Now the smoke has cleared, what a show AEW Double or Nothing was! The return of fans was a welcome sight, one that elevated the Pay-Per-View to the next level. From start to finish, the show had an energy that has been missing for the longest time. However, the show wasn’t perfect and as good as the card was, some matches came with their fair share of baggage. It started well, faltered in the middle, before landing with aplomb.
Serena Deeb vs. Riho:
Pro: The match itself was excellent and was a testament to both women’s ability. Though the result may always have been predictable, the action remained exciting. The choice for Deeb to strongly play the heel throughout the match was wise, with Riho being massively over with the AEW crowd. Very strong opener for AEW’s first PPV with a full audience in over a year.
Con: As over as Riho is with the AEW audience, it does seem a little strange to start the card with a match for the NWA Women’s Championship. Whilst this isn’t the first time the title has been defended on The Buy In, with fans making their return it could have been better placed on the card. It wasn’t a huge issue but, could have been avoided.
Adam “Hangman” Page vs. Brian Cage:
Pro: And speaking of people who are over with the AEW crowd, Adam Page perhaps got the biggest reception of anyone on the card. A perfect telling of a vicious heel going against the crowd favourite, it was as good as a main-show opener gets. The ability of the participants to weave multiple stories throughout one match was particularly impressive. With both Cage’s potential split from Team Taz, and Page getting his win back against Cage told brilliantly.
Con: Very little wrong with this match, other than the aforementioned missed opportunity to have this start as the sole opener on the night. Perhaps a slight concern for where this could leave the remaining members of Team Taz going forward.
The Young Bucks vs. Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston:
Pro: Possibly the match of the night, and maybe even the match of Moxley and Kingston’s AEW careers. This was very near the peak of tag-team wrestling. Heel Young Bucks, is absolutely the best version of the Young Bucks, and they showed it against Moxley/Kingston. By deploying every dirty tactic at their disposal they were the perfect heels. However, no great heel is complete without an equally over babyface(s), and from the moment Moxley/Kingston walked out through the crowd they were the perfect rivals.
The crowd shouted “fight forever”, and whilst they didn’t do that when the finish did come it was picture-perfect. Moxley kicked out of a pair of superkicks, only to be shortly greeted with four BTE Triggers. The dastardly heels stood tall, and whoever is next to step up will have a hell of a task to take those titles away.
Con: That they didn’t honour the crowds wish and fight forever.
AEW Casino Battle Royale 2021:
Pro: Structure wise, this was perhaps the best Casino Battle Royale, AEW have put on yet. Each entrant had time to get themselves over with the audience, as well as maintaining a pretty consistent pace throughout. In the end, Jungle Boy stood victorious and based on crowd reaction alone, he was their choice as well.
Con: The biggest fault of this match comes from the booking before the bell had even been rung. Matt Hardy, Christian Cage and Jungle Boy were the final three of the match. Now, whilst all three do have a level of star power or future star power they have all hardly been seen on Dynamite. Between the three they have had seven singles matches on Dynamite since the start of 2021. Admittedly Cage only signed in March but still, if they are not presented as legitimate threats to Kenny Omega’s crown, then what’s the point? AEW could well build an excellent storyline for Jungle Boy going forward, but that should’ve been done ahead of time as well. He’s won one singles match on Dynamite in almost two years with the company, and despite his additional wins on Dark/Elevation a large part of the audience will not have seen those matches.
Cody “The American Dream” Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo
Pro: If nothing else this match showed Ogogo is perhaps far more credible in the ring than many expected. With his previous two matches in AEW lasting a combined time of under three minutes, this was a good opportunity to show his wrestling chops. Not necessarily amazing, but more than good enough for someone so early in their career. This was only added too further by a smart choice of opponent with the always consistent Cody.
Con: However, as far as the result of the match goes, this was a disaster. The wrong man won, and in doing so completely ripped away any momentum Ogogo could have gained. Cody won after kicking out of a series of punches from Ogogo without even using his finisher. The decision is baffling, it wipes away almost any positives that could have been taken and left Ogogo and all of The Factory looking second-rate.
Miro vs. Lance Archer:
Pro: This was a perfectly serviceable match and it gave Miro a win against a credible opponent early on in his TNT Championship reign. Miro’s interactions with Jake Roberts were the highlight of the match.
Con: In a PPV that felt huge, this match felt very AEW Dynamite. Not a bad match by any stretch, but not entirely necessary on a ten-match show. Especially with every match bar this one lasting at least ten minutes. Also, much like Brian Cage earlier in the night, Archer could really benefit from some wins on a big stage.
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D vs. Hikaru Shida:
Pro: The right woman won here as the rise of Britt Baker culminated with her lifting the new Women’s Championship belt. Baker has easily been the most over talent in the division for the last few months and now, she has the belt to go with that momentum. Also, it was particularly touching to see Shida come out with the new belt after her year-long reign.
Con: Unfortunately the match itself was slightly underwhelming. Both women have produced some exceptional matches in their time with AEW, yet this one fell well short. The two seemed to struggle to gel with each other in the ring, with the match feeling stilted and clunky at times. A shame, but one the two could easily rectify if they are to face off again.
Darby Allin and Sting vs. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky:
Pro: This match proved beyond any shadow of a doubt, Sting’s still got it. At sixty-two years old, the initial retirement age in his native California, he’s performing suicide dives in front of over five thousand fans. The rest of the competitors held their own as well, either by bumping for the veteran or in the case of Allin performing his usual death-defying antics. The presentation of the faces from Allin’s facepaint to their entrance was equally brilliant.
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