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Ricky Jackson

AEW Double or Nothing

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14 hours ago, Mad Dog said:

I thought the lack of blood really hurt Gargano/Ciampa last year. Those matches were just screaming for blood.

I think it's a big part of why a lot of WWE matches in the modern era wind up being forgettable.

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No one mentioned it I believe, but I loved the female ref actually showing authority and taking charge when the timekeeper fucked up and rang the bell. She pointed at him and showed him "TWO ! Only TWO !!" like a real referee would, not looking lost or confused for one second. Apparently, Aja cut an intimidating promo on the poor guy after the match. Wish that would have been on TV. Gotta love Aja. 

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I thought all of their refs were good minus Hebner. She was really good and I liked how she would react t the big moves. My only issue is I maybe wouldn't have sent her out for the Guevarra/Sabian match because she was noticeably taller than both guys.

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1 minute ago, Mad Dog said:

I thought all of their refs were good minus Hebner.

At one point they kinda bumped into him and he almost fell down, kinda scary. Yeah, Baby Earl should not be put into the ring too much at this point.

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1 minute ago, El-P said:

At one point they kinda bumped into him and he almost fell down, kinda scary. Yeah, Baby Earl should not be put into the ring too much at this point.

He was struggling to get to his feet a couple of times. I think @sek69 rightfully compared him to Bronco Lubich.

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Was at the show live - a tremendous night. A few notes:

- The energy in the room noticeably changed when the video package started for Cody-Dustin. The first 90 minutes of the show were good, but after that things really locked in. Dustin talked the next day at Starrcast about how overwhelming the reaction from the crowd was, how much it meant to him. (He also said he got 8 stitches and was legitimately concerned for his own well-being at points - thinking to himself "it's pumping out with the beating of my heart, that's not good.")

- I thought the Bucks being able to get the crowd to be behind the Lucha Bros was pretty amazing. I think they are setting themselves up for a heel run that is going to be excellent. Match was good, delivered with the big spots and overall construction.

- I thought the main event was a bit below the WK match because the match was constructed in a more standard modern main event way - the WK match had a really different and cool pacing, while this merely good. The reaction for Mox was insane, and I loved that he actually got involved - I feel like the TNA version of this would have involved him just staring at everyone.

- The after-show speeches from Cody and Kenny were terrific, with Kenny fighting through tears and legit busted nose to do his sign off.  

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Buy-In Preshow: This sounded like amateur hour from the indyrific participants in the battle royal to the way entrances were handled.  I'm not sure why you'd go this route to set up half of your first world title match.  Page winning makes sense on paper, but again, it seems like an odd path to get there.  Perhaps others who watched it can let me know if I'm missing anything here.

Stronghearts vs. SCU -- This was a terrific opener that stopped short of stealing the show in a fashion that everything else on the card would pale in comparison  Scorpio Sky and Lindaman were the standouts here, particularly Sky's flying.  Oddly enough the finish was the worst looking spot of the match, but not to the extent that it hurt things.  This was brisk without being rushed or feeling like a mind-numbing spotfest.  Curious to see what, if any, kind of spotlight the OWE crew get in the future as there would seem like an opportunity for them to shine if they're at all committed to working here regularly.  ***3/4

Britt Baker vs. Kylie Rae vs. Nyla Rose vs. Awesome Kong -- This was a solid match held together by Rae and especially Baker.  Kong had a great presence and didn't feel at all out of place even if she wasn't featured much beyond the surprise appearance.  Nyla Rose did nothing for me and seemed off in her timing and very unnatural in her movements.  Just didn't add anything for me.  Would love to see any of the other 3 paired up with Aja Kong, in particular, or almost any of the women in the josihi 6 woman tag down the road. ***

Best Friends vs. Angelico & Jack Evans -- Perfectly solid tag with some fun spots from Trent & Chuck that didn't quite take full advantage of their opponents' strengths but featured strong action throughout.  I liked the Rainmaker zoom out when the Best Friends hugged.  It was the kind of character focus that was generally lacking elsewhere on the show.  While there's no need to approach the mad libs nature that's pervasive on WWE TV, that kind of touch highlighting personalities and characters was generally absent on this show.  ***1/4

Aja Kong & Emi Sakura& Yuka Sakazaki vs. Hikaru Shida & Riho & Ryo Mizunami -- Kong was the star and Shida the featured attraction, but everyone looked good.  Props to the ref for not being remotely flustered by the timekeeper's error and keeping things rolling.  I know Shida's in full time but it'd be great if she's not the only one and they can somehow incorporate the Japanese women as part of the division.  ***1/2

Cody vs. Dustin: So this exceeded expectations a bit, didn't it?  It looked like everyone has noted why this was so great so no need to rehash that, but did want to note just how amazing Cody's promo calling back to Dusty in 1994 was.  I would have never guessed he'd become an ace promo but here we are.  Question: how much does blood -- and thus a match like this -- get over because its been banned on a major league level for so long?  I'm not suggesting any answer but am curious if this works as match in a wrestling world where its not such a rarity. Hopefully Dustin stays at least semi-regular once TV gets going as he clearly brings a ton to the table, but I'm definitely looking forward to Rhodes Boys vs. Bucks. ****1/4

