slapped Riho in the face after she was offered a handshake. They were all in on Riho after that. Unfortunately for them (and Riho), Deeb retained her title via submission. Awesome opener.

Next we heard from Matt Hardy, who guaranteed that he would win the Battle Royale later in the evening. Which is wrestling’s way of guaranteeing he will lose. Hardy enlisted the help of Private Party, promising to drop his cut from 30% to 15% if they helped him win. Private Party seemed pretty excited by this.W

We are reminded that there is a 20% off Double or Nothing sale at shop.aew. Personally, I think 20% off sucks. They should literally do a Double or Nothing offer. You buy a T-shirt and flip a coin. If it’s heads you get it for free, if it’s tails you have to pay double. If Tony Khan won’t give me a job as a writer, maybe he will consider marketing?

JR makes his way to the commentary booth and we are good to officially start the show!

The first match is between “The Machine” Brian Cage and “Hangman” Adam Page. Brian Cage is wearing half of a costume, I assume it is meant to make him look like a machine. It did kind of have that effect. I wasn’t sure if he going for a Mortal Kombat vibe, but that’s what I was getting. “Hangman” was in his usual cowboy gear.

Brian Cage had nobody in his corner, after requesting that the other members of Team Taz stay in the locker room and let him fight his own fight. Of course, they didn’t listen.

Hook came out to distract the official and Starks used this opportunity to slide a weapon in to Brian Cage, his FTW Championship. Instead of using it to knock out Page, Cage instead threw it out of the ring and told Starks and Hook to beat it. Taz, over at the commentary desk, was less than impressed.

Ultimately, the presence of Hook and Starks ended up distracting Cage enough to cost him the match. Hangman won via pinfall and Brian Cage stormed off on the members of Team Taz. Pretty solid match to start the PPV.

Up next was the Tag Tam Title match, with the Young Bucks defending against the challengers, Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley. During the Young Bucks entrance, they were attacked by Mox and Kingston. This brawl spread out into the arena, before heading back to the ring to officially get underway.

Side note : I mentioned yesterday that I thought it was irresponsible to have a full crowd in attendance, especially without social distancing or mandatory mask wearing. I thought it was definitely irresponsible that Moxley shared a beer with someone today. It’s good to have wrestlers be able to interact with fans again, but it just doesn’t feel safe.

Back to the ring. It didn’t take long before the Good Brothers interfered with the match to try and help the Young Bucks win. Frankie Kazarian made an appearance to chase them away.

Matt Jackson used this opportunity to spray Moxley in the face with an aerosol can. With Moxley blinded, Jackson decided to hit him in the head with the can for good measure. This busted Moxley open, but wasn’t enough to get him down for good.

Eddie and Mox are no strangers to underhanded tactics, and since the Young Bucks cheated first, they decided to join in. They attempted to use the previously buried Air Jordan’s to hit the Young Bucks in the face, but they were stopped by the referee. Apparently it is illegal to put a shoe on your hand to hit someone, but you can wear the same shoes and kick someone in the face. Figures.

After a few BTE Triggers, Moxley was put down for the 3 count and the Young Bucks retained their tag titles.

The Casino Battle Royale was next. These things are always hard to cover and nothing of note really happened in this one. Honestly, Max Caster’s entrance rap was probably the best part of the whole thing. 10/10 for Platinum, the guy is a legend.

Nick Comoroto hit Dustin Rhodes in the head with a bull rope, but that is Dustin’s own fault for bringing it to the ring in the first place. Comoroto had already been eliminated at the time of the incident, so he was just making sure he took someone with him.

In order of entry, the combatants were : Christian Cage, Matt Sudan, Will Hobbs, Dustin Rhodes, Max Caster, Isaiah Cassidy, Matt Hardy. 10, Nick Comoroto, Serpentico, Griff Garrison, Brian Pillman Jr., Colt Cabana, Anthony Bowens, Penta El Zero Miedo, Jungle Boy, Marq Quen, Aaron Solow (apparently replacing QT Marshall), Evil Uno and “Big Shotty” Lee Johnson.

The surprise “Joker” entrant was Lio Rush. I am unfamiliar with him, but the crowd loved him. He seemed pretty good and I am eager to see what he will bring to AEW.

