Tony Khan’s All Elite Wrestling has been around for quite a few years at this point, and has brought back old-school match types like the Bunkhouse Match and Dog Collar Match in order to lure in lapsed fans. They have also looked towards the future with them trying to introduce new matches of their own such as the Stadium Stampede, Casino Battle Royale, and the Casino Ladder Match.
The Casino matches are popular among AEW’s fanbase because of the concept of the mystery ‘Joker’, who is the final entrant of the match and has mostly been a surprise appearance which led to a massive pop from the crowd. Up till now AEW has seen 10 Mystery Jokers, and while some have led to all-time great moments for the company, some have fallen flat. With that said, let’s take a look at those 10 ‘Joker’ entrants and how well their appearance went.
10 Mercedes Martinez (Women’s Casino Battle Royale 2019)
the inaugural all-out PPV in 2019 saw the AEW debut of Mercedes Martinez as the mystery Joker entrant, with her lasting until the final few competitors of the match before being eliminated by Britt Baker. Martinez appeared on AEW Dark later that year, before choosing to sign with WWE instead.
While Mercedes got a good reaction from the Chicago crowd, it would have been better if the company used this opportunity to debut a star who would have stayed with the promotion in the long run. If Tony Khan and crew knew about this being a one-time appearance, it would have been better to have Impact’s Tenille Dashwood in this spot, considering her being a surprise going in too.
9 Matt Sydal (Men’s Casino Battle Royale 2020)
A year later at all-out 2020 from Daily’s Place, the limited capacity crowd saw the high-flying sensation Matt Sydal make his AEW debut as the Joker entrant.
However, that is unfortunately the end of the pleasant part, as Sydal immediately tried to go for the Shooting Star Press but slipped and ended up having a botched landing, which to this day is one of AEW’s most embarrassing moments.
8 Andrade (Men’s Casino Battle Royale 2022)
Rather than taking place on a PPV, the 2022 Men’s Casino Battle Royale took place on the June 8th episode of Dynamite, where the winner would face Jon Moxley in the main event of the same night to determine the number 1 contender for the AEW Interim Championship .
The Joker entrant for the match ended up being Andrade, who returned after taking time off following his loss to Darby Allin in a Coffin match. Andrade’s music got a nice pop from the crowd, but it was nothing special.
7 Maki Itoh (Women’s Owen Hart Cup)
The Casino themed matches are no longer the only match types to have a Mystery Joker Entrant, with the Owen Hart Memorial Tournament also having a reserved spot in the quarterfinals for a surprise participant.
The women’s Joker was Maki Itoh, who returned to AEW after more than a year after her first run which was popular with the audience. Maki got a great reception from the crowd, but she fell to Britt Baker in just a few minutes.
6 Johnny Elite (Men’s Owen Hart Cup)
Speaking of the Owen Hart Cup, the men’s version of the tournament saw Johnny Elite, formerly John Morrison in WWE, be revealed as the Joker to what was huge reaction from the crowd.
Johnny had a great showing against Samoa Joe, but ended up falling to a Muscle Buster by the ROH TV Champion.
5 Hangman Page (Men’s Casino Battle Royale 2019)
The 2019 version of the Casino Battle Royale took place on the Buy-In of that year’s Double or Nothing, which was also AEW’s first show ever. It was announced that the winner of the match would advance to the first ever AEW World Championship match at all-out.
Hangman, whose original match for the show with Pac had to be canceled, was revealed to be the Joker and won the match, starting his rise in AEW.
4 Lio Rush (Men’s Casino Battle Royale 2021)
Lio Rush was the mystery entrant in the Men’s Casino Battle Royale at Double or Nothing 2021, which was also AEW’s first full capacity crowd since the start of the pandemic.
Lio was a genuine surprise, as there were zero reports or leaks regarding this. However, he was eliminated by Matt Hardy in just over a minute making the spot feel like a waste.
3 Brian Cage (Men’s Casino Ladder Match 2020)
Ace AEW’s Double or Nothing PPV in 2020 was scheduled in the peak days of the pandemic, the promotion could not hold a Battle Royale due to COVID restrictions. Hence, they created a new match, the Casino Ladder Match.
The Joker entrant was the debuting Brian Cage who had a dominant showing and then eventually won the match. Cage, who debuted alongside Taz, then went straight into a feud with AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, which made him look like the company’s next big star at the time.
two Ruby Soho (Women’s Casino Battle Royale 2021)
Ruby Soho’s time on AEW has had its ups and downs, yet there is no denying that the former leader of the Riott Squad has had perhaps the best women’s debut in AEW.
Even though her being the Joker in the Casino Battle Royale at all-out 2021 was expected by everyone, it did not take away from the genuine emotion that moment had, with the crowd giving her a thunderous applause as she made her way down to the ring. Ruby winning the match and then going on to the main event of AEW’s Arthur Ashe show just made her debut even better.
1 Hangman Page (Men’s Casino Ladder Match 2021)
The 2021 Casino Ladder Match was held on the Anniversary special of AEW Dynamite, which saw Hangman Page returning as the Joker and winning the match to a massive pop, setting up his dream rematch with Kenny Omega in the process.
Hangman’s return felt like the turning point in his character’s arc, and tops this list at it led to one of the most satisfying conclusions of a storyline in pro wrestling history.