All Elite Wrestling's Double or Nothing pay-per-view has come and gone, and it was a fantastic show, full of great matches and huge moments. It was a long one, clocking in at 5+ hours if you watched the pre-show like I did, and I was exhausted by the time it ended after midnight here on the east coast, but I absolutely got my money's worth. If you read my predictions article last week, I got 9 out of 13 predictions correct (with 2 matches announced after my article was published, I had to make those predictions on Twitter), which isn't too shabby! So now let's run down the matches as I give my thoughts on them.
Two things before we get started: First, there are some gifs and videos containing blood below, so if you're not into that, the main one is right after the Anarchy in the Arena segment.
Second, this article is going up late Friday night, with both the Dynamite and Rampage after Double or Nothing having already happened. This article does not take into account the events of those shows in my discussions. Most of this article was written Thursday and finished up on Friday, so I decided that taking the events of Dynamite and especially Rampage into account would not flow well. It's written as if it was published right after Double or Nothing ended to be fair to all readers.
Hook & Danhausen vs Tony Nese & "Smart" Mark Sterling
This match was exactly what it needed to be: a short little match to get over the odd couple of the ass-kicking Hook and the eccentric Danhausen. Danhasuen got to actually do a few moves here, which I was glad to see considering he got no offense on Tony Nese in his first match. Nese and Sterling played their roles well, with Tony as the main antagonist and Sterling as his bumbling stooge. Great start to the night, and I look forward to what else we'll get from Hookhausen going forward if they continue to team.
Winners: Hook & Danhausen
Match Rating: 7 out of 10
Wardlow vs MJF
This past weekend was full of rumors and controversy concerning one Maxwell Jacob Friedman, and a lot of the hype around this match shifted to exactly what was going to go down as a result. For a short summary of what went down: MJF is unhappy with how little he's being paid as a top star compared to newer signees, and along with missing an autograph signing the day before and supposedly booking a flight back home and not getting on the plane, fans in the know were eager to figure out how much of all of that was real or just adding to the story.
The match itself also lended credence to the rumors, as Wardlow essentially flattened MJF in a few minutes with little resistance. Honestly, even without all of the weekend's drama, this was exactly how this needed to go down after 3 years of MJF treating Wardlow like dirt. Ten powerbombs later, and Wardlow was free of MJF and an official member of the AEW roster. I see big things in the War Dog's future, while the future for Mr. Friedman seems a bit uncertain...
Match Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs The Hardys (Matt & Jeff Hardy)
This match was pretty good. Even being middle-aged, Matt and Jeff Hardy could still keep up with The Young Bucks... for the most part. You could tell Jeff was not all there physically and was moving pretty slowly, a likely result of being banged-up from his hellacious No-DQ match with Darby Allin a few weeks ago and getting little time to rest since. Maybe not as good as their encounter in Ring of Honor back in 2017, but for what it was, it was alright. The Hardys won, much to my surprise, after a Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb combo after some ridiculous spots, with the Swanton Bomb onto the steps on the outside being particularly gnarly.
Winners: The Hardys
Match Rating: 6.5 out of 10
TBS Championship Match: Jade Cargill (C) vs Anna Jay
Alright, full disclosure: I think this was the least-exciting match of the night, but honestly, that just speaks for how great this show was. Jade and Anna are two home-grown AEW talents, and while they've gotten better by leaps and bounds since their debuts, they still have so much experience to gain. This was a mostly standard match, but there were a few sloppy moves here, and Jade looked lost once or twice as she refused to bump on occasion. In a few years' time, these two could be some of the biggest and best women's wrestlers on the planet, but Sunday was not that day. Jade won with a top-rope Jaded after "Smart" Mark Sterling and the Baddies interfered.
The real story here was the debuts after the match of Jade's new manager, Stokely Hathaway ( formerly NXT's Malcom Bivens and probably the best wrestling manager working today), and a new member of the women's roster, Athena (formerly WWE's Ember Moon). Big Stoke is exactly what Jade needs to up her standing even higher in AEW's landscape, and a veteran like Athena is a much-needed shot in the arm to AEW's womens division, especially as a threat to the undefeated Cargill's title reign.
Winner: Jade Cargill (Champ Retains)
Match Rating: 5 out of 10
Trios Match: House of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King, & Buddy Matthews) vs Death Triangle (PAC, Rey Fenix, & Penta Oscuro)
This match was nonstop action from bell-to-bell. It would be pointless to try and list everything done in this match, or even all of the high points as there were so many (and honestly, dear reader, I have forgotten most of them after this 5+ hour show and four days). Lots of kicks, lots of high-flying, and lots of dudes getting dropped on their heads. Spots that stick out in my mind are Penta Oscuro's step-up Canadian Destroyer on the apron and Brody King launching himself over the top rope and accidentally catching the apron on the way down with his back. The finish came after the lights went out and Julia Hart finally turned to the dark side, spraying black mist in PAC's eyes to allow Malakai to get the win. I hope this is it for this feud, and I hope all sides can move on to better things. The House of Black, specifically Malakai, could do with a main event rivalry.
