All Elite Wrestling’s biggest show of the year, Double or Nothing, is upon us. While WWE has produced three nights of pay-per-view events without any fans, this Saturday is AEW’s turn to show us what a supercard should look like in the Empty Arena Era. While there won’t be any fans there to witness it thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several huge matches here with big implications, including the debut of a brand new championship, three rounds of #1 contenders, and the men’s and women’s World Championships.
Let’s break down the card and see what we’ve got. Are you buying Double or Nothing this weekend?
Private Party vs. Best Friends (#1 contenders for AEW World Tag Team Championship)
Jason: Hey, remember Private Party? Seemed like AEW was all in (pun intended) on them for a while, and then completely forgot about them once SCU won the tag titles. It also sure sems like they are really into Trent, Chuck and OC. This should be a pretty great match, but expect the Best Friends to walk away with the #1 contendership for the tag straps, and Private Party to continue being a supremely talented and somewhat underutilized undercard act.
Winners: Best Friends
Vishal: Yeah… the Best Friends have only gotten more over as the weeks have progressed, while Private Party has barely shown up for a while. Which is a shame — I really love Private Party and they’re fantastic both in ring and out, but they have basically no eyes on them heading into this match, which is always a bad sign. I’m excited for the Best Friends to get back into the title picture, though.
Winners: Best Friends
Jay: Best Friends. AEW has been featuring Trent and Cassidy very well in the past few weeks and Chuck Taylor is sometimes there as well. They’re the more viable contenders at this time and the audience would be more accepting of them taking the straps off of Kenny Omega and Hangman Page — the true variable in this match.
Hangman Page has, rightfully so, chosen to stay away from tapings since March and it remains to be seen whether his availability at this time is temporary, if he will be utilized in a more full time, or if they will execute the teased heel turn that was foreshadowed at the start of his tag team with Kenny. The biggest question in this match isn’t “What does AEW want to do with the tag team titles?” — it’s “What can AEW do with Hangman?”
Winners: Best Friends.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears
Jason: Well, this came out of nowhere. This is a hard one to call as both guys are jobbers to the stars in need of a win. I’m giving this one to Spears, who needs it more. They clearly don’t know what they’re doing with Mr. Peyton Royce, as his whole “searching for a tag partner” storyline was unceremoniously dropped and his mentor Tully Blanchard has been MIA since the start of the pandemic. As such, he needs this more. Dustin’s a legend, and given his brother is EVP, he’s been getting the respect his career deserves. As such, dude can eat a pin from the Perfect 10 without it hurting him too much.
Winner: The Chairman of AEW, Shawn Spears
Vishal: Shawn Spears has been talking about how Dustin’s retired (finally) and blatantly disrespecting the entire Rhodes clan in some very strong heel heat. Unfortunately for him, Dustin Rhodes just came off of one of the most brutal beatdowns of his career. Dustin’s gotta win this, to prove he’s still got it. I cannot see him retiring (or proving that he should retire) to Shawn Spears — no disrespect to Spears, but….
Winner: Dustin Rhodes
Jay: Shawn Spears is like a Porsche with a faulty starter. He clearly has the look, the charisma, and the capability, they just can’t seem to get him to start. AEW continuously trying to turn on the engine has led to what we saw this past Wednesday — a faux news segment announcing a match with a recently written off Dustin Rhodes.
Eagle-eyed views however may have noticed something on the screen ticker. If you watch the segment back, you will see a message that said something along the lines of “Spears will win by default because Rhodes can’t compete” or something like that. So I predict Spears isn’t fighting Rhodes at all. I foresee him wailing on QT Marshall which will then lead to a surprise debut to chase Spears off and lead him into his next feud.
Jay: Spears will beat QT Marshall and then a surprise debut to stop Spears’ heelish chicanery.
Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. vs. Kris Statlander
Jason: If rumor proves true, and Britt’s injured, it begs the question of whether or not this match even happens. If it does, however, you gotta figure the dentist beats the alien in this one. Statlander had her time at the top earlier in the year, and things didn’t go her way. After a rough start, Baker’s really found her stride as a comedic heel, and though I don’t see Nyla dropping the strap just yet — I think it’s wise to keep your (other) top heel looking strong.
