AEW Double or Nothing: Preview
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, May 23, 2020
AEW returns to PPV tonight as they host the second annual ‘Double or Nothing’ from Jacksonville, Florida. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was moved to Jacksonville, with next year's event already confirmed for a Vegas return. The new norm for sports leagues and pro wrestling has been no spectators, so AEW will look to be successful in their first PPV with no fans.
As a result of injuries that took place on this past week’s episode of AEW: Dynamite, there will be some matches that look different; Britt Baker will be replaced by Penelope Ford in her match against Kris Statlander and Joey Janela will be replacing Rey Fenix in the Casino Ladder Match.
The match card as a whole could make for a very entertaining event and the future title opportunities at stake will provide fans a better idea of AEW's direction heading into the summer months as they build towards their next PPV: All Out.
Here are a few matches to keep an eye on at tonight’s event:
Casino Ladder Match: Who will be the mystery competitor?
The Casino Ladder Match has major implications as the winner will be granted an AEW World Championship match against either current champion, Jon Moxley, or leader of the Dark Order, Mr. Brodie Lee, who will be competing later in the night.
There has been plenty of speculation as to who the mystery competitor will be; it is possible it may be a wrestler making their debut or somebody currently on the roster that could be in line for a big push.
Some of the superstars that have been generating the most speculation have been Brian Cage, Drew Gulak, and Ricky Starks. Cage may be the most likely to appear as there were reports that he had signed with AEW after his contract with Impact Wrestling came up following their Hard to Kill PPV. Starks would be a nice surprise because he came up on NWA Powerrr and through his feuds with Aron “Shooter” Stevens and Zicky Dice, became one of the most entertaining and sought-after wrestlers in the industry.
In terms of a debuting wrestler that can be believable in an immediate title match, Cage would be the likely favourite, but if the debuting wrestler can choose when to challenge for the world title, then the possibility of Starks or Gulak challenging can provide the company enough time to build the match properly and make them a credible main eventer in the process.
TNT Championship: Lance Archer w/ Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs Cody w/ Arn Anderson
After an 8-man tournament and weeks of going back-and-forth on AEW: Dynamite, Lance Archer and Cody will finally settle the score as they look to become the inaugural TNT Champion. “Iron” Mike Tyson will be on hand to present the championship to the winner, which should make for an interesting interaction depending on who walks out the champion.
Both Arn Anderson and Jake “The Snake” Roberts have been an excellent addition to this feud and have done a great job with their promo work to build up their respective competitor. This past week on Dynamite, both wrestling legends took part in a sit down in the middle of the ring, where they traded jabs at one another’s careers and teased that they were going to get physical, which only add more anticipation for this match because of the possibility of something happening outside the ring.
Roberts could play a pivotal role in Archer’s career going forward; his promo work is still top notch and could benefit Archer as he continues to focus his attention on his character development and ring work while Roberts serves as his mouth piece, which could allow him to excel in AEW.
Stadium Stampede Match: The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Santana, Ortiz, and Sammy Guevara) vs Matt Hardy and The Elite (Kenny Omega, Adam “Hangman” Page, Nick Jackson, and Matt Jackson)
If recent weeks of AEW: Dynamite are any indicator, the Stadium Stampede match is expected to be an all-out brawl to determine which is the top faction in AEW.
Since making his AEW debut, Matt Hardy, under his Broken persona, has caused a lot of problems for former AEW World Champion Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle; he has played mind games with the group and even made a character change mid-match, so they won’t know who or what to expect as it pertains to Hardy.
The build up to this main event could lead to many different feuds when it is all over. Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho continuing a rivalry on AEW programming is very realistic following this match and a potential match at the Hardy Compound, similar to what WWE and Impact Wrestling had done in the past, could be the perfect venue to end their rivalry. Hardy and Jericho are two of the most creative stars in the industry and a possible cinematic-style matchup could generate plenty of interest.
“Hangman” Page finally turning heel could be another likely outcome in this match. For months, Page had been attempting to distance himself from The Elite however, he ended up winning the AEW Tag Team Championships with Kenny Omega, so he did not get his wish.
Page briefly teased turning on Omega at AEW Revolution but changed his mind and helped his tag partner out the ring instead. Page turning on Omega could kick off a great rivalry or if Page and Omega turn heel together, it could add an extra layer to a future feud with The Young Bucks.
AEW Double or Nothing takes place live on PPV tonight at 8PM EST, with The Buy In pre-show taking place on AEW’s official YouTube page at 7:30PM EST.
Photo Credit: AEW (allelitewrestling.com)