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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: AEW Double or Nothing 2023

It's been some time since I last watched an AEW show. Honestly, after All Out '22 and the fall out from that I struggled to want to watch with all of the childish behaviour from most involved. I've kept an eye on the product since then, seeing how things have developed. They're doing some good things and some bad things. I better get watching because I'm attending the All In show in London. Recently we had the announcement of AEW Collision and the reports of maybe a brand split AND the return of CM Punk. Punk is a childhood favourite of mine so I'm excited to see him back, just let's keep the backstage drama to a minimum.

I'm relatively excited for this show. Looking forward for the Elite vs the BCC of course however I am a bit miffed about the decision to bring Hangman back into the fold. Just feels like they've rushed that. It should be a fantastic match anyways. Same with the four pillars match. Surely a great match but a weird way of getting to this destination. I'll run through the card and the stories as I go. Let's put it all on black. Let's review.

May 27th- AEW Double or Nothing 2023

-The Buy-In is hosted by Renee Paquette with her guests Paul Wight, Stokely Hathaway & Kazeem Famuyide. After some "expert analysis" we come to our first match.

Pre-show: Hook & The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs Ethan Page & The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn)

There's probably more story to this but I haven't watched it. If the Hardys & Hook win, Matt Hardy will control Ethan Page's contract. Haven't seen that before. Not including the Firm Deletion, this is Jeff Hardy's first match since last years DoN. I'm a big fan of Hook, a future mega star in the making.

The faces clear the ring and gain the early advantage. Colten & Hook start and exchange some crisp moves. Matt tags in and clears house with signature offence and the heels regroup. They attacked the injured Isiah Cassidy on the outside which gives them an opportunity to attack Matt Hardy. Matt is worked over by the heels for some time, smartly preventing a tag. Matt finally gets Jeff in who hits some of his signature offence. He looks knackered real quick. He seems to tweak his knee in a twist of fate, and he botches a whisper in the wind. Oh man that's sad to watch. Hook tags back in and regains control for his team. Jeff misses his cue so Matt is on all fours waiting for poetry in motion like a goof. They finally hit it. A 3:10 to Yuma has Matt defeated but Jeff breaks it with a Swanton bomb. It breaks down again and Ethan Page is all alone. 2 twist of fates and Redrum for a victory for the good guys.

This was alright, I am unfortunately deducting marks for the Jeff botches. I feel bad. Everyone is crying for him to retire. Maybe, but this is his first match in a year and it probably shouldn't have been on PPV. Ring rust hits harder in your later years. Outside of the botches, the match was fine, nothing blew me away. The heels were solid, the Hardy's hit their classics and Hook was the best in the match. Do I care Matt Hardy had control of Ethan Page? Nah.

The Hardy Boyz & Hook win via submission (15:47)


-Announcement by Dr Martha Hart with the Owen Hart Cup Tournament culminating at the next major show, Forbidden Door. Tony Khan is out there too looking like a big dork.

21-man Blackjack battle royal for the AEW International Championship

The entrances started during the pre-show and the match began at the start of the main show. Orange Cassidy is the defending champion. The participants are Trent Baretta, Chuck Taylor, Bandido, Ari Diavari, Tony Nese, Lee Moriarty, Big Bill, Komander, Kip Sabian, The Butcher, The Blade, Juice Robinson, Jay White, Dustin Rhodes, Keith Lee, Ricky Starks, Penta El Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix, Brian Cage, Swerve Strickland & finally the Champ. Orange Cassidy has been on a tear as champion, being a regular defender and building himself as one of AEW's superior athletes.

Everyone except Orange starts on the outside and has to enter the ring in order to participate and eliminated. Some get in straight away, some fight on the outside first. Brian Cage & Swerve Strickland stand on the ramp and don't get involved. Smart heel tactics, until they later get involved in the match whilst everyone is still in the match, that makes no sense. We have some nice, high-risk offence from AEW's luchadores Penta, Bandido, Fenix & Komander. Other spots in this match include Cage holding both Fenix & Komander and slamming them down together, Orange accidentally low-bridging Chuck Taylor out of the ring, Keith Lee FINALLY coming to blows with Swerve (how the fuck have they not had a match yet?), Trent sacrificing himself to save Orange, Ricky Starks eliminating Juice & Jay White to a MONSTROUS pop. He was very over in this. Our final 4 is Big Bill, Penta EZM, Orange Cassidy & Swerve Strickland. Bill eliminates Penta, Swerve goes for a double elimination and removes Bill but Orange holds on. We get a lovely final showdown between between these two, plenty of near-eliminations but eventually Orange wins, in perfect Orange fashion, lackadaisical kicking a stunned Swerves hand off the rope to eliminate and retain.

