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Kevin’s AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 Review

May 25, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
AEW Double or Nothing Cody
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Kevin’s AEW Double Or Nothing 2020 Review  

AEW Double or Nothing

May 23rd, 2020 | Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida

I’m not watching this live so I knew the results coming in but I heard good things so I’m hoping for a strong show.

AEW Tag Team Championship Number One Contender’s Match: Best Friends (7-3) vs. Private Party (4-1)

This is from the Buy-In. I missed their tag record graphics but these are the ones listed on AEW’s website. I went back to watch this after seeing the actual show. I am pressed for time on the day since there’s family stuff going on, so I’m shortening this match. It was very good, featuring two of the most enjoyable duos in AEW. Best Friends won with Strong Zero after 15:21. Quality tag team wrestling with some delightful spots, and plenty of fun moments. [***½]

Casino Ladder Match: Brian Cage (0-0) vs. Colt Cabana (4-2) vs. Darby Allin (11-10-1) vs. Frankie Kazarian (16-7) vs. Joey Janela (6-9) vs. Kip Sabian (10-12) vs. Luchasaurus (9-6) vs. Orange Cassidy (3-4) vs. Scorpio Sky (16-7)

This was an interesting match concept. It worked like a gauntlet, with Scorpio Sky and Kazarian starting to give us some SCU action. Not a fan of them starting with basic offense like wristlocks and such. Feels out of place. Kip Sabian was next in and he said “ladder matches were In his blood.” What the hell does that mean? He had help from Jimmy Havoc since they’re an unlikely duo as of late. Darby entered #4 and threw his skateboard around, which was fun. Orange Cassidy was #5 and asked commentary for the rules. He seemed so annoyed at the idea of climbing a ladder. He was literally alone in the ring with a chance to win but was too lazy to climb. Colt Cabana and Joey Janela were next, each getting a decent run. Luchasaurus entered next and continued to shine. Darby’s Code Red on Luchasaurus attempt was great, even if it came off awkwardly. The final entrant was the mystery and it turned out to be a debuting Brian Cage, accompanied by Taz. He looked like a beast throughout. Cassidy had a win interrupted by Sabian, Ford, and Havoc, so Best Friends made the save. It all led to the expected Cage/Luchasaurus confrontation. Darby had one last shot but Cage laid him on a ladder and press slammed him out before retrieving the chip to win in 28:37. That was a unique match with some fun moments throughout. I do think that it had a handful of awkward moments and dragged at moments, keeping it from being great. Also, a bit weird to hype the rankings and such so often, yet put a guy like Cage in this match. [***¼]

Jungle Boy (7-13-1) vs. MJF (10-1)

Although Jungle Boy has a rough record, he’s 7-5 in 2020 and feels like a budding star. It’s a case of two young guys looking to break out. While MJF has done really good character work and is getting a push, he’s missing that standout great match. I liked how, early on, MJF was happy to match Jungle Boy with confidence. However, when he slapped Jungle Boy, he got his ass kicked. It was obvious that he was the one bringing the fire. Noticing that, he feigned an injury to get the upper hand back. MJF put the target on the arm and Jungle Boy sold the hell out of it. He combined that with great hope spots for some awesome moments. For example, catching MJF in a submission only to have to let it go due to injury was great. As cocky as MJF might be, you could sense his desperation as this went on. He was in trouble and couldn’t put Jungle Boy away. He finally did, but only by scoring with a clever rollup in 17:34. What a match. It was exactly what these two needed. MJF is such a smarmy heel and Jungle Boy is a great underdog, who killed it in terms of selling. [****]

AEW TNT Championship Tournament Finals: Cody (16-6-1) vs. Lance Archer (5-0)

The build to this has been pretty great mostly thanks to Cody and Jake Roberts. Archer has also been on a roll since last year’s G1 Climax. The title looks lame as they apparently didn’t have time to finish the gold plating due to the pandemic. Archer chokeslammed a random dude before the bell as his song hit the EVERYBODY DIES part. Kudos. He obliterated Cody to start and played right into him being the monster he has been booked as. The story of this made sense but it suffered some a heat segment that was a bit too long. As good as Archer has been lately, he’s at his best in shorter stints. His longest G1 match in 2019 lasted about 18 minutes and most of the best ones hovered between 11 and 15. His offense doesn’t lend itself to long bouts, even if Cody is a great fiery face. I dug Cody hitting the DDT just to piss off Jake and Archer using Arn’s spinebuster. Cody made his comeback and eventually won by countering Blackout into Cross Rhodes and rolling into a second at 21:37. As I said, this was far too long for Archer. However, props to Cody for bumping like crazy and taking a hell of a beating. Cody as the first champion is perfect because it makes the title feel important, rewards Cody while respecting the World Title stipulation, and whoever beats Cody will get a big rub. [***¼]

