All Elite Wrestling
Double or Nothing 2023
May 28, 2023
Watch: PPV, B/R Live & FITE
Meet our previewers
Steve Case: Well this PPV cycle has been quite the ride hasn’t it? Perhaps the biggest mixed bag of stories and shows in a given period this company has had in its short history. Let’s not even get started on the #drama that you all know but this writer refuses to discuss further here. Go to the hellscape that is Twitter for that. Until AEW has a misfire of a PPV show, there’s no reason not to expect another stellar show here. This show has a little bit of everything from an old school pro wrestling blood feud, to evaluating the structural soundness of the company’s “pillars,” to a ladder match featuring a legend of the stipulation, and a legendary tag team looking for redemption. Again, there’s no reason to think this show won’t deliver, even if on paper it looks a bit uneven. Speaking of on paper, if you are a fan of pro wrestling and would like to introduce it to your child or someone close to you, check out “Sleeper Hold: Pro Wrestling for Babies,” written by Steve’s much better half, the Good Doctor, among her other works!
Lee Malone: I am nowhere near as negative on the build to this show as the general consensus seems to be and as Steve says above until a PPV fails to deliver there is no reason to doubt AEW’s ability to deliver a killer show. Check out all the shows on the award-winning (we’ve won some awards, right?) VOW Podcast Network but especially listen to Days of Thunder (@wcwthunderpod on Twitter), where Dave has had some incredible guest hosts while I’m on an enforced hiatus. Oh and definitely check out the books written by Steve’s wife, they rule!
If the Hardys win, Matt Hardy will own Ethan Page’s contract
Ethan Page & The Gunns vs. The Hardys & Hook
Steve: The Hardys could never be on television again starting tomorrow, and I would not shed a tear. Immensely popular team in their day, and Matt and Jeff should be applauded for what they have accomplished on their own in their careers. It’s time to move on from these guys, though. Matt has a creative mind for the business and probably has an entire career ahead of him backstage in wrestling if he wants it. I don’t know about Jeff in that regard, but at what point should a guy known for taking hellacious risks with his body rethink things when the in-ring stuff starts to regress? Not even getting into the personal issues away from wrestling, that’s a different discussion entirely. My hope is this is short, accentuates the young guys, and no one gets hurt. Prediction: The Hardys & Hook
Lee: I feel bad for Hook. He has so much potential, and undeniable charisma and seems to get better in the ring each time we see him. Yet he’s stuck tagging with a Hardy Boyz duo that looks absolutely washed. Let’s just fast forward to the bit where they challenge for the tag belts, hopefully, please god they lose, and then they go away forever!
Nobody can possibly care about Ethan Page’s contract, we know IMPACT didn’t care enough to give him a new contract in 2020! I get a kick out of The Gunns being total geeks! A perfectly fine lower card heel team, remember not everyone needs to be a main eventer. Prediction: The Hardy Hooks
Unsanctioned Match – Guest Enforcer: Sabu
Adam Cole vs. Chris Jericho
Steve: SABU?! I mean….WHAT?! Listen, that is about as out of left field as a special guest enforcer you can have for this match. Yes, it’s unsanctioned, but if you thought to yourself, “You know who would be the PERFECT special guest enforcer for this? SABU!” Get your head examined. It absolutely rules, but no one asked for this HERE. This will assuredly have all the bells and whistles and interference and plunder you can handle. The thing is, Cole has a history of being REALLY GOOD at plunder matches and Jericho rarely misses in a big spot. This won’t be a mat classic, but it could be a classic nonetheless. Sabu being a special referee for no reason other than he lives in Vegas is weird to me. Everything matters in this company, so I feel like there may be more to that. There’s the ECW connection with Jericho, does he cost Cole the match? In the year of our lord 2023, that could lead to an Adam Cole vs. Sabu match and I’m here for it. Let’s go with that. Prediction: Chris Jericho
Lee: I feel like this feud is suffering from two problems. Problem number 1 is that people for whatever reason still believe in the Jericho Vortex and that everything involving him sucks. Those people are wrong and should be ignored at all times. Problem number 2 is that the beatdown of Britt Baker when Cole was handcuffed to the ropes was the absolute shits. We’ve seen Britt have downright wars with Thunder Rosa and yet we are to believe that a couple of kendo stick shots were somehow going too far. Despite those problems, Jericho always delivers when it matters, and Cole is a low-key great plunder guy. Throw in some shenanigans involving JAS, Roddy Strong, and Sabu, and this has a chance to be a damn good match. Cole has big things coming up over the summer and fall so I see no reason for him to drop a fall to Jericho right now. Jericho is evergreen and can eat a loss here and bounce right back on Dynamite. Prediction: Adam Cole