This was a fun battle royal, plenty of things to enjoy. Starting on the floor first was good to set up spots where people can do more like those big tope dives, but it made little sense for the wrestlers to get in the ring until more of the field was cleared. Whilst the booking was a bit iffy the match itself was rather fun and a good way to start a show.

Orange Cassidy retains last eliminating Swerve Strickland (22:29)


Chris Jericho vs Adam Cole in an Unsanctioned match

Sabu is the special enforcer for this match. Why? Because why not I guess. Sabu has literally zero ties to anyone in AEW except Taz so why not. It feels really out of place doesn't it? If Tony took like 2 or 3 weeks to just tease an "extreme" enforcer, or maybe Taz can get involved and offer a friend to Cole or something? Any explanation is better than no explanation. Anyway the story is that Adam Cole returned recently after suffering a life-threatening concussion at Forbidden Door last year. Cole entered a feud with the Jericho Appreciation Society (for the record, a bad gimmick) which led to Jericho and Saraya assaulting Cole's partner Britt Baker. Cole wants revenge, and he evened up the numbers by bringing in former ally Roderick Strong and then Sabu as enforcer.

Anything goes in this match, AEW will not be held responsible for what happens and their are no rules. It's important to remember this fact. Big brawl between the JAS against Cole and his friends. Chair dueling between Jericho & Sabu. Sabu puts Matt through a table which was a cool moment, and everyone fights away leaving only Jericho & Cole. We never see Sabu for the rest of the match. Why was he the special enforcer then?!? He can just be a weird ally. They fight around the ring for a bit, they fight in the ring for a bit and they reverse out of big moves. Eventually Cole is caught in the Walls of Jericho but Cole grabs a fire extinguisher and sprays it in the face. Jericho gains control again and goes for a Kendo. Out comes Britt Baker to attack Jericho with her own Kendo. Out comes Saraya and the two women fight to the back. Jericho throws a chair and Cole's head and he falls through a table, fuck concussions I guess. Jericho pulls out a long chain with handcuffs. Cole takes control with a DDT and they're handcuffed together now, Jericho can't escape. Panama Sunrise for a nearfall. Jericho uses the chain. Cole hits the Boom, then a second one with a chain-assist. Then he just bludgeons Jericho with chained punches and the referee calls for a stoppage. What?

HOW CAN AN UNSANCTIONED MATCH END IN A REFEREE STOPPAGE!?!? Seriously? Their are no rules, surely Cole should have just won definitively right? This was the most boring unsanctioned match I have ever watched. Everything was executed fine but it was dull, it never once felt like really hardcore. It felt like 2010 WWE no DQ matches. Then the booking, fuck me. Excessive interference, Sabu being an ENFORCER and being gone after 2 minutes. Fucking stupid. I can't rate it too low because it was competent. But this was a huge disappointment.

Adam Cole wins via referee stoppage (19:00)


FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) (c) vs Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal for the AEW Tag Team Championships

Mark Briscoe is the special guest referee. Pretty simple story. Briscoe is friends with FTR, but he's also friends with Lethal. He's been asked by both teams to "do the right thing" so there is intrigue in what might happen. So, I'm fully on board with Jarrett being with AEW. He has a business mind and experience that can be useful, especially with regards to live events. However, do I think he should be taking PPV slots for a title opportunity? No, not at all. He could be considered a draw, but I doubt many people would say "Double or Nothing was good last night, however I would have enjoyed it more if Jeff Jarrett was there". No offence Jeff, but I think I'm right.

FTR control with superior tag team offence. Lethal & Jarrett try underhanded tactics like fake tags, weapon use and cheating but Briscoe refuses to let it slide and demands they comply with the rules. The heels and their outside support manage to distract Briscoe and the wrestlers to provide opportunity for Jarrett & Lethal to take over. They work over Wheeler until he manages a hot tag, Harwood cleans house. More outside interference leads to Briscoe banning Sonjay Dut & Satnam Singh from ringside. Karen Jarrett uses this opportunity to slide in a guitar. Jeff swings but misses, cracking Mark Briscoe by accident. Out comes Aubrey Edwards and she gets blasted with a guitar too! Why?! Double Lethal Injection and Jarrett hits the Stroke for a nearfall by a dazed Briscoe. Jeff slaps Briscoe, who slaps him back right into a shatter machine for a 3 count.

