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Double or Nothing 2024 Preview



The night is finally upon us; Sunday May 26th marks the 5th anniversary of DOUBLE OR NOTHING, the very first event in the history of  All Elite Wrestling, and we are celebrating it with a loaded pay-per-view event stacked with the absolute best professional wrestlers on the planet, and featuring five championship matches, as well as the return of Anarchy in the Arena! If you can't be in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to experience this milestone in-person, than do not miss it out on the pay-per-view broadcast available all around the world!



Be sure to visit AEW's official YouTube channel, as well as our assorted social media platforms, to watch higlights from prior episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION leading up to this PPV extravaganza, as well as the latest edition of the CONTROL CENTER and the COUNTDOWN special! Then make the trip to Los Angeles' fabulous KIA Forum for Wednesday night's DYNAMITE to experience all the fallout from DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024 live!


AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...

Swerve Strickland(c) vs. Christian Cage



There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Christian Cage, the self-proclaimed “Patriarch” is a top tier professional wrestler. Now in the 28th year of his career, the man is inarguably in the best condition of his life, and found a way to elevate his game to a whole other level, which is saying quite a bit for a man who's been World Champion seven times over the course of his career, in addition to his nine runs as a tag team champion, not to mention all the other accolades he amassed before setting foot in All Elite Wrestling at REVOLUTION 2021 three years ago.


Since his arrival in AEW, we've seen Christian Cage challenge Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship, transition into a mentorship role for Jurassic Express, ultimately betray them, warp the mind of Luchasaurus and rechristen him Killswitch, capture the TNT Championship from Darby Allin, manipulate Nick Wayne and his mother into his Patriarchy, lose the TNT Title to Adam Copeland, win it back thanks to that manipulation of Killswitch, lose it back to Copeland in a violent “I Quit” brawl, and then emerge as the top contender to Swerve Strickland's AEW World Championship. Now there are a lot of details inbetween those moments, but the point is that Christian Cage has accomplished quite a bit in his time under the AEW banner, but he's done it by leaving quite a few bodies in his wake and manipulating numerous individuals as well.


Just look back to his first year with All Elite Wrestling to see how much Christian Cage has played the game. FULL GEAR 2021 he fought The Young Bucks and Adam Cole while standing alongside “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Luchasaurus and a month before that he, JurEx, and Bryan Danielson took on the whole Elite quartet of Cole, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega! Even in 2022, the first DYNAMITE after DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2022, he was standing next to Darby Allin, Matt Hardy, and JurEx to fight The Undisputed Elite, but within a years time was doing his best to remove Darby's head from his body! If nothing else, Christian Cage has proven himself to be a master manipulator willing to jump into the proverbial bed with whoever will benefit him the most, a fact he even demonstrated last year at ALL IN: LONDON when he stepped into AR Fox's place to take on Sting and Darby Allin in that Coffin Match!


That night in London it was Swerve who ended up locked in the coffin, but clearly Christian Cage never forgot about suffering that defeat, so when a pair of old enemies named Matthew and Nicholas Jackson came calling with an offer to take out Swerve Strickland in exchange for a championship match, Christian Cage was more than willing to take them up on their offer! Since that night, Christian and his Patriarchy have done everything they possibly can to make life hellish for the AEW World Champion.


They assaulted Swerve, as well as Prince Nana, putting Nana on the shelf for weeks because of what Nick Wayne did to him on the May 1st DYNAMITE, but that wasn't the end of the humilations heaped upon the champion. With a little help from The EVPs, as well as pushing some buttons on sensitive issues for the group, Brian Cage and The Gates of Agony decimated The Mogul Embassy's existence when they dropped Swerve through the announcer's table. Even when Swerve managed to find a moment of triumph in these last few weeks, Christian Cage and his Patriarchy were there to strike him back down, such as when he garnered a measure of revenge over Brian Cage only to be bloodied and battered by The Patriarchy, most notably having a family picture with his daughter shattered across his skull.



It seemed the same situation as the past few weeks would repeat itself this past Wednesday on DYNAMITE as, after Swerve defeated Nick Wayne, he was waylaid by Killswitch and it seemed we would see the same scenario play out that we'd seen every since May 1st, but Swerve managed to turn the tide with much deserved shot to the groin of Killswitch. So with Killswitch down, and Nick Wayne out after Swerve made a House Call, Christian Cage finally had no support system to save his skin, forcing the former 2-Time TNT Champion to turn his tail and run for cover.


As can be seen in the video embedded at the top of this section, Christian's plans were stiffled by the return of Prince Nana, allowing Swerve to finally get his hands on “The Patriarch” and give him a taste of what's to come tonight at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024. Cage was in such a hurry to get away from receiving his just desserts that he may have just ran the 290 miles from Bakersfield, CA to Las Vegas to put some distance between himself and the AEW World Champion, but tonight on pay-per-view, there will be no running, no place to hide, just Swerve Strickland and Christian Cage going head-to-head with the most coveted World Championship in all of professional wrestling at stake! 