Young Bucks vs. Lucha Bros: Pentagon & Fenix can pull off a ton of great looking offense but their matches almost always leave me cold and underwhelmed.  Little to no selling or coherent storytelling, its simply spot to spot to spot.  Given that it was no surprise I liked this less than most seemed to.  The Bucks did a lot better than most to make me care about this match, as there were a lot of neat callbacks to prior feuds/eras as well as some really original spots.  I generally enjoy the Bucks working underneath selling and building to a comeback, but they seemed to be working more as heels here, if ever so slightly.  I'm not sure what teams in or on their way in would make for a good babyface pairing we'll see what they can put together.  ***3/4

Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho: This was a terrific main event, possibly even better than their Wrestle Kingdom match from last year.  Tremendous pacing that featured strong looking offense with the key spots given more than enough time to register with the audience.  What's holding this back from being a low end MOTYC is that the finish felt very much out of nowhere without any proper stretch run, and the Jericho back elbow just didn't feel like a big time finish.  But if you're going to try and get it over as a killer move than this is how you do it.  Really surprised how great this was.  ****

Moxley: Props to them for pulling this off to generate a massive pop and set up big matches with both Omega and Jericho.  I'm not sure how they plan to keep things fresh and in front of fans' eyes until TV starts but am curious to see what they're thinking outside of the summer shows that seem like one offs.

Production / Commentary:

- I thought the commentary was a huge home run.  Marvez didn't seem to add a thing but he generally stayed quiet enough to as to not hurt the presentation at all.  We got the best possible version of Excalibur -- comedy/character bits turned off, great familiarity with wrestlers and moves, never talking over the action.  I don't know if the plan is for him or Ross to be the lead on TV but he was great here.  Jim Ross was phenomenal.  Literally great.  I thought he was an embarrassing disaster every time he called NJPW but he was engaged, motivated and did a terrific job of rising with the action, particularly on Cody vs. Dustin.  This was the one her I thought was a surefire mistake but for at least one night I was dead wrong.

- Perhaps it was the building or the general color scheme of the ropes/ring and arena, but it looked like a WCW production.  Not a bad thing in that manner.  Entrances and camera work (other than not featuring nearly as many cuts) felt way too similar to WWE and I'd hope in time they find their own voice on this front.

- The show's pacing was great.  The last things this needed was Pac/Page or another match either extending the night or cutting into anything already on the card.  Nothing felt rushed or overstayed its welcome.  The show was easy to make it through in a single sitting and they didn't waste time with filler in between matches.  Video packages were quick and to the point.  Someone in the thread mentioned they had to rush to squeeze in a bathroom break.  Unless you're in the building, that's great!  Have some respect for and don't waste the audience's time.

- In general they presented matches without much of a babyface/heel dichotomy or any attempt at developing characters or feuds.  Hopefully that'll change.  There's no need to artificially manufacture things for every match and segment like WWE, but establishing personalities, motivations and feuds beyond simply presenting "good wrestling" will go a long way come TV time.

Hard to call a show like this anything other than a home run at this stage.  Fun, easy to watch, quality wrestling up and down the card.  Will see what they build from here.

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I think you're criminally low on Cody-Dustin but I think they actually booked that match specifically for me. That's what I want my wrestling to be and one of the few matches from the past decade I will still talk about when I qualify for my AARP card. 

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On my phone so won’t go too in-depth or repeat what too many others have said but this really did feel like a huge deal and the matches that needed to deliver, did so. JR bringing his A-game back in the booth was arguably more impressive than Dustin’s performance since we know Dustin can still go but I was convinced JR was done a decade ago. My one minor gripe is that I’d say the tag division needs some variation, these lightning-fast, athletic dudes need a Demolition to work off and to break the pacing up. Moxley felt like the superstar that he always should have been in WWE and really, compare the vibrancy, energy and crowd-reactions to this show with the dead-ass, limp WWE shows of this year and it’s night and day. I’m fully behind AEW from here on in.

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Finally got time to finish this yesterday. I was interested in AEW before DOE, as everyone was, but I wasn't really tripping over myself for the product and I definitely had measured expectations. I was honestly blown away by the show. It exceeded every expectation I had. Of course the whole thing was far from "perfect", but in terms of hitting on the things I want in my wrestling, creating a buzz, and providing variety, they knocked it out of the park. 

The thing that impressed me most here was that AEW provided a show that - I think, at least - could appeal to a mass audience without being so dumbed down and contrived. That is obviously one of the major complaints waged against the WWE, so it is good to see them hit that balance, even if for one show.

The second thing I liked about this is how much it gave us to look forward to without really skimming from this show.  If they can keep doing that they will be just fine.

