wrestling / TV Reports

Kevin’s AEW Double Or Nothing 2021 Review

May 31, 2021 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Kenny Omega AEW Double or Nothing
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Kevin’s AEW Double Or Nothing 2021 Review  

AEW Double or Nothing
May 30th, 2021 | Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida | Attendance: 5,550

AEW hosted their first PPV with a full crowd since early 2020. Let’s see how it actually went down. A packed Daily’s Place looks cool.

NWA Women’s Championship: Serena Deeb [c] vs. Riho
This is your official Buy-In Pre-Show match! I saw Serena Deeb in SHIMMER years ago and didn’t love her. I preferred the likes of Lacey, Sara Del Rey, and Nicole Matthews. However, she has seemingly gotten way better with age. Though as a champion she fits the generic babyface bill, her matches are always very good. That was the case here again, especially with a talented opponent like Riho. Deeb shut me up by slapping Riho on a handshake attempt, which was not a generic babyface move. That became the story of the match, as Deeb was a brutal and arrogant champion who fine-tuned everything with technical precision. Meanwhile, that allowed Riho to be the plucky underdog who barely survived. It made for compelling pro wrestling. Riho had plenty of heroics and hope spots throughout but a dragon screw and Serenity Lock made the challenger tap in 14:03. Like WWE PPVs, one of the best matches was on the pre-show. This ruled and continued to prove that the women of AEW are the company’s true stars. [****]

Also, oh fuck this show is like four hours long.

Brian Cage vs. Hangman Page
Excellent choice to start with Page as he got a HUGE pop. I love Dark Order Hangman. These are two guys who are upper midcarders and almost always impressive in the ring. They slugged it out to start and Cage got the first true upper hand with some of his typical power offense. Hangman’s moonsault with the light sky in the background looked awesome. They had some great counters for each other throughout, showing how well each man had the other scouted. Cage had the biggest spot, hitting a superplex onto the ramp. The finish brought intrigue as Team Taz looked to get involved, only for Cage to decline their help. He threw the FTW Title right back at Ricky Starks, which opened the door for Page to beat him with the Buckshot Lariat in 12:07. Just what I want from an opener. Hot crowd, good athletes, quality wrestling, and nothing that goes overboard. [***½]

Post-match, Cage shoved Hook and was going to do the same to Starks but stopped since Ricky has the bad neck.

AEW Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks [c] vs. Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley
Moxley has been feuding with The Elite for way too long. “Wild Thing” with a live crowd is great and gave me Major League vibes. Also, shoutout to Young Bucks fans because when I say I don’t like their current act, they’re all “THAT’S THE POINT, YOU DON’T GET HOW THEY WORK YOU.” Like, no, I understand the gimmick, it’s just not any good. Anyway, Moxley and Kingston are great together. This started with a wild brawl as Kingston and Moxley went right after them. Brandon Cutler got involved and was taken out by a combo. Once the bell sounded and this officially started, it was more of a traditional tag that saw the Bucks playing their typical hits. They were insufferable from like 2014 until 2018 or so and then started impressing me more in the ring. They’re back to being annoying by basically being who they were in 2014, except now the crowd is meant to boo them. Wrestling is funny. The Good Brothers tried to intervene, mostly missed in a rare bit of poor camerawork by the AEW crew. That distraction allowed Matt to spray Moxley but that was only a near fall setup. Moxley got busted open and gave the hot tag to Kingston. Eventually, it all led to the Bucks retaining with a bunch of BTE Triggers in 21:09, handing Moxley a rare pinfall loss. This was one of those cases where the Bucks tried to do too much and put on a lackluster match because of it. The whole thing was pretty good but certainly nowhere near the level of greatness that some claimed it was. Big OOF on the Bucks retaining. [**¾]

Casino Battle Royal
I really like the concept of this match. Uncle Paul Wight was on commentary. The first suit up was the Clubs consisting of Christian Cage, Matt Sydal, Powerhouse Hobbs, Dustin Rhodes, and Max Caster (with disappointing bars). Caster was eliminated in this bunch before the Diamonds entered. They were Matt Hardy, Isaiah Kassidy, 10 (who the Hardy Family jumped), Nick Comoroto, and Serpentico. Nothing of real note in that segment. The Hearts were next with the Varsity Blonds, Colt Cabana, Anthony Bowens, and Penta El Zero Miedo in some SICK Joker themed gear. He killed it. Pillman was way over. Spades entered last, led by the wildly popular Jungle Boy, Marq Quad, Aaron Solow, Evil Uno, and Lee Johnson. Hobbs had some great spots during this section. Matt Hardy and Private Party teamed up on Christian and Jungle Boy until the Joker showed up and I was stoked that it was Lio Rush! He ran wild on the heels for a bit but got eliminated. Despite having the upper hand, the Hardy Family was dispatched of, leaving it down to Christian and Jungle Boy. In the end, Jungle Boy won to a huge pop in 22:32. That was, as usual, a fun battle royal. AEW, don’t be cowards. Book Jungle Boy to beat Kenny Omega for the belt on Dynamite. Do it. [***]

Anthony Ogogo vs. Cody Rhodes
There’s a lot to say about how awful Cody Rhodes’ recent character stuff has been. There is no way that I can see myself cheering for him over Ogogo and Cody was one of my all-time favorites a few years back. Cody is basically a less entertaining Homelander these days. I honestly don’t want to go too deep into this but it was a complete mess. Ogogo wasn’t quite ready to work this style and that made the match drag. They didn’t click as opponents and nothing that Cody did really worked in terms of being interesting. It’s funny because Cody started AEW with the whole “smash the throne” thing and yet he goes out and basically tries to be Triple H, having overdone matches in a poor attempt to be great. Cody ended up winning a boring match in front of a dead crowd by fighting through the body shots AEW built up and hitting the Vertebreaker in a long 10:32. He may not be the top champion but Cody books himself like 2003 HHH and TNA Jeff Jarrett. He’s constantly going over when he shouldn’t and holds himself up as the biggest thing in the company. Just a massive waste of time and bad booking all around. [*]

