Deadspin's AEW 'Double Or Nothing' preview

Deadspin's AEW 'Double Or Nothing' preview

Will it be Dr. Britt Baker’s night?
Will it be Dr. Britt Baker’s night?
Screenshot: AEW

Sadly, for the second straight year, AEW will not run Double Or Nothing in Las Vegas but in Jacksonville, Fla. I say that because I had tickets in 2020, and a Vegas weekend with the great wrestling unwashed sure would hit the spot right about now. Oh well! They say this one will have a full house at Daley’s Place for the first time since the pandemic, though ticket sales haven’t exactly been furious. Clearly everyone’s getting to the end of their rope with studio-based shows and pay-per-views. This might be the last one for AEW. Will they go out with a bang? Let’s kick this pig…

We can't be too careful. Two guys in an airport...talking? It's a little fishy.

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2 / 11

Casino Battle Royale: Surprise Entrant and winner

Casino Battle Royale: Surprise Entrant and winner

Illustration for article titled Deadspin's AEW 'Double Or Nothing' preview
Screenshot: AEW

Sam Fels: I’d love to sit here and say “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson shows up and kicks off his goodbye tour by having all the matches he’s talked about in other companies. But even if that’s in the cards someday (get it? Used to be a comedian, y’know), I doubt they pull that out before they’re back in full arenas again. Feels like an All Out happening on Labor Day weekend, causing whatever building is hosting to crumble and be forced off to that dimension Krang and Shredder had to live in.

So let’s go with the chalk and say Nick Gage will be the surprise entrant. I also want to say Samoa Joe is a surprise, but those Impact rumors seemed too prevalent. As for the winner, I’m gonna go off the board and say Jungle Boy. They’ll need an interim challenger to Kenny Omega before Hangman Page and he DO THE THING at All Out, and it might be time for singles pushes for both he and Luchasaurus. He’ll put on a few good matches, take a good loss, and then AEW will move on to the big thing.

Bryan Fonseca: As Sam alluded to, battle royals typically have the potential to always have a guest entrant or two. Nick Gage is a good bet considering he and Jon Moxley had a confrontation last month. This is only to be amplified as AEW continues poaching ex-WWE talent. That said, the betting odds are with Christian Cage, and rightfully so, but I almost feel as if that’s too obvious. I’d love to see Bryan Danielson or Andrade shock us here even if it doesn’t result in a victory, and even if it’s just a one-off or a temporary showing, like what Carlito had in the WWE earlier this year around the Royal Rumble. I just have this weird feeling Jungle Boy takes it. He turns 24 next month and is one of the company’s true rising stars, so why not guarantee him a future World Title match on this particular Double Or Nothing platform?

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3 / 11

Hangman Page vs. Brian Cage

Hangman Page vs. Brian Cage

Fels: This is a tough one. At some point, Hangman will be built up to take the title off Omega. But does that start now? And Cage has been billed as the heavy of Team Taz, but he sure does lose a lot. Feels like Cage needs this win more, and it’ll send Hangman into some sort of crisis from which he’ll emerge stronger and more focused before starting the road to Omega. And there’s plenty of time for that. Just please, don’t have it involve Hangman giving up drinking. Alcohol can be the solution to life’s problems as well, remember.

Fonseca: Brian Cage probably needs this more, but I don’t think ‘Hangman’ Adam Page is losing this considering that it’s clear his push is a priority. In fairness, it has been for a while seeing as how Page won the same aforementioned Battle Royale two years ago at what was AEW’s inaugural pay per view event. Even so, he lost in that August’s All Out against Chris Jericho to crown the first ever AEW Champion. There’s only been three in the company’s two-year run, but Page has a shot at becoming the fourth, so him dropping this match to Cage is hard to see without a twist.

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4 / 11

Sting and Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky

Sting and Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky

Fels: Oh man, Sting in an actual ring. Are we sure we want this? Are they sure anyone does want this? A tag match certainly benefits him, but I’m still counting on some uncomfortable moments. Luckily, Darby is enough to shield all of that. It doesn’t feel like Page and Sky have really grabbed a hold of the fans and don’t have much of a direction. Is this their start up the tag division? Vault them both as singles stars? AEW hasn’t hesitated to pull the plug on things that aren’t working and start over before (unless it involves Cody Rhodes). Stinger and Allin take it and they come up with something different for Page and Scorpio.

