SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
AEW’s Double or Nothing (2022) will be taking place in the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nev. on May 29, 2022. “Hangman” Adam Page will defend not only the AEW World championship from challenger CM Punk, but the very company itself, at least so Hangman says. Thunder Rosa defends the AEW Women’s World Championship from the suddenly hot Serena Deeb. Wardlow seeks to resolve his contract problem, which is to say his MJF problem once and for all. The winners of the Men’s and Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournaments would be decided as Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. faces Ruby Soho, and Samoa Joe faces Adam Cole. Those are just highlight of a dense card that may, or may not, have some New Japan Pro Wrestling involvement when all is said and done as the cosponsored AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door PPV looms on the horizon.
“Hangman” Adam Page (c) vs. C.M. Punk – AEW World Championship
Story in a nutshell: CM. Punk worked to get to the top of the AEW rankings and challenged the champion Adam Page who dislikes Punk for… reasons???
After returning from retirement, C.M. Punk worked his way up the AEW ranks until he was finally in position to challenge for the AEW World Championship held by Adam Page. The match was set for Double or Nothing. Page seems to have an animus with Punk that goes beyond that of this match just being business. There is something personal Page has against Punk that Page hasn’t disclosed outside of loosely claiming that Punk, backstage, isn’t what he presents himself as. Punk has been playing on these feelings from Page, trying to unbalance Page, by using his Page’s finisher in warm up matches leading to their encounter.
Prediction: Based on the build, I think one of the two become heel during or after the match. Either Page’s feelings toward Punk are based in jealousy and he gives in to this rage by winning in a way unbecoming of a babyface, or Punk proves Page right, when Punk wins in an underhanded way. While I don’t think this is the most likely of outcomes, given Tony Khan’s penchant for revisiting classic stories I can see Punk being put into the “Hollywood” Hogan spot leading his own version team of “outsiders”. They do now own the Ring of Honor brand after all.
MJF vs. Wardlow
Story in a nutshell: Thanks to being mistreated by MJF during MJF’s feud with CM Punk, Wardlow had enough, turned on MJF leading to MJF’s loss, and now seeks to get out of his contract with MJF.
Wardlow is contracted to MJF as his bodyguard/ personal retainer and has been doing MJF’s dirty work. MJF had been mistreating and demeaning Wardlow until Wardlow had enough and turned on MJF by facilitating a CM Punk victory over MJF during that feud. Wardlow demanded to be let out of his contract, but MJF refused, instead opting to let him sit out the remainder of his term at home, away from the public eye. Wardlow pressed the issue, coming after MJF so MJF shifted tactics. MJF set up a series of matches designed to break down Wardlow, but Wardlow overcame all of them. MJF finally agreed to let Wardlow out of the contract if Wardlow beats him at Double or Nothing but not before undergoing some more trials which Wardlow also survived.
Prediction: I gotta think Wardlow wins here. I also expect the Dynamite Diamond Ring will be used Wardlow him and he’ll either no-sell it or kick out of it.
Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Serena Deeb – AEW Women’s World Championship
Story in a nutshell: With her victory over Hikaru Shida during their personal feud, Serena Deeb cemented herself as the number one ranked wrestler and now gets her shot at Thunder Rosa’s AEW Women’s Championship.
Story in a nutshell pretty much sums it up. Serena Deeb has presented herself as the veteran who has paved the way for modern women’s wrestling and never really got the respect she deserved.
Prediction: Ideally, these two women go out and steal the show with Thunder Rosa winning but both women gaining each other’s respect.
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Samoa Joe vs. Adam Cole – Men’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final
Story in a nutshell: Samoa Joe and Adam Cole meet in the Men’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final.
Samoa Joe, current ROH TV Champion, defeated free agent Johnny Elite and Undisputed Elite’s Kyle O’Reilly on his way to the finals, while also having to contend with Jay Lethal and his crew. Adam Cole went through NJPW’s Tomohiro Ishii, FTR’s Dax Hardwood, and Jeff Hardy on his way to the finals.
