Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Double Or Nothing
Date: May 23, 2020
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
It’s back to the pay per view calendar, which isn’t somewhere AEW goes all that often. It’s a triple main event with the Stadium Stampede, Jon Moxley defending the World Title against Brodie Lee and Cody vs. Lance Archer for the inaugural TNT Title. They’ve done well on pay per view before so let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Best Friends vs. Private Party
For the #1 contendership. Chuck headlocks Kassidy to start and takes him to the mat a few times. That goes so well that it’s off to Trent to chop Quen but everything breaks down. Kassidy and Chuck stare each other down and then hit stereo standing Sliced Breads, causing Trent to lose his headband. He’s fine enough to hit a belly to back on Kassidy but does pause to put the headband back on.
Private Party is back with Silly String to Trent, who comes up holding his knee. Trent, now holding his ribs, is sent outside for a big running flip dive but he catches Quen on top. Chuck comes back in to help him with a superplex for two and things settle back down. The running elbow in the corner staggers Quen, who is still able to get two boots into Trent’s banged up ribs.
That’s enough for the hot tag to Kassidy for a slingshot Downward Spiral. Trent breaks up some kind of double team and suplexes Kassidy down. It’s back to Chuck, who suplexes Kassidy into Quen in the corner. Strong Zero is broken up and it’s a slow motion forearm off with Quen and Chuck.
The G9 (Cryme Tyme’s old Samoan drop/running flip neckbreaker finisher) sends Chuck outside in a very nice moment and Quen’s shooting star gets two on Trent with Chuck making the save. Back up and Trent blasts Quen with a clothesline but Kassidy sends him outside. Gin and Juice is broken up though and it’s Strong Zero to give Trent the pin at 15:16.
Rating: C-. There were some noticeable botches in here and the match felt like it was just a bunch of moves and spots until the finish. As usual, Private Party is really flashy and entertaining but they aren’t very good at putting a match together or having much of a sense of urgency. I’m no Best Friends fan but if they’re going to be on every show, you might as well put them in the title hunt. The G9 was great though and a rather nice thing to see, which I wouldn’t have bet on.
The opening video thanks the healthcare workers for helping in these horrible times, plus pays tribute to Shad Gaspard.
Casino Ladder Match
This is a nine man ladder match for a future World Title shot, represented by a big poker chip because this company LOVES the gambling motif. Two people will start the match and it is another entrant every two minutes, though you can win at any time. Kazarian is in first and Scorpio Sky is in second. They both go for ladders but then throw them out for the sake of slugging it out.
A double clothesline puts them both down and it’s Kip Sabian, with Penelope Ford and Jimmy Havoc (not in the match), in third. Havoc tries a super hurricanrana on Kazarian but gets dropped on a ladder for his efforts. Another ladder is brought in but here’s Sky to make a save. Darby Allin is in fourth and starts cleaning house on everyone involved. Since the previous ones aren’t good enough for him, Allin grabs another ladder and bridges it between the ring and the barricade.
A skateboard to Kazarian’s face lets Allin put him on the ladder, meaning it’s a huge dive off the top of the ladder to drive the skateboard into Kazarian. With Allin down clutching his knees, Orange Cassidy is in fifth and needs the rules explained to him again. Cassidy is finally in the ring after 45 seconds and, after finding out that he can’t reach the chip, he stands on the ladder that is laying on the mat. He doesn’t know how to set up a ladder so here’s Colt Cabana in sixth to take Cassidy out.
Now that our designated comedy segment is over, Sky and Kazarian break up Cabana’s climbing attempt and his fingers get crushed in the ladder. Cassidy is back in for the slow kicks to SCU’s legs, followed by a regular double dropkick to put them outside. The hands in the pockets dive connects and it’s Joey Janela coming in seventh. That means a bunch of dives to take everyone out until Kazarian sends him into the ladder.