Fonseca: The pairing of Sting and Darby Allin was as obvious to foresee as the break-up of Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. At least, for Sting and Allin, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for either guy, let’s just hope Sting won’t have to actually do a whole lot in this match. To me, anything other than Allin carrying this match as if it were a showcase for him and coming away with the win alongside Sting would be a surprise.

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5 / 11

Cody Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo

Cody Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo

Fels: (goes to get a beer and do the dishes, maybe check the scores on whatever playoff games are going on at the same time)

Fonseca: As a huge boxing guy, I remember watching Anthony Ogogo versus Craig Cunningham and thinking something was wrong as he deteriorated in what was supposed to be a showcase fight on a United Kingdom-based card. He entered with a perfect 11-0 record with seven knockouts but lost by TKO in round eight, later having to register as blind, retiring from boxing in 2019, and then signing on with AEW. As for his wrestling aspirations ... we’ll see. Being opposite of Cody Rhodes provides an interesting contrast given that the promotion is leaning into Ogogo’s legitimately dangerous hands. In the ring, he’s as raw as a Joe Rogan steak compared to Rhodes. He has more to gain with a win, though, leading me to believe it’ll probably happen. Rhodes is a slight underdog, for what it’s worth.

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6 / 11

TNT Championship Match: Miro vs. Lance Archer

TNT Championship Match: Miro vs. Lance Archer

Fels: I think this one has a sneaky chance to be the match of the night. BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPIN’ MEAT. If Miro hadn’t started to look great the past few weeks, I would say they wouldn’t have any problem taking the title off of him immediately. But since shedding that absolute waste of space Kip Sabian he has been doing great work and finally looks like what we hoped we would get in WWE. It would give Archer two losses for this midcard belt since he came to AEW, which kind of makes him out to be a mook. But them’s the breaks, and we should be at the beginning of a Miro star-turn. IT’S MIRO DAY!

Fonseca: Miro just won the title a couple of weeks ago, and he’s poised for a big push this year, so no chance he loses this. But I do agree with Sam as he points out that this could be a sneaky match of the night candidate. Miro’s been very good on his promos lately, which makes him even more captivating heading into Double or Nothing. He told Archer last week, “You better pray to God that he doesn’t come close to me because I promise you, there’s not enough yoga in the world that’s going to save your life if you come close to me.” That’s just a very good line, man. It stands out in an era where wrestling promos haven’t been all that memorable in totality as of late. Miro for the win, and he is one to watch in the second half of 2021.

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7 / 11

Women’s World Title Match: Hikaru Shida vs. Britt Baker

Women’s World Title Match: Hikaru Shida vs. Britt Baker

Fels: Sigh. It’s not that I don’t love Britt Baker, because I do. But Shida has carried this division, whatever it may be, through the pandemic and empty-house shows despite barely being given much to do. What they have given her, she’s completely aced. And yet it feels like they can’t nuke Baker’s momentum after the unsanctioned match with Thunder Rosa. She is the division’s biggest star now—though that’s partly because they just didn’t maximize Shida—and certainly deserves the top spot. Her in-ring work still lags behind her mic work, but that’s ok for a heel, and Shida will get a great match out of her. I just hope Shida stays around the title scene and gets her moment in front of a crowd sometime soon. She’s more than earned it. Then again, they’re both going to get dogwalked by Jade Cargill at some point. Anyway, it’s Baker’s night.

Fonseca: Hikaru Shida won the title at last year’s Double Or Nothing, and is nearing a championship run that is about 370 days long. She’s been the best champion AEW has had emerge from the women’s division, but Dr. Britt Baker (she’s a legitimate dentist), two months removed from the sanctioned lights out match with Thunder Rosa, is being set up for a star-turn here, like Miro to some degree. And it would be smart for AEW to lean into their rising stats as a somewhat theme of the PPV. Baker just ambushed and beat the hell out of Shida last week, and it’s not uncommon for the babyface to get the last laugh at the PPV following such an ass whooping, but in this case, it looks as if a Baker title run is imminent. Rightfully so, too.

