AEW Double or Nothing 2020
May 23, 2020
Venue Daily’s Place & TIAA Bank Field
Tyler Forness: He never thought he would be excited for an empty arena PPV, but Tyler is excited for Double Or Nothing. You can find him on Twitter @TheRealForno where he talks about the graps and he scouts football players for Blue Chip Scouting and Climbing The Pocket.
Mike Spears: Some people bunkered down, trying to wait out this pandemic. Mike decided to become obsessed with the Adidas style of tracksuits. He’s a cohost of Open the Voice Gate and Everything Elite, find him on twitter @fujiiheya and check out the EE Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/everythingelite where the EE gang and friend of VOW Brian Quinby will have a live reaction of Double or Nothing!
Griffin Peltier: One of those people bunkered down waiting out this pandemic, Griffin has been watching a whole lot of television recently because what else is there to do? During this time, All Elite Wrestling has placed itself firmly alongside The Sopranos and RuPaul’s Drag Race as the main content to watch. He’s not affiliated, but go listen to Everything Elite (it’s great!) and follow Griffin on Twitter @Hollywd12 for bad takes and the occasional old school wrestling article.
AEW TNT Championship
Cody vs. Lance Archer
Tyler: Of all the matches, this has been the best built. Lance Archer has been presented as a credible monster and Cody is still Cody: a lovable white meat babyface who is getting more and more crafty in picking up the win. The most underrated element of this build has been the use of Arn Anderson and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who, while they haven’t been in ring wrestlers for upwards of 20 years, they have immense experience and knowledge that comes across great in their promos. Roberts putting his snake on Cody’s wife Brandi made this extremely personal and this will be a war. I believe this match ends one of two ways: Archer wins in dominant fashion a la Lesnar destroying Cena at Summer Slam or Cody wins with a savvy rollup like he did against Darby Allin in the Semifinals. I’m going with the former but the finish of this match will be one to monitor when it comes to future booking. Winner: Lance Archer
Mike: Like Tyler said, the majority of the shows over the last two months have been around crowning the first TNT Champion. Which is nice because they gave the short-staffed shows some definite purpose, and continued this pre-COVID storyline of Jake Roberts bringing in Lance Archer in order to destroy the company banner waver in Cody. I’m probably the low person on Jake Roberts’ promos in 2020: the ones that have focused exclusively on Cody and the idea of him being this ace have been strong, but more often than not, Roberts has veered into a fixation on Brandi Rhodes that’s been more uncomfortable in how dated he seems. Turning focus back onto Cody trying to avenge a guy that’s destroyed his family and friends in how Archer dismantled Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall was a good touch, but the focus and go home of Arn Anderson vs Roberts left me a bit feeling flat about what this top of the line program or feud is trying to accomplish. The idea of Ace Cody being the network’s champion seems a bit too on the nose, and would mitigate the idea of Lance Archer being a big thing. Archer winning the title and having a longer undefeated streak would do more for the promotion than Cody winning, in my opinion. Winner: Lance Archer
Griffin: This feud is white hot and Archer has become one of the must-see people in the company since debuting just over two months ago. Quick aside, I love wrestling so much – show me any other form of entertainment where a guy can go from rocking out with a plastic Guitar Hero gimmick to then become an unstoppable monster with a badass murderhawk. I agree with Mike, the Brandi/Roberts part of this feud is a little cringe but nonetheless I’m still invested. At first I’d pick Archer to win but since Mike Tyson was announced to present the title, I’m going with Cody. He’s the Ace and the result may be too on the nose like Mike said, having him take that bloodied championship picture with Mike Tyson will make for a good mainstream headline and photo op. Winner: Cody
Tag Team #1 Contendership
Best Friends vs Private Party
Tyler: With COVID-19 affecting most of AEW’s booking plans, the tag team division has been at a standstill. This match should serve as a rejuvenation of the division, especially with the champs Omega and Hangman Page being involved with the Inner Circle feud. The Best Friends have been a constant during these empty arena shows and this match is a nice reward for working as many matches as they have lately. This is also a great showcase opportunity for Private Party who are relatively green that greatly benefit from the experience of a big PPV match. I think Best Friends get the win here as they are the more experienced team and it would make sense for them to be the team to officially break up Omega and Hangman because they have what the champs dont: chemistry and friendship. Winner: Best Friends
