AEW held their first PPV since debuting on TV a short while ago.
All the AEW PPV’s have ranged from very good to excellent so far. Did Full Gear continue their streak? Let’s review and find out.
Britt Baker vs Bea Priestley
Result: Baker submits Priestley with Lockjaw
This was fine. It was a bit sloppy in places, but overall, it was a decent match which had a surprising result. It’s clear that AEW see these two as future stars, so its somewhat surprising that Britt was allowed to win cleanly.
As said above, it was sloppy in places. This didn’t flow as well as expected, which considering Britt’s relative greenness and Bea’s… physical nature, can’t be too much of a shock. There was a surprise afterwards too. The lights went out, and Awesome Kong and Brandi Rhodes made their way down to the ring, laid out Bea and took a piece of her hair, which Kong put on her waist as some sort of trophy. A confusing angle, but one that has interesting implications for the AEW Women’s Division going forward. Decent match, with an intriguing post-match angle.
Proud & Powerful (Santana and Ortiz vs The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson)
Result: Ortiz pinned Nick Jackson following the Street Sweeper
This was great and ridiculous at the same time. So, it was your basic Young Bucks match. The crowd were hot throughout, apart from the finish, but they came back for the post-match angle, which I’ll get to in a minute.
They went at a frenzied pace throughout, seemingly never slowing down. It was the perfect match to kick off the PPV, as it showed why these two teams are among the best tag teams on the planet right now. As good as the match was, there were a few points that were just stupid. For example, why didn’t the referee acknowledge the tag Ortiz made to Santana with his foot? It’s a legal tag. There shouldn’t have been a problem with it, but the referee wouldn’t allow it. Ortiz also ludicrously oversold a superkick, flopping like a fish before finally falling to the mat. Also, this is a note to all wrestlers. PLEASE STOP SPITTING AND THROWING YOUR GUM AROUND. It’s really disgusting, OK?
The crowd went surprisingly quiet for the finish. Maybe they expected the Young Bucks to win. Regardless, they came back for the hilariously brilliant post-match angle. Rock n Roll Express, who were attacked by PnP a couple of weeks ago, were shown to be sat at ringside. The commentators kept bringing them up, so you knew something was going to happen. As PnP and Sammy Guevara were beating the Young Bucks down, they jumped the rail and started attacking the Inner Circle. Ricky Morton, who is 63 years old, hit an (albeit slow) Canadian Destroyer on Santana, and followed that up with a beautiful Suicide Dive onto Ortiz and Guevara. A fantastic end to a great match.
Adam Page vs PAC
Result: Page pins PAC after hitting Dead Eye
Although a better wrestling match than the opener, it lacked the showmanship and the entertainment of the Young Bucks vs PnP. However, this was a brilliant match. Page caused a shock by handing PAC his first singles pinfall loss in AEW. Also, it set up Adam Page’s heel turn nicely, and perhaps hinted at his next feud after this.
As good as Page is, and he is very good, PAC was the standout of this match for me. As mentioned, it is slightly surprising that he lost here, particularly after beating Kenny Omega at All Out, but that shouldn’t deter from what was a fantastic performance from the Englishman. He has seemingly no weaknesses in his arsenal, and will no doubt be AEW Champion at some point soon.
Right, Adam Page’s (eventual) heel turn. It’s telling that he was the only member of The Elite to win at Full Gear. Crucially, he also did what Kenny Omega failed to do: beat PAC. They’ve been subtly teasing Page’s heel turn on Being the Elite for a while now, so it’s coming eventually. Its probably gonna be on Kenny Omega too, leading to the first Elite members feud in AEW. Personally, Page as a heel screams money to me, so it’s going to be epic when it eventually happens.
Shawn Spears vs Joey Janela
Result: Spears pins Janela following a Death Valley Driver
This was… a match. There’s not a lot to say about this match to be quite honest. It was possibly the weakest match on the card and one that never really gathered any steam, even towards the end. Spears was always going to win, so the result was never in doubt.
Also, it was nice to see that on the 22nd anniversary of the Montreal Screwjob, they did a Sharpshooter spot with Earl Hebner as the referee and they didn’t make a huge deal of it. It’s the little details that AEW do that are gonna set them apart from WWE. It was probably the highlight of the match as well.
Three Way Tag Match for the AEW Tag Team Championships: SCU (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) (C) vs Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix) vs Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quinn)
Result: SCU retain when Kazarian pins Kassidy after an SCU Later
This was a very good match. All three teams are very good, and it showed here, with all three getting time to shine in this match. There was a very welcome return afterwards too, so this did everything it set out to accomplish.
