'Double or Nothing': All Elite Wrestling Stacks the Deck & Deals Winning Hand at First-Ever Event
All Elite Wrestling (AEW) made a defining statement with its first-ever show titled Double or Nothing, selling out the MGM Garden Arena May 25 in Las Vegas. The event sent a clear message to the industry that this new pro wrestling company was here to bring change and provide an alternative product.
There was an indescribable energy inside the packed venue of passionate fans who have longed for something fresh and exciting. AEW satisfied their craving on this night, which is good momentum heading into their upcoming weekly prime-time series on TNT in the fall.
There were many elements that gave gathering a big-time feel like the ring, lighting and entrance setup, pyrotechnics, recognizable figures, nice graphics, Jim Ross on play-by-play. Add in that owner Tony Khan brought in other individuals with successful track records to work in a variety of key positions behind the scenes, a must for any new venture.
Members of The Elite left fans feeling they were more than a fan base but part of this new family and movement they are looking to create. Cody asked the arena if they had a good time and would they would join them on this journey together, and it got a resounding positive response.
In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, here are some of the big moments and stories coming out of the company’s buzzy debut.
Jon Moxley Has Arrived
When Jon Moxley said goodbye to Dean Ambrose, WWE gave the exiting member of The Shield a sendoff unlike many others who were on their way out. A teaser came via his social media leading to much speculation on what the hot free agent’s next move would be. The answer came at the end of the Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega main event. It’s then Moxley made a surprise appearance through the crowd, which led to the crowd erupting.
— Scott Fishman (@smFISHMAN) May 26, 2019
After silencing Jericho, Moxley set his sights on Omega with a vicious attack. They battled through the audience with the last visual on the broadcast being him standing tall on the tower of giant poker chips by the entrance way. He then gave the middle finger, a clear sign this wasn’t the PG persona fans were accustomed to. AEW quickly starting-selling merchandise for Moxley as the latest acquisition adds more star power heading into the regular show to come.
Bret Hart Endorses New AEW Championship
Weeks after Bret Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for a second time, the Canadian legend appeared on the show to unveil the new AEW championship. This was a great get for the company considering the timing and the fact Hart brings such credibility. With Jericho’s win over Omega (who wrestled the duration with a broken nose) and Hangman Page winning the Casino Battle Royale, the stage is set for who will hold the title first during a match at a later date.
MJF got a few verbal licks in at the expense of the “Hitman.” The emerging performer had a strong night in the battle royal, proving to be a viable onscreen villain going forward. Speaking of 22-man match on The Buy In kickoff show, it put a great crop of talent from the nostalgia of Glacier, Billy Gunn and Tommy Dreamer to new faces like Jungle Boy, Brian Pillman Jr. and Dustin Thomas, who doesn’t let the fact he has no legs stop him from doing some incredible things in the ring. The former WWE superstar Tye Dillinger got a warm reception appearing as Shawn Spears.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) May 26, 2019
A Brotherly Bond
Dustin Rhodes retired Goldust after leaving WWE and signing up to face his brother Cody at Double or Nothing. The two sons of the late “American Dream” battled in one of the most physical and emotionally charged confrontations in recent memory. Blood stained the ring as the two brought the fans to their feet. Even though Cody got the better of his veteran sibling, he provided Dustin a gesture of love and respect by asking if they could team up to face the Young Bucks at AEW’s Fight for the Fallen July 13 in Jacksonville. Tears were shed by fans and performers alike with the idea they had seen something special take place.
Before things got underway in this one, Cody’s entrance involved a throne that he destroyed with a sledgehammer. The act was not only likened to what took place on the series finale of Game of Thrones but also because WWE’s Triple H is known as the “King of Kings” and the sledgehammer is his known weapon of choice. Shots fired?
The women also had a strong night with Chief Branding Officer Brandi Rhodes adding Awesome Kong to turn a triple threat into a fatal four-way. Since the success of GLOW, Kong (Kia Stevens) hasn’t been part of the scene much, which made the appearance all the more unpredictable. Though when the dust settled, it was the real-life dentist Britt Baker who took the win in a bout that also saw Kylie Rae and Nyla Rose.
The women of Japan entertained as well, highlighted by the Joshi legend Aja Kong, despite a premature bell sounding in the middle of it. Dream matchmakers are already salivating at the thought of a future collision between Awesome Kong and Aja Kong in an AEW ring.
— Scott Fishman (@smFISHMAN) May 26, 2019
Tag Teams Rule
The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) and the Lucha Brothers (Pentagon and Fenix) tore the house down. These four always find a way to bring out new innovative sequences that provide holy s*** responses. The Bucks retained their AAA tag team championship.
Elsewhere, the Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Barretta) defeated the acrobatic Angelico and Jack Evans SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) kicked the main show off right getting the best of Strong Hearts (Cima, T-Hawk, and El Lindaman) from Oriental Wrestling Entertainment (OWE). AEW has the makings of a solid tag team division.
AEW continues to add more events to its schedule including All Out August 31 in Chicago. Check out the listings for upcoming shows on the AEW website.