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AEW: Double Or Nothing Review without spoilers

Zack T

Active Member
Who watched the show? I DID. So it was my first time seeing the vast majority of the people on the card. I'd say for probably over half of them, it was my first time even hearing about them. All the same, I felt it was an absolutely excellent show and really put their best foot forward.

So first off, the production values were pretty equal to WWE. The stage looked awesome, it was really well done. The video packages were all really well done too, and I rather liked how different things were presented. For example on the pre-show, there was a brief backstage thing where one of the Young Bucks met a Japanese wrestler who's name I shouldn't have forgotten cause it was memorable, but anyway it was just the way the camera rotated between them at just the right times and it was unique as heck. The hype video package for Cody vs Dustin was also pretty different than how WWE does their hype videos and I really really like it. They picked out a really good song that fits it as well.

Commentary was good too. Excalibur is a solid commentator. Alex I think was the other guy (And Jim Ross too of course) and he was alright, could've maybe used a bit more enthusiasm in his voice but only in certain spots. He was fine though.

There's a few camera work mistakes or odd moments between matches, but honestly nothing that really drags the show down and it's forgivable in my opinion. Putting on a live show is challenging enough, but also the fact that this is the first time the production crew and all these guys have worked together like this, it's really incredible how smooth the show is from start to finish. They do a great great job of coming across as professional and largely having their act together. There's no technical glitches or dead air, no mis-cue's of music. There's 1 accidental moment in a match where the bell gets rang prematurely and we all notice it, but you get past it pretty quickly.

The booking/direction of the show as well as the order of the matches really worked well and made sense. We got some great surprises and they did a good job at presenting themselves as a different company than WWE without trying to actually make a big deal about it too much. One of the things that's ticked me off about TNA/Impact Wrestling is that they've had a history of having people go there and make speeches about how different they are from WWE and they're not being held back and so on - That's not doing them any favors. I mean it's kind of interesting to hear WWE mentioned on TNA TV, but all it's ultimately doing is making you look like you need to mention WWE in order to generate interest.

The 3 main things AEW did that highlighted their differences with WWE was this: Commentary explained the new tag team division rule AEW has (Where AEW tag matches allow a 10 count for illegal participants before they must leave the ring whereas everywhere else uses a 5 count) and Jim Ross was talking about why can't tag team wrestling be great, kind of a subtle shot on WWE's lackluster tag team division. Another was when the Elite were on stage at the end of the pre-show and Matt Jackson I think it was, he joked about them fitting 20K people in the arena and Cody said that's impossible this building only holds about 13K and Matt says "This is wrestling, you round up!" which is another shot at WWE who almost always round waaaay up on attendance figures. Then finally during Cody's entrance, there's a pretty obvious "SHOTS FIRED" moment. But there was no mention of WWE by name or snide comments. Which is great, in my opinion - We all know this is gonna be competition, but I'd rather not hear them constantly bring up WWE just to try to make a point about how different they are. Just let your work speak for itself, and it looks like that's the way they're gonna handle it from here on out.

They debuted the big gold AEW World title belt near the end of the show. The belt is HUGE and looks very nice.

Match quality was really solid throughout the whole show. It was a great first impression for a lot of these guys and girls. AEW knew to reign it in - we didn't have people flipping each other off all night or cursing just to curse. They hit the Goldilocks window, there was just enough stuff like that to establish the difference in attitude without going overboard on it.

All of the matches were enjoyable and fun to watch and get to know these new talents, but the 3 final matches were the bread and butter of the show. Cody vs Dustin, Lucha Bros (Pentagon and Ray Fenix Jr.) vs Young Bucks for the Triple A tag team titles held by Young Bucks, and Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega, in that order.

For me, Cody and Dustin was the match of the night. I had the most emotional attachment to that match, it was years in the making, and by god that match delivered. I absolutely love everything about this match, from the hype video to the match itself to the post-match stuff. I literally teared up because of all this.

Young Bucks and Lucha Bros was an absolutely insane tag team match, and my only complaint is that I think they maybe did more than they really needed to do. But all the same, I understand that this was the AEW debut show and they likely won't go that far normally, so it's all good.

Omega and Jericho was also super good, and Omega is legit as good as I've heard. The end of this match made the place absolutely LOSE THEIR MINDS.

So there you have it. A mostly-spoiler free opinion post on AEW, just in case you haven't seen it yet. If you haven't, you absolutely should. Watch the pre show, that's where the battle royal + 1 singles match is and both are worth watching for sure, and the winner of the battle royal earns themselves a spot in the AEW World title match in the future, probably at the next AEW PPV "All Out" in Chicago in August. The crowd is hyped as heck throughout the whole show and that's excellent.
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I just caught up with it today - I've got pretty similar feelings to you. It was the first time I've seen most of the talent and I have to admit, I enjoyed it. There seems to be some interesting gimmicks which I'm looking forward to see more of. I got some WCW vibes whilst watching, I don't know if that was because of the grey ring canvas or seeing so much international talent but it felt good having something that was different to WWE but with similar levels of production/talent.

My only suggestion at this stage would be the entrance music, I feel like it wasn't clear enough - I'm not sure if that was because of the crowd/sound system but that could be improved. However, I'm sure they're working on that alongside everything else to be ready for their new TV show.

I'm so glad Dustin/Cody finally got the match they wanted. I know they'd been wanting a WrestleMania match for a long time but they would never had got the opportunity/time like they did here. Fantastic match, credit to both of them.

I'll be watching their next event for sure.

Matthew has also covered the event on COW:
REVIEW: AEW Double or Nothing 2019