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8 / 11

Tag Team Title: Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. The Young Bucks

Tag Team Title: Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. The Young Bucks

Fels: Been a fan of how they’ve pivoted Mox out of the center of the main title scene while keeping him around it through the tag division. Kingston also deserves a title for his work, and his promos with a championship ought to be must-see, especially as they’ll be returning to live crowds soon enough. Feels like a fissure between the Bucks and Omega is coming anyway, and dropping the belts would be a good impetus for that. There’s just more possibilities in the near term for Mox and Kingston to feud with than there are for the Bucks right now. “Wild Thing” is gonna be playing at the end of this one.

Fonseca: Eddie Kingston is probably my personal favorite guy on AEW right now, so hopefully this is where he could elevate wherever he and Jon Moxley go next by throwing the tag titles into their dynamic. The Young Bucks will inevitably get them back at some point. To me, this is more so about what happens between Kingston and Moxley from here on out. Kingston should be a future AEW Champion, and keeping him with Moxley is a wise move to potentially build into that, along with re-inserting Moxley into the World Title picture down the line. The feud I’d like to see The Bucks engage in is the apparent ongoing one with wrestling industry legend turned colorfully opinionated podcaster Jim Cornette. He won’t ever set foot in AEW, but for entertainment purposes, we may not ever need him to.

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9 / 11

Stadium Stampede: Inner Circle vs. The Pinnacle

Stadium Stampede: Inner Circle vs. The Pinnacle

Fels: I’m pretty pissed they’re doing this again. The first Stadium Stampede was a blast, but also felt like a project borne out of pandemic shows with no crowds. That’s not really the case anymore, and I don’t know how you make this as much fun the second time. Then again, Chris Jericho has had a habit of doing just that.

The other frustration is that this feels like an odd concoction to give The Inner Circle their win back from Blood & Guts, which just starts all of this over again. Which kind of makes all this seem pointless and endless. There’s just no way they’re going to break up The Inner Circle, but few want to see these two factions bitching at each other for months. If they can find a way to keep the feud going through rivalries with other people, maybe. But FTR needs to get back to the tag division. So do Santana and Ortiz. Sammy Guevara needs to be in the TNT Title picture. Shawn Spears needs to...well, go home and be replaced by his wife and her delirious friend. I’m curious to see where this goes, while not jonesing. Inner Circle takes it, but there will be some kind of twist. Or at least there better be.

Fonseca: I’m here for my guys and fellow Boricuas, Santana & Ortiz — but like Sam, I’m not entirely crazy about this match at the moment, and I also think it needs a twist. The aforementioned Baker joining The Inner Circle, as MJF has been interested in, would be something. Sammy Guevara could be a big star on AEW and I’d be looking for him to steal the show in this bout. I actually think The Pinnacle takes it, though. It makes more sense with the stipulation of The Inner Circle having to disband forever if they lose. In wrestling, stipulations don’t always mean what they should. Why wouldn’t Chris Jericho discover some type of loophole to that? But still, I think The Pinnacle takes it and something happens within the Inner Circle.

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10 / 11

AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega vs. Orange Cassidy vs. PAC

AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega vs. Orange Cassidy vs. PAC

Fels: I would love nothing more than to say that the first time in front of a full-house, AEW goes full rabbit-out-of-a-hat and puts the strap on Cassidy. But this isn’t quite the full house they would want to do that in front of. An arena with 15,000 is the better setting. And yet, both Omega and The Bucks losing their titles could send The Elite into a tailspin and put them on a warpath, which could see them cross paths with The Pinnacle or Inner Circle or a host of others. Something has been a little flat with this Omega title run, and shockingly bringing it to a close could be the shot Omega needs to fix the problems with his character work of late.

But that still feels like a bridge too far. Hangman is almost certainly the one to take it off Omega, which means he retains it here. Unquestionably will be a banger of a match. And maybe, just maybe, AEW pulls the swerve. But I doubt it. But maybe.

Fonseca: Wow. Kenny Omega’s already been the World Champion for six months? It feels like his reign just got going. If he’s going to drop the strap, it would be to Orange Cassidy, but it would be shocking if Omega doesn’t ride out into the summer as champion. People have been waiting for Omega to become champion, and it felt like once he got there, he’d hold the title for a long time. This match wouldn’t be the one where he drops the title, I would think. But who knows? Cassidy would be an intriguing change at the top of the title picture. Pac has a lesser chance things go his way, but I’d be curious how that would be executed as well. Expect Omega to retain, though, especially after Jericho really put him over earlier this week.

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11 / 11

We can't be too careful. Two guys in an airport...talking? It's a little fishy.