AEW Full Gear was one long pay-per-view, but there was plenty of action from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, and some intriguing storylines coming out of it — especially with a new AEW World champion.
We’ll skip past the pre-show, because lord knows that getting through an AEW pay-per-view event is already enough of a marathon.
Jungle Boy Jack Perry vs. Luchasaurus (Steel Cage Match)
My sincere hope is that tonight’s match signals not only the end of this rivalry that has lasted longer than the Jurassic Era, but also concludes the weight that is the aimless Jungle Boy gimmick.
This is the old-fashioned version of the cage match where pinfalls matter.
Christian Cage gets into the fray to the shock of no one, and Lucha retrieves a table and brings it into the match. So much for the usefulness of the steel cage.
This certainly wouldn’t be Braun Strowman’s cup of tea. Perry puts Lucha through a table then entangles the monster in a Snare Trap to end the match, and as said above, hopefully the rivalry.
Winner: Jack Perry
Post-match, Mom and sis Perry come out to celebrate.
The Elite vs. Death Triangle (Trios Championship Match)
Don Callis sits in on commentary while the fans chant for CM Punk, albeit not favourably.
Nick Jackson at one point disobeys all public health (and sensibility) recommendations and has a swig of a fan’s drink. This isn’t a Pearl Jam concert!
Concert moves are the big thing here, and as much as I love the Lucha Bros, the Bucks just don’t do it for me.
I’m actually pleasantly surprised that The Elite don’t win the match. Fenix uses nefarious means to keep the gold, the kind of thing you wouldn’t expect from him (but would fully from his stablemates). Decent, but I can’t see how these belts stay alive for long, particularly with the ROH straps still active on the primary roster.
Winners: Death Triangle
After the match, Rhea threatens to get in the ring but decides discretion is the better part of valor.
Jade Cargill vs. Nyla Rose (TBS Championship Match)
Speaking of acts I just can’t get into, here’s Nyla Rose. I’m sure she appeals to some, but hosses have a limited shelf life in my book.
Match was fine for what it was, but the finish was never in doubt. Cargill deserves better and we’ll have to see if the apparent face turn sticks, or if this was a one-off instance for the Baddie leader.
Winner: Jade Cargill
Chris Jericho vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brian Danielson vs. Sammy Guevara (ROH Championship Match)
Ian Riccaboni is with the commentary team this time for a glorified tag team match (at least to start).
Guevara and Jericho have an exchange, as do the faces. The match unfolds much as you’d expect with some awesome action all around. Match ends with the anticlimactic Judas Effect for CJ.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Three title matches in and no gold has changed hands.
Saraya vs. Dr. Britt Baker, DMD
Easily the second most anticipated match on the card.
I don’t get the hate for Dr. Britt online. She is the unquestioned leader of the women, title or no title.
Saraya looks incredible from start through expected finish. I would like to have seen a better finisher to the match than the default go-to for many women, in the DDT, but I’ll take it gladly for Saraya’s healthy return to the ring.
Wardlow vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Samoa Joe (TNT Championship Match)
Hobbs feels so tertiary in this match it’s not even funny.
Good call by AEW brass tonight. Wardlow has cooled off immensely since the MJF rivalry and the belt chase. I’m sure he’ll get elevated to the AEW Championship picture, but this was a desperately needed.
I don’t like Hobbs being the win device, but I get the logic of Wardlow not being the one to lose the fall at the same time. Coquina/Naked/Karafuta Clutch gets the duke for Joe.
Winner AND NEW champion: Samoa Joe
Sting / Darby Allin vs. Jeff Jarrett / Jay Lethal
I’ll say right away that this is the match I had the least excitement for.
Has Sting been on the losing side of a match ever in AEW? If he has it’s news to me.
That streak continues here, as expected.
Winners: Sting and Allin
Toni Storm vs. Jamie Hayter (Interim Women’s Championship Match)
I had heard some buzz going in that the Interim may be dropped and Thunder Rosa could be outright stripped of the Championship.
This is my issue with AEW’s Women’s Division — look through the lineup aside from Dr. Britt and tell me anyone else who has had any sort of substantial time on the mic. It feels, in that respect, similar to the Divas era in WWE. Character build is seriously lacking, and for the most part it feels like AEW is expecting fans to latch onto certain competitors based on their history. It’s ineffective in building a division people want to laydown cash for.
Prime example, unfortunately, is Toni Storm who has not impressed me thus far in AEW, but she does a good job tonight in turning my thoughts toward a more positive outlook. Storm literally bleeds for her art here, but falls victim to the numbers.
Winner AND NEW (Interim) Champion: Jamie Hayter
I sincerely hope that Hayter is named the absolute champion and gets the expected face turn on Dr. Britt.
Swerve in Their Glory vs. The Acclaimed
I never want to hear an AEW mark complain about WWE tag team names. There, I said what needed to be said.
I miss Swerve in WWE. A lot. He could be having bangers with Gargano and others right now, but fate…
There’s a little too