Double or Nothing and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, and Shahid Khan
AEW deciding to put a Friday night show right before the PPV made things a LITTLE difficult this weekend and sure enough it ended up taking me much longer than I anticipated to finally get this recap out for you all to see. Still, they were nice enough to move THIS weeks’ Dynamite to Friday as well which means I can get this thing out a LITTLE later than I anticipated and still not technically be behind on the show! Hopefully things will ease back into a more familiar formula by next week, but for now we’re going to discuss the Double or Nothing PPV that aired on Sunday and everything that resulted from it! Was it a show worthy of the Double or Nothing name, or is their first PPV back in front of a live audience a much bigger disappointment than any of us expected? Let’s find out!!
Serena Deeb Vs. Riho – NWA Women’s Title Match (Buy In)
As usual, AEW has at least one match on YouTube that you can watch before the PPV itself, but this time they do something a bit odd. Last Friday I mentioned that they moved the hard camera 90 degrees counterclockwise so that it was no longer facing the stage. The Hard Cam is back to facing the stage. For this match AND ONLY THIS MATCH, they put the camera back where it was before. Seems a bit odd as they would have had to SPECIFICALLY move it back there before returning it to the place it was already moved to, but that’s perhaps a bit too much minutia for this kind of recap so let’s get to the match itself! For the most part it’s Deeb trying to grab Riho and overpower her while Riho is flying around the ring with Spectacular moves, and for the first half it looks to be Riho’s match to win. However, Deeb’s strength looks to be too much for her cross body dives and running drop kicks to overcome, and Deeb grounds her with a Dragon Screw that leaves her vulnerable for most of the match. It’s not until Deeb puts her on the top turnbuckle that she starts to fight back and lands a Diving Stomp from the top rope which is soon followed up by a 619 and leads to a two count. For whatever reason they called the 619 a “Tiger Feint Kick” and I’m not sure why as it hasn’t been an issue before.
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
This is going to be a rough weekend. This episode was aired on a FRIDAY which gave me less than forty-eight hours to watch it, digest it, and recap it, before moving right on to the PPV. Sadly this is probably going to become the norm as AEW plans on expanding in the next year with AEW Rampage as a one hour Friday show that should be premiering in August, and 2022 will see them move to TBS with regular SPECIAL SHOWS on TNT popping up every now and then. I guess the fact that there’s going to be MORE good wrestling can hardly be considered a bad thing, and this week is good practice for me to try and streamline my process to get these out at a better pace. Aside from the backend logistics this is a pretty significant episode as the Go Home show is the last chance for the company to convince the TV crowd to spend fifty bucks on a PPV and they always try to give you something special to make that deal sound even better. Do they put on a fantastic preview of what we should expect at Double or Nothing, or will we be going into the big show with lowered expectations? Let’s find out!!
Things kick off right away with a match, but before we even get to the match we’ve got a few things to talk about with the new setup. First, I had no idea that the Friday night show was going to be the first one at full capacity as I thought they were saving it for the PPV on Sunday, but sure enough the place is packed to the gills with people (at least the parts the camera shows us) and I’d kind of forgotten what that kind of atmosphere felt like. It kind of loses a bit of the personal touch that the smaller crowds engendered, but the energy is through the roof and makes this feel like a big event despite being more or less a pre-show for the PPV. Second, they’ve move the hard camera ninety degrees counter-clockwise and they’ve also put a stadium box on the stage when I think one of those two choice would have been better. Personally I would have just kept the camera facing the stage as there’s really no other point to putting fans there if we’re not going to be able to see them, and instead of seeing the big screen we get to forever stare at the Daily’s Place sign; burning into my eyes like a watermark on a bootleg video. They’re going on the road soon so this won’t be a thing for long, but it definitely feels like they took one step forward and then took another step back.
