#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 standouts from the Casino Battle Royale and how they’ve fared since.
The Casino Battle Royale carried a lot of weight in 2019 as the winner would move on to All Out to fight for the inaugural AEW World Championship. During that match, certain competitors stood out more than the rest of the 21-person field. Let us dive into those standout competitors and see how they have done since the first event of AEW history.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF)
The “Salt of the Earth” has come into AEW and backed up everything he has said since the first moment. He eliminated the most men in the Casino Battle Royale last year and finished in second, coming so close to turning the future into the present in fewer months than ever expected. Since then, MJF has solidified himself as one of the company’s best competitors and one of the best on the mic in the industry. His biggest wins since his first appearance in AEW was his win over Cody at Revolution and the match that he defeated Hangman Page for the Diamond Ring. MJF has managed to escape the large shadow that was cast upon him for all of 2019. What’s even more interesting that besides the AEW World Champion, Jon Moxley, he may have the most impressive record of them all.
9-1 in his AEW career, with a 6-0 record this year. Maxwell Jacob Friedman has long been seen as the future face of the company, but his dominance is showing the world that the future is near. At Double or Nothing, he will face another man people see as the face of the future in Jungle Boy. It’s a look into what AEW’s world title picture can be in a number of years. But sooner than later, MJF’s winning record should lead him to a match vs. Jon Moxley or whoever the AEW World Champion is. He can only be held back for so long.
Luchasaurus has been an interesting case for some time. When he first appeared in AEW, most believed this was a start that could catapult him to the next level eventually. His fanfare was higher than anyone could have expected, but it began to slow down following his showing in the Casino Battle Royale. The creation of Jurassic Express gave him an opportunity to be on weekly without exploding into the stratosphere that fans believe he can.
On Saturday night, he has his first single opportunity this year to compete alone. One year later and another unique opportunity at the AEW World Championship. This time it will be in the Casino Ladder Match. As the biggest man in the match, most would see it as a disadvantage. But his athleticism that most can’t match could turn his size into an advantage instead. If Luchasaurus brings down the opportunity, he could finally reach the spot most believed.
Somehow, “Freshly Squeezed” has not even approached wearing off. Instead, his fandom gets greater and larger every week. And the best part about Orange Cassidy‘s run in AEW is that he has shown everyone that he can go. At Double or Nothing last year, his appearance lit up the crowd. However, his not so serious kicks and mood led to him being quickly eliminated. Since that moment, he has become a trio with The Best Friends and been very valuable to them and the company. As one of the most popular acts on the show, he is nearing a breakout that could come as soon as Saturday night.
His entry into the Casino Ladder Match is appealing. Not just because of his chance of winning the whole thing and getting a championship match, but because of who he will be sharing the ring with. The idea of two unique personalities like Cassidy and Darby Allin meeting at the top of the ladder brings plenty of excitement and interest. Cassidy and Colt Cabana could share a LOL moment as well, and whoever this mystery man is can be enticing as well. Cassidy has shown that this gimmick can last for a long time as long as he evolves. His stock has risen since this time last year, massively.
The winner of the Casino Battle Royale was Hangman Page. He entered the match as the lucky “Joker” entry and ran through the competition on his way to All Out vs. Chris Jericho. When looking at his road since, it is one of the most complex and interesting. There was a time where no one wanted anything to do with Hangman, fans were dry towards him and he wasn’t being accepted as anyone had hoped. After losing to Jericho and not capturing the AEW World Championship, he went down a tough losing streak and saw a weird but entertaining transformation. “Cowboy Sh*t” became his mantra as he drank beer and had a good time week in and week out. Interestingly enough, he has tried to remove himself from The Elite but has failed to do so.
Failed so much that he became a tag team champion with Kenny Omega. They remain champions to this moment and even are apart of a match with the Young Bucks at Revolution that most feel is the best in company history and even the best tag team match ever. His road to this point has been one of the various results, but most would agree that before fans went away, the cowboy was the most popular wrestler in the company not named Moxley. Now as he continues to try and remove himself from The Elite, he will team with them to take on The Inner Circle in the first-ever Stadium Stampede match. It’ll be interesting to see if he remains loyal or walks out on Saturday.
More From LWOPW
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 Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8pm ET on TNT and AEW DARK Tuesday nights at 6pm on their YouTube Channel. Double or Nothing is this Sunday, May 23, at 8pm EST on Fite.tv.