Double or Nothing 2021 Predictions
That’s what AEW President Tony Khan keeps saying All Elite Wrestling Double or Nothing 2021 is going to lead to like he’s doing his worst Gedo impression.
It’s a spicy time for AEW. There’s right now never a dull moment in the U.S. pro wrestling scene because of the company, officially entering its third year (January may have technically been the beginning but Double or Nothing in 2019 was the first event) with a strange amount of momentum. Strange due to how this year has gone. Revolution was supposed to be AEW showing it could do what the WWE refused to ever try in an exploding barbwire deathmatch, and attempt ended up being a dud bomb. The company tried to excuse its way out of it but it led to even WWE making fun of them on live television, which they entirely deserved.
But it really didn’t matter because NXT pulled out of the Wednesday Night War, allowing AEW to proclaim victory. That victory led to over a million viewers in the United States watching Dynamite as NXT left, though that viewership has dropped to their head to head levels due to the overwhelming popularity of the NBA playoffs this year. People still watch Dynamite but it moves to the DVR in favour of basketball. Soon after another disappointing finish in the Blood and Guts match between Inner Circle and Pinnacle had Chris Jericho falling on some boxes covered with a blanket. Live people said it looked great. Watching on television it felt like Jericho was crashing into a ball pit (of course, the lame fall ended up legitimately injuring him which is rare for Jericho to be hurt. He’s still making television with a giant arm cast) and felt like AEW just didn’t know how to present an exciting finish to the audiences in gimmick matches.
Luckily they do know how to finish regular matches fine. Darby Allin’s TNT championship run has carried AEW into the spring, culminating in his fantastic loss to Miro, establishing Miro as the monster heel the company has needed since the untimely passing of Mr. Brodie Lee. The Young Bucks heel turn has been a success due to fantastic matches that are not their usual throw everything including the kitchen sink and instead working smart 80s territory heel matches. The aerosol can of air might be the worst illegal weapon since a tennis racket unfortunately, but otherwise it’s been great matches.
For the most part Dynamite has been a great weekly show, and in 2022 they will be getting a new home on TBS. With the National Hockey League’s B package moving to Turner Sports it’s clear that Turner wants to keep Wednesday Night Hockey a thing. AEW had a contractual hold on the Wednesday night slot on TNT but they were able to negotiate moving to TBS with an extra eight figures added to their contract and four TV specials on TNT to compliment the four pay per views. A new show in Rampage will debut this summer on TNT and move to TBS as well. The Mothership as Dusty Rhodes used to call it will be the home of All Elite Wrestling in 2022. We have to get there first.
I’m honestly impressed with how many matches AEW was able to announce for this card. It’s a stacked card. But what makes the amount of matches even better is it means the usual problem of All Elite Wrestling letting their matches linger a little too long shouldn’t happen tonight. They can’t afford for any match to do that when they got three hours to get through it all.
Double or Nothing 2021 Buy-In Match
NWA Women’s Championship
Riho vs. Serena Deeb (c)
Serena Deeb just returned from an injury and showed there was no rust on her, putting such a commanding performance against Red Velvet that people were proclaiming her the best women’s wrestler in North America as the match finished. Despite never making an appearance in the National Wrestling Alliance, Deeb has been an excellent secondary women’s champion for AEW. Riho, THE ACE, THE DRAW, is back in All Elite Wrestling and that makes me very happy. Deeb will have to play the aggressor which she proved against Velvet she can do well. It would be nice to see Riho win but I think Deeb is expected to hold the title longer until NWA figures out when they want their belt back.