Darby Allin Vs. Cezar Bononi
Darby is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Bononi is accompanied by The Wingmen
Bononi gets the jobber entrance, and when the camera is on him with his title card displayed, he gets hit in the face with Darby’s jacket that was haphazardly thrown in his general direction. I start with that because there’s just something about that level of goofiness that endears me so much to this giant awkward jobber as well as his crew which are called The Wingmen; Peter Avalon, JD Drake, and also Ryan Nemeth who is holding a replica Oscar statue for absolutely no reason. Seriously, if I ever have a mid-life crisis and start trying to become a wrestler, THIS is the kind of team I would want to be a part of! As for the match itself, Cezar is trying his best to use his size to his advantage, but Darby proves to be an elusive target. Still, he manages to land a solid kick to Darby’s stomach and gets the heat on the guy with some fun big moves. Darby is just thrown all over the place with reckless abandon as he sails through the air trying his best to land correctly, and he even gest dropped on the top turnbuckle which couldn’t have been fun. Darby does eventually get a sleeper hold which nearly puts Bononi out, but he makes it to the ropes to break up the hold. With Bononi winded, Darby lands a very impressive Stunner and follows with a Shotgun Drop Kick as well as a Coffin Drop to get the pin and win the match. Darby then calls out Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky to settle this tonight instead of on Sunday and The duo come out to mock the guy for his challenge. I mean they DO have a point here! Why would they give up their PPV spot to indulge this guy? In any case, it turns out to be a distraction as The Wingmen jump Sting and Darby from behind and are followed by Sky and Page. Sky is about to break Sting’s ankle, but The Dark Order run out to chase them off and make the save which won’t be the last time they meet I the ring this evening! That was a FANTASTIC squash match which had Darby selling for quite a bit, but none of it genuinely fazed him and his offense is so strong that he can basically knock down a giant with three moves. Also, while I wouldn’t say Page and Sky are growing on me, this is probably my favorite moment from the two of them so far and I am definitely looking forward to their match at Double or Nothing.
Revolution and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, and Shahid Khan
The big day is FINALLY upon us, and while it may be missing a Shaq match, it’s not lacking in quality fights as this card is stacked from top to bottom with grudges, title bouts, and even a few novelty matches just to keep things interesting! With the somewhat wonky build up to this show and some tediously overdone storylines, does this PPV manage to put it all together into one excellent evening of wrestling action, or are you better off saving your money and watching the highlights on Twitter? Let’s find out!!
Riho & Thunder Rosa Vs. Britt Baker & Maki Itoh – Buy In Match
Now originally this was supposed to be Baker and Rebel (Not Reba) teaming together, but the latter supposedly got “hurt” and comes out on a crutch, so Baker signed a Doctor’s note and Tony Kahn allowed her to choose someone else to be her partner and frankly she couldn’t have gone with anyone better! As much fun as Rebel (Not Reba) can be as an instigator, having Maki Itoh show up as a surprise on this show is an AMAZING way to kick the show off! She got some attention when she was announced for the women’s tournament, but it was her very fun social media made that made her a fan favorite right off the bat. She was knocked out in the first round unfortunately, but now she’s here proves without a doubt that AEW needs to signer her yesterday! Why is she so great? Well first, she comes out here and singes her ENTIRE entrance theme which is definitely a good start, and as soon as she gets in the ring with Thunder Rosa she flips her The Bird with both barrels. Yeah, I think she’s going to be my favorite wrestler of all time! Now admittedly she looks a LITTLE bit stiff at first as the initial minutes against Rosa feel a bit stop and start, but as soon as they get a flow going Itoh proves to be an absolutely BRILLIANT professional wrestler! She’s got by far the most expressive face in the women’s division here at AEW, and she reminds me a little bit of Eddie Kingston of all people. It’s just an overall presence of nastiness and a flair for the comedic as she puts on a CUTIE POP IDOL image but she fights like a total heel and takes cheap shot whenever she can; going so far as to fake cry so her opponent lets their guard down. And yet, despite being such a craven and obvious bad guy, I don’t know WHO could possibly boo her!