It's been almost three years since the only time “The Patriarch” ever challenged for this title, and that night at ALL OUT 2021 was one of the most historic in AEW's history; as the fifth anniversary of DOUBLE OR NOTHING, May 26th is already quite historic for All Elite Wrestling, but will Christian Cage make it one for his own story as well, or will Swerve Strickland continue to overcome all the odds and move forward into the Summer months still AEW World Champion?


TBS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...

Willow Nightingale(c) vs. “The CEO” Mercedes Moné



At this point the story is well-known, but it feels important to run it back to adequtely encompass just what the TBS Championship match between Willow Nightingale and Mercedes Moné means to these two women.


For Mercedes, a new chapter in her life began at WRESTLE KINGDOM 17 on January 4, 2023 when she walked into the ring and challenged then-IWGP Women's Champion KAIRI to a title bout. On February 18, 2023 at BATTLE IN THE VALLEY 2023, Moné capitalized on that challenge, defeated KAIRI to claim the title, but lost it just sixty-four days later at Stardom's ALL-STAR GRAND QUEENDOM event to Mayu Iwatani. Though that loss was devastating, Moné intended to bounce back strong (no pun intended) which led her to NJPW STRONG's RESURGENCE 2023 event for the one-night tournament to crown the first NJPW STRONG Women's Champion, and that is where the story of Willow Nightingale enters into the picture.


That night, May 21st of 2023, four women came to Long Beach, CA in hopes of becoming the first champion. On one-half of the bracket, Mercedes defeated Stephanie Vaquer to advance to the championship match while on the other Willow Nightingale topped Stardom's Momo Kohgo to earn her spot in the title fight. Unfortunately for Moné, during the course of that bout she sustained a severe foot injury, and though her heart was still in the fight to become the first NJPW STRONG Women's Champion, her body was not, thus Willow was able to capitalize and become the first to raise that title overhead in victory.


For Willow that victory meant a brand-new spotlight shining on her career, it mean bringing the championship to All Elite Wrestling and Ring of Honor to defend it against Emi Sakura and Rachael Ellering respectively, and meant a spot in the 2023 Women's Owen Hart Foundation Tournament. It also saw Nightingale awarded a shot at Toni Storm and the AEW Women's World Championship, and though the bout did not go her way, it further opened eyes to just how phenomenal a professional wrestler Willow Nightgale is.


Her participation in The Owen saw Nightingale defeat Nyla Rose in the Quarter-Finals, and though she'd lose the NJPW STRONG Title to Giulia before the Semi-Finals, in that round of the tourney Willow defeated ROH Women's World Champion Athena, the first one-on-one loss “The Fallen Goddess” had experienced in ten months, and earned herself a ROH Women's World Championship match in the process. Before getting that shot on ROH's DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR 2023 event, Willow experienced her second-biggest victory of 2023 when she bested Ruby Soho in The Owen Finals in front of the 6,000 fans inside Calgary's Saddledome. Sadly the ROH Championship match did not go as well for Willow, but forever undaunted, Nightingale soldiered on in the fight, at first as support for best friend then-TBS Champion Kris Statlander in her battles against Skye Blue and Julia Hart, and then as the challenger to Julia Hart, the women who bested Statlander at FULL GEAR 2023. After making her first trips to Mexico to compete with CMLL, and competing on Stardom's April event in Philadelphia, Nightingale headed to DYNASTY 2024 in St. Louis and finally earned her first AEW championship when she ended the dark reign of Julia Hart!


Yet with everything that happened in Willow's career over the last year, since March 13th and DYNAMITE: BIG BUSINESS, there's been the specter of “The CEO” Mercedes Moné hanging over her head. See while Nightingale was working her tail off in the ring to even get to the position of challenging for the TBS Championship at DYNASTY 2024, Moné was working herself to the bone in order to get back into the ring at all. Doctors told her a year ago that the foot injury was a career-ending situation, but Mercedes balked at the notion, promising those doctors and herself that she would not only get back into the squared circle, but she would do so better than she'd ever been before. It's taken months and months of arduous training, physical therapy, testing, and conditioning, and even after Mercedes came to the ring in front of her hometown TD Garden audience, there were still lingering doubts if, not necessarily when, she would be able to get back into the ring once again. All those doubts were laid to rest on April 3rd though when Moné told Willow Nightingale, as well as the rest of the wrestling world, that she would challenge the winner of the DYNASTY 2024 TBS Championship bout at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024. 


