This past Saturday, AEW held its third Full Gear. The card was jam-packed with matches (a couple of matches like Cody Rhodes and PAC vs. Malaki Black and Andrade El Idolo could’ve been saved for Winter is Coming). On the media call, Tony Khan said that he likes four hour pay-per-views and Full Gear ended right around midnight. There was also The Buy In that started at 7:00 PM with Nyla Rose and Jamie Hayter vs. Hikaru Shida and Thunder Rosa starting around 7:30 PM.
For all of the title matches, only one changed hands. Scores were settled and rematches are coming (*cough* Lucha Bros. vs. FTR *cough*). AEW also debuted a controversial wrestler in Jay Lethal, who has been named for sexual harassment in 2018.
Here are three things AEW got right at Full Gear 2021.
Hangman Page becomes AEW World Champion
AEW’s longest and best story is Hangman Page chasing the AEW World Championship. A very condensed version of Hangman’s journey was told during Page’s entrance video. Way back at AEW’s first press conference, Page said he’d be the inaugural AEW World Champion. That was not to be as he lost to Chris Jericho. Next, the title went to Jon Moxley and then to Page’s biggest rival (and former tag team partner) Kenny Omega.
With the signings of CM Punk, Adam Cole, and Bryan Danielson during Page’s paternity leave, some fans thought he’d be pushed down the line. Fortunately, Page picked up right where he left off. Even the graphics team was proud of the Anxious Millennial Cowboy.
The story of Hangman Page has hit all the high notes over two years, got fans invested in his journey and gave fans their happy ending from the first chapter in AEW’s story.
Full Gear showcases their four pillars
Tony Khan called Hangman Page the first true homegrown star of AEW. The four pillars of AEW are MJF, Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara, and Jungle Boy. All four men were showcased at Full Gear.
MJF and Allin were tasked with opening the pay-per-view and more than delivered. It was lauded by many as match of the night and for some, one of the best matches in AEW history. These two are destined to fight for years to come and they’re only going to get better with time.
The Falls Count Anywhere match was mostly to showcase Jungle Boy. Although he’s the first wrestler to 50 wins, he’s been just a step behind MJF and Allin. Full Gear showcased another side of Jungle Boy. He has a darker side that he can tap into if needed. Christian tried to get him to do a con-chair-to earlier in the match, but he hesitated. Later in the match, he was still struggling with whether or not he should do it, Jungle Boy eventually did the con-chair-to to set him for the pin.
Guevara did not defend his TNT Championship, but took part in the Minnesota Street Fight with Inner Circle against America’s Top Team. He stood out amongst his teammates and his opponents. His jump from the top of a ladder through a table will be replayed for years to come.
AEW did an excellent job highlighting all four pillars.
Bryan Danielson wins the Eliminator Tournament
Every champion needs a Number One contender. To find out who the next contender would be for the AEW World Championship, there was an eliminator tournament. It originally appeared like it would come down to Moxley versus Danielson. Then, Mox decided his health and wellbeing were more important and checked himself into an inpatient alcohol treatment program. This development put Miro in his place, where he beat Orange Cassidy to advance in the tournament.
Many fans thought “The Redeemer” should win as he would be in line to face probable new champion, Page. Miro and Danielson had a great match with Danielson getting the victory.
Danielson was the right choice. He will be an excellent opponent for the new champion. Khan wouldn’t commit to a date for when the two would face off in the ring. Face versus face works in this case. Page will likely be the face of AEW for months to come and Danielson can afford to lose a high-profile match and still come away as one of the company’s top wrestlers (don’t forget that Page lost several title shots before eventually winning the Big One).
Overall, Full Gear was a very strong pay-per-view. Some have said it was one of AEW’s best pay-per-views ever, although I’d argue that Double or Nothing and All Out were both better. Bookending Full Gear with pillars of the company was a smart decision and sets up year three of AEW.