Brian Cage Wins Ladder Match For Future AEW Title Match
Okay, so there was a lot to unpack here. First and foremost, I didn’t like the format of having someone new coming out every two minutes. For me, ladder matches are always more entertaining when you have all of the competitors in the ring already as opposed to just waiting for the next competitior to come out. In addition, it doesn’t make sense because in theory, Scorpio Sky or Kazarian could have won the match before anyone else came out.
As for the action in the ring, it was sloppy at times but there were some creative moments. The highlight for me was how they made Brian Cage an instant star. He looked very good in the ring, and his interactions with Luchasaurus was very entertaining. I’m not sure how this ladder match would have been received in front of a packed arena, but I think this ladder match had a little too much for me. All the things wit Jimmy Havoc, Marko Stunt and Best Friends just padded more time if you ask me. I couldn’t really even fully digest what Brian Cage was doing because there was so much to follow.
Overall, the effort was definitely admirable, and I think the good outweighed the bad here. However, I do think this ladder match was a tad overbooked. There was also some dangerous and sloppy looking spots throughout, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt with some of the creativity I saw. Props for making Cage a star. ***1/2
MJF def. Jungle Boy
This was your classic heel vs. face dynamic, and I think both MJF and Jungle Boy played it up to a tee here. MJF’s trash talking always carry things along beautifully. It also helps that Jungle Boy is as believable an underdog can be. From the test of valor of the hard knife edge chops, to Jungle Boy not being able to complete his submission because MJF was working over the arm, this was a fabulous match if you ask me.
Towards the end, there were some creative spots that utilized Jungle Boy’s arm, and it created some entertaining near-falls if you ask me. That top rope powerbomb by Jungle Boy was probably my favorite spot. Another subtle spot I enjoyed was how JUngle Boy consistently tried hard to desperately fight out of the Armbar whenever MJF would try to lock it in, and MJF could only win by escaping him.
The dynamic between these two, both in the ring and as separate characters worked incredibly well, and it resulted in a hard fought match between two superstars who are the future of wrestling. Looking at this match, you wouldn’t know that MJF is 24 and Jungle Boy is 22. Awesome, well done match with great storytelling. ****1/4
Cody def. Lance Archer – TNT Championship
Before I analyze the actual match, that TNT Championship is……definitely a belt. I like the gray and red color scheme, but it seriously looks like a novelty toy as opposed to an actual championship that superstars were competing in a tournament for. Just thought I’d mention that.
Anyways, this was another hard hitting match that took on a different pace than the MJF/Jungle Boy match. While I though tit went a long for my taste, the quality of this match was very high, and Cody did a good job making himself a rag doll to sell Archer’s offense. My fear was that they were going to overbook the finish by having excessive interference from Arn Anderson and Jake, but fortunately, it didn’t take away from the match. I also thought the finish was very good, as Cody needed multiple finishers to finish Archer off in succession. It kind of reminded me of the finish of John Cena and AJ Styles at the 2017 Royal Rumble. Very good work by these two. ***3/4
Kris Statlander def. Penelope Ford
Would make for a decent TV match to pass the time. We definitely needed something to cool down after MJF/Jungle Boy and Cody/Archer. This served its purpose and was functional as a wrestling match. Obviously nothing too special to unpack, and while I thought there were certain spots that were a bit uneven, it was overall an easy match to watch. **1/4
Dustin Rhodes def. Shawn Spears
Okay, one thing I definitely didn’t need to see is Shawn Spears’ bare ass. Docking points from this match just for that. This was what it was. Filler. And fortunately, this filler didn’t overstay its welcome. Dustin got his retribution and Shawn got his comeuppance. Won’t rate this match for obvious reasons. But I don’t think this match needed to be on PPV.
Hikaru Shida def. Nyla Rose (C) – AEW Women’s Championship (No Disqualification)
I will say that it was kind of weird to see Shida dominate a lot of the match in the manner that she did. Considering Nyla’s sheer size, you’d think it would be the other way around. Overall, this was a solid brawl between these two, as they took advantage of the rules very well.
Shida absolutely busted her ass here as she was flying from one side of the arena to the other, and she didn’t pull her punches when it came to using weapons. Nyla did her thing, which is usually more good than bad. So overall, it was 16 minutes of a good, if unspectacular, brawl. Congrats to Shida for winning the women’s title which I will continue to say is criminally puny until the cows come home. ***
Jon Moxley (C) def. Brodie Lee – AEW World Championship
This was more or less what I was expecting from this match. A crazy brawl with both men trying to assert their dominance over the other. I think this match would have gotten significantly crazier reactions if it came from a packed audience, but they still did crazy spots regardless, and I appreciated the effort from both men.
What I liked especially is how these two gradually built up to the finish. Moxley was giving Lee everything in his arsenal, but Lee was kicking out of everything. So instead of trying to submit him, why not try and put him to sleep while he’s bleeding profusely?
Overall, a very solid main event match for the title. I think it protected Lee and still made him a formidable opponent that he wasn’t pinned, but Moxley is still the man to hold the title for the time being. AEW has had better main events, but this one was extremely solid. ***1/2
The Elite def. The Inner Circle – Stadium Stampede Match
Holy friggin shit. Guys, I think this may have been one of the greatest things I have ever seen. Just off the sheer absurdity of everything involved here, this was just absolutely fantastic. Basically, this was the Money In The Bank ladder match on crack. I mean, where do I even begin. Adam Page coming into a football arena on a horse and having a bar fight with Hager? Hardy locking Santana in a freezer? Jackson hitting an endless supply of northern suplexes on Guevara until he reached the end zone? Omega hitting the One Winged Angel from the top of the arena?
Guys, I really don’t even know what to say but this main event alone was worth the entire price of the PPV, bar none. It’s one thing to have a non-traditional wrestling match with all sorts of crazy things happening, but the creativity and over-the-top nature of everything involved here made this extremely entertaining. This is definitely one of the best 34 minutes that I spent watching anything, and overall, the cinematic value of everything involved in here made this a fantastic and entertaining main event to me.
If there is one thing that I will dock points on this match for, it’s the Matt Hardy “drowning” spot. Now, of course, they didn’t intentionally mean any ill-will by it, but this wasn’t the best week to spoof someone drowning in light of what happened to Shad. I’m not sure when the match itself was filmed before or after the tragic incident, but I do think that spot should have been cut, or at least re-arranged. But that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of this, and this is probably the best thing that will happen in a football stadium all year. ****3/4
Definitely a thumbs up for me. For me, the must watches are MJF vs. Jungle Boy and the main event. There are also some other gems on the show featuring the world title match and the TNT Title match, but I believe if you watched those two matches alone, you’ll get your fill. I can’t imagine what this show would have looked like in a packed arena, but regardless, everyone busted their asses in one way or another, and for that, AEW Double or Nothing 2020 gets a thumbs up for me.