Double or Nothing (2020)
Double or Nothing was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by All Elite Wrestling (AEW). The event took place on May 23, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. While the majority of the event aired live from Daily's Place, the main event match was pre-recorded from May 22–23 at TIAA Bank Field. It was the second event in the Double or Nothing chronology and the first event to feature the AEW TNT Championship.
|Double or Nothing|
|Promotion||All Elite Wrestling|
|Date||May 23, 2020|
TIAA Bank Field
|Attendance||0 (behind closed doors)[Note 1]|
|Double or Nothing chronology|
The event was originally scheduled to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada. The venue, however, canceled all events up through May 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AEW moved the event to the Jacksonville Jaguars complex in Jacksonville, Florida, with most matches taking place at Daily's Place—an amphitheater adjacent to TIAA Bank Field—while the main event match took place in the stadium itself, subsequently being the first AEW event to take place in a stadium.
Nine matches were contested at the event, including one on The Buy In pre-show. In the main event, Matt Hardy and The Elite (Adam Page, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) defeated The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz) in a Stadium Stampede match. In other prominent matches, Jon Moxley defeated Mr. Brodie Lee to retain the AEW World Championship, Hikaru Shida defeated Nyla Rose to win the AEW Women's World Championship, Cody defeated Lance Archer to become the inaugural TNT Champion, and Brian Cage won the Casino Ladder Match in his AEW debut. Additionally, the event featured an appearance from International Boxing Hall of Famer Mike Tyson, who presented the TNT Championship to Cody.
After the success of the September 2018 event All In, a group known as The Elite (Cody, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega), the driving forces behind the event, used the positive response from All In to pursue further events with backing of businessmen Shahid Khan and Tony Khan. This resulted in the foundation of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) in January 2019, and their inaugural pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, was then held on May 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the Las Vegas Strip. On February 5, 2020, AEW announced that Double or Nothing would be returning to the same venue on May 23 of that year, establishing Double or Nothing as both an annual event, as well as their marquee event. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Double or Nothing sold around 6,000 tickets on its first day of sale.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemicEdit
Like all other professional wrestling promotions and sporting events in general, the event was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 8, the MGM Grand Garden Arena announced that they had canceled all events up through May 31 due to the virus. Nevada has been in a state of emergency since March 12, banning all public gatherings indefinitely. In response, AEW announced that Double or Nothing would still proceed as planned but from an undisclosed location (later revealed to be from Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as the TIAA Bank Field stadium for the main event match). The announcement also confirmed that a third Double or Nothing event would emanate from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 29, 2021. In addition to offering refunds, tickets purchased for 2020's show would be valid for the following year's event.
The concept of the Stadium Stampede match was brought about because of the pandemic and it was pre-recorded before the event's live broadcast. AEW wrestler Chris Jericho said that filming took nearly 12 hours to complete; filming began in the evening of May 22 and concluded early morning of May 23. Jericho said it was similar to filming a movie.
Double or Nothing featured nine professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Storylines were produced on AEW's weekly shows Dynamite and Dark and The Young Bucks' YouTube series Being The Elite.
On March 30, 2020, AEW announced a new title, the AEW TNT Championship, with the inaugural champion to be determined by an eight-man, single-elimination tournament. The tournament began on the April 8 episode of Dynamite with the final scheduled for Double or Nothing. In the semifinals on the April 29 episode, Cody and Lance Archer defeated Darby Allin and Dustin Rhodes, respectively, setting up the inaugural championship match. It was announced on the May 13 episode that former professional boxer Mike Tyson would present the championship to the winner.
On the May 6 episode of Dynamite, AEW World Champion Jon Moxley defeated Frankie Kazarian in a match. Moments later, members of The Dark Order attacked Moxley, Kazarian, and the latter's stable, SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels and Scorpio Sky). The Dark Order's leader, "The Exalted One" Mr. Brodie Lee then entered the ring and challenged Moxley to an AEW World Championship match, which he accepted and was scheduled for Double or Nothing.