Thus when it was Nightingale who survived that House Rules title fight to become the new TBS Champion, the rematch was set between her and Mercedes, and it would take place one year and five days after their NJPW STRONG Women's Title fight. As the bout has drawn nearer, any sembelance of sportsmanship and niceties have fallen by the wayside, first with words as Mercedes interrupted Willow's championship celebration, then with a nasty slap across Willow's face delivered by Moné, and  finally coming to a crescendo last week during their contract signing:



The situation exploded once again on Friday night's RAMPAGE when, following Willow and Statlander's victory over Anna Jay and the debuting Alex Windsor, “The CEO” hit the ring and a pull-apart brawl erupted between the TBS Champion and her challenger! Looking over the whole of the last two months, it feels like the woman who first walked out onto the stage at BIG BUSINESS was just a facade and the AEW fans have seen the true Mercedes Moné rear her head as DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024 has drawn closer. Willow sees it, perhaps she's always had some awareness of this, but her respect for  Moné both as an athlete and an evolutionary force in professional wrestling didn't let her recognize it until now. 


Tonight in Las Vegas, as Willow Nightingale defend the TBS Championship against Mercedes Moné, recognize that this battle is about so much more than a rematch one year in the making, or about Moné wanting to get that year of her career back. This is about jealousy, envy, and spite because, quite frankly, it's impossible to reclaim lost time, it's only possible to make the most out of every moment moving forward which is what Willow Nightingale has represented from the moment she entered into professional wrestling. 



Mercedes, on the other hand, blames Willow for what happened a year ago, blames Willow for stealing her time, and perhaps sees taking the TBS Championship as a way of reclaiming that year. Perhaps she looks at the last year of Nightingale's career, beyond just the TBS Title reign, and thinks “that should've been mine”. Nothing will change what happened in California last May, there is just the future moving forward, but only one of these two women can move forward calling herself the TBS Champion...


ANARCHY IN THE ARENA...

The Elite (AEW World Tag Champions Matthew & Nicholas Jackson, AEW Continental Champion Kazuchika Okada, & “The Scapegoat” Jack Perry)

vs.

Team AEW (Bryan Danielson, Cash Wheeler, Dax Harwood, & Darby Allin)



What a whirlwind ride it has been since the April 24th DYNAMITE in Jacksonville where The Elite blatantly assaulted AEW CEO Tony Khan, starting with Jack Perry punching him in the stomach, and ending with The EVPs spiking him with a TK Driver. It's only by virtue of their status as Executive Vice Presidents and the ironclad contracts that entails that Matthew and Nicholas Jackson still have jobs in All Elite Wrestling. Their actions that night were disgusting, and though the brothers Jackson and Jack Perry have perpetually said they only want what's best for AEW, it's perfectly clear they only want what is best for them in AEW.


What that has meant over the last several months has been firing Hangman Page from The Elite and suspending him from All Elite Wrestling, firing Kenny Omega from The Elite while he was recovering from his diverticulitis, conniving to get Jack Perry back into the fold after his lengthy suspension which directly led to their victory over FTR at DYNASTY 2024 in that World Tag Team Title Ladder Match, and that's all before this fight was even spoken into existence by the other EVP of AEW, Kenny Omega...



For the third year in a row Anarchy in the Arena is coming to Las Vegas! A “match” where the rule book is thrown out the window as Kenny Omega said, anything goes, and there aren't so much winners of this match as survivors. Just ask Bryan Danielson, he's the only man involved in this third Anarchy match that participate in both previous violent spectacles, and both of them left a lasting impact on his physical health, as well as took time off his career. The first Anarchy match put “The American Dragon” on the shelf for two months, causing him to miss the first FORBIDDEN DOOR event as well as the Blood & Guts Cage Match that followed, while the second sidelined Bryan from in-ring competition for a month and put the FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023 match with Kazuchika Okada in question. 


Yet when the call came for someone to join FTR in their fight against The Elite, it was Bryan Danielson who stood up in defense of All Elite Wrestling, but he was not alone in answering the call. In fact the man who stood up next to him was one of the most unlikely candidates to do so, not because of negative feelings towards AEW, but rather because of the history shared between “The American Dragon” and Eddie Kingston. Though the two men finally shook hands following their REVOLUTION 2024 bout, and Bryan gave Kingston the respect that he so rightfully deserved, there is still a lot of violent history between the two men that wouldn't necessarily think of them as allies under any circumstances. Yet here they were, rallying together with Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood out of their mutual love for what AEW means to them, and out of their shared disdain for The Elite.


