NXT Takeover 31 saw the return of Ember Moon and Toni Storm. Along with a stacked card matches that included Io Sharai versus Candice LaRae, and Kyle O’Reilly facing off against Finn Balor. WWE continues to crack down on talent revenue, this time a proposed takeover of wrestler’s Twitch accounts. AEW kept fans on their toes, teasing a possible feud between MJF and Chris Jericho a week before his 30th-anniversary show. Cody fakes out the crowd during his promo against Brodie Lee, and Jon Moxley faces an unexpected opponent in The Butcher.
Clash of Champions “Gold Rush” Featured an ad-libbed card the had a few misses, but overall a solid Pay-Per-View. Asuka worked double duty, Randy Orton was forced to face his ghosts against Drew McIntyre, and Roman Reigns asserted his dominance over Jey Uso. AEW scrambled with booking as well. Eddie Kingston fought Jon Moxley for the world title and Brodie Lee extinguished Orange Cassidy. Cody made his return with a new look and a familiar attitude.
No Count Outs: The Dastardly Debonairs – No Count Outs
2 huge shows, 1 mega episode. Dynamite and Takeover thrill Matt and Tyler. They go overtime, gushing over Keith Lee, Brodie Lee, Pat McAfee and more. Big title changes, major payoffs. All in this edition of No Count Outs.
No Count Outs: The Dastardly Debonairs – No Count Outs
In AEW’s first pay-per-view since the quarantine The Elite defeated The Inner Circle in the main event to cap a loaded show that featured a new Women’s champ, a variety of great matches, and the debut of former IMPACT star Brian Cage.
Best Friends vs. Private Party put on an entertaining match-up to kick off the buy-in. Best Friends were without Orange Cassidy as he prepared for the Casino Ladder Match. Private Party put on an impressive showing. All the usual spots and a few new ones mixed throughout including both teams trading Trent’s headband back and forth and an assisted moonsault Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy. Best Friends got the victory and became the number one contenders for the tag team championship. The date of the match against Hangman Page and Kenny Omega was not announced.
As is the case for most AEW pay-per-views, the opening contest was full of high spots, comedy moments, and surprises. The casino ladder match began with Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky as the first two competitors. After 50-50 scrapping back and forth Kip Sabian entered at number three with Jimmy Havoc interfering before Sabian entered the ring. The first big spot of the match came from Darby Allin. Allin attempted and failed to crush Kazarian with a skateboard double foot stomp from atop a ladder outside the ring sending Alling crashing through a second breakaway ladder.
Orange Cassidy entered at number five doing what Freshly Squeezed does best…very little. The comedy spots continued at number six with Colt Cabana entering and promptly getting his fingers pinched in the ladder after nearly reaching the poker chip above the ring. The bad boy Joey Janela entered at number seven as the replacement to Rey Fenix Jr. who was injured on the previous episode of dynamite. Luchasaurus wiped out the majority of the remaining participants at number eight before Allin reemerged slamming the super heavyweight member of Jurassic Express with a code red leaving no one in the ring to stop Allin.
The mystery competitor was finally revealed with the ninth and final participant, Brian Cage. The former Impact star was led to the ring by Taz and the powerhouse Cage dismantled all other AEW stars before finally they rallied together and buried him beneath guardrails, pieces of the set, ladders, and other debris. After more interference from Best Friends, Marko Stunt, and a few more ladder attempts Cage exploded from beneath the wreckage leading to one final spot between himself and Allin. Cage gorilla pressed Allin lying helplessly on top of a smaller ladder and deposited him outside. Cage secured the victory ending the contest at around 28 minutes of near nonstop thrills.
Up next was MJF vs Jungle Boy. As a change of pace the two put on a technical clinic. This match was arguably the best-worked performance of the night. MJF won after referee Aubrey Edwards accidentally gave MJF the momentum he needed by inadvertently knocking Jungleboy into a vulnerable position. MJF won via pinfall at 17 minutes, keeping him undefeated in singles competition.
The TNT Championship
The TNT championship tournament final between Murderhawk Lance Archer and Cody Rhodes was an excellent balance of storytelling, wrestling, and personalities. Iron Mike Tyson was at ringside waiting to crown either of the two men. Archer dominated Rhodes early on hitting the blackout in the first 10 seconds of the match. The narrative for most of the fight would be Rhodes struggling to hold on while Archer appeared to be toying with him most of the contest. A couple of the main highlights of this match were Rhodes hitting the Murderhawk with a DDT out of Jake Roberts playbook and Archer hitting an Arn Anderson–inspired spine-buster. Despite Roberts defying ejection from referee Bryce Remsburg, Tyson kept the peace long enough to allow Rhodes to capture the first-ever TNT victory in just over 21 minutes.
Very little of note occurred for the next few segments. It was announced Dr. Britt Baker would inform the AEW audience live this Wednesday how long she would remain sidelined from her knee injury. Penelope Ford, her replacement for the match against Kris Statlander, did an admirable job subbing in for her. Statlander had her best performance in an AEW ring thus far beating Ford in a tidy eight minutes.
Arguably the only poor portion of Double or Nothing was the bizarre interaction between Shawn Spears and the natural, Dustin Rhodes. It isn’t fair to call this a match. Spears was embarrassed by Rhodes after calling out Cody’s older brother out of an assumed retirement. The chairman Spears was forcefully disrobed and exposed for having his manager, Tully Blanchard‘s face on his briefs. Rhodes pinned him for the victory in a thankfully short, but pointless, four minutes.
Hikaru Shida defeated Nyla Rose to win the AEW Women’s championship. Less than 24 hours after the tragic death of Hana Kimura, a wrestler for the Japanese promotion Stardom, Shida the former Stardom athlete won the no disqualification brawl against reigning champ and native beast Nyla Rose. Shida’s emotion, passion, and storytelling was overwhelming and won with an emphatic baseball-like swing of her kendo stick breaking it over the monster Rose, hitting her with a running knee strike and pinning her at 16 minutes.
The AEW Championship
Jon Moxley finally had his chance to exact his revenge on the exalted one Brodie Lee. AEW champ Moxley came out aggressively trying to tear the head off of the leader of the Dark Order. Lee in contrast, executed his offense in a very cerebral fashion. The referee gave a lot of leeway in this match allowing both wrestlers to leave the ring without counting them out, and not disqualifying Brodie Lee or Moxley for slamming each other through multiple barriers and stage equipment. When the action resumed in the ring the champ Moxley regained his title by referee stoppage via submission, although Lee did not officially tap. Likely, this feud is not over.
The Stadium Stampede
The Stadium Stampede match in TIAA Bank Field will be remembered for its fun and zany antics for a very long time. The less that is said the better. For those who like Matt Hardy‘s broken world, being the elite, and the bubbly bunch this main event may be the best product you watch from AEW this year. If you weren’t a fan of the more cinematic type of matches such as the boneyard match between AJ Styles and The Undertaker its best to skip this one. Kenny Omega pinned Sammy Guevara to win the contest for The Elite after 33 minutes for iconic spots and absolute insanity.