This Saturday AEW’s flagship pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, will emanate from an undisclosed location, presumably from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida, which is owned by AEW owner Tony Khan and has been used for filming throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the matches at this event is their calling card, the Casino, which adds its own twist on an otherwise traditional match stipulation. Last year, the Casino Battle Royal was won by Adam Page, who won the opportunity to wrestle Chris Jericho at All Out to become the first AEW World Champion. This year, it’s a 9-man ladder match. In this match, it starts with two wrestlers and a new entrant appears every minute and a half until every superstar has entered. A competitor, however, can win before all of the participants enter the fold. So far, the match features “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy, “Superbad” Kip Sabian, the dark skateboarder Darby Allin, Scorpio Sky, Luchasaurus, Frankie Kazarian, Colt Cabana, and Rey Fenix. The ninth superstar is currently being billed as a mystery opponent we’ll find out night of. But just who could fill that slot? PSE’s Pro Wrestling team has broken down their pick for the final member of the Casino Ladder Match.
Nick Byington: Jeff Cobb
If I had to take a wild stab and guess at who will be the final member of the Casino Ladder match, I’d have to guess Jeff Cobb. Cobb has experience in AEW, being the mercenary for the Inner Circle and losing to current AEW Champion Jon Moxley. Since that appearance, he’s gone radio silent in AEW. In fact, he’s gone nearly silent all together, apart from a few appearances for ROH and WXW in early March. Of course this may be due to the current circumstances, but if anything these circumstances make his appearance in this ladder match even more likely. Jeff Cobb, a self proclaimed “free agent,” needs to do something to keep his stock up. The only two places to do that are WWE and AEW, and AEW has proven that they will allow him to come and go. I don’t believe he’ll walk out the winner, but I feel like Cobb has a very good chance of being the final entrant and shaking up the whole dynamic of the match.-@nbyington0126
Michael Rickard II: Drew Gulak
It’s a good move by AEW to keep the final entrant a mystery simply because fans like mysteries in wrestling. The only caveat is that promotions have to deliver on a mystery as fans want to see something big such as Hulk Hogan being revealed as the third man (no, Hogan will not be in the match) compared to the Goobledy Gooker coming out of the egg at 1990’s Survivor Series. AEW fans should be happy if someone like Drew Gulak shows up. People are talking about a number of recently released WWE Superstars but my understanding is that they are unable to work due to their 90-day no-compete clause, which Gulak does not have. As for wild speculation that Sting could show up, that’s not just wild but insane as there’s no way the 61-year-old should be working a ladder match unless AEW wants to pull a Brock Lesnar and have the Stinger come in at the end and grab the casino chip.-@MrOldSchoolMike
Shannon Walsh: Pineapple Pete
This could literally be anybody with the recent WWE talent releases and AEW’s focus on indie talent on Dynamite and Dark the last few month. Ricky Starks just announced his departure from the NWA a couple of days ago as well. There could also be a situation where someone who is currently on the pay-per-view card loses their match and then enters the Ladder Match as the surprise to win it all.
I’m always bad at making AEW predictions, but my pick is Suge D (aka Sugar Dunkerton). He was given the sarcastic nickname “Pineapple Pete” by Chris Jericho because of the Hawaiian shirt he always wears on Dynamite. He and several other indie wrestlers have been used as makeshift AEW crowds the last few months to add in noise and excitement during matches because of the virus pandemic. It led to a mini angle between him and Chris Jericho to set up a match between the two. He lost to Jericho on the 5/13/20 episode of Dynamite, but he has been gaining a bit of popularity with fans. Dunkerton is actually a 17-year veteran of pro wrestling. He started his career on the Georgia indie scene in 2003. He has worked for IWA Mid-South, CHIKARA, and Beyond Wrestling just to name a few high profile U.S. indie groups. Last decade he wrestled in Japan and the U.K.-@WrestlingDemons
Lauren Conrad: Wardlow
I was talking to Brooke Owens (@brookeowenswpwf) about this in our usual wrestling talk. We discussed it and we both think Wardlow. The man is an absolutely dominating force and it would be a real shame to let him go unused as he has really only had one good full match, not counting squashes.-@laurencr3
Tyler Allen: Drew Gulak
I know this is obnoxious and from left field, but I think Drew Gulak, having fulfilled his WWE obligations similar to Matt Hardy earlier this year, will be the 9th man in the casino ladder match. He will definitely fill the role of workhorse who makes everyone look good, including himself, but doesn’t get the win. Next day though, everyone will talk about what all he did after the match.-@tylerallen
Dylan Steffen: Fred Rosser
Fred Rosser, FKA Darren Young, was released from his WWE contract in 2017 and made a return to the ring in 2018 in the Indies. While at 36 years of age, Rosser is still in great shape and could make another wrestling run. Even if Rosser doesn’t win the match, maybe AEW can do an angle between him and Sonny Kiss later on. It’s been two years since Fred has been on TV and I think it’s about time he “Wows the crowd” again or at least on Saturday, the TV audience.-@PSEDylanSteffen
Jameus Mooney: Flip Gordon
I spent awhile debating on this, because while I’d love to see a Rusev, we won’t because of a 90 day no compete. I’d love to see a surprise such as Jay White, but NJPW still hasn’t eased up on letting their talents go to AEW, despite both Moxley and Jericho working their shows. I’d love to see a guy like Chris Dickinson, Danhausen, The WARHORSE or Matthew Palmer, however, none of these are really guys you’d hype without a vignette of some sort. Flip Gordon is known to anybody who follows professional wrestling outside of the WWE and actually competed at the 2018 All In event, where he won the Over-The-Budget Battle Royal lastly eliminating Bully Ray as Chico El Luchador, before he lost to ROH World Champion Jay Lethal later in the event. He’s close with The Elite, currently a member of the Villain Enterprises stable with the only Elite member who isn’t in AEW (Marty Scurll), and was even mentioned on Monday’s episode of Being the Elite. Other than a Chris Hero or Drew Gulak, maybe a Brian Cage depending on his health status, there’s not many surprises it could be that make sense. Flip Gordon’s contract with ROH was set to expire this month but the current date is unknown, so he’s my pick. Originally my pick to win this match and jump into the AEW Championship picture would be PAC, but the chances of him getting into the U.S. aren’t very likely. -@TheJameus
PSE’s overall consensus is Drew Gulak, but not by much. We have seven predictions and six different performers. It could even be somebody like PAC, Brian Cage or Chris Hero. AEW has a lot of potential avenues which is what makes this so interesting. AEW Double or Nothing is this Saturday, and PSE’s Nick Byington will have a full event preview up tomorrow at noon EST. Who do YOU want to see as the mystery participant in the Casino Ladder Match?
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