The SmarK Rant for AEW Double or Nothing 2021 – 05.30.21
Live from Jacksonville, FL, with a BIG crowd.
Your hosts are Excalibur, Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross
Brian Cage v. Hangman Page
Hangman gets a GIANT pop from the crowd and they slug it out to start, but Cage sends him into the corner and tries a slam. Page reverses to a bodypress for two and clotheslines Cage to the floor, and then follows with a tope. A second try is caught by Cage, however, and he powerbombs Hangman into the post and whips him into the railing. Back in, Cage works on him in the corner and whips him to the other corner, but follows with a fallaway slam that Page turns into a crucifix for two. They throw clotheslines and neither guy goes down, so Hangman takes him to the floor with another clothesline and follows with the moonsault to the floor. Back in, Page goes up and Cage cuts him off and follows him up, and then blocks a top rope rana and tries a powerbomb, which Page turns into the rana for two. They slug it out on the apron and Cage tries the deadlift suplex into the ring, but Page reverses out and they throw forearms until Cage goes down for two. Page goes for the Deadeye, but Cage reverses to a neckbreaker for two. They slug it out in the corner and Cage clotheslines him on the top rope and then deadlifts him into the superplex onto the ramp. Cage tries another one, hitting a top rope F5 this time, but that only gets two. Cage tries his own lariat, but Page catches him with a samoan drop for two and tries his own. That misses, and Cage poewrbombs him and follows with a buckle bomb, but Page rolls him up for two. Cage gets another lariat and another powerbomb, but that gets two. Finally this brings out Team Taz and Starks throws in the FTW title while Hook takes the ref, but Cage doesn’t want to use it and throws Page out instead, at which point Hangman flips back in with the buckshot lariat to finish at 12:10. And just like that, Page looks like a big star again, and the crowd was CRAZY for him. ***1/2 Cage has words with Starks afterwards, but Starks cries “bad neck” and Cage walks off instead.
AEW World tag team title: The Young Bucks v. Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston
So yeah, “Wild Thing” is way over. Kingsley attacks to start and Mox literally shoves the streamers down Matt’s throat, and Eddie dives onto everyone as they all brawl into the crowd and poor Cutler gets wrecked again. As usual. Kingston beats on Nick to start the match proper and lays in the kicks for two, and then they double-team Nick behind the ref’s back while the announcers make fun of Nick’s dye job. Kingston with an STO for two, but Nick thumbs the eye and it’s over to Matt. Bucks double-team Eddie in their corner and Nick does some Macho Man and Matt clips the knee before taking out Moxley on the floor. So then Matt goes into snark overdrive and pretends to make the hot tag to himself, running wild on Kingston and getting the big Hogan slam, but sadly the legdrop is interrupted by Moxley. Nick springboards in, but Kingston catches him with an exploder and makes a real hot tag to Moxley, who throws the Bucks around and piledrives Matt for two. He gets the choke, but Nick breaks it up, so Mox DDTs them both and chases them out of the ring. This brings out Those Two Yayhoos from Impact to run interference, but Kazarian helps chase them off, and Matt sprays the cold in Moxley’s eyes for two. To the ramp for a Indietaker out there as Moxley is busted open, but Mox keeps coming. The Bucks stay on the cut and Nick comes in with a senton for two before the Bucks put the boots to him and Matt gets two. Matt with a chinlock, but Moxley fights out, so the Bucks double-team him down with clubbing forearms, and Moxley has had enough and suplexes them both. Hot tag Kingston and he throws suplexes and puts Matt in a stretch plum, but Nick breaks it up while Kingston just glowers at him. Kobashi chops in the corner on Matt, but Nick breaks that up and hits him with a running knee for two. Nick goes up with the swanton, but hits Eddie’s knees and it’s back to Moxley. He chokes out Matt, but Nick breaks it up with a flying splash and Matt gets two. They set up the Meltzer, but Kingston breaks it up, and then Nick breaks up THEIR finisher. Kingsley distract the ref with shoes and then hits a shoe-assisted Doomsday Device on Matt for two, but Nick saves. Moxley tries the Paradigm Shift, but Nick flips out and into the Sharpshooter, but Kingston breaks that up. We get finisher spam and the Paradigm Shift on Nick gets two, but Matt saves. Moxley sends Nick to the apron and tries the choke out there, but the Bucks superkick him for two. Kingston saves and the Bucks superkick HIM down too. This sets up the BTE Trigger, but they don’t let him drop and keep hitting it before pinning him at 21:02 to retain. A brutal but effective finish. Match was really hard fought but it was kind of long and meandered at times. ***1/4 I thought they were gonna put the titles on Mox and Kingston, but really there was no reason to take it off the Bucks so it was probably the right move to leave them.
