AEW Double or Nothing 2023 certainly isn’t AEW’s most anticipated pay-per-view ever, but with highly anticipated matches for MJF, Wardlow, Kenny Omega, and The Elite, it’s pivotal for the company.
AEW’s third weekly show, Collision, is just around the corner. So does a potentially huge new TV deal with Warner Brothers Discovery. But AEW is also not far from Dynamite’s lowest viewership of 2023 and has once again been embroiled in a major controversy involving possibly soon-to-return CM Punk.
In other words, Double or Nothing is a huge turning point for AEW, and it should deliver after what was a largely lackluster year for its flagship shows Dynamite and Rampage. Just a day after WWE once again put on a strong _____ show at Night of Champions, the pressure was on AEW to turn things around.
Here are five smart booking decisions AEW must make at Double or Nothing 2023.
Wardlaw loses the AEW TNT Title in cheap fashion
Wardlow’s AEW booking this year has been baffling to say the least. Once clearly positioned as the face of the company, Wardlaw has lost a ton of steam this year, dropping from boiling point to barely boiling point.
How can AEW address this? There is no clear answer at the moment. Perhaps segmenting the brand would help, but an already crowded roster makes things difficult. However, Wardlow still has all the potential in the world to be a superstar. However, while WWE member Gunther gets promoted by holding the midcard title and vice versa holds the same title, the same wasn’t true for Wardlow.
Wardlaw has held that title three times, and most wrestling fans would be hard-pressed to think of a truly memorable moment during any of them. This is a problem, and perhaps one of the reasons for this is that Wardlaw really should be above that level. Double or nothing gives AEW a great opportunity to get it back on track.
A ladder match against Christian Cage with Luchasaurus lurking at ringside presents the perfect setting for Wardlow to lose on the cheap and move on to bigger and better things with an expected brand split on the way.
Adam Cole, FTR, Orange Cassidy marquee pickup wins
AEW Double or Nothing is shaping up to be a show full of babyface victories. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
Many of the show’s top fan favorites seem to be the favorites to win their match – and they are He should He is. Among them is Adam Cole as he faces Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy as he defends the International Championship in a 21-man battle royal and FTR as they look to defend the AEW Tag Team Championship against the duo of Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett. .
With FTR expected to be a top star in Punk’s Collision, Orange Cassidy crushing it as a champion and Cole in the early stages of a major comeback storyline, all three of these AEW acts should win handily at Double or Nothing.
Jade Cargill’s undefeated streak has come to an end
Jade Cargill recently passed the 500-day mark as TBS Champion, but like Wardlaw, her run as AEW Women’s Champion in the midcard has been remarkably forgettable. One could argue that is among the worst long reigning headlines in the history of modern pro wrestling.
Cargill now has a 60-0 record, but the vast majority of those matches weren’t exactly ones that will go down in history. In fact, Cargill’s reign as champion was, in short, pretty bad. This certainly isn’t a jab at Cargill, either. She is an indispensable talent who has the potential to become a huge star one day.
But AEW booking the women’s division is incredibly inconsistent, and Cargill hasn’t had any meaningful rivalries or events. Her feud with Taya Valkyrie wasn’t great either, but Valkyrie picked up some steam just as Cargill found herself running out of things to do. This was inevitable the moment AEW decided to go down the path of an undefeated streak like Goldberg.
Cargill needs to drop the TBS title soon, and with no rising local stars in a position to take the belt anytime soon, Valkyrie is as good an option as anyone.
MJF retains the AEW World Title, but Darby Allen looks strong
Some fans are quick to blame MJF for his viewing problems in AEW, but he has a history of drawing well for AEW and is a great all-rounder who deserves to be the AEW World Heavyweight Champion.
MJF’s title reign was further disappointing due to the lack of a compelling narrative. Although his current rivalry with the other “Four Pillars” of AEW – Darby Allen, Jungle Boy and Sammy Guevara – has been strong, it hasn’t been as rambunctious as it usually is in feuds involving more than one contender for a world title.
With superstars like Adam Cole reportedly plotting as future opponents for MJF, however, MJF must retain his world title at Double or Nothing. However, his hottest rival, Allen, must be protected from defeat.
The Elite Topples Blackpool Combat Club
AEW doesn’t have a lot of red hot storylines at the moment, but The Elite vs. Blackpool Combat Club definitely has the biggest star power. After all, the company could use that rivalry to build many more singles and tag matches down the road.
But the hottest act at the moment is the newly reunited Elite, with Kenny Omega, Adam “Hangman Page” and The Young Bucks finally on the same page again. AEW has done a great job rebuilding The Elite as a great business, so when they take on the BCC in a highly anticipated Anarchy match in the Arena, they’re the ones who should leave Double or Nothing with the most momentum.
Despite its recent heel turn, BCC doesn’t feel like a long-term group. Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson, in particular, would fare better as singles stars, especially with the expected brand split giving AEW the need for more high-profile solo acts. If anything, Double or Nothing should start to cause cracks in BCC that will eventually lead to the group’s demise.
With Paige and Omega looking to reclaim themselves as world title contenders, one of these two superstars must emerge from AEW Double or Nothing with a massive victory that catapults them onto the world championship scene.