The SmarK Rant for AEW Double or Nothing 2022 – 05.29.22
Live from Lost Wages, NV
Your hosts are Excalibur, Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross
MJF v. Wardlow
Well I guess he didn’t get on the plane. MJF of course runs away to start while the crowd chants “He showed up!” Wardlow grabs him and tries the powerbomb and MJF runs away again, but he tries a sunset flip and that proves to be a bad idea. Wardlow tries another powerbomb and MJF bites him to counter and then pokes him in the eyes while the crowd chants “Fuck you, MJF”. MJF blocks another powerbomb with a rana and claims a knee injury off that, but he pulls out the ring and the ref casually takes it away from him. MJF wants to talk it over with Wardlow and offers double the pay, and Wardlow accepts the handshake. But then he hangs on and FINALLY powerbombs him. And then he hits one for each side of the ring, but steps off from the pin at the two count. And then we get another four powerbombs, before he pulls down the straps and hits one last mighty tenth powerbomb and pins him at 7:35. And thankfully MJF goes out on a stretcher in a neck brace and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Well this was exactly what it needed to be in every way. And with that, Wardlow is All Elite. *1/2 for the match but tremendous entertainment.
The Young Bucks v. The Hardy Boyz
The Bucks grace us with a music video for “Superkick Party” and bust out the Elvis gear in tribute to their original Double or Nothing appearance in 2019. Matt and Matt trade catchphrases to start and do some Matt wrestling. Thank you, I’m here all week. Jeff comes in and Matt Jackson struts away from a double-team and brings Nick in. Jeff stops to dance, so Nick also does some dancing, and then the Hardyz dare to mock the Bucks pose. Who are they, Kevin Owens? The Bucks retreat to the ring to escape that spicy imitation, and then the fans chants for Cutler, which really pisses off the Bucks. Back in the ring, Matt Hardy hits Matt Jackson with a suplex and then drops Matt onto Nick with another suplex, but Nick blocks the Poetry in Motion with a head kick in the corner. So the Hardyz get superkicked to the floor and the Bucks take over on Jeff and double-team him in the corner. Jeff fights back with a double clothesline but Cutler takes out Matt Hardy to prevent a tag. Nick goes up and tries his own Whisper in the Wind, but that misses and Jeff “hits” his own. Hot tag Matt Hardy and he runs wild with his wacky Broken Matt offense and a Side Effect on Nick for two. Matt tries the Twist of Fate and gets dumped to the floor while Jeff sells something in the corner, but they all fight to the floor and Jeff gets superkicked off the apron and into his brother. Nick follows with a dive onto them. Back in, the Bucks double-team Matt Hardy and the Risky Business gets two as this thing has hit a brick wall. Nick accidentally hits his brother with a knee in the corner after Matt Hardy very slowly moves out of the way, and everyone piles up on the floor again while Jeff lays around selling like Dusty Rhodes taking a clawhold from Pak Song in 1975. Back in the ring, Jeff manages to hit Poetry in Motion on the second try, but the Bucks catapult Matt Hardy into a double stomp. Jeff manages to hit Matt Jackson with a jawbreaker on top and tries the swanton, but that misses and Matt Jackson hits a Twist of Fate into Nick’s swanton for two. BTE Trigger on Jeff misses, but it’s a SUPERKICK PARTY for the Hardyz and then the Bucks just destroy them with rapid fire superkicks to put them down again. The Hardyz get up again, so the Bucks do more kicks, and that gets two. So the Bucks put the stairs on their side and put Jeff on those, but Matt Hardy powerbombs Nick to save. And then they put Matt on the stairs, and Jeff goes up and hits him with a swanton. In the ring, Matt gives Nick the Twist of Fate for two. Another one is reversed to a backslide for two. Side Effect and another Twist of Fate sets up the swanton and the Hardy Boyz get the pin at 19:19. Man the Hardyz looked like completely beat up senior citizens for most of the match but the Young Bucks managed to get a great match out of them by sheer force of willpower. ****
Meanwhile, the Acclaimed and Gunn Clubb run wild in Vegas and pledge to scissor everyone on the strip. Then Billy finds them all in the hotel room afterwards asleep on the beds.