Another match riddled with excessive outside interference and run-ins. Luckily, I love FTR and I think they're incapable of a bad match. The in-ring action was good and I did enjoy this but without the wrestlers involved, this would be waaay worse due to how overbooked this was. Why assault Aubrey with the guitar? Why did a referee run out so quickly anyway? Briscoe was back up soon after.

FTR retain via pinfall (19:57)


-Backstage Juice Robinson & Jay White attack Ricky Starks and FTR are there to help him out. Also, Chris Jericho & Saraya are pissed and demand a mixed tag match with Adam Cole & Britt Baker. Damn this feud isn't ending yet is it?

Wardlow (c) vs Christian Cage Ladder match for the TNT Championship

These two have feuded for a few weeks, Christian wants the TNT title and that's pretty much all to tell. The booking of the TNT title has been dire recently, which I made a point of in a list I made earlier in the year (11 worst booking decisions, check it out). Hot potatoing the title with seemingly lack of direction. Wardlow has been so mismanaged. He was hugely over coming off a well told story with MJF aaaaand they lost all of his heat. I think Wardlow would be better booked in a different company personally. I'm really digging Luchasaurus as a heel, he looks cool.

They fight each other over a ladder. Cage goes for a dive and eats a ladder shot for it. Hope you don't get injured again Christian. Wardlow sets up two tables and goes for a splash from the top rope but Cage escapes. There's a ladder set up between the ring and the barrier now, Wardlow goes for a move but Cage crotches him on it. Farewell future little Wardlows. Cage makes the climb but Wardlow is back to stop it. Out comes Luchasaurus to help his friend? Master? Coach? Dad? Reverse DDT from the ladder by Christian was pretty cool. Christian climbs, Wardlow jumps from top rope to ladder, the ladder falls and bends. I assume that wasn't meant to happen. He and the referee try to stabilise it but it just wastes time. Luchasaurus hits a pair of chokeslams. Arn Anderson is here and he, and I'm serious here, bites off Luchasaurus' thumb. You can see blood gush and some fake bone sticking out. Ummmm, okay? Luchasaurus is on the table stack and Wardlow hits a HUGE Swanton from a HUGE ladder. Great spot. Cage makes the climb, Arn pushes him into a powerbomb from Wardlow which looked cool. Wardlow climbs and wins.

This was pretty decent, again though it's mired with excessive booking. Did we really need to see Arn Anderson bit off a dinosaur-man's thumb? No, we didn't. It was funny, but it didn't really add anything to this. It felt like a "LOL XD" moment to me. Some good spots in here, some lull moments too. It felt like a ladder match for the sake of having one, this should have just been a singles match. We haven't had a normal singles match yet. It was mostly good though.

Wardlow retains by retrieving the title (17:11)


Jamie Hayter (c) vs Toni Storm for the AEW Women's Championship

Going into this it's reported Hayter is injured so I'm not expecting much. The Outcasts are a blatant rip of the nWo, which is fine because the nWo was a rip-off anyway. Bischoff was inspired by factions in Japan. Hayter has been at war with the Outcasts for sometime.

Hayter is attacked by the Outcasts before she makes her entrance. Hikaru Shida comes out to help but if means little. Toni Storm wins with Storm Zero after a couple minutes.

Here's my issue here. If she's injured, why not vacate the title? Or introduce an interim champion? Both of these things are something you've done previously. I'm not a big fan of interim champions so a vacated title works better for me personally. But putting an injured star in a match that was bloated with interference to cover it was never a good idea. At this point, this is the fourth match in a row with outside interference. That's not good, at all. Serious late-90s WCW booking here and it's concerning. I'm probably being too harsh on this, but this match should never have happened.

Toni Storm wins via pinfall (3:03)


House of Black (Aleister Black, Buddy Matthews & Brody King) (c) Open House Open Challenge for the AEW Trios Championship

The Open House rules are as follows; 20 second count on the outside, no rope breaks but still disqualifications, the challenger can add a stipulation. The challenge is answered by the Acclaimed & 'Daddy Ass' Billy Gunn. Max Caster does an entertaining freestyle, saying Aleister does blackface which is ingenious and mentioning Dominic Mysterio to Buddy Matthews (Rhea Ripley's real life partner).