Kris Statlander (7-8) vs. Penelope Ford (3-4)

Britt Baker was replaced by Penelope Ford due to injury. The AEW doctor saying she was a pain in the ass as a patient was perfect. Kip Sabian came out on crutches and wrapped in a bunch of bandages after the ladder match. These are two of the women who I tend to enjoy in AEW, even if they still have a lot of work to do. There’s potential there. Statlander held serve until a Sabian distraction. Stalander turned the tide and took them both out with an impressive tope suicida. She took home the victory with the Big Bang Theory after 8:10. Pretty much just a TV match. [**¼]

Dustin Rhodes (10-7) vs. Shawn Spears (10-12)

I saw that tweet saying AEW can’t be a progressive company if they expect us to pay $50 to watch Shawn Spears. Ouch. Spears came out in a suit because he was confident that Dustin was forced to retire. He even faked out Dustin’s music. Ultimately, Dustin came in through the crowd to start the fight. There was nothing to this and Dustin won in 4:07. Yeah, this didn’t belong on the PPV. It’s the kind of move WWE would get chastised for. [*]

AEW Women’s Championship No Disqualifications Match: Nyla Rose (11-4) [c] vs. Hikaru Shida (14-6)

While Nyla/Riho was very good, I’ve said for a while that Shida needs to be champion. Her or Britt Baker, as they’ve easily been the class of the division so far. Shida was more serious than usual, coming right at Nyla with aggression. They had a wild brawl that went all around ringside and to the stage. Nyla getting kicked into one of the giant poker chips was a fun little spot. I really liked how Nyla was allowed to be a bully but Shida never looked overwhelmed. It would’ve made this too similar to Cody/Archer. When they made it back to the ring, Shida went on something of a barrage and won the title with a stiff running knee after 17:03. I liked a lot of that. Shida, like Cody earlier, gave it her all and put on a hell of a show. [***¼]

AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley (16-2-1) [c] vs. Brodie Lee (5-0)

I love Main Event on the award-winning WWE Network. I mean, I love WWE Extreme Rules 2015. Anyway, though this wasn’t a No DQ match, they had a brawl. That’s a good idea since it’s the style both are best suited for. They brought a table into play and used the novelty playing cards and poker chips. You could tell that they were going for the smoke and mirrors approach. I’m pretty sure Brodie bladed, which probably isn’t a good idea right now. That came after a Paradigm Shift through the stage. Who do they think they are, Taz and Bigelow? Another Paradigm Shift and Death Rider inside couldn’t keep Brodie down. That’s too much and makes Death Rider look weak. He went with a rear naked choke that put Brodie’s lights out in 15:33. This was solid. It lacked drama since nobody expected Brodie to win and also felt like it dragged at points. [***]

Stadium Stampede: Adam Page (13-9) Kenny Omega (21-8), Matt Hardy (2-1), and The Young Bucks (12-9) vs. The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho 13-3-1, Jake Hager 5-1, Ortiz 8-8, Santana 8-7, and Sammy Guevara 13-14)

I really do love the way cinematic wrestling has become a thing. Lucha Underground was ahead of its time. This was being held in the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium. They got awesome football style entrances, with cheerleaders, sporting numbers, and everything. Boo, the Elite boys didn’t wear football stuff. There’s a ring in the middle of the field. Everyone charged at each other with weapons like a war. No Page to start but then he came in RIDING ON A HORSE! He chased Sammy away. Jim Ross was in his wheelhouse here. He got to talk all the football nonsense he shoehorns into every match and have it somewhat make sense here. He still didn’t do a good job, though. The guys fought in the ring for a bit, which is the best place to take spots, though they did well to try out other creative things. One example would be Matt’s field goal post moonsault. There were some really funny moments, like fighting into the a tiny pool and Ortiz complaining that he can’t swim. Then, as they tried to drown Matt, he reappeared as Matt Hardy Version 1! We even got the Matt Facts on screen and the guys competing could even see it. Matt emerged again as Broken Matt. I loved how Page stopped to get a drink at the bar and was even casually joined by Hager at one point. Of course, they ended up fighting. When Jericho got a near fall, he threw a red flag and challenged the play. The end zone dance and penalty was also good, as was the callback to Sammy running from the golf cart. Omega eventually used a massive One Winged Angel to win in 34:00. That was another home run in terms of cinematic wrestling. It as a blast with some awesome callbacks and comedic moments, as well as mostly good action. [****]

The final score: review Good
The 411
The biggest issue with AEW PPVs is still that they do a strange job with match order. The Ford/Statlander match going right before Dustin/Spears caused a lull in the show. Also, doing two brawls back to back before a wacky main event was odd. Still, this was a very enjoyable PPV. It went a bit longer than it needed to, though. That main event was a blast and MJF/Jungle Boy ruled. The matches besides the aforementioned lull were all good.