During the May 6 episode of Dynamite, a nine-man ladder match titled the Casino Ladder Match was scheduled for Double or Nothing with the winner receiving a future AEW World Championship match. The rules of the match were revealed the following week. Two wrestlers begin the match and every 90 seconds, another participant enters. The winner is the one who retrieves the casino chip suspended above the ring; the match can be won before all participants have entered. Darby Allin, Colt Cabana, Orange Cassidy, Rey Fénix, Scorpio Sky, Kip Sabian, Frankie Kazarian, and Luchasaurus were confirmed for the match with the final participant to be announced during the match at Double or Nothing. After Fénix suffered an injury on the May 20 episode of Dynamite, it was announced that Joey Janela would take his place.
On the May 13 episode of Dynamite, Hikaru Shida, who was at the top of the rankings in the women's division, defeated Penelope Ford, Kris Statlander, and Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. to win a fatal four-way match, keeping her undefeated in 2020. It was then announced that Shida would challenge Nyla Rose for the AEW Women's World Championship at Double or Nothing. Backstage during Shida's interview, Rose attacked Shida with a kendo stick. It was then announced that their match would be a no disqualification and no-countout match.
During the aforementioned women's four-way match, Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. attacked Kris Statlander outside the ring and applied the Lockjaw on her, which allowed Hikaru Shida to score the pin over Penelope Ford. Despite the match being over, Baker continued to apply the submission on Statlander. Afterwards, a match between Baker and Statlander was scheduled for Double or Nothing. Due to an injury Baker suffered on the May 20 episode of Dynamite, it was announced that Ford would face Statlander instead.
On the May 20 episode of Dynamite, Shawn Spears, annoyed by not having a match for Double or Nothing, demanded a match against Dustin Rhodes. A match between the two was set for Double or Nothing.
|Commentators||Jim Ross (PPV)|
|Tony Schiavone (PPV)|
|Excalibur (Pre-show and PPV)|
|Spanish commentators||Alex Abrahantes|
|Ring announcers||Dasha Gonzalez|
|Justin Roberts (Stadium Stampede match)|
The Buy InEdit
On The Buy In pre-show, a match was contested between Best Friends (Trent and Chuck Taylor) and Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy), with the winners becoming the number one contenders for the AEW World Tag Team Championship. Best Friends performed "Strong Zero" on Quen to win the match.
The event opened with a nine-man Casino Ladder Match between Colt Cabana, Darby Allin, Joey Janela, Frankie Kazarian, Kip Sabian, Orange Cassidy, Luchasaurus, Scorpio Sky, and a mystery competitor. The rules of the match were that two wrestlers would start the match and every two minutes, a new participant would enter the ring. The objective was to retrieve a giant poker chip hanging above the ring by ascending a ladder to win the match; the match could be won before all participants had entered. Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian started the match. Kip Sabian (accompanied by Penelope Ford and Jimmy Havoc) entered next. Darby Allin was the fourth entrant. Orange Cassidy was the next entrant. The sixth participant was Colt Cabana. Next, Joey Janela entered. The eighth entrant was Luchasaurus. The final participant was revealed to be Brian Cage (accompanied by Taz), making his AEW debut. Cage incapacitated everyone in the ring and later retrieved the poker chip, winning the match and earning a future AEW World Championship match.
The second match was a singles match between MJF and Jungle Boy. MJF emerged victorious after pinning Jungle Boy with a roll-up while holding his tights, giving him extra leverage.
Next, Cody (accompanied by Arn Anderson) and Lance Archer (accompanied by Jake Roberts) competed in the tournament final to crown the inaugural AEW TNT Champion. The winner would be presented the title belt by former boxer Mike Tyson. After interference, both Anderson and Roberts were ejected by the referee. In the end, Cody performed two cutters on Archer to win the match and championship. Afterwards, Tyson handed him the championship and celebrated his victory.
In the following match, Nyla Rose defended the AEW Women's World Championship against Hikaru Shida in a No Disqualification, No Countout match. Shida hit Rose with a kendo stick and then performed a running knee to win the match and championship.
In the penultimate match, Jon Moxley defended the AEW World Championship against Mr. Brodie Lee. Late in the match, Moxley performed a "Paradigm Shift" through the stage. After they recovered, Moxley forced Lee to pass out to a chokehold, giving the win to Moxley by technical submission to retain the championship.