TBS title: Jade Cargill v. Anna Jay
Anna seems to have switched from her Dark Order gear back to her original Zatanna outfit. I approve. Anna attacks to start and tries a crossbody, but Jade catches her and gets a fallaway slam on the second try. Jade goes up with a double axehandle and they head to the top, where Anna brings her down with a superplex. Anna fights her off in the corner and tries a lariat, but Jade doesn’t sell it and they do a hella awkward sequence in the corner with Anna trying a blockbuster and missing completely. NOT GOOD. They head to the floor and the Baddies interfere, allowing Jade to hit a superkick in the ring. Jaded is countered into a rollup for two. This brings Smart Mark Sterling out with his crutch, but Anna steals it and uses it for two. And then John Silver also comes out and hits Sterling with a brainbuster on the floor, but Jade hits Anna with a spinning slam for two. Anna gets the sleeper and Jade powers out of that. But that brings out Stokely Hathaway for one last cameo, and Jade hits Jaded to finish at 7:29. Hathaway is a much better fit for Jade than Sterling was. This match, however, was a complete disaster that they covered up with smoke and mirrors as best they could. *1/2 Kris Statlander comes out to back up Anna, but then Ember Moon, as Athena, makes her debut for our second NXT signing of the night so far.
Death Triangle v. House of Black
Black tries a suplex on Fenix, but he lands on his feet and takes him down with a rana. They trade kick attempts and battle to a cross-legged stalemate. Buddy comes in and walks into a superkick in the face corner, but he stares Penta down to prevent a sling blade. Penta superkicks him and puts him on the floor with a rana, and it’s over to Pac and Brody King. Brody beats on him with chops in the corner and teases a dive, but we get a standoff in the ring and everyone slugs it out. They all trade big moves and Pac spikes Buddy with a poison rana. Brody comes in with a Bossman slam on Pac and the House takes over as Black chinlocks Pac, and Buddy comes in with a slingshot senton for two. Brody misses the cannonball and Fenix gets a hot tag, as the Lucha Bros run wild and hit double dives onto the heels. Back in the ring, they triple team Brody for two and Fenix tries a tope suicida on Buddy, but Matthews catches him and splats him on the floor. And then everyone follows with dives, leading up to Brody King trying his own dive and nearly dying in the process. Well the thought was there. Back in, the Blacks try triple suplexes, but Death Triangle escapes and mucho superkicks follow. Pac with a brainbuster on Black for two. Buddy goes after Fenix on the apron, but Penta launches off Fenix’s back and gives him a Canadian Destroyer to save. And then they take out Brody with a double footstomp DDT on the floor, leaving Malakai alone in the ring. Black escapes the Fear Factor and takes out Penta with a spinkick, but Pac hits his own and goes up with the Black Arrow, which Buddy breaks up. So Pac does a 450 over Buddy and hits Black with it, and then follows with a german suplex on Black. Alex Abrahantes takes the ref and Pac goes low on Black to some heel heat, but he goes up for the Black Arrow and it’s lights out. And FINALLY Julia Hart turns heel, spraying black mist at Pac to blind him, and Malakai hits the Black Mass to finish at 15:27. Well that only took, what, 8 months to pay off? Hell of a trios match, non-stop crazy action start to finish. ****1/4
Owen Hart Foundation finals: Samoa Joe v. Adam Cole
Unlike Dave Meltzer, referee Mike Chioda apparently got to attend the Eagles concert on Saturday night. Cole hides in the corner off the lockup and then offers a test of strength, but Joe declines and punches him out in the corner instead. Joe with the enzuigiri and a back elbow to put Cole on the floor and they fight out there, but Joe charges and walks into a superkick. Cole runs the shoulder into the ringpost, and chokes him out in the ring to take over. Cole works the arm and tries the Panama Sunrise, but Joe catches him and kind of slams him to send him out of the ring. Back in, Joe catches him with the uranage in the corner and puts him down with a big boot and senton for two. Joe with the snap powerslam for two. Cole escapes a powerbomb attempt, but Joe puts him down with a lariat for two. Cole escapes the Muscle Buster and hits a knee strike for two, and a backstabber for two. Cole with a crossface and Joe makes the ropes and fights back with a powerbomb for two. STF follows and Joe traps the arms, so Cole uses his feet to make the ropes. This brings out Bobby Fish to help, but Joe gets the choke before releasing to take out Fish. Cole hits superkicks and follows with the Boom to win the tournament at 13:22 in the most anticlimactic manner possible. This one was kind of a struggle for some reason, as the crowd was quiet and there wasn’t much of a story to the match. **1/2 Like, what was even the connection to Owen?