Casino Battle Royale:
We’ve got Christian Cage, Matt Sydal, Powerhouse Hobbs, Dustin Rhodes and Max Caster to start. Caster gets a GIANT pop and he’s going to be a big star, complete with awesome burn on Christian about how he was only cool before he lost his “edge”. We get some usual battle royale stuff and Caster throws out Sydal at 1:44 and then it’s more laying around on the mat. And Christian throws out Caster at 2:40 and seemingly hurts his leg. Next group is Matt Hardy, Preston Vance, Nick Comoroto, Serpentico, and Isiah Kassidy. Serpentico gets thrown out immediately at 5:00 by Comoroto and he continues cleaning house, but Dustin puts him out along with 10 at 6:00. And then Nick nails Dustin with his own bullrope on the way out and Hobbs throws him out at 6:30. Kassidy and Hardy double-team Christian and the next group has the Varsity Blonds, Colt Cabana, Anthony Bowens and Penta, who has gone full Joker. We get a full hot spots during entrances and Colt is throws out by Kassidy at 9:05, and Bowens is tossed by the Blonds at 9:15. Matt boots Griff out at 9:35. Brian Jr gets a chant and gets all fired up, but there’s nothing going on. Last group is Jungle Boy, Marq Quen, Aaron Solow, Evil Uno and Lee Johnson. Poor Pillman takes the Gin & Juice during the entrances and gets thrown out, and Matt throws out Solow at 13:30. Penta kicks out Uno at 14:08. JB puts Penta out with a rana and hangs onto the top rope to stay in. Powerhouse Hobbs and Christian both return from the void and Hobbs runs wild, but Christian manages to get him out at 15:04. So this leaves Christian and Jungle Boy against Matt Hardy and Private Party, and the heels attack, but the last one in is Lio Rush, and that’s a good pickup. He runs wild on Private Party and gets a Spanish Fly on Kassidy, but he tries to block the Silly String and Hardy throws him out at 18:29. Matt takes out JB with the Side Effect, but he gets revenge by taking out Private Party on the apron at 19:54, and we’re left with Hardy and Christian and Jungle Boy. Matt demands a truce with Christian, but gets thrown out at 20:31. Christian tries to get JB out on the ropes and then hits him with the forearm off the middle rope while Florida tries to sing “Tarzan Boy” and can’t get their shit together. Christian with an inverted DDT, but he tries a spear and Jungle Boy catches him. They fight to the apron and JB throws kicks and swings around the post to stay in, and then backdrops Christian out to win a title shot at 23:34. Good, it’s time they do something with him. This was a pretty shit battle royale though, with no real high spots and not much in the way of star power.