The main event was a Stadium Stampede match between The Elite (Adam Page, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks) and "Broken" Matt Hardy and The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz). The match was contested from TIAA Bank Field. After fighting throughout the stadium, Omega performed a "One Winged Angel" electric chair driver on Guevara from the stadium seats onto a platform below to win the match for his team.
During the post-event media scrum, AEW president Tony Khan announced that Brian Cage, the winner of the Casino Ladder Match, would receive his AEW World Championship match against Jon Moxley at Fyter Fest, a special episode of Dynamite.
On the following episode of Dynamite, new TNT Champion Cody stated that he would be holding a weekly open challenge for the title. A battle royal was held that night to determine Cody's first challenger for the following week, which was won by Jungle Boy. Cody defeated Jungle Boy to retain the championship on the following week's episode of Dynamite.
Double or Nothing received generally positive reviews. Jason Powell of Pro Wrestling Dot Net called it a "fun empty venue show", with particular praise being given to the Stadium Stampede match. CBSSports.com's Brent Brookhouse stated that AEW had "delivered a show that was entertaining top-to-bottom", with the main event being "one of the wildest matches of the year". He gave the Stadium Stampede match a "A-" grade, while the AEW World Championship and AEW Women's World Championship matches both received a "B" grade, and the inaugural AEW TNT Championship match was assigned a "C" grade.
For Slam! Sports, a subsection of Canadian Online Explorer, Nick Tylwalk wrote that the Stadium Stampede main event took "entertainment to a new level" and rated the event an overall score 8 out of 10, with the main event match itself receiving 10 out of 10. The Moxley-Lee match was given 9 out of 10, the Rose-Shida match was designated an 8 out of 10 and the Cody-Archer match was allocated a 6 out of 10.
Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated also liked the event and described the Stadium Stampede match as "uniquely distinct" and "unlike anything ever before on display in wrestling." Barrasso also commented that it was "awfully quick" for Lance Archer to lose to Cody due to being "new to company". Despite this, "even in defeat, Archer looked tremendous, presenting himself as a monster". Barrasso's other takeaways from the event were that Hikura Shida "showed off further dimensions of her wrestling ability" during "her breakout performance" against Nyla Rose and MJF-Jungle Boy was "laid out well", with praise given to both competitors' performances.
In contrary to this praise, former wrestling manager and commentator Jim Cornette strongly criticized the event on his podcast Jim Cornette's Drive-Thru, focusing much of his ire on the Stadium Stampede match. In his scathing review of the match, he stated that he would never watch AEW's product again and that he was "ashamed of everyone involved in it". He continued: "If this is what wrestling is now, it needs to die. Leave it alone and let it go. If you can't bring it back, and you're just gonna fucking piss on the fucking rotting corpse, let it go. Find something else to do with your fucking lives like I have, because I'm embarrassed to be involved with these people and this industry, because of shit like this." In response, Chris Jericho, who wrestled in the match, stated that anyone who did not like the match does not "have a soul", as it was "the essence of what wrestling is - it's entertainment".
TNT Championship tournament bracketEdit
The first half of the TNT Championship Tournament bracket was announced on the March 31 episode of Dark, with the second half revealed on the following night's Dynamite. The tournament began on the April 8 episode of Dynamite and concluded at Double or Nothing on May 23.
(April 8, 15, 22, 2020)
(April 29, 2020)
Double or Nothing
(May 23, 2020)
- The event was held without a paying audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, though a few AEW wrestlers and staff members appeared in the crowd.
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- All Elite Wrestling [@AEWrestling] (May 22, 2020). ".@ReyFenixMx is out of the #CasinoLadderMatch due to injury. Fenix isn't expected to miss significant time. @JANELABABY is now entered in the Casino Ladder Match. 1 mystery wrestler is still TBA. DOUBLE or NOTHING is available on all major providers @brlive @FiteTV tomorrow 8/7c" (Tweet). Retrieved May 22, 2020 – via Twitter.
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