Owen Hart Foundation finals: Dr. Britt Baker DMD v. Ruby Soho
Ruby gets Rancid’s grandparents to play her down to the ring so hopefully Ruby will finally get to win a big match. They trade wristlocks to start and Ruby hangs onto hers until Britt puts her down with a knee for two. Ruby puts her down with clotheslines and Britt bails to think it over, so Ruby hits her with a dropkick off the apron and hurts her back in the process. Britt goes to work on that and wraps it around the post. Britt with some elbows and she goes up for a Panama Sunrise, but Ruby fights her off and gets a superplex. They slug it out and both of them are out. Britt recovers with a superkick, but Ruby reverses the curb stomp into a rollup for two. Ruby with a backdrop driver and she goes up with a senton bomb for two. Britt comes back with a curb stomp for two and loads up the glove, but Ruby reverses the Lockjaw for two and hits the riot kick. That sets up a really sad Sharpshooter from Ruby, as she can barely apply it properly, but Britt makes the ropes. Ruby tries a victory roll, but Britt reverses it for the pin at 14:53 to complete the sweep for the Cole/Baker family. I assume that was supposed to be a reference to Wrestlemania X but that finish was Owen BLOCKING the victory roll, not reversing it. Details matter when you’re doing a masturbatory Bret Hart tribute. So weird that they’d put both heels over in the initial tournament, even if they were both wearing pink. They tried, but Britt just has not been any good since losing the title. **1/2 So everyone who was pissed at them putting Ruby Soho over on Rampage can rest easy knowing that Britt was going to win in the end anyway.
And then the show grinds to a halt as Martha Hart awards Adam Cole and Britt Baker the trophy and a pair of belts after a lengthy speech. I really hope that if they do this again next year, they have better plans for it, because this whole thing pretty much ground the momentum of the show to a crashing halt.
The Men of the Year & Paige VanZant v. Sammy Guevara, Tay Conti & Frankie Kazarian
Ethan Page gleefully beats on Sammy and immediately tries the Ego’s Edge, but Sammy flips out of it and showboats. Page catches him with a snap powerslam for two and it’s over to Kaz and Scorpio. Scorp gets a dropkick, but Kazarian slams him and hits the springboard legdrop. Sammy comes in and does some more strutting, so Sky slugs away in the corner. Tay gets a cheapshot from the apron and Sammy hits Sky with a springboard cutter, then distracts the ref and hits a double suplex with Tay for two. Kazarian comes in and Sky fights back with a flatliner, but Tay hits Paige with a cheapshot to cause more chaos. So Sammy and Tay go celebrate on the floor while Frankie yells at them. Frankie gets the chicken wing on Scorpio and Sammy tags himself in and struts some more, which allows Sky to make the hot tag to Paige for the showdown with Tay. Paige gets a back suplex and handspring elbow, but Sammy breaks it up, so Paige DDTs him. We get the comedy spot with Tay accidentally headbutting Sammy in the groin, and Paige gets a Michinoku driver for two. Tay comes back with pump kicks in the corner for two and they mess up some kind of facebuster spot. And then Tay and Sammy make out again, so Kazarian walks out on them. But then he changes his mind and DDTs Sky instead, then hits a slingshot cutter on Sky for two. Sammy charges in and accidentally superkicks Tay, and Sky hits Kaz with the TKO to end this absolutely trainwreck at 12:10 and thankfully guarantee that Sammy never challenges for the title again. They could have done some cool MMA stuff and instead it was a complete mess of sports entertainment nonsense with poor Paige looking lost out there half the time. * I don’t even blame her, they had her in there for something she wasn’t prepared for and the match was all Sammy and Tay doing Memphis heel spots. Just a complete disaster.
Kyle O’Reilly v. Darby Allin
Darby shoots for a takedown and Kyle just clobbers him with a knee strike and goes for the armbar, but Darby makes the ropes. So Kyle beats on him with kicks and SWEEPS THE LEG before hitting a hammerlock suplex for two. The replay of the initial knee strike shows that Kyle absolutely smoked him with it and probably knocked him silly. Darby fights back with the Code Red for two and puts Kyle on the floor with the stunner, but he tries a dive and way undershoots, hitting the bottom rope on the way down and splatting on the floor in an ugly bump. Kyle retreats to the other side of the ring and Darby follows with another dive, but Kyle catches him in a guillotine on the floor. Back in, Darby brings him off the top with a rana and into the Last Supper for two. Kyle puts him down with more kicks, but Darby cradles for two. Kyle with a brainbuster for two and he grabs the heel hook, but Darby reverses to a leglock and Kyle makes the ropes. He retreats to the apron, so Darby hits him with a coffin drop on the apron and they land on the floor off that. Back in, Darby with the Coffin Drop, but Kyle catches him in an armbar and Darby rolls him up for two. They slug it out with forearms and both guys are down. So Kyle chokes him with his own chain and hits a PK for one, and another one for two. Kyle goes up with the diving kneedrop and that finishes at 10:34. Man this was quite the performance from Kyle to carry the loopy Darby. They should break him off from the Elite and move him over to the BCC. ***1/2 That being said there was zero reason why this needed to be on the PPV.
