There's a lot of news coming out of AEW Double or Nothing 2022. Most importantly, we have a new AEW Champion. CM Punk beat "Hangman" Adam Page in the main event to win the title after what was easily one of AEW's best ever matches. The show ended with a crying Punk raising his new prize for the first time.
It was a tremendous climax to a huge show. The night began with Wardlow obliterating MJF in surprisingly decisive fashion, which is a whole news story unto itself given the malarkey over the weekend concerning MJF reportedly threatening to no show Double or Nothing. Elsewhere, Adam Cole and Britt Baker won their respective Owen Hart Cup finals, and Kyle O'Reilly beat Darby Allin in an unexpectedly great match.
The Anarchy in the Arena match ended up being perhaps too much anarchy for its own good, and ended with Jericho Appreciation Society standing tall over a fallen Bryan Danielson. Hangman Page was the lone champion to lose at Double or Nothing, with all other champions retaining their gold.
Read on for a full recap of Double or Nothing 2022.
CM Punk wins the AEW Championship
In arguably the best AEW main event ever, CM Punk pinned Hangman Adam Page to win the AEW Championship. The Las Vegas crowd was mega into this main event from the outset. We got dueling "Let's go Hangman" and "CM Punk!" chants, then later "Cowboy Shit" and "CM Punk!" cheers. Both men were showered with cheers and boos after almost every big move -- the crowd was truly split on this one.
These two were intense. The dynamic going into the match was unusual: Both are babyfaces and Page harbors a deep grudge against Punk that's never been explained properly. Page wrestled the match with fabulous tenacity; you got the sense that he really did have antipathy towards Punk. This was among Page's best performances.
CM Punk twice tried Page's Buckshot Lariat, but botched it both times. After the match, he told the crowd to never let him try it again. The first time it led to Page going for a GTS, which Punk countered. That led into the second attempt, where Punk tried but fell on his ass -- but he got up and clotheslined Page anyway.
Punk tried to follow up with the high knee in the corner, but Page countered with a Last Ride Powerbomb, which he rolled into a Deadeye. That led to a great nearfall, with Punk kicking out at the last millisecond. He timed that kickout perfectly.
Page then did Punk's Go To Sleep taunt, which got a huge heel reaction. Page attempted a GTS, but Punk escaped and hit him with a high kick. Page then hoisted Punk up for the GTS anyway, landing it this time for another excellent nearfall. Punk is so good at timing those kickouts.
The two then exchanged kicks, and Page clotheslined Punk over the top rope. He held up the AEW Championship, yelling "this is mine" at Punk, which got a lot of boos. Page threw Punk inside the ring and attempted a Buckshot Lariat, but Punk countered into a GTS. Page struggled out, but accidentally hit the referee in doing so. Ref bump activated.
Page decked Punk with a Lariat and then, with an evil trance, grabbed the AEW Championship belt and debated using it. At the last moment he drops it, deciding to go the moral route, then tries one last Buckshot Lariat. Once again though, Punk escaped and this time managed to land the GTS for the win.
After the match a crying Punk holds the title up as AEW Double or Nothing went off the air.
Rating: 5 stars. This was a winner for several reasons. First, it was one of AEW's best ever main events, one that saw arguably Hangman Page's best performance in the company yet. Second, it was a historic pro wrestling moment, with Punk returning last September and earning his place at the top of a wrestling promotion. And thirdly, it sets up Hangman Page for great new character development plus a surefire winner of a rematch.
Jurassic Express retain AEW Tag Team Championships
Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus successfully defended their AEW Tag Team Championships against Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland plus Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks in a three-way tag match. Jungle Boy got the pin after their Jurassic Express powerbomb.
This was in a tough spot for two reasons. First, it's late in a show that's been packed with a lot of action and high spots. Second, the whole premise is silly. It's a triple-threat tag match, but only two wrestlers are allowed in the ring at any given moment. That means at all times there's one team not represented in the ring, who have to hope they can somehow find a way to tag themselves in. Why would anybody tag out? It's one of those old wrestling things that don't get thought about enough.
Still, there was some good stuff here. There was a sick sequence where Jungle Boy tried a Suicide Dive on Keith Lee but Lee caught him in midair and Powerbombed him into Luchasauraus -- twice. Later, we got a fun showdown between Luchasaurus, Hobbs and Keith Lee that ended with Lee and Hobbs planting Luchasaurus with a huge double chokeslam.
Moments later, Lee somehow managed a leaping somersault over the top rope to take out the whole field. That was wild.
