Well, them Bucks of Youth and Cody have had their roll of the dice at Double Or Nothing – question is, did they win or was it a bust?
A+ show, they broke the bank with this one.
Sonny Kiss vs. Brandon Cutler vs. Ace Romero vs. Glacier vs. Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Sunny Daze vs. MJF vs. Joey Janela vs. Dustin Thomas vs. Billy Gunn vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Michael Nakazawa vs. Jungle Boy vs. Isiah Kassidy vs. Marq Queen vs. Luchasaurus vs. Shawn Spears vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. Hangman Page vs. Marko Stunt vs. An Additional Entrant Whose Name I Missed (Preshow, Casino Battle Royale – Winner Fights Winner of Omega vs. Jericho For AEW World Championship)
Oh shit, Dustin Thomas is that guy with no legs who was at Joey Janela’s Spring Break this year! The early entrants in the Casino Battle Royale tended towards the comedy and novelty acts (what with all Nakazawa’s baby oil antics and MJF and so on), I guess to get past them so that the final entrants could be people with a bit more gravitas and more viable candidates for first world champ. Interesting to see how they had the tone shift fairly suddenly but not jarringly towards the end of the battle royale like that – I feel like they’ve learned something from MLW’s Battle Riot format here.
This was a spotfest which let everyone get some spotlight, which is frankly what a battle royale should be, and seemed pretty damn exciting to me. Hangman Page as number 21 made sense – I guess this means his injury was worked, so as to excuse not finding him another opponent on the main card (hopefully that means everyone else gets that much more time to work with), and giving him this spotlight was a good way to make him seem important. I do wonder who they had planned to win this before the PAC situation happened, mind.
Kip Sabian vs. Sammy Guevara (Preshow)
Called it! But that finish was wild, as was the action leading up to it.
SoCal Uncensored vs. Strong Hearts
Ah, so Strong Hearts are a team from OWE – the Chinese promotion that AEW’s made links with. They also used this match to announce that as per AEW rules you have a 10 count to exit the ring after tagging rather than a 5 count, which is the theoretical time limit in a lot of promotions but in practice is sufficiently restrictive that it’s near-always ignored.
Interesting that SCU got the win – I guess because they’re sticking around for the long haul whereas the OWE contingent were guests, it was more important that SCU get the win so as to conserve their position in AEW’s “wins matter” system (however that ends up working).
Britt Baker vs. Nyla Rose vs. Kylie Rae vs. HOLY FUCK IT’S AWESOME KONG
So, Kylie Rae is “Bayley on speed” (as someone mentioned on chat last night), Nyla Rose is a proper beast (to the point where she comes out of the heel entrance), and Britt Baker is a… dentist? Well, I guess a good gimmick involves taking your real attributes and turning them up to 11.
Brandi working us all by tricking us into thinking she’d get involved in some sort of Stephanie McMahon-esque move was a great trick, and of course when the real fourth entrant was revealed I marked out big time. Awesome Kong is easily the biggest name yet to be added to the AEW women’s roster, and what an excellent way to unveil her and a fantastic surprise for the PPV. Britt winning was unexpected for me and Kong didn’t get as closely involved as I thought she would, but I’m certainly interested in seeing where this all goes.
Best Friends vs. Angélico and Jack Evans
A decidedly day-glo bout. I still don’t feel like I know these guys well but I think I like them. The after-match angle has my interest.
Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, and Emi Sakura vs. Hikaru Shida, Riho Abe, and Ryo Mizumani
As expected, this was basically a buffet of different Joshi styles, but I loved them. Yuka Sakazaki’s got the “stepped out of an anime” thing going on nicely, Aja Kong is a delightful beast, and Emi Sakura’s Freddie Mercury tribute was great. Other team was decent too but the losers were more memorable characters for me.
Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes
For a promotion which has been riddled with passive-aggressive little digs at WWE, its nice seeing AEW just going full aggressive and sticking the middle finger up at Triple H to the extent that they did with Cody’s entrance here. Meanwhile, Dustin’s costume concept was quite fun – like he was still partly possessed by the ghost of Goldust and needed this match to exorcise himself.
And an exorcism it was – in tears when the crowd chanted for Dusty, in sweat as they lasted for a good long time, and sweet Jesus in a hell of a lot of blood. When was the last time Cody or Dustin had a match this good? Never? Maybe never. Dusty would be proud, and especially proud that they remembered to use the booking of the match not just to provide an entertaining time tonight, but to also set up a reason for people to watch the next show – I want to see the Dust Brothers tagging again.
Young Bucks (C) vs. Lucha Bros. (AAA Tag Team Championship)
I didn’t expect the Bucks to retain, but retain they did – hopefully this means that we’ll see more Lucha Bros. action as they keep chasing those belts. It’s also interesting to see whether the Bucks will go after the AEW Tag Team Championships whilst still being AAA champions, or whether they will relinquish one to go for the other (or abstain from one to keep hold of the other). This felt like a test of how AEW could establish a “big fight” feel, and they did a good job.
Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho (Winner Faces Casino Battle Royale Winner For AEW World Championship)
This felt very much like a sequel to the first one – Jericho even repeating some spots from his NJPW run like grabbing the camera – but that’s no bad thing when the first one was such a good match. I liked Jericho’s entrance, with the brief snatches of other incarnations of his before we got his current Judas form, and Jericho vs. Page is probably the right match to sell the next PPV – especially if we’ll also see further developments from that post-match angle at that show…