Tonight, in Las Vegas, the wrestling war for the 21st century begins in earnest as All Elite Wrestling presents Double or Nothing from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, live on PPV.
The show will be anchored by three tremendous main event matches, as former IWGP heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega faces WWE Legend Chris Jericho in a rematch of their Wrestle Kingdom five-star match, Cody Rhodes battles his older brother Dustin in a match that has been brewing for years, and The Young Bucks defend their AAA Tag Team Titles against the Lucha Brothers, Pentagon Jr and Fenix, in a battle to determine the best tag team in the world.
Underneath those bang up matches is an undercard that will be showcasing some of the best talents in pro wrestling, many of whom will be on the biggest stage that they have ever performed. While many have criticized the large roster that has been signed by AEW before they have even had an event, the depth of the roster will be showcased this Saturday, and all of these performers have to be looking to steal the show.
Let’s get to the undercard.
Match 1: Angelico & Jack Evans versus The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent)
AEW has promised to build the best tag team division in wrestling, and they will begin to put their money where their mouth is with this first match, legitimately putting two of the best teams in the world in the ring against each other.
The Best Friends are former Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Champion Chuck Taylor and Trent, who after working as an underneath wrestler in the WWE for years as Trent Beretta became a star in New Japan Pro Wrestling as part of the Roppongi Vice tag team with Rocky Romero. Taylor and Beretta have been teaming for years on the indies, mostly in PWG. They have shown themselves to be very versatile, able to do comedy, wild brawls, as well as work the classic balls to the wall PWG style. They have been set up as heels over the past year or so on Being The Elite, trying to throw the Young Bucks titles away, threatening the Bucks for a tag team match, and even wearing all denim in an Outsiders spoof.
They also seem like a perfect foil for Angelico and Evans, an international team that was put together first in AAA in Mexico and came to prominence in America in Lucha Underground.
Jack Evans has been one of the most unsung wrestlers in the world for over a decade, a Calgary bred high-flyer who was in the shadow of Teddy Hart for years before breaking out as a rudo in Mexico and Lucha Underground. South Africa’s Angelico turned a lot of heads in Lucha Underground and parlayed that into regular tours in Europe. WWE is rumored to have wanted these guys badly several years ago, but they stood their ground and have stayed independent until now. These guys are two of the best high-flyers around and are really an old school babyface tag team in a 2019 package. They are ideal for AEW.
Taylor and Trent are more well known among the wrestling audience and this feels a little bit like a showcase for Evans and Angelico. They are ideal opponents for the Young Bucks and starting out the main show with a babyface victory feels like the right move. But one thing you should not be worried about is these guys falling in the moment. They can steal the show real easy.
Match 2: Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, and Emi Sakura versus Hikaru Shida, Riho, and Ryo Mizunami
The cult of American fans of Joshi, Japanese women’s Puroresu, has seen a massive resurgence over the past four years. With the growths of promotions like Stardom, which have grown in the past decade to take the place of All Japan Women’s and other promotions that folded in the early 2000s, and the proliferation of streaming and social media, American fans have more access to Japanese women’s wrestling than ever, rather than trading tapes as fans did in the last part of the 20th century.
What is happening here in the biggest showcase for Joshi in America since 1995, which is fitting that Aja Kong will be a leading one of the two teams in this match. Kong, one of the five best Japanese women’s wrestlers ever, is a true badass even at forty-eight years old, that spinning back fist deadly as ever. She will be leading the excellent Yuka Sakazaki, a young star we could be seeing a lot of in the future, along with Emi Sakura, another longtime veteran who founded the Ice Ribbon promotion in Japan and has even wrestled men quite a bit in the off the wall DDT Promotion.
Of the opposition, the one to watch is Shida, a badass kicker who started a dozen years ago in the Ice Ribbon promotion who has wrestled all over the world, even in America for the Shimmer promotion. There is also a good reason she was introduced to the company by Kenny Omega-they wrestled before in DDT, where all a lot of strange stuff goes down. She is going to be a star. She will be leading the twenty-one year old Riho and veteran Ryo Mizunami into battle here.
I cannot pretend to be an expert in Joshi, but I do know there will be a lot of talent in this match and we are going to see things in this match that we have never seen before. It doesn’t really matter who wins this match, all that matters is that everyone hear gets showcased and we leave this match wanting to see all these women again. I have faith that will happen.
Match 3: So Cal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky) versus Strong Hearts (CIMA, T-Hawk, and Lindaman)
Few people have been showcased more in the run up to this show then the trio of SCU, three veterans from Southern California who have been around and seen everything in pro wrestling, and are still performing on an extremely high level, all the while hating every place that’s not Southern California. They will need to be on their game this Saturday, as they are facing three men who are complete unknowns to most American fans.
CIMA is something of an underground legend, making a big name for himself on the American Indies in the early 2000s. He was one of the driving forces behind the Dragon Gate promotion in Japan and ten years ago he went to China to found Oriental Wrestling Entertainment. T-Hawk and Lindaman, who no one seems to know nothing about, are two of his top students. If any match on this show is a huge risk, it is this one.
Really, this match is all about showcasing the foreign talent and building up the relationship between AEW and OWE. SCU has spent a lot of time in China and wrestled these guys in Japan, and its hard to see the American trio not going over in this one, but hey, we can see some weird things here. If they don’t win, you can be sure that Las Vegas will be the worst town they have ever been in.
Match 4: Britt Baker vs Nyla Rose vs Kylie Rae
For many reason, this women’s three way match has gotten as much hype as any other match on the card. All women were showcased during the On-sale event in Vegas in months ago and have been regular parts of BTE and Road to DON over the past few months.
Baker, the only woman returning from All In, is being positioned as the star and why not-she has the look, the story, and the ability-she is excellent for someone of her experience. Kylie Rae, a super babyface out of Texas has emerged as Baker’s rival on the indy scene and the two have nurtured something of a Punk/Cabana esque rivalry over the past two years. Kylie is damn near impossible not to like. She will be the underdog. Then there is Nyla Rose, a near complete unknown who pops on the screen for her size alone.
There is a growing intrigue around this match as Brandi Rhodes has told every one of these women she is favoring them to win. Something tells me that if there is one place on this show where there could be a surprise (other than the Battle Royale) it is this match. Something is going to go down here! That makes picking a winner near impossible for me.
Of course, the highly anticipated match with Hangman Adam Page and Pac would have been at this place in the card and while Page has been written off with an injury and Pac is not scheduled to be at the show, I imagine that some kind of segment will take place here on this show to make it up for the loss of the match, IF anything, that match falling apart adds some more intrigue to the show. I cannot wait.