Janela comes back in with a chair to take out Kazarian but Sky takes it away and blasts Janela to even things up. No one can get up the ladder so it’s Luchasaurus in eighth. House is cleaned again until it’s a powerbomb to send Sabian into the pile at ringside. Kazarian is still in the ring so Luchasaurus chokeslams him down too. Allin, thankfully able to walk, is back in to hammer on Luchasaurus, including a super Code Red.
The clock counts down and it’s….BRIAN CAGE, as accompanied by Taz, in ninth to complete the field. Cage brings in his own ladder and starts wrecking people, including tossing Sky into the corner. Janela gets thrown down as well and an Eric Young wheelbarrow neckbreaker drops Kazarian. Cassidy jumps on Cage’s back as the climb is on but it takes almost everyone involved in the match to pull him down.
A bunch of people get together and put a huge poker chip on top of Cage as Janela is thrown over the barricade. The ladder is set up and Cassidy elbows Kazarian, setting up a slugout with Sabian on top of the ladder. Cassidy snaps the finger to send Sabian down into a ladder in the corner so here’s Penelope Ford, who gets dropped onto Sabian. Jimmy Havoc comes back in so the Best Friends come out to take care of him. Luchasaurus shoves the ladder over but Cassidy slips out of a chokeslam attempt.
Cue Marko Stunt with a small ladder so a double chokeslam can plant Cassidy. Janela hits a running Death Valley Driver to put Cassidy onto the poker chip (on top of Cage) and it’s Kazarian and Sky on the ladder at once. Luchasaurus breaks that up and Cage gets up for the big monster off. The Tail Whip hits Cage but he’s back with a jumping knee to the face and a buckle bomb into the ladder.
Cage sets up the ladder (off center of the chip) but here’s Allin again with another ladder. That just earns Allin a Drill Claw and Cage sets up the small ladder on the top rope. Allin is placed on top and Cage picks up both of them and tosses them into a standing ladder for a scary crash. That’s enough for Cage to pull down the chip and win at 28:25.
Rating: B. You can only get so much stuff out of something like this as there were so many people involved. The spots were very entertaining though, albeit rather dangerous in some cases. I like Cage as the surprise a lot as he is someone you can instantly market based off his look alone. Entertaining match as expected, but there is only so much that can be done in these circumstances.
We run down the rest of the card. I still don’t get it.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Jungle Boy
This is the one that I wanted to see more than anything else on the card. They take turns flipping each other over to start and, after an exchange of tugging at their own trunks, MJF gets sent outside for a breather. Back in and Jungle Boy grabs a bodyscissors but they wind up interlocking legs and standing on their heads for a slapoff. Hold on though as MJF grabs his knee, only to pop up and deck Jungle Boy to take over.
The chinlock keeps Jungle Boy down but he comes up with a slap to the face. That just earns him an elbow to the jaw and MJF whips him hard into the corner. It’s time to start on the arm but Jungle Boy isn’t taking the trash talk and strikes away in the corner. A rolling double chop to the chest staggers MJF but he sends Jungle Boy outside. The chop off goes to Jungle Boy and there’s the big running flip dive to drop MJF again.
Back in and a middle rope tornado DDT gives Jungle Boy two, partially due to the arm delaying the cover. They chop it out again until MJF gets smart by hitting him in the arm. Jungle Boy snaps off a Canadian Destroyer but MJF hits a quick low superkick. MJF gets puled into a Crossface though, only to have MJF bite his way to freedom.
They go to the apron with Jungle Boy hitting a SCARY reverse hurricanrana to drop MJF on his head. Thankfully MJF is back in with a crotching on top but Jungle Boy hits a super sitout powerbomb for two of his own. MJF hammers on the arm until Jungle Boy gets two off a rollup. That sets off an exchange of rollups until MJF bridges back for the pin at 17:34.