Jungle Boy and Christian Cage were the two final competitors, with Jungle Boy getting the win and a title shot in the future. JB finally gets his big break. He more than deserves it, so I am happy that he won.

AEW took a pause in the action to honour and thank members of the military, both past and present. This also served as a segue into the next match, America vs Britain. I mean Cody vs Anthony.

Cody came to the ring wearing an American Flag belt and boot combination, He was also wearing some kind of military jacket, like an old Field Marshall or Major General. Obviously, it was also in an American Flag print. Unfortunately, he did not come out to a Bruce Springsteen song. Nor did Anthony Ogogo come out to the Sex Pistols.

This match was ok, nothing too crazy happened. Arn Anderson chased QT Marshall with a chair, but nothing further happened between those two. Cody picked up the win. He did not wave an American Flag after his victory, nor did the crowd chant “USA” over and over again. Disappointingly, I did not see a single bald eagle.

Up next was probably the worst match of the night, Miro defending the TNT title against Lance Archer. Nothing against the guy, but I just don’t enjoy watching Lance Archer at all. I like Miro, but that wasn’t enough to get me through this snoozefest. That was a little harsh, but it was pretty boring.

Apparently the two had a weigh in for this fight yesterday and Miro attacked Jake Roberts, so Roberts was not in Archer’s corner. Not from the beginning anyway. The birthday boy (Happy 66th!) soon came out with a snake and attempted to get Miro.

However, he couldn’t undo the knot on his snake bag and was punched in the stomach for his efforts. The snake was then thrown halfway across the arena. I’m gonna assume that there wasn’t actually a snake in that bag or else PETA will have a heart attack.

Miro put Archer in a sleeper hold and the referee stopped the match. The commentary team were quick to point out that Archer did not submit, but was knocked unconscious. Either way, Miro won and retained his belt.

We find out that the next PPV will be All Out and will take place on September 5th in Chicago. That’s my hometown!

The next bout was probably the best match on the card. Hikaru Shida (C) vs Britt Baker in the AEW Women’s Championship match. I adore both of these wrestlers and they put on a hell of a match, which should be surprising to nobody.

Rebel attempted to get involved and tried to hit Shida in the head with her crutch. Unfortunately, she missed and got Britt Baker instead. Rebel was soon ejected from ringside. However, Britt used this opportunity to curb stomp Shida, right on the title belt. Ouch!

Shida managed to overcome this and continue to put up a decent fight. Ultimately though, Baker got the upper hand and won the championship via submission.

I have loved every second of Shida’s impressive title reign, but it was time for a change of ownership. Britt Baker is the hottest star in AEW right now and is possibly the best female wrestler I have ever seen in my life. Every single match she is in is incredible and usually the best match of the evening. The title is in good hands and so is the Women’s division.

Time for some tag team action! Sting and Darby Allin team up to take on the du of Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page. “It’s showtime”. They aren’t my words, that was Sting. He said that in a convertible, when he was presumably driving Darby to the arena. It was a weird promo, which is what we have come to expect from Darby Allin.

This match was decent and had a couple of really good spots. Ethan Page got Darby in an overhead press and threw him from the ring into the first row of fans. It was a pretty damn impressive throw. He got a lot of height and distance on it. It was like he was shooting a 3 pointer or something. The Dallas Mavericks could have done with his help today. They shot 16% from outside today. 16!

Another cool spot was when Sting had Page in a submission hold, and at the same time Sky had Darby in one. Darby and Page reached out for one another and then started to slap each other across the face and gouge at their eyes. I’ll die before I surrender, Tim.

Tony “The Master of Overselling” Schiavone reminded us all that this match was personal for Allin, after he was thrown down “10 flights of stairs” by Page and Sky. I’m pretty sure that would have killed him, Tony. Sting got the victory for his team after pinning Scorpio Sky. The Dark Order did not make an appearance.

The AEW World Championship was on the line next in a 3-way match. Kenny Omega (C) v Pac v Orange Cassidy. It was also apparently a No-DQ match, which both poorly advertised and poorly utilised. At least at first.

It looked like Orange Cassidy had the match under control after consecutive Orange Punches on Pac and Omega. He covered Omega for the victory and would have gotten it to, had Don Callis not pulled the referee out of the ring.

