Sunday 30 May 2021

AEW Double or Nothing 2021 Highlights


AEW Double Or Nothing 2021 PPV Live 5/30/21 30th May 2021

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AEW Double or Nothing 2021 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Double or Nothing has been one of All Elite Wrestling's premier events from day one and Sunday on B/R Live was no different as the company presented a jam-packed card, headlined by championship encounters and intense grudge matches.

    Was Inner Circle able to guarantee its future with a win over The Pinnacle in just the second Stadium Stampede match? Did Kenny Omega successfully defend his AEW world title against Pac and Orange Cassidy? Did Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston silence The Young Bucks and derail their tag title reign?

    The answers to those questions and more await in this recap of the May 30 spectacular.

Match Card

1 OF 11

    Sunday's extravaganza included:


    • Three-Way Match for the AEW World Championship: Orange Cassidy vs. Pac vs. Kenny Omega
    • Stadium Stampede: The Pinnacle (MJF, Shawn Spears, Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler, and Wardlow) vs. Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Santana, Ortiz, and Sammy Guevara)
    • AEW World Women's Championship Match: Hikaru Shida vs. Dr. Britt Baker DMD
    • Cody Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo
    • AEW World Tag Team Championship Match: Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley vs. The Young Bucks
    • TNT Championship Match: Miro vs. Lance Archer
    • Casino Battle Royale for a future AEW World Championship Match
    • Sting and Darby Allin vs. Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page
    • The Buy-In: NWA women's champion Serena Deeb vs. Riho

The Buy-In: Serena Deeb vs. Riho

2 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Former AEW women's champion Riho returned to action as part of the Buy-In Sunday with a chance to add another championship to her resume: the NWA women's title, held by "The Woman of 1000 Holds," Serena Deeb.

    Deeb denied a show of respect early and Riho made her pay for it. Deeb, though, delivered a dragon screw leg whip and proceeded to target the left knee of her opponent. She torqued it in an inverted Gory special, but the resilient Riho answered with a double stomp from the top rope.

    Unable to follow up due to the impact on her injured joint, Riho continued to fight. She stunned Serena on the middle rope and tried for another double stomp but missed.

    Deeb took advantage of the injury and executed a picture-perfect swinging neckbreaker for a two-count, much to her chagrin. Deeb lured Riho into the corner and delivered a rare double leg screw, followed by a powerbomb but still could not score the win.

    Riho flattened the champion with a dragon suplex and successfully executed a double stomp to the shoulders. She followed with an attempted somato, but Deeb countered into a single-leg Boston crab.

    After a flurry of moves, the champ countered a crucifix bomb and applied the Serenity Lock for the submission win.



    Deeb defeated Riho to retain the NWA Women’s Championship






    Deeb is a low-key top-five women's wrestler, consistently delivering show-stealing performances whenever she pops up on AEW television. Her technical ability and willingness to make any opponent look like the most skilled performer on the roster is reminiscent of Bret Hart, which is a real compliment.

    Here, she worked with Riho to tell a smart, psychological match. After a split crowd most of the way, Deeb turned the fans against her and in the favor of Riho. The finish sequence further established Deeb as the most skilled technician in the women's division.

    Riho is always game, and a pillar of the women's division, but Deeb shined brightest in a hell of a match to kick things off this evening.

Hangman Page vs. Brian Cage

3 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    "The Machine" Brian Cage dominantly and decisively defeated "Hangman" Adam Page to end the Anxious Millennial Cowboy's quest for the AEW world title at AEW Dynamite, which set this opening matchup in motion.

    Cage, insistent that he competes on his own and without Team Taz at ringside, entered in Terminator-esque gear while Page arrived to a thunderous ovation from the Daily's Place fans.

    Fired up and riding the emotions of the live crowd's reaction, Page took the fight to Cage from the opening bell. He launched himself through the ropes and delivered a tope suicida, but a second attempt at flying landed him in the waiting arms of The Machine, who sent him crashing into the ring post.

