I haven’t done a proper “review” on this site in a long time, but let’s change that today with Turn Heel’s AEW Double Or Nothing Review. I’ve decided I’m moving away from the “recap” format that I did on WWE shows and am going to do a shorter form “review” for specific shows going forward. I’m also exclusively covering AEW on this site as of now. But, I’m definitely not going to be doing a weekly TV recap for AEW as I’d like to just enjoy that without feeling the need to have some form of commentary about them. I had intended Turn Heel to be solely drinking games and the occasional editorial, so we’ll see what happens as AEW grows and expands in the coming months and years.
The AEW Double Or Nothing Review will include SPOILERS so reader beware!
AEW Double Or Nothing Review
Let’s start off with the negative aspects of the show – almost all of which are things that I’m sure AEW will iron out as they get more PPVs and TV under their belts.
Commentary: Oooh boy. So, Excalibur was great. I can’t put his work over enough last night. JR was… JR. I have no real beef with Ross but at times he seemed lost and his weird call during the women’s fatal four way about “making biscuits in the kitchen” felt tone deaf at best. JR definitely got into his grove by the main event but it was rough going there for a while. But, wow, Alex Marvez. I don’t know if his mic was having issues but he sounded quieter than the rest all night long. Additionally, he spoke in a monotone that didn’t come close to matching the excitement of Excalibur and Ross towards the end of the show. First show jitters? Not sure. I’m totally unfamiliar with Marvez but he felt like an unnecessary third wheel.
Camera / Production: Another thing I think will get better with time is the overall camera work and production of the show. Several times throughout the night it felt that the camera would cut away to a worse angle and then back missing a spot or moment. WWE has that happen quite a bit too and I think it’s just the nature of trying to cover a chaotic live event. That said, AEW also started reverting to the “Kevin Dunn special” of zooming in on random fans in the crowd for reaction shots almost to the “this is too much and overdone” levels that WWE does in their current product. Again, minor gripes but things I made note of while watching.
Thumbs In The Middle
The HHH reference during Cody’s entrance: I mean, I’m sick of modern WWE as much as the next “AEW fanboy” but this was both hilarious and sort of “eh” at the same time. I think if VKM was no longer in the picture and HHH was running WWE it’d have more impact. But, if anything, it just made me long for a time however many years down the road when a HHH led WWE is facing off against the Elite in a “streaming era” version of the Monday Night Wars. The potential is there for some epic TV, but it’s just a question of whether a McMahon led WWE is willing to up their main roster game.
The Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Bros: I liked the match, but the number of false finishes got a bit excessive. I’m giving this one a “middle” pass because I feel as though this was due to their match getting cut at All In. So fair enough. The Bucks got the shaft last year in Chicago so giving them a little more time to trade false finishes with one of the best tag teams in the world isn’t terrible.
Awesome Kong: Hell yes. I had no idea she was even an option for AEW and I’m excited to see a ring vet like her as part of what is shaping up to be a killer women’s division. I haven’t seen a ton of details about what her AEW deal is like, but I hope her GLOW obligations don’t mean we’ll only see her once in a while.
Jon Moxley: Hell f’in yes. Moxley coming out in some weird combo of Scott Hall crashing Nitro / Mox’s entrance with the Shield was a true “Holy Sh’t” moment. I had totally forgotten about his potential debut over the course of the show and seeing him show up capped off an awesome night. As I previously wrote, I’m incredibly excited to see what Moxley can do without being bound by WWE’s creative shackles. The sky feels like the limit and AEW already seems committed to Moxley being one of their top guys for years to come. I can’t wait.
The women’s division: Both women’s matches delivered in spades. I had Nyla Rose as the winner of her match but then figured they’d possibly give it to Awesome Kong. But, AEW went with Britt Baker which also makes a ton of sense as they’ve been hyping her as the face of the division since the first press conference. Everyone in that match was great and each woman already has a distinct character. The six woman tag match was also one of the highlights of the card for me. I have limited exposure to joshi wrestling, but I was thoroughly impressed by this hard-hitting and fun match. I really hope AEW plans to feature the joshi talent on the weekly show.
The tag division: AEW wasn’t kidding when they said the promotion would be focusing on tag team wrestling. Each tag match was great and I feel this is yet another aspect where AEW will outshine the other promotions out there. Everyone delivered in their matches, with Scorpio Sky, Angelico, and Jack Evans being particular standouts. Being only partially familiar with some of these names, the matches AEW decided to feature really put the spotlight on their tag division and how incredible their growing roster is.
The Cody / Dustin post-match: The match itself was brutal, intense, and better than I even anticipated. But, the emotion in that post-match where Cody asked Dustin to be his tag team partner. Not a dry eye in the place. That could have been a “WrestleMania moment” for the ages, but instead it was one of the first “Double or Nothing moments”.
AEW Double Or Nothing Review – Final Thoughts
A rousing thumbs up from this guy. My issues with the show were all minor gripes and the presentation will most likely get better from here. For a “first show” this was better than anyone could have anticipated. I paid $60 for this show and regret nothing. I just wish we didn’t have to wait until Fall for weekly AEW.