Prediction: Serena Deeb wins one of the best matches of the night
Double or Nothing 2021
AEW World Tag Team Championship
Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley vs. The Young Bucks (c)
The booking of Jon Moxley since he lost his AEW World championship has been a failure in my eyes. From the fart of a finish in the exploding barbwire deathmatch to him constantly allowing himself to get gang beaten by Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers (the Revolution match was ruined before the lack of explosion due to constant interference. The lack of explosion just meant the match ended up even worse) without much of a reply. Eddie and Mox once “ran into the Elite trailer” with a truck but in reality they ran into an empty trailer. The idea was they were in it and ran away but it obviously didn’t look like it. Mox and Eddie’s response to the Bucks disrespect was just to trash an empty locker room. Hey, it’s the Young Bucks who book the tag division and it’s very obvious when you see these weak sauce WWE angles play out. Thankfully, they finished strong as Eddie and Moxley finally beat down the Young Bucks and stole their shoes. The only way to salvage this is if Eddie and Moxley ended up defeating the Young Bucks, whose bane is clearly two strong singles wrestlers getting one over the two brothers. Omega and Page did it. Time for Mox and Eddie to do it. It’ll also mean there’s a top champion in the company (I don’t count Deeb since she’s carrying the NWA Women’s Championship) that leans babyface and that’s needed going into the summer. Gold on Moxley will be nice again, and for Eddie Kingston? It’s the greatest story in pro wrestling today.
Prediction: Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley become AEW Tag Team Champions
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. FTW Champion Brian Cage
Hangman had been rebuilding his name with wins on Dynamite each week until he ran into The Machine. With a sneak attack at the start, Cage absolutely destroyed Adam Page and took him out of World championship contention, which was a road leading to former partner Kenny Omega. I predicted this to happen (I felt it would be either Cage or Miro doing so) and I’m glad they went ahead with it. On Friday Dynamite, a bloody Hangman Page confronted Cage and told him to make it a one on one match without help of Team Taz, which Cage was happy to accept. Team Taz had been having issues with Cage saying he agreed with something Sting said a few weeks back and Hangman might have re-opened the wound. It will be interesting to see where this leads. It could be the sleeper match of the night. Expect the Cowboy to win and get back on track for a summer tour towards Kenny Omega for the AEW World championship. I’m sure it’ll be better than last summer.
Prediction: Yee (and I cannot stress this enough) Haw it’s Adam Page
Casino Battle Royale
Winner gets an AEW World title shot
Participants: Christian Cage vs. Matt Sydal vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Jungle Boy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Marq Quen vs. Isiah Kassidy vs. The Blade vs. Evil Uno vs. Colt Cabana vs. Preston “10” Vance vs. Griff Garrison vs. Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Max Caster vs. Anthony Bowens vs. QT Marshall vs. Nick Comoroto vs. Dustin Rhodes vs. Lee Johnson vs. TBA
AEW loves their battle royales and ladder matches to get a bunch of people who didn’t have programs get onto the card. What disappoints me is that the Lucha Underground Aztec Warfare concept is right there, a rumble with minute intervals for entrance but you have to win by pinfall or submission. That allows the flyers to fly and the plunderers to plunder without losing by out of ring elimination. Either way, Christian Cage really sticks out in this match filled with mostly tag team wrestlers. The only other guy I could see winning beyond Christian Cage is Jungle Boy. Not your time yet Jack.
Prediction on Mystery Entrant: Someone from NJPW, either Satoshi Kojima or KENTA or someone else
Prediction on Winner: Christian Cage, getting the title shot against Kenny at Fight For the Fallen/Fyter Fest
Anthony Ogogo with The Factory vs. “The American Dream” Cody Rhodes with Arn Anderson
The match that has caused the internet to lose their minds. Anthony Ogogo has been fantastic as the heel boxer with a bad eye trying to spit in the eye of America (despite the fact he’s in a faction full of Americans… oh well) winning matches not with great wrestling but a devastating punch that caves the ribs of opponents. Cody Rhodes has already beaten Aaron Solow and QT Marshall in The Factory, and even though QT is the friend who betrayed him and the leader of The Factory, it’s obvious from the jump that Ogogo is the star. In the build up, Cody Rhodes cut a promo that was… mediocre, pushing a confusing narrative of American nationalism and trying to weave in the fact his father was The American Dream and his wife is about to have a baby. It wasn’t a good promo, but it wasn’t the worst promo in AEW that month (see most of Scorpio Sky’s promos and Matt Jackson on BTE trying to get heat on Eddie Kingston by saying he wrote his contract and didn’t pay him a lot) but boy, American nationalism sure gets the internet riled up! It’s like they just started watching pro wrestling today or something. Even if you detest nationalism in promos, it should just make you shrug. Instead people have created narratives in their head that Cody Rhodes is a white supremacist Trump supporter without any proof just because… they don’t like the vibes he gives. It’s ridiculous.