Rating: B. The crash off that reverse hurricanrana was terrifying but what mattered here was the two young guys had a heck of a performance and looked like the stars of the future. That’s what they needed to do here and they made it work. I could go for a lot more of these two, with MJF being the guy who could be the top villain for a LONG time to come if they play their cards right.
We look at the TNT Title tournament, which is something Cody wants because he can’t be World Champion. Jake Roberts has brought in Lance Archer to destroy everyone and take the title, which has caused Brandi Rhodes to be dragged into everything. In other words, it’s personal and for the title.
TNT Title: Cody vs. Lance Archer
For the inaugural title and Mike Tyson is here to present the belt….which looks terrible. It literally looks like a TNT logo over the word CHAMPION. I’m hoping that the title isn’t ready and this is what they have for a fill in. That thing makes the 24/7 Title look like a classic. Jake Roberts is here with Archer and Arn Anderson is in Cody’s corner. We get a special intro with the chance to shake hands (not happening of course) and thankfully Tony confirms that the title isn’t complete so that’s not the final design. That’s such a relief that I won’t even get on them for not having the belt ready for the show.
Archer hits the Black Out in the first fifteen seconds but Cody blocks the Claw by countering with an armbreaker. That’s broken up but the Cody Cutter is knocked out of the air with a shoulder. Archer goes to peel back the ring mat so Cody is back up with a suicide dive. You don’t do that with Archer, as he throws Cody off the barricade for a huge crash. Back in and a heck of a clothesline drops Cody and it’s time to rip at his face.
The rope walk into a moonsault gives Archer two and Tyson thinks this is amusing. Cody is right back up with a delayed vertical suplex but Archer pops back up and rips a turnbuckle pad off. After we quickly cut to a yawning Tyson, Cody bends Archer’s ribs around the post. The ribs are fine enough to lift Cody up and toss him over the post, complete with a cool closeup shot from a turnbuckle camera.
Back in and Archer cranks on the arm but Cody fights out to the floor. The slugout goes to Archer, despite Cody shouting a lot. Back in and Cody’s striking doesn’t work but he pulls Archer down into a YES Lock. Roberts offers a distraction to break things up but Cody is back up with a DDT. JR isn’t impressed because Jake’s DDT beats people, but Anderson plants Cody with the spinebuster to annoy Anderson.
Cody is back up with the Cody Cutter for two and it’s the Flip Flop and Fly into the Final Reckoning. A Stinger Splash (gotta pump up those rumors) gets two but Archer is back with the EBD Claw. He’s too banged up to keep going with it though and Cody is back up. Jake offers a distraction so Arn breaks up the rope walk for some turnabout into fair play.
The reverse superplex plants Archer but Jake points out what Arn did. That means an ejection, only to have Jake thrown out as well. There’s a release German suplex to drop Cody, drawing out Jake with the snake. Tyson chases him off though, leaving Cody to reverse the Black Out into a pair of Cross Rhodes for the pin and the title at 21:15.
Rating: B-. This one never got into that higher gear and they didn’t make any secret out of the fact that Cody was winning. Like they were going to have Tyson hand the title to Archer when Cody was there. That’s fine too, as Cody needed a major win to keep his spot near the top. The match was good, though it wasn’t exactly awesome and Archer already losing isn’t exactly great. I get why they had to do it this way, but they booked themselves into a corner and didn’t have a good way out.
Tyson hands Cody the title and leaves immediately so Cody can celebrate by himself.
The AEW doctor says Britt Baker has a knee fracture, a torn ligament and a torn tendon. Since she’s a role model though, she’ll give you an update on her status on Dynamite.
Penelope Ford vs. Kris Stadtlander
Ford is replacing the injured Baker and the very banged up Kip Sabian is in her corner. Stadtlander headlocks her down to start and shrugs off an armdrag attempt. Some cartwheels just annoy Ford and the threat of a right hand sends her outside. Sabian: “LEAVE HER ALONE YOU ALIEN FREAK!” Back in and Ford grabs a suplex for two and we hit the chinlock.