AEW TBS Championship
Jade Cargill © vs. Taya Valkyrie
Steve: They HAVE TO do something different with Jade. Get her in there with some of the top women. Time to see if she really belongs in these spots. Whether she can hang or not, she has a great look and presence that can allow her to still be a valuable talent on the roster. Just not with the belt in title matches on PPV. And Taya? She ain’t it. Prediction: Jade Cargill
Lee: The holding pattern continues. I mean, what are we even doing here now, every single feud for Jade has been the same. A new challenger emerges, Jade says bitch a whole lot, her challenger beats Leila Grey, and then Jade retains her title. I’m hoping we get a Kris Statlander appearance post-match and we can finally make moves to get this title off Jade. Prediction: Jade Cargill
Anarchy in the Arena
Blackpool Combat Club vs. The Elite
Steve: Ahhhh now this, this is the good shit as they say. I said at the jump how this cycle has been hit or miss. This feud has been hit after hit after hit. Danielson being a conniving final boss. BCC being ruthless heels in the vein of the old-school horsemen. The Mox/Kenny cage match. Don Callis’s subsequent turn. The Hangman beat down and return to rejoin The Elite. The promos, the matches, the entire feud has been outstanding from the jump. This will likely be the big blowoff, but there’s definitely still meat on the bone if they wanted. The floor is the original Anarchy match, which was a top 10 match of the year last year. The ceiling? Who knows how high that can be? I feel like The Elite win here, but there is a chance Hanger takes the pin to continue that Elite storyline of is he all the way back in. A true toss-up, with either direction being great. That’s pro wrestling, folks. Prediction: The Elite
Lee: Kenny Omega. Jon Moxley. Adam Page. Bryan Danielson. Nick Jackson. Claudio Castagnoli. Matt Jackson. Wheeler Yuta. Eight of the premier talents in all of wrestling in one single match. Just an insane line-up and I have no idea of the chaos and ahem, Anarchy these eight guys are dreaming up right now for this match. From the very get go this feud has been fucking incredible and has had fans drooling at the possibilities of just what these two factions can do with each other. The segment involving Hangman Adam Page’s return to not only AEW but also reuniting with The Elite is everything I want in my pro wrestling. This is a story that has been told since the very first AEW show and is culminating at this PPV. This might be a hot take, but Kenny Omega vs Jon Moxley is the definitive AEW feud. I could watch those two wrestle every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it. Anyway, this will be awesome and will for sure make many, many Match of the Years lists of that I have no doubt Prediction: Blackpool Combat Club
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AEW Women’s World Championship
Jamie Hayter © vs. Toni Storm
Steve: I would have said this would be a no-doubter Jamie retains. But two things are keeping me from that. The first is Jamie’s injury, which may or may not be bad? She’s definitely not 100%, that’s for sure. The second is I don’t know if you want to beat Toni again. If you want The Outcasts to look strong coming out of this, I think she has to win. This could also serve two purposes. The first being Toni could get a reign over the summer that Thunder Rosa doesn’t taint. The second being they can build Jamie back up, and get her healed up for Wembly in August. Prediction: Toni Storm
Lee: All the news surrounding this seems to be that Jamie is legitimately hurt, so I wouldn’t be shocked if this is a quick squash match involving an angle afterward. No matter what, I think Toni was winning the belt back here so Jamie can be set up for a triumphant victory at All In. If Jamie is hurt badly and looking at a long-term layoff, then it’s anybody’s guess what the outlook is for the women’s division going forward. Ideally we go back to having some kickass singles matches involving the stronger in ring performers that are available to AEW, of which there are plenty. Prediction: Toni Storm
21-man Blackjack Battle Royal – AEW International Championship
Orange Cassidy © vs. (we’ll see if we get a full list today)