Winner: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D.
Vishal: Kris Statlander was a hit right away in AEW, but through no fault of her own (just some poorly timed illness) her match at Revolution calmed the flames a little bit. Meanwhile, Britt Baker has gotten incredibly over since properly turning heel. Especially with that one iconic match against Shida that turned into new shirts and countless other really good performances, she’s easily become one of the best parts of Dynamite each week. I have to go with Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. because right now all the momentum is on her side.
Winner: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D.
Jay: Britt Baker has perfected the subtle, smarmy heel act like no one has since Kurt Angle. The backhanded compliments to Schiavone, the role model diatribes, even the way she obnoxiously demands to be addressed as a doctor twice while announcers are reading off her full title — she’s the strongest character in the women’s division and is the heir apparent to the AEW Women’s World Championship. Meanwhile, Statlander’s character revolves around touching people’s noses with her index finger, social distancing be damned. Do we really need to break this down?
Winner: Dr. Baker. I’m not taking the bait by calling her doctor twice.
MJF vs. Jungle Boy
Jason: I expect Jungle Boy to put in a good showing, but unless they go to a time limit draw (unlikely), MJF is taking this one. He’s got the bigger upside, and is the better performer. I wouldn’t put it beyond Jungle Boy giving the Salt of the Earth his first loss, but I think it would need more build if that was going to happen. It’ll probably be with the help of Wardlow, but Friedman tops Perry in a solid midcard matchup.
Vishal: MJF’s been just a bit too dastardly this time, hasn’t he? That match against Marko Stunt was some fantastic 2020 heel wrestling and did a great job letting everyone know that MJF’s nothing more than a schoolyard bully, but it also means that any finish to this match where MJF gets to walk out victorious will feel really frustrating, especially given his match against Cody at Revolution.
At the same time, though, MJF has been getting dedicated spots every episode of Dynamite for the past few weeks while Jungle Boy hasn’t really been doing much beyond responding to him. At the end of the day, I feel like AEW has decided to put a hefty amount of their chips into Maxwell Jacob Friedman, and I feel like they’re going to continue this push for at least another PPV cycle.
Winner: The Salt of the Earth, MJF
Jay: MJF. He needs to win for the character to work. Jungle Boy can lose every match in his career and still be loved. This isn’t worth contemplating.
Darby Allin vs. Colt Cabana vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Rey Fenix vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Kip Sabian vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Luchasaurus vs. TBA (Casino Ladder match)
Jason: TBA! TBA! TBA! If it’s anyone other than a WWE expat or an NJPW debut people are going to be disappointed, but even if it’s someone like Pac or Pentagon Jr. popping back up, I think the mystery participant is the winner here. The only viable option from the current crop of named competitors is Darby (though Fenix is phenomenal), and it feels like he’s in the middle of a slow burn heel turn.
As such, he needs some disappointment to get him there. I see him getting the Ali treatment of having hands on the chip before being dumped by the eventual winner — say, maybe Miroslav “Rusev” Barnyashev?
Winner: Mystery Entrant, whoever that would be
Vishal: I’m going to disqualify TBA at this point because I feel like if the mystery competitor is a new superstar to AEW, their victory will feel a bit hollow, and I can’t see it being an existing member because that wouldn’t be something they’d need to keep secret until the match. So looking at the rest of the competitors, my gut is leaning towards either Darby Allin or Orange Cassidy, and I’m really torn on which one needs that push first. Darby’s a young star on the rise and is unquestionably looking to be a massive part of the future of AEW, while Orange Cassidy is the most over part of the show (when there are crowds) and could do with a proper title push.
There’s also just the comedy factor of OC winning a ladder match without looking like he’s trying. Ultimately though, I think Darby needs this push more – he had a fantastic match against Cody that he’s clearly still fuming about, and going up against Jon Moxley or Brodie Lee in 2020 will probably raise his stock even further. There’s a higher upside for Darby winning than there is for OC winning, since OC is going to be massively over no matter what.
