During this era of empty arena matches, cinematic bouts and fan-less wrestling matches, the mission statement from AEW towards WWE has clearly been ‘Anything you can do, we can do better’. Honestly, it’s hard to argue that AEW haven’t been more successful in finding ways to minimise the impact of having no crowds.
Obviously, it’s not ideal for anyone but All Elite Wrestling’s use of intelligent camera angles, wrestlers in the stands to create some kind of atmosphere and fun locations has to be honest, put WWE’s attempts in the shade.
Outside of their cinematic style matches at WrestleMania and Money In The Bank, WWE have tried to create a programme as close to their usual format as possible. AEW however have leaned into the issue and come up trumps.
Now they are taking matters to the next level at the upcoming Double Or Nothing PPV. Taking full advantage of the assets afforded to them by being part of the Khan family portfolio, AEW are throwing out the old ‘Empty Arena Match’ trope and going all in (Excuse the pun) with a match that will take place across an entire empty stadium!
It doesn’t take much knowledge of AEW and the current situation to work out that this stadium will be the TIAA Bank Field, home to The Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team, owned by AEW kingpin, Tony Khan’s father, Shahid.
The stadium, with a capacity of over 67,000 will play host to what we understand to be wrestling’s first ever Stadium Stampede match.
This came to be last night on AEW Dynamite when Chris Jericho challenged The Elite to face The Inner Circle in such a match and as such, the match taking place on Saturday 23rd May will see Le Champion himself team with his stablemates Jake Hager, Sami Guevara, Santana and Ortiz and they will face the five man team of Matt Hardy, Kenny Omega, ‘Hangman’ Adam Page and The Young Bucks.
This should be quite the spectacle as TIAA Field offers some interesting locations for a brawl, even by NFL stadium standards. They could of course go with the standard concession stand rumble we’ve seen many times over the years. They could also take the fight into one of the expansive NFL locker rooms, into one of the endzones on the field or into the boardroom.
If they can fight all the way up the stands, they may even find themselves throwing fists in and around the private swimming pool that overlooks the action in one of the many luxury lounges. What a way to watch a game!
Whatever they have in store, AEW have shown us that we can expect exciting and innovative uses of their surroundings to bring us a memorable encounter at Double Or Nothing.
The PPV will air in the UK on FITE.
Here’s the full card as it stands:
- Cody vs. Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts) tournament final for the inaugural AEW TNT Championship
- Matt Hardy and The Elite (Adam Page, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) vs. The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz) in a Stadium Stampede match
- Jon Moxley vs. Brodie Lee for the AEW World Championship
- Darby Allin vs. Colt Cabana vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Rey Fenix vs. five more opponents in a Casino Ladder match for a future AEW World Championship match
- Nyla Rose (c) vs. Hikaru Shida in a No Disqualification and No Countout match for the AEW Women’s World Championship
- MJF (w/ Wardlow) vs. Jungle Boy
- Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander
- Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent) to determine the #1 contender for the AEW Tag Team Championship