AEW Double or Nothing 2020: Ranking Best Picks to Win Casino Ladder Match

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

AEW Double or Nothing 2020: Ranking Best Picks to Win Casino Ladder Match

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    Credit: AEW

    All Elite Wrestling returns to pay-per-view Saturday night on B/R Live with Double or Nothing, a celebration of the company's first year headlined by championship encounters, the inaugural Stadium Stampede match and a revolutionary multi-man Casino ladder match for a future opportunity at the AEW World Heavyweight Championship.

    The nine participants in that particular match will enter every 90 seconds. The first performer to retrieve a casino chip hanging overhead will be declared the winner, but here's the kicker: not all participants even have to be in the match for a winner to be determined, making the draw that much more significant.

    With young, hungry talent making up the field, the question turns to which man is the best pick to win the match and earn the championship opportunity?

    Find out with this look at the nine participants, ranked according to their value as the potential winner of the high-stakes match.

9. Mystery Entrant

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    Credit: AEW

    With the identity of the mystery participant unknown, it is nearly impossible to place him any higher on this countdown than in the last spot.

    There are plenty of intriguing options available to AEW.

    Former WWE stars now without homes, including Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins and Rusev are intriguing prospects. There are independent stars such as Brian Cage and Jeff Cobb, the latter of whom we saw earlier this year on Dynamite.

    The most intriguing might be Drew Gulak, whose contract with WWE has run out, leaving him free to work for whomever he pleases.

    Finally, a wealth of stars on the AEW roster would benefit from inclusion in the match, not the least of whom are the likes of Jimmy Havoc and "Pineapple Pete" Suge D.

    All of those options are either wishful thinking or mere speculation. Without a firm idea of who will be walking through that curtain, the mystery entrant cannot, in good conscience, be ranked ahead of those competitors already announced for the bout.

8. Frankie Kazarian

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    Credit: AEW

    Frankie Kazarian is a veteran of high-risk, high-reward matches dating back to TNA Wrestling and the Ultimate X matches he competed in. He even won two, one of which included fellow AEW tag team competitors The Young Bucks, so his ability to scale the ladder and secure himself a shot at the title is undeniable.

    Yet, creatively speaking, it does not appear likely.

    Kazarian was conspicuous by his absence throughout most of the build to Double or Nothing, thanks in large part to the coronavirus pandemic. But even before that, he was not in a high-profile position on AEW television.

    A wrestler who deserves far more credit for his contributions in TNA and the independent scene than he gets, it would be great to see him rewarded for a fantastic career with one last run at a top championship.

    Based on the landscape of AEW, though, it does not appear that is a potential direction.

7. Kip Sabian

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    Credit: AEW

    Kip Sabian is a young, immensely talented wrestler with a bright future ahead of him.

    Superbad will compete in many world title matches over the course of his career—and hopefully for AEW.

    With that said, it will not be as a result of winning the Casino ladder match at Double or Nothing.

    Do not be surprised if Sabian stars in the match, using his athleticism to capture fans' attention. He has the potential to steal the show and leave the fans buzzing about him and his future in the industry.

    That future does not include a victory Saturday night, though.

    He has not been booked strongly enough to give fans a reason to believe he can overcome some of the other competitors in the match to earn a title opportunity.

6. Colt Cabana

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    Credit: AEW

    Since arriving in AEW in March, Colt Cabana has provided Lance Archer a tough challenge in the TNT Championship tournament and earned the attention of "Superbad" Kip Sabian, teasing a rivalry between the two. Said program has not been followed up on, for the most part, leaving Cabana wandering in uncertainty.

    One of the most experienced wrestlers in the Casino ladder match, Cabana's chances of emerging victoriously are somewhat muddled.

    Is he a star whom AEW has very real plans for, or is he the grizzled vet finally getting that much-deserved run on national television, just happy to be along for the ride? 

    If it is the former, Cabana becomes one of the more interesting entrants in the match. He is a guy who has been around forever, who has championed independent professional wrestling and did so knowing when exactly to be fun and goofy and when to ratchet up the seriousness.

    As the grizzled vet chasing that one opportunity to achieve world championship acclaim, he can captivate audiences. The problem is, his connection with the AEW audience beyond those diehard fans who would have followed him around indy promotion to indy promotion is nearly nonexistent.

    He has not been presented as enough of a threat or as a prominent enough personality to win the ladder match and shoot up the card and into title contention. His story is so rich and so full of reasons for fans to get behind him that Tony Khan and the rest of the AEW creative team should focus on presenting that and letting him organically rise up the card.

5. Luchasaurus

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    Credit: AEW

    The list of genuine contenders to win the inaugural Casino ladder match begins with Luchasaurus.