    Cage dominated the action until Hangman countered a top-rope powerbomb attempt into a big hurricanrana to the mat below. The heel shook it off and tried for a suplex from the apron in, only for Page to slither out and rock him with a forearm shot.

    As the action intensified, Cage wiped his opponent out on the entrance ramp, then brought him crashing back into the ring but was unable to put him away. Cage tried for his own Buckshot Lariat, to which Hangman responded by delivering an F5 for a two count.

    Page tried for the Buckshot Lariat, but Cage caught him with a buckle bomb and delivered a Liger Bomb for two. The near-fall brought out Hook and Ricky Starks of Team Taz, the latter trying to convince Cage to use the FTW title as a weapon. Cage refused and ate a Buckshot Lariat from Page, who scored the win.



    Page defeated Cage via pinfall






    Like Deeb in the Buy-In match, Page has been as consistent as any other male star on the AEW roster, repeatedly delivering against competitors of all styles and sizes. Such was the case in this bout, an intensely physical match that saw the competitors throw everything they had at each other until Hook and Starks' unwanted interference backfired on the Team Taz member and allowed Page to avenge his loss.

    Cage is about to be a big-time babyface star by way of his feud with Team Taz, which was intensified by the events of this match. His future is brighter in that role than it was as an undefined big man.

    As for Page, he remains a genuine threat to dethrone Kenny Omega as world champion, a quest he can get back to now with this win.

AEW Tag Team Championship Match: Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. Young Bucks

4 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston entered Daily's Place to an enormous pop for their AEW world tag team title match against The Young Bucks, who earned the first major jeers of the evening. The challengers wasted little time, jumping the champs before the bell and beating them around the ringside area.

    With Kingston and Nick Jackson in the ring, referee Rick Knox called for the bell and the match was officially underway. The heels overcame the offensive by their opponents early to seize control and cut Kingston off from Moxley.

    Matt Jackson mocked the showboating of wrestling legends like Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan, but Moxley made him pay, knocking him to the floor. The former world champion entered the bout legally, delivering a pair of piledrivers to the champions before transitioning right into the bulldog choke on Matt.

    As Moxley heated up, Doc Gallows interfered, only to be attacked by "Elite Hunter" Frankie Kazarian, looking for revenge after the Bucks ended SCU's run. Back inside the ring, the champs used an aerosol can on Moxley, busting him open before delivering the Meltzer Drive on the entrance ramp.

    The heels cut the ring off from Moxley, working him over in their corner as blood poured down the forehead of the renegade competitor. The Bucks mocked The Shield's triple bowerbomb, but Matt ate a big boot to the face, and Moxley flattened Nick, leading to a hot tag to Kingston. 

    Kingston exploded into the match and took the fight to both opponents, destroying Nick with a big boot. The champs shook it off, delivering an assisted Sliced Bread No. 2 before Nick rocked him with a running knee strike to the face.

    Nick looked for the senton, but Kingston got the knees up. The Bucks looked for More Bang for Your Buck, but Kingston interrupted Nick while Moxley applied the sleeper to Matt. The heels fought out and delivered the move anyway but still failed to earn the victory.

    Each team took turns cutting off the other's combo finish until Matt found himself perched upon Kingston's shoulders. Mox came off with the Nike Dior to the face in a move best called the "Dior's Day Device" in reference to the Road Warriors.

    Nick broke up the pin.

    Nick found himself in a Paradigm Shift but countered and applied the Sharpshooter. Kingston eventually broke the hold up and delivered a backdrop driver to Matt. Matt, somehow, managed to break up the pin.

    Moxley turned the Bucks inside out with stereo lariats but took superkicks. The Bucks, to their surprise, failed to keep the fired-up Moxley down past one. Chants of "Moxley" spilled from the stands, but the Bucks flattened him with stereo superkicks. They added more of their trademark strikes to Kingston and set the former world champ up for the BTE Trigger, which they delivered perfected. A second failed to drop Mox, as did the third. However, the fourth did, and the Bucks retained the title.



    The Young Bucks defeated Moxley and Kingston to retain






    Would it have killed Knox to acknowledge that the Bucks were both illegally in the match for pretty much the entirety of the final third of the match and maybe force one of them to get out?

