The wait is finally over and the much hyped AEW is underway. A Tony Khan venture and said to be the competitor of Vince McMahon’s WWE, All Elite Wrestling made its debut this Saturday with the much awaited pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, and ‘well done’ is the word which comes to mind about seeing the fabulous show Tony and Co. brought for the audience.
The show certainly lived up to the expectations of the people who were tired seeing WWE every week. The show was a blend of many new faces with some familiar faces like Rhodes brothers, Bret Hart and Chris Jericho. They had everything in store to regale the audience who came with high expectations and all those who came with doubts were sent back to their caves.
The debut show went off with WWE, beating it in almost every aspect. In a time when WWE’s glow is fading, AEW is a perfect storm for Vince and Co.
Casino Battle Royale
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was the venue for the debut show, Double or Nothing, and it was aired on TNT. Things started off quite well with a jaw dropping battle royale which was a blend of gimmicks and skills. The match was far more interesting than the royal rumble with five additional wrestlers entering the match every three minutes. From Jimmy Havoc using a staple gun, Joey Janela using a lit cigarette, AEW introduced many news props to play with.
Dustin Thomas became apple of the eye immediately as he toppled everyone with his skillful moves including 619 and how can we forget his 450 springboard splash on Janela, who was later eliminated by Luchasauras who choked him through a table outside.
Veterans like Tommy Dreamer, Billy Gunn, Shawn Spears and Glacier also participated in the thriller which lasted almost 30 minutes. After a hefty chaos the match was left to the final four, consisted of Luchasaurus, Havoc, MJF and ‘HangMan’ Adam Page, who eliminated Luchasaurus by using a low bridge. The match was left to Page and MJF with Page eliminating MJF with a Buckshow Lariat earning himself a title shot.
Winner: Hangman Page
Sammy Guevara vs Kip Sabian
Sammy Guevara vs Kip Sabian was an average match and to be honest it wasn’t any different from a typical WWE match featuring young wrestlers who are relying mainly on their acrobats to make an early impact in the world of wrestling. Sabian clinched the win but both of them failed to impress the audience as there was no storyline but only acrobatic moves and it looked more of a gymnastic show rather than a wrestling match. But both of them are young and Sabian is only 27, so they can be future stars if they kept on improving.
Winner: Kip Sabian via pinfall
SoCal Uncensored vs Strong Hearts
The next match was one of the best matches of the night – SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) vs. Strong Hearts (Cima, T-Hawk and El Lindaman)
The match had everything in it and it literally reminded of the RVD, Booker T matches that had everything in them and that was the reason why the audience went berserk after seeing them perform in front of them.
SoCal Uncensored toppled Strong Hearts through a pinfall but nobody wanted the match to end. The match was fast paced with all the exciting moves and it evolved with the passage of time. They absorbed the interest of the audience from the very first moment and that stayed till the end.
Winners: SoCal Uncensored via pinfall
Kylie Ray vs Nyla Rose vs Britt Baker vs Awesome Kong
The next match was another fabulous encounter, a fatal four way featuring the leading four women of AEW. Awesome Kong vs. Nyla Rose vs. Britt Baker vs. Kylie Rae, the match turned out to be a blast but we all knew who is going to win it as AEW has always pushed her a lot in their promotions and they are definitely going to promote her as a super star in their upcoming shows. Awesome Kong (fks Kharma in WWE) was a surprise entrant which turned the triple threat match in to a fatal four way.
Winner: Britt Baker via pinfall
Best Friends vs Angelico & Jack Evans
This match seemed like a typical WWE match as the Best Friends (Chuckie T and Trent) defeated Jack Evans and Angelico. The match got the first “This is awesome” chant of the night from the audience and it was really one of the finest matches of the night. But again they would need more experience especially in the tag team division because again there was a lack of storyline which faded the performance they did.
And then the undertaker spirit came in a group of masked minions who entered the ring after the match was ended and they then took out all of the four wrestlers who were about to hug each other after an amazing display of wrestling.
Winners: Best Friends via pinfall
Hikaru Shida, Riho & Ryo Mizunami vs Aja Kong Yuka Sakazaki & Emi Sakura
The next encounter was not advertised and it featured six new names but unexpectedly the fans were quite supportive which we usually don’t see in WWE. Yes, the match wasn’t of the standard of other matches of the evening but we can expect them to grow and evolve with the passage of time.
Winners: Hikaru Shida, Riho & Ryo Mizunami via pinfall
Cody vs Dustin
This was the most hyped match because of the emotions attached to it. Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes, two half-brothers fighting and how can we forget Earl Hebner who is without a doubt the finest referee in pro wrestling history. Cody pointed towards heaven and the crowd started chanting ‘Dusty,’ but nobody thought that the match would be that extreme as the blood show started from the beginning. Dustin had a major cut from the beginning and seeing a fifty year old fighting despite bleeding was the reason more crowd was involved in it. Cody won the fight which was expected and he got a little help from his wife Brandi.
The match also ended on a very emotional note with brother hugging each other.
Winner: Cody via pinfall
Unveiling The AEW World Championship
And then there was a big surprise for the audience, as Bret Hart came out of nowhere to present the title belt that had a grey cover on it.
Bret then shared his WrestleMania 9 memories where he defended his world title. Then he introduced Page and MJF who did a lot of trash talk before getting into a fight.
Now talking about the title belt, it is far better than the belts that WWE have. Although the belt has no gold and only silver, but the design and the wide art made on it makes it desirable.
Lucha Brothers vs The Young Bucks
The first match after the presentation was for the AAA Tag Team Championship, The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs Lucha Brothers (Pentagon vs Rey Fenix)
One word – ‘fabulous’ – both teams were extraordinary throughout the competition. They were phenomenal, they showcased all the moves they had, and they also never slowed the pace of the match. The match had everything, storyline, acrobatic moves and a little trash talk as well.
The Young Bucks retained their titles but the only flaw of the match was that it was quite long, much more than what it needed to be. Nevertheless, this is a match you should definitely watch.
Winners: The Young Bucks via pinfall
Main Event: Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega
And then there was the much awaited main event, Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega, and it was worth it. The match reminded us of the old Chris Jericho as he performed some of his signature moves. Jericho won the match, it was a clean fight, which we weren’t expecting and then after the end there was something which shocked everyone. Jericho grabbed the microphone and called the fans ‘ungrateful jerks’ and he also added that AEW is because of him and it is his time now.
Winner: Chris Jericho via pinfall
John Moxley Debuts!
Jericho further asked the fans to apologize to him and say thank you. But then there came the biggest surprise, JON MOXLEY (formerly Dean Ambrose). Moxley entered the ring and kicked Jericho in the ribs and when Omega started to hustle, he picked Omega only to deliver a DDT and an Attitude Adjustment off the poker chips through a table.
If we do an overall analysis, AEW was no less than WWE in any manner but yes, exposure is needed in some parts and these are the things which will come with time. In Europe, AEW outclassed WWE in Google Trends although they were behind them in Asia but in the US, they were head to head. There are rumors that we might see some big faces in the future and if they somehow manage to secure the signatures of wrestlers like CM Punk, Batista and Mysterio, they will definitely beat WWE in every domain.