It doesn’t feel like gambling anymore.
Two years ago, AEW was born with its debut show on pay-per-view, Double or Nothing. The name was perfect: following up on the success of All In with a show in Las Vegas, AEW was announcing that televised, big budget wrestling had room for competition and they were betting they could fill that void. A year later, in the second incarnation of Double or Nothing, AEW was forced to play a show to zero fans due to COVID pandemic restrictions. This was only a few months after their television debut, after WWE had sent immediate competition their way by putting NXT live during the same two-hour timeslot.
Now, things feel very different for AEW. They have recently confirmed a future move from TNT to TBS, coinciding with a second show on Friday nights and a big boost in television revenue. Tony Khan and his company aren’t gambling anymore, they control their own destiny. Double or Nothing 2021 will have the return of a full sized audience. This show feels like the first in the second act of AEW, and for fans of the promotion the optimism about the company’s future is backed by a great card.
The Casino Battle Royale
AEW has done a very good job with this concept in the past. Wrestlers will enter in groups of 5 based on which suit they draw. The final entrant is the person who drew the joker, and so far is a surprise. Will it be Nick Gage, following up on his episode of Dark Side of The Ring and a recent encounter with Jon Moxley? Maybe a visiting star from Japan? See below for the full list of entrants.
Christian Cage vs. Matt Sydal vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Jungle Boy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Marq Quen vs. Isiah Kassidy vs. The Blade vs. Evil Uno vs. Colt Cabana vs. Preston Vance vs. Griff Garrison vs. Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Max Caster vs. Anthony Bowens vs. QT Marshall vs. Nick Comoroto vs. Dustin Rhodes vs. Lee Johnson (With the joker spot to be announced)
My Pick: AEW has used this spot in other similar matches for some big launches (think back to Brian Cage entering the Casino ladder match a year ago and ripping a ladder in half before eventually winning). Gage has earned a big stage appearance like this but I think Christian Cage wins to finally get the shot at Kenny he promised he would earn.
Sting and Darby Allin vs. Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page
There’s a high level of strange dude charisma in this match. Sky and Page need this more than Sting, who is, uh, old, or Darby, who has just come off of an outstanding run as TNT champion and seems like his body could use the break (both in and out of kayfabe).
My Pick: Sky and Page win to set themselves up as a legitimate tag team, perhaps breaking into the top 5 standings next month.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Brian Cage
Do you like lariats? This match feels a bit underhyped for who is in it, but it has a good shot at being the match of the night. Remember that only a few weeks ago Hangman was the number one ranked man in singles. Not only is that the place to be for a championship match but Page was seeking a shot at revenge on Kenny Omega for the falling out they had. Brian Cage upset him to knock him down the standings.
My Pick: Hangman gets revenge on Cage. This won’t be enough to get him back on top of the standings, but it at least points him in the right direction.
Cody Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo
It’s time for high level political discourse to play out the only way we can enjoy it: in a wrestling ring.
Anthony Ogogo has spent almost the entire existence of AEW training for a brand new sport while also learning a second job doing commentary on AEW Dark. He is athletic, full of charisma, and he’s being set up for a great future no matter the outcome. With Ogogo repping the nation of Great Britain while Cody leans hard on being Apollo Creed, this match has turned into a fight for national pride between two heavyweights.
My Pick: Ogogo wins in an upset, giving a new shelf life to The Factory, QT Marshall’s group of upstarts built around Ogogo.
Miro (c) vs. Lance Archer
The Big Boys Are Here. Archer has taken up the role of proving ground, a position he fills well. Miro, meanwhile, has had a rapid ascent and is truly hitting his stride, both in ring and as an all-around performer. He seems motivated and dangerous. This match will be really good.
My Pick: Miro could convince me that he would beat anyone right now: Kenny; Okada; both Young Bucks; Mecha Godzilla. It doesn’t matter. He’s winning.
The Young Bucks (c) vs. Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston
Eddie Kingston and Moxley have felt like such a natural pairing that it is hard to remember they have only had four matches together in AEW. The Bucks, though, are operating at a truly high level and have demonstrated no qualms about taking shortcuts in matches. The odds are tilted in their favor.
My Pick: The Young Bucks win to retain, but not in any way clean.
Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.
A title for Britt Baker is something that has been a long time coming, and Dr. Baker has made sure that we know it. Shida has just passed one year as women’s champion, making her the longest reigning champion of any sort in AEW history. She has been a great rep for the belt, and has done a lot of good as champion, like taking a commentating role in the Japan/U.S. women’s championship tournament.
My Pick: Despite losing in an unofficial lights out match in one of the best matches ever in AEW, Baker has shown she is ready to be champion. This is her time, and she is going to carry the belt through some great summer feuds.
Kenny Omega (c) vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Pac
AEW has very scarcely had triple threat matches, and this will be the first triple threat title match in company history (there was one four way match for the women’s championship). Be ready for a truly wild pace, as all of three of these guys have almost endless endurance, vast movesets, and tremendous speed. Orange Cassidy was one of the best parts about the AEW live crowd before shutdown, and they are going to be absolutely wild for him at Double or Nothing.
My Pick: Kenny is too good, too motivated, and backed up by too many friends to lose the belt anytime soon. Omega wins and this match will be visually stunning.
Stadium Stampede: The Pinnacle vs. The Inner Circle
Time for chaos wrestling. It is basically impossible to predict what sort of spots will be in this match, but at some point Sammy Guevara will do something that will make even Rey Mysterio, Jr. say “Wow.” The Inner Circle and Jericho seem to be turning this into their signature match, and with how Blood and Guts ended there is only more bad blood between these two teams.
My Pick: This one feels like a tougher pick than the rest. Both groups have a lot of individuals and teams who feel like they could be just as well off on their own, but each of these units also feels like a well-assembled and planned stable that shouldn’t necessarily lose yet. I think IC get their revenge for Blood and Guts, and we see one more scuffle between these two to break the tie during the summer.
AEW Double or nothing is scheduled for Sunday, May 30th at 8pm ET, with “The Buy In” preshow at 7:30pm ET. Check out Inn The Kitchen for a food and drink idea to go with the show.