    That inconsistency aside, this was a hell of a match that lived up to its potential. The Bucks countered the smashmouth offense of the opposition with the tag team combination attacks they have ridden to titles around the globe, including the excessive BTE Triggers that ended it.

    Moxley and Kingston were every bit the gutsy, resilient, double-tough babyfaces they were sold as, succumbing only after they could absorb no more. Consequently, the Bucks remain the best team in the world, knocking off two top stars and overcoming their bludgeoning arsenals in the process.

    In many ways, the champions needed this to prove their toughness as heels after months of reaffirming their sarcasm and disrespectful ways. Now as credible as ever, it will take a hell of a team to dethrone them, and when they do, it will mean more thanks to the level Matt and Nick Jackson have achieved as a tandem.

Casino Battle Royale

5 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The Casino Battle Royale kicked off with the Clubs group, which included Christian Cage, Powerhouse Hobbs, Dustin Rhodes, Matt Sydal and The Acclaimed's Max Caster, who did not hesitate to insult every one of his opponents. Paul Wight joined Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone on commentary.

    Sydal was the first competitor eliminated following a cheap low blow by Caster. The young tag team star was the next to go, landing awkwardly on the entrance ramp and immediately clutching at his knee.

    The clock ticked down, and the Diamonds entered the match next. "Big Money" Matt Hardy joined and attempted to jump Pres10 Vance of The Dark Order, but the masked man fended them off, delivering a powerbomb to Isiah Kassidy. Nick Comoroto of The Factory and Serpentico entered next.

    Vance eliminated Serpentico immediately before squaring off with the massive Comoroto. Vance tried two clotheslines, but Comoroto rocked him with a spear. Both men fought over to the ropes, where Rhodes dumped them. A vengeful Comorodo blasted Rhodes with a cowbell. Hobbs dumped Rhodes, then ate a Killswitch from Cage.

    Christian and Hardy squared off, drawing an enormous pop from the fans. Kassidy interfered but paid for it, courtesy of Colt Cabana, who entered as part of the Hearts group. The Varsity Blonds, The Acclaimed's Anthony Bowens and Penta El Zero M rounded out that collection of stars.

    Kassidy eliminated Cabana as payback and saved Hardy in the process. Bowens was sent to the floor, as was Griff Garrison of the Blonds by Hardy. Kassidy continued to stand by Hardy.

    The Spades entered the match next, headlined by Jungle Boy. Joining the popular young star were Hardy associate Marq Quen, The Factory's Aaron Solow, The Dark Order's Evil Uno, and "Big Shotty" Lee Johnson.

    Private Party eliminated Brian Pillman Jr., to a chorus of boos. Johnson and Solow's runs were short as Hardy knocked them to the floor after a brawl on the apron. Evil Uno flattened Kassidy, Jungle Boy teed off on Hardy, and Penta eliminated Uno. 

    Jungle Boy eliminated Penta with a hurricanrana as Hobbs and Cage returned after several minutes on the floor. Captain Charisma used Hobbs' momentum against him, dumping him to the floor. This left Cage and Jungle Boy against the Hardy Family Office.

    Lio Rush made his debut as the Joker in this year's match and wasted little time executing a poisonrana on Quen. He added a running Spanish Fly to Kassidy, then avoided elimination from Hardy and leveled him with a stunner.

    The explosive run was short-lived as HFO continued their run of dominance. Jungle Boy flattened Hardy with a lariat, then joined Cage in eliminating Private Party. Cage feigned an alliance with Hardy before dumping him to the floor.

    The fight came down to Cage and Jungle Boy.

    Young Jack Perry hung with Cage, proving every bit as capable of the celebrated veteran competitor. He tried to headlock Cage to the floor, but Christian evaded it. Jungle Boy escaped an attempted Killswitch, spun around the ring post and slid back into the ring. From there, he delivered a back body drop that sent Christian to the floor and earned him the victory.

    Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt rushed the ring to celebrate with their teammate before Cage re-entered the ring and showed his opponent respect, telling him to go win the title now.



