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Sunday, September 24, 2023

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Double or Nothing Thoughts: Remarkable PPV makes big memories for AEW

By B.J. Bethel

So that’s how a professional wrestling show feels like with a crowd. What a wonderful thing. 

Double or Nothing was remarkable for the simple fact it occurred. All-Elite Wrestling owner Tony Khan made the decision several weeks ago to make the company’s first full-capacity show since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic. The company, the crowd, the wrestlers, the announcers couldn’t have been better. 

The show was pure joy – from Serena Deeb and Riho’s classic during the pre-show, to the main-event cinematic Stadium Stampede (complete with a cameo from college football coaching legend and current Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer). The end summed up why AEW and this show worked, with Sammy Guevera and Shawn Spears getting their star-making moment as the center to the main event. They began the match, they were the meat in the middle and they finished it and they delivered. 

Sports are important because they aren’t important. Things that are of significant duty rarely involve joy. In the last week, since the COVID-19 world began to slip away and we have been able to gather together, we’ve seen Phil Mickelson’s legendary run to the PGA Championship, Helio Castroneves win his fourth Indy 500 in front of 150,000 fans as he did his Spider-Man climb only to run the length of the straightaway to celebrate with the crowd. Double or Nothing was professional wrestling’s special moment. 

  • Watching Deeb vs. Riho, then Shida vs. Baker, it’s clear the Joshi-haters have lost in a rout. 
  • Will any moment this year be better than an arena full of fans chanting for Eddie Kingston in a world tag title match? 
  • Cody Rhodes was AEW’s top babyface until COVID-19 hit. His matches and his own wrestling personality have been schizophrenic since. Outside the TNT Title open challenges, he’s suffered more than any of the top talent in the company since the pandemic began. Rhodes needs crowds. 
  • The Stadium Stampede was an entertaining brawl, but as fans return, let’s kick the cinematic match to the curb. It’s amazing what Matt Hardy and Jeremy Borasch created and how important it became for the pro wrestling industry the last year, but with crowds coming back, it’s time to go back to the ring full-time. 
  • Someone made this point on Twitter. Unfortunately I can’t remember who. But, Mox and Kingston – the new America’s Team? 


  • One of the benefits of dumping the concept of all-knowing wrestling carnies and their secrets to making cash, company’s focus on making the right decisions based on how to book their talent. The way Guevera, Orange Cassidy and Jungle Boy were booked tonight shows a company that not only listens to fans but knows where the future lies. It also saves their veteran talent. If Christian Cage beats Jungle Boy in the battle royal, he would have never recovered. Now he’s on the side of the good guys because he lost and he did it with class, putting over the younger talent. 

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