Winners: The House of Black
Match Rating: 8 out of 10
The Owen Hart Foundation Men's Tournament Final: Samoa Joe vs Adam Cole
As much as Samoa Joe and Adam Cole have been in the same companies at the same time, it's interesting that they've never wrestled each other much. Tonight was a fine match, but it feels like it could have been much more with more time and with both guys not banged up (Joe had an arm injury to sell, and Cole suffered a shoulder injury during this match.). The ending of a flurry of superkicks and The Boom by Cole to win felt a bit anti-climactic, especially after interference from Bobby Fish, as Joe didn't get nearly as much offense in as Cole, which feels weird to say about the usually dominant big man. On a weekly TV card, this would be a good match, but here on PPV, it felt a bit lacking.
Winner: Adam Cole
Match Rating: 6.5 out of 10
The Owen Hart Foundation Women's Tournament Final: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. vs Ruby Soho
Let's get this out of the way: Britt didn't need this win at all. She's been very well-protected since losing the AEW Women's Title back in March, and this big win would have meant a lot more to another woman who needed building, like a Ruby Soho or even Toni Storm (still salty Britt beat her to get here). Ruby's entire drive heading into this match has been the desire to finally beat Britt after failing multiple times, and losing here clean kinda makes her look bad. The match itself, much like the other Owen Hart final, was fine, but nothing really impressed me. I suppose Britt winning by reversing a victory roll for a surprise pin (ala Owen Hart vs Bret Hart at Wrestlemania X) takes a bit of the sting off the loss for Ruby, but Britt still wins in the record books.
Winner: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D
Match Rating: 6.5 out of 10
I'd also like to say that, despite me not being over the moon about Cole and Baker winning, I saw the real-life couple winning a mile away, which took off the sting and made enjoying Dr. Martha Hart's speech and the presentation of the special title belts and Owen Cup easy. For decades, Martha has been vilified by a vocal portion of the wrestling community for not letting WWE use her husband's name in promotional materials or put him in the Hall of Fame. Hell, she still gets flack for it now, as if letting AEW honor her husband is some slap in the face to the WWE (as if the billion-dollar corporation that is responsible for killing him, handled it poorly, sued Martha afterwards, pushed her family to turn against her, and still owns the rights to most of his wrestling career cares). This was her moment to to finally address wrestling fans and be shown that there's still a legion of fans that loved Owen's work and whose lives he's touched for the better. It was a touching moment, and no matter who won the tournaments, this made it all worth it.
Mixed Trios Match: Frankie Kazarian, Sammy Guevara, & Tay Conti vs Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page, & Paige Van Zant
This was the first of two matches announced on Rampage two days before the show, and it includes the two people I have grown to loathe on TV: Sammy Guevara and his girlfriend Tay Conti. All of their real-life drama aside, I cannot stand them on TV. Sammy is a cocky, little prick who wrestles and sells like every indie geek under the sun who can't cut a promo without sounding like an edgy teenager, and since their relationship has become canon on AEW programming, Tay Conti has went from a strong, independent judo badass to a whiny brat who can't keep Sammy's tongue out of her mouth and talking about how much sex they have. I'd be fine if they were supposed to be heels, but for months, they were supposed to be the babyfaces, and that is quite frankly ridiculous to me. I've been rooting for Sky and Page this entire feud. Oh, and Frankie's there; everybody's uncle who's still really into Metallica.
The match itself was okay. I most appreciated Frankie Kazarian leaving Sammy and Tay to get beaten up. Paige Van Zant was debuting here, and she is still incredibly green in the ring. I thought she had straight-up dropped Tay on her head with a Michinoku Driver at one point, and Tay looked legitimately rattled afterwards. Scorpio Sky got the pin with a TKO after Frankie was left to fend for himself while Sammy and Tay made out outside the ring. Luckily, this now means neither Sammy or Frankie can ever challenge for Scorpio's TNT Title again, and we can all move on from this unbearable rivalry.
Winners: Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page, and Paige Van Zant
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Darby Allin vs Kyle O'Reilly
This was the second match announced the Friday before the PPV, with Darby challenging O'Reilly on Rampage after Kyle snapped Sting's leg with a steel chair the week before. This is also the point where every match going forward was great. These two went out there in an effort to kill each other and steal the show, and they certainly achieved the former and made a strong case for the latter. The first move of the match was a full-contact knee strike to Darby's face that busted his nose open, and it was only more intense from there. Between Darby flinging himself around with reckless abandon and Kyle connecting with hard strikes and bone-bending submissions, this match was a sprint from the word go. Kyle won after a flying knee drop off the top rope, and I honestly wouldn't mind Kyle being a singles star more often. As great as he is in ReDragon, it sometimes feels like Bobby Fish holds him back. Great stuff here.