Turns out, like so many in similar positions across all walks of life, The EVPs did not like it when people spoke truth to power or stood up for themselves, and collectively The Elite have done everything they can to squash Team AEW before even getting to May 26th. They even went so far as to make the trip to NJPW STRONG's RESURGENCE 2024 event on May 11th in Ontario, CA to attack Eddie Kingston after his NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship loss to Gabe Kidd. Mind you it's just six miles from Rancho Cucamonga to Ontario so there was minimal effort applied on their part, but the point is that they set foot on New Japan Pro Wrestling territory for the first time since WRESTLE KINGDOM 13 five years ago just to insure “The Mad King” was unable to take part in the Anarchy match:



They weren't finished yet either as on 5/15 the EVPs started their power trip by firing Christopher Daniels for daring to speak his mind, lay his hands on them backstage, and actually challenge them to a tag team match. Then the entirety of The Elite proceeded to assault Dax Harwood after he lost to Kazuchika Okada in their AEW Continental Championship match, a choice that led to the unexpected return of Darby Allin as Team AEW's new fourth man for Anarchy in the Arena! Suffice to say that decision did not sit will with the brothers Jackson and they immediately put a hit out on the members of Team AEW with The Righteous and Lance Archer the first to answer that call just a few days later on COLLISION:



The consequences of that assault left Bryan Danielson all alone this past Wednesday night in Bakersfield, CA as FTR weren't yet cleared to travel while Darby Allin was banned from the building, leaving Bryan one man against “One in a Billion” Satnam Singh! It was made abundantly clear by The Young Bucks that they did not care if Satnam won or lost the match, all they wanted was Bryan hurt in order for Sonjay Dutt to get their payoff, and that is exactly what Matthew and Nichlas got on Wednesday night. Bryan put forth his best efforts to overcome the 7'4” monster, but ultimately none of it matters because as soon as it seemed Danielson could pull off a victory, Jeff Jarret, Jay Lethal, and Sonjay were on him like starving dogs finding a piece of meat. Danielson did his best to fend them off, but the arrival of The Elite quickly put that rally to an end, leaving “The American Dragon” on the wrong end of a beating for the better part of four minutes.


In one of the most surreal moments in AEW's history, Darby Allin came to Danielson's rescue in fiery, frantic fashion, Bryan even recovering enough to toss Nicholas threw the table that The Elite had intended for him, but after what damage he took in the fight with Satnam, the assault afterwards, not to mention everything else Bryan has sustained these past few weeks, it's impossible not to question just what his condition is coming into tonight's Anarchy in the Arena. The same can be said for the entirety of Team AEW as a matter of fact; after FTR wasn't cleared for travel on Wednesday night (which seems like a questionable maneuver by The EVPs to get Danielson alone) and then all three being put against Lethal, Satnam, and Jarrett on Saturday, what condition will Dax, Cash, and Bryan be in for the fight? 


Then there's Darby Allin: it was only two months ago that Darby broke his foot in a fight with Jay White, and just three weeks ago he was hit by a bus in NYC prior to taking in a show on Broadway! As resilient as the former 2-Time TNT Champion may be, that is a whole lot to deal with in short order, leaving the whole of Team AEW far more battered and bruised than their Anarchy foes.


On that side of the coin The Elite have a relatively fresh Kazuchika Okada who is two weeks removed from that fight with Dax, and had a month of recovery time prior to that after beating PAC at DYNASTY 2024 while The Young Bucks have themselves on the exact same schedule as Okada, going from their Ladder Match against FTR at DYNASTY 2024 to their victory over Chris Daniels and Matt Sydal the same night as Dax/Okada. As for Jack Perry, while he put in some serious work during his first-ever tour of New Japan Pro Wrestling with thirteen matches between March 6th and April 6th, the fact of the matter is he's only had two matches in the seven weeks since, and had nearly seven months following ALL IN: LONDON to heal up from any nagging injuries. 




The Elite are unquestionably the healthier team coming into the most dangerous environment in the AEW landscape, a situation in which absolutely anything goes, meaning if he's so inclined, Darby Allin could bring that flamethrower to Las Vegas and try to succeed where Eddie Kingston failed two years ago. Bryan has been through all three of these Anarchy matches, The Young Bucks experienced it for the first time last year, but there's very little that can be said or done for any of those three men to prepare their partners for what's in store tonight. All one can do is brace themselves for the worst, fight through the pain, and hope their team comes out as the survivors; no winners, not really, just the men who survived to get their names called as the victors, in this case with a looming question of what it will all mean for the future of All Elite Wrestling...


AEW WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH... “Timeless” Toni Storm(c) vs. Serena Deeb



It's no secret that “The Professor” Serena Deeb overcame a great many obstacles to get herself back inside an All Elite Wrestling ring after 459 days, she's been pretty open about it since returning to the AEW stage, just as she's been pretty transparent that the reason she even returned to competition was out of a desire to finally claim the AEW Women's World Championship. Instead of just running her mouth about wanting a shot, Deeb did what Deeb does best and proved she was deserving of a championship opportunity, and with seven straight singles victories since returning to action it's hard to argue against her position as the top contender to “Timeless” Toni Storm. Extrapolate that record beyond 2024, and Deeb has won ten straight matches dating back to October 11th of 2022, with her last singles defeat coincidentally coming at the hands of Toni Storm in their AEW Women's World Championship Lumberjack Match on 9/28/22.


