#OneYearDON is a look back at All Elite Wrestling’s debut event with match by match retrospectives on how talent has fared in the year since the event as well as other profiles looking at how some performers have progressed from one DON to the next. This piece looks at the very first singles match in AEW history, as Kip Sabian battled current Inner Circle member Sammy Guevara.
The very first match in the history of a professional wrestling promotion needs to be good. You only ever get one first. When All Elite Wrestling (AEW) were putting together the card for the original Double or Nothing on May 25th, 2019, there were some fantastic matches on the bill, from Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes to Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega. However, no two men can say they did what Kip Sabian and Sammy Guevara accomplished on that fateful May 2019 evening, as they had the first singles bout in AEW history on The Buy In pre-show.
At the time, this was a surprising match to have kickstart this new revolutionary company. Granted, it was the pre-show, so we wouldn’t have been seeing anything too major, like either of the aforementioned marquee attractions. However, they needed to start their first official show with a bang, something that Sabian and Guevara were more than capable of as their work on the independent circuit had proven for years beforehand. There wasn’t much of a build coming into this match like there was with the rest of the card – luckily, the in-ring action more than made up for that.
Being the pre-show of a wrestling card can often make fans look at the match(es) in question with less respect than that of the main card. Kip and Sammy made sure to throw that wrestling trope straight out of the window with their performances against one another, busting out all sorts of offence that you wouldn’t typically expect to see on a pre-show bout. From Kip’s somersault dives to ringside to Sammy’s shooting star presses, including one off the ring apron to a barricade-prone Sabian, made for one spectacular match to get AEW started off the right way. The England native would pick up the win over ‘The Best Ever’ with his Deathly Hallows facebuster, a victory that could be classed as a major upset with the added benefit of hindsight.
Becoming A Spanish God
Since Double or Nothing, Sammy Guevara’s AEW career flipped on its head, as he went on to become one of the biggest stars in the company’s history when he became aligned with Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Ortiz, and Santana on the inaugural edition of Dynamite to form The Inner Circle. Being deemed ‘The Spanish God’ by Jericho himself, Sammy became far cockier than anyone could have ever imagined. While his win/loss record may be 50/50 booking at its finest, there’s no denying the levels of success Guevara has managed to reach since becoming aligned with ‘Le Champion’ and co. His rivalries with both Darby Allin and, more recently, ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy have shown just how much of a star Sammy Guevara has become since joining the AEW roster, particularly during the ongoing global pandemic. That’s an impressive feat, seeing as he was already a big name in his own right on the independent circuit before signing across the dotted line.
Superbad, 365 Days A Year
Even though he won the first singles match in AEW history, Kip Sabian hasn’t achieved nearly the same amount of success as his opponent that evening has, which isn’t the fault of Kip. It simply goes to show just how much depth AEW’s roster has. ‘Superbad’ had that moment at Fight For The Fallen where he kissed a fan on the lips following some derogatory moments coming from said fan, but aside from that, it’s only been more recently that Kip has been given a bigger push. Mostly being used on Dark or as midcard fodder on Dynamite to fill the numbers, Sabian engaged in quite the rivalry with Joey Janela that culminated in a fantastic Falls Count Anywhere Match on an episode of Dark, with the two battling over Penelope Ford. Now finding himself aligned with both Ford and Jimmy Havoc in The Superbad Death Squad, Kip has finally found his footing in All Elite Wrestling.
Where Are They Now?
As we approach the second annual Double or Nothing on May 23rd, both men are currently scheduled to feature on the card. Sammy Guevara will team with his fellow Inner Circle brothers to battle Matt Hardy and The Elite (Kenny Omega, Adam Page, and The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)) in the very first Stadium Stampede Match, whereas Kip Sabian is one of nine competitors who will enter the Casino Ladder Match to determine a future contender for the AEW World Championship. While the Ladder Match isn’t as high profile a match as the Stadium Stampede, the ramifications of Kip winning that are far greater than if Sammy and crew win their bout. Is it possible Kip Sabian could become the first British-born AEW World Champion in history?
Stay tuned to 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. You can catch AEW Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and Dark weekly on YouTube.