A little later on, Pac had Cassidy in a sleeper hold and it looked like he was about to put Cassidy to sleep, which would have awarded Pac the Championship. Kenny tried everything he could to break the hold, but Pac would not relinquish his grip. So, Omega took out the referee. Can’t stop the match if you are unconscious!

With no referee, Omega took full advantage of the No-DQ. He hit Pac in the face with all of his championship belts. That’s 4 in total. It still wasn’t enough to keep Pac down, but eventually Omega pinned Cassidy for the victory.

This match was solid, but AEW is starting to write itself into a corner. The wrestlers are getting to be too powerful. It used to be that a finishing move would be used to finish an opponent. Same with a belt shot or any other form of underhanded tactics. You see wrestlers kick out of multiple finishing moves, match after match. It’s lost all meaning and is no longer impressive when it happens. It just makes the ending of the matches feel anti climatic. It’s like in Dragon Ball. After they started introducing Super Saiyan 2,3,4, God and whatever other iterations, it lost all meaning. It wasn’t special anymore.

We are also given the date for the next, next PPV! Full Gear will be November 5th and will take place in St. Louis, Missouri. The hometown of Randy Orion, if I’m not mistaken.

Tony is in the ring and has a special announcement to make. AEW will have another weekly show debut on August 13th. It will be called AEW Rampage and will air every Friday. I hope this means that Elevation and Dark get cancelled. Or at least become strictly developmental. 4 weekly shows is far too many. 2 is good. Tony also announced that Mark Henry will be a coach and analyst for the new show. That’s cool. I used to love that guy.

Dynamite will air on Friday next week and will feature Nick Comoroto takin on Dustin Rhodes in a bull rope match. Britt Baker will also be in action and so will the Young Bucks. In 2 weeks, Dynamite will return to Wednesday night and Jungle Boy will get his shot against Kenny Omega.

Time for the main event, Stadium Stampede II! For some reason, I forgot about this match and at the conclusion of the Championship bout, I thought the PPV was over. It’s weird I forgot this, I was really looking forward to it. It was wild and didn’t disappoint.

The Inner Circle made a hell of an entrance, rappelling down from the rafters of the stadium and landing in front of a pyrotechnic display. They then charged into battle to take on the Pinnacle.

The first part that made me laugh was when Jake Hager tried to set fire to Wardlow, using a burning oil drum he found in the Stadium. This was pretty early in the match, so I knew it was going to be entertaining.

MJF used a fire extinguisher to spray Jericho in the face. This prompted the Inner Circle captain to chase MJF backstage. They had a huge fight in the cafeteria and utilised whatever weapons they could find. MJF had the great line “sorry, Jericho can’t come to the phone right now because I’m using it to knock his teeth down his throat”.

MJF had his head sandwiched between 2 sandwich trays. Jericho also used a megaphone to scream in his face. My daughter does that to me as well, no megaphone needed. It hurts. MJF was slammed into a brick wall, thrown over a stair rail into a table and thrown through a glass door. Floyd also rocked up and smacked MJF in the head. Needless to say, Jericho had the upper hand.

Meanwhile, Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears were taking care of each other backstage somewhere. Sammy was flipping, jumping and rolling all over the place. He actually ran up a brick wall and did a flip of of it, landed and immediately kicked Spears in the face. Guevara was clearly eating a lot of jelly beans before the show. The two also shared a well choreographed dance/fight that involved lots of chairs.

Santana and Ortiz found their way into a night club, which also happened to have FTR and Tully Blanchard inside. After all of the security guards were taken care of, the two teams went to fighting. There was a lot of broken glass. Konnan was the DJ. I don’t know him, but apparently he is from Impact! and is friends with Santana and Ortiz.

Wardlow and Hager also had a pretty epic brawl. The two exchanged big hit after big hit. Wardlow spear tackled Hager through a wall. It was obviously a set up, but it still looked cool. Hager ended up throwing Wardlow through an equipment rack. These 2 actually went really hard and I was very impressed. Respect.

Eventually, the match made it’s way back to the actual ring, in front of the live crowd. At least Sammy and Shawn did. The two fought for a while longer, with Sammy prevailing and getting the win for his team. Although happy with the result, my wife thought the ending was anti climatic. I didn’t mind it though.

The show ended with the 5 members of the Inner Circle celebrating in the ring. They hugged and the crowd went wild. They had their revenge, they got the victory and most important of all, they don’t have to break up!

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