Mike: The tag team division has been on ice over the last few months, but the Best Friends have been a constant presence winning their matches against Jimmy Havoc/Kip Sabian, Jurassic Express, and Kenny Omega/Michael Nakazawa. They’re the clear cut top contender for Omega and Hangman, I just view this match as solidifying that. Private Party are an exciting young team that have shown that against the right teams, and in the right formula, they can have incredible matches. I think that having a veteran team that’s skilled in the sprint-style matches that are in Private Party’s wheelhouse is a best-case scenario for the young team. This could be pretty exciting and a sleeper match of the night if everything goes correctly and should set up a much-needed Tag Team Title program. Winners: Best Friends
Griffin: Even though the tag team division has been hurt the most by COVID-19, AEW recently released a fantastic video package highlighting the division that gives me hope that there will be a renewed focus on the division going forward. This match should be a fun sprint that showcases how good both Best Friends and Private Party are. Private Party will be a team to watch in the future but Best Friends have been on such a roll that they should walk out as winners. I think they dethrone Omega and Hangman relatively soon as they are the perfect babyface champion opponents for the eventual debut of the former Revival. This will be fun. Winners: Bow-whippiti-Bow-whippiti-Bow-whippiti-Best Friends
MJF vs. Jungle Boy
Tyler: In 5 years we are going to be talking about both MJF and Jungle Boy being cornerstone pillars of AEW. MJF is already a top 3 talker in the business (at 24!) and Jungle Boy is a lovable babyface who, while still green, shows some real potential. For a match that is just an extra match on the card, it has a decent build. MJF is returning from injury and thinks Jungle Boy isn’t worth his time. In a elongated squash match on Dynamite this past Wednesday, MFJ played with Marko Stunt before putting him away. This enraged Jungle Boy and he ran out and went after MJF. This is not Jungle Boy’s time yet, although expect a really good showing from him. Winner: MJF
Mike: MJF is a rare property in 2020. He’s someone that is already set as a great foil for whatever babyface he goes up against. It’s a bit of a derivative of the old traveling NWA heel champion that would come into your territory and your up-and-comer would face him and get somewhat of a rub. Of the feuds that only really started with the change of venues/build to Double or Nothing, I think this one has been one of the stronger ones. Jungle Boy is someone that AEW should (and seems to be) have the long game with: He’s got time before he’s going to enter his prime, and unless you’re terrible about handling him, he can take losses like this and not lose what draws people to him. I feel like the biggest feuds in MJF’s future aren’t going to be revisiting this one, but instead the years down the line turn of Wardlow, but for now, he’s got more to gain by putting away Jungle Boy than vice versa. Winner: MJF
Griffin: The battle of the two future stars. In a few years, Jungle Boy will find his groove and will carve out a very good run at the top of AEW. MJF, on the other hand, is ready for that good run right now. MJF is the next big thing in wrestling and his promos will help him rebound no matter win, lose, or draw. I’m a bit torn on who I think will win this. The rivalry between Jurassic Express and MJF/Wardlow has been fun and I think it will continue for a little longer after the pay-per-view as MJF waits around for a big main event push in front of fans (promo abilities that can sell-out shows), so I think Jungle Boy scores a flash pinfall win via distraction from Marko Stunt. MJF can bounce back from the loss and this will set Jungle Boy up for a shot at whatever title MJF has down the line. Winner: Jungle Boy
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Casino Ladder Match
Darby Allin vs. Colt Cabana vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Rey Fénix vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Kip Sabian vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Luchasaurus vs. TBD
Tyler: After Chris Jericho helped create the Money In The Bank ladder match in WWE, it was only a matter of time before AEW did something similar. This is a very diverse group of veterans, high flyers and characters who will likely build a very good spotfest. The biggest question mark: who is the mystery entrant? It feels like the mystery entrant is going to be a big deal and will either play a huge factor or win the whole thing. Maybe Khan is holding out hope that it can be PAC? Without him being known, I think the title shot goes to someone who hasn’t received one and I think it will be Fenix, that is if he isn’t dead after the bump he took on Dynamite this past week. Winner: Rey Fenix