AEW World Women’s title: Thunder Rosa v. Serena Deeb
They trade armbar attempts on the mat to start and battle to a stalemate. Test of strength and Deeb bridges off that, before they trade near-falls and Rosa gets some armdrags and a rollup for two. I should point out that this show is long enough that the battery on my headphones died for the first time I can remember and I had to switch to wired ones. Rosa puts Deeb on the floor, but Deeb necks her on the top rope and runs her into the post to take over. Back in, a neckbreaker gets two. Deeb works on the back in the corner and goes to an abdominal stretch, but Rosa makes a comeback and runs Deeb into the corner. Corner clothesline off that and Rosa gives her the double knees in the corner and a northern lights suplex for two. Deeb puts her in the Octopus and then rolls into an anklelock attempt, but Rosa fights out of that. So Deeb hits a Diamond Dust Press for two. Rosa reverses the Deeb-Tox into a crossface, but Deeb rolls into a stretch muffler off that. Rosa goes after the knee and they clothesline each other for the double down. Rosa fights up with a double stomp to the back for two and a death valley driver for two. Deeb clips the knee and takes her down for a figure-four, and they slug it out while in the hold and then both roll out to the floor to break. Back in the ring, Deeb takes out the knee on the apron, which sets up the Deeb-Tox for two. This sets up the Serenity Lock, but Rosa quickly escapes, so Deeb powerbombs her into a Cloverleaf and Rosa makes the ropes. Rosa fights back with kicks and misses a charge, but they fight to the top and Rosa brings her down with a suplex and into the Fire Thunder Driver to finish at 16:48. Good mat-based match but it felt a little long and even JR was noting how it was getting sloppy by the end. ***1/4
Anarchy in the Arena: Santana, Ortiz, Eddie Kingston, Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley v. Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Daddy Magic, Cool Hand Angelo and Daniel Garcia
Justin Roberts introduces the match by noting “shit’s about to hit the fan” so I’m sure it’s Attitude Era Brawl time. The JAS is wearing matching white outfits, which the announcers note look like a boy band. The brawl starts while “Wild Thing” is still playing, as everyone fights in the crowd. Matt Menard is busted wide open as the camera is all over the place and there’s no point in trying to figure out what’s going on. Finally Jericho rips up the sound board to end the music after two loops of the song. Kingston and Menard slug it out in the concourse while Santana & Ortiz hit Hager with a Street Sweeper through two tables at ringside, but Garcia piledrives Ortiz on the stairs. More wacky stuff like Kingston and Menard bumping into the merch booth and Moxley throwing a drink cooler at Jericho. More stuff with the camera jumping all over the place, and we end up in the ring with Moxley disassembling the ropes and beating on Jericho with the turnbuckle bolt. Meanwhile, Santana and Ortiz do stereo splashes off a ladder and put 2.0 through tables, and there’s a barbed wire table at ringside. The BCC slug it out with Jericho and Hager in the ring as it calms down a bunch, and the Club beats on them with the elbows to set up stereo choke holds. But then Eddie Kingston returns from the back with a gas can and he dumps it all over everyone, which leads to Moxley going into the barbed wire table. Judas Effect for Danielson gets two. Bryan fights back with the kicks and the knee on Hager, and then knees a chair into Jericho’s face for two. Danielson with the roundhouse kicks, but Jericho and Hager double-team him with a crab and turnbuckle rope to choke him out at 22:40. I have no idea what to do with this, as you couldn’t really follow any kind of storyline in the match and it kind of felt like they were sent out to fill time by doing a lot of crazy stuff until the basketball game ended. I mean, it certainly delivered what was advertised.
Meanwhile, Andrade is sick of his group of losers, so he’s got a new business partner: Rush.
Meanwhile, the Men of the Year are finally done with Sammy Guevara, so Dante Martin steps up to the plate next.
