Last week, the face of DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 changed dramatically when Darby Allin and Jungle Boy topped AEW World Champion MJF and Sammy Guevara in tag team action, with the stipulation being that if they won, the title bout on May 28th would be a Four Way bout! Plus, Adam Cole tore into Chris Jericho following his team’s victory over The Jericho Appreciation Society, The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass won the Tres de Mayo Battle Royale, and TBS Champion Jade Cargill continued her undefeated streak!
The energy continues to grow this week when Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena hosts AEW DYNAMITE this Wednesday night featuring Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley locked inside a Steel Cage, both the AEW International Championship and AEW World Trios Championship will be on the line, and a No Holds Barred bout will go down between Anna Jay A.S. and Julia Hart! The action gets underway at 8pm ET/7pm CT LIVEon TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, and be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from last week’s DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as this week’s editions of ROAD TO and THE CONTROL CENTER!
STEEL CAGE MATCH…
Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley
Come showtime on Wednesday night, it will have been 794 days since REVOLUTION 2021, the last time Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley locked horns in a one-on-one match, and 1,278 days since FULL GEAR 2019 and their Unsanctioned Lights Out war. So much has changed in that time, each man has gone through their own hell both personally and professionally, and some of that has even been intertwined between the two men.
Omega lost that first Unsanctioned bout, a fight delayed for several months after Mox’s staph infection forced a postponement of their ALL OUT 2019 fight, and it would take another year for the two men to fight a second time. The bout, taking place at DYNAMITE: WINTER IS COMING in December 2020, would mark the night Don Callis crossed the line from passive guest commentator to active participant when he directly interfered to cost Jon Moxley the AEW World Championship; perhaps that’s something Callis should remember next time he touches the scar on his forehead.
But that wasn’t the end of the line for Mox and Omega; they would collide at REVOLUTION 2021 in an Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch with the World Championship once again on the line, and that night it would be a mix of Don Callis and The Good Brothers who insured Moxley did not become a 2-Time World Champion. That would also be the last time the two men would go head-to-head inside the squared circle, although they would meet in a tag and a trios match during April 2021, with each man getting a victory. Now, two years later, after weeks of their paths intersecting in the form of Blackpool Combat Club violence being inflicted upon The Elite, Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley will finally go to war once again.
While Moxley is full of intensity and hunger, Omega is pensive and calm, almost resigned to the inevitable violence that is coming their way this Wednesday night in Detroit. Kenny knows what Moxley is capable of, or at least he thinks he does, just as Jon thinks he knows what Omega has to bring to the table, but as the former 3-Time World Champ said, the time since their last meeting may as well have been a decade for all that each man has endured. They’ve both gone through the rigors of being World Champion, they’ve both had to take time away from AEW for their own personal reasons, and both came back with a new fire that led to championships; in Mox’s case two more AEW World Championships to his resume, as well as an Interim run, and for Omega it was as a 2-Time World Trios Champion with The Young Bucks.
So now it is time for both these men to take all they’ve gone through in the last 794 days and see which man’s experiences have sharpened the deadlier blade. For historical purposes, it should be noted that Kenny Omega has never competed in a Steel Cage match while Moxley has been in at least a dozen over the course of his career, albeit none under the auspices of All Elite Wrestling. Here, there have been five Steel Cage matches, one tag and four singles, with almost a year passing since the last one took place on DYNAMITE.
Can this Steel Cage match quell the hostilities between The Elite and The Blackpool Combat Club, or will it only serve to stoke the fire into a raging inferno? This is a situation likely to shorten careers, one guaranteed to see blood and violence, and it is set to play out this Wednesday night when Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley close the cage door behind them.
AEW INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
“Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy(c) vs. The J.A.S.’ “Red Death” Daniel Garcia
It has been 16 months since the last time Daniel Garcia challenged for a singles championship in All Elite Wrestling, and that night it was the Interim TNT Championship held by his now-running buddy Sammy Guevara. Since then, Garcia has evolved into quite the complete competitor, capturing the ROH Pure Championship from Wheeler Yuta and reigning for several months as champion, actually defeating “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson last July, and throwing his lot in with The Jericho Appreciation Society.
