The SmarK Rant for AEW Double or Nothing Pre-Show

The SmarK Rant for AEW Double or Nothing: The Buy-In – 05.25.19

Live from Las Vegas, NV

First up, the Buy In pre-show!

OK, so as mentioned, I was working today and wasn’t able to get home in time for the live version of the show. Unfortunately, the Fite.TV PPV stream doesn’t allow you to just start from the beginning like WWE Network does, so I have to wait until Sunday morning and watch the replay at that point once it goes live. Plus I didn’t really want to be up until 2am anyway because I’m fucking old, OK? However, the pre-show was available on the site right away, so we’ll start with that and hopefully I can get the PPV up sometime Sunday or at worst Monday morning.

Your hosts are Alex Marvez & Excalibur.

Casino Battle Royal

So this is basically a Royal Rumble with 3:00 intervals, and groups of wrestlers determined by suits of cards. The initial group includes MJF, a legless amputee, and a Japanese guy named Nakazawa who uses baby oil as a defensive weapon. So we’re fighting an uphill battle already. Unsurprisingly, Dustin Thomas (the double amputee) just lays in the corner and we’ve got absolutely nothing going on for the whole first segment. The next group of nobodies has slightly more star power, including Brian Pillman Jr, Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc, plus Shawn Speers (aka Tye Dillinger). Speers is looking RIPPED and has a much better look with a beard and mohawk. Next group of geeks gives us Billy Gunn, Jungle Boy, Glacier and a big fat guy. Glacier gets some kicking offense and Nakazawa is finally the first elimination at 8:00. Glacier uses FREEZING MIST on Sunny Daze and throws him out at 8:30. Joey Janela lights up a smoke in the middle of the match, but Jimmy Havoc staples it to Janela’s head. Sure. Pillman gets thrown out at 9:50 during the next group’s entrance. Marco Stunt gets some wacky offense and flosses, and Tommy Dreamer throws a garbage can in and gets his senior offense. And then the 21st man is Hangman Page, which works out well for everyone I guess. Page of course runs wild and slugs it out with Janela, then hits him with the reverse piledriver, which is now dubbed “The Dead Eye”. Tiny little Jungle Boy and Stunt double-team big fat Ace Romero and that looks awful. Romero throws Marco out at 16:12 and he takes his usual crazy bump. Jungle Boy manages to dropkick Romero out at 16:30, though. Dustin Thomas gets a 619 on Janela, but MJF cuts him off. Speers saves, but Thomas manages to guillotine Speers out at 18:00. Cutler throws out Billy Bitchcakes at 18:33 and MJF throws out Cutler. Luchasaurus chokeslams Janela through a table at 19:01 to eliminate him. Tommy Dreamer throws out Sonny Kiss at 19:50 after surviving some shots to the butt. And then Orange Cassidy wanders in as the 22nd man and does some comedy with Dreamer before getting tossed out at 20:50. Cassidy’s “god of slackers” gimmick is really, really funny in the right context, I will say. Jimmy Havoc throws out Jungle Boy and then bites his fingers to put him out at 21:35.

Final Four: Jimmy Havoc, Hangman Page, Luchasaurus and MJF.

Havoc beats on Page with a lariat, but goes the apron and gets booted out by Luchasaurus. Page low-bridges Luchasaurus to apparently win, but MJF comes back from the floor and tries to throw Page out, only to have Page come back and lariat him to the floor at 24:00 and get the title shot. Yeah, I dunno. As wacky comedy it was mostly fine, but as a serious battle royal to determine title contenders? Not so much. Right guy won at least. This was more like a Royal Rumble, so I can rate it, and it was about ** overall. Way too much on the literal freakshow spectrum, with ALL smoke and mirrors, and it took forever to get going. That being said, I know for sure that a good chunk of the potential audience is going to be all over this Attitude Era type of silliness, so it’s probably worth watching if you’re one of those people.

Meanwhile, we get a shushing duel between librarians. OK then.

Sammy Guevara v. Kip Sabian

Guevara is wearing what appears to be a panda head as his entrance gear, so I’m assuming that he’s a bad person. Most good people don’t murder pandas and turn their heads into hats. That’s one of the few life lessons I can offer. They do the dramatic lockup battle to start and Guevara works a headlock. They trade off that and Sabian gets a springboard rana and leg lariat. Sabian dumps him and follows with a dive, but Guevara fires back with his own and the camera completely misses it. Back in, Guevara works on him with kicks, but Sabian ties him in a leglock and Guevara has to make the ropes. Guevara with a powerslam and a series of flips into a standing shooting star for two. Sabian comes back with a springboard dropkick and a penalty kick for two. We get a nice spot as they fight for a suplex and both guys tumble over the top while holding the move. Guevara guillotines him with a shooting star press onto the railing, which was certainly unique. Back in, Guevara tries the 630 and hits knees, and Sabin finishes with a Michinoku Driver (called “The Deathly Hallows”) for the pin at 9:39. Good match with some CRAZY spots if you’re into that. ***1/4

And then after a series of quick vignettes with the Elite guys, it’s time for DOUBLE OR NOTHING!

Well, tomorrow. This show is very much worth checking out on YouTube or Fite.TV on it’s own, however.