AEW's no-fans PPV features Mike Tyson and Jags stadium brawl

Cody Rhodes was talking backstage with Frankie Kazarian, a veteran wrestler and one of All Elite Wrestling's locker room leaders. The promotion had just finished up its first pay-per-view event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a no-fans live show at Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida.

"This is the time that wrestling is going to forget," Rhodes said Kazarian told him, "but they're not going to forget what we did tonight."

AEW Double or Nothing on Saturday night featured a creative brawl all over the Jacksonville Jaguars' TIAA Bank Field, an appearance from boxing legend Mike Tyson and a bloody title match. It was the second annual Double or Nothing, following the upstart promotion's first card in May 2019.

The taped "Stadium Stampede" match was won by The Elite over the Inner Circle when Kenny Omega hit his One-Winged Angel finishing move off a TIAA Bank Field balcony onto Sammy Guevara, through a rigged box set up for the stunt. The men seemed to fall over 15 feet before the crash landing and pin.

"It would have been very difficult if it wasn't a cinematic [taped] match to do something like that," said AEW president Tony Khan, whose family owns the Jaguars. "We did a lot to make it safe, but ... only two of the greatest wrestlers in the world could have pulled that off."

The match was filled with stunts -- sometimes dangerous, sometimes silly. Sometimes a little bit of both.

Matt Jackson did a moonsault off of the football uprights onto members of the Inner Circle. Chris Jericho knocked out Jags mascot Jaxson de Ville with his Judas Effect elbow smash finishing move. Hangman Page chased Guevara down the field while on horseback. Matt Hardy and Inner Circle tag team Santana & Ortiz took a dip in the TIAA Bank Field pool. Jericho smashed Nick Jackson with a first-down marker, proclaiming, "That will move the chains!" and later threw a red challenge flag when a pinfall attempt didn't go his way. Nick Jackson kicked Jericho into the place-kicker's practice netting.

If there was a funny football reference to make, AEW's main event made it. Khan said the ideas were a team effort from everyone involved.

"I hope the Stadium Stampede can be a signature here in AEW and something people will always remember," Khan said. "You know when a band puts together a song and everyone has a part? I think that was it."

Earlier in the night, Tyson was ringside for the new TNT Championship match between Rhodes and Lance Archer. Tyson, who attended AEW Double or Nothing last year in Las Vegas for fun, awarded the belt to the title winner. Late in the match, the 53-year-old Tyson ripped off his shirt and intimidated Archer's manager -- wrestling legend Jake "The Snake" Roberts -- from bringing one of his signature snakes into the ring, setting up Rhodes to gain the advantage and pin Archer.

Tyson, a longtime wrestling fan, was famously involved as a special enforcer at WWE's WrestleMania 14 match between Shawn Michaels and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. In recent weeks, he has teased a comeback to competition on social media. Rhodes said he didn't think he'd be able to wrap his head around working with Tyson "any time soon."

"Special moment to have Mike there for so many reasons," Rhodes said. "Just surreal. That's the best way to really describe it."

In the live main event at Daily's Place, and prior to the Stadium Stampede match at adjacent TIAA Bank Field, Jon Moxley successfully defended his AEW world title by pinning a bloodied Brodie Lee. Near the end of the match, Lee came up bloody after taking Moxley's Paradigm Shift finisher in a stunt crash through the ring's ramp entryway.

"It feels like we won the Super Bowl," Moxley said. "We put on a great pay-per-view top to bottom."

The debuting Brian Cage, former Impact Wrestling world champion, won the Casino Ladder Match that opened the show as a surprise entrant, and he will get the next title shot at Moxley, Khan said.

Also in attendance Saturday night were two familiar faces from the MMA world: American Top Team owner Dan Lambert and legendary fighter Vitor Belfort. When asked why he was there, Belfort played coy. Belfort is currently signed with ONE Championship, which has a broadcast deal with Turner Sports, like AEW.

"Always a reason," Belfort told ESPN about why he was there. "Life without a reason means you are dead. I am full of life. The phenom is ready."

There were no fans in the crowd, but AEW has set up members of its roster -- along with people like Lambert and Belfort -- in the stands to bring energy and noise to its shows since the start of the pandemic. Khan has said everyone allowed in the building has been tested for COVID-19.

"It's been one of the most challenging times as a performer and competitor ever," Rhodes said. "I scarily have gotten used to the no fans and I don't like that. I want to get back into arenas, I want to get back with fans."

But considering the circumstances, Rhodes got choked up about how he'd assess AEW's performance Saturday night, saying it was incredibly important for the promotion to deliver considering the price tag.

"We're obligated," Rhodes said. "I'm obligated. It's my literal job to make you happy. I'm very happy with tonight."