Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/05/26/aew-double-or-nothing-post-show/
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John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Double or Nothing from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
We review the entire card headlined by Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho, an incredibly violent bladejob from Dustin Rhodes, and the AEW debut of Jon Moxley.
Plus, your phone calls and feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum.
Watch this show on our YouTube channel:
AEW Double or Nothing
Saturday, May 25th, 2019
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Las Vegas, Nevada
*Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega
*AAA World Tag Team Titles: The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c) vs. The Lucha Brothers (Fenix & Pentagon Jr.)
*Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes
*Britt Baker vs. Kylie Rae vs. Nyla Rose
*SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) vs. Strong Hearts (CIMA, El Lindaman & T-Hawk)
*Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent) vs. Angelico & Jack Evans
*Aja Kong, Emi Sakura & Yuka Sakazaki vs. Hikaru Shida, Riho & Ryo Mizunami
*21 Man Casino Battle Royale: ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. Ace Romero vs. Brandon Cutler vs. Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Dustin Thomas vs. Glacier vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Joey Janela vs. Jungle Boy vs. Luchasaurus vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Shawn Spears vs. Sonny Kiss vs. Sunny Daze
*Kip Sabian vs. Sammy Guevara
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It was a good show but it was a regular wrestling show with the only difference being AEW leaning on their slight obsession with WWE. Wrestling fans are hypocrites in their desperation for an alternative so I’m sure there will be many saying it was revolutionary rather than more of the same.
Negative thoughts on the show:
Samoa Joe breaks his nose and WWE rushes to a finish to protect their wrestlers health. Omega breaks his nose and is forced to finish the match as planned. As a viewer I find this extremely concerning because this is absolutely NOT the direction I want to see wrestling go. Performers come first. Always.
Nearly a 5 hour show. Why? Everyone hates this and AEW knows it. This had better been AEW’s version of Wrestlemania because if this is actually their equivalent of Backlash level PPV its going to be a major ongoing stain on the company just like it is on WWE. Hopefully future PPV’s are kept under 3 hours pre show included. Know your audience. Do what WWE can’t.
Production is problematic. I would like to think this will improve over time especially as they get tv and the crew becomes familiar with routines. But for now it actively hurt the product.
Drop the WWE bullshit. Almost every single competitor be it TNA, WCW or ECW made it a common practice to call out WWE either subtly or blatantly in program/out of program. This makes you look like an indie company, period. If we’re to take AEW seriously they have to stop resorting to this nonsense.
Battle Royale was a complete disaster of a match for reasons discussed in the show.
Screwing fans over not delivering a marquee match in Pac was a massive stain on your company right off the bat. This reminded me of WWE booking Braun vs Brock at Rumble just to trick people into ticket sales when the planned match from the start was always Finn vs Brock. There was no good reason to bait and switch the fans here. Yes, I’m very much aware of AEW’s excuses here and the story as a whole. They had tons of out and choose to go with none of them in favor of directly screwing over paid customers. Very bad look.
Positive thoughts on the show:
This was clearly a vastly superior show to anything WWE’s main product can deliver. Honestly, who would that surprise? If this show was worse than even Wrestlemania or Money in the Bank than I’d consider it a complete disaster. Despite the many problems this was a promising start that left people happy and talking. Myself included.
John and Wai touched on the Rhodes feud…its build and emotion. I think this is a KEY factor to great wrestling. SHORT, but important builds to matches. WWE constantly gets a hot feud and ruins it due to over exposure and tv time given to it. Matches don’t need 4+ weeks of build. They only need a couple of segments and then keep the performers apart and let the crowd build the hype themselves. If those couple segments run cold give it more attention…but if you are hot don’t risk cooling it off. The original Jericho and Omega match in NJPW was another masterful example of how to build a feud right.
Here’s the real question. We know AEW isn’t competing with WWE main roster stuff. That’s too easy and its not competition.
How did Double or Nothing compare against its TRUE competition? Was this show better than NXT Takeovers? Was it better than NJPW’s top end PPVs? Where does AEW stack up against the best of the hardcore wrestling faithful?
Note: I critique AEW for the same reasons I do WWE. I’m not a hater. I want both companies to be wildly successful.
Good feedback. I think you bring up several interesting thoughts regarding DON. I can’t speak for JoPo or The Man Called Ting, but I’ll give my thoughts on some of what you said:
I don’t think you’ll ever be able to legislate that “show must go on” mentality out of pro-wrestlers (or any athlete for that matter), so it falls on the company to protect them from themselves. That being said, you have to take the moment into account. If this were TV, I’m sure they’d have done something different, but this was their first big show that you’re charging people big money for. If they stopped the match then, I could see people feeling the way you felt about Pac-Page falling through.
Time wasn’t a problem for me. If we can survive 7 hours of Mania or 5 hours or NJPW, a 5 hour “event” (which this was) is fine…As long as this isn’t the length if every AEW PPV, I think fans will tolerate it.
