So how about last night, huh?
Did you watch Double or Nothing? I hope you did because otherwise, you missed something amazing. I personally have been hyped about this PPV since their All In PPV back in September of 2018. I watched that PPV on my phone, alone, on a stream I think? Because I couldn’t image myself missing it because the match card was so good. It delivered in every way plus more. At the end of that one, I said that it was probably the best PPV I’d ever watched, and I was serious, and no other PPV I watched since then topped it… until last night.
To get something straight; I’ve been a WWE fan for like 9 or 10 years now. It was the first wrestling I ever watched; it’s what got me into the sport. It’s helped me in more ways than I can put together into words. I went through a phase where I also watched IMPACT wrestling, probably on the weekly, PPV’s included and I realized that it wasn’t just WWE that I loved, it was wrestling in general. I realized that I didn’t love it for the storylines but for the stories being told in the ring where no words were needed. Then NXT came along, and I noticed the differences. Lately, I realized the only thing keeping me into WWE was the wrestlers. The people. I was more interested in what they were doing outside of the ring than in it. Of course, with WrestleMania just in the rearview mirror, that’s the exception, because it’s always the exception. I started to get so mad because like everyone, I have my favorites, not only in the ring but outside of it, and this is their job, I want to support them, right? But it was becoming impossible to keep the TV on, I couldn’t justify spending money on merch or shows that were close by, because I knew that while that money was going to the talent and their livelihoods, it was also going to things I couldn’t stand, like keeping guys in their contracts just because you could, relying on Brock Lesnar for everything, continuing to perform in Saudi Arabia, and much more, and I started to question why I liked wrestling at all.
During Cody’s entrance, when Brandi picked up that sledgehammer, and Cody charged toward the so obvious HHH throne, I was screaming at him to smash it. WWE is the biggest wrestling company because it has reached everywhere. It doesn’t necessarily have the best wrestling or the stories, but it has the biggest reach, so it seems like they own it. And Cody’s very clear message was that they don’t. It was incredibly symbolic. I saw all on twitter different reactions; some agreed it was amazing, others said it was petty and pathetic, but I’d call it powerful. Cody and his counterparts believe that they can make change, and they’re doing it, they put everything into this show, and they delivered in spades. I, a decade WWE fan, who lives paycheck to paycheck, happily paid $49.99 to watch this event, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I canceled my network subscription two months ago because I couldn’t justify the extra $10.00 a month for something I hardly ever turned on. I didn’t even watch the MITB PPV, and I didn’t spend money to go to the event that was only 30 minutes from me, which NEVER happens as far as PPV’s go. I went to a friends house, watched The Game of Throne Finale, and didn’t miss a damn thing. Like most WWE events, Raw and Smackdown included, I popped on social media to congratulate or retweet a couple of things I was happy to see, and it usually just involved my favorites, you know the ones that I genuinely care about outside of the ring.
At all in, Cody and company had a fan in me, and I didn’t even know what I was becoming a fan of. After last night they 100% have a fan of all elite wrestling, and I’ll be rooting for them to succeed in every way. Whether this turns into a war with WWE, who knows? Shots have been fired on both ends already, rumors have it WWE is a little worried, and we’ve already seen some of their guys jump ship, but this company is still new, and we shouldn’t run before we can walk. Either way, it is a great thing for pro wrestling in general. You can like WWE and AEW. There doesn’t need to be a social media war. You CAN like both. You can cheer when one bashes the other (in respectful forms of course) because they did during the Monday Night Wars. You can have your own opinions, on either side, without tearing into people.
Just don’t be a dick.
I’ll be honest; I do think how WWE will top this? How can they counter this? And right now, I’m not sure how they can. I think they might be too far gone. But I also think this when NXT puts on a show of a PPV, and I can’t see how the main roster stories will ever compare. I think that maybe WWE has become a little too complacent, thinking more about money and less about talent. They have stacked rosters all the way around, and the talent in the ring is NOT THE PROBLEM. I think that’s probably something we all agree on. I’m glad that AEW can be a place that guys like Shawn Spears and Jon Moxley can go to and be THEMSELVES because there’s nothing better than that. I loved the Dean Ambrose character, but I loved the Jon Moxley 100 times more. Tye Dillinger was great, but I think Shawn Spears will shine.
The point is, everyone has their opinions on wrestling. Some are fans of one and not the other, some like me, like both. Some like it for different reasons. None of these things means that the other is wrong. I couldn’t stand the tweets I read about the show and moments being “pathetic” but it was because I think this new fresh company will do wonders for the Wrestling World in general, and I can’t imagine that most actual wrestler would disagree with that. That being said, most of your favs probably watched last night, they probably were rooting for their friends, the business they love, and they realize they can like both the company they work for and the businesses they’ve given everything too and if they can realize that, then so should you.