    One of the breakout stars of Year 1 of AEW, Luchasaurus looked to be headed toward a sizable push early in the Dynamite era. Fan fervor was at a peak, and he wowed crowds with a mix of power and athleticism not typically seen out of stars his size.

    He was extremely over and could have conceivably squared off with Chris Jericho for the AEW title and had one of the hottest matches in the industry. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury halted his momentum, and Jurassic Express has yet to get back to the level they had been in late in 2019.

    That would change with a win Saturday.

    Luchasaurus has the look, the uniqueness and the raw ability to be a major player for AEW, even if the gimmick does not scream mainstream on the surface. He is immensely talented and has made the most of every opportunity he has had.

    Rejuvenating his push with a win would set him up for long-term success, especially since there has been no clear indication on when the championship opportunity would take place.

4. Scorpio Sky

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    Credit: AEW

    Over the past month, fans have gotten to know Scorpio Sky through a series of video packages that have put over his journey and his desire for singles success. Couple that with an impressive Dynamite showing against then-world champion Chris Jericho on November 27, and you have reason to believe AEW may be preparing to pull the proverbial trigger on a justified push.

    The California native was one of the breakout stars of AEW's first six months. His performances as one-half of the inaugural AEW tag team champions were superb, and by challenging Jericho, he proved he was not a shy afterthought destined to stand in the background.

    Almost certain to dazzle fans with some sort of phenomenal showcase of his athleticism and death-defying high-flying, Sky is one to watch Saturday night. Whether he can parlay that into a victory and refocus himself on winning the top prize in the industry is another question.

    For now, he feels like the fourth-best option to emerge with the title opportunity, if only because of the strength of the three ranked ahead of him.

3. Orange Cassidy

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    Credit: AEW

    Orange Cassidy: AEW World Heavyweight Championship contender.

    Laugh now, especially those old territory types who curse the very existence of the charismatic slacker, but the statement may be truer than anyone could have imagined a year ago by the time the 2020 edition of Double or Nothing comes to a conclusion.

    Cassidy has emerged as a major merchandise seller, one of the most popular stars in a company brimming with fan favorites, and has performed up to the level of his competition every time he has featured on television. Most notably, his Revolution match against Pac wowed fans in one of that show's most surprisingly excellent contests.

    The one issue with him winning the ladder match and earning a world title shot is the fact that even his booking suggests he's a comedic performer rather than a genuine threat to beat anyone. Putting him in the position to win the title opportunity, just to pop a rating without having any plans with him would be a waste of this opportunity and, furthermore, would devalue the match.

    Still, one cannot underestimate his immense popularity and how over he is among fans and non-fans alike. He is a social media hit, and in an industry moving more and more towards that platform, Cassidy is a massive asset to AEW.

2. Rey Fenix

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    Credit: AEW

    Rey Fenix is a luchador as talented and good as any other wrestler in the world. His work with Kenny Omega in Mexico wowed the wrestling world, and his innovative and high-risk arsenal captivates audiences both young and old.

    We have seen what he is capable of in a ladder match, most notably The Lucha Bros' victory over The Young Bucks at All Out 2019 in the Escalera de la Muerte match. His skill set is tailor-made for a match of the sheer unpredictability and chaos that a multi-man ladder match presents.

    He is also talented enough to step in tomorrow and challenge Jon Moxley or Brodie Lee for the top prize in the company and be believable enough to beat either man. He simply needs that push to ignite such a run. 

    A win over the talented individuals in Saturday's match would be exactly what the masked man needs in order to advance up the ladder, pun most definitely intended.

    As prepared as he may be to compete in and win a ladder match, there is one star ahead of him for whom Saturday's contest appears to be designed.

1. Darby Allin

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    Credit: AEW

    No wrestler has grown, evolved and prospered in Year 1 of AEW more than Darby Allin. From his first appearance at Fyter Fest, a time-limit draw against Cody, to his championship match against Chris Jericho on Dynamite, Allin has repeatedly proved himself to be the brightest young performer on the roster.

    After several high-profile matches and vignettes aimed at further getting his character over with the AEW audience, he is ready to take the next step toward immortality by way of a win in the Casino ladder match.

    With a character turning darker and more frustrated by way of his losses in high-profile matches, particularly against Cody, a heel turn cannot be ruled out. If that is the case, a title match with Jon Moxley would be perfect—not only from a character standpoint but also from creativity and violence perspectives.

    The only negative? Allin feels so much like the favorite to win that a swerve should not be counted out.

    Still, one year after appearing in the Casino Battle Royal, Allin is ready to take the next step in his career, and that may come as soon as Saturday night.