Though there was plenty of great wrestling on Double or Nothing, the show's big star was the crowd. After, Double or Nothing was AEW's second pay-per-view of 2021, and the first AEW show to take place in front of a live crowd since the pandemic began. The crowd injected all of the energy that's been sorely missed from wrestling shows over the past year.
Double or Nothing closed with the Stadium Stampede match, which saw Chris Jericho's Inner Circle defeat MJF's The Pinnacle. Kenny Omega retained his AEW Championship in an outstanding triple threat match, and The Young Bucks retained their tag team gold too. There was a new champion crowned though, as Britt Baker won the AEW Women's Championship.
Plus, in a a real highlight, we got to see Sting properly in action for the first time since 2015.
The Inner Circle wins Stadium Stampede
The Inner Circle defeated The Pinnacle in a Stadium Stampede match. If The Inner Circle lost, they would have to disband. The finish came not from MJF and Jericho, but rather with Sammy Guevara pinning Shawn Spears.
It opens with The Inner Circle entering via absail. As The Inner Circle brawls with The Pinnacle, MJF hangs back in his limo. When he finally comes out, we see Jericho is ready for him. They brawl into the backstage arena as the rest of their factions fight in the stadium green. MJF and Jericho beat each other with all manor of foreign object, including a laptop, hot coffee and an office chair.
The rest of both factions have seeped into the stadium's backstage, as we see Wardlow and Jack Hager fighting, in a very choreogrpahed fashion, in the back. They brawl into a freezer, where Wardlow threatens to stab Hager with an icicle. We move to a new area where Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara are going at it. This is also extremely choreographed, but Sammy's athletics make it fun. Their scene ends with Spears handcuffing Guevara.
The next scene pits FTR against Santana and Ortiz in a bar fight. Before they can start brawling, Tully Blanchard pours them whisky to shot -- which they do. We see that Konnan is the DJ, which pops the crowd, and the fight is on. The intro to this was cute, but the remainder of the FTR versus Santana and Ortiz segment was mostly just generic brawling -- trash cans, irish whips into walls, that kind of thing. Afterwards we go back to Wardlow and Hager. Hager low blows Wardlow then chokeslams him through a wooden shelf.
Now we're back to Jericho and MJF. They fight in a board room, leading to a gnarly spot where Jericho staples a poster onto MJFs head. MJF fights back with a piledriver onto a boardroom table. MJF tries to smash Jericho's injured arm with a hammer, but Jericho clocks him with a nearby rubbish bin. Jericho opens a cabinet to find his baseball bat, Floyd. Jericho beats down MJF with Floyd, then throws MJF through a window pane. MJF spills the first blood of the match.
Jericho and MJF brawl into Daily's Place -- in front of the live crowd. Jericho smashes MJF through a table with a powerbomb on the bleachers, then we see Sammy chase down Spears into Daily's Place with a golf buggy. Now in the ring in front of the live audience, Spears beats down Sammy with a chair. Spears sets a chair up in between the turnbuckle ropes, but he's cut off by Sammy before he can use it.
Sammy hits him with a GTH, slingshot kicks him into the chair and gets the pin after a 630 splash. The show goes off the air with The Inner Circle celebrating in the ring and the crowd singing Judas.
Rating: This was not a wrestling match, as it was more similar to an extended fight scene from a TV show, so I won't rate it as such. It was cute but also silly. If you like your wrestling serious, this will be too choreographed for you. If you view wrestling more as an art or a TV show, you'll find this fun. The one thing I will say against it is that last year's Stadium Stampede made the most out of the fact that there was no crowd. This year it kind of took away from the fact that there was a crowd, as 90% of it took place on a TV screen.
Mark Henry joins AEW
Before the main event, it's announced that Mark Henry will be joining the promotion as an analyst for the upcoming AEW Rampage TV show.
Kenny Omega retains AEW Championship
Kenny Omega retained his AEW Championship in an excellent triple threat match. He pinned Orange Cassidy with a crucifix rollup to win.
This was an outstanding match from start to finish. Everyone got to shine early, with Cassidy doing his hands-in-pocket flurry on both Pac and Omega, hitting both with shotgun dropkicks and huricanrannas. Later, Pac upped the ante with a double dropkick from the top rope.
Lots of fantastic spots throughout. Cassidy tried to roll up Omega and just as Omega bridged out, Pac hit both with a 450 Splash. Later, Omega tried to german suplex Cassidy from the second rope but Cassidy blocked by putting his hands in his pockets -- it doesn't make sense if you think about it, but the crowd loved it. There was a great false finish when Pac planted Omega with an avalanche Falcon Arrow, Cassidy ran in an tossed out Pac to get a near-3 pin on Omega.