Prediction: We finally get the Adam Cole-Samoa Joe match we never got before the Black and Gold NXT was unceremoniously killed off. Makes more sense for Cole to win this one. It will give him an accomplishment to rub in everyone’s faces going forward and a reason to go after Joe’s ROH title.
Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. vs. Ruby Soho – Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final
Story in a nutshell: Britt Baker and Ruby Soho meet in the Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final.
Britt Baker defeated Danielle Kamela, Maki Itoh, and Toni Storm to earn her spot in the finals of the tournament. Ruby Soho went over Robyn Renegade, Riho, and Kris Statlander (who had replaced an “injured” Hikaru Shida earlier in the tournament).
Prediction: I think Ruby wins this to give her the clout to challenge Jade Cargill for the AEW TBS Championship.
Chris Jericho & Matt Menard & Angelo Parker & Daniel Garcia & Jake Hager vs. Eddie Kingston & Santana & Ortiz & Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley – Anarchy in the Arena Match
Story in a nutshell: After welshing on his deal to shake Eddie Kingston’s hand when Chris Jericho lost to Kingston at AEW Revolution, Jericho and his new faction, the Jericho Appreciation Society, continued attacking Kingston prompting Kingston’s friends to help Kingston out.
Chris Jericho had a low opinion of Eddie Kingston who had instigated himself in Inner Circle business, driving a wedge between Jericho and Santana and Ortiz. Jericho agreed to show Kingston respect if Kingston could beat Jericho at AEW Revolution. Kingston beat Jericho but Jericho did not live up to his word. This led to the ultimate dissolution of the Inner Circle which was barely hanging together at that point followed Jericho recruiting Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Daniel Garcia, and Jake Hager (who remained loyal) as the new Jericho Appreciation Society. Jericho, styling himself a ‘wizard’ and using flash paper, burned Kingston’s eyes with a fireball. Santana and Ortiz who had been helping their friend Kingston were outnumbered by the JAS. Kingston’s other friend, Jon Moxley with his Blackpool Combat Club ally Brian Danielson helped even the sides along with former Jericho rival Regal managing. Now they are going to fight in some sort of no-holds-barred match.
Prediction: I think Kingston’s group should win here but there is still bad blood between Kingston and Brian Danielson so that may be a factor in the match. As an aside, Jericho has been claiming that the JAS represents “sports entertainment” (aka the WWE storytelling/wrestling style). Given that Moxley and the BCC represents fighting and pro-wrestling, Brian Danielson said that he agreed to get involved because of the contrast between the two philosophies and how he “became the top sports entertainer by being the best pro-wrestler”.
Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus (c) vs. Rickey Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Kieth Lee & Swerve Strickland – AEW World Tag Team Championship
Story in a nutshell: The number two (Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks) and number three (Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland) were both challenged by Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) since the feud between the other two teams was preventing Jurassic Express from cleanly defending their titles.
Rickey Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs had been feuding with Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland as they worked themselves up the rankings to become the number two and three ranked teams respectively. Jungle Boy prepared for Starks and Hobbs challenge by challenging Starks for Stark’s (not officially recognized) FTW championship belt. Swerve attempted to cost Starks the match, but it backfired, and it cost Jungle Boy instead. Upset at being stuck between the two teams, Jungle Express challenged both to get the out of the way at once.
Prediction: Usually the champions retain in multi-man matches so I lean towards Jurassic Express retaining. However, Jurassic Express losing the title while not being involved in the decision can be used to precipitate the ultimate breakup of Christian and the group.
Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy vs. Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson
Story in a nutshell: This is basically the battle of two generations as Jeff and Matt Hardy, the outgoing generation face their current version in Matt and Nick Jackson in a dream match (that has happened before, but we’ll ignore that for now).
This is designed to be thought of as dream match, at least for those who didn’t see their encounters in the independent circles a ROH. The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson were obviously influenced by the Hardys going so far as mocking the Hardys and bringing in one of my personal favorites, Gangrel. Now, version “x” faces version “x+1”.