So it feels...appropriate...that upon Deeb's return it was Storm who held the title, albeit on her third reign after initially losing it to Jamie Hayter then watching it bounce back to Storm then to Hikaru Shida then Saraya before going back to Shida for her third reign only for Toni Storm to end that after just 39 days to begin a third reign of her own. Since claiming the belt at FULL GEAR 2023, Storm has successfully retained against Skye Blue, Riho, Deonna Purrazzo, and Thunder Rosa, and at 190 days in length, has tied Hayter for the third longest reign of all-time. With Luther and Mariah May at her side Toni Storm seemed nigh untouchable, that is until Serena Deeb knocked her unconscious on the AEW stage with one right hand...




In the moments after she regained consciousness, “The Timeless One” had to realize that her championship was in serious jeopardy come DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024, and perhaps that's what made her dive into a rather distracting rivalry with Harley Cameron and former Outcast ally Saraya. While Toni continue to poke fun and mock Serena in her own way, wrapping herself in up Deeb's flag after undressing for example (https://youtu.be/CIj7FjXXOTw?si=2JmTOVQuOVVXS42K&t=193), it didn't seem to have the desired effect on “The Professor”; in fact she seemed more focused than ever after that little trick, but as we witnessed Wednesday night on DYNAMITE, Deeb had her own way to send a message to Toni Storm, but it wasn't with words or shenanigans, it was with violence.


Twice now Serena Deeb has left the AEW Women's World Champion unconscious, flat on her back, and if that scenario repeats itself tonight in Las Vegas, we will have a new champion on our hands! No Deeb won't have a shoe in hand to drive into Storm's skull, but she will have her fists and forearms, she will have her unparalleled grappling skills, and when it comes down to it, that's always been Serena Deeb's bread and butter. 



Storm, on the other hand, will likely have Luther and Mariah May backing her up, a failsafe of sorts if her own formidable skills don't prove enough to put down Serena Deeb; just looking at the numbers it's hard to see why Storm relies on them, she's won fourteen consecutive singles matches with her last one-on-one loss happening at DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM 2023, and all told Storm has sixteen victories over her last seventeen matches. The details of those wins though, now they tell a story of how she leaned on the support of Luther and Mariah May to help keep the title around her waist against Deonna Purrazzo at REVOLUTION 2024 and Thunder Rosa at DYNASTY 2024, meaning she will likely do the same tonight at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024. 



In the face of those odds Deeb, as she always has, stands alone but after everything she has endured to get to this point, all the odds she has overcome, the health scares she has faced down and conquered, standing alone is nothing new. These odds, this is where “The Professor of Professional Wrestling” thrives, where she excels, and tonight in Las Vegas, Serena Deeb is willing to bet on herself to walk away the new AEW Women's World Champion!


AEW INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...

Roderick Strong(c) vs. “The Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay


Coming off a monumental victory over Bryan Danielson at DYNASTY 2024, “The Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay overcame seven other individuals to win the first-ever Casino Gauntlet match and earn an AEW International Championship match at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024 against Roderick Strong. Along the way here, Ospreay had to battle against Lee Moriarty and Shane Taylor, matches that tested him in very different ways, with the aftermath of the Moriarty bout ending in Will getting beatdown by Shane T. Though Ospreay managed to score victory in both, the bouts with STP certainly put a hurting on him, but none of it ended up more painful for Ospreay than the tag team bout that took place on Wednesday night pitting Will and Orange Cassidy against Trent Beretta and Roddy. 


As for Roddy, since his DYNASTY victory over Kyle O'Reilly, he's been on easy street quite frankly. He sat back and watched Ospreay get beaten down by Shane Taylor after the Moriarty match, then posed over Will's battered body as if it was he, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett who did the deed. Roddy ran his mouth on commentary during both of Ospreay's matches against Shane Taylor Promotions, and when the two men were face-to-face, with the promise of no physicality, Roddy spouted off the most disrespectful diatribe he could while “The Aerial Assassin” vented his frustrations about their history behind the scenes of ROH, PROGRESS, and other shared locker rooms. Then came this past Wednesday night's tag team battle, the bloody mess Strong made of Ospreay using the International Championship belt, and the following words from the claret-caked challenger...



With that violent outburst on Wednesday, the stage is set for perhaps the most heated AEW International Championship match to date, but just as the numbers of Undisputed Kingdom played a factor in Wednesday's tag team match, that is certainly a concern for tonight's title fight. Between Wardlow and the ROH World Tag Champions, “The Messiah of the Backbreaker” has plenty of support while Ospreay's support system is, well, The Don Callis Family, and their namesake seems more occupied with Takeshita fighting Jon Moxley and Orange Cassidy versus Trent Beretta than with what Ospreay has in front of him tonight. In fact the biggest concern Callis has expressed to Ospreay about this battle is his usage of the Storm Driver '93, or rather that should be the lack thereof.