Now that I’m over that little “you can love both” rant, lemme give you a rundown of my thoughts through the matches. One thing that I really loved was that I didn’t know who everyone was. Maybe I recognized the face or the name, maybe both, from social media but the majority of the talent I didn’t know what they were capable of, so I was drawn in to see what they could do and then blown away with what I saw. You’ll probably notice I mention this a lot throughout this.
CODY VS DUSTIN
Emotion. That’s it. That’s the word.
When I first heard the announcement that Cody’s opponent was none other than his own brother, I was ecstatic. I remember in WWE how badly I wanted to see this. Dustin has always been a favorite of mine, FOR YEARS, and I always loved Cody’s talent, so for me, this was must have. I’m so glad we got it on a platform that truly took care of it. There’s something about Dusty Rhodes that always makes me emotional. I wasn’t watching back then obviously, but he is one of the guys that when I started watching, I’d go back and watch his stuff and I’d just be captivated by him. When he passed, I don’t think I’ve cried so hard over someone that I never had even meant, but my wrestling heart broke, so watching his boys continue to break ceilings, evolve and kick ass, makes me happy.
It was a brother vs. brother match that I don’t think could ever be beaten. There was so much blood, maybe too much? I was slightly worried about dustins wellbeing, but it was incredible. They literally left EVERYTHING in the ring. The storytelling the video packages that they do BEAUTIFULLY did were almost nothing compared to the story the two told in the ring together. I loved Brandi’s spear, I loved her getting tossed, and DDP having to carry her out, because who would believe she’d actually willingly leave? They threw every possible move at one another, they kicked out of each other’s finishers, and the near falls were breathtaking.
Regardless of all the emotion in the match, the most emotional part, to me, was after the match. After the match when Cody tells Dustin he doesn’t get to retire here, that he needs his older brother for the tag match against the Bucks at the fight for the fallen, I cried. Yup, Cody’s voice cracked, and my overly emotional ass cried. I can’t imagine what it feels like for Cody to carry on his fathers legacy with his own company, and for the first match to be with Dustin, and for Dustin to have been able to get away from WWE and be apart of this event. I can’t imagine what it was like for these two in the ring, honoring their father as they’ve always done, but that voice crack got me good. Dustin and Cody vs. The Young Bucks is going to be outstanding, but Dustin vs. Cody at Double or Nothing is one for the history books no doubt.
BRITT BAKER VS NYLA ROSE VS KYLIE RAE VS AWESOME KONG
I was excited about this match when it was only a triple threat. After seeing what Baker could do at All In, she’s got a fan in me, and I’ve heard how great Kylie Rae is, and Nyla Rose just looked badass, but then Brandi came out, and I thought for sure she was going to insert herself into the match, but man did we get a swerve. Awesome Kong is one of those talents that just gives you goosebumps, from her look to the way she moves she’s incredible. I first saw her in IMPACT, and I was like, I adore this woman, then she came to WWE and as usual WWE didn’t know what to do with her, which was a damn shame, so when her music hit, I got actual chills. She has such a presence about her; it’s insane. I loved that while she was no doubt a dominant force in the match, she didn’t squash the match you know? You still believed every other girl had a fighting chance, even with Kong in there. If I’m anything, It’s a women’s wrestling fan, so I am very VERY excited about how the AEW women’s roster is shaping up and what it will accomplish. It was great to see Baker get the win, and I wouldn’t hate the idea of her being their first women’s champion.
CASINO BATTLE ROYALE.
This was very fun first, pre-show, match. I didn’t know a lot of the guys, but I knew enough to be intrigued. When Shawn Spears came out, I got chills because I always believe the guy could be more than he was in WWE and I think we’re going to get to see that in AEW. Seeing Billy Gun and Tommy Dreamer is always a treat. I realized that this MJF guy is a treat. He’s a full-blown heel, and he is mind-blowing on the microphone. I forgot how much I liked Jimmy Havok; I loved getting to see Jungle Boy in action because I loved Luke Perry and it’s been said plenty of times how much he liked seeing his son wrestle. The final four of Havok, MJK, Adam Page and this Luchasaurus (who’s mask genuinely scared me) was a great showdown. Crazy how Hangman managed to fight through everything when clearly his leg wasn’t right. I’ve only seen him wrestle once, but I was beyond impressed, so him winning was exciting for me, because I knew whether he faced Jericho or Omega it would be a good one.
BEST FRIENDS VS ANGELICO AND JACK EVANS
In this match, I only recognized Trent Baretta, but he certainly wasn’t the Trent I remember, he looked better, he was outstanding in the ring, and I was so entertained. Chuck Taylor and him just thrived so well together, and I had no idea who Angelico or Jack Evans was, but damn do I know now. It was the first tag team match of the night, and it was no doubt a good one.