Anthony Ogogo v. Cody Rhodes
Cody appears to be representing Sgt. Pepper’s Tattooed Neck Club Band tonight. Cody goes for the arm to start, but Ogogo hits him with the liver punch and follows with an Angle Slam for two. Cody comes back with a powerslam, but Ogogo puts him down with a boot to the chest. Cody takes him down and chickenwings the arms, so Ogogo bails and then cuts off a dive with a forearm. Back in, Ogogo gets a german suplex and puts the boots to Cody, then drops an elbow for two. Lariat gets two. QT gets a cheapshot and Ogogo gets two, but Arn chases off QT and Cody tries to go after the arm again. Ogogo hits him with a TKO and that gets two, but Arn gives Cody a peptalk and he fights back. Cody Cutter and they fight to the top, but Ogogo punches him down and then goes up with a frog splash for two. This match is weird. It should have been Ogogo punching out Cody in 90 seconds and they’re doing near-falls and shit. Cody comes back with the figure-four and this is exactly like HHH needing to do a “great match” with someone in a situation that doesn’t call for it. Cody tries Crossroads, but Ogogo punches him out and Cody is in the ropes now. So Ogogo does a facebuster deal and that gets two. This thing is going NOWHERE. Cody fights back again and gets a Vertebreaker for the pin at 10:55. Really, Cody had to go over here? This was bad on a lot of levels, with a dead crowd and Ogogo looking pretty exposed and working a style that he’s clearly not ready for. *1/2
TNT title: Miro v. Lance Archer
Archer dives onto him on the ramp and they head in for elbows in the corner from Lance, and the ropewalk elbow gets one. Miro bails to the floor and they brawl out there, where Archer sends him into the post and then slams him through a table already. Archer charges and Miro catches him with a belly to belly into the front row, which luckily is planted wrestlers here. Back in, Miro puts the boots to him in the corner, but Archer catches him with a bodypress out of the corner. Miro puts him down with a leg lariat and hits him with chest kicks, but Archer catches one and chokeslams him for two. Moonsault misses and Miro gets a samoan drop for two. Miro sets up the kick, but Jake the Snake runs interference and brings his snake, so Miro steals it and hurls it down the tunnel. Bad day to be a snake. Archer chokeslams him for two and they fight on top, but Miro escapes the Blackout and fights back until Archer pounces him to the floor. Back in, Miro goes low and suplexes Archer in, setting up the thrust kick and GAME OVER at 9:50. Weak looking finish, as Miro couldn’t really sink in the move, but they had a decent hoss fight. **3/4
AEW Women’s World title: Hikaru Shida v. Dr. Britt Baker DMD
Britt tries for Lockjaw right away and Shida counters out and they back off. They take it to the mat as the crowd is very split, but they take turns on the floor and Britt catches her with a knee on the way in and ways her over in the corner. Shida dropkicks her to the floor and sends her into the railing, and then hits Britt and Rebel with a crossbody off the apron. She tries the kneelift and Britt catches her with a kick to take over. Curb stomp sets up the Lockjaw, but Shida escapes to the ropes, so Britt gets a butterfly suplex for two and sends her into the turnbuckles. Shida fights back and slugs away on the mat, then follows with running knees in the corner and some face ripping out of spite. Shida with a suplex and running knee for two, but Britt gets the neckbreaker for two. Shida counters a curb stomp into the stretch muffler, but Britt makes the ropes and hits a sling blade and Air Raid Crash for two. She fights for the Lockjaw and Shida goes for the ropes, so Britt switches to the other side to block and then rolls her to the middle again. Shida escapes and gets a german suplex and diving elbow for two. To the top, but Britt escapes a superplex, so Shida gets a second one for two. Shida tries again, but Baker rolls her up for two, so Shida rolls her into the stretch muffler. Rebel runs interference, but accidentally hits Britt with the crutch and Shida gets two. Falcon Arrow gets two. The ref throws out Rebel, which allows Britt to get the title belt and curb stomp Shida onto that…for two. Britt with the Lockjaw, but Shida rolls her over for two and then hits a jumping knee and then the running knee for two. Britt with a crucifix for two, and she turns it into one more Lockjaw and that finally wins the title at 17:18 to a huge pop. And it even earns a hug from Tony! Took a bit to get going but the last few minutes were tremendous and this was the best match on the show thus far. ****
Sting & Darby Allin v. Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page
