The Elite defeated The Inner Circle in a first-of-its-kind Stadium Stampede match at AEW Double or Nothing on Saturday night.
The Elite was comprised of The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, "Hangman" Adam Page and honorary member Matt Hardy, while The Inner Circle team was made up of Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana and Ortiz.
The match needed to be seen to be believed.
Santana and Ortiz discovered TIAA Bank Field contains a "pool of reincarnation" as Hardy cycled through his numerous gimmicks:
Hager and Page battled around a bar inside the stadium:
Guevara had to relive an old nightmare from Dynamite:
Omega delivered the victory for his team when he hit the One Winged Angel on Guevara from the top of the end-zone tunnel and through a set of tables.
Although The Elite and The Inner Circle were set to clash in a Blood and Guts match with double cages on March 25, the coronavirus pandemic forced All Elite Wrestling to reverse course. Rather than scrapping the stable vs. stable match completely, it happened at Double or Nothing under a different set of rules.
Cody had been slated to be part of The Elite in the Blood and Guts match, but since he advanced to the finals of the TNT Championship tournament against Lance Archer, Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks stepped in to fill his spot.
The Inner Circle viciously attacked Jackson on the March 11 edition of Dynamite and put him on the shelf, which corresponded with Hardy's AEW debut. Jericho offered Hardy a spot in The Inner Circle, but he declined and aligned himself with The Elite instead.
While COVID-19 derailed the rivalry to some degree, AEW kept it alive over the ensuing weeks. It truly ramped up when Jericho and Guevara faced Hardy and Omega in a Falls Count Anywhere tag team match on Dynamite on May 6.
Jericho and Guevara got the win when the rest of The Inner Circle got involved. That led to another tag team match the following week, with Omega and Hardy bouncing back to beat Santana and Ortiz.
After Jericho won a match that night, he and The Inner Circle challenged The Elite to a Stadium Stampede match, and The Elite accepted via Vanguard-1. Jericho then destroyed the drone with a bat, which sent Hardy running down in a fit of anger.
While destroying a drone may seem like a silly way to get heat, it is a big part of Hardy's character and a popular prop among fans, so it worked in terms of making The Inner Circle look like the dastardly heels they're supposed to be.
With tensions running high between the two groups, their match at Double or Nothing was a highly anticipated one. And with so much talent in one contest, it was a treat for those watching at home on pay-per-view.
The fact that The Elite won likely means AEW wanted to lend additional credibility to Hardy early in his run with the company, but if the goal is to ultimately do a Blood and Guts match, The Inner Circle should have the opportunity to get revenge at some point.
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