AEW TNT Championship: Miro [c] vs. Lance Archer
BIG MEATY MEN BUMPING MEAT! While that was mostly what this was, it didn’t quite live up to what I wanted from it. They beat each other up a lot and brawled around the ringside area. There’s not much else to say other than this being two hosses brawling. The finish saw Jake Roberts show up with the snake but Miro cut him off and tossed the snake bag to the ground. Archer got in a few close calls after but was put in Game Over and passed out after 10:47. I wish that ending worked better since it was a cool idea but Miro barely locked it in. A decent hoss fight but nothing more. [**¾]

AEW Women’s Championship: Hikaru Shida [c] vs. Britt Baker
My most anticipated match of the night. Shida has been a good champion but AEW gave her NOTHING to work with while Baker has been the standout of the division. The talent of the AEW women is there, they just need more consistent booking. Though Shida was the face, the crowd was totally behind Baker. I loved Britt going for Lockjaw early. You’re not here to have a drawn out opening sequence for star ratings. You’re here to win the title that has eluded you as the face of the division. I also dug how Shida played into not being the favorite, doing more aggressive and heelish things than usual. Britt was more than willing to dish it right back out, making for a hard hitting affair. Britt was in trouble with the Stretch Muffler but Rebel got on the apron and caused Shida to break the hold. Britt turning a crucifix near fall into the Lockjaw to win at the 16:22 mark was a great way to wrap this up. I think they might’ve peaked a couple of minutes before the actual ending and that was the ideal place to end this. Despite that, this was the best thing on the main show so far and yet another great match for Baker, who is the star of this division in the ring and on the microphone. She is on fire. Good booking and a tremendous match. [***¾]

Post-match, Tony Schiavone hugged Britt in the entrance before she posed with the gold.

Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky vs. Darby Allin and Sting
As much as I like Ethan Page, it’s weird that AEW pushed the Scorpio Sky breaking away from SCU thing only to put him in another tag team. WWE has Dominik and Rey while AEW has Sting and Darby, so father/son teams are everywhere. Sting popping up from a suplex on the stage and then hitting a dive off of it was ridiculous and I am here for 62-year-old Sting being a nutcase influenced by Darby. Following that, this became a more traditional tag with Darby taking the heat so Sting could get the nostalgic hot tag. Honestly, that’s how most legends should be used. If you can’t work a good singles match, just do tag stuff because that typically works. At one point, Page launched Darby into the front row onto his brothers in a huge spot. I liked the idea that Sting was conflicted on continuing afterward but Darby went in regardless. Sting eventually got the hot tag and looked better than he has since his TNA days. Eventually, Sting pinned Sky with the Scorpion Death Drop in 14:05. A really fun match though I wonder when/if Sting does a job in AEW. He looked great here though. [***¼]

AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega [c] vs. Orange Cassidy vs. PAC
On paper, there’s one glaring issue with this match. I never believed Kenneth would drop the title to either guy. Cassidy is a blast and PAC is tremendous but I can’t see AEW giving either guy the title, especially right now, which cut out a lot of the drama. Despite that, there was still some great action in this match. They kept up a great pace fitting of the guys putting on the show and the crowd was totally behind Cassidy. They also did well to input some really fun moments, like Cassidy using his pockets to block a move off the top rope. PAC and Cassidy redid their spot from Revolution last year, which was great. When Cassidy had it won, Don Callis pulled out the referee, leading a Screwjob. Kenny used the titles as a weapon but Cassidy turned it around on him as Aubrey Edwards arrived to count a pin. However, Kenny countered Cassidy’s pin into a crucifix, stealing this in 27:12. A really fun match held back by two things. There was a lack of drama as I never believed in a title change and it went a bit longer for what it was. [***¾]

Tony Schiavone introduced a new analyst for AEW’s Rampage show. He’ll also be a coach and it’s Mark Henry. SOMEBODY BOT TO GET THEY ASS KICKED.

Stadium Stampede: The Inner Circle vs. Pinnacle
Not sure how I feel about this headlining since Pinnacle isn’t on the level of The Elite when this closed out the show last year. Okay, so this is difficult to really pin down because there kind of cinematic matches are hard to score. I liked some aspects like the goofy “Judas” singing but wasn’t interested in things like a Jaguars coach cameo or some of the camera angles. Also, it’s impossible to get me to care about anything done by Shawn Spears, no matter what he does with a steel chair. Where last year’s version had some good comedic elements, that’s what worked best like Matt Hardy changing gimmicks. This feud felt more personal and the match more serious, so it didn’t work nearly as well. Going 32:36 was ridiculous as well. That is way too long for what this was, especially at the end of a show. A Sammy Guevara 630 mercifully ended this and I didn’t much care for. [**]

The final score: review Good
The 411
I wanted to like this more than I did but I do think that I already miss 2.5 hour shows. This started to drag near the end and that main event was the pits because of it. Also, Cody Rhodes stunk up the joint and the Young Bucks were lame. On the flip side though, there’s a lot to like. The women killed it in two matches, the World Title match was fun, I had a blast with the battle royal, and it was mostly a quality wrestling show.