Whether or not “The Aerial Assassin” brings that move back out of the mothballs will tell the world a great deal about the kind of individual he is at heart; after all it was a move that Will Ospreay elected to retire on his own accord after the match with Bryan Danielson, and has promised to leave retired no matter what. Still, if anyone can push Ospreay to break that move's self-imposed prohibition, it would be Roderick Strong and Undisputed Kingdom, but what's worth more Ospreay, his promise or his vengeance? The International Championship or his word?


TNT CHAMPIONSHIP BARBED WIRE CAGE MATCH...

Adam Copeland(c) vs. Malakai Black



Two months ago, following Adam Copeland's TNT Championship victory over his former protégé “The Indy God” Matt Cardona, Cope was confronted by Malakai Black but that man's presence in the ring was simply distraction allowing Brody King and Buddy Matthews to assault the champion from behind. Mark Briscoe did his best to even the odds, but it wasn't enough against the numbers of The House, and they would repeat the same performance after Cope defeated Penta El Zero Miedo. 


In the midst of that assault, just as Julia Hart seemed poised to douse Copeland with the black mist, Willow Nightingale hit the ring for the save, an action that led to a Mixed Tag the following week, and Copeland's first loss to The House of Black. Willow may have been the one who Julia Hart submitted, albeit after hitting her with Brody King's chain, but in tag team wrestling your partner's loss is also your loss. Perhaps Cope thought his fortunes would change at DYNASTY 2024 when he, Mark Briscoe, and Eddie Kingston united to take on The House in Trios competition, but exposure to the black mist proved to be Copeland's downfall. Now the AEW faithful have seen how that mist can affect a person, Julie Hart is the prime example of that, as is Skye Blue, but what about when the person exposed is someone who has already demonstrated periods of great darkness throughout their career?


Well it seems the hope of Malakai Black and The House was to bring that darkness back to the forefront of Copeland's existence, and whether it be in bouts with Buddy Matthews or Brody King, Copeland came so close to crossing the line and giving into what Malakai has been pushing him towards. Then came the war with Kyle O'Reilly on the May 11th edition of COLLISION, and the challenge made in the aftermath:



But Malakai didn't accept the challenge when he came face-to-face with Cope in Everett, not exactly...



Clearly Malakai Black intended those actions as yet another action aimed at pushing Cope into his most  wicked self, but as the 2-Time TNT Champion said himself on Wednesday night, be careful what you wish for Malakai, because that “blood” bath on DYNAMITE is only a small indication of what Copeland has in store for his challenger inside that Barbed Wire Steel Cage! Malakai and The House tried violence to drive Cope over the edge, but ultimately it was love that did it, and now Malakai will get to reap the results of his labors this tonight in Las Vegas!



ELIMINATOR MATCH...

IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley vs. “The Alpha” Konosuke Takeshita 



On July 13, 2022 Konosuke Takeshita stepped inside the ring with Jon Moxley for the very first time. At that moment, Moxley was the reigning AEW Interim World Champion which meant the bout fell under Eliminator Rules thus the possibility was there for Takeshita to earn a future championship bout. While he put up a tremendous fight, Moxley left Takeshita battered and bloodied en route to his victory, though it was a fight that earned the champion's respect.


Five months later the two would meet again on RAMPAGE, and though the end result was the same, it was Moxley who had to endure being bloodied and battered by Takeshita in order to get the victory. Call it guts or pride, Takeshita did not even tap out to Mox's Bulldog Choke when the match concluded, his body just gave into unconsciousness at the end.


A lot has changed for both men in the seventeen months since that second encounter, perhaps moreso for Takeshita as he betrayed Kenny Omega, signed on with Don Callis, and has been running as a member of Callis' Family since DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023. Joined by Powerhouse Hobbs, Kyle Fletcher, and Will Ospreay over the course of the last year, fans witnessed Takeshita pin Omega twice in a week between ALL IN: LONDON 2023 and ALL OUT 2023, as well as be part of the team that beat Chris Jericho, Omega, and Kota Ibushi at WRESTLEDREAM 2023. Takeshita's 2024 has been a wild year as well, he started it by defeating Darby Allin on DYNAMITE, returned to All Japan Pro Wrestling for the first time since 2016, beat Chris Jericho on DYNAMITE, battled Ospreay in one of the greatest matches in AEW's history at REVOLUTION 2024, and took Swerve Strickland to the limit in the #1 Contender's Match that ultimately set Swerve up for his championship victory at DYNASTY 2024. 