Ricky Starks tried to win by cheating a few times, first by rolling up Jungle Boy with his feet on the rope and later by hitting Luchasaurus with one of the tag titles. Both times he was foiled by Christian Cage, who was at ringside.
From there it was a series of big moves, with teams hitting their finishers only to have the pinfall broken up by the third team. Jungle Boy ended up as the legal man with Swerve Strickland. They had an awesome final few minutes, culminating with Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus hitting their tandem Powerbomb for the win.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
Jericho Appreciation Society wins Anarchy in the Arena
Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, Jake Hager, Angelo Parker and Matt Menard beat the team of Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, Santana and Ortiz in an Anarchy in the Arena match. Hager and Jericho made Danielson pass out to win for their team.
This was a bit of a disaster at first. "Anarchy in the Arena" is a vague stipulation, which people thought would essentially just mean no rules. Indeed there were no rules. But it also apparently meant Jon Moxley's Wild Thing theme song would be played on repeat as the 10 men brawled throughout the arena.
That's in large part the issue: It really was Anarchy in the Arena. The 10 men were split up into five pairs who brawled in different spots. That meant constant camera cuts to different parts of the arena -- inside the ring, in the crowd, in the back, in another part of the crowd. It was too disorienting to follow in any meaningful way. It was basically a pro wrestling music video, but not as cool as that sounds.
Eventually Jericho ripped the chords out of the soundboard, which stopped Wild Thing from playing. That helped a lot. I'm sure it was super fun in the crowd, but the song playing alongside constant camera cuts made it too chaotic to watch from home. From that point on, this became a little more structured, which made it fun to watch (if you can handle blood and guts wrestling).
There were crazy spots, which goes without saying. Santa and Ortiz crashed through two tables doing tandem offense on Jake Hager. Jericho hit Moxley with a giant camera. Daniel Garcia gave Ortiz a Piledriver onto the steel steps.
Everything broke down once everyone got to the ring. Literally broke down: Moxley untied the turnbuckles from the post and started hitting Jericho with one. That led to the top turnbuckles on each corner to be deconstructed. Out near the back, Santana and Ortiz set up two of the Jericho goons on tables then brought out a giant ladder, which they leapt off.
In the ring, Moxley and Danielson squared off against Jericho and Hager. They had a slugfest, which the crowd came unglued for. (There's something ironic about the crowd popping huge for a bunch of punches after dudes have been leaping off tables and cutting each other up, but I suspect that message will go unheeded.) Moxley and Danielson got the better of them, leading to Danielson getting Jericho in the LeBell Lock.
At about that time, Eddie Kingston came to the ring with gasoline and dunked it all over Jericho (and Danielson). Kingston took out a lighter to burn Jericho, but Danielson slapped it out of his hand. That led Kingston to start fighting with Danielson. As Moxley tried to break them up, Jericho took out all three with a chair. Hager then knocked Moxley out of the ring, onto a table with barbed wire on top -- because of course.
In the ring, Jericho hit Danielson with a turnbuckle and went for the pin. That got a two count. Danielson fought back, singlehandedly kicking the hell out of both Jericho and Hager. He got his Busaiku Knee on Hager, then Jericho tried to hit him with a chair but Danielson put the Busaiku Knee into the chair for a great two count.
Danielson prepared to kick Jericho's head in, but Hager clocked him in the knee with Jericho's bat. Jericho then put Danielson in the Walls of Jericho as Hager strangled him with the ring rope. Danielson passed out, allowing Jericho's team to win.
Rating: 3 stars. The first third was awful, the second third was fine and the final third was awesome. As good as this ended up being, though, I can't help but feel this was a waste of Danielson, Kingston and Moxley on pay-per-view. Much of the match was essentially generic brawling, which didn't fully take advantage of what they could do.
Speaking of wasting Danielson, having his second-ever AEW loss come in a 10-man tag feels questionable too.
Thunder Rosa is still AEW Women's Champion
Thunder Rosa pinned Serena Deeb with a Fire Thunder Drive after a long, good match.
Deeb and Rosa worked hard here, and made their match stand out by giving it more of a wrestling focus. There was plenty of grappling and, as the match went on, many strong submission spots. The crowd was super into it at the beginning, popping huge for Rosa putting Deeb in a human surfboard.
One of the highlights was when Deeb put Rosa in a Figure Four Leglock. Deep arched up and slapped Deeb, which led to the classic back and forth slap exchange with the Leglock still in. The two then rolled to the outside, leglock still in place, before it broke outside.
