wrestling / Columns

More Thoughts & Live Notes from Starrcast II and AEW Double or Nothing Press Conference

May 24, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
All Elite Wrestling AEW Double Or Nothing Jim Ross

411mania was live on hand for today’s Starrcast II event. For Starrcast, think Comic-Con, but it’s all about pro wrestling and pro wrestling fandom. Today’s featured event was definitely the AEW Double or Nothing Weigh-Ins Press Conference. What was billed as a weigh-in session for tomorrow’s pay-per-view event actually didn’t end up being much of one. The only two wrestlers who actually weighed in for tomorrow’s event were Kip Sabian and Sammy Guevara. However, some of the top stars and featured players for Double or Nothing were nowhere to be seen, and I’m confused as to why that’s the case.

The press conference started with some disruption by the Salt of the Earth MJF, who was forcefully ejected from the ballroom since he was banned from Starrcast. This was a fun little moment, and I thought it was an entertaining, spontaneous way to start the press conference and generate some heat for MJF.

Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega were totally missing-in-action at today’s press conference. In terms of hyping up a pay-per-view, this was a major mistake. They didn’t have to get into a brawl, but there should’ve been a face-off of some sort if you are going to hold a “pre-fight” press conference or weigh-ins session.

Later at the Wrestling Observer Live panel, Dave Meltzer was asked about not showing Omega and Jericho today. He suggested that AEW wants to keep the two apart until they step into the ring tomorrow at Double or Nothing and wanted to avoid a brawl, which is the same reason they didn’t have a face-off at the Turner Upfronts.

Instead, the show ended with Dustin Rhodes cutting a promo on his brother Cody Rhodes, and revealing his shirt that said “Dusty’s Favorite.” I’m definitely enjoying how they are building up the Dustin and Cody Rhodes match, and they are certainly showing it as a big deal. However, not using this time to build up your pay-per-view main event was a major error. That said Cody and Dustin both cut solid promos today ahead of their match.

I think the heat over Cody Rhodes’ comments on Bayley were blown out of proportion. Rhodes is clearly working the fans with those type of comments, which were blatantly referenced during today’s press conference. And the reaction to his comments shows that making those kind of comments at such an event work.

Also, if you’re not going to have wrestlers weigh in, then having the event serve as a weigh-ins session is relatively pointless. That can be dropped in the future. Just do a pre-show press conference similar to UFC pre-fight press conferences with the combatants, maybe some light Q&A and mild confrontations. Boxing does this as well. Simply cut out the weigh-ins portion.

The Young Bucks had a great promo where they talked about how they fell in love with wrestling as kids and worked and grinded so hard to make it in the business. Matt Jackson looked like he was near tears when he talked about being ready to quit the business before Nick Jackson convinced him to stick with it because they have something special. Matt also went into detail about being $10,000 in debt and being scared to death that his cards were going to be declined when he went to get groceries before they were able to keep at it and get to where they are today.

The Young Bucks get denigrated as spot monkeys a lot, but this is easily one of the best promos they ever cut in their career. I only have one complaint. The Lucha Bros. weren’t here. The Young Bucks have a title match against them tomorrow, and Fenix and Pentagon Jr. weren’t there to build heat for the upcoming match. It seems counter-intuitive to have an event like this and not have the opponents facing each other or have some intense face-offs the day before a huge AEW pay-per-view card.

Kip Sabian and Sammy Guevara seemed to have the most traditional style confrontation, and they actually got weighed in. This press conference wasn’t a total disaster, but I think there were a few pointed missteps that AEW will hopefully iron out in the future as the company finds its footing.

That being said, the atmosphere of the AEW press conference was fun, and it was packed with fans. Also, Kylie Rae helping a couple get engaged was a nice, feel good moment.