This was the only real negative of the night for me…But it’s also an easy fix. The camera work will improve w/regular TV & Alex Marvez can be moved to a spot that better suits him. The set looked professional, though. Better than ROH and on-par with Spike-era TNA production (which is actually a compliment).
I don’t mind the occasional jab at The Fed every now & then. As long as it doesn’t permeate every aspect of the show. It’s just a bit of red meat for your hardcore fanbase.
Al in all, I thought it was a very solid (8/10) show. There was plenty of variety in the matches, you got your big debut with Mox, Cody & Dustin told a great story in their match, & by the end of the night the Page-Pac debacle was an afterthought. It’s a good time to be a wrasslin’ fan!
As a mostly WWE fan I will say I look forward to AEW having a regular show to build feuds etc. The in ring product was good, but I had little investment in the characters and as such the outcomes of the matches.
As to the Battle Royale, I think the general concept could work but needs to be refined. For instance have 4 entry points so people are not all walking down the same ramp, if you had a count down and then you had guys run in from the 4 corners it could work. As the the card thing I would do a Royale Flush theme then have the four10s start the match, the the Jacks come in next etc. Then have the Joker come in last as number 21.
Beyond that Jericho’s finisher was a let down for me.
I have to disagree with @MJfromNJ about WWE looking bad if they say anything in response. AEW constantly talked about WWE in interviews and on twitter so when WWE gave them a little jab at the Hall Of Fame, it did get over. With how much AEW are obsessed with WWE, I don’t think anyone would blame them for taking a slight jab or more against AEW again. You can’t get into a fight and say “you’re not allowed to hit me”.
WWE can absolutely hit them and everyone will go wild about it. When the COO of a public company calls them pisants and threatens to buy them - that’s so petty. When an EP of an upstart Wrestling promotion pokes fun at his competitor who has had a stronghold on the industry, it’s dumb, but it’s pretty dismissible.
Liken it to this:
When a babyface cuts a scathing promo we all love it
When a heel cuts a scathing promo they get boo’d
In a world where WWE wasn’t preventing taken from leaving and sabatoging AEW/adjacent events like Starrcast…any negative comments they make look really bullying.
Cody is smart enough to know they are the babyface company in what amounts to a classic wrestling story - the ultimate underdogs vs the monster heel
I don’t necessarily see either as a babyface or heel company especially as Cody’s character isn’t one I’d consider the most likeable (not just talking about his character in wrestling).
Having more of a go at someone because AEW think they can get away with having a go at WWE more than WWE can with AEW, really doesn’t paint AEW in a positive light in my opinion regardless how bigger WWE are than AEW.
AEW are like the kid in this video, tell me you weren’t slightly happy when he was on the ground crying…
I think the people involved are smart enough to realize that controversy equals ratings.
Also, let’s remember that Cody vs. Dustin could have been a big WWE program, but we know how that went. They(WWE)wasted that opportunity, and the only way to see it was here
Cody claims he burned the bridge forever with WWE after last night. Wrong. He just made one of the most interesting hyped matches at a Wrestlemania we could now see: Cody vs Hunter
Let’s look at this from a different perspective. AEW Double was a great first impression for the company. They establish a strong foundation for when they start airing on TNT and other international networks in the fall. They have their core audience all set up with the most hardcore of the hardcore fans.
So the next step for AEW is to start going after the rest of the hardcore fans and after that the casual fans.
The only way AEW will ever be competition for WWE is if they take it slowly and don’t provoke WWE to much. I’ve read this comparison on another message board and i thought this was a great way to explain the current situation. Right now WWE is like Disney, It’s the big dog in the yard that buys up everything and produce a lot of big budget blockbuster movies that either make money or don’t but they don’t care. AEW is like the small independent movie company gets all the attention of the academy for producing quality movies. That’s the same thing with WWE and AEW right now, WWE is sports entertainment, it’s always was and always will be. They don’T cares about wrestling or making anything make sense because they see it as entertainment and they are more focus on getting the younger demographic and the casual to be attracted to the product instead of loving serious pro wrestling. AEW is What the purest of Wrestling fans want. Great storytelling, continuity and great ring work and that’s what they need to get across to the mass.
Right now they had a great first show but we can’t and they can’t go on thinking then within a year they will be competition or even in the same league as WWE. They got a chance if they take their time and actually focus more on what they do instead of focusing too much on the end goal but for now they are pretty much in the same league as pretty much everybody else in the pro wrestling business.
Half of this equation may be correct. WWE is a giant conglomerate like Disney. However, comparing AEW to an independent studio is missing the mark entirely. They are financially equal to WWE, if they choose to be so.
I’d say AEW is positioning themselves to be a Marvel Studios-style organization (which yes, I know is a Disney owned company). AEW wants to create the MCU of mainstream professional wrestling. Something that rewards fans and build stories with actual pay off. Something that looks like tentpole cinema they are familiar with - but actually deliver on the story and depth.