Mike: As someone who tries to consume all of All Elite Wrestling’s content and tries to make sense of everything, I STILL don’t know if the winner gets a Money In the Bank-style cash in title match, or if this basically lets them make their match like the G1 winner. There’s a lot to this match to like: Allin, Cassidy, Fenix, and Sky can do some ridiculous things in a match like this. We have a mystery person in this match, which can either be something that’s a big fun surprise, or another example of AEW’s inability to manage expectations. Not knowing the style of the future AEW World Title match makes this one difficult to predict. If it’s just a title match on Dynamite or a cash-in, one can put up an argument for anyone in this match. If it’s supposed to be for All Out or a future PPV, it disqualifies a lot of the field. I’m going to guess that the mystery entrant is a debuting Ricky Starks (who I think could be the kind of person AEW really needs right now), but there’s really only one or two guys in this match I could see both work as a cash-in challenger, or a PPV title match: Fenix or Allin, and I’m going with Fenix. Winner: Rey Fenix
Griffin: Oh man I love me a wild ladder match! This will be one million times better than WWE’s most recent Money in the Bank-style ladder match. The announced field is stacked and there’s plenty of guys in here that will get up to some crazy shit that will take your breath away. I have a few running guesses as to who the final entrant will be: Chris Hero, Drew Gulak, Rockstar Spud, Ricky Starks, or it might be Alan Angels who has impressed a lot on Dark recently. No matter who it is, I don’t think they will win the match. While Fenix and Darby are the two favourites, I’m going to go ahead and pick Frankie Kazarian – with a little help from Christopher Daniels who pushes Scorpio off the ladder that will lead to a fun SCU feud and a run for the TNT title by Sky down the line. Winner: Frankie Kazarian
AEW Women’s Championship – No DQ/No Countout
Nyla Rose © vs. Hikaru Shida
Tyler: The toughest part about this build is that Nyla Rose has been MIA during most of the COVID-19 shutdown. While that shouldn’t be held against her because she was doing what she thought was best during the pandemic, it inevitably hurts the build because she isn’t around. The match however should be excellent. Hikaru Shida is the best worker in the women’s division and Nyla Rose has been build very well as the dominant champion, even pinning Shida in a tag match this past Wednesday on Dynamite. They did a great job keeping you on your toes with Shida putting Rose through a table after the match. The finish felt very convoluted because it appeared that Britt Baker was injured in a spot where Rose was double scoop slammed onto her in the corner. Adding the no DQ element helps with the lack of build and we should see some fun spots especially with Shida’s kendo stick. Winner: Nyla Rose
Mike: I don’t think a division in AEW has had more issues than the Women’s division. Some of it is environmental (COVID-19 closing the borders for some of their better wrestlers, the relative depleted nature of the talent pool), but some of it is their own design (only having one or two women’s segments on a show, the weird Nightmare Collective angle, booking). That all being said, with the people available at this very moment, this is probably the strongest women’s match they can book, and that should be mentioned. Nyla Rose has been a solid champion so far, and Hikaru Shida is the glue of the Women’s division. They did something similar to the build to Riho/Emi Sakura where the champion and the challenger have direct falls over each other in the go home for the PPV, which is pretty frustrating and shows you how much care (or lack thereof) they’ve put into some of the programs leading into this pay per view. Winner: Nyla Rose
Griffin: Nyla Rose is fantastic and is one of the best long-term pickups AEW grabbed when they launched. Mike did a very good job describing the issues with the women’s division, but nonetheless this has had a fun build. I think Nyla can have a very strong run as champion, but the current situation has led to a severe lack of face challengers for her post-Shida. On that alone, I think Shida gets the win and becomes champion as there’s a much wider talent pool of available women on the heel side for her to face in the coming months. Once everybody is able to come back, or there’s more credible faces available, Nyla can regain the title and go on her monster run. Winner: Hikaru Shida
Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. vs. Kris Statlander
Tyler: The alien gimmick that Statlander has felt very minor league. A woman of her size that can move like she does is something that is not very common in this business and it is something that should be taken advantage of with a gimmick that fits the persona. If you want to build around a talent like her, that needs to be fixed ASAP. Over the course of the next two years she, along with talents like MJF, Darby Allin, Jungle Boy and her opponent Britt Baker can lead the promotion for years to come. Her opponent, however, has shown a lot of growth over the past few months since her heel turn. She feels much more comfortable on the mic and in front of a live crowd, although her in ring work still needs polishing. If this match happens after Baker’s potential injury, I want to see how orange her spray tan is, as it was near HHH levels on Wednesday. If this match happens, Baker needs the win much more than Statlander, especially if Shida wins the title. Winner: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D.
