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All Elite Wrestling put on a great debut pay-per-view this Saturday with Double or Nothing. The Las Vegas event was a blast for those in attendance and at home, as it delivered some memorable matches. However, it wasn’t a perfect event. This isn’t a surprise as there are bound to be some growing pains with a new company.
Let’s take a look at what worked and what could use some tweaking from the show in my AEW Double or Nothing review.
AEW Double Or Nothing Review | What Worked
The biggest takeaway from Double or Nothing was that the matches that needed to succeed did just that. The final three matches, starting with Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes, all delivered on their promise. Cody and Dustin gave us an emotional match that stole the show, The Lucha Bros and Young Bucks put on a technical masterpiece, and Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega felt like a true main event and setup two awesome feuds going forward even if it didn’t reach the same highs as their New Japan Pro-Wrestling bout.
Another big win was in how they handled nearly all of their surprises besides the debut of the Super Smash Bros (the tag team that the crowd chanted “Who are you?” at). Awesome Kong got a raucous reaction from the crowd and it was great to see a true icon in American women’s wrestling have such a great spot in a pivotal show. Meanwhile, Jon Moxley stole the show and blew the roof off the building after he came out and attacked Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, and the referee. These surprises made the show way more memorable than it was on paper.
Finally, the show was a great use of international talent. While very few bought the card to see Oriental Wrestling Entertainment’s team with CIMA or the six Joshi wrestlers, they all looked great in their performances. I can’t wait to see more Japanese women’s wrestling in the future, and that single match made me much more interested in AEW’s women’s division.
AEW Double Or Nothing Review | Areas To Improve
First off, the battle royal flat out sucked. It’s actually more fun now in retrospect than it was in the moment due to a few entertaining sequences, but the rules made little sense and it was a terrible way to kick off AEW’s first show. It was filled with a bunch of comedy characters that didn’t act like they were competing for a title shot. Comedy has a place in wrestling, but this was a terrible way to introduce the brand to people, and couldn’t have been more tonally different from the final three bouts.
The biggest thing that people take for granted is how great WWE’s production normally is (other than constant camera cuts and zooming). It’s rare that the WWE cameramen miss out on pivotal scenes, but All Elite Wrestling had some bad camera angles and production issues throughout the night (such as bad audio mixing). This will get ironed out over time, and I hope Alex Marvez gets better with practice. On the bright side, it still looked like a professionally done show and Jim Ross & Excalibur had an unexpected amount of chemistry.
Finally, the American women’s match was a big disappointment. It was my first time seeing Kylie Rae and Nyla Rose, but I’m not really sure I want to see more of them after this. It was by far the weakest match on the pay-per-view and after seeing how talented the Joshi performers were, I’m having a hard time getting excited for many of the women they are painting as the faces of their division. Hopefully it will improve with time, and they still have some great talent like Allie yet to debut, but this felt like a huge step down from seeing Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair each week on television.