    Jungle Boy won the 21-man battle royale






    Battle royales are difficult to execute, if only because the very nature of it does not allow for a great match. Thus, storytelling is of the most importance. This had some of that, especially with Comoroto continuing The Factory's feud with The Nightmare Family.

    That may not have been enough to elevate beyond average grading, but the finish was.

    Jungle Boy, the crowd favorite, was put over as strongly as possible by outwrestling a Hall of Fame-worthy competitor like Cage en route to victory. If that was not enough, Cage made sure to put over the moment more by encouraging him to make the most of the opportunity.

    It was great booking aimed at creating a new star.

    Congratulations to Rush for his debut and an electrifying showing. While short, he left and impression and few performers deserve the opportunity to prove themselves away from his former place of employment than him.

Cody Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo

6 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    A very patriotic presentation in honor of Memorial Day in the United States gave way to the intensely personal match between Cody Rhodes and former bronze-medal Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo.

    Ogogo rocked Rhodes with a body punch early, then added an Olympic slam and a German suplex to show off his abilities as a wrestler. He controlled the action until The American Dream opened Ogogo up over the right eye.

    Blinded in his good eye, Ogogo threw some wild punches that allowed Rhodes to fight back and deliver the Cody Cutter. Rhodes set him up for a superplex, but Ogogo knocked his opponent down momentarily with a hard right hand.

    Ogogo scaled the ropes and delivered a picture-perfect frog splash. The split-second it took him to make the cover after nursing his rib injury proved costly as he scored only a two-count.

    Rhodes recovered and applied the figure four. Ogogo jabbed Rhodes, knocking him to his back and leading to a near-fall.

    Ogogo landed another shot to the midsection and rocked the babyface with an uppercut. Rhodes' hand fell under the rope, leading to no valid pinfall attempt. Moments later, Rhodes delivered the Vertebreaker to score the win.



    Rhodes defeated Ogogo






    Ogogo proved there was no stage too big or lights too bright for him and overcame a rib injury to turn in a strong performance that should have fans genuinely excited about his future in the business. He sold well, his offense was perfectly timed and he held his own against one of the measuring sticks in AEW.

    Cody went to the ring with the intention being to put Ogogo over as a force, and he did that. Did he need to win the match? Probably not, but there was no way a guy named "The American Dream" was losing on Memorial Day weekend.

    Even if he more closely resembled Homelander from The Boys than America's greatest hope.

    Rhodes was great, Ogogo was superb and the match proved better than expected. You can't ask for more than that given the less-than-stellar creative behind it.

TNT Championship Match: Miro vs. Lance Archer

7 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    A fired-up Lance Archer went airborne early in the TNT Championship with Miro, catching the Best Man on the entrance ramp. From there, he dominated the action.

    Miro sent Archer into the crowd to halt his opponent's momentum.

    Archer flattened Miro for a two-count, proving he wouldn't allow himself to be on the defensive for too long, especially if he wanted to win the title. He headed up top for a moonsault but crashed and burned as the champion rolled out of the way. 

    As Miro set up for a big Machka Kick, Jake Roberts appeared with his snake. Miro cut him off, delivered the kick, and threw the "snake" up the ramp. Miro attempted to level Roberts, but Archer destroyed him with a chokeslam for a close two-count.

    Archer set up for the Blackout but Miro fought out. Archer countered him, sending the champion to the floor. As the combatants fought back into the ring, Miro delivered a kick to the ropes, sending them into the groin of the challenger.

    Miro delivered another kick, stomped the spine, and applied the Accolade. Archer tried to fight out, but Miro added knees to the back. He reapplied the submission, knocking Archer unconscious and causing referee Aubrey Edwards to call for the bell.



    Miro defeated Archer to retain






    This was a quality battle between two big, ferocious competitors with the sole purpose of beating the hell out of each other. They achieved that and then some.

    The champion needed a declarative victory over a guy bigger than him to prove he doesn't just excel against smaller competitors. This was that win, with a decisive KO victory to boot.

