On September 1, 2018, the growing unrest against the tyranny of World Wrestling Entertainment had its Lexington and Concord moment at All In, the biggest non WWE wrestling show in this country in over two decades. Selling out the Sears Centre in Chicago, the show and the weekend as a whole delivered beyond expectations and set into motions a series of events that has the mighty empire on its heels for the first time in years.
And this Saturday in Las Vegas, the new wrestling war may have its Bunker Hill.
All Elite Wrestling, the brainchild of All In founders Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson, and Tony Khan — the son of the owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars — will present its first show, Double or Nothing, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show, which sold over 14,000 tickets in less than five minutes, will be presented on PPV through Dish Network, Direct TV, and the Bleacher Report App, in accordance with AEW’s deal with Turner Broadcasting, which is scheduled to kick off this fall. It is the next step is what seems to be a brewing battle between the entrenched WWE and a group of young artists trying to “Change the World.”
The event, which was prophesized by Cody after All In had gone off the air, has been built slowly ever since last September, taking advantage of a slew of storylines that in some cases, go back years and encompass events from several different promotions. For the last four months, much of the show has been built through The Elite (formerly the Bullet Club)’s popular You Tube series, Being The Elite, as well as the YouTube series “Road to Double or Nothing,” which has been gaining steam over the last month. It’s an even more ambitious undertaking than All In was, and once again, is being done without traditional over the air television.
But the upstarts are coming out firing with this one, in card stacked top to bottom with incredible matches on paper, including three main event caliber matches, all of whom have been anticipated by fans for a VERY long time.
Before the PPV even starts however, AEW is coming out firing with a pre-show called The Buy In, which will be presented for free across AEW’s YouTube and other social media channels. This portion of the show will present two matches, one of which may just be the most intriguing match of the card for many fans. So let’s get to The Buy In.
The Buy In: Match 1 – Sammy Guevara vs Kip Sabian
The first official match in AEW history will feature two young high flyers who have been under the radar for several years now as England’s “Superbad” Sabian facing Texas’ Guevara, known brazenly as “The Best Ever.”
Sabian is one of a few wrestlers coming from across the pond and despite the English wrestling scene being red hot for many years now, Sabian has only broke out of the pack in the last two years. Having trained with the now famous Knight family in Norwich (think Fighting with My Family) Sabian wrestled exclusively there for many years before expanding his horizons, first in the short lived Lucha Forever UK promotion before finding major success in the International Pro Wrestling: UK promotion, which is probably the third biggest company in the country. Sabian really found himself there as a performer, winning their world title several times and really becoming the ace of that promotion.
And then there’s Sammy Guevara, the five-year pro out of Houston who made a name for himself as the young ace of Austin, Texas’ WrestleCircus promotion, riding the wave of the resurgence of independent wrestling in Texas that occurred two years ago. Even when WrestleCircus went dark for a while, Guevara soldiered on appearing in Lucha Underground, winning the AAA Cruiserweight title last year at that promotion’s biggest event, TripleMania and also earning a PWG World Championship match against Walter in that company’s last show at their famed Reseda American Legion Hall last May. This guy is probably the best wrestler in America that the world hasn’t quite noticed, unless you’re subscribed to Sammy Guevara on YouTube!
These two guys are in this position for a reason. They are about the same size, they have similar styles, and both seem on the edge of really making themselves into big stars. Of the two, Guevara has been featured more on BTE, somewhat taking over the role of the show once filled by Flip Gordon as the guy that no one seems to like (especially Cody), yet no one seems to know why. This combined with the strange statement that Cody made saying Guevara was coming in as a favor to Christ Jericho, probably make Guevara the favorite to win the match. But no matter what, the pressure on these guys has to be major, as they will be kicking off the company on the biggest stage either has ever been on.
The Buy-In: Match 2 – The Casino Battle Royale
Even though it’s not even on the main show, even though all the talent for the match hasn’t even been fully announced, few matches on the show are as anticipated as this new twist on the battle royal. Twenty-One people (there is no statement that this will be all men) will be in this match. Everyone will draw a card from a standard deck of cards and sorted by suit (hearts, diamonds, clovers, clubs) and will enter accordingly. A different suit will enter every three minutes until the first twenty folks have entered, but whoever draws The Joker card, the twenty-first person, will enter last, all alone.
Some of AEW’s most touted signings are entered in this battle royal — All In competitor and GCW darling Joey Janela. 400-pound monster Ace Romero. Second generation sensation Brian Pillman Jr. Gender Bending former Lucha Underground star Sonny Kiss. Georgia independent star the 300 pound Sunny Daze, a complete unknown to even most independent wrestling fans. Brandon Cutler, who has been heavily featured on BTE as something of a lackey to the Young Bucks, could be a dark horse here. And there is the complete wild card that is Glacier. Yes, that Glacier. From WCW. Blood Runs Cold. Hey, being friends with Cody has its privileges.
The favorite to win this match in the eyes of many seems to be Maxwell Jacob Friedman, the first MLW World Middleweight Champion better known as MJF. The past few months have seen MJF emerge as Cody’s secretly conniving protégé, loving Cody to his face but burying him (and everyone else) behind his back. Few members of AEW have received as much press as him. But then this week, Shawn Spears (better known as Tye Dillinger) was revealed as being in the match, of course drawing the Ten of Diamonds. He’s an immediate favorite.
Of course, only about half of the participants in this match have been announced. With his match against Pac canceled, Hangman Adam Page could get involved. Maybe the winner of Sabian and Guevara sneaks in. Some of AEW’s female talent could enter. And there’s that Joker…
Speculation among fans has been rampant that the Wild Card will be Jon Moxley, the former WWE Champion and Merchandise Selling Machine known as Dean Ambrose. Moxley reintroduced himself with a viral video on Twitter several weeks ago, yet he has not shown back up on WWE nor made any other appearances. His appearance here would be beyond perfect, but few things in wrestling often are — even in AEW.
Tomorrow: Part II -The Undercard