AEW returned to the city where it all began on Sunday with their annual Double or Nothing pay-per-view, headlined by MJF defending the world title against “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry, Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara in a four-way show for the start-up Pillars.
That match was topped off by a card that also featured the culmination of the rivalry between The Elite and Blackpool Combat Club, a 21-man battle royal for the International Championship and both women’s titles to grab victories in closely contested matches.
Previously Announced AEW Main Event:
- AEW World Championship 4-Way Match: Darby Allen vs. “Jungle Boy” Jack Berry vs. Sammy Guevara vs. MJF (C)
- Anarchy in the Arena: The Elite (Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and “Hangman” Adam Page) vs. Blackpool Fight Club (Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Utah)
- AEW Women’s World Championship Match: Jamie Hayter (C) vs. Toni Storm
- AEW World Tag Team Championship Match: FTR(c) vs. Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal (Mark Briscoe as Special Guest Referee)
- 21 man blackjack battle royal for the AEW International Championship featuring Orange Cassidy, Jay White, Ricky Starks, Keith Lee, Swerve Strickland, Brian Cage, Juice Robinson, Pinta Zero Meadow, Dustin Rhodes, Rey Phoenix, Cape Sabian, Butcher, Blade and Bandido Kommander, Big Bill, Lee Moriarty, Ari Daivari, Tony Nese, Chuck Taylor, Trent Beretta
- Ladder Match for the TNT Championship: Wardlow (c) vs. Christian Cage
- TBS Championship Match: Taya Valkyrie vs. Jade Cargill (c)
- AEW World Trios Championship defense by The House of Black
- No Sanctions Match: Adam Cole vs. Chris Jericho
- Buy: The Hardy Boys and Hook vs. Ethan Page and The Gunns
Clause: If he loses the heel, the Hardys win Ethan Page’s contract.
Even the ever-present Hardys couldn’t make up for a cold storyline and a match that didn’t have much real interest.
Matt and Jeff Hardy charted pop as the first major stars in the arena, but it was hard to get fans to invest in the excitement of this opening match as they teamed with FTW Champion Hawk to defeat “All Ego” Ethan Page and Gunns.
Paige has earned the right to be involved in something better, more cohesive, and more important than this undercard program, and it came out that he was very clearly the better handler in this match, even though the Hall of Fame brothers were present.
However, the condition of this discourages many from believing that what awaits him after a double or nothing will be much better, unfortunately.
The Hardyz and Hawk defeated Big and The Jones
The most important moments
- Excalibur and Taz were joined by Jim Ross at ringside as the commentary table was placed there for the first time on a major AEW pay-per-view.
- Jeff Hardy exploded in the match, resulting in the first real reaction of the competition away from the doorways.
- Hardy slipped while attempting Whisper in the Wind but the commentary team did a great job of masking it as a result of a year on the sidelines. Good coverage of Excalibur, Taz, and JR.
- Redrum Page put together Redrum to score the win.
Participants: Chuck Taylor, Trent Beretta, Ari Daivari, Tony Nese, Lee Moriarty, Big Bill, Commander, Kip Sabian, The Butcher, The Blade, “Switchblade” Jay White, “Rock Hard” Joss Robinson, Dustin Rhodes, Keith Lee, “Absolute” Ricky Starks, Penta El Zero Meadow, Ray Fenix, Bandido, Swerve Strickland, Brian “The Machine” Cage and Orange Cassidy
“Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy spent months leading into Double or Nothing winning win after win, defeating every challenger for his AEW International Championship. Facing 20 different challengers in Sunday’s opener, the Sloth King once again emerged victorious, outsmarting Swerve Strickland to ensure his reign continues.
There were a few things to like about Blackjack Battle Royal, like booking Big Bill as a monster behemoth and waiting for Strickland to enter the ring until late, but this was a battle royal where a lot happened without anything lasting effect.
Cassidy’s win at least makes sense but it begs the question: What’s next for Freshly Squeezed?
Do Tony Khan and the creative team at AEW have a long-term plan, or are they content to let Cassidy continue his winning streak before getting a new star to take the title from him? Perhaps there is a “wait and see” approach whereby the firm seeks a suitable victor.
Whatever the case, this at least got fans into the show and is firmly behind Cassidy, despite the booking and win-loss record that “John Scenide” would have five years earlier.
The most important moments
- Several competitors chose to fight on the ground, apparently unfamiliar with the rules of the battle royale, as JR cleverly pointed out in the commentary.
- Strickland and Cage watched intently from the slope, not yet entering the squared circle. Swerve would enter the match at a later date and immediately target Lee, continuing the feud between the former partners.
- Blackjack Battle Royal be damned, we got a mid-match hug from Cassidy and Best Friends because you have to give people what they want.
- Cassidy inadvertently ran away from his friend Taylor and watched him get eliminated. Later, Beretta takes Big Bill’s boot to the ground, saving Freshly Squeezed even though it costs him a championship shot.
- Absolute eliminated White moments later, gaining a measure of revenge for the weeks of agony at the hands of Bullet Club Gold. The heel answered by pulling him to the ground and pushing him into the guardrail.
- Cassidy and Strickland provided action and drama in the final minutes with exchanges that culminated with the babyface champ surviving on Swerve to retain his title.
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