Rosa retained the title when she planted Deeb with a superplex from the top and then, a la Eddie Guerrero, shifted her hips to hoist Deeb up again. But instead of another suplex, she gave Deeb a Fire Thunder Driver for the win. The crowd loved the finish.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
Kyle O'Reilly pins Darby Allin
This was a brutal, mile-a-minute match. And it ruled. Kyle O'Reilly ended up winning after he blitzed Darby Allin with three Penalty Kicks, and then a knee strike from the top rope.
The match started out gnarly, with Allin going for a double-leg takedown and O'Reilly catching him with a knee to the chin. I don't know if it was hardway or a bloodpack, but Allin was bleeding from the mouth from then on.
Much of the reason this match was so great is that Allin took O'Reilly's offense so well. O'Reilly has an MMA style, with stiff kicks and great grappling, but he's usually smaller than his opponent. He kicked Allin around the ring here, and it made O'Reilly look brutal.
Darby Allin is totally unpredictable so there was some off-the-wall stuff here. Allin did two Suicide Dives. The first, whether on purpose or not, was kind of like a spinning wheel kick though, as Allin fell short of landing on O'Reilly, but caught him with his foot on the way down. The second Suicide Dive, in a great spot, was countered by O'Reilly into a Guillotine Choke. Later in the match, Allin did a Coffin Drop onto the apron.
My favorite part was when Allin went for a Coffin Drop in the middle of the ring, but at the last second O'Reilly reoriented himself and Allin landed right into an armbar. It was sweet. The most intense spot came when O'Reilly wrapped Allin's gold chain around Allin's mouth, then used it to choke him with it. That led to the three Penalty Kicks and the top-rope knee that won O'Reilly the match.
Rating: 4.25 stars. They went a little too fast, as the match felt rushed in parts and would have benefitted from letting some of the gnarly spots breathe a bit. But these two have incredible chemistry, and put on an outstanding match.
American Top Team beat Sammy Guevara, Frankie Kazarian and Tay Conti
The team of Ethan Page, Scorpio Sky and Paige VanZant defeated Sammy Guevara, Frankie Kazarian and Tay Conti, meaning Guevara can no longer challenge for Sky's TNT Championship.
The first part of the match built up to Paige VanZant getting tagged in for her first in-ring performance. Paige is green, but she did well. She took down Tay Conti and hit her with strikes from a knee-on-belly position, and then hit Sammy Guevara in the guts when he tried to intervene on Conti's behalf. She then planted him with a Tornado DDT, then tripped Conti into Guevara's crotch.
Conti got the upper hand from there, and Sammy congratulated her with a big hug and a kiss -- playing into the gimmick that they're an obnoxious couple. Their OTT PDA allowed American Top Team to crowd around them, and led to a disgusted Kizarian failing to come to Guevara and Conti's aid. Guevara and Conti then got in a tornado blitz with American Top Team, which led Kazarian to get back into the fray.
He tagged himself in and took out Ethan Page, but then Conti confronted him over tagging himself in. Guevara tried to Superkick Kazarian, but accidentally caught Conti instead -- which got a huge pop and a punishing chant from the crowd. Kazarian threw Guevara out of the ring, then ate a TKO from Scorpio Sky, which led to the three count.
Rating: 2.5 stars. There were some fun spots here, but the dynamic of Kazarian tagging with Conti and Guevara was too dysfunctional. Kizarian would be attacking Guevara one minute and then trying to get a win for their team the next. The key spot here, though, was Guevara accidentally kicking Conti -- everything else was background.
Britt Baker DMD wins Women's Owen Hart Cup
Both Britt Baker and Ruby Soho got live music entrances. Soho's theme song got played by punk band Rancid, which the crowd loved. The audience was hot for this match at the beginning and end, with huge "Ruby Soho" and "DMD" dueling chants at the beginning and the end. They were less roused throughout the middle.
Though the crowd was invested in both Britt Baker and Ruby Soho, the match itself was missable. Not bad, just fine. Soho in particular had a less than stellar night. She did well selling throughout the match, but her comebacks lacked the fire necessary to get the crowd into the match. A key spot was Soho putting Britt Baker into a Sharpshooter, which she didn't lock in correctly.
The match ended when Soho went for a rollup, but Baker reversed it into a rollup of her own for the three count.
Afterwards, we got a ceremony with the Owen Hart Cup winners, Baker and Cole, and a speech from Martha Hart. It was a great speech, and a great moment in pro wrestling history. Martha Hart congratulated both titans of wrestling for their hard-fought victory -- kind of weird that two heels were put in such a position of glory, but that's OK -- and presented both with Owen Hart Cup championship belts.
