Double of Nothing 2023 Predictions
All Elite Wrestling presents Double or Nothing 2023 tonight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada live on Pay Per View.
It has been an interesting year for All Elite Wrestling. 2019 was the beginning. 2020 was surviving the pandemic. 2021 was a growth year in adding several new stars. 2022 was handling those new expectations in growth. 2023 has the company growing again, with a brand new two hours on TNT television and selling over 60,000 seats in Wembley Stadium in London, England. It’s another year of growth in many ways, but in many others it’s the company beginning to struggle with its own size.
On June 17, AEW will gain a new two hour television show on TNT called Collision. This show will also be the return of CM Punk, who was gone after his actions at All Out 2022 and suffering another injury. Punk, knowledgeable about how TV works, decided to return after the NBA and NHL playoffs and Vanderpump Rules had done damage to AEW’s weekly ratings so his return could be watched by as many people as possible. He’s coming in right after Double or Nothing but returns right before a sold out Forbidden Door in Toronto. Collision is expected to have sort of a brand split, keeping CM Punk away from the people who don’t want to work with him. Already announced to appear on the show has been other wrestlers we haven’t seen from in some time including Thunder Rosa, Andrade el Idolo, Miro, and Scorpio Sky. It’s not yet known who else will be on the show but the posters indicate the AEW champions will appear.
All of this is course after Double or Nothing. The build between Revolution and Double or Nothing has been familiar to anyone paying attention to Tony Khan’s booking at this point. Tony’s booking often flounders in the first weeks after a pay per view unless he already has a major show planned, only to try to snap everything into place before the last few weeks. Sometimes those last few weeks end up the best television AEW produces that year. It also often leads to a lackluster go home show since Tony is just trying to get his card announced.
That isn’t to say this will be a bad show. Far from it. All Elite Wrestling has so much talent that the in ring product rarely falters. The Elite versus Blackpool Combat Club storyline has been the current carrying the promotion to tonight. But this is easily the least “on paper” AEW pay per view since Revolution 2021, a show deep in the pandemic with All Elite Wrestling attempting gimmick matches and gimmick stories to pull interest in the viewers for it. Sometimes a bad build can actually help temper expectations like it did with the first Forbidden Door, where people were initially disappointed in the card only to call it the best show of 2022.
AEW doesn’t really operate on whether the in-ring content will be disappointing or not. It’s about everything surrounding it. AEW needs to show some clear direction for a lot of wrestlers and storylines going into the summer. Double or Nothing is the halfway point on the calendar for All Elite Wrestling. Time to be worth the bet.
I am personally convinced that if Jeff Hardy didn’t have his issues last year, the Hardy’s would have already retired. Since then Matt Hardy has tried to carry the flame and involved himself in The Firm, a faction created for CM Punk to feud with which he never ended up doing. Hook originally was working with Jungle Boy but got moved into the Firm storyline. The Gunns were originally a part of The Firm but moved away from the crew to have their first success in the industry by beating The Acclaimed for the AEW World Tag Championship. After losing the tag team championship to FTR the Gunns did nothing. Ethan Page was the unofficial leader of The Firm and has spent his time trying to mess with Matt Hardy and Private Party. That storyline then turned into Ethan being tricked into being friends with Matt Hardy, leading to the match which broke up The Firm.
All of this is basically a way to say, “this is a long in a tooth storyline still continuing so The Gunns have something to do a the pay per view, Hook isn’t forgotten, and the investment in The Hardy’s can still see some return” which is also why it’s a Buy-In match. The stipulation is if Ethan and the Gunns lose then Ethan Page’s contract becomes owned by Matt Hardy. I don’t think anyone cares. I also think the Gunns need a win.
Winners: Ethan Page and The Gunns
(Update: I have recently been informed Hook has yet to lose a match in AEW so it would be ridiculous for him to lose in a buy in match. This is true. But, you know, I already predicted it so I’m leaving it. Even though it’s now obviously going to be wrong.)
The Elite and Death Triangle had a great best of seven match rivalry which ended before Revolution. House of Black was obvious in being the number one contenders. I thought we’d get a great program with singles and tag matches between the two teams. Instead we got two attacks. The match itself was great, and the House of Black are now Trios champions. Unfortunately, nobody has stepped up to House of Black. The closest to a team to challenge them would be The Acclaimed with Billy Gunn, who were even expected to get the shot. I don’t know why they are making it a mystery if it is them, and if it isn’t it’ll be a disappointment to keep Acclaimed off the show.
My hope is that after Double or Nothing, we see House of Black gets a proper program. It’s also time we see Malakai Black and Brody King work more singles and tag matches, as they are high quality wrestlers that people react to. The best way to build to that big trios match is to have them work in singles and tags with their future opponents. I expect House of Black to be more active on AEW Collision and expect that as Trios Champions.