That’s broken up and Stadtlander forearms her outside, setting up the big dive to drop both Sabian and Ford. Back in and Stadtlander’s dive hits raised boots but she’s fine enough to throw Ford with a German suplex. A running knee in the corner rocks Ford again, only to have her grab a Stunner for a breather. Ford’s super hurricanrana takes her down again but Stadtlander is back up with a Blue Thunder Bomb. The Big Bang Theory finishes Ford at 8:12.
Rating: C. I wasn’t sure which way to go with this one but it was nice to see Stadtlander get a win. Either of these two could easily be a top star in the division as Stadtlander is very unique and Ford is the classic evil blonde that you want to see get taken out. They had a nice enough match too and while Baker would have been better, Ford held up her end rather well.
Here’s Shawn Spears in a suit to say he’s here but Dustin Rhodes must be at home washing his tights. Dustin’s music comes on but he’s not there, meaning Spears can laugh at the fans for falling for the fake. Now ring the bell so it can be a countout.
Shawn Spears vs. Dustin Rhodes
The music hits again but this time it’s Brandi Rhodes coming out so Dustin can sneak up on Spears. The beating is on as the suit is ripped off but Spears gets in a quick clothesline for a breather. Spears wraps the belt around his hand, only to stop to flip Brandi off. That lets Dustin grab him by the tights, which come down in a hurry. JR: “Looks like an audition for a prison movie.” After seeing Tully Blanchard’s face on Spears’ underwear, the Final Reckoning gives Dustin the pin at 4:07.
Rating: D. This was more of an angle than a match and while I still can’t bring myself to care about Dustin all that much, they did a good job of shutting Spears up. That being said, I’m not sure how many more times they can reheat Spears after he keeps losing like this. The good hand term seems accurate, as there is only so much that can be done with him given what he has shown so far.
All Out is on September 5 in a location to be announced.
In memory of Hana Kimura, who passed away early this morning.
We recap Nyla Rose vs. Hikaru Shida for the Women’s Title. Rose is a monster but Shida has been #1 in the rankings for months. The commentators put this over as a big showdown.
Women’s Title: Nyla Rose vs. Hikaru Shida
Rose is defending and anything goes so Rose has the kendo stick with her. After the Big Match Intros, Rose swings away but gets the stick dropkicked away. That doesn’t matter though as Rose takes it back and blast Shida down. A running knee puts Rose in the corner though and there’s the running knee to the face for a bonus.
Rose is back up to send her hard through a poker table (Rose: “Always bet on black.”) and some chair shots keep Shida in trouble. They get back inside where Shida fights out of the Beast Bomb but Rose his a quick suplex. A clothesline puts Shida back on the floor where she hits the running knee to the back of Rose’s head.
They head into the crowd (in front of Vickie Guerrero) with Shida throwing her onto a poker chip. Another running knee rocks Rose and this time it’s Shida getting to hammer away with the stick. A brainbuster onto the stick gets two but Rose is back with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. Rose drapes her over the top and hits a top rope knee to the back of the head for two.
It’s table time with Rose setting one up in the corner and powerbombing Shida through it for another near fall. The Death Valley Driver sets up more kendo stick shots so Rose goes up, only to have Shida throw the stick at her. A super Falcon Arrow gets two on Rose so Shida hits another running knee for another two. Yet another running knee finishes Rose for the pin and the title at 17:03.
Rating: B. Another solid match here with both of them beating the heck out of each other until one of them couldn’t get back up. Shida has been on fire for a long time now and while I’m a bit surprised Rose lost, Shida was the right choice to take the title. She has been built up for months now and if they were going to pull the trigger on her, this was the right time.
The announcers talk about how sad of a week it has been but AEW is trying to make people feel a little better.
We recap Jon Moxley vs. Brodie Lee for the World Title. Lee arrived and was revealed as the Dark Order’s Exalted One. That was cool with Moxley because he wants world class competitors, but then Lee and the Order beat Moxley down with Lee stealing the title belt. Therefore tonight is about the title and revenge.