As for Orange Cassidy, his record as, first, All-Atlantic Champion, and now as the leveled-up AEW International Champion, speaks for itself. With over 200 days to his reign, and 20 successful championship defenses, no man in AEW’s history has experienced more championship success than Orange Cassidy, and only Jade Cargill stands above him on the women’s side of the roster. OC has taken on all challengers, has wrestled in one form or another nearly every week of his championship run, occasionally multiple times in a week, and has done so over the last month with a seriously injured hand thanks to Buddy Matthews.
Yet he persists; for a man who, with his first singles match in AEW, was heralded for merely trying, Orange Cassidy has far surpassed that low bar and could easily be considered the hardest working man in AEW thus far 2023. Now as someone who’s had plenty of issues with Chris Jericho in the past, Cassidy has stepped back into that realm to serve as ally to Adam Cole and offer some balance to the numbers advantage The J.A.S. carries. Between the arrival of Roderick Strong, the assistance of the AEW International Champion, and that of Bandido, Cole at least has some support now, but it also means those allies are in the crosshairs of Jericho’s ilk as well.
And that is why “Red Death” Daniel Garcia is stepping into the ring with Orange Cassidy this Wednesday night in Detroit, and challenging for the AEW International Championship! It’s Garcia’s first shot at this title, it’s the first time he and Cassidy have ever gone one-on-one, and it will also be the first time this championship is defended in the Motor City. Could it also be the first singles loss Cassidy tastes since 9/21/22? Could it be the first AEW championship won brought into The Jericho Appreciation Society? Or will it be successful defense number twenty-one for Orange Cassidy?
AEW WORLD TRIOS CHAMPIONSHIP OPEN HOUSE MATCH…
The House of Black (Brody King, Buddy Matthews, & Malaki Black)(c)
Bandido & The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta)
Any trio may have an opportunity…there will be a 20 count on the floor…there are no rope escapes…and enforcement of the disqualification rule left in the hands of the opponent; these are the Open House rules as decreed by the AEW World Trios Champions, and they will be put to the test this Wednesday night in Detroit.
And it will not be a traditional trio that steps into the ring hoping to defeat The House of Black at their own game, but rather a combination of the tried-and-true and the unpredictable. As of late, since their AEW International Championship bout, Bandido has been lending a hand to the affairs of “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy and that new friendship is now extending to Cassidy’s best friends.
This Wednesday at the Little Caesars Arena, Bandido will unite with Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta to challenge The House of Black for the AEW World Trios Championship, the first unit to do so under these new rules laid out by the defending champions.
The Best Friends have done this dance before, albeit with OC as their third man, and were unsuccessful in knocking King, Matthews, and Black off their thrones, but that was under the traditional rules of battle. This Wednesday marks a whole new era for the AEW World Trios Titles, with new rules for all competitors; will The HoB be the architects of their own demise with their new guidelines, or will it be a system that serves to reinforce their dominance at the top of the trios division?
ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli vs. AEW World Tag Team Champion Rey Fenix
***WINNER EARNS A SHOT AT THE OTHER MAN’S CHAMPIONSHIP***
Dream match; it’s a phrase bandied about quite liberally, but in the case of Claudio Castagnoli taking on Rey Fenix in singles competition, it is one quite apropos. Take one of the strongest men in modern wrestling, one who has trained in a variety of styles including Lucha techniques under the legendary Skayde, and put him in the ring with one of the best high-flying combatants in wrestling today, a man who walks the top rope as effortlessly as he would a sidewalk, and it has the makings of a show stealer.
Factor in that both men are champions in their own right, and this bout gets a whole new level of intrigue. Now add the twist that a potential title opportunity is at stake for both Claudio and Rey Fenix, and this is an affair rife with excitement! Should Castagnoli defeat Fenix, he and a partner of his choosing will get a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Championship held by The Lucha Brothers while if Rey tops Castagnoli, he will get the opportunity to dethrone Claudio and become a double Ring of Honor champion!
