With only days before All Elite Wrestling (AEW)’s debut Pay-Per-View, Double or Nothing, we’ve only been privy to 15 of the 21 entrants in the Casino Battle Royale event being held on the free Kick-off show, The Buy-In. Here’s the current list of 15 names announced for the Battle Royale as of press time.
- Ace Romero
- Brandon Cutler
- Brian Pillian Jr.
- Dustin Thomas
- Isiah Kennedy (of Private Party)
- Jimmy Havoc
- Joey Janela
- Jungle Boy
- Marq Quen (of Private Party)
- Shawn Spears(Tye Dillinger)
- Sonny Kiss
- Sunny Daze
As we saw on this week’s edition of Being The Elite, Hollywood actor, former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and now indie star David Arquette pitched for a spot in the Battle Royale on Saturday but was unceremoniously superkicked for his attempt in the episode’s opening minutes.
With the casino theme, every entrant will select a card from the deck. The five men who draw a Hearts will be one group, all the Spades another, etc., until there are four teams of five men (Hearts, Spades, Clubs & Diamonds). The person who draws the “Lucky 21” (Joker) Card, will enter the Battle Royal last, for a total of 21 entrants into the Battle Royal. But with only 15 names announced, that still leaves six names left to reveal on Saturday as entrants into the Casino Battle Royale.
With so many indie wrestlers and Legends appearing in Las Vegas this weekend as part of Starrcast II, the options are nearly endless who could make their appearance during The Buy-In, in a match with recently announced huge implications. The winner of the Battle Royale will face the winner of Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega at a later event to become the inaugural AEW World Heavyweight Champion.
With that being said, here’s a look at 15 names we think are possibilities for the Casino Battle Royale, based on proximity, availability (and a little wishful thinking). These are NOT based on any inside reports or news from AEW themselves.
Darby Allin is one of the few announced signing for AEW in the men’s division that doesn’t have a match announced for Double or Nothing. They could be saving his debut for his announced match versus Cody Rhodes at Fight For The Fallen, the next big event in July, but they may slide him in as a potential wild card (pun intended) into the Casino Battle Royale. Allin is in Las Vegas for Starrcast II.
I've gotta be me. @AEWrestling
— DARBY ALLIN (@DarbyAllin) April 12, 2019
While there’s been no hint that the reigning Independent Wrestling Champion and Beyond Wrestling and CHIKARA star is being scouted by AEW, he will be present for Starrcast II. Orange Cassidy’s heavily comedic emphasis may not fit AEW’s long-term booking, but a one-off in a Battle Royale would be a fun surprise.
Martina “The Session Moth”
Speaking of fun surprises, Ireland’s “Session Moth” Martina has been a European sensation the past few years and is just now breaking into the US scene. She’ll be at Starrcast II as well, but adding some comedic spots into the Casino Battle Royale would only up her stock. But don’t let her party-loving, bants session persona fool you – she’s become a pretty good wrestler as well, thanks in part to her tours with Japan’s Stardom. With AEW having such a huge joshi presence, Martina would be an ideal addition to the AEW’s Women’s Division permanently.
Another Starrcast II participant, Marko Stunt was one of 2018’s viral sensations and breakout stars thanks to his work with Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) last year. He was quickly added to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG)‘s 2018 Battle of Los Angeles and was a late addition to the Over The Budget Battle Royal at Cody & The Young Bucks’ All In event last September.
Jordynne Grace recently signed a new two-year contract with IMPACT Wrestling, but as shown in the past, AEW is okay with other promotions talents working for them as long as the other promotion is equally cool with it (such as Jimmy Havoc and MJF being signed with Major League Wrestling, and The Lucha Brothers with IMPACT and MLW). Grace is booked to appear with Prestige Wrestling in Spokane, Washington on Friday, and in Chicago on Sunday for the IndependentWrestling.tv Midwest Mixtape, but nothing booked for Saturday. Jordynne was arguably the star of the Over The Budget Battle Royal at All In when she faced Brian Cage one-on-one, and a repeat performance as a guest entrant would be another feather in her cap.
Another MLW talent, Mance Warner has been another breakout star in 2019. Aside from MLW, he’s a recent Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) World Heavyweight Champion who has combined the redneck craziness of ROH’s Briscoes with the rough and rowdy charm of Terry Funk to become one of the hottest rising stars. He’s scheduled for Starrcast II this weekend.
DDT Pro veteran Michael Nakazawa is another signed talent by AEW without anything scheduled for Double or Nothing. Somewhere between hardcore and comedy, you’ll find the versatile Nakazawa and with the Bucks’ running a “Who is Michael Nakazawa?” bit on Being The Elite for months since Kenny Omega announced his signing, a brief intro on The Buy-In wouldn’t be a bad way to introduce him to North American fans who may not be familiar with his work in Japan.
MMA veteran Cris Cyborg has been teasing heading to pro wrestling for much of the past year, but it’s seemed to be directed at WWE to face former MMA rival Ronda Rousey (who never fought her in MMA). But strangely enough, Cris Cyborg is one of only 293 people that AEW’s Twitter account follows, and has been following, long before they followed many of their own current signees. With Cyborg in town for Starrcast II this weekend, even a brief appearance by Cyborg in the Battle Royale – on the free Kickoff show The Buy-In – could be one of those surprises that gets some mainstream attention before the PPV actually starts.