Rating: 2.5 stars. OK match, incredible ceremony with Martha Hart.
Adam Cole wins Men's Owen Hart Cup
Adam Cole defeated Samoa Joe with the help of Bobby Fish to win the Men's Owen Hart Cup.
This was a terrific match. It had a great flow throughout: Samoa Joe is a big monster who dominated the smaller Adam Cole, but Cole worked hard to work out from underneath with his speed and strategy -- and, ultimately, his help from stablemate Bobby Fish. Both worked as hard as you'd expect, and both played their roles well.
My favorite spot was when Cole went for the Panama Sunrise but Joe used his immense size advantage to counter it into a knee buster. Other highlights include Joe's sick transition from powerbomb to STF, and a stiff clothesline counter to Cole's Boom Knee attempt.
As Joe looked to cinch the victory, proceedings were interrupted by Bobby Fish, who ran down to the ring. Joe took out Fish, and then locked the Coquina Clutch sleeper on Cole. Fish distracted again, with Joe releasing the hold to knock Fish off the apron. Cole then hit a barrage of Superkicks and then a Boom Knee to get the win.
Rating: 4.25 stars. In my opinion the wrong man won -- but these two worked exceptionally well together.
House of Black defeats Death Triangle
Malakai Black, Buddy Matthews and Brody King beat Pac, Penta Oscuro and Rey Fenix after Julia Hart appeared and joined House of Black by spitting black mist into Pac's face.
This was six skilled athletes doing unbelievable spots for about 15 minutes. It was senseless, with minimal psychology, but beautiful to watch nonetheless. The action was so fast and nonstop that it would be impractical to recap it. Instead, look at these GIFs of the most jaw-dropping stuff.
The finish came when Pac hit a low blow on Malakai Black, and went to the top to hit his finishing splash. The lights went out, and when they came back on, Julia Hart was standing in the ring. The referee was elsewhere, so he didn't see her spraying black mist at Pac. Malakai Black hit his Black Mass roundhouse kick for the finish.
Rating: 4 stars. Take your thinking hat off and this was an incredible spectacle.
Jade Cargill retains TBS Championship
Jade Cargill is still TBS Champion after defeating Anna Jay in a decent match. After the bout, we got the AEW debut of Ember Moon -- who now goes by Athena.
There was some awkward action and a lot of smoke and mirrors here. Cargill started strong, subduing Jay like the dominant champion she is. Jay ended up getting in some offense, slowly fighting back from under until landing a (botched) top-rope Blockbuster neckbreaker. She then tossed Cargill into the side steps -- Cargill did a great job taking this, and making it look painful.
Then the interference began. Kiera Hogan and Red Velvet tried to double team Jay outside, but Jay fought back. Then, when the women were in the ring, "Smart" Mark Sterling ran down and threw a pair of crutches in the ring. As he distracted the ref, Jay took the crutches off Cargill, their intended recipient, hit Cargill with them and then planted her with a Russian Leg Sweep for a two count.
Cargill attempted her Jaded finisher, but Jay countered with a rollup and locked in a rear-naked choke. Cargill fought out, and the two ended up in the corner on the top turnbuckle. Then Stokely Hathaway, formerly known as Malcolm Bivens in NXT, made his way to the ring, which distracted Jay. Cargill planted Jay with a top-rope Jaded slam for the win.
After the match, Hogan, Velvet and Cargill started to beat down on Jay. Kris Statlander came to her rescue. Amid a staredown, Athena, formerly Ember Moon, made her AEW debut. Alongside Statlander and Jay to stardown Hogan, Velvet and Cargill.
Rating: 2 stars.
The Hardys defeat The Young Bucks
The Hardys and The Young Bucks wrestled twice in Ring of Honor, going one for one. In this rubber match, The Hardys defeated The Young Bucks in a great tag team bout after Jeff Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb on Nick Jackson. There was some over-the-top action that's typical of Young Bucks PPV matches, action that makes it impossible to suspend your disbelief, but this was undeniably fun to watch.
The match was well paced, beginning with a flurry and slowing down when the Young Bucks took out Jeff Hardy. With Hardy laid out on the outside, The Bucks worked over Matt Hardy, who heroically resisted until Jeff was roused back to life.
As can be expected, there were some creative spots here. My favorite was when The Hardys attempted a Poetry in Motion, with Jeff launching off Matt's back to splash Matt Jackson in the corner, but Nick Jackson interrupted with a sweet Enziguri over the top rope.