Winners: The House of Black
If The Elite versus Blackpool Combat Club has been the current that carried AEW to tonight, Orange Cassidy’s International Championship title run has been the sails. OC’s run reminds one of Darby Allin as TNT Champion having great television matches every other week. He’s established the International Championship as the second best championship for men in the company. The only issue with being a fighting champion is that Orange Cassidy hasn’t really built a story with anyone.
Meanwhile, Jay White and Juice Robinson have been feuding with Ricky Starks. Dustin Rhodes and Keith Lee have been feuding with Swerve Strickland and Brian Cage. Instead of having them in their own matches on the pay per view, they are being included in this Blackjack Battle Royal to win the International Championship. Also included are tag teams Butcher and the Blade, Best Friends, Varsity Athletes, Big Bill and Lee Moriarty (formerly of The Firm), and luchadors Bandido and Komander. In a way this is a tag team battle royal but for a singles championship. Oh yeah, Kip Sabian is here too.
Orange Cassidy has been prominent on posters for AEW Collision but I could see this being the match that costs him the championship. Cassidy can fight all the odds to get to the final four only to be screwed out by a heel. Swerve Strickland and Jay White are both great picks for this. Jay White winning the International Championship could silence some of the criticism that AEW isn’t doing enough with him since his official debut on the AEW roster. It also sets him up on a rematch with Ricky Starks and gives the importance of someone facing him at Forbidden Door some more zing (Jay White lost a loser leaves NJPW match so him working anyone in NJPW should have more importance) so I’m going to breathe with the Switchblade.
Winner and new AEW International Champion: Jay White
Taya has been an interesting add to the AEW roster and I feel like her role has been to keep the seat warm for Kris Statlander’s return. It feels like to me that the only reason Jade is still AEW TBS Champion is in waiting for Kris Statlander to be 100%. I’ve heard she’s been backstage at shows every week but just isn’t ready to return. The feud between the two has been a standard kind of thing, their only similarity is their signature move being the same. Their first match wasn’t great. Maybe this one is a little better. I think Jade wins with Kris Statlander interrupting her victory.
Winner: Jade Cargill
I’ve enjoyed this program! I guess some people just hate everything Jeff Jarrett is involved in but I don’t understand. Ain’t he Great? This has been the best Jay Lethal has been in AEW. Sonjay Dutt is honestly underrated as a manager and one of the best in the business today. Satnam Singh is always awesome! Karen Jarrett is… a choice, but hey it might work. I think Mark Briscoe has been cutting some of the best promos in AEW this year and has always been a shining moment on the show. The problem is more FTR.
It may feel like a pile on since everyone is annoyed at Dax Harwood due to his Matt Koon podcast and his cheerleading for CM Punk trying to create buzz for a match that cannot happen, but Dax’s issue has been more in-ring. I don’t know if he’s out of shape or injured or what but every match since FTR returned Dax has been severely carried by Cash Wheeler. Wheeler usually plays the quiet one but he’s instead had to be the workhorse. Dax really needs to start stepping up if they want this FTR title run to be good. If not they are better off dropping the tag championship to Jeff Jarrett and Mark Briscoe.
I expect FTR to win but they better step it up.
Jericho is a great program for Adam Cole before Cole goes after the AEW World Championship, which I expect him to do. It makes sense for Adam Cole to be a babyface as the crowd loves him, though I know a lot of people who just don’t buy him as a top guy. I think it’s inevitable he will be pushed as one anyway. Jericho is all business and is trying to get Adam Cole over before a program with MJF, and even lost to Roderick Strong in the buildup. Having this be an unsanctioned match gives Jericho an out for doing so many jobs, as does having Sabu probably throw a chair at his head. My hope after this is the Jericho Appreciation Society tries to go after some gold. Jericho in a trios team?
Winner: Adam Cole
That poor cursed AEW TNT Championship. I blame Cody Rhodes. Maybe it’s just Tony keeps trying to force his favourite’s on the belt like Sammy Guevara, Scorpio Sky, Powerhouse Hobbs and now Wardlow and it just ends up hurting the wrestlers more than helping. The AEW International Championship now feels like everything the TNT Championship used to be.
Wardlow cutting his hair was a bad idea but putting him with Arn Anderson could work in the long term. My issue is that I feel like Wardlow as a singles competitor has limitations and what I want more than anything is for Wardlow and Powerhouse Hobbs to become a powerhouse tag team that destroys everyone. It was AEW who put this thought in my head and I’m running with it until I get it. But let me fantasy book for a second.