Mike: Britt Baker is someone who has benefited from the extra focus she’s gotten from being able to be at the Atlanta tapings. Each week they better defined her character and she’s had important matchups, including probably the best match of her career against Hikaru Shida. A few months into her AEW career, I think it’s more clear what the company has in Kris Statlander: a prospect that can grow into being a pillar of the roster, but someone with a lot of rough edges due to inexperience, and that inexperience has been displayed a lot on the programming. This could have been a pretty interesting match of people in different stages in their career, but it appears that Britt Baker might have blown out her knee during the May 20th Dynamite. If this match still happens (as of my writing this, it’s still on the docket), I think Britt has to win, but I don’t see that happening right now Winner: I don’t think this match happens.
Griffin: Britt Baker and Kris Statlander have a lot of potential as being the top dogs of the women’s division. Since her heel turn, Baker has been money but her potential knee injury came at such a bad time. I don’t think this match happens, unfortunately. Hopefully we can revisit this match down the road.
Stadium Stampede Match
Matt Hardy & The Elite vs. The Inner Circle
Tyler: I hope this isn’t the replacement for the Blood and Guts match because with Tony Khan appreciating old school territory wrestling, it would be a very compelling match. WIth that being said, this match should be fun with a lot of high spots. The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, PnP and Sammy Guevara will likely find some creative ways to incorporate the stadium into high spots. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone do a moonsault off of the goal posts. The bitter feud between these factions should be amplified by the surroundings being the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium. With the Blood and Guts match hopefully still the endgame here, I expect The Inner Circle to come away with the victory in maniacal fashion. Winner: The Inner Circle
Mike: I love stable vs stable feuds. It’s the cornerstone of my favorite promotion, and I’ve been genuinely pleased in the steps that the Elite and Inner Circle feud has taken over the last seven months. In the before times, it felt like we were going to get a solid conclusion to the feud with a Blood and Guts match, and it still seems like that’s still the end game. Or at least I hope that’s still the endgame. Matt Hardy joining AEW makes sense from the business side, but has been awkward creatively. The street fight with him and Omega vs Jericho and Guevara was much more in his wheelhouse than other matches and interactions he has had. The best thing about Hardy in AEW hasn’t been Matt Hardy himself, but Jericho reacting to the general ridiculousness of Matt Hardy’s universe, like cutting an incredibly entertaining promo on a drone for five minutes. Having basically a stadium street fight and the injection of the Bucks and Page should provide enough juice for this to top the street fight. It’s nice to be the son of the NFL owner because you can decide “hey, let’s do this match at the football stadium,” and it doesn’t feel cringe or contrived. I really hope this isn’t the blowoff of the current longest-lasting feud in AEW. It’d feel inappropriate and short-sighted to end this feud without Cody and Jericho facing off one more time. Because of that, I think Inner Circle wins and it gets blown off in front of a crowd for Blood and Guts. Winners: The Inner Circle
Griffin: I don’t know what else there is to say that Mike and Tyler haven’t already touched on. The focus on stables in AEW has been a real treat as it’s been missing, in my opinion, from mainstream American wrestling for nearly three decades (barring the fun TNA Frontline vs. Main Event Mafia feud in TNA). I really hope this match is filmed in the style of the Street Fight and not in style of a Matt Hardy cinematic experience. This has loads of potential to be a lot of fun with some fun comedy gimmicks intertwined in the serious feud. Out of all the guys in the match, I’m really excited to see what Sammy Guevara will do next. He has future star written all over him and he should really shine in this environment. The Inner Circle will take this one and we can build to the Blood & Guts War Game match down the road. Winners: The Inner Circle
Shawn Spears vs Dustin Rhodes