    Miro has the potential to be one of the faces of AEW moving forward if he can maintain this momentum. The world title run that evaded him elsewhere is very much in play if he can continue kicking ass while showing flashes of that enormous personality Vince McMahon and Co. never really explored deeper.

AEW Women's Championship Match: Hikaru Shida vs. Dr. Britt Baker DMD

8 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Dr. Britt Baker DMD sought to become AEW women's champion Sunday night. To do so, she would have to knock off a champion in Hikaru Shida who reigned over the division for over a year. The good doctor worked over Shida, dominating the action and looking for her signature Lockjaw submission.

    Shida countered it but Baker maintained her advantage. Overconfidence proved costly for Baker as Shida fought back, rocking her with three consecutive knee strikes in the corner. A more aggressive Shida pulled at the face of her opponent and scored a quick near-fall, despite attempted interference by Rebel at ringside.

    Baker rocked Shida with a short kick to the face, then added a fisherman's neckbreaker for two. The challenger tried for a stomp, but Shida countered, tripping her up and applying the stretch muffler. Baker made it to the ropes, forcing the break, then blasted the champion with a kick.

    The sling blade followed and Baker added an Air Raid Crash as the fans chanted "DMD" in support of the heel challenger. Baker again looked for the Lockjaw, but Shida continued to fight her way toward the ropes. Shida fought out and hoisted the challenger on her shoulders but Baker fought out.

    Shida delivered a German suplex, then added a running back elbow for two. The fight headed to the ropes, where Shida looked for an Avalanche Death Valley Driver. Baker escaped again. Shida applied the stretch muffler for a second time, only for Rebel to provide a distraction that forced the champion to break the hold.

    Rebel misfired, striking Baker with her crutch. Shida covered for a dramatic near-fall. Rebel again attempted to interfere, but referee Paul Taylor booted her from ringside.

    Shida delivered the Tamashii but the resilient Baker kicked out.

    The action intensified until Baker caught Shida and applied the Lockjaw for the submission victory and title.



    Baker defeated Shida to win the title






    Expectations that Baker would win the title were high. After a year-long journey to fan acceptance and the top of the women's division, Baker developed into one of the best characters in AEW and earned the right to hold gold. 

    Baker and Shida mastered the crowd, expertly putting the dramatic near-falls where they needed to in exchange for the loudest reactions of the bout.

    The execution of the high spots were superb, the crowd was on fire for Baker, and Shida proved why she was the woman trusted to carry the division on her back for a year. This was excellence, both from a booking and in-ring perspective, and the women involved earned all of the praise social media fans and critics alike are destined to send their way.

Sting and Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky

9 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Darby Allin and Sting wasted no time avenging months of torment at the hands of Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, the former launching himself onto All Ego at ringside while The Icon teed off on Sky. Brawling gave way to Sting launching his own body out of the ring and onto the competition, drawing a thunderous ovation from an appreciative audience.

    The heels absorbed the early onslaught and managed to cut Allin down, working him over and isolating him from his partner as the Hall of Famer watched on. Darby escaped a side suplex attempt by Sky and made the tag to Sting, who exploded into the match with hard rights to the opposition before referee Aubrey Edwards informed him she did not see the tag, thus forcing him back to the apron.

    The heels continued to work over Allin, despite the former TNT champion's attempts to fight back. He finally did, delivering a stunner and tagged Sting in. The Icon sent Sky to the floor and delivered a Code Red to Page for two.

    The babyfaces applied stereo submissions, but Edwards called them off. Sting came face-to-face with Sky, and after an exchange of blows, Sky tried for a springboard cutter, only for The Icon to catch him and deliver the Scorpion Death Drop for the win.



    Sting and Allin defeated Sky and Page






    If anyone ever questions Sting's love for professional wrestling, they need to look no further than this match.

    A guy with an already established legacy, he returned because he had unfinished business between the ropes. After injury appeared to end his career prematurely in 2016, he fought for the right to get back into the ring and went to the company that would allow him to do just that.

    In this first match in front of a crowd in six years, he showed off and showed out. He threw his body over the ropes with reckless abandon. He bumped, he hit his signature offense and he made that electrifying babyface comeback as only he can.