As for Moxley, his wrestling year began by failing to capture the IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship at WRESTLE KINGDOM 18, and then became all about Blackpool Combat Club business as they engaged in battles with Shane Taylor Promotions, representatives from CMLL, as well as in tremendous fights with FTR, but the banner moment of Moxley's year took place on April 12th in Chicago at the Wintrust Arena. Facing Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Mox made history repeat itself as he defeated the founder of Los Ingobernables de Japon to win New Japan's top championship in the same arena where he won the AEW World Championship at REVOLUTION 2020! Mox would make his first successful defense as champion against Powerhouse Hobbs on DYNAMITE from Daily's Place, and that's where the paths of Takeshita and Moxley converged once again.


As Moxley celebrated the win, warning next challenger Ren Narita about what he had coming, Takeshita emerged on the stage and his intentions were pretty clear: he wanted the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship around Mox's waist. Mox turned back the challenges of Narita and Shota Umino over the next couple weeks, but when he returned to DYNAMITE for a team-up with Bryan Danielson opposite ROH World TV Champion Kyle Fletcher and old foe Jeff Cobb, Mox got sent a direct message by Takeshita when he was dropped on his head with a nasty German Suplex as he and “The American Dragon” celebrated.


Just like that, Takeshita went from hopeful challenger to a man in Moxley's crosshairs, but he wasn't going to get an IWGP Championship match just because he wanted one, seems like Don Callis exhausted that favor from the New Japan office with Powerhouse Hobbs' challenge, instead Takeshita would have to face Moxley in an Eliminator bout at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024 to get what he wants.


Now the history of Eliminator bouts is not in the favor of the challengers, only twice in AEW's history have we seen the champions lose and both those were in World Tag Title Eliminator situations, while Moxley himself is 5-0 in these bouts. As mentioned, one of those wins was over Takeshita while Takeshita's only other Eliminator bout came in a loss back in February 2023 to then-AEW World Champion MJF, but this is a whole new ballgame where Takeshita is concerned. He did not have the support of The Don Callis Family in those instances, nor did he show this ruthless streak that being involved with Callis has brought to the surface. He may have drawn Mox's blood in their second bout, but that was not his intent at that time whereas tonight in Las Vegas, it's a surefire bet that Takeshita will do everything he feels necessary to earn his shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Title.



Takeshita did his best to make sure Moxley's left arm was utterly useless coming into tonight, and he will leave blood, broken bones, and a battered body in his wake in order to get closer to making that IWGP title his own, but there's not a better man in the world of professional wrestling to match that ruthlessness than Jon Moxley! 


GRUDGE MATCH...

Orange Cassidy vs. Trent Beretta



The death of friendship is a painful thing to watch unfold; sometimes it happens so slowly that no one involved realizes it until one day you become aware that friend is no longer engaged in your life, but sometimes it is quick, abrupt, a bandage ripped off a healing wound that only serves to make the wound infinitely worse. That latter is what we got with Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, and Chuck Taylor when Trent decided, in the aftermath of he and OC losing to the The Young Bucks in the World Tag Title Tournament, to drive his knee into the skull of the 2-Time former International Champion.


Trent has his reasons, he saw Cassidy as a narcisstic anchor around his neck, a man who just used The Best Friends and gave nothing in return, but clearly that is not how Chuckie T felt as when pressed to make a choice, he stood by “Freshly Squeezed” with little hesitation. Unfortunately the Parking Lot Fight that resulted from the dissolution of The Best Friends tag team ended with Trent delivering a career-ending blow to Chuck Taylor's ankle while Kris Statlander and OC helplessly stood by and watched it happen.


If there was ever any hope that the fences could be mended, that the friends could become “best” once again, it all vanished as soon as Trent took that pipe to Chuck ankle. Just as Chuck didn't hesitate to throw his lot in with Cassidy, Orange didn't hesitate to jump into a fight with Trent as soon as possible following that Parking Lot Fight, yet by the time those two men got into the ring with one another, the specter of Don Callis began to lurk around their situation. It's a safe bet that if Callis is involved, he does not have the best of intentions, but thus far he's demonstrated nothing but the best of intentions towards OC. In fact, after Cassidy's victory over Trent in their DYNAMITE bout, if it wasn't for Callis' involvement, the post-match beating Beretta tried to give Cassidy would've likely gone much worse. Even this past Wednesday on DYNAMITE, when OC and Will Ospreay teamed up against AEW International Champino Roderick Strong and Trent, the seemingly questionable action of Callis grabbing Cassidy's ankle from the outside was in fact a way to prevent Strong from using his End of Heartache manuever on Orange.


