In this post-COVID world, with many sports struggling to find a way to return while also looking out for the safety of competitors, staff and fans, Cody Rhodes and the All Elite Wrestling crew have kept right on chugging.
Beginning with their March 18th broadcast, AEW began filming its weekly Dynamite show in an empty arena at an “undisclosed location.”
In a fun twist, AEW had its roster of talent in the seats, acting as stand-ins for the absent audience. Not only did this help avoid awkward silences during the broadcast, it also used the time in between matches to light the fuse on potential rivalries and set storylines in motion for the annual Double or Nothing Pay-Per-View event, airing this Saturday beginning at 8:00 PM ET.
Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
Jon Moxley ran the gauntlet of The Inner Circle en route to a title shot against leader Chris Jericho at AEW’s Revolution PPV event back in February. Hitting Jericho with his signature move, the Paradigm Shift, Moxley captured the belt and became only the second World Champion in the upstart circuit’s history.
Almost immediately after capturing the belt, Moxley was attacked by Brodie Lee and his faction, The Dark Order. Lee demanded a title shot and Moxley accepted, setting the stage for the main event at Double or Nothing.
Following a loss to Jericho at AEW’s Full Gear PPV back in November that left him never again able to compete for the world championship (we’ll see how long that lasts), Cody Rhodes beat rivals Shawn Spears and Darby Allin to earn a spot in the first AEW TNT Championship.
Facing off against Rhodes will be Lance Archer - with help from legendary mentor Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Archer punched his ticket to the final by beating Colt Cabana and Dustin Rhodes.
Starting with a war of words that began during an empty-arena Dynamite episode and culminating with Roberts taunting (fellow wrestler and Cody’s wife) Brandi Rhodes with a giant snake, the excitement for this match should be electric.
Speaking of electric, “Iron” Mike is scheduled to be on hand to present the TNT Championship to the winner.
Given how terrified we are of Tyson’s right hook after seeing some recent training videos circulating online, we have to wonder if Tyson is planning on getting involved with AEW in some way going forward, or building hype for a possible return to boxing.
A long-simmering beef between current AEW Women’s Champion Nyla Rose and top contender Hikaru Shida culminates in a no disqualification/no count-out match for the women’s belt.
Shida made quick work of her singles’ competition to earn her title shot, including winning a four-way battle on May 13th’s Dynamite, which also saw her attacked by Rose with a Kendo stick, prompting the rules change for Double or Nothing.
Rose and tag-team partner Britt Baker defeated Shida and partner Kris Statlander on May 21st’s Dynamite episode, however, Shida may have the advantage going in to Saturday’s title match, having reversed some of Rose’s attempted extracurricular activities by suplexing the current Women’s Champion through a folding table.
AEW loves the “everyone-for-themselves” format for determining future events. The Casino Ladder Match scheduled for Double or Nothing is no exception, with Allin, Cabana, Orange Cassidy, Rey Fenix, Scorpio Sky, Kip Sabian, Frankie Kazarian, Luchasaurus and a mystery competitor squaring off for a future shot at the AEW championship belt.
The match will begin with two wrestlers in the ring, and a new competitor will join every 90 seconds. From there, it’s every man for himself until a winner is determined.The mystery competitor will be revealed the night of the event.