YOUNG BUCKS VS LUCHA BROS
I’ve watched the Young Bucks a few times now, and they are absolutely as good as they are hyped up to be. The lucha bros, I’ve seen something on social media but never watched them, and I can’t believe that now. THEY ARE SO GOOD. The things that all four men accomplished in that match was insane. The sequence on the top rope was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Like ever. There is something about tag team wrestling that is a different kind of special, and these four showed that in spades last night.
SAMMY GUEVARA VS KIP SABIAN
The first ever singles match on AEW consisted of these two on the pre-show, and they certainly got the show started in quite a fashion. I had no clue who these two were, but I was a fan by the end. Especially Kip Sabian, I just couldn’t stop watching him as he was moving. According to the commentary he was fairly new to the wrestling world? At least in wrestling terms? I guess, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. These two definitely set a standard for what the rest of the show was going to look like. Just incredible.
AJA KONG, YUKA SAKAZAKI, AND EMI SAKURA VS HIKARU SHIDA, RIHO ABE AND RYO MIZUNAMI
So I guess this is called Joshi? I have not a single clue what this was, who these ladies were or what Joshi was when I read it on social media. I was just interested because it was different, and I was so clueless. But THESE LADIES?! My gosh. I need to watch more. They were so energetic and technical and smooth. Emi Sakura was my favorite through the match, but I’m seriously considering looking more into this kind of wrestling because it was awesome.
SOCAL UNCENSORED VS STRONG HEARTS
Kazarian, Daniels, it’s always a joy to watch them. When I was watching IMPACT, I was always a fan of these two, whether it was on the mic or in the ring, and watching them with Scorpio Sky just elevated that because that guy IS good. Being the first match on the actual main show, they kicked us off with a bang. I had no idea who the strong heart was, never heard of them, but that name will definitely catch my attention now. Again, another tag teaming match that was just insane storytelling. If there was one thing this PPV DEFINITELY proved, it was that tag team wrestling is very much alive in well, and still forever kicking ass.
Can we talk about Bret Hart at AEW?! I never in a million years expected that. It was such a shock; I almost thought it was a joke. To have a guy with the background of Bret Hart come out to your show, and unveil the look of your promotions world championship, that’s just such a victory in itself. It is so true that you never know where Bret Hart is gonna show up.
CHRIS JERICHO VS KENNY OMEGA.
Their first match was insane. I had never watched a NJPW show before, but I did because of this match, and of course, I got so much more out of it, but this match between the two was just incredible. The build-up to this second one, Alpha vs. Omega was brilliant, and the story in the ring was great. A battle to be better, with both having so much to prove. It didn’t need any insane maneuvers to be great because the talent was enough. I loved Jerichos’ entrance, and I loved his cockiness, and I just love everything Chris Jericho, always have. Omega can move man, this being one of the few times I’ve been able to watch him, he is every bit as good as the rest of the world says he is. Even though Kenny won their first match, I was still expecting him to come out on top in this one. I was expecting him to go on to face Hangman for the first ever AEW Championship, so Jericho winning was a nice surprise. And even better one? JON MOXLEY. We all heard the rumors, we all had hope that Mox would make AEW his home post WWE, but as the show got closer to the end, I personally started to lose hope. If he was coming, maybe they’re saving it, but then there is was walking through the crowd, his name spray painted on his vest, with that look that only JON MOXLEY can give. Seeing him and Jericho facing off with each other in this different setting had such an incredible vibe to it, but Mox going after Omega?! It was something I didn’t realize I needed until I realized how close in the future it was going to be. While Mox threw down with Omega, Omega stood his ground for a good portion of it, which made it that much more exciting. Having Moxley stand tall to end your show? Incredible. This is going to be so good for Moxley; this is where he is going to be able to shine, as I mentioned before Dean Ambrose was one of my all-time favorites, but there is no one that compares to Jon Moxley. There are so many match and story opportunities here, and to hear that he signed a multi-year deal… my heart is beaming.
I said before that I was really questioning why I liked wrestling, to begin with, and this PPV reminded me. I’m sure I’ll find myself popping into WWE now and then, (especially for NXT PPVs) and I’ll always support the talent on the roster, but I feel like AEW is where it’s at. They had everything riding on this PPV, and they conquered it. They have not only fight for the fallen lined up, but ALL OUT scheduled in Chicago in August which is insane, they have an incredible TV deal with TNT for weekly episodes, and I just cannot wait to dive into all of it.
For anyone in AEW who had the slightest hand in making this a success, from Cody and Brandi, to Tony, to shareholders, to TNT, to the camera guy and the video guy, this was one of the best productions I’ve ever seen. I was thoroughly captivated throughout the entire show, eyes glued to every match. I would happily spend $49.99 again for that kind of content, I’m proud of seeing hard work, and determination comes to fruition like this, and I’m excited for what is to come.