AEW World Title: Jon Moxley vs. Brodie Lee
Lee is challenging but has the title belt coming in. The rest of the Dark Order is here, plus a bunch of security before the bell rings. Moxley charges straight at him but gets hammered in the corner. With that not working, Moxley sends him outside for a suicide dive but Lee isn’t having much of that.
Back in and a slingshot hilo sets up some rolling butterfly suplexes on Moxley, meaning it’s time to go back outside. Lee hits his own suicide dive and sends Moxley into the barricade, followed by a suplex into one barricade laid up against another barricade. Back in and Moxley hits a heck of a clothesline and a pile driver is good for two. They head outside yet again with both of them hitting a running boot for a double knockdown.
Lee is back up but his powerbomb off the steps is backdropped through a variety of tables. Back in again and they’re already back on the floor before they have time to settle down, this time with Lee sending him into a wooden Moxley poster. Lee boots him in the face and gets two off a sitout powerbomb and they’re both down in the corner. Lee gets up and Moxley tries to do the same but collapses back to the apron.
They fight to the ramp and Moxley hits a quick Paradigm Shift through the ramp, which just does not work as well without the big crowd reaction (though it was still good). Moxley crawls out first, followed by the blood Lee. Another Paradigm Shift gets two so Moxley unloads on the cut. Another Paradigm Shift gets two more so it’s a rear naked choke to finish Lee at 15:37.
Rating: B. They beat the heck out of each other here and that’s what you were looking for in a match like this. Moxley retaining makes sense as it’s too early to put the title on Lee, plus I’m not sure how much he needs to be champion. He’s fine as a monster and had a rather fine match here. Moxley vs. Cage could be interesting, though I’m not sure I can picture it taking place.
AEW action figures debut this summer. Those are pretty cool.
We look back at the rest of the show.
We recap the Inner Circle vs. the Elite, which has been going on for months now. The Inner Circle took out Nick Jackson so Matt Jackson got Matt Hardy to help them out. Now it’s time for a major war in what might be the final match of the feud (though likely won’t be).
Inner Circle vs. Elite/Matt Hardy
This is the Stadium Stampede, a ten man tag inside TIAA Bank Field (home of the Jacksonville Jaguars) with a ring in the middle of the field and anything goes. The Jaguars’ cheerleaders and mascot are here, plus a bunch of fire and individual entrances, with the Inner Circle wearing numbered jerseys. Matt Jackson has heavily taped ribs coming in. There is no Page to start so the referee blows a whistle to get us going, meaning both teams start around the opposite thirty yard lines and charge.
The Elite is smart enough to bring weapons and take over early as the wild brawling begins. Call me crazy but I don’t think this is going to be easy to call. Omega hits Sammy with a trashcan and Santana/Ortiz suplex Nick down. Sammy staggers to his feet…..and here’s Page riding a freaking horse, sending Sammy running into a tunnel and out of the stadium. Nick unloads on Jericho in the ring as Page, still on the horse, chases after Sammy. Back in the ring and Jericho misses the Judas Effect on Nick so here’s Matt Jackson to launch Nick at Jericho.
Santana and Ortiz come in to beat on Omega, who snapdragons Santana in a hurry. Sammy is back and the entire Inner Circle is in the ring, only to have Sammy miss a shooting star press. That means a running buckle bomb into Omega and Nick’s boots in the corner. That’s enough of the wrestling in the ring as the brawl heads outside again with Santana hitting an Asai moonsault onto everyone. Sammy shooting stars onto a bunch of people on the floor so Hardy starts hammering away with a football helmet. Everyone starts splitting up as the ring wasn’t exactly needed.