Given how huge a night this is for The Blackpool Combat Club with Moxley meeting Omega inside a Steel Cage, Claudio can get it off on the right foot by earning a ROH World Tag Team Title bout for his unit, and an opportunity to reclaim a championship he last held from April 2010 to April 2011 with Chris Hero. For Rey Fenix it’s an opportunity to challenge for the ROH World Championship for the very first time, all he has to do it find The Swiss Superman’s kryptonite…
NO HOLDS BARRED…
The J.A.S.’ Anna Jay A.S. vs. The House of Black’s Julia Hart
A month ago, Julia Hart took advantage of a referee distraction to spray mist into the eyes of Anna Jay A.S. to score the victory in their lone singles match. It may have been a victory for The House of Black member, but it’s been far from the end of the rivalry.
Following Julia’s victory over Kiera Hogan, Anna hit the ring to attack “The Black Hart”, necessitating AEW’s referee crew hit the ring to break up the fracas, and the scene would repeat itself after Anna Jay A.S. defeated Ashley D’Amboise, this time Julia hitting the ring on the attack.
This week on DYNAMITE, these weeks of hostilities are set to come to a head when the two women collide in a No Holds Barred contest! Now fans have seen what Anna is capable of in these scenarios, having competed in two of the most violent fights All Elite Wrestling has experienced, but this situation is one in which Hart is untested. Fans know she is more than capable of cutting corners to achieve her goals, she did so with the mist in their first match, but can Julia sink low enough in a match such as this? If Anna Jay draws blood, how will Julia Hart respond? We already know what Anna will do, and Penelope Ford, The Bunny, Ruby Soho, and Willow Nightingale can testify to what she’s capable of, but none can do the same for The House of Black’s “Black Heart”
Will it be Anna Jay A.S. who has to stand as the testimonial for what Julia Hart had hidden in her depths, or will The Jericho Appreciation Society member show Hart how it feels to be choked into unconsciousness?
They may be a collection of the most obnoxious individuals in All Elite Wrestling, but Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett make a great point to validate their DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 championship challenge directed at FTR. Jarrett holds a singles win over Dax, Lethal holds one over Cash; regardless of how they accomplished those victories, the record books show the AEW World Tag Team Champions each lost a singles match to individuals chasing a title shot, and it makes it hard to deny Lethal and Jarrett’s worth as challengers.
Now these potential challengers are clearly abusing Lethal’s relationship with Mark Briscoe to try and milk information from Mark’s relationship with Cash and Dax, but it’s to no avail thus far. Still, that doesn’t make it any less gross that Lethal is using “Chicken” in such a fashion, but at least Jay (and Jeff) will have some answer to that championship challenge this Wednesday night in Detroit when FTR are back in the house! As Mark said, these are two men who’ve never backed down from a fight in their lives, and it is doubtful they’ll start now with Double J and Jay Lethal!
A TNT CHAMPIONSHIP FUTURE?
Christian Cage has not had an AEW championship match since he failed to dethrone Kenny Omega at ALL OUT 2021, but he has promised the world that he will hold an AEW singles championship in 2023, if for no other reason than to spite “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry’s stated goal to do the same. With that in mind, Christian apparently has his eyes on the TNT Championship held by “The War Dog” Wardlow, and we will hear from Cage this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE about his aspirations for the title Wardlow only just reclaimed!
This Wednesday night, as we draw closer to DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 in Las Vegas, All Elite Wrestling returns to Detroit and the Little Caesars Arena for another huge edition of DYNAMITE! Last time we came to the Motor City, fans witnessed Blood & Guts II unfold before their very eyes, and this time around they’ll experience Jon Moxley going head-to-head with Kenny Omega inside a Steel Cage! Plus, Anna Jay A.S. and Julia Hart will collide in a No Holds Barred battle, Castagnoli and Fenix will collide in a Double Jeopardy dream match, FTR will be in the house, both the AEW World Trios Championship and the International Championship will be on the line, and we know the situation with Adam Cole and Chris Jericho will be in the spotlight!
It all begins again at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TBS, or at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences so be sure to drop by the official AEW YouTube channel before the show to catch DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE highlights, as well as this week’s editions of ROAD TO, THE CONTROL CENTER, and much, much more!