Prediction: The Young Bucks should go over but this might not be the end of this feud since I notice a distinct lack of stipulation that includes ladders. AEW does own ROH’s Ladder War brand stipulation.
Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page & Paige VanZant vs. Sammy Guevara & Frankie Kazarian & Tay Conti
Story in a nutshell: It is at this point in these PPV primers with 10+ matches where I start questioning my faith in God.
Old school horrible people meet new school horrible people (plus poor Frankie Kazarian for some reason) as the Sammy Guevara and Scorpio Sky feud metastasizes to envelope more of American Top Team. The AEW TNT Championship has been switched back and forth between Sky and Guevara. Sky gave his former SCU tag team partner Frankie Kazarian a shot at the title but eventually betrayed his old friend forcing an unlikely alliance between Guevara and Kaz. Since the women have been involved at ringside, Tay Conti and Paige VanZant will also square off in the ring. An added stipulation to the match is that if American Top Team wins, neither Guevara nor Kaz can challenge Sky for the championship as long as he holds it.
Prediction: American Top Team winning to end this feud will be the only thing that would restore my aforementioned loss of faith in God.
Malakai Black & Buddy Mathews & Brody King vs. Pac & Penta Oscuro & Rey Fenix
Story in a nutshell: The feud between the House of Black and Triangulo de la Muerte (Death Triangle) continues after being mostly on pause thanks to an unfortunate injury to Fenix.
These two factions, Malakai Black’s House of Black consisting of Buddy Mathews and Brodie King, and Pac’s Death Triangle, consisting of Penta Oscuro and Rey Fenix, have been feuding for a while. The feud was derailed when Rey Fenix dislocated his arm during a table spot. The depleted Death Triangle suffered some losses leading to then Penta El Cero Miedo adopting a new darker form in Penta Oscuro. Meanwhile Alex Abrahantes, Penta’s translator/valet began to dress like a warlock. Ultimately that was to disguise Rey Fenix eventual return to get one over on the House of Black. Now we get this match.
Prediction: I lean towards Death Triangle who have been feeling really weak to me and in desperate need of some wins. What I really hope for is either a fuller embrace of the “spooky” (whether or not this upsets a certain type of fan) or losing it all together. This half-and-half approach really doesn’t work for me.
Jade Cargill (c) vs. Anna Jay, AEW TBS Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: Having run through most of the AEW Women’s roster as she has built up an impressive win streak, Jade Cargill faces reruns as Anna Jay rises in the rankings to once again challenge for the AEW TBS Championship.
Having already lost to Jade Cargill when she previously challenged her, Anna Jay hopes what she has learned in the intervening period would be enough to bring the AEW TBS Championship home with her.
Prediction: It won’t be enough, especially now the Jade has her “baddies” in Kiera Hogan and Red Velvet with her, not that I think they’ll be necessary.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Darby Allin
Story in a nutshell: A match added at the eleventh hour since fan favorite Darby Allin wasn’t on the card.
As above plus Sting won’t be accompanying Darby Allin as usual since Sting suffered an injury at the hands Kyle O’Reilly so Darby now seeks revenge.
Prediction: I’m going with O’Reilly since he’ll likely have Booby Fish with him, and Darby won’t have back up.
Buy-In match: Danhausen & Hook vs. Tony Nese &” Smart” Mark Sterling
Story in a nutshell: It’s Hook teaming up with Danhausen, what more do I need to say.
Danhausen became perturbed when Hook would no-sell his curse. This led to Danhausen stalking Hook until he finally got Hook’s attention, much to Danhausen’s chagrin. After Hook made short work of him Tony Nese and his scumbag lawyer/promoter became involved since Nese was not happy with the lack of attention he was getting. Nese went after Danhausen but Hook made the save and the world rejoiced with the birth of Hookhausen.
Prediction and analysis: Hookhausen all day, every day.
CATCH-UP: MJF reportedly no-shows Double or Nothing meet and greet event