The match wasn't spared interference, though you knew that going in. As Cassidy was Orange Punching everyone, Don Callis ran in a pulled Cassidy's leg. When Pac got Cassidy in a Brutalizer, Omega couldn't break it up by kicking Pac, as Pac held on, so Omega laid out the referee. Omega then hit Pac with his all of his titles -- the Impact, AAA and AEW.
As Omega paraded with his AEW Championship, Cassidy ran in and hit him with an Orange Punch. He covered Omegan, but his pin was countered into a Crucifix, which is how Omega won.
Rating: 4.75 stars. Go out of your way to watch this.
Sting and Darby Allin beat Ethan Page and Scorpion Sky
The Icon is back.
This was Sting's first proper in-ring match since Night of Champions against Seth Rollins in 2015. He started it off with style, taking off his shirt and diving ontop of Scorpio Sky. And he looks insanely good for his 62 years of age: Not as tight as he once was, but the imposing frame is still there.
Allin started the match off, naturally, with Sky and Page quickly beating him down to kick off the heat. Sting got a tag in, but before he could go wild the referee demanded him back to his corner, as she didn't see the tag. Old school stuff. In a cool spot, Ethan Page tossed Allin from inside the ring onto the crowd.
Once Sting finally got his inevitable tag, he ran wild -- and looked amazing. Stinger Splash to both Sky and Page, a Code Red for a near fall. The crowd was super into it. There was a fun spot where Sting had Page in a Scorpion Death Lock and Sky had Darby in a heel hook, and Allin and Page, in the midst of being in submission holds, were slapping and fighting each other.
Sting scored the win for his team when Sky went for a tornado DDT but Sting countered it with a Scorpion Death Drop.
Rating: 3.75 stars. Seeing Sting wrestle properly in front of a live crowd was just fantastic. This was put together perfectly, as everyone, including Sting, looked strong.
Britt Baker wins the Women's Championship
The crowd made this match. It started with dueling chants, with half the crowd for Shida and half the crowd for Baker, who has beocme one of AEW's biggest stars. After a lengthy bout, Baker won with a Lockjaw submission hold. Despite the crowd being very into this match -- probably more than anything else on the show so far -- the action itself wasn't elite tier, though it was above average.
Though there were some sharp moments -- particularly thanks to Shida, whose suplexes and knee strikes mostly looked great -- there was also some sloppy transitions and clumsy spots. They often felt just very slightly off timed, and at one point botched a top-rope suplex spot. Making things worse was interference from Rebel -- every match on the show has featured interference, so it's well and truly overdone by this point.
Still, there was more good than bad, and the crowd was into this match so much that it made up for the bad. Most importantly, Britt Baker, one of the biggest stars in the promotion, is now Women's Champion.
Rating: 3.25 stars.
Miro makes Lancer Archer pass out
Miro retained his TNT Championship after a big-man bout against Lance Archer. It started with a bang, with Archer hitting a super impressive moonsault on Miro, and ended with Miro making pass out to the Game Over choke.
The match saw interference from Jake Roberts, who ran in with a sack allegedly carrying a snake. Miro hits Jake and tosses the bag into the back. Miro goes for a pump kick on Jake but is intercepted by Archer, who pumps him with a Chokeslam. After some more back and forth, Miro made Archer pass out.
Rating: 2.5 stars. Good action, but nothing particularly memorable outside of the explosive opening moments. The interference is getting tiresome too, as each match has featured it in some form thus far.
Cody Rhodes pins Anthony Ogogo
This was Anthony Ogogo's third and longest match yet, a real showcase of what he can -- and can't -- do. Ogogo did extremely well for his level of experience, as there was nothing egregious nor any glaring mistakes. After a good (but not great) bout, including brief intereference from QT Marshall, Cody Rhodes pinned Ogogo with a Vertebreaker.
Ogogo's style is difficult to translate into pro wrestling. He's a boxer, and Cody sold gut shots -- that look identical to punches you see in every other match -- like it was a real boxing match. And while Ogogo didn't make any glaring mistakes -- at least to my eyes as a viewer -- there were sequences that were obviously laid out, and which looked rehersed. Still, he's obviously a great athlete and is likely to be a great wrestler in the coming years.
Rating: 3 stars. Depending on what's in Cody's future, the decision to win is questionable. It wouldn't hurt him to lose, and it arguably could have made Ogogo. Still, Ogogo came off as a worthy competitor here. Although, it should be noted, that Cody was less over with the crowd than Jungle Boy, Adam Page and Eddie Kingston.
