Finally, after months of waiting, AEW Full Gear is here. The show featured Jon Moxley defending his AEW World Championship against Eddie Kingston, MJF fighting Chris Jericho to join the Inner Circle, Hangman Page and Kenny Omega fighting over the #1 Contendership for the AEW World Championship, The Young Bucks taking on FTR for the AEW World Tag Team Championship, and more.
The stakes can’t be any higher for all of these matches, with titles on the line, and in the case of the Young Bucks, if they do not win they will never challenge for the AEW World Tag Team Championship again.
First up is the preshow, where AEW aired the Countdown to Full Gear, which was a must-see hype show for the PPV, with tons of good promos and hype videos. I wish they used these on Dynamite as it would help hype the PPV so much.
The Buy-In: Serena Deeb vs. Allysin Kay – NWA World Women’s Championship
Allysin Kay is a former NWA World Women’s Champion, having lost the title to Thunder Rosa. This was her first shot at the title since then, but she has since left the NWA. AEW would do well to pick her up. This match was a technical affair, seeing Deeb and Kay exchange holds, until Deeb was able to secure the half crap for the submission victory. Very solid opening match.
Result: Serena Deeb
Rating: **3/4 (2.75 stars)
After the match, Thunder Rosa made her entrance, making it very clear that she was coming for the NWA World Women’s championship and that she wanted her title back after losing it to Deeb at UWN Primetime Live. Simple, effective little angle here. I liked it.
The Main Card: Hangman Page vs. Kenny Omega – #1 Contendership for the AEW World Championship
Kenny and Hangman came out with that match with every intention of stealing the show. Both men were fired up and it payed off in brutal chops, strikes, and a brawl around ringside after neither man staying in control for long in the ring. Omega hit a beautiful moonsault of the guardrail to take the advantage. Omega tweaked his knee on You Cant’s Escape, but managed to finish the moonsault.
Hangman Page hit a huge lariat on Omega as he was on the apron, and Omega did a full flip and landed on the floor. Page went for a dive, but Omega dodged and then hit Rise of the Terminator. Back in the ring, Hangman and Kenny exchanged attempts of the One Winged Angel, but both men escaped. Hangman went for the Buckshot Lariat, but Kenny countered with a V-Trigger.
Hangman hit a popup powerbomb on the ramp and rolled Omega into the ring before hitting a second popup powerbomb for a 2 count. Hangman hit the Rite of Passage, but Omega kicked out. Omega then hit the One Winged Angel after a few V-Triggers for the pinfall. It’s interesting to note that Omega got no near falls in this match, but Hangman hit Kenny with everything he had, except for the Buckshot Lariat.
All it took was one finisher to win the match from Kenny, and Hangman didn’t get to hit his finish, implying that it could have easily went the other way. This was an absolutely excellent match between Omega and Page, and you can tell their story is far from over. The next steps will be Omega becoming champion, and Hangman needing to recover and rebuild after this devastating loss.
Result: Kenny Omega
Rating: ****3/4 (4.75 stars)
After the match, Omega left without checking on Hangman, and Hangman laid in the middle of the ring, hurt and devastated. We got some compelling stories that will come out of this.
Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver
Silver seemed to have an answer for everything Orange Cassidy did in this match, including ripping the pockets out of Orange’s pants so he couldn’t put his hands there. Silver countered a tornado DDT with a squat suplex, which was very impressive. OC later countered a suplex with the Stundog Millionaire, showing he learned from earlier in the match.
Silver hit a Spin Doctor Bomb for a 2 count, and then went for a huge discus clothesline but Orange Cassidy ducked under and hit the Orange Punch and Beach Break for the 3 count. Excellent follow up to the previous match. It wasn’t as exciting or intense, but had just the right amount of action to keep the energy going.
Result: Orange Cassidy
Rating: **1/2 (2.5 stars)
In the hype video that aired before the match, Cody said that Darby Allin was forced to bend the knee to Cody two times previously and he would again, because he was one of those wrestlers that people talked about being the future for 10 years, and those were the worst kind of wrestlers. Excellent promo.
Cody Rhodes (c) (w/ The Nightmare Family) vs. Darby Allin – TNT Championship Match
Cody was officially announced as Cody Rhodes to the audience, to a huge pop. It feels so good to see that he finally has his name back. In the early portion of the match, Darby Allin used his speed to keep on top of Cody and keep him from getting or maintaining an advantage. After an exchange of hammerlocks, Cody picked Darby up and threw him over the top rope onto the ramp, causing Darby to crash onto the ramp and his own arm.
Cody proceeded to work over the arm of Darby for the next few minutes, trying to keep him grounded. Cody looked a lot like Arn Anderson working over that arm throughout the match. Darby managed to hit some strikes and a Code Red for a 2 count. Darby was able to counter because Cody started going to the top rope instead of sticking the ground game.
Arn Anderson yelled “Control!” as Cody managed to hit a Cross Rhodes off the top rope on Darby. Cody went for the pinfall, but Darby’s arm was under the bottom rope, meaning he was out of the bounds of the ring and the pin was broken. Darby put on a sleeper hold on Cody, but Cody climbed to the top rope and fell backwards onto Darby.
Cody seemed to get more and more annoyed as the match went on, as he couldn’t finish Darby off. Cody grabbed his weight belt and was going to whip Darby with it but thought better off it and dropped it. Darby tripped Cody with the belt and got a near fall. Darby hit the Coffin Drop, and rolled over to pin Cody, learning from the last time he had a match with Cody, but Cody kicked out. After an exchange of pinfall attempts, Darby managed to roll Cody up and outwrestle him for the victory!
Result: Darby Allin
Rating: ****1/2 (4.5 stars)
This was an excellent match, playing off all the previous matches that Darby had with Cody over the last year. From the draw to the two defeats at Cody’s hand. After the match, Cody got down on one knee, a reference to what Cody said earlier about making Darby bend the knee 2 times previously, and handed Darby the TNT title to a huge pop from the crowd.
Taz came down and told both men to clear out of his ring, and as he was talking, Brian Cage and Ricky Starks came in from behind and attacked Darby and Cody. Cody tried to safe Darby from being put through a set piece, but Brian Cage left him laying and put Darby through it. Starks and Cage then tried to break Darby’s arm in his car door from his entrance, but Will Hobbs ran in and made the save with a chair, giving his answer to Team Taz about if he was going to join him. This was all excellent. The match, the post match, and everything else.
Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall cut a promo on The Butcher, The Blade, & the Bunny, with Dustin saying he was challenging them to a Bunkhouse match. This was an awesome promo from Dustin Rhodes.