The house are firmly in control for the majority of this match. The Acclaimed tag in to try take control but Matthews, King & Black keep dominating with their offence. They're all phenomenal talents. Anthony Bowens tries to fight back but can't catch a break. He finally manages to tag in Billy Gunn who goes on an entertaining tear. Eventually though he turns into a Black Mass and the House retain.

This was a good match. No story so it lacked investment but the action was good. It feels like once again AEW don't know what to do with these two teams. Who are left for the House to feud against who aren't already locked into feuds? We going to see them fight Death Triangle for the 1,000th time again? Probably.

House of Black retain via pinfall (15:21)


Jade Cargill (c) vs Taya Valkyrie for the TBS Championship

We're into our final 3 scheduled matches of the evening, and this is the FIRST traditional singles match on the card. That's fucking ridiculous Tony. Surprised this didn't end up being a "Mark Sterling on a forklift" match. Jade has been on a dominant run of 59 wins undefeated and has held the TBS Championship since it's inception. Taya Valkyrie is possibly one of the best female wrestlers of the last 10 years. She's a modern Beth Pheonix. They both have the same finisher which came into the story. Taya was banned from using it in their previous match but it's allowed here.

Taya takes the fight to her early. They both go for their finisher but avoid it. Taya hits a nice dive to the outside. Taya hit a sweet sliding German suplex. Big spinebuster by Jade. Big blue thunder bomb by Taya. Taya hits her Road to Valhalla for a nearfall. Cargill hits her Jaded finish for a nearfall. She hits it a second time to win.

This is kept short and sweet and I liked it quite a lot. This really felt like thr toughest test for Jade thus far. I would have liked to see Taya win but maybe this was the right call.

Jade Cargill wins via pinfall (8:47)


-Jade Cargill & Mark Sterling celebrate 60-0 and say they will continue to throw out the open challenge because no one can beat her. Kris Statlander returns!! We have an impromptu match!!

Jade Cargill (c) vs Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship

Jade escapes a jackhammer, she hits a pump kick but fails a Jaded attempt. Statlander hits the Sunday Night Fever and wins in quick fashion.

Not much but it was a fun shock of a match. Nice to see Jade finally lose and a new TBS Champion. A great moment for Statlander who's been given a shit hand with injuries. I didn't mind this.

Kris Statlander wins via pinfall (0:50)


MJF (c) vs 'Jungle Boy' Jack Perry vs Sammy Guevara vs Darby Allin for the AEW World Championship

I mentioned the poor build to this and I'll explain why. These four are identified as the four pillars of AEW right? The 4 faces of the company's future. That's all this needed to be. 4 guys, gunning for the world title to try and elevate themselves above the others. I would have had MJF successfully defend against all 3 via cheating and then be forced into this. Instead, we had a weird 3-man tournament. Darby Allin got a bye for some reason. Sammy defeated Jungle Boy by count out, then defeated Allin in the finals by disqualification, both thanks to MJF. Sammy agreed to lie down to MJF, but changed his mind and claimed he was never going to. Tony Khan forced a tag match between the pillars, if Allin & Jungle Boy won (they did) then the match would be a four-way match. Convoluted for unnecessary reasons. However, I have no doubt this will be a great match.

Before the match, Sammy Guevara & Tay Conti reveal they're having a baby. Good for them. Darby Allin had a cool video and his attire if a half-dead elvis looked great. MJF had a fantastic entrance, devil mask on a throne with a row of women wanting to touch him. Classic. This match is amazing, I'm going to have a hard time telling it all and selling it as the best match of the night so I'm just going to run through some of my favourite spots. Taking turns beating up MJF, everyone taking turns to hit dives on each other, all members hitting the finishers of their former mentors, MJF grabbing a mic and telling Sammy to lie down and "think of the baby", a four-way submission hold which formed a circle, Canadian destroyers for everyone, MJF with a trio of eyepokes then eating a triple superkick, a phenomenally quick pinfall sequence. MJF retains when he puts the title on Perry as Allin goes for the coffin drop, hurting them both and he secures a headlock takeover pin on Darby.

Yeah this was excellent. Any doubts were cleansed by these 4 putting on a display of talent. I think MJF may have injured his arm on a superbomb. Either that or he's an amazing seller. But it looked like he was genuinely struggling with pain. The right man won, honestly I don't want MJF to lose the title at all this year.