Of course it was all for naught as Trent and Strong managed to find a path to victory anyway, leaving Ospreay covered in his own blood thanks to Roddy and Cassidy an incapacitated heap on the ramp thanks to Trent. The situation for “Freshly Squeezed” looked dire on Wednesday night, but it's not the first time in his career he's had to fight back from underneath. Despite what happened in Bakersfield, or perhaps because of it, Cassidy will come into Las Vegas looking for revenge, but he's not doing it just for himself. Though Beretta make think OC a narcisstic SOB, the fact is that Orange is fighting for Chuck Taylor as well at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024. 


Five years ago when the first DOUBLE OR NOTHING emanated from the MGM Grand Garden Arena, these men were like family, but now that that bond has been smashed beyond repair, tonight they will go to war like it never existed in the first place. One question still remains; will Don Callis be ringside for this one just as he was for their last match and on Wednesday night?


THREE-WAY FTW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH (FTW RULES)...

“The Learning Tree” Chris Jericho(c) vs. HOOK vs. Katsuyori Shibata



Though this was not the plan when FTW Champion Chris Jericho first concocted the FTW Contender's Series to find out who his DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024 challenger would be, he rolled with the result of the Three Way Eliminator bout on Wednesday that saw Bryan Keith trapped in submissions from both HOOK and Katsuyori Shibata. With essentially two winners to the Eliminator Match, Jericho applauded the two men and actually agreed to a Three Way match for his “For The World” Championship!



Both HOOK and Shibata have their reasons for wanting to be the one to take the FTW Championship from Jericho, but as Samoa Joe pointed out, they'd be better working together to accomplish their goal than fighting one another for the right to take the title from Jericho. Will the two men listen to the harsh advice the former AEW World Champion dished out, or will they let their egos get in the way of fighting with their brains rather than their pride? 



Believe or not, this Three Way situation could actually benefit Jericho's chances of retaining the FTW Title tonight if HOOK and Shibata can't stay on the same page. Of course, if the challengers can keep it together and zone in on the defending champion, there's always the presence of “The Redwood” Big Bill to be concerned about!


TRIOS MATCH...

Unifed World Trios Champions Bang Bang Gang (Austin Gunn, Colten Gunn, & Jay White) vs.

The Death Triangle (Penta El Zero Miedo, PAC, & Rey Fenix)



The Bang Bang Gang may be Unified World Trios Champions, but they've also made it a point the last several weeks to isolate “The Bastard” PAC, at first with taunts and their usual verbal diarrhea,then when that didn't have the desired effect on PAC, they upped the ante into physical assault...



It seemed that The BBG chose “The Bastard” as their target because he was a man on an island, seemingly uninterested in rekindling his ties with The Lucha Brothers to reunite Death Triangle, but when Jay White and The Gunns chose to take the game of verbal jousting into the realm of assault, well it had the effect of bringing the former AEW World Trios Champions back together with designs on putting Trios gold back around their waists!


But if Jay White and The Gunns are good at one thing, it's putting hoops in front of their opponents, and that meant The Lucha Bros facing The Gunns Saturday night on COLLISION in order to see what the face of this match at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024 would look like!



Well, the Lucha Brothers did what needed to be done on Saturday night, and earned that Unified World Trios Championship match for Death Triangle! Now it's up to the former AEW World Trios Champions to bring home the Unified gold tonight in Las Vegas; all they have to do is get past The Bang Bang Gang!



GRUDGE MATCH...

“La Mera Mera” Thunder Rosa vs. “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo



TRIOS BOUT...

The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens, Daddy Ass, & Max Caster) vs. 

Brian Cage & The Gates of Agony (Bishop Kaun & Toa Liona)


DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024 comes to the AEW faithful around the world tonight May 26th, and as the fifth anniversary of All lite Wrestling's original event, it is quite the milestone occasion! In addition to The Elite versus Team AEW in Anarchy in the Arena, Swerve Strickland defends his AEW World Championship against Christian Cage, AEW Women's World Champion “Timeless” Toni Storm faces Serena Deeb, TNT Champion Adam Copeland meets Malakai Black inside a Barbed Wire Steel Cage, and TBS Champion Willow Nightingale faces Mercedes Moné in the challenger's AEW in-ring debut! Plus Konosuke Takeshita tries to earn an IWGP World Championship match in an Eliminator Match with Jon Moxley, Orange Cassidy takes on Trent Beretta, and Will Ospreay tries to win his first AEW championship when he faces Roderick Strong for the International Championship!


It's all going down in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena but if you are unable to watch it all in-person, don't fret because you can catch all the action live on our various pay-per-view broadcasts available all around the world! Get prepared for the loaded night of action by visiting the official AEW YouTube channel, as well as our various social media platforms, for highlights from previous episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, as well as the latest edition of the CONTROL CENTER and the COUNTDOWN special! Then come join us at the fabulous KIA Forum in Los Angeles this Wednesday night to experience the aftermath of DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2024 first-hand, including...



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