As a guest on the latest episode of Dynamite Download, Brian Cage spoke to the crew about his time in AEW and how he was supposed to make his first appearance with the company at the first Double or Nothing pay per view in 2019. Cage revealed that he was supposed to be a major surprise as the current IMPACT World Champion at the time and last to the end against Adam Page but ultimately get thrown over by The Hangman and lose. The Machine revealed that IMPACT was not okay with their champion appearing on Double or Nothing and threatened to sue Cage if he did the show.
“I was a super surprise, nobody knew, not even the people in the battle royale,” Cage said. “I remember like Cody saying ‘Hey, I don’t want to insult you and put you in the battle royale, it will be for a number one contendership so it’s a good battle royale, but we can’t have any of our signed talent go under you because you’re unsigned. We don’t want anybody to go and beat you so if you want to be in the battle royal at least if you don’t win, you’re not losing.’ I was fine with that and it was a compromise and it was so cool because it was the super hot thing in town and to keep a secret in wrestling nowadays is so hard and the fact that nobody knew about it, even the people in the match. They were putting me over huge in the match and it was going to come down to me and Page and once IMPACT found out that I was losing and not winning, they pulled me from the pay per view.”
“I remember I was so hot and I was arguing with them and so was Kenny and Jericho with Don because I was with IMPACT. Which is funny enough because you fast forward 18 months Don is working with AEW and was with IMPACT. Needless to say, not even two hours before the match I got pulled off the show. I was going to do [Double or Nothing] but they were threatening to sue me.
Cage also revealed advice he got from two wrestling legends that ultimately convinced him not to do Double or Nothing.
“Billy Gunn and Tommy Dreamer both pulled me aside,” Cage mentioned. “[They both said to Cage] ‘If I were you, I would not do this match. I know it sucks but here’s what’s going to happen. Either go through with this and they’re going to pull you into court, pull AEW into court, even if you lose you’re going to have to spend money in court and now you’re going to have two major companies have heat with you. You’re too good of a talent to be left in the middle doing all of that. I know it sucks but I would just bite the bullet and not do the show and move on going forward.’ “
Cage would debut for AEW a year later at Double or Nothing 2020 as a surprise entrant in the Casino Ladder Match which he went on to win. Although the IMPACT/AEW relationship could’ve started in 2019, IMPACT ultimately decided to work with AEW in 2020 with Kenny Omega heading to IMPACT and winning the World Championship. Many Hall of Famers were very critical of IMPACT Wrestling’s relationship with AEW, including Booker T, who stated the company gains nothing from it and Eric Bischoff who said IMPACT would be worse off after their relationship with AEW. Cage spoke about his thoughts on the IMPACT/AEW relationship today and why he believes he should’ve started the relationship in 2020.
“It could’ve started with me,” Cage said. “I was talking to the owner of Anthem, arguing with him all night and even told him this benefits you guys more than anything. It’s an awesome opportunity for me, it’s cool for AEW but it doesn’t really do much for them but for me to walk out as IMPACT World Champion and decimate a bunch of their roster and almost win a shot at the title, even if we never did anything and the forbidden door never happened, it still would’ve made people go ‘Oh, are AEW and IMPACT working together?’ All these what if’s could’ve happened.
“When they were trying to negotiate with IMPACT to let them [put me on the show], they were like ‘Okay look, if it’s that much of an issue to you, we’ll loan you guys Adam Page and have Cage go over on him on IMPACT.’ They said no to that because they didn’t believe that it would really happen. IMPACT had nothing to lose from that and everything to gain. If I go out there, they’re going to put me over, let me shine on all their talent and if I lose a battle royale nobodies beating me, I’m just getting thrown over the top rope.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Dynamite Download with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.