    After a solid tag team match that asked Allin to be the tackling dummy for Page and Sky, Sting entered, put Sky away and earned a victory he has waited for over six years.

    The match was everything it needed to be, with an emotional and well-deserved outcome for one of wrestling's most beloved superstars.

AEW World Championship Match: Orange Cassidy vs. Pac vs. Kenny Omega

10 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Kenny Omega entered Double or Nothing as the Impact, TNA, AAA Grand, and AEW world champion, but if Orange Cassidy and Pac had their way, The Cleaner would leave Jacksonville one title lighter following their three-way match for All Elite Wrestling's top prize.

    After Omega and Pac took each other down early, Freshly Squeezed entered the ring and scored consecutive one-counts on his opponents. He followed up, launching himself at Pac with a tope suicida on the floor and a tilt-a-whirl DDT on Omega. He set up for the Orange Punch, but Omega cut him off and drove him into the corner.

    Pac, who had scored victories over both of his opponents in the short history of AEW, sent Omega to the floor and focused his attack on Cassidy. He delivered a big shotgun missile dropkick as Don Callis called him a "more athletic version of The Dynamite Kid."

    Omega seized control of the match, outwrestling his opponents, while Callis touted him as the best champion in any company. Cassidy mounted a comeback, engaging the champion in a series of near-falls that culminated with a bridge-up interrupted by Pac's 450 splash for a two count.

    Omega delivered consecutive snapdragon suplexes to Cassidy and added a V-Trigger. He looked for one on Pac but was countered by a German suplex. Omega dropped Pac and joined Cassidy on the ropes, teasing a super snapdragon suplex. Freshly Squeezed put his hands in his pockets as a defense, and Pac rushed the ropes and delivered an avalanche German suplex to the champion.

    Cassidy wiped out Pac on the floor but ate a tiger driver from Omega. The world champion looked to re-establish dominance, delivering consecutive V-Triggers to Cassidy, who placed his hands in his pockets one last time before falling face-first in the ring.

    Cassidy delivered a Michinoku Driver to the champion, and Pac followed with a Falcon Arrow to Freshly Squeezed for a two count.

    "The Bastard" added another Falcon Arrow, this time off the top rope to Omega. Cassidy sent Pac to the floor and scored the most dramatic near-fall of the match to this point. Pac low-blowed Cassidy, flattened him and delivered the Black Arrow. Omega just narrowly broke up the pin.

    Omega looked for the One-Winged Angel, but Pac countered into the Brutalizer. Cassidy exploded from out of nowhere with Orange Punch, followed by Beach Break, for another heart-stopping near-fall.

    A fired-up Cassidy obliterated Omega, added an Orange Punch to Pac, and appeared on his way to the most improbable victory when Callis left the commentary position and pulled the referee out of the ring.

    Pac countered the DDT and applied the Brutalizer. Omega stomped away, but the stubbornly determined challenger refused to break the hold. Instead, he delivered a leg drop to the referee. He blasted Pac with one of the championship belts, then another, rendering Pac defenseless.

    Cassidy came from out of nowhere with one last Orange Punch and referee Aubrey Edwards rushed the ring. She counted the fall, but Omega countered into a crucifix pin for the win.



    Omega defeated Cassidy and Pac to retain






    If this was a test run to see if fans would accept Cassidy in a main event role, in a big-time world title match, Freshly Squeezed passed it with flying colors. The fans were red-hot for him, he fired up when necessary and had them buying into the possibility that he could actually win the title.

    A lot of that was due to the work of Omega and Pac, neither of whom hesitated to sell for him. They put over his offense to perfection, making it feel every bit like he belonged in there with two of the best.

    Omega winning, via cheap rollup after incessantly cheating like he did moments earlier, is such a great bit of heel booking. He celebrated with his buddies in The Elite like he actually earned the win, despite coming within seconds of dropping the title on numerous occasions over the course of the match.

