As we've just concluded the second version of "Double or Nothing," a lot of results took place that shaped the potential for an explosive summer within AEW. We're taking a look at five of the most important things to come out of the PPV and what it could lead to going forward.
1) The AEW Women's Division finally got it right. Since its inception, the AEW Women's Division has been (rightfully) ridiculed for not promoting their champion and being ignored on Dynamite. They had no true star to build excitement around. That all changed tonight when Hikaru Shida, arguably the most over competitor in the division, won the title in a brutal and well paced match against Nyla Rose. Credit to AEW for letting their top two stars work and wind up with a champion that everyone can get behind in Shida. The key will be to put up challengers that can provide worthwhile matches.
2) Welcome to "All Hoss Wrestling." Another criticism of the promotion was that they lacked the muscular stars that could attract fans who prefer that style of grappling. With the debut of Brian Cage, they now have Brodie Lee, Lance Archer, Wardlow, Jake Hager along with Luchasaurus to create highly anticipated feats of strength. If booked properly they can be more than just sideshows but legitimate contenders. What they will do with Cage after winning the Casino Ladder Match is the perfect opportunity to establish another star.
3) THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE. Speaking of big boy contenders, tonight we got a very interesting finish to the AEW World Title match between Lee and the champion Jon Moxley. A couple of interesting notes before discussing the big picture, for starters credit to AEW for putting this match as the semi main event. No way they were going to follow the craziness of the Stadium Stampede match, and the build going into it was 'meh.' That said, they did the right thing in putting it before the SS match, which removed the pressure for them to close out the show in potential no finish, which it looked like was going to be the end result once Moxley hit the Paradigm Shift through the entrance ramp. However, the referee stoppage gave the opportunity to create a rematch if they wish to keep the feud going. These guys showed what they could do in a limited time. Imagine if a no-DQ stipulation was involved in their next match.
4) Iron Mike's involvement was a complete dud. AEW hyped the appearance of the 'Baddest Man on the Planet' to present the TNT Championship at the end of the Lance Archer-Cody match. There was a lot of subplots going into this match and how he would get involved. Would their respective managers, or even Archer himself, take a punch from the 53-year-old former champion? Sadly, all he did was show up, make a meme-worthy face and got caught yawning during the match. Yes he urged for Arn Anderson to be ejected and got near ringside which led to the finish, but it was as if he could not get physically involved.
5) This current pandemic has opened the door for creative thinking in main event matches. Wrestling has always been about two warring factions determining who would come out the best after facing in the squared circle. While the global shutdown forced the WWE and AEW to shelve their ability to travel across the country or have fans, it has resulted in creating cinematic matches that captivate the stay-at-home audience. Whether it's the Boneyard match from WrestleMania, to last week's MITB to tonight's Stadium Stampede bout between the Inner Circle and the Elite, they have found the perfect mix of the serious with the sublime, the genius with the grappling and the wrestling with the weird. Granted it may tick off the Jim Cornette's of the world, but this is a new era we're living in. Capturing the imagination of the viewer is harder than ever with multiple options at their fingertips, and wrestling has found the pulse of what fans want, and that is a theater of the truly absurd. WWE has turned it into an art form, and tonight AEW showed that they can do it as well. Imagine a cinematic match at the Hardy Compound!