MJF retains via pinfall (27:50)


The Elite (Hangman Page, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson & Kenny Omega) vs The Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta) Anarchy in the Arena

This goes back to October last year when Hangman & Moxley began feuding. It escalated over the months and the Dark Order was picked apart until Page was on his own, but the Elite made the save. The Young Bucks Matt & Nick want to mend fences, Kenny was unsure until Hangman officially announced he was Elite once more. I think it's a well built story but I personally wouldn't have him rejoin so quickly. Blackpool Combat Club have been the best thing about AEW for some time now, especially after the All Out Fallout.

This match is anything goes, falls count anywhere, a spiritual successor to the Stadium Stampede match. The Elite come out first to their anthem "Carry on Wayward Son", watching Omega & Page sing it to each other was cute shit. The BCC enter through the crowd with a live band playing Wild Thing. This is almost reminiscent of ECW as the band continues to play whilst the match starts and continues. The Elite meet the BCC in the crowd and they beat the piss out of each other. Hangman removes his eyepatch and shows a fully healed eye. Plenty of action in and around the ring. The bucks fight up the ramp, the band lead singer shows off his BCC shirt so eats a double superkick. Claudio & Matt fight to the back, through the concession stand. A giant swing into a bin was funny. Moxley & Omega scrap at the entrance, Moxley using a fork to stab, also suplexing Omega onto a Barbed Wire poker chip. Yuta hits Page with a chair in the ring. Claudio hits a piledriver to Matt on the back of a truck in the parking lot, and he makes his way back towards the ring. There's a leafblower involved, because why not. Omega wields a trash can lid Captain America style and it looked amazing, blocking shots and using it as a weapon. The BCC have a numbers advantage and take control, until Matt Jackson returns. Matt superkicks Moxley and his boot explodes!!! Literally! This is mental. Thumbtacks out, brilliant. Matt is dropped bare foot directly on to them. Gruesome. Matt gets a mouthful of tacks and reiceves a Swiss uppercut. Poor fella. Page and Omega hit some tandem offence, throwing back to their previous tag team together. A one winged angel is broken up. Omega goes for a second but Don Callis is out to distract him. Someone attacks Omega...its Konosuke Takeshita!! Yuta screwdrivers Omega and grabs a pin to win.

I missed a lot of the spots, because it's a falls count anywhere match with 8 people. This was a lot of fun. Borderline ridiculous, but in all of the best ways. This was violent, chaotic and I loved it. This made the Unsanctioned match look like a bitch. Interesting development with Takeshita, he's a perfect fit for the BCC and I imagine we could see this feud continue. If only the Elite could recruit a 5th man. Maybe, a fellow golden lover?

Blackpool Combat Club wins via pinfall (26:58)


Overall- 53.6%

Let's talk about the positives first. Overall, this was a fun show. The last two matches expecially were phenomenal. If any matches on the show needed to perform it was the final 2, and they delivered in droves. Outside of that, there was fun to be had elsewhere. The battle royal was exciting, the ladder match had a couple of cool spots, the tag matches were all good. There's a lot to like here.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of glaring issues with this PPV that really urked me. Jade Cargill vs Taya Valkyrie was the only scheduled singles match that was a traditional singles match. Cargill vs Statlander wasn't announced and lasted 40+ seconds, Hayter vs Storm was plagued with excessive interference to hide an injury and lasted a couple of minutes. That isn't good. That's an over reliance on match types. Even the tag matches on the main card either had a special referee, a contract on the line or "house rules". 5 matches on this show were heavily influenced by outside interference. 4 matches were in a row. That's absolutely shocking, unnecessary and lazy. The pacing was terrible, it just felt like way too much happening all the time. The women's title match sucked, not to the fault of the performers. The unsanctioned match was a big disappointment. There's been a lot of comparison between AEW & WCW, and it's there in both positive and negative ways. Over-reliance on stipulations and match types, overbooking, excessive interference. Though, the main events are mostly booked well as are the world title feuds. Another thing. 3 Women's matches totalling just over 12 minutes. Pathetic. Even WWE, in FUCKING SAUDI ARABIA, had better and longer women's matches. Hell, 2 out of 3 of those were longer than these 3 combined. This is in contention for being AEW's worst PPV yet, maybe not quite as bad as All Out 2020 considering Matt Hardy's injury but even MJF may have been injured here. I've went from being excited about London's All In show, to actually being slightly nervous about what we're going to get.

MOTN- 4 Pillars four-way for the AEW World Championship

Thanks for reading, what did you think of the show? Am I being too harsh? Or do you agree? Let me know, I should have a review out next week then I'll be taking a brief break away. Until next time, see ya!


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