Nick slams Sammy onto Hager and, with the help of a ladder, Matt Jackson moonsaults onto the two of them for the first big spot. Santana and Omega slug it out in the stands and a few others join them, with everyone involved heading through a tunnel. We cut back to Page, who is still on his horse to look for….I guess Sammy? Either way he gets off the horse upon seeing a sign for a bar and goes off for a drink.
Omega sends Santana and Ortiz through a few barricades and then bridges another barricade over some tables. Ortiz makes the save with some salt to the eyes and it’s a double powerbomb through the barricade for two. Hardy gets thrown into the pool (because a football stadium needs a pool), where Santana and Ortiz try to drown him. Since it’s Hardy though, he comes up as Version 1, meaning we get the Matt Fact of Hardy can hold his breath for 346 seconds.
They put him under the water again and this time….Hardy pops up as Broken Matt again, meaning it’s time to put Santana and Ortiz through a table. Ortiz’s head is put inside a big bell, which Hardy rings to really shake Ortiz up. With Ortiz not able to stand, Hardy duct tapes him into a chair of wheels but Santana makes the save. They fight into the tunnels and Hardy sends Santana into the ice chest. If he doesn’t come out as Tito Santana, I’m going to be very disappointed.
Elsewhere, Hager has found the horse and follows Page into the bar, where he’s having a drink. Hager sits next to Page, who asks if he’s here to fight or drink. Hager has a drink and the fight is on with the brawl going over to a pool table. Page is sent into the bar, so he backflips off of it, only to get Rock Bottomed onto the table. Hager puts him on the bar and runs him down ala a stereotypical western movie for two. Omega finds the two of them and breaks a bottle over Hager’s head to no avail.
Several bottles over the head stagger Hager and it’s a V Trigger into the Buckshot lariat. Page and Omega stop for a drink (Omega has milk in a smart choice) and we cut back to Matt Jackson fighting Sammy on the field. Jericho goes after Nick as Sammy gets rolling northern lights suplexed halfway down the field. Nick is sent into a large Jaguars’ helmet, followed by the Judas Effect to the Jaguars’ mascot.
The rolling suplexes continue as Sammy has been taken from one end zone almost to the other. Jericho hits Nick with Floyd the baseball bat for two…..and he wants to challenge the count, complete with a red flag. Jericho and Aubrey Edwards go into the replay booth and the call on the field stands. Jericho: “YOU’RE A S***** REFEREE!” Matt Jackson gets to the other end zone and is so pleased that he does the Alex Wright Dance, which is a flag for excessive celebration. That means a superkick to the referee and we cut to Jericho losing Floyd.
As JR makes an Andy Griffith reference, Jericho is laid on the table so Nick can run the steps, dive onto a barricade, and splash Jericho though the wood. They run the paint line over Jericho as the sprinklers go off to wake Sammy up. Sammy thinks he won…..and here are Hardy and Omega in the golf cart again.
The chase is on with Sammy diving into the stands so the two of them go after him, with Sammy kicking Omega down. Sammy chokes Omega but it’s NEO1 making the save. Omega is back up with a V Trigger and the one Winged Angel off a tunnel and through a bunch of wood (and onto a crashpad) finishes Sammy at about 34:00.
Rating: A-. As usual, your mileage on these things are going to vary but this was a lot of fun with all of the football references. It was a great case of adapting to the environment and having a blast, though some of the jokes were a bit too silly for the kind of violence that they were shooting for. That being said, I never got bored in the slightest and it didn’t feel long whatsoever. They had a lot of fun here and it was a heck of an entertaining match, which is the kind of thing they wanted to do in this sort of a match.
Hardy and the Elite celebrate, including a Gatorade bath to Omega, to end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. There were some weak points in the middle of this show but the start and end are more than enough to carry the rest. This was another very entertaining show and felt like it belonged on the big stage. That’s what they should have been trying to do here and there were some moments to make you want to see where things are going. It feels like a big time pay per view and given that AEW has had about five of them, that’s a good sign for their future. Well done, as their pay per view success continues.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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