AEW Double or Nothing 2022 HOT TAKE
Neon flashes. Thick smoke. Laughter strikes through the darkness. Chaos abounds. Sweat drips. Smiles widen. Pulses throb. It's that moment. You are sitting there, the center of the universe, with more money than you ever expected to have in your hands. The exit is mere steps away, and you turn, content with your winnings, but then…
The lights dance. The sounds enrapture. The lure is there. The tease of something grander, something better to leave with. The promise of a new future, of grandiose dreams, of happiness found without being earned. The dice beckons you. The dealer smirks. Just one more chance of fate.
You stand there, breathlessly. This is it. Everything everywhere, all at once. Double or Nothing and you take that chance, willing a fortune to be manifested before your eyes, all while realizing you may have indeed sacrificed everything for one dreadful dive off a cliff into nothingness….
That, in many ways, is the story of All Elite Wrestling and its rise to prominence in the world of combat sports. AEW President Tony Khan took the chance on something he loves and believed in and rolled those dice, manifesting the letter AEW into the hearts and souls of diehard professional wrestling fans thirsty for meaningful professional wrestling that brought them the delicacy of the most celebrated stars and the most amazing pro wrestling styles under one roof with the absolute best in production and presentation.
Tony Khan scored Snake Eyes and in doing so, created an entire universe where we are all the High Rollers relishing in victory, and now, this weekend, AEW celebrates the third-annual Double or Nothing, returning to the original scene of the crime, the Vegas Strip and the only way you can attend this VIP soiree internationally is right here on FITE, the exclusive home of all things AEW Double or Nothing!
This Sunday, AEW Double or Nothing will feature the following monumental clashes inside the squared circle:
AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - Hangman Page vs. CM Punk
Since returning to professional wrestling at The First Dance in Chicago, CM Punk has taken AEW by storm in a relentless quest to once again prove that he is, indeed, "The Best in the World." Whether it be Powerhouse Hobbs, MJF, Darby Allin or countless other tremendous talents who has clashed with, Punk has been laser-focused on toppling all foes, intent on becoming the World Heavyweight Champion.
To accomplish that goal at Double or Nothing, Punk will have to face and defeat the reigning and defending World Champion, Hangman Adam Page, a ferocious fighter not all that different from Punk in terms of career accomplishments. Like Punk, Page scratched and clawed and fought from the fringes of the smallest pro wrestling events, match by match and battle by battle to earn his stripes, win over his fans and leave blood, sweat and tears behind for championship victories and golden title belts. From Kenny Omega to Chris Jericho and beyond, Page has more than proven his importance in the annals of AEW's majestic history.
Each has defined their careers by striking down naysayers and opponents alike, finding themselves in the epicenter of the most emotional battles and moments in modern day pro wrestling history. Now, at Double or Nothing, as weeks of antagonism and anger threaten to boil over into all out rage, Punk the conquering hero who returned home to professional wrestling with nothing to prove to anyone but himself and Page, the everyman who has everything to lose, each stand at the most important moment of their lives.
Only one man can be the champion. Only one man can walk away victorious. But, two men will enter and two men will leave their lives changed forever. This is the stuff legends are made up, the time capsule moments that are celebrated generations from now. Punk vs. Hangman. Everything on the line.
AEW Women's World Champion Thunder Rosa vs. Serena Deeb
Right now should be the honeymoon moment for Thunder Rosa as she enjoys the glory, basking in her AEW Women's World Championship reign. Indeed, life should be sweet right now for the hybrid MMA and pro wrestling competitor. But,instead of being able to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment, Mexico's beloved daughter has found herself pursued from all directions and from all challengers with hardly a moment to rest. Instead, her every waking moment is preparing for the next title defense or battling it out with the strongest competition in the world.
At Double or Nothing, Rosa may indeed face her greatest challenge since capturing the championship in the shape of the Woman of 1,000 Holds herself, Serena Deeb. AsDeeb emotionally explained recently on AEW Dynamite, she has endured all of the trials and tribulations that come with being a competitor at the strongest, harshest level in professional wrestling and it has hardened her heart and her soul. However those same obstacles have also hardened her knife-sharp skills and made her a much more determined, dangerous competitor. She isn't The Professor for nothing - she has strung together the most impressive series of victories imaginable in recent months. If anyone is primed for battle this weekend, it is Serena Deeb.