Big brawl on the floor to start as Darby dives onto the heels and Scorpio suplexes Sting on the ramp, but he no-sells and throws Scorpio to the floor and follows with his own dive! Into the ring for the official start as Sting whips Darby into Scorpio like a battering ram and they go to work on Sky. Darby rolls into an armbar attempt, but he climbs the ropes and Ethan trips him up to get the heat and the heels take over. Page hurls Darby into the corner and Scorpio gets a backbreaker. Darby tries for the tag but Sky grabs his leg and hauls him outside the ring and drags him around like a sack of garbage. Back in, Ethan presses Darby and then tosses him over the top rope and into the front row in an incredible suicide spot. Sting drags Darby’s carcass back to ringside and Page eggs him on to let Darby keep fighting, but then Darby decides to roll in on his own anyway. So Ethan drags Darby back to his corner and sets up the Razor’s Edge, but Darby clings to the ropes to escape and then turns it into a sleeper. Darby with a stunner and it’s HOT TAG Sting and Stinger Splashes for both heels. Sting with a sunset flip out of the corner on Page for two, but Darby wants back in. Darby goes up and Sky crotches him to ruin that moment, which allows Page to slam Darby onto Sting for good measure. Sting comes back with the Scorpion Deathlock, but Sting isn’t legal. So Darby comes in and puts Ethan in an armbar, and then Sky puts Darby in a heel hook and Darby and Ethan are clawing at each other’s eyes in an awesome spot. Sting and Scorpio slug it out and Sting wins that one, but he misses the Stinger Splash and Sky springboards in with the cutter…which Sting casually turns into the Death Drop to finish at 12:34. This ended up being a hell of a match and a great return for Sting. ***3/4
AEW World title: Kenny Omega v. Orange Cassidy v. Pac
Kenny hits Orange with a cheapshot to put him on the floor right away, and he slugs it out with Pac until they collide on a bodypress attempt. This brings Orange in and he gets one on both guys and argues the count with the ref, apparently thinking it should have been 1.2 or something, and then gets a rana on both guys and dives onto Pac. Back in for a DDT on Kenny that gets two. Pac takes Kenny to the floor for the moonsault and then chokes out Orange in the corner. Pac goes up for the missile dropkick on Orange and then hits one on Omega, and then hits both guys at the same time for good measure. Kenny hits Pac with the rolling senton and then into a backstabber on Cassidy in the corner, and a backdrop suplex on Pac for one. They trade chops and forearms, but Omega boots Pac into the corner and Orange rolls up Kenny for two. Kenny with a backbreaker for two and he stops to goof around and pose before tossing Orange and hitting the Terminator Dive onto both guys. Back in the ring, Orange fights back with the stunner on Kenny and they trade near-falls, but Pac hits them both with a 450 and everyone is out. Omega gets the snapdragon on both guys and follows with a V-Trigger on Orange, but Pac counters with a german suplex. Pac superkicks Orange by mistake and Omega uses the moment to clothesline Pac and takes Orange to the top. Orange goes to the pockets to fight off the suplex, which allows Pac to take Omega down with a german suplex off the top and then bail to the floor to recover. So Orange dives onto him with hands in pockets and makes the comeback, only for Kenny to hit him with a Triger Driver for two. Pac goes up and Kenny tries to bring him down with a One Winged Angel, but Pac escapes that and Kenny settles for a german suplex for two instead. Kenny hits Orange with knees to the head, but Orange puts the hands in the pockets and then collapses. Pac and Omega slug it out and Kenny hits him with a knee, but Orange gets a Michinoku Driver on Kenny for two and then Pac hits Orange with a brainbuster for two. Pac brings Orange to the top, but Kenny breaks it up and Orange lands on the floor, leaving Kenny to set up for the Angel on the top. Pac reverses out of that with a powerbomb and they go to the other corner for a falcon arrow off the top, but Orange tosses Pac and gets two on Kenny while Don Callis has a heart attack on commentary. Pac tosses Kenny this time and he’s had enough of Cassidy’s nonsense and kicks him in the citrus fruits, and then moonsaults onto Kenny outside. Back in for the Black Arrow on Orange, but that gets two as Kenny saves his title. Pac puts Omega down and goes up for another Black Arrow, but that misses and Kenny tries the Angel, which Pac turns into a Brutalizer. Orange breaks it up and hits the Air Raid Crash on Kenny for two for another heart-stopping near-fall. Kenny bails and Pac beats on Cassidy again, but Orange gets the orange punch on both guys, at which point Callis freaks out and heads to ringside to take out the ref. Orange goes up and has to fight off Omega, but he tries the diving DDT on Pac and gets caught in the Brutalizer. Kenny tries to save but Pac won’t let go, so a desperate Kenny takes out the ref instead. So we get a belt shot on Pac to take him out as Callis throws in one belt after another and Pac takes them off the head, leading up to the AEW World title, but Orange hits the punch on Kenny for two, and Kenny reverses to a crucifix for the pin to retain at 27:10. Well this certainly lived up to everything promised and then some. ****1/2
Tony Schiavone announces the signing of the new analyst for AEW Rampage: Mark Henry! Well that’s pretty cool.