Steve: We have gotten the list! I think only three people not named Orange can win this. Ricky Starks or Jay White could easily win this and use it to boost their less-than-stellar feud. Throw a defense against OC in there for either, and you immediately have a strong start to a title reign for either. The other is Swerve Strickland. This guy has top-tier potential. Not that the other two don’t, Swerve is just different. He is effortlessly cool, he oozes charisma and confidence without pandering, he’s silky smooth and unique in the ring, and he simply needs something to do. Kick the tires on the Keith Lee feud finally. Go into a feud with OC and the Best Friends. Anything. The dude is too good. Ultimately, I think OC retains here and feuds with one or all three of these men. His reign is one of the best in company history. He deserves to go out on his shield, not in a battle royale. Also, wouldn’t it be the ultimate OC thing to find a way win a match against 20 other dudes? Prediction: Orange Cassidy
Lee: Well, this is quite underwhelming, isn’t it? Orange has had an amazing run as International Champion, and I am into the story of him breaking down over the course of his reign. I feel there are three possible winners here, Orange, Jay White, or Swerve. I’d be quite disappointed if Orange were to lose in a Battle Royal, but sneaking a win without having to beat someone is a victory that would suit either White or Strickland. Everyone has been rather disappointed in the booking of White since his debut, and understandably so, so the temptation to have him end Orange’s reign and get some heat must be strong. However, I’d like to see Orange retain and have a returning/debuting heel show up and either challenge him on the spot and beat him or beatdown Orange and make a challenge for Wednesday’s Dynamite. Prediction: Orange Cassidy
Ladder Match – AEW TNT Championship
Wardlow © vs. Christian Cage
Steve: This is a big match for Wardlow. He has lost a lot of his luster in the last six months. His promos are not that compelling, and he hasn’t had a truly memorable match in what feels like an eternity. Really since the MJF feud, we’ve seen the decline start slowly, but really ramp up (or down) in trajectory this calendar year. Enter Christian. A true HEEL in every sense of the word. The kind of heel that’s so good that you want to like him. But as soon as you start to be that fan who cheers the heel, Christian says or does something so despicable you have to boo him. The effect he had on Jungle Boy might not be fully understood until after the heel turn (more on that later), but I feel like this feud will serve the same purpose for Wardlow. This could be a placeholder to get through Double or Nothing, but I feel like this must continue. And it only makes sense to continue if Christian wins the title here. Prediction: Christian Cage
Lee: I like Wardlow, I do, but the big worry is that he is a one-trick pony who has peaked in the MJF feud. The Will Hobbs feud was a mess, and both Hobbs and Wardlow need to shoulder the blame for that. Aligning Arn Anderson with Wardlow could undoubtedly help, but as of yet, I don’t think it’s had either a positive or negative effect. Despite being a champion, Wardlow feels kind of lost and in need of refreshing.
On the other hand, Christian has been superb in pretty much everything he has been a part of since coming to AEW. He had the great matches with Kenny Omega, he made people care about Jurassic Express, his promos since his heel turn have been top notch and he did everything within his power to put Jack Perry over in their protracted feud. This feels like an instance of Christian once again being the smartest guy in the company and out working his opponent, making Wardlow challenge him to a Ladder Match. We’ve seen Christian deliver previously in one on one Ladder matches so I have very little doubt that this will be great. Christian to win and continue his incredible quest to take on anyone whose father has died. Prediction: Christian Cage
AEW World Tag Team Championship – Guest Referee: Mark Briscoe
FTR © vs. Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal
Steve: I am definitely in the camp that Jeff Jarrett has been GREAT in AEW. He’s perfect in his role. He’s still good enough to get wins and random title shots like this one. He’s also someone with credibility you can beat and make to look a fool for eternity. The Briscoe involvement has been fantastic. The chicken farm segment alone would get this high marks, but the angle on this last Dynamite with Mark going nuts and speaking to Jay Lethal’s soul was fantastic. If you don’t follow Dax away from the ring, FTR remains fantastic. I have no doubt this will entertain old-school Memphis style. Prediction: FTR
Lee: Let’s get this out of the way instantly, Dax is very annoying and keeps awful company away from the ring. That’s not Hong to change. What’s also not going to change is FTR are currently one of the absolute best tag teams around and will continue to deliver kickass matches against a variety of opponents.