AEW World tag team title: The Jurassic Express v. Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland v. Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks
They all brawl on the floor to start and Jungle Boy drops an elbow on Starks for two. Swerve comes in and takes Starks down with a headscissors, but Hobbs puts him down with a clothesline. That brings Lee in for a double-team with Swerve as they hit corner splashes on Hobbs and Swerve gets two off that. Jungle Boy comes in and hits the dives on Swerve, but Keith Lee catches him on a third one and powerbombs him onto Luchasaurus. Back in the ring, Hobbs hits him with a drop suplex and Starks comes in for a backbreaker on Jungle Boy. Starks misses a charge and recovers with a strutting ropewalk, but JB drops him right on the old yam bag. Luchasaurus is still out, so Jungle Boy has to tag Swerve in, and he pops up with the diving uppercut out of the corner. Swerve backdrops Starks onto the Jurassics in an awkward bump, and then after making sure everyone is good, he follows with a moonsault onto the pile. Back in, Swerve dropkicks Hobbs into the corner for two. Keith Lee comes in with a powerbomb attempt on Hobbs, but he escapes and throws Swerve off the top instead. Luchasaurus gets a tag and runs wild, but Lee comes in and we get a three-way hoss fight. Luchasaurus tries to chokeslam both of them, but that ends badly for him. Lee tosses Hobbs and follows with his own dive onto the pile of people. Back in the ring, Luchasaurus hits him with a samoan drop for two. But they slug it out and Hobbs comes off the top with a blockbuster for two. Starks blocks a kick from Jungle Boy and pins him in the ropes for two, but Christian breaks that up, so Starks gets a spear for two. Rochambeau gets two. Hobbs hits Luchasaurus with a spinebuster, but Swerve comes in with the top rope stomp for two. Luchasaurus accidentally boots Jungle Boy into the corner and Swerve & Lee hit Jungle Boy with a Doomsday Device stomp for two, as Hobbs makes the last second save. Hobbs charges and hits the post, but Starks grabs the FTW belt and Christian saves. Swerve rolls up JB for two off that and tries the flying stomp, but Jungle Boy moves and the Thoracic Express finishes Swerve at 17:23. I thought this might have been where Christian screwed them over for a title change, but I guess the REALLY long game is still in effect. ***3/4
AEW World title: Hangman Page v. CM Punk
They fight for the lockup in the corner to start and trade chops while the crowd does dueling chants. More chops and Punk puts him down with a back elbow, so Page puts the boots to him in the corner and stomps a mudhole. More chops are exchanged and Punk whips him into the corner and follows with a legsweep for two. Punk with the patented CM PUNK BODYSLAMS, not once, not twice, but THRICE, and he goes up with a flying bodypress. Hangman rolls through into the fallaway slam and the crowd actually boos that. So he hits Punk with a clothesline off the apron and follows with a crossbody to the floor. He runs Punk into the railing and stops to work the crowd a bit, and they slug it out back in the ring. Page wins that one with an elbow and runs Punk into the corner as the dueling chant now switches to “Fuck you Hangman / Cowboy Shit”. Vegas has got some potty mouth tonight. Page gets all fired up and tries the buckshot lariat, but Punk cuts him off and sends him into the railing. But then he charges and walks into a buckle bomb from Hangman, who then follows with a flying lariat in the ring for two. They fight to the top and Punk brings him down with a superplex, then makes a comeback with a leg lariat. Knee in the corner sets up the bulldog and springboard lariat, and now the fans bitch about THAT. Do they like ANYONE in this match? Neckbreaker gets two. They head to the floor again and Page gets the moonsault, but hurts his knee on the way down. Back in, Punk counters the buckshot lariat with a Sharpshooter, but Page quickly makes the ropes. Punk tries his own buckshot and slips, so Page tries a GTS and Punk escapes that. So Punk does another buckshot and screws it up again, and that gets two. Punk tries the GTS, but Page counters out and hits a Last Ride. And then he rolls through into the Deadeye for two. So Page gets all cocky and tries another GTS, but Punk grabs the top rope and hits a high kick. Page has enough to hit the GTS on the second try, however, and he falls on top for two. They trade leg kicks and slug it out with forearms, but Page hits a big boot and buckles his own knee in the process. But he manages to put Punk on the floor with a Cactus clothesline and tosses him into the ringside table. Back in, that sets up the buckshot lariat, but he lands in GTS position and the ref is bumped. Page hits a lariat and they’re both out, but Page contemplates a turn to evil and notices the World title belt in the ring. But he thinks better of it and tries another buckshot instead, and Punk reverses to the GTS for the pin and the title at 25:55. Really they could have gone either way with it and Punk needed to get the title sooner or later, so it might as well have been now. The match had a fascinating storyline, complete with tribute to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania VIII at the end, but the crowd was probably burned out at lot by the Anarchy match. ****
Well you can’t say nothing happened on THIS one. The quality of the show was hit or miss to say the least and it could have stood to lose an hour, but there was some great matches here and a World title change that a ton of people have been wanting to see. Thumbs up!