Jungle Boy wins Casino Battle Royale
The rules of the Casino Battle Royale are slightly confusing. It's a battle royale in which entrants join a suit at a time, and each suit has 5 men attached to it. Five men start, and as each suit joins at three minute intervals another five join, after all suits have joined. Then a Joker comes in at the end.
The final four were Christian Cage (who entered at number one), Matt Hardy (who was being helped by Private Party), Lio Rush (The Joker) and Jungle Boy. In essence it was a final six, since Private Party were in the ring alongside Hardy for Hardy's entire tenure in the match.
After a huge flurry by Rush, Private Party and Hardy eliminate him. Jungle Boy and Christian work together to take out Private Party, and then Christian eliminates Hardy. The final two are Christian and Jungle Boy. They have a really good back-and-forth on the ringside apron, with Christian teasing a Killswitch and Jungle Boy evading elimination with impressive athletics. Ultimately, Jungle Boy flips out Christian to win.
Rating: 2.75 stars. Good, but chaotic. It was hard for me to keep up with everything going on -- but not just me, as the announcers were often confused. Matt Hardy essentially being three people, as no disqualifications allowed Private Party to be by his side at all times, was also a drag. But it got better and better as the crowd got thinner and thinner.
All's well that ends well though, and the right man won. The crowd was bananas for Jungle Boy.
Young Bucks beat Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston
The highly anticipated tag title match is up next. Moxley and Eddie Kingston come in first, and the match kicks off as they ambush Nick and Matt Jackson as the Bucks are doing their muscle-man posing entrance.
Lots of chants for Kingston, a big moment for him since this is the first time he's performed in front of a full AEW crowd. Once the ambush ends and the match starts, it's The Bucks beating down Kingston and his injured leg before Moxley gets the tag in for a round of heat for himself.
Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows briefly interfered, but Kingston took out Gallows and Elite Hunter Kizarian jumped in to scare off Anderson to the back. As the ref was seeing off the riff raff, Matt Jackson sprayed Moxley in the eyes with miscallenous aeresol spray. The Bucks then hit a Meltzer Driver on the outside for a near countout -- a move that busts open Moxley.
That whole sequence wasn't a false finish so much as a heat spot. It's a bit OTT for a heat spot for me, but it works -- the crowd rallies behind Moxley. After the Bucks cut him off, he eventually fights them off and tags in Eddie and the crowd goes wild. It's a red herring though, as while he's chopping one Buck in the corner Eddie gets caught with a superkick to the leg from another Buck.
Several false finishes follow. Mox and Kingston hit a Doomsday Device -- Moxley with a pair of sneakers on his hands as he lands the clotheslin -- for a two. Later, Moxley hits his big DDT on Nick but the pin gets broken up by Matt. We then get a Superkick Party, with The Bucks blitzing Moxley with a barrage of superkicks -- but he kicks out at one. They then take him out with more Superkicks, and then take out Kingston with the same.
Four -- four -- BTE Triggers on Moxley scores The Young Bucks the pin.
Rating: 3 stars. This is a hard one to rate. To me, there was too much silly stuff. Moxley gets sprayed in the face with an aerosol can, but is only blinded for about 30 seconds. He gets killed with superkicks but kicks out at one. He's immune to a BTE Trigger, so they have to beat him with four. It's just too hard to suspend disbelief.
That said, the crowd loved it -- so maybe it's just me.
Adam Page pins Brian Cage
The main show opens with Page versus Cage. The crowd is very hot for Page -- having crowds back rules.
These two worked hard to light up the audience. Moments after it kicked off, Cage chucked Page from a powerbomb position into the turnbuckle. Later, he suplexed Page from middle rope onto the entrance ramp -- which didn't look like it had tonnes of give. But apart from the spots, these two just worked very, very well. Lots of smooth sequences, and the back-and-forth counters at the end worked to a hot finish.
Page got the win with a Buckshot Lariat after interference from Team Taz members Ricky Starks and Hook backfired. Starks and Hook tried to help Cage, but Cage rebuffed them -- and was caught with the Lariat and pinned. Huge pop for the 1-2-3.
Rating: 3.75 stars. Super starter, and the crowd was super into Page -- although the interference at the end was a bit wacky, it looks to progress a Team Taz breakout for Cage.
Buy-In Preshow results
Serena Deeb retained her NWA Women's Championship in the preshow match by beating Riho.
After a very strong preshow bout, Deeb made Riho tap out with a Serenity Lock.