Thunder Rosa has immersed herself in some of AEW's most bloody and vicious matches and has never shied away from any competitor. She can wrestle, she can fly, she can brawl, but in Deeb, she faces a master strategist who can x-ray her opposition's greatest assets and turn them into weaknesses. For Thunder Rosa to be successful, she will truly have to dig in deep and bring forth the truest sense of fighting spirit she's ever shown inside the ring. For FITE fans worldwide, yet another chapter of women's wrestling greatness will be inscribed at Double or Nothing.
THE OWEN HART FOUNDATION TOURNAMENT FINALS
Owen Hart was one of the most competitive, creative and compassionate souls who ever graced the professional wrestling world and he was, like so many great men, gone too soon. His legacy has never, ever been in question but now, thanks to a partnership between All Elite Wrestling and The Owen Hart Foundation, his legacy has once again been actively celebrated inside the squared circle.
In recent weeks, the Men's and Women's Owen Hart Foundation Tournament has been ongoing and this weekend, live on FITE, the finals of the tournament will emanate from Las Vegas. While the finalists are still to be determined as FITE goes to press, the finalists all but guarantee epic encounters this weekend.
With Dr. Martha Hart and the Hart family in attendance, some of AEW's most elite competitors will pay tribute to the legacy of someone who truly embodied everything that was great about professional wrestling while striving to have their own moment of glory inside the ring. They had endured some of the greatest competition assembled from across the globe seeking to prove themselves as the best in the world, not just for themselves and the global audience that follows AEW, but to do so in honor of Owen Hart.
Owen Hart was a competitor who changed lives, inspiring countless individuals with his performances and victories inside the ring. Now, a new generation of world class grapplers and fighters pay tribute to the King of Harts by striving to become the King and Queens of the first-ever Owen Hart Foundation Tournament, rocketing themselves to the next level of their careers in the process.
MJF vs. WARDLOW
MJF is a hated man. That is not news. Since the advent of All Elite Wrestling, he has held everyone in contempt. His fellow wrestlers, his fans, management and even his own parents have been the target of MJF's scorn and verbal assaults, but if there is one man who has endured the brunt of MJF's rage, anger and disdain the most, it's his own employee, his own muscle, Wardlow.
Wardlow was never supposed to be part of AEW. As of this writing, he's not even an "official" AEW competitor, as he's contractually obligated to MJF. He was there to blunt the attacks on MJF and to be the obstacle in the way of anyone attempting to take MJF down. Wardlow was a fearless, loyal bodyguard, standing tall through all the trials and tribulations of Maxwell Jacob Friedman's AEW career, from battles with Cody Rhodes to Chris Jericho to CM Punk, but eventually, Wardlow's own in-ring success led to MJF's jealousy and disgust towards the one man who had remained steadfast and loyal to AEW's chief antagonist.
In recent weeks, that relationship has exploded with Wardlow after CM Punk's victory over MJF at Double or Nothing when it appeared he was coming to assist, but instead left MJF exposed and defeated. Declaring on AEW+ during an edition of Dynamite that he was done tolerating the abuse, Wardlow stated he would no longer work for MJF. Of course, in MJF's eyes, Wardlow was under contract to him, not AEW, and that meant Wardlow was his abuse. After enduring weeks of slander and physical abuse, Wardlow earned his Double or Nothing showdown and if he emerges victorious, he is free and clear from all contractual obligations, paving the way for the insanely popular star to kick off a new chapter in his life as a full-fledged AEW competitor.
But, what if he doesn't win? What horrors and angst could MJF conjur to continue to torment Wardlow? This could be the moment of exhilaration for Wardlow, or it could be the doorway to descending into yet another round of horrific nightmares at MJF's hands. These intense personalities will intersect in an explosive confrontation this Sunday, live on FITE.
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
AEW World Tag Team Champions Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy vs. FTW Champion Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Keith Lee & Shane Strickland - If there is one hallmark of professional wrestling that AEW has helped champion and normalize back into the main event landscape, it is tag team wrestling.
This weekend, live on FITE, the reigning and defending champions Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus will step into a most chaotic championship defense against two teams that alone could easily shock the world, but each challenging the champions at the same time could provide one of the most awe-inspiring, heart stopping encounters of the evening at Double or Nothing.
Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs, mentored by Taz, have cut a path of rage through AEW's tag team roster. Cocky and determined, they have stopped at nothing to impose their will and showcase their badassery in the ring. Their arrogant pursuit of victory has placed them into the direct path of Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland, who have arrived in All Elite Wrestling seeking to make their mark and accentuate their own individual legends inside the ring and beyond. As their rivalry has grown in recent months, the only thing hotter than the anger forged against each other is the quality of competition that has radiated inside the ring.
But, to be the best, they each need to be the champions - and to dethrone Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, they would have to decipher the ultimate riddle of defeating a team that has toppled everyone in their path, including the Lucha Brothers, while being mentored by one of the greatest tag team minds of all time in Christian Cage. Making this an even harder quest to accomplish, they'd have to do it while contending with the other team.
AEW has been the epicenter of great tag team wrestling since its inception and this Sunday will be no exception as FITE fans across the globe will once again stand witness to the grandeur of tag team greatness with the gold on the line.
LEGENDARY TEAMS COLLIDE
If there are two sets of brothers who define the greatness of their generation, they are Matt and Jeff Hardy and Nick and Matt Jackson. Indeed, the two teams may be the opposite sides that fuse into one indelible coin of in-ring excellence.
Matt and Jeff, The Hardy Boyz, dominated TLC matches and championship gold from the 1990s through today. If there was one team that proved to be their successor, indeed, it is The Young Bucks, who like the Hardys dominated their local independent scene before graduating to tag team supremacy across the globe.
Now, at Double or Nothing, two of the most legendary tag teams of all time face off for the first time in All Elite Wrestling. It was a moment that every discerning observer of professional wrestling knew would be coming, but shockingly, it came far sooner than anyone could have ever suspected.
After Jeff Hardy was eliminated from the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament at the hands of the Undisputed Elite's Adam Cole, The Bucks came to the ring to condescendingly show their "concern and respect" for Hardy. That sparked a renewed spark within the Hardys, leading to challenges and confrontations that will explode when the bell rings this weekend live on FITE.
Fans who live for great in-ring action, synchronized offensive maneuvers, awe-inspiring aerial assaults and fast-paced tag team warfare will see all of that and move explode before their very eyes like Independence Day fireworks. A tag team grudge match that spans generations will celebrate the greatness of in-ring competition and the fierce, personal rivalries that come from those conflicts unfolds this weekend, live on FITE.
ANARCHY IN THE ARENA
War forges strange alliances and forces competitors to evolve in the heat of battle. This weekend at Double or Nothing, the first-ever Anarchy in the Arena battle threatens to rip apart the Las Vegas Strip, leaving nothing but rubble and broken dreams in its wake.
Chris Jericho's Jericho Appreciation Society proclaims to celebrate the sports-entertainment aspect of the sport, leaving the former AEW World Champion and his followers at odds with those who seek the glory of bloody, broken brokes and sheer competition inside the ring, believing themselves to be fighters of the highest and most dangerous order, including William Regal's Blackpool Combat Club of Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley as well as Yonker's favorite son Eddie Kingston and his blood brothers, Santana and Ortiz, themselves former Jericho allies.
After attempting to goad his enemies into a Stadium Stampede match, Jericho instead found himself immersed into a most dangerous challenge - a Street Fight where anything goes, anarchy rules and everyone can and probably will go wrong. This ten man war of attrition could change the course of careers and AEW itself. Indeed, nothing may ever be the same, again.
As if all that wasn't enough, a trios match of insane possibilities will go down in Las Vegas as The House of Black and Death Triangle finally face off, as the united forces of Pac, Rey Fenix and Penta Oscuro will do battle with Malakai Black and his dark army of Brody King and Buddy Matthews. The only thing grander than the sheer level of talent inside the ring is the level of hatred across the board for all involved.
Of course, FITE viewers should be sure to tune in early for The Buy In as one of the most unique and eccentric tandems in All Elite Wrestling history, HOOK and Danhausen will unite officially in the ring for the first time ever, taking on the unlikely duo of Tony Nese and Smart Mark Sterling.
For three years, AEW has accentuated and exemplified the greatness of professional wrestling competition, producing magical action and creating indelible memories for fans across the globe. This Sunday, exclusively for FITE viewers internationally, AEW celebrates three years of acclaimed action and kicks off yet another year of authentic elite action that will define the professional wrestling landscape for generations to come….
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.