AEW Double or Nothing showcases triumphant return, dangerous spots, bloody chaos, and, yes, a flamethrower

Posted: May 27, 2024 at 9:26 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

AEW’s annual Double or Nothing pay-per-view, used to be one of the company’s premier shows, but now, thanks to fanboy owner, Tony Khan, the show has digressed to a spot-fest, bloody, fire-infused mess.

We saw the return of Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF), former champion, who has been out recovering from injury. He let loose with a expletive-filled promo, letting everyone know that he is going to unleash hate on everyone. He then showed off a tattoo on his ankle that is hopefully fake. If not, the artist should never tattoo again. I’ve seriously seen better jailhouse tats. But, MJF’s return was probably one of the highlights of a rather predictable and ridiculous show.

I am sure I’m going to hear it from the fans of the company, who think they are part of some underground movement to save wrestling, but it’s time this is said, AEW needs to come back down to reality. Now, is there such thing as reality in professional wrestling? That depends. I’m not saying the product is all bad, there are good things about the company, such as the current champion Swerve Strickland and international star Will Osprey. The problem is not the talent in the company. I would never shit on the wrestlers’, as I have nothing but the utmost respect for them and the risks they take, but therein lies the problem. The owner, Tony Khan needs to grow a set and stop the shenanigans.

What shenanigans am I talking about, you ask?

Number one, the senseless and dangerous spots. The AEW fans are a different breed of wrestling fans, almost cult-like. They turn a blind eye to some of the ridiculousness and dangerous situations their stars are put into. Whether it be the wrestlers themselves who are coming up with the ideas for some of these ridiculous spots, producers, or Khan himself, he bares the responsibility to stop it.

Last night during Osprey’s match with Roderick Strong, Osprey was damn lucky he survived a spot where landed outside the ring on his head. The two stars were fighting for the AEW International Championship, in a match ultimately won by Osprey, but that’s besides the point. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett interfered as the referee was distracted. With Osprey lifted onto Taven’s shoulders, Bennett went for an outside dive into a clothesline. The timing was off and Osprey went crashing down to the floor, falling on his head. While Osprey was able to recover and win the match, this could have been disastrous. I honestly thought he broke his neck. There was absolutely no need for this spot. It added nothing to the match. While Osprey is considered one of the premier wrestlers in the world, his style has left him with a laundry list of injuries. At just 31-years-old, Osprey has torn his right pectoral tendon, and has permanent weakness there. The Aussie-born wrestler has suffered slip discs, two fractured heels, sciatica that causes numbness in his foot and seven concussions. In an era where CTE is more and more prevalent among athletes, this should be taken seriously. Osprey recently admitted he needs to change his style in order to lengthen his career. Last night’s mishap should have never happened. Khan needs to be an owner and a boss and step in to prevent a senseless spot like this from happening again, but that wasn’t the only spot that went awry.

During Chris Jericho’s triple-threat match against Hook and Shibata, Big Bill, formerly known as Big Cass in his NXT/WWE days, interfered in the match. In a spot with Hook, the big man was tossed over Hook’s shoulders, off the ring, onto a table on the floor. Now, when Bill landed the legs of the table were exposed, sticking out right next the the wrestler. Basically, a couple inches to the right and the table legs could have impaled or severely injured the wrestler. Once again, a spot that if simplified, could have delivered the same impact. Hook should have simply just pushed Bill, or knocked him off the ring, directly onto the table, but by flipping the much larger Bill over his back, upside down, off the ring and onto the table, there was no control. Bill landed on the end of the table, causing the table legs to stick up. Once again, another near catastrophe was avoided. But, this wasn’t the end of the ridiculousness.

WWE Hall of Famer, Adam Copeland, who we all know as Edge, was fighting Malaki Black in a barbed-wire steel cage match. The match featured plenty of violence and blood, as Black was at one point wrapped in barbed wire. During that spot, Black was wrapped up and positioned on top of a table. Copeland, who is 50, climbed to the top of the cage and proceeded to attempt an elbow drop onto Black. The problem was, Copeland somehow landed on his feet, very awkwardly, nearly missing Black all together, which the announcers tried to cover up. After that, it was clear that Copeland was hurt. At the end of the match, he was unable to walk out on his own, appearing to have an injured, if not broken ankle. Once again, this spot was not all that necessary, given the amount of violence we had already witnessed. Jumping from the top rope would have been much safer for Copeland, who isn’t a spring chicken anymore. But, AEW is always wanting to push the envelope and create big spots to make up for lack of storytelling, and it wasn’t done yet.