Private Party really stood out in this match for me. Yes, they were the team that took the loss here, but that was done in order to protect Lucha Bros, which makes sense at this point in time. However, they shone throughout this match, with Kassidy in particular looking good throughout. Quinn has one of the best Shooting Star Presses I’ve ever seen, and Kassidy hit an awesome looking tope con Hilo to the outside. In the end, it wasn’t enough, as an SCU Later on Kassidy sealed the win for SCU and allowed them to retain their belts.
The Lucha Bros, being the dastardly heels, attacked Sky and Kazarian afterwards, which allowed the lights to go out, and a Pentagon Jr lookalike to enter the ring. It was obvious to anyone watching that it was Christopher Daniels, and he took his mask off to reveal a return to his Fallen Angel gimmick, which is a pleasant surprise. It may have been predictable, but it was good watching nonetheless, and the return of Daniels afterwards was warmly received. So, this ticked all the boxes. Well done AEW.
AEW Women’s World Championship: Riho (C) vs Emi Sakura
Result: Rhio retains via a Roll Up
This may have been the best women’s match AEW has done at this point. Yes, there isn’t exactly a high bar so far, but that shouldn’t take away from what was a fantastic match. A criticism I could have is that this match didn’t get enough publicity on AEW Dynamite beforehand. It was left to Emi and Kenny Omega on Twitter to explain that Sakura was Rhio’s mentor and trainer, and they’ve been battling in Japan for many years. This is the sort of thing that should be on your weekly show. It shouldn’t be left to social media to explain why this match is so significant to both women.
Regardless, this was a great match with a fantastic story. Rhio excels at being the beaten down underdog who must mount a heroic comeback. She reminds me a lot of NXT Sami Zayn, a beloved individual who takes a pasting every match and somehow prevails. Sakura also did well as the trainer who knows what Rhio is going to do before she even does it.
It’s unclear who Rhio will face after this. The Sakura thing feels like a one and done thing. A rematch with Nyla Rose would make sense, or maybe a feud with Brandi Rhodes and Awesome Kong. It took a while, but the AEW Women’s Division is finally gathering steam.
AEW World Championship – If Cody Rhodes lost, he could never challenge for the AEW World Championship again: Chris Jericho (C) vs Cody Rhodes
Result: Jericho retains after MJF threw the towel in, causing a ref stoppage
This was amazing. Like Cody’s match against Nick Aldis at All In last year, it was a very old-fashioned style of wrestling, but one that Cody does very, very well. Jericho exceled as the wiry veteran pulling out all the stops in order to retain his belt. It also had the best ending and post angle in America this year. It made MJF the most hated man in wrestling. It was obvious he was going to turn at some point, but it was still molten inside that arena when he decked Cody after he put in a heroic effort.
It set the tone very early on when Cody mistimed a suicide dive and cut his head open. He bled heavily and it kind of set the tone throughout. It was a physical match, and one that will linger in the brain for weeks to come.
Everything about this match was great. The wrestling, the storytelling, the post-match angle. This was one of the best matches of the year, and certainly AEW’s best match. It set up Cody vs MJF beautifully. When Cody returns, the pop he’ll get is gonna be huge. This was expertly done by Cody, MJF and AEW. Top work all round.
Lights Out match: Jon Moxley vs Kenny Omega
Result: Moxley pins Omega following a Paradigm Shift onto exposed wooden boards
Grade: B –
People’s opinions are obviously gonna vary on this one, but I personally thought that it was a great match that delivered on the stipulation and violence they promised (and then some) in the build up to this match. It didn’t need to go as long as it did, and some of the weapons spots were just ridiculous, but that was to be expected in a Lights Out match involving Jon Moxley. Moxley winning was the right call. I also don’t need to see another one of these for a while, maybe forever.
How you view this match depends on how you see these sorts of matches. If you like these sorts of matches, then you’ll love this match. If you hate these sorts of matches, then you’ll want to skip this one. Personally, I’m 50-50 on them. If done right, then they can tell excellent stories and be the best match on the card. If you go too far, then it basically descends into a bloodbath and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. This was somewhere in the middle. It did descend into uncomfortable viewing at times, especially towards the end. However, it did tell a story throughout. Both men went all out to prove that they were the better man. In the end, Moxley was prepared to sacrifice himself more in order to gain the victory here. I only hope that this is the end of the Lights Out/Unsanctioned matches in AEW for a long time. Unfortunately, I doubt that’s gonna happen.
This was a fantastic PPV. With only one average match on the card (Spears vs Janela), the rest ranged from good to excellent. MJF’s heel turn was incredibly executed, the AEW Women’s Division had their best match yet and Moxley and Omega put each other through hell to prove who was better. A great PPV, continuing AEW’s streak.
Final Grade: B
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Bannister007. Thanks for reading!