The tide began to turn with a series of spots where Nick accidentally took out his own team. He tried a high-knee in the corner on Jeff, but Jeff dodged and Nick caught Matt instead. Nick then tried to do the "you're dead!" Penalty Kick on Matt Hardy outside, but Matt ducked and Nick kicked Brandon Cutler instead. Side note: Cutler was popular among this crowd.
After some action outside the ring, there was a fantastic near fall where Jeff hit a jawbreaker to Nick on the top rope, then went for a Swanton Bomb. Nick rolled away, planted Jeff with a Twist of Fate and then Matt hit Jeff with a Swanton Bomb for a two count. The crowd chanted "This is awesome!"
Then, as often happens with Young Bucks matches, things got a bit silly.
The Bucks began a Superkick Party, hitting double Superkicks on both Matt and Jeff. With Matt and Jeff on their knees, the Bucks blitzed them with four Superkicks each. The Hardys got to their knees again, and the Bucks hit both again with double Superkicks. Both Bucks pinned both Hardys, and both got two counts.
The Bucks then set up the ring steps on the outside, but the Hardys, after eating a barrage of Superkicks, instantly revived and fought back. Matt planted Matt Jackson across the ring steps, and Jeff Hardy hit a gnarly -- gnarly -- Swanton Bomb from the top rope on the steps.
In the ring, Matt Hardy hit Nick Jackson with a Twist of Fate for a two count. He attempted another Twist of Fate, but Nick countered into a rollup. Hardy kicked out, hit Nick with a Side Effect and another Twist of Fate, then Jeff Hardy landed a Swanton Bomb on Nick Jackson for the win.
Rating: 4 stars. I hated the Superkick Party. Spots that in real life would cause long-term brain damage but here don't even keep someone down for three seconds are just too much for me to ignore. Also, Matt and Jeff worked hard, but both, particularly Jeff, certainly don't move as well as they used to. Jeff looked pained a lot of the time, which sucked to see.
But with both of those criticisms noted, this was a great tag team match and a whole lot of fun.
Wardlow destroys MJF
Wardlow obliterated MJF in the opening match. MJF got in no offense, and Wardlow pinned MJF after 10 powerbombs. It was a squash match. I'm sure the plan was always for Wardlow to win, but the squash format may have been punishment for MJF's real-life threat to no show Double or Nothing.
A testament to MJF: He had nuclear heat in this bout. Many of the fans in the arena knew that MJF played chicken with the company -- he legitimately no-showed a meet and green on Saturday, a move which appears to be a real-life part of MJF's contractual disputes with AEW -- which led to a sarcastic "he showed up!" chant.
As the match began, the fans made their disapproval clear.
MJF began by jumping in and out of the ring to avoid Wardlow. Eventually Wardlow grabbed him from the outside and pulled him in. Wardlow tried a powerbomb, but MJF bit him on the head to break it up. He then poked Wardlow in the eyes. Amid a skirmish, MJF tried to fake a knee injury, and as the ref backed Wardlow off, MJF tried to grab his brass ring -- but Wardlow attacked him before MJF could put it on.
From there the match was a series of powerbombs. He hit MJF with about 10 powerbombs, then pinned him. After the destruction, MJF got stretchered out as the crowd chanted "you deserve it!"
Up on the ramp, Tony Schiavone met Wardlow and announced that, per the stipulations of the bout, Wardlow is now officially an AEW wrestler and no longer bound to be MJF's bodyguard.
Rating: No rating. It looks like this could have been MJF's punishment for no showing Saturday's meet-and-greet event and his implicit threat to no-show Double or Nothing. The crowd hated MJF, so loved this. But it wasn't much of a match.
Hookhausen beats Tony Nese and 'Smart' Mark Sterling
The strange bedfellows pairing of Hook and Danhousen made their debut in the AEW Double or Nothing preshow. It was a simple match, as you'd expect from a (exciting) novice and a comedy act. Danhausen pinned Mark Sterling after Hook gave Sterling a head-arm suplex.
The match had a basic template. Hook opened and took down Tony Nese with a double-leg. With Tony Nese backing away from Hook, Hook tagged in Danhausen. After a few spots, where Danhausen tried to curse Nese, Nese got the upper hand on Danhausen and both he and Sterling got a few minutes of heat. Danhausen eventually reversed a move from Nese into a Northern Lights Suplex, then tagged in Hook.
Hook obliterated Nese and with suplexes, then hit the head-arm suplex on Sterling. He then tagged in Danhausen, who put his foot on Nese's chest for the pin.
Rating: 2 stars. A-to-B match, but there's nothing wrong with that. Danhausen is too silly for me, but if you're a fan of his you'd like this.