Ogogo meanwhile is doing his best to be a big heel, pointing out all of the flaws in America and bragging about being a superstar in the United Kingdom. Folks. He’s from the United Kingdom. They do not hold any high ground on the United States. They are just as bad. They just ran off a member of the Royal Family TO THE UNITED STATES because they hated the fact he married outside of the pale white gene pool. How is this not obvious? But no, now you got people cheering for Ogogo and calling him a babyface to the point where Ogogo has almost come out to say, “FOLKS IF YOU CHEER ME INSTEAD OF BOO ME THEN I’M DOING A SHIT JOB AS A HEEL” and people don’t care. Ogogo now looks like a failed heel and Cody looks like… well, most patriotic American babyfaces. He gets cheers from the fans and boos on the internet. Sigh.
What happened to the days of people understanding that booing a heel means THE HEEL IS DOING THEIR JOB and the way to show that a babyface isn’t over is to MAKE ZERO NOISE AND NOT TALK ABOUT THE BABYFACE? Oh right, they are gone. This was a cool promo. The internet ruined it. Thanks. Can’t wait for Anthony Ogogo to start calling himself pro American just to get heat.
Prediction: Cody Rhodes, angering the internet who for some reason doesn’t understand how a patriotic American is a babyface in an American promotion
“All Ego” Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky vs. Sting and Darby Allin
Darby Allin is my current wrestler of the year. Every promo and every title defence for the TNT Championship was excellent. He carried the show while Omega and the Bucks did their terrible storylines pretending to be top guys. Allin established himself that he was. Darby, Orange Cassidy, and Britt Baker seem to be the first stars AEW developed for the television audience without TV experience outside of AEW. The Sting combination has worked pretty well as an old guy lending his credibility to Darby. The fist bump they gave each other before Allin lost the TNT Championship to Miro was an amazing moment. Instead of going right back at Miro, Darby has focused his attention on the two trolls that helped injure him before the Miro match. Scorpio Sky’s heel turn was needed but boy does he have to get better at promos. At least he’s competent in the ring. Ethan Page on the other hand you either love him or hate him. I’ve thought Ego has been great for years now and he’s finally getting promo time and showing what he can do with time in the ring. Ethan and Darby go way back to EVOLVE where they had some drag out brawls and I feel this is setting up those two to face off in a singles match for a big Dynamite down the road. This being Sting’s first match in six years without any smoke and mirrors it’ll be fun to see if he’s more mobile than Chris Jericho right now. Give me a couple Stinger splashes and I’ll be content.
Prediction: Sting and Darby Allin
AEW TNT Championship
Lance Archer with Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Miro (c)
Were you with Miro from the start? Be honest. I was. I understood what Tony Khan was trying to do. He needed to be rebuilt. A lot of former WWE guys can’t just walk in and be what they used to be or else they’ll flounder. From Shawn Spears to Jake Hager to Mr. Brodie Lee to Miro, there’s a real plan to build these guys back up with new bricks. Miro seemed like a gamer who didn’t care until his rage from losing matches bubbled to the top and he destroyed the man he was “The Best Man” for in Kip Sabian. Since then he was on a warpath with the most dominant wins in the company until going head to head with Darby. While Darby had an injury excuse it was clear who the better man was. Sorry, The Best Man. Lance Archer is a perfect first opponent. The match should be fantastic and could steal the show for being a vulgar display of power. I expect Miro to hold that title until they get a babyface ready to topple him. Could it be Darby? Maybe. We’ll see where it goes. Until we get there, there’s no question we’re on the road to a full potential Miroslav Barnyashev the likes we’ve never witnessed.