A little way up I mentioned that the Hardy’s are back on their retirement run. There’s talk that Edge is finishing up in WWE. Doesn’t it make sense for Edge and Christian to face The Hardy’s as the farewell to the Hardy’s? It doesn’t have to be the last matches of Christian and Edge, but it makes sense for them to be their opponents. I feel like that could be in the cards in the future. If that’s the case, maybe Christian Cage shouldn’t be winning the TNT Championship?
It’s possible that Luchasaurus turns on Christian Cage to cost him the match, which wouldn’t really make Wardlow look strong, but I feel it’s on the table with everyone’s reaction to Luchasaurus not being the guy to face Wardlow for the title. No matter which way they go I think Wardlow retains. Once he does, AEW needs to figure out a way to get him hot again. Him squashing people is a been there done that. They need to have Wardlow beat credible contenders like Christian Cage on a semi regular basis.
I’m not as hard on The Outcasts as others have been. I think they are a good little faction for the women’s division. It’s a bit of a weird dynamic because Saraya is certainly the mouthpiece but Toni Storm is the in-ring general for the trio. She has the most history with Jamie Hayter and lost the championship to her. In a lot of ways that loss is what led to The Outcasts. Unfortunately telling that story has been a bit dysfunctional for the company. Especially since Britt Baker has made herself involved in Cole vs. Jericho and hasn’t been 100% to this story.
The other problem is that Jamie Hayter seems hurt so this might not be the long competitive rematch they want it to be. It would be unfortunate for her run to end here but she needs to be healthy for All In, where she can get her rematch then. I expect this to be short and storyline driven and maybe build to Hikaru Shida vs. Toni Storm to happen coming out of it as she’s been aligned with Baker and Hayter.
Winner and new AEW Women’s World Champion: Toni Storm
The true main event.
The point of this program is basically running the CM Punk and FTR vs. The Elite story that people want but will never get. Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta as heels have been playing the role of antagonists to everything The Elite represent. They are hardcore violent pro wrestlers represent a throwback to the way wrestling used to be and the motivation of bringing that back by any means necessary. The Elite are the heart and soul of All Elite Wrestling, originals who try to bring a hybrid of styles and attitudes and a progressive set of mind to what the business should be.
The program has been awesome. The final go home show wasn’t as strong as other weeks but as someone who saw Kenny Omega versus Jon Moxley in a steel cage live, I can tell you that this is connecting on every level.
It will be interesting to see if Don Callis tries to get involved or if they hold that off for later. Konosuke Takeshita is returning soon and it’s hard to say whether he blames The Elite for being attacked by BCC and still aligns with Don Callis or if he sees how he was manipulated.
My issue with this is similar to my issue with The Elite vs. House of Black. We need more matches individually! Give me Hangman Page versus Claudio! Give me Kenny Omega vs. Bryan Danielson! Give me Jon Moxley and Wheeler Yuta messing with the Young Bucks! Hopefully this match isn’t the end of the program.
So who wins? Probably The Elite, and likely with Hangman Page getting the pinfall. Blackpool Combat Club has got most of the individual victories so it’ll be good for this to be the big babyface win for the night. Anarchy in the Arena might feel like a time to close the book on the program but I think you can keep going with this. Then again, Matt Jackson might need time off due to injury and Kenny Omega will be moving on to whatever Don Callis has planned for him. I think Hangman needs to get the pinfall because even though Adam Cole will get the next shot with MJF? I think it’s Adam Page getting the shot at All Out.
Winners: The Elite
This program has had a lot of criticism.
I think most of it is fair. I think Tony Khan liked the idea of a pay per view headlined by the four pillars, a term given to the “four futures of AEW” that harkens to the “Four Pillars of Heaven” from All Japan Pro Wrestling (but isn’t the same.) The problem is that they didn’t really build to it. Sammy, Jungle Jack, and Darby should have had the best singles records in AEW going into this. They should have been the clear number one, two, and three contenders. What were their last three singles matches in AEW before the three demanded a title shot at MJF’s Re-Bar Mitzvah on March 17?
Sammy Guevara had two wins against Action Andretti and a loss to Jon Moxley in December of 2022.
Jungle Boy Jack Perrry had wins against Christian Cage, Brian Cage, and Ryan Nemeth.
Darby Allin lost to Samoa Joe for the TNT Championship while having wins against Buddy Matthews and KUSHIDA in defending the TNT Championship.
So going into this, it’s not like these were the world beaters set up to take on the World Champion no matter who it was. This was the former TNT Champion, a guy who finally beat Christian Cage, and a member of JAS who was pushed towards Chris Jericho’s problems instead of having any agency for himself.