WWE, year after year, feels more like a Transformers-type franchise. All style, and no real substance to long term viewers. Explosions and spectacle. Making a shitload of money, but truly can’t hold up to a critical eye.
It is possible to be both a massive spectacle based company AND tell good stories. And I think that is what AEW’s goal seems to be.
Good points and completely agree with your assessment but i just want to clarify something from my previous comment. When i talk about independent studio, i was meaning more like a second tier studio like a sony pictures who is doing a completely different thing from a studio like a Disney who pretty much own everything and can’T be stop no matter what happened. Just look at the stuff that disney as release lately that we’re pretty much just cash grab. The MCU as a whole is one giant cash grab, they do the same movie over and over again and fans still go see them and enjoyed them because the story is still captivating. They bought star wars just too be able to cash in on the success that reviving the franchise would bring. They make those worthless remake of animated classic and for the most part, they are huge box office success. That’S WWE in a nutshell. Aiming at the casual and the younger generation that don’t care what they watch they just go a see it because it’s made by The WWE.
While AEW is more like Sony pictures, i would have said Fox but they just got bought by Disney, They have a more adult oriented production for the most part. Their Movies are not always Blockbusters but they are trying to get as much of the pie as they possibly can. AEW is that, They don’t have WWE style Money but they’re almost at the same level as WWE is as far as financial is concern. They are still a unproven brand and will remain that way until they start the tv show in the fall. That’s what i’m getting at. Now where pretty much at the honeymoon phase as far as AEW is concern. The real Test start in the fall with when the tv deal starts and how much they can grow their audience within the first 2 years of the promotions existence because i’m pretty sure that if they can’t get a significant grow in the ratings when their current contract end, TNT might think twice before giving them a new deal especially if the expectation is to beat WWE in the ratings by that time.
Funny thing about this analogy, the first Star Wars movie was an independent film. Then it went on to change everything
Well, I was there live - amazing atmosphere and the card totally delivered. Zero bad matches and the final three were all incredible.
Full disclosure - I have no clue about the production or commentary, but the show looked and felt extremely professional from a fan point of view. I’ve been to ROH and Impact shows and the look and feel blew them out of the water.
Also - I’ve never watched a complete episode of BTE so some of the stuff may have gone over my head.
the battle royal was pretty sloppy, not sure if that format should be used again. MJF really shined though
Sammy vs, Sabian was decent, but I thought Guevara should have went over. See way more potential in him
Opening six-man was a ton of fun, loved it. Scorpio Sky is a star
The Kong surprise was perfect and including her was a big moment. Had never seen Kylie Rae work, but I thought she really stood out and was way over. Nyla Rose needs some seasoning
Best Friends vs Angelico and Jack Evans was excellent. It felt like the crowd didn’t totally know any of the guys at the start, but they drew them in by the end. The tag division in AEW is stacked
The Smash Bros reveal was handled poorly. I’ve never seen them so I had no idea who they were. Maybe they should have spoken or something, but it was just a bad idea
The Joshi match I had only ever heard of Aja Kong, but this match totally exceeded my expectations. It felt like a classic WCW luchadore match and the crowd got really into it. Great change of pace from the previous segment and this was placed perfectly on the show
Cody and Dustin was a classic. Still can’t believe WWE decided not to do this on a big stage. Dustin looked as good as ever and the blade job brought a ton of drama. The post-match also really delivered. This was the hottest match of the night in the crowd
The title reveal was also really well done and perfect use of Bret Hart. MJF is going to be the hottest heel in the biz very soon.
My personal fave was Bucks vs. Lucha Bros, and Pentagon felt to me like the most over guy (other than Moxley). So many innovative spots and the pace was unreal. Tag team wrestling can be awesome when it’s booked seriously
Jericho and Omega was good, but nowhere close to their WK match. It felt like the crowd did wane a bit, but it picked up as the match went on. Didnt love Jericho’s new finish, but if it’s booked effectively it’ll get over. The Moxley reveal was nuts and I don’t think it came across on camera but the pop was MASSIVE. Just a super hot angle to leave you wanting more.
From an audience perspective this was almost a perfect show. Zero complaints from me. They now build to Jericho/Page, Bucks/Rhodes and Omega/Moxley.
Nothing to complain about, Battle Royal was sloppy and Jericho’s finisher sucks…
Anyway, it’s not a surprise WWE didn’t give massive focus to Cody v. Goldust. Cody was a failure in WWE even though they were desperate to cash in on his name and Goldust was Goldust, a lower midcard comedy figure. No one was clamoring to see that match and let’s not pretend it would’ve worked back then. The fact that it was at a start up promotion were being recognisable faces from WWE made them stand out is why the came across as bigger stars even though Goldust’s new face paint made him look dumber than usual. Similar to why Dean Ambrose and Jericho are big deals in AEW.