Prediction: Miro retains
AEW Women’s Championship
Britt Baker DMD with Reba vs. Hikaru Shida (c)
Hikaru Shida has become one of my favourite wrestlers in the business with the way she carries herself and the way she elevates her opponent every time. She isn’t a picture perfect wrestler but there’s no question people step up a level when they work against her. After a one year title reign through the pandemic, the company seems to have lost ideas on how to have her defend the championship, even having her in Japan for weeks to book the Japanese side of their tournament to decide her opponent. It’s pretty clear it’s time for her to drop the title, and everyone knows it. AEW has been building Britt Baker from day one. She has always been the expected star. Nobody has had more time to develop on the mic and in the ring in the company than Baker. Even with her getting injured she was still a presence almost every week. It is to the point that the fans are behind her and she’s sure to be cheered when she pins Shida to become AEW Women’s Champion. Baker has had all of that time but that isn’t to say she hasn’t developed. She’s a star in AEW. Time to crown her. That said, the way people freak out on the internet about her not having an action figure and such, I would love to see Hikaru Shida just pull it out again. Double turn anyone? No? Okay fine.
Prediction: Britt Baker
Stadium Stampede Match
The Pinnacle (MJF, Wardlow, Shawn Spears, Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler) with Tully Blanchard vs. Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Ortiz, Santana)
If Inner Circles loses they must break up forever
This has been a strange feud. The program between MJF and Chris Jericho has been going on for quite some time. The formation of Pinnacle was over a year in the making. The fake break up of Inner Circle only to build their ultimate heel opponents was well done. And then AEW puts them in Blood and Guts and Stadium Stampede in one month. It feels very quick, but it’s clear that Tony Khan considers the solo matches between faction members the real money. Sammy Guevara versus Shawn Spears. Jake Hager versus Wardlow. FTR versus Ortiz and Santana. And of course, MJF versus Chris Jericho to end the feud. Sadly this has meant that great competitors in these factions have barely wrestled in the past few months. While it gave time for other teams to get attention, the absence of Ortiz and Santana as well as FTR has been a weakness. Sammy Guevara has barely wrestled in months and on Blood and Guts he reminded us he’s one of the most exciting wrestlers in the company. Wardlow needs more reps. And Shawn Spears? Wow, he’s absolutely shown what he’s capable of. MJF as well needs more time in the ring, since I think the goal of this is to build MJF into a future World Champion. I’ll call the shot now. Winter is Coming 2? MJF will be World Champion. Until then, this feud needs to hit Stadium Stampede out of the park so people are interested in the individual matches instead of wanting this feud to die. The stipulation is one sided so I expect Inner Circle to win. That’ll give Pinnacle motivation to want to beat them individually.
Prediction: The Inner Circle
AEW World Championship
Orange Cassidy vs. PAC vs. Kenny Omega (c) with Don Callis
2021 has been a good year for AEW but it has not been a good year for Kenny Omega as AEW World Champion. After the dud ending to his rematch with Moxley to the terrible build up of getting an opponent for Kenny, it just reminds me of his disappointing IWGP Heavyweight reign facing Cody a bunch of times and seeming to care more about his BTE storylines than the title. They’ve had since Revolution to build up a quality opponent for Kenny and all they got was… uhhhh PAC and Orange Cassidy I guess. PAC makes sense as an opponent for Omega since the two have gone back and forth in big matches. Orange Cassidy is clearly in this because the crowd will be behind every Orange Punch he drops on either guy. This doesn’t feel like AEW spending two months building up the best possible World title match they could like they had with the women’s title. There’s no doubt going in this who is winning, which is disappointing, but it’s clear Tony has his mind on getting to All Out.
Prediction: Kenny Omega retains
One More Thing…
There’s a lot of speculation on what will be the main event. It makes the most sense like last year for the Stadium Stampede match to main event since if it doesn’t that means fans in attendance sitting and watching a video for 20-30 minutes and then having to get fired up for another match. But if the World Heavyweight championship main events still? I can promise you (well, I can’t, it’s just a prediction) that we will be getting a surprise appearance at the level of the one we got at Double or Nothing 2019. Tony Khan sounded pretty confident before Dynamite that he knew big things were happening. Gotta wonder if we’re talking something the size of a dragon or the size of Europe. Guess we’ll wait and see.