With Double or Nothing less than a week away, it seemed like the card for All Elite Wrestling‘s first event was set. A highly anticipated match for some fans was Hangman Adam Page vs. PAC (fka Neville), which was set up at the first AEW rally with each man expressing the desire to be the company’s first world champion and was being built up on the Being the Elite web series. However, according to the Wrestling Observer, this match was cut from the PPV yesterday due to creative disagreements.
Those following Pac’s career know his most prestigious accomplishment since leaving WWE has been winning the Open the Dream Gate championship, Dragon Gate‘s top title. Since returning to Dragon Gate, he also hasn’t lost a one-on-one match by pinfall or submission – not in his home promotion and not at indie shows in the UK. His champion vs. champion matches in RevPro against Zack Sabre Jr. (the company’s top champion) and Will Ospreay (NJPW’s NEVER Openweight Champion at that time) ended in ways that showed multiple companies were trying to protect their champions, with a screwy DQ and a screwy time limit draw that seemed like it should have been a DQ earlier, respectively.
When Page surprisingly answered Pac’s open challenge at a Wrestle Gate show yesterday, the ensuing match ended similarly to Pac’s with Ospreay and ZSJ. However, Dave Meltzer claims this wasn’t to leave fans wanting a more definitive result for their Double or Nothing match, but because AEW didn’t want to have a match with a DQ or draw finish on their PPV. Since they also wouldn’t book Page to lose to Pac, the match was cut from Double or Nothing.
Meltzer later added more details to the story on Wrestling Observer Radio, saying that the bigger issue between AEW and Pac was that Pac was not willing to lose at all while Open the Dream Gate Champion. With plans for Pac vs. Kenny Omega in the future (something people who had looked at the card for the second AEW show might have guessed), this was a problem for the new company. Meltzer says that AEW didn’t think Pac would be Dragon Gate champ long enough for this to be an issue.
Of course, since this is wrestling, it’s possible that this isn’t a case of inter-promotional political strife, but of a storyline about backstage drama. However, an angle about a worker being so unhappy that a hyped match gets canceled seems like an odd choice of angle for the first PPV of a company that has presented itself as wrestler-friendly. Another theory is that this is all a cover-up for Pac not being able to make it to the show due to visa issues like those that prevented Dragon Gate wrestlers from performing at WrestleMania Weekend. Whatever the reason, this looks like a bad situation for AEW days before their first show.