The most ridiculous and mind-numbing portion of the show as yet to come.

If I’m an owner of a company, my champion is closing the show. Well, last night, of course, Khan did not close the show with his champion Swerve Strickland. Strickland and Christian put on a very entertaining and well-worked match. Unfortunately, it was overshadowed by one of the stupidest matches conceived, Anarchy in the Arena. The match featured The Young Bucks, Okada and Jack Perry against FTR, Bryan Danielson, and Darby Allin. Allin already has a broken ankle but continues to wrestle. Any owner with common sense would sit his ass down, but once again, Khan is a fanboy.

In these matches, anything goes. The wrestlers can go all over he arena, hell, once, they even traveled into the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium, owned by Khan’s father. But on this night, the term ‘anything goes’ was taken to a new, stupid level. Not only was this match part of one of the worst angles in recent memory, but it was absolute garbage. This is the type of match that real wrestling fans should detest. The key spot I will talk about involved Jack Perry, who had disappeared for some minutes during the middle of the match. As he returned through the entrance, dragging Khan with him, Allin appeared with a flame thrower, yes a flame thrower. What the hell will be next, a tank or guns? Allin proceeded to fire the flamethrower at Perry, catching his legs on fire. The Bucks immediately grabbed fire extinguishers and put him out. When Perry first appeared, he was drenched in what appeared to be water. It was obvious, something was about to happen, I mean, what did he do, take a swim?

The ridiculousness continued, as Allin was strung up by his feet and lifted above the ring. I’m surprised the Bucks didn’t take the flamethrower to Allin and roast some marshmallows. The entire match was just plain stupid.

I’ve been a pro wrestling fan since I was 6 years old, so I’ve seen a lot of craziness, I mean pro wrestling is at times pretty ridiculous, but last night was not just dumb and pointless, but it also infuriated me that some of these men were put in such dangerous spots for no reason. I mean, these guys risk their bodies and lives just getting in the ring and performing, why bring a flamethrower into it or have them jumping off the top of cages onto a person wrapped on barbed wire on a table?

Last night was AEW’s 5th anniversary and I can remember day one of the company. There was so much promise and anticipation. Now, all that is gone. A company that once could fill 10,000 seat arenas, has now been reduced to 3,000 seat arenas and crappy television shows. The pay-per-views are usually really fun and interesting to watch, but last night showed that this promotion is on the way down. A company that once held a standard of strong pay-per-views has now shown that it can’t even meet that standard anymore. The big question is can the company right the ship? Khan seems to think that signing stars like Mercedes Mone (FKA Sasha Banks) to big time money deals will help, but it’s really showing that WWE knew how to promote Banks, who is talented, but is not a huge draw like she and Khan think she is. So, to keep relevant and on the minds of the casual wrestling fan, the promotion has started to lower itself to needless and dangerous spots, and now actual weapons used in warfare. It’s starting to look like AEW just a chaotic mess. Visions of WCW are dancing in my head.

If Khan can perhaps get out of his own way, stay off television, stop pandering to fans and take his role as the boss and owner seriously, things could be righted. He could also prevent his talent from possibly ending their careers or even worse with unneeded, stupid and overblown spots.

So, Tony Khan, AEW writers, producers, or whoever the hell is in charge at that circus of a wrestling promotion, hopefully you all will wake the hell up and realize that there is no need to risk the bodies and lives of your superstars with unneeded spots. These men and women are damn talented and can entertain the masses without the flamethrowers and botched unneeded spots. They are not stuntmen.

Then again, after last night’s shenanigans, I wouldn’t be surprised to turn on Dynamite on Wednesday night to see a wrestler wielding an AK 47, because, well, those fans or marks, who only watch AEW, think it’s cool, just like the company’s fanboy owner.

(Photo courtesy AEW)