You may have noticed that some things are missing from Mitch’s afterglow. While not entirely by design, it is very much in his nature to focus on the stories and the ring work. He did a great job with that so go read his article (here) before you read this one. This one will focus on the structure of the show itself. We’ll cover the overall staging, commentators, and the technical aspects.
All I can say about it is wow. This really felt like its own thing. They did a really nice job of establishing their own identity here. This is notable because “All In” felt very ROH. This stands to reason as ROH was very helpful in developing the show. This didn’t feel like them at all. It kinda of came off as a really nice cross between ROH and WCW in terms of feel. It felt very immediate and in-your-face while still giving us the feel of something really big. I really loved the giant gambling chips. Nice touch. The lighting was absolutely perfect. It was bright without bleaching everything. Overall, very clean-looking and professional set.
Can we talk for a second about Excalibur? He. Was. Incredible. He was commentating for both The Buy In and Double or Nothing so he was busy all night. He absolutely nailed this. He was passionate, energetic, he had great rhythm and he kept everything moving smoothly. When they cut to the announcers after the Cody/Dustin match, Excalibur was the only one who was visibly moved. He was crying under his hood. He was IN this! Excalibur is, without question, the best commentator working today and he really put the commentating team on his back and carried it. I can’t say enough good about him. There was simply nothing more he could have done. Just fabulous
Alex Marvez, while not being anywhere near as energetic or “on” as Excalibur, did an okay job. He was really valuable in the back story area. He has plenty of knowledge of the workers we were seeing and he filled in there nicely. He wasn’t as successful during The Buy In in that department but by the time Double or Nothing proper got underway, he had more to offer. He was too quiet throughout but he didn’t embarrass himself.
Sadly, the main liability here was the legendary Jim Ross. The sad thing is that Jim has completely and totally lost what made him special. He just wasn’t good. He had nothing to offer and he was a total anachronism. His rhythm was entirely too slow for this. Worse yet, he knew absolutely nothing about any worker that wasn’t in WWE. Research would have cleared some of that up. That hurt him but it gave Alex Marvez room to show his real worth as he was constantly filling in what Ross simply doesn’t know. I take no pleasure in saying this but maybe Ross’s time is just up and he needs to be moved to a backstage role. Can he can shake this off? I really hope so. He’ll need to.
In truth, Excalibur could have done this all on his own and I wouldn’t have been mad at it. More than a few of us in DD last night felt that way. I certainly did.
I kinda wondered how this was going to go. They weren’t using ROH’s crew this time so it was kind of a toss-up as to how this might go. My concerns were largely unfounded. There was feedback at times (a big no-no) but nothing too terrible. There was also some minor sound outages at other times but, again, nothing that hurt the show. The biggest flub was during the title reveal. Bret came out to reveal the title and clearly wasn’t given direction as to how to do it. He moved around like a whirling dervish displaying it and the director never got a good shot of it. I only saw it when someone on Twitter managed to screen cap it. Someone should have told Bret what camera to aim for.
I also have to hand it to my streamer of choice, Bleacher Report. I had problems exactly one time and that issue lasted all of 15 seconds. Once solved, I never had an issue again. Mitch was watching through Fite on a FireStick and he experienced zero issues throughout the night. This is an improvement as I had issues during All In, though they didn’t kill the night then either.
All told, this was just really well done. Everything was just first class all the way and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.