Brodie Lee Shines Despite Loss to Moxley, More AEW Double or Nothing Hot Takes

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2020

Brodie Lee Shines Despite Loss to Moxley, More AEW Double or Nothing Hot Takes

0 of 4

    Credit: AEW

    All Elite Wrestling's Double or Nothing event over-delivered Saturday night on pay-per-view, providing unforgettable action both in the ring and across the street in a professional football stadium. Yet it was the performances of young talent and the introduction of a new championship that set up the company for long-term prosperity as it embarks on its second year.

    Brodie Lee outperformed his creative direction heading into the show and came out stronger than he entered, even in defeat. Meanwhile, the faces of AEW's bright future were spotlighted, as Sammy Guevara, Hikaru Shida, MJF and Jungle Boy stole the show.

    Heavyweights like Lee, Lance Archer and the debuting Brian Cage seized the spotlight and proved they can hang with competitors of any size.

    The show had plenty to keep fans buzzing, but these topics are at the center of the night's biggest hot takes.

Brodie Lee Is a Stronger, More Potent Character Even in Defeat

1 of 4

    Credit: AEW

    Brodie Lee entered Saturday's pay-per-view spectacular the subject of skepticism from AEW fans.

    There was no denying his talent between the ropes, but The Dark Order storyline, his mockery of WWE CEO Vince McMahon and The Exalted One nickname had failed to connect with audiences in the way such a prominent part of the product probably should have.

    That is why there were so many questions around his AEW World Championship match against Jon Moxley. Did that bout feel like a pay-per-view-worthy main event? Was Lee on someone like Moxley's level? When would the company finally abandon The Dark Order once and for all?

    Fans got the answers to the first two questions, as Lee and Moxley tore the house down in a violent, physical encounter. After years stuck in the abyss of the WWE undercard, he silenced critics by turning in a performance that would have justified a title switch if AEW had seen fit. 

    There will be those who criticize seeing Lee lose so early in his tenure, but in defeat, he has emerged a stronger and more credible a threat to the titleholder than he ever was as the Exalted One or the mysterious leader of wrestling's most scrutinized faction.

    Lee took an ass-kicking at the hands of Moxley and kept fighting, a buzz saw focused on earning the title he stole from the unhinged antihero of AEW. He took a huge bump through the stage, emerged bloody and still kicked out of a Paradigm Shift as if it were a basic clothesline. 

    He was a total badass, running on determination and adrenaline before his body gave out on him and the official called for the bell. He never submitted. His destiny was determined for him by outside force, and he consequently has a valid claim to a rematch against Moxley.

    If anything, Lee's booking Saturday night solidified him as a talented main event big man whose prospects in AEW are limitless. A double-tough combatant in the same vein as the great Bruiser Brody, a comparison made by Tony Schiavone on commentary, Lee will be able to recover extremely quickly because of the way his first loss in AEW was constructed.

    He will thrive because of the loss and hopefully get to dance with Moxley one more time sooner rather than later. 

Young Stars Shine in Key Spots as AEW Spotlights the Future

2 of 4

    Credit: AEW

    Hikaru Shida won the AEW Women's World Championship in a brutal, hard-hitting showdown with Nyla Rose. MJF and Jungle Boy stole the show from the second match slot with a beautifully executed, old-school pro wrestling match.

    Sammy Guevara grabbed the spotlight and made it his own in the Stadium Stampede main event.

    All four performers have been at the foundation of AEW's attempt to build a young, hungry and exciting roster since day one. They have been touted by owner Tony Khan and EVPs Cody, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega as performers they would ideally build the future of the company around.

    Saturday night on pay-per-view, they rose to the occasion and proved worthy of the trust in them by those in power with standout performances that ranked among the best of the evening.

    Shida shook off an inconsistent start to her AEW run to pay off months of build with an emotional championship victory. MJF won another hard-fought contest, not by cheating, but by outwrestling the equally great Jungle Boy.

    Guevara, again, rose to the occasion in the same match as industry giants like Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy, stealing the show with his comedic timing, raw athleticism and entertainment value. Like he has since the inception of Dynamite in October, he proved why he is one of the MVPs of AEW.

    The more opportunities those competitors, as well as others like Orange Cassidy and Kip Sabian, get to prove themselves to a worldwide audience, the healthier the future of the company will be as it embarks on Year 2.

TNT Championship Provides Much-Needed 2nd Prize for Expanding Roster

3 of 4

    Credit: AEW

    The AEW roster is as talented as any other in the industry, but it is one that is expanding and desperately needed Saturday's introduction of the TNT Championship to give those not in the world title picture something to strive for.

    The crowning of Cody as the inaugural champion suggests this is not a secondary championship. Instead, it is a second option, another prize for the most talented wrestlers in the industry to chase.

    With Lance Archer, Brodie Lee, Jake Hager and the entire cast of characters from the Casino ladder match all at the disposal of AEW officials, there are only so many original stories to be told before the booking team has to rely on championship allure as the storyline emphasis.

    The implementation of a second singles title provides that, not only for the creative forces but also the competitors themselves.

    Archer and Lee, in particular, can easily bounce back from disappointing losses at Double or Nothing by turning their attention to Cody and trying to ruin his historic run with the title. Kip Sabian, Jimmy Havoc, SCU's Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky can all enhance their stars by competing for a prestigious title rather than wandering aimlessly with nothing better to do because of the lack of storyline options.

    Then there is someone like MJF, who already has a win over Cody and can rekindle that feud by staking his claim to a championship opportunity.

    If handled like the old Television Championship of WCW, the title could become a staple of AEW Dynamite and give Cody a weekly opportunity to showcase his skills while elevating the plethora of talent around him.

    That, more than anything, is the benefit of having such a title to play around with from a booking standpoint.

Brian Cage's Introduction Continues AEW's Recent Move Toward Heavyweights

4 of 4

    Credit: AEW

    Brian Cage exploded on to the scene Saturday night, obliterating eight other competitors en route to winning the Casino ladder match and earning a shot at AEW world heavyweight champion John Moxley at the upcoming Fyter Fest pay-per-view.

    The introduction of the former Impact world champion continued a trend in AEW of late, that being the implementation of more heavyweights in the product.

    Cage's win, the highlighting of Luchasaurus in the same match and Lance Archer and Brodie Lee's prominent spots on the card suggest a concentrated effort by AEW to beef up its roster with the athletic big men who can work with the smaller, faster stars it has built its company on.

    Thus far, the plan has worked.

    Every one of those men overperformed at Double or Nothing, turning in showings that were among the best on the pay-per-view.

    Cage, in particular, is a freakish athlete who can move at lightning speed and fly around the ring with the agility of a WCW-era cruiserweight. We saw as much during his time in Impact Wrestling, where he held the X-Division and world titles.

    His upcoming match with Jon Moxley, announced during a post-show media scrum by AEW owner Tony Khan, instantly establishes Cage as a main event-level competitor in the company and sets him up to use his arsenal of abilities to thwart the tenacity of the AEW champion.

    It remains to be seen whether the title is in his future, but for now, Cage is the latest big man to arrive on the scene and immediately make an impact on one of the most talented rosters in the industry.