Winner: Darby Allin
Jay: This is a difficult call. Orange Cassidy and Kip Sabian need more time in the oven. Colt Cabana and Frankie Kazarian are there to provide air traffic control to orchestrate the symphony. Rey Fenix is the lesser Lucha Bro.
That leaves us with Scorpio Sky, Darby Allin, and Le Luchador Inconnu. Darby Allin is like Obi-Wan: the more you strike him down, the stronger he will become. Plus, such a streamlined, obvious push would detract from his gritty, underground character. He will be AEW Champion, but it will be in a story that is a uniquely crafted story that suits him and only him.
Scorpio Sky is a great option as a win here would jive very well with his underappreciated underdog story. The promos would write themselves. None of the recently released WWE guys will make an appearance here. It hasn’t been 90 days and the truly noteworthy free agents that I can think of off the top of my head are “The Machine” Brian Cage or Jeff Cobb. Neither of them would boost ratings enough to warrant an immediate spotlight leaving us with Scorpio Sky.
Winner: Scorpio Sky.
Nyla Rose (c) vs. Hikaru Shida (AEW Women’s World Championship; No DQ, No Countout)
Jason: I love Hikaru Shida, I really do. I think she’s great in the ring, has an awesome look and is a future champion, but I don’t see any titles changing hands on Saturday. It won’t be a clean victory per se (though it’s no DQ, so I guess everything will be legal) but Nyla’s reign is too young to be snuffed out just yet. I wish there was someone between Shida’s attempt and whoever is going against the Native Beast at the next PPV, but it’s not Shida’s time. Nyla will probably powerbomb Hikaru through some Kendo sticks or something.
Winner: Nyla Rose
Vishal: Nyla looks so incredibly dominant, and is consistently showing up and beating down opponents no matter who they are, so it’s very easy to see her winning this. On the flip side, Shida’s the best part of the women’s division currently — she’s just so incredibly likable that I feel like if there were crowds, her victory would get a massive pop. But I feel like cutting Nyla’s title reign off at just around 100 days would kind of delegitimize her based on how much bragging and boasting she was doing when she won the title.
I’d love to see Nyla have a massive title reign before someone’s able to take her down, and more importantly I have a tough time seeing them going through with the title change when there’s no crowds. It seems like a missed opportunity for a pop.
Winner: Nyla Rose
Jay: This will end in chicanery. Nyla Rose and Hikaru Shida is the only blockbuster feud they have in the women’s division right now. This needs to carry them for the foreseeable future till they can produce another viable face contender for Nyla Rose or Britt Baker is ready to ascend to face Shida. I think they purposefully booked this as a no DQ, no countout match to ensure that this feud escalates in a way they need it to but this fight isn’t done regardless of what happens. I think Nyla will take it only to make the inevitable Shida win all the more memorable.
Winner: Nyla Rose.
Cody vs. Lance Archer (AEW TNT Championship)
Jason: This is one I would’ve called for Archer before this week’s Dynamite, but there was a key line in the showdown between Jake the Snake and Arn Anderson where Jake implied that Archer was going to knock out Mike Tyson that telegraphed the win for Rhodes. No way in hell they shell out for Mike Tyson and have him not knock out the heel. It’ll probably be some kind of controversial finish that propels an angry Archer into the ring to confront “Iron” Mike, leading to the former heavyweight champ KOing the guy who had his tramp stamp covered while he was in Japan. Cody gets the one title he can in the company (for now) and the Murderhawk gets skunked.
Vishal: This is the one I’m least certain about. I’m genuinely unsure which way this will go, because both outcomes have really strong story potential and both outcomes would feel satisfying at the end. This is easily my most anticipated match, at the very least. Cody winning could spark a heel turn in him, but so could Cody losing. And I feel like Jake Roberts’ incredible promos to start some episodes of Dynamite would feel a bit more hollow if Archer didn’t beat Cody here, but Jake also threw a snake onto Brandi so it’d feel a bit hollow if Cody didn’t beat Archer. You see what I mean? This is a real nailbiter.
