Thursday, May 23, 2024

AEW Double or Nothing 2024 Preview & Predictions

Sixth annual.  In 2019 did anyone think with any certainty that AEW would be successful enough to eventually have a sixth annual show?  In an industry where WWE had enjoyed a virtual monopoly over the North American market for 18 years the prospect of any other wrestling company taking this big a slice of that pie was thought to be a pipedream.  But here we are, five years after the company's PPV debut, talking about the sixth annual Double or Nothing, and we're less than a year from Dynamite eclipsing WCW Nitro's run as a TV show.  Not bad for a company we've been told since day one is "dying."

The PPV lineup this time is quite a mish-mash of wrestling matches, and while the show is kind of missing that one can't-miss bout, one thing I'll say about the build is that it's been extremely focused.  Every Dynamite segment and most Collision segments have been put together with the intention of adding interest to the respective PPV matches.  Anyone still claiming AEW doesn't tell stories at this point is either lying or doesn't watch the show.  There are stories all over the place and nearly every segment lately has played into them in some way.  So can we put a moratorium on the bullshit now?  

Let's get into it....

Orange Cassidy vs. Trent Beretta

This is one of the more emotional stories happening right now, as the former Best Friends are finally on a collision course (no pun intended).  These two know each other really well, Orange is always great, Trent is way better than his current station would indicate, and there's plenty of heat here.  Plus Don Callis has been supposedly scouting Orange for his stable, but I think Trent will be the one who ultimately joins.  Thus I think Callis gets involved to screw over Cassidy so this feud can continue.

Pick: Trent  

FTW Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Hook vs. Katsuyori Shibata

Well thanks to a double submission on Bryan Keith, both Hook and Shibata qualified for this match, and "Learning Tree" Chris Jericho, ever the phony optimist, was fine with it.  Jericho's new character is great, and his feud with Hook will obviously continue for another cycle.  Shibata's gonna be the one taking the pin here.

Pick: Jericho retains

AEW Trios Championship: Bang Bang Gang vs. Death Triangle

I'm glad this got added, as a) the Trios titles need to be built back up and b) this match should be fantastic.  Great to see Death Triangle finally at full power again.  I would guess BBG retains since they just won the titles a month ago but a Death Triangle win wouldn't surprise me either, as they helped bring prestige to these belts in the first place.

Pick: Bang Bang retains

AEW International Championship: Roderick Strong vs. Will Ospreay

This one still baffles me a little; I'm not sure why they're having Will go after a title so low in the pecking order.  The build to this has actually been really good and the match should slap like crazy, but Ospreay as International Champion seems kinda beneath him.  The only thing I can think of is Will wins the title here and feuds with Adam Cole, back to avenge his friend's loss.  Maybe we'll get Ospreay vs. Cole at Forbidden Door and MJF will return there, in Long Island?  I'm still hoping for Okada vs. Ospreay at Wembley for the Continental Title, but maybe they'll both be champs going into that?

Pick: Anyway I think Ospreay wins here

Jon Moxley vs. Konosuke Takeshita

This one is an IWGP Title eliminator match where Takeshita will get a title shot if he wins.  To that end I'd have him win here and do the rematch at Forbidden Door.  I know part of the reason this isn't a title match is IWGP doesn't like to advertise multiple title matches at once, and Mox is already scheduled against Evil at Dominion, god help us.  But if the plan wasn't always for Takeshita to win here it should be now.  Dude desperately needs a high-profile win and it would add to the list of former AEW Champions he's defeated.  Mox can get his win back for the title next month.

Pick: Takeshita

AEW Women's Championship: Toni Storm vs. Serena Deeb

This should be technically quite great.  Storm is awesome and has recently found the right balance of character and in-ring, and Deeb is a consummate pro.  Deeb should play the heel here as her babyface attempts haven't landed and no one wants to boo Toni.  Toni's obviously retaining as they're still building toward Toni vs. Mariah, maybe at Wembley?

Pick: Toni retains

TNT Championship Barbwire Cage: Adam Copeland vs. Malakai Black

This is the hardest one for me to predict, as it could really go either way.  Cope hasn't had the title very long but Malakai could certainly use a singles championship run.  The match should be a wild one with plenty of crimson.  The way things were left on Dynamite it feels like Cope is winning; you don't do the bloodbath gimmick and then come up short, right?  But I wouldn't be surprised if Black finally got a big win either.

Pick: I'll go with Cope to retain I guess.

TBS Championship: Willow Nightingale vs. Mercedes Moné

Finally we've arrived at the in-ring debut of Mercedes, who's tried her damndest to cut babyface promos since her debut, with limited success.  She's starting to turn heel and it's already beginning to pay off; she's simply a natural villain and her charisma and gimmick work so much better in that role.  But in the ring is where she really shines, so it'll be great to see her hopefully shut down all the critics with a definitive performance.  Poor Willow isn't getting a very long visit with this title but maybe she'll win it back in six months.  Also Kris Statlander is probably gonna turn heel.

Pick: Mercedes

Anarchy in the Arena: The Elite vs. Bryan Danielson/Darby Allin/FTR

Pity about Eddie Kingston getting hurt but in all honesty Darby is a better fit for this feud.  Darby's been there since day one and embodies the original AEW spirit better than anyone in this match.  Danielson and FTR are former WWE guys but they've also made very clear how much they love being AEW guys, so they fit here.  But man, The Elite have been so much fun to watch since Matt and Nick became power-hungry jerks on TV.  I'm loving this angle, I'm loving Jack Perry as a cauldron of resentment, and I'm loving Kazuchika Okada as a smarmy douchebag.  Keep this going for many months.  My prediction is Hangman Page FINALLY returns here, keeps everyone guessing who he's siding with, and ultimately picks The Elite, whether on the PPV itself or on a future Dynamite.  That sets up Blood & Guts 2024, with Page/Okada/Perry/Bucks vs. Swerve/Danielson/Darby/FTR (three guys from the Seattle area!), and Page can get a win over Swerve to set up a title match at All In.  Book that shit.

Pick: The Elite

AEW Championship: Swerve Strickland vs. Christian Cage

For a feud where there's zero doubt who's winning, they've done a great job of making Cage look like a real threat.  Cage and his entourage got the better of Swerve for weeks, even turning Swerve's own stable against him.  Plus they've set up issues between Swerve and the Bucks, which should lead to the AEW Champ being involved in the company's hottest program again.  This build has been great.  And the match should be great.  Swerve is obviously winning as he should.

Pick: Swerve retains

So yeah, this lineup has plenty of stuff to like and may very well overdeliver.  AEW's on a roll of two consecutive 10/10 PPVs in 2024, so the bar is very high, but Double or Nothing should end up a helluva show.

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