Tyler: Something that has been missing from American wrestling for a long time is feeling like throw in matches like this still mean something. Shawn Spears hates Cody so he goes after his older brother. Pair that with what feels like a budding partnership with MJF and you have a recipe for a budding storyline moving forward because MJF also hates Cody. It’s incredibly simple in premise, yet very intriguing in its depth and development. With a lot of different storylines going on right now, Spears needs the win to keep any kind of momentum going. Winner: Shawn Spears
Mike: One thing that I’ve really enjoyed in All Elite Wrestling is the idea that feuds can get personal and simmer. Shawn Spears is going to forever have an axe to grind against Cody and the Rhodes family, so no wonder he’d want to face his older brother. Dustin facing the thorn in his brother’s side makes a load of sense and is fine for a lower card match on the pay per view. Dustin’s going into this after being written off of TV for the past few weeks after the Lance Archer match, whereas Spears has mostly been doing inconsequential matches and gambling with MJF without Tully Blanchard by his side. There’s probably a longer term feud of Dustin/QT Marshall vs Spears/if they ever decide who is Spears’ tag partner, but for now, this match is fine and good padding for the pay per view. Winner: Shawn Spears
Griffin: I love that feuds don’t die after two guys fight in AEW. It’s simple storytelling that can give a push of momentum to smaller matches like this. A throwaway undercard match now has a year’s worth of story behind it because it is attached. I think the Spears finding a tag team partner story has been dropped, but I feel like a TV match with Cody for the TNT title is in the cards. Spears gets the win here to build some momentum for an eventual rematch with Cody. Winner: Shawn Spears
AEW World Championship
Jon Moxley © vs. Brodie Lee
Tyler: This build has been really weird. Once he was revealed as the exalted one, it was inevitable that Brodie Lee was going to receive a title shot, but to get one this soon feels too soon. After months of The Dark Order being cringy and feeling low rent, it has really come around over the last couple of months and has been just fine. With Lee being a cult leader, he goes ahead and takes whatever he wants and does so by taking Moxley’s title. When Moxley threatens to destroy 10’s arm if he doesn’t get it back, Lee plays it like a true cult leader and says “We must all make sacrifices” and leaves him in the middle of the ring for Moxley to take out. This will be a brawl in and out of the ring and I fully expect Moxley to retain, as it is too early to take the title off of him. Winner: Jon Moxley
Mike: As the one person who called both the identity of The Exalted One, and the date of their debut, I should feel a bit happier about Brodie Lee parlaying my excellent predictive skills into a World Title Match. He’s been mostly great in this role: dismantling everyone who has gone against him and completely the turn of the Dark Order as a cringe act into a group of main roster players. But why do I can’t escape the feeling that this second Moxley defense would fit better on Dynamite than what could be a pay-per-view main event? I don’t think the result in this match is in doubt, which was a lot like how I felt about Jericho’s Dynamite defenses against Darby Allin and Scorpio Sky and Moxley’s previous defense against Jake Hager. This is a loss that really Lee shouldn’t take, but they booked this into happening. Maybe the advantage of doing this now is that you aren’t “wasting” a PPV title match here since there are no tickets to be sold, and you’d have bigger title matches in your back pocket when AEW is travelling again? The match itself is something I think would work for both of these guys’ strengths. Moxley in 2020 seems better in matches where he has to persevere, and Lee can throw him around/play up the idea that he’s this agile big guy. Just the result isn’t in doubt, and that’s somewhat disappointing. Winner: Jon Moxley
Griffin: While the build has been fine, this is a weird match. Mr. Brodie Lee has been fantastic in his role as the leader of the Dark Order (#JoinDarkOrder) and has shown his entertainment skills through some good promos (check out the most recent Road To). Jon Moxley, however, is not ready to lose the title. Mox is still white hot as champion and he has a lot left in his tank as being the face of the company. This will be a fun match and there should be some minions dying chaos and expect Jon to be triple powerbombed through a table, but there’s now ay Moxley is losing. Winner: Jon Moxley