Stadium Stampede II: The Pinnacle v. The Inner Circle
The Circle rappels down from the scoreboard while MJF hides in his limo, and then FTR makes an entrance into the stadium in their truck along with the rest of the Pinnacle. Sammy and Spears actually go to the ring in the middle of the empty field, and it looks like a TNA show, AM I RIGHT? Oh man, only one show with a full crowd and I’m already back to making fun of TNA. Actually, they put the Impact Wrestling channel onto Samsung’s free TV service built into my bedroom TV, so I’ve actually been watching a lot of Impact and TNA as something in the background before bed. Last night was AJ Styles beating Jarrett and Raven for the NWA title in a three-way and that was pretty damn good. Anyway, Jericho waits out MJF and chases him into the concession, where MJF throws HOT COFFEE in Jericho’s eyes and then hits him with a phone receiver. So Jericho blares a megaphone in his face and then runs him into a wall with a table. Into a coaching room of some kind, where Jericho bounces a football off MJF’s head and hits him with a laptop, and it looks about as old as the one I just got rid of. Jericho throws him into the next room and puts him through a table, but MJF hits him in the broken arm, so Jericho whacks him with a whiteboard and MJF crawls up the aisle and they disappear through a door. Next up, Wardlow and Hager have a hoss fight and Wardlow tries to lock him in the freezer, but Hager already doesn’t have any heat and no-sells it. So they fight in there and Wardlow grabs an icicle, trying to recreate Die Hard 2 I assume, but Hager suplexes him on some boxes of meat and they fight back into the hallway again. Wardlow takes him through a wall and it’s off to Sammy looking for Spears. So he finds Spears in a room full of chairs and they proceed to have an action movie fight without the bullet time, complete with Sammy flipping off the wall and spinkicking Spears. Sammy dives off a forklift with a kick, but Spears smashes him into the rolling door while Tony reminisces about guys getting lawn-darted into doors. There’s a selection of weapons available, but Spears picks the chair, and Sammy fights back with another flying kick and then attacks with an extension cord as he chokes Spears down and goes to the top of a scissor lift, but Spears brings him down and then throws a ladder at him. And with Sammy down, Shawn finds handcuffs and cuffs him to the rack. But he leaves bolt cutters laying there. Next up, FTR meets up with Santana and Ortiz in a bar, so the only solution is to have a drinking contest as we reveal that Konnan is the DJ. So it turns into the brawl and Ortiz actually tries to pin Dax and gets two. Tully and Konnan have some words and Santana dives onto Cash for two, but Cash tosses beer bottles at Ortiz until Santana saves. And they fight into the elevator to end that segment. Back to Hager and Wardlow as they fight in an equipment area, and up to the roof of a cart where Hager chokeslams him through a pile of shelving. Back to Jericho and MJF as Chris uses a cardboard cutout of Shad Khan, but MJF goes back to the arm again and Jericho staples a card to MJF’s forehead in a wacky spot in the boardroom. Max comes back with a piledriver on the table, and that gets two. So he grabs a hammer and tries to smash the cast, but Jericho finds Floyd stashed away and beats MJF down with that. And then calls him an asshole and gives him the Marty Jannetty treatment. So Jericho drags MJF back to the real world, and into the arena, where MJF tears off Jericho’s arm brace and then tries to throw him off the balcony unsuccessfully. And in a wonderful callback, Shawn Spears stumbles out of the clubhouse and this time it is Sammy Guevara driving the golf cart, as they head to the ring. Spears smashes him in the face with a chair and gets two, however. Sammy won’t stay down, so Shawn gives him another chair to the face and that gets two. Spears tries to run Sammy through a chair in the corner, but Sammy escapes with the GTH and then curb stomps Shawn into the chair himself. Sammy goes up with a 630 off the top and that finishes at 31:19, as Sammy redeems himself and the Inner Circle lives. This was actually kind of a different match than the first Stadium Stampede, being more of a series of smaller brawls rather than the wacky absurdist chaos of the first one. Kind of tough to rate it, but it was very entertaining and told a great story, especially with Sammy getting to get the big win.
Overall, easy thumbs up, as the last four matches were all good-great and so was the opener. The only real dark spots were the awful battle royale and the Cody wankfest, but everything afterwards made up for it and they finished strong.