It is nice to see them really establishing tag team wrestling up and down the card.  Given that is one of their missions I think they established the ethos of that division really well at this point. You have 5-7 teams already on the map and of course options waiting in the wings.

Womens wrestling - and as El-P pointed out, womens refffing got some well deserved respect here. I preferred the 6 woman tag to the fatal 4 way by some margin, but once again more to look forward to in terms of match ups and dynamics.

You can already see tiers forming with certain wrestlers who feel like they could be moved into that next tier up pretty easily. I think they pretty clearly have 5 guys in the title picture (Jericho, Page, Rhodes, Omega, Moxley) and at a few guys who could be there in pretty short order or in a pinch.  It wouldn't be terribly surprising or jarring to see Penta, Fenix, or MJF slip into that picture based on DOE.

Dustin and Cody absolutely stole the show for me, tremendous match. I really wanna go back and revisit it, because that was an absolute banger.

The announce team was the only thing that I was sort of eh on, not bad, but rarely added much to the match for me. I love Excalibur. He was pretty clearly nervous though and I think his best work for AEW is in front of him. JR had his working boots on, but he was still somewhat hit or miss to me. Marvez seems to still be finding his role. All of this is completely fine because no one should expect them to be a well oiled machine first night out, but if there was one thing I would really like to see improve moving forward it is the commentary.

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I know people have been pretty critical of Marvez but I don't think he did a bad job. The announcing was so much better than any non-NXT announcingI have heard in the last 10 years or so in WWE. 

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I would maybe agree with that. Marvez certainly wasn't cringy or distracting. I just think his position on the team wasn't well defined yet. They have three guys that clearly have roles, but they just sort of bump up against one another and the chemistry is still in process. Marvez - because of his relative lack of experience in wrestling most likely - just doesn't seem to have his footing.

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That might be true. They had grandpa Jim Ross, a frumpy middle aged guy and a skinny guy in a lucha mask. It was refreshing in how non-WWE the three of them appeared. 

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I didn't think Marvez was terrible but he didn't seem to add much of anything and looked like a deer in the headlights whenever the camera was on him. He could get better with time but 3 man booths need to go away anyway. I'd be curious to hear Excalibur and JR try out as a two man team.

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From what I have heard from podcasts and stuff, Marvez’s role is supposed to be basically complimentary.  Saying what the correct hashtag for the show is, when tickets go on sale, plugging websites and stuff, and then just ooh’ing and ahh’ing for high spots.  I think if that’s what his role winds up being, it’s perfectly fine.  Excalibur is the best in the business and I expect that to continue to become clear with each passing show now that their first one is out of the way.

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I agree that Marvez could thrive there, especially if he is sort of the stat guy once they start implementing that more. If he has everything he needs in front of him and throws in the stats for Excalibur and JR to riff off of and implement into the narrative they are working on I think he could be a great addition.

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Wasn't this Marvez's first gig? In that sense it wasn't bad for being thrown in to the deep end of the pool. JR was clearly way more in his element here than he was in New Japan. Him and Excalibur have the potential to be a great team.

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JR/Excalibur trading who does PBP and who does color depending on the style/participants of a match will yield killer results.

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The absolute madman Dave Meltzer gave Cody/Dustin the full fiveboy. Yet another nail in the coffin of the "Dave only likes matches with MOVEZ" talking point.

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4 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

The absolute madman Dave Meltzer gave Cody/Dustin the full fiveboy. Yet another nail in the coffin of the "Dave only likes matches with MOVEZ" talking point.

Five is the new four, mind you.

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Just saw that 98k people purchased the show - that includes international, online, etc. based on the news story (which was pulled and maybe altered from the Observer).

Any way you slice it, that is a very respectable showing for the first show. I thought 50k would be impressive, so 98k is tremendous and, if they can sustain it for another couple shows, real proof of concept. 

AEW is batting a thousand right now in my eyes and I haven't even seen all of DoN so I'm not even talking the wrestling-side. They're crushing it at getting buzz/positive PR on social media (Ocasio-Cortez!), on reddit (inclusivity for people with sensory disorders!), in the podcast world (Moxley torching WWE Creative), and in getting a TV deal (bringing 'rasslin' back to TNT!).

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98k for a promotion based on youtube is impressive as hell.

Being 5 months aways from the TNT debut meant that DoN could've been a disaster and still wouldn't have meant much in the gran scheme of things, at the end of the day no matter how bad it could've  been the buzz leading up to their TV show was going to be a huge anyway. But DoN was home run in every way imaginable so the promotion and anticipation leading up to TNT in October is gonna be something else. This is great.

 

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Not even October, they're already announcing bookings for Fyterfest in June. The word of mouth for DoN should boost that number up anyway for the sake of curiosity, but after DoN delivered an instant classic? I see a lot of on-the-fence buyers making the jump, especially with Moxley for the more WWE-focused fan. 

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