    We knew that, with the talent involved, this match would be awesome. It did not disappoint. What we did not know was how well Cassidy would perform in the big spot and more importantly, how wrestling fans would react to him in that position on the card.

    We got our answer, and now it should not be out of the realm of possibilities that Freshly Squeezed remains in or around the top of the card having proved he belonged in the biggest match of his career to date.

Stadium Stampede: Inner Circle vs. The Pinnacle

11 OF 11

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The Inner Circle faced the possibility of their run as a faction being over by night's end as they entered TIAA Bank Field for their Stadium Stampede Match against The Pinnacle.

    The early portion of the match focused on Chris Jericho and MJF, the leaders of the respective factions, and their brawl around the stadium. At one point, they crashed a meeting featuring Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, and fought into the team meeting room.

    Jake Hager and Wardlow brought a little bit of the hoss fight, culminating in a visit to a freezer.

    Elsewhere, Sammy Guevara fought "The Chairman" Shawn Spears, using a forklift as a jungle gym as he dominated the fight with Spears. The artist formerly known as the Perfect 10 caught him and sent him face-first into a garage door like a lawn dart. He eventually shackled Guevara but forgot the bolt-cutters left in the room.

    Elsewhere, Santana and Ortiz confronted FTR. A cameo by Konan as the DJ was a nice touch considering both his and the babyfaces' history as members of LAX in Impact Wrestling. Konan joined in, helping to even the odds with Tully Blanchard by FTR's side.

    Meanwhile, Hager chokeslammed Wardlow through a wooden pallet, and Jericho and MJF continued a war that spilled into the Jaguars conference room and saw Le Champion staple a piece of paper to his opponent's forehead.

    MJF delivered a piledriver onto the table, which did not give. Jericho recovered and blasted The Salt of the Earth with Floyd, his trademark baseball bat. From there, he sent MJF face-first through an office door window, busting him open in the process.

    In the bowels of the arena, a seemingly celebratory Spears called for Tully, only to encounter the Inner Circle Motorcycle Club.

    Back in Daily's Place, Jericho battled MJF through the fans. The heel attempted to throw Jericho from the upper deck into the crowd below, but Jericho delivered a powerbomb through a nearby table.

    Spears returned to the arena, too, and found himself on the receiving end of an ass-kicking, courtesy of Guevara. He fought out of a Death Valley Driver, only to fly through the air into a waiting steel chair by Spears.

    The Spanish God withstood considerable punishment with the chair, delivered a stomp that sent Spears face-first into the steel chair and picked up the win with the 630 senton.

    Jericho, Hager, Santana, and Ortiz limped to the ring to join Guevara in a post-match celebration, with Inner Circle's status as the most dominant faction in AEW intact. Pyro exploded around the ring and the group engaged in its trademark middle finger pose, the fans raining down on the competitors with the lyrics of Fozzy's "Judas."



    Inner Circle defeated The Pinnacle






    These two factions had the impossible task of living up to the lofty expectations set by last year's Stadium Stampede. That match, a brilliantly creative and extraordinarily executed bit of sports-entertainment excellence, won Match of the Year awards, and deservedly so.

    This match was different. It left behind much of the creativity and humor of its predecessor, instead opting for a more straight-forward grudge match that fit the hatred that existed between the two teams. Add to it Inner Circle's desperation to remain a faction in AEW, and you have a contest tonally different.

    And it worked.

    It was physical, violent, still mixed in a few jokes where applicable, and above all, shined the brightest possible spotlight on Sammy Guevara.

    The Spanish God has been one of the most talented young stars in professional wrestling over the last two years, and his babyface turn created a ton of buzz for him. Here, he withstood tremendous punishment by Spears to deliver an emphatic finish and ensure Inner Circle's existence for the foreseeable future.

    The booking, from Jericho and MJF's beef taking up a good chunk of the match, to Guevara's triumphant moment in the spotlight, was fantastic and brought an end to the rivalry in fitting fashion.

    Or at least one can hope.

    Inner Circle vs. The Pinnacle is done now and any hint that it may drag on past this will only serve to undo what was successfully executed in the main event of a superb Double or Nothing pay-per-view.

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