Winner: Kyle O'Reilly
Match Rating: 8.5 out of 10
AEW World Women's Title Match: Thunder Rosa (C) vs Serena Deeb
If any of you have been following me on Twitter (@CCCWrasslin) or read my predictions article, you'll know I was not eager to see this match. I found the build to be atrociously bad, with Rosa not being the ass kicker she should be, and I just flat-out don't like Serena Deeb. However, I have to say that this match was very good. Rosa and Deeb immediately clicked in the ring, pulling out a lot of maneuvers that I hadn't seen in years, such as Rosa putting Deeb in a Pretzel Swing or Deeb using Masato Tanaka's Diamond Dust, both of which earned brownie points from me. Rosa won after a superplex transitioned into the Fire Thunder Driver. Now to see who Rosa's next opponent is, and I'm hoping it's Toni Storm, to be honest.
Winner: Thunder Rosa (Champ Retains)
Match Rating: 8 out of 10
Anarchy in the Arena: Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Eddie Kingston, Santana, & Ortiz vs The Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Daniel Garcia, Angelo Parker, and Matt Menard)
One word describes this match: chaotic. These ten men tore into each other with reckless abandon, and it was awesome. From the moment they started brawling with "Wild Thing" blaring across the sound system to the finale when Danielson was both choked with the ring rope and put in the Walls of Jericho, it was nonstop violence, and honestly somewhat hard to follow at times. There's too many huge moments here to name, from Santana and Ortiz hitting Hager with the Street Sweeper through two tables to Moxley chucking a loaded cooler at Jericho's head. Garcia dragged Kingston around by a belt wrapped around his neck. Menard was gushing blood within the first minute. And of course, the powerful imagery of Eddie Kingston, covered in his own and many others' blood, walking to the ring like a villain in a slasher movie with a gas can in hand before dumping gasoline all over Jericho and Danielson, not caring who got hurt as long as Jericho burned. Sadly, this cost Kingston both his chance at revenge and his team the victory, as Danielson was furious about being nearly incinerated and attacked Kingston, leading to the JAS taking advantage and securing the win. These guys aren't done feuding yet though; not by a long shot...
Winners: The Jericho Appreciation Society
Match Rating: 9 out of 10
AEW World Tag Team Championship Match: Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus (C) vs Team Taz (Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks) vs Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland
First off, all three teams had on some of the snazziest gear of the night, with each team matching and having different color schemes. Stuff like that always tickles a certain part of my brain. Second, this was another fast-paced, high-octane sprint of a match that didn't slow down until the final bell rang. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus won after hitting the Jurassic Express (which was the name of their team, but is now the name of their double-team finisher? I preferred when it was called "The Extinction Event") on Strickland to win. This match was amazing, but my only gripes are that this match felt a bit too long, and that Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus should have lost the titles here. Their reign is starting to drag on a bit too long, and I believe we're due some new champions soon. Both Team Taz and Lee/Strickland would have made for good champions, but it wasn't meant to be. Perhaps the Hardys are next in line?
Winners: Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus (Champs Retain) Match Rating: 8.5 out of 10
AEW World Championship Match: "Hangman" Adam Page (C) vs CM Punk
Finally, at a few minutes past midnight EST, the main event began. I'll admit that after five hours of intense action, I was tired going into this match, but my anticipation kept me amped up as these two collided. Compared to some other matches earlier, this wasn't as quick or hard-hitting, but the story and the visible emotions of Punk and Page carried them through this match and kept my eyes glued to the TV. There were a few stumbling blocks, literally, as twice Punk couldn't seamlessly hit his mimicry of the Buckshot Lariat without nearly falling over, but it didn't really hamper the match. The end came when Hangman put the title belt in the ring and motioned to hit Punk with it while the ref was down, but he thought better of cheating and tried to win honorably with the Buckshot Lariat, but the hesitation allowed Punk to catch Hangman with the Go To Sleep and cover him for the pinfall victory and the AEW World Title.
I think this is a fine move. Hangman now has more doubts to fill his mind after yet another screw-up, which can lead to more character growth. He's young, and there's going to be more title reigns in his future going forward. Punk has been a huge draw for AEW since joining the company last autumn, and putting the belt on him is a smart move business-wise. Plus, he's been putting on some great matches and working fantastic feuds, so he's more than capable of being the top guy now.
Winner: CM Punk (New Champion!)
Match Rating: 8.5 out of 10
That about does it for Double or Nothing 2022! Lord willing, I'll have another batch of predictions and a review article up for the next pay-per-view, Forbidden Door, AEW's crossover show with New Japan Pro Wrestling on June 26th. Until next time, follow me on Twitter (@CCCWrasslin), and rock on, dear readers!