Add to this that everyone expected a four corners match but the company made it seem like instead it would be one on one. It felt like if that was the case Darby should win. Instead they had Sammy Guevara win a mini-tournament after making a promise with MJF he would lie down and lose just to get in the main event. That turned into a tag match that Jungle Jack and Darby won to get added to the main event.
During this time, Sammy Guevara and MJF as fake best friends ended up the better part of the storyline only to end it abruptly and Sammy to start acting like a kissing babies and telling kids to stay in school babyface which made no sense and gave us one of the worst shirts in AEW history. Darby Allin cut a good promo at the initial Re-Bar Mitzvah but has had some struggles showing himself as a top guy. Jungle Boy they are clearly behind but his work on the microphone has been monotone and having to cheat to beat Rush a week ago didn’t have him looking strong. The other problem is MJF hasn’t been great himself on the microphone and it’s hard to see if he’s holding back so the others can catch up or if his material just isn’t matching his delivery ability.
My hope is that in the end, the match can still deliver. And it doesn’t just have to deliver in-ring. These are four very high quality pro wrestlers. It needs to deliver storyline wise. All four men have to come out of this better than they entered. My only thinking on this is that Sammy Guevara should embrace being the villain in the match and maybe even still go through with letting MJF pin him with no struggle for heat. People should hate Sammy coming out of it. I think Darby Allin should come closest to beating MJF to set up a future rematch before MJF loses the championship. I think MJF should take some visual pinfalls but not lose the match, and show that the four men nearly beat him for the championship. I want a situation where Sammy is taken out on the outside, Darby is ready to win, and then… did I forget someone?
Yeah, Jungle Jack Perry. It’s time for him to turn heel. Jack should cost Darby the win, not because he wants to beat MJF instead, but just because he doesn’t want Darby to win over him. I want him costing Darby in a way that feels excessive and jealous, something that clearly establishes him as a heel. MJF can then toss Jungle out of the ring and Max can pin Darby to win. With Jack established as a heel, I want him to decide it’s best to follow Max if he can’t beat him.
Tinseltown Jackie Perry.
If Max gains Perry as his heater, the guy people have to beat to get to him, it adds a new dynamic to when Adam Cole and Adam Page try to come at MJF for the AEW World Championship. Jack himself in a promo said he sometimes wishes he was like Max. Have him embrace it. Make the big story coming out of this that Jack Perry had an opportunity to become AEW World Champion and gave it up to serve under MJF. And unlike a lot of others who aligned with Max, Jack is giving up everything he was to become something he isn’t. Max doesn’t need to stab him in the back. Jack put the knife there himself.
By doing this, you automatically have Darby Allin vs. Jackie Perry as a feud coming out of it, Sammy can stop this charade of trying to be a champion for kids, and MJF can survive by the skin of his teeth only to have more contenders coming his way. That’s what I hope for this.
Winner: Maxwell Jacob Friedman
Coming out of Double or Nothing, AEW has the debut of Collision on June 17 and Forbidden Door on June 23. There will be the 2nd Annual Owen Memorial Tournament, then a double header of All In at Wembley Stadium and All Out presumably in Chicago. CM Punk will be back (if he’s healthy and/or doesn’t katie kaboom again) and AEW will have their videogame Fight Forever out and hopefully a new television deal with Warner Bros Discovery. That’s a lot happening in terms of progression, growth, and success. Hopefully AEW owner and booker Tony Khan, with assistance from Will Washington and others, has planned out a way to make sure the shows going forward have a stronger focus and throughline from one to another than what we’ve recently seen. It would be good to see the overall company storylines match the progression in business.
I personally am of the opinion that Tony Khan can book Dynamite, Rampage, Collision, and Ring of Honor without being spread too thin. But it takes planning. It takes a clear mind. It takes input from others. And it means killing your darlings so the stars get the time and everyone else serves to support. You can’t make everyone happy. Don’t try to.
Double or Nothing is about gambling to decide if a bet winning should be doubled. This has been the mindset of many for AEW. If they win their opportunity to get closer to their competition with WWE is doubled. If they lose it’s the end of the company. There’s constant doom and gloom and pressure to be better. To be closer to WWE in television ratings and other metrics. I understand the weight of expectations (Trevor Dame wrote a great article on it) but I also think it might be time for people to realize AEW isn’t going anywhere. Disappointment will happen. This isn’t an all or nothing bet anymore. And while I push for the company to be better every show, I’m also aware that much like in sports, it’s almost impossible to have a perfect season. For all of the valid criticisms, there’s still a way this show delivers and sets roots for the next coming months not being merely handling the weight of expectations, but placing the foundation for the company to comfortably stand on for the coming years.
Or maybe Sabu does something absolutely nutty and we just talk about that after. Wildcard bitches! YEEEEE HAWWWWWWW!