Reports for the past week or so have seemed to indicate that Killer Kross has become unhappy with his position in IMPACT Wrestling of late. While there doesn’t seem to be any rush from IMPACT to grant that release, Kross has got to be thinking of getting his brand out further, and a surprise entry into the Battle Royale at least would be a headstart. Kross is also scheduled to be in Las Vegas – his hometown – for Starrcast II.
One of the legends of lucha libre that has seen an amazing comeback the past few years has been former WCW Superstar and lucha star with CMLL, LA Park (the original La Parka). LA Park is working primarily with AEW Mexican affiliate AAA lately, and since he’s in town for Starrcast II, AAA would be more than happy to get more angles set up within AEW (to add to the AAA World Tag Team title match between the Young Bucks & Lucha Brothers), especially with AEW sending stars to future AAA events.
Ok, this may seem out of left field, but bear with us. Dean Malenko quit the WWE several weeks ago, leaving his position as a producer/road agent. He’s also coming into Las Vegas to be part of Starrcast II. He was photographed late this week alongside AEW owner Tony Khan and Cody Rhodes, beside what appears to be Khan’s private jet. Now in all likelihood, if anything (and this is speculation, not a report or rumor), Malenko would most likely be brought in to assume a similar role to what he had in the WWE for the PPV. But how cool would it be to see “The Iceman” one more time, even for a few brief moments?
While scheduled to be at Starrcast II (he was there on Thursday night on a panel), Joey Ryan is actually booked on Saturday night. Across the country. In Cleveland, Ohio with Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW). So he’s actually probably not coming to Double or Nothing. BUT…if anyone was able to private jet Joey Ryan from Cleveland to Las Vegas it would be someone as rich as Tony Khan. Unfortunately, it is a 4 hour flight, so chances are slim, unless he did the Battle Royale first and then went on absolutely last for AIW around midnight. Well, we did say there was some wishful thinkings.
Speaking of wishful thinkings! Yes, we know Kenta Kobashi retired from the ring in 2013. The 3x All Japan Triple Crown Champion and GHC Heavyweight Champion in NOAH is considered one of the all-time greats in history, but since retiring, the 52-year old has remained out of the public eye and not made many appearances, especially in the US. But he’s coming to Starrcast II. Maybe with a little prodding, they can get Kobashi a spot in the Battle Royale. The heat anyone would get for eliminating him would be nuclear powered.
There have been strong rumors that the Artist Formerly Known as Dean Ambrose may be making his AEW debut at Double or Nothing (thanks to an interview with Jack Swagger on ESPN last week), but if he does, where does he show up? Does he answer an open challenge to Hangman Page now that he doesn’t have a match on the main card? With the stipulation that the winner gets into the match to crown the inaugural AEW World Champion, having the recently returned Jon Moxley as a potential Lucky 21 winner and entering last on the free Kickoff Show would draw a lot of attention to the PPV before it even started. And having Jon Moxley versus either Kenny Omega or Chris Jericho for the World title isn’t a bad main event by any means.
Adam “Hangman” Page
The man who went from having the first announced match for Double or Nothing, the most lead up to the match, only to have it pulled away when Dragon Gate refused to let PAC lose in AEW prior dropping his own World title. And then Page announced at the end of this week’s Being The Elite that he may be kept off the card entirely now due to a knee injury. But if the injury is a work (as many believe), then it’s possible Page himself could be the Lucky 21 entrant, who goes on to win the match and face the Alpha or Omega for the World title.
Who do you think will be in the final six entrants for the Casino Battle Royale this Saturday? Let us know in the comments below!
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.
Check out our other #AllEliteWeek articles for more AEW news heading into Double or Nothing this Saturday!
- Quick Guide to Everything Elite (5/20/19)
- All Inclusive: Nyla Rose Becomes First Transgender Wrestler Signed to Major Contract (2/8/19)
- Joshi Freelancer Hikaru Shida Joins AEW (4/9/19)
- Match Point: Aja Kong, Emi Sakura & Yuka Sakazaki vs. Riho, Hikaru Shida & Ryu Mizunami (5/13/2019)
- The Zebras Are Coming: AEW Announces Ref Signings (5/14/19)
- It’s Official: AEW Signs TV Deal with TNT/WarnerMedia (5/15/19)
- Casino Battle Royale & The Buy-In (5/20/19)
- AEW Debuts First Match: PAC vs Hangman Page (5/21/19)
- Shawn Spears (Tye Dillinger) Enters Casino Battle Royale (5/21/19)
- Best Friends Hit The Jackpot (5/21/19)
- The Young Bucks and the Road to AEW (5/22/19)
- Dustin Rhodes: A Golden Opportunity (5/22/19)
- AEW World Championship Plan Announced (5/22/19)
- Cody Rhodes Has Changed The Business in Three Years (5/23/19)
- Stong Hearts Invade Las Vegas (5/23/19)
- Cody Rhodes Confirms AEW TV Will Be “Two Hours. LIVE!” (5/23/19)