I’m going to lean Lance Archer for now, though. “Lance Archer, the first AEW TNT Champion” feels like a stronger statement than Cody Rhodes in that spot, although I do love Cody. No matter what, though, I’ll be happy with pretty much any outcome with a clean finish.
Winner: Lance Archer
Jay: This entire feud has played out like Rocky III. Cody got called out by Jake Roberts and Lance Archer for being soft or whatever ala Clubber Lang. Cody is Rocky who feels the need to fight to prove that he is not. Arn Anderson is Mickie. You do the math and the storyline after this will play out the same way.
Winner: Lance Archer
“Broken” Matt Hardy and The Elite vs. The Inner Circle (Stadium Stampede Match)
Jason: It’s hard to say who is going to win this one, but I’m going to guess the (D)Elite take this. The Inner Circle has won pretty much every meaningful skirmish between the two groups, so it makes sense for the Elite to finally get one up on Jericho’s squad of Spanish gentlemen (and Jake Hager).
I think Matt Hardy ends up making the difference to get #JusticeVorVanguard1 by pinning Jericho for the ultimate win. This would set up the legend vs. legend match down the line and gives the Elite enough of a rub while leaving room for the tensions between Hangman and the Bucks (remember that storyline? Pepperidge Farm remembers) to be a factor in the match.
Winner: The (D)Elite, Th-E (D)Elite.
Vishal: Hangman’s back! And still not on good terms with the Elite! This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for, and while it’s definitely not as exciting as Blood and Guts would have been, it’s an acceptable alternative. I think that the Inner Circle winning this is just too easy. They won the street fight, there’s the obvious angle of Hangman not working well with Matt Jackson, and I feel like the story would just end up being too predictable if the Inner Circle wins. I’m much more into the alternative of the Elite winning the match in a pyrrhic victory that divides them even further. Let’s get really tragic.
Winner: The Elite and “Broken” Matt Hardy (The Delete?)
Jay: The Elite. The Elite have been decimated by the Inner Circle for MONTHS. I don’t think they have had a moment of levity since before we began the empty arena shows. Plus, AEW needs to give the audience something to smile about considering all of this terribleness in the world.
I expect this match to be a bonafide spectacle. I cannot wait for it, and its going to be a joy to see what revelry the combined creativity of The Bucks, Jericho, Omega, and Matt Hardy will sow.
Winner: “Broken” Matt Hardy and The Elite
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Mr. Brodie Lee (AEW World Championship)
Jason: I would love “World Champion Brodie Lee” to be something to read on Jon Huber’s Wikipedia page, but it ain’t happening on Saturday. Mox is still the guy in AEW with the most clout among the casuals (even if I hate his gear and theme song), and though hardcore wrestling fans would love to see the former Luke Harper with the big gold belt, it’s not what’s best for business at this point. I hope this match goes a long way to prove what kind of performer they have with Lee, but I don’t see any outcome other than Mox taking back his title.
Winner: Jon Moxley
Vishal: On one hand, I feel like Brodie Lee delivering Mox’s first singles loss would be a very strong move, but on the other I feel like there just hasn’t been a long enough build for the title to change hands here. Moxley losing to Lee after a months-long feud would be one thing, but this is basically the leader of the Dark Order stealing his belt for a couple of weeks. This isn’t anywhere near the level of mind games that should be able to take Jon Moxley out. I gotta say Mox wins here, but I also think that this feud is far from over.
Winner: Jon Moxley
Jay: Oh, yeah. This. This is an undercooked feud that has potential, so I expect this to have a non-committal ending. But make no mistake: this will be a spectacle. Mox and Lee are both coming from the same, creatively restrained place. Mox has done much to abate this feeling but it is still there while Lee has yet to break free of the “Stamford Cage.” Expect this match to be bloody. Expect Mox to take a beating. Expect the spooky perverts to play a significant role in this match to get them over. And expect Mox to narrowly get the win while leaving a lot left on the table for seconds.
Winner: Jon Moxley
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