You can also add me to the company that has loved Jeff Jarretts run in AEW. He’s been a hoot, and I hope it continues. This story seems to be going one of two ways; a Jay Lethal vs. Mark Briscoe feud or Jay Lethal listening to his long-time friend Mark Brisoce and dumping Jarrett, Satnam, and Sonjay Dutt. Either of those is fine with me because I want to see more of Mark Briscoe on AEW TV. Give me a fun Memphis-style throwback with tonnes of interference and just good ol fun wrasslin’ and I’ll be delighted, this doesn’t need to be a modern-day Match of the Year contender-style match. Prediction: FTR
AEW World Championship
MJF © vs. Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin vs. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry
Steve: Whew boy. This “pillars” story has not been great. It’s not the worst story ever, as you might be led to believe by the talk around it, but it ain’t great. It’s shown some real holes in everyone’s game, and has cooled MJF off in the process. Don’t worry, he’s going to get his heat back, and quickly. However, this has not been his or anyone’s finest hour. So who’s gonna win? Let’s rank them in order of likelihood!
4) Sammy Guevara: Sammy has no chance to win this title. They seem to be moving in a more face-like direction with him, and he’s been much better the last few weeks than he was for most of this feud. But Sammy is not ready for this spot. He may never be, though I’m happy to be proven wrong.
3) Darby Allin: I was a proponent of Darby never needing to win a belt when he first started. Darby is all about the chase. The endearing, likeable, loner underdog who you have to put in the ground to beat. His two TNT title runs showed he can be a fantastic fighting champion. You have the history with MJF too, with the headlock takeover becoming a plot point. It’s not a 0% chance he wins, but it’s not double digits either. Darby will get his moment one day, but not here.
2) “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry: This might surprise some people, since most seem to agree ‘ol Jungle Boy has been exposed the most during this feud. No one will ever question his in-ring ability, but the promos, the look, and the confidence just isn’t there. When he gets fired up and passionate, his promos are good. When he talks, he sounds like he’s memorizing a script. The problem is that’s often in the same promo. They’ve been teasing him being more heelish. I think that’s the direction they go, but not full-blown here. It’s not out of the realm he cheats or gets a fluky win. Again, more than 0% and less than 10%, but it’s not impossible given where I think they are going with his character. I think Jack takes the pin here, and is sent further down a dark path.
1) MJF: He’s a virtual lock to retain. This has not been his best work in this feud, but it seems a lot more like he’s not turning it all the way up so the others don’t get buried than anything else. There’s too much ahead of him with the return of [redacted] and the huge shows this summer. Say what you will about this feud, but this match should be terrific as all of these men are exceptional wrestlers. They also know this hasn’t been great, so they’ll be going extra hard to deliver. Also, don’t leave when the credits hit. A certain devil, may return and show his face.
Lee: MJF is not losing the AEW Title until All In at Wembley Stadium. I am 99.9999% positive of that, barring injury of course. Adam Cole seems like the next challenger up, and let’s be honest even if Cole doesn’t get your fire burning as a face, anything will be better than the mess that this Four Pillars feud ended up as. The idea of the match is a good one, and again I have little doubt the match will be good because all four guys are great wrestlers. That doesn’t excuse that this match isn’t worthy of headlining a PPV, it’s just not. This should have been built over a number of weeks to headline an episode of Dynamite, and then if you want to transition to a one vs one feud of MJF vs Darby or Jack Perry, it’s a lot cleaner and easier.
Let’s be real Sammy Guevara has no right to be in a PPV main event right now. He’s been a Jericho lackey for 90% of his AEW run, and the other 10% was a messy confusing feud with Scorpio Sky. He’s seemingly been both a heel and a face in this build, and again, it’s just needlessly messy and confusing.
Both Darby and Jack Perry have been varying degrees of bad to fine in the build to the match. Jack is heading towards a heel turn which I think will do him a world of good. Darby has deviated too far from his normal routine of being a little weirdo who makes fun of 90-second videos during his feuds to now talking about needing to be the face of AEW. Just give us back the Darby we all loved and supported, not this NXT, bought-off Wish version of Darby.
So that leaves us with Maxwell. By all reports, he is responsible for most of this feud. We all know he’s a massive WWE fan, but there comes the point where Tony Khan needs to reel back some of MJF’s more sports entertainment-like instincts. We know Maxwell can have compelling feuds even when integrating some WWE bullshit, so let’s get back to MJF cutting incredible promos and having some real hatred for his opponent. We’ve already seen MJF dropping subtle CM Punk references in his promos, so let’s hope we will soon get the next chapter in their feud. As I stated at the beginning of this preview Adam Cole seems like the logical next man up, and I think that is a pairing that will deliver both in and out of the ring. Prediction: MJF