SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the 2022 edition of AEW Double or Nothing has been the worst built PPV card in the company’s history.
Think about it. There are matches galore (more on that in a minute) and not even a handful have meaningful stakes around them. The matches that do have said stakes have featured convoluted and backwards builds leaving the wrestlers involved directionless, with audiences confused.
Now, that said, once many of referenced matches above get in the ring tonight, they’ve got the potential to steal the show and be very entertaining contests. AEW will always have that crutch. The roster is simply too good to totally fall flat from an in-ring perspective. The goal should be to capitalize on that fact and Tony Khan and company missed the boat.
Khan’s also missed the boat on show length. Double or Nothing is too long with too many matches that are better served as AEW Dynamite bouts.
Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?
Darby Allin vs. Kyle O’Reilly
What now? You didn’t know this match was on the card? Welcome to the club. This is a Dynamite main event. Allin and O’Reilly have limited history together and the match was thrown into existence on an out of time slot episode of AEW Rampage. It loses itself on the PPV, whereas on television it would stick out. Allin is seeking revenge for Sting here, I guess, so he goes over in a forgettable bout that doesn’t get the time it needs to shine.
Thunder Rosa vs. Serena Deeb – AEW Women’s World Championship
From an in-ring perspective, this has all the makings of a classic. The build has been lukewarm. They tried to weave some history between both women into the story and it hasn’t fully clicked. We know it’s there because we’re told it’s there, but I don’t get the feeling that a deep-rooted past is at play here in a meaningful way. Rosa needs the W and she’ll get it clean in a really good match.
Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee vs. Team Taz vs. Jurassic Express – AEW World Tag Team Championship
It’s a match that’s happening, but isn’t the most important tag match on the show. That’s not great for a company that wants to lead the way in terms of a tag team division. The three teams involved here have had interaction and the issue between them is the titles. That’s a positive. The negative is it all seems tossed together. Look for Christian to get involved here and start the turn on Jungle Boy. Because of that, Team Taz takes the belts.
The Jericho Appreciation Society vs. Blackpool Combat Club, Eddie Kingston, and Santana & Ortiz – Anarchy in the Arena
For what this is on Double or Nothing, it’s been well done. The sports entertainers vs. the wrestlers writes itself and all involved have played it nicely. The promo segment between Chris Jericho and William Regal was too long and self-indulgent. Outside of that though, this has been simple, but effective. Blackpool Combat Club and team are victorious.
Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho – Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final
A year from now, Tony Khan will want to rebook this final. The bottom line is, neither Baker or Soho benefit as much as other stars on the roster with a tournament win. Toni Storm would have. Kris Statlander would have also. I expect a good match, but this won’t have the reaction it deserves because of who is in the match. Neither woman is bad, but just in the wrong spot at the moment. Baker is the bigger star, so she takes the W.
Jade Cargill vs. Anna Jay – AEW TBS Championship
Well, this match belongs on AEW Dynamite as well. See above Allin/O’Reilly analysis for analysis here. It applies perfectly. This is tucked away on the PPV, but could have a huge spotlight on TV. Cargill isn’t losing anytime soon and she won’t lose here either.
House of Black vs. Death Triangle
Let it be over. For the love of god, let it be over. This feud needs to end and House of Black needs to win it. They will here and then move on to something else. Blackpool Combat Club anyone?
The Young Bucks vs. The Hardys
A pretty epic match and one that should deliver. Was it framed that way within the story, though? That is where I have my biggest doubts. The Young Bucks get the win in order to stay strong for Bullet Club at Forbidden Door.
Adam Cole vs. Samoa Joe – Men’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final
Unlike the women’s match, this is the final that needed to happen. Cole and Joe have never crossed paths and they were the two biggest names in the tournament. It’s smart to have them go at one another. Look, this had a tournament style build, but it feels like a big deal. Cole goes over in a definitive way and it a MOTN contender.
Sammy Guevara, Frankie Kazarian, & Tay Conti vs. Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page, & Paige VanZant
A perfect match for VanZant to make her debut in, but do people care? Look, everyone involved in this has been miscast. Conti and Guevara’s picture can be seen next to the word obnoxious in the dictionary. They are babyfaces, though? Not buying it, but because of it, the heels will have an impossible time getting booed. No way VanZant is losing her first match. Team Lambert takes it, hopefully putting an end to the feud.
Adam Page vs. C.M. Punk – AEW World Championship
Ok, let’s state some truth right out of the gate. This is my match of the night pick for Double or Nothing. It’s also a match built up to an epic disappointment level. C.M. Punk is going after the world title. That’s a big deal and there is money in that chase. Nobody saw the chase! Sure, we’ve seen Punk’s run in AEW and that counts a little bit, but there just isn’t a groundswell of momentum that helps prop this up as major moment in wrestling. Both characters regularly came across as jerks throughout the build and the result was a confused crowd. It’s Punk’s time. AEW is at a moment in its existence where they need the world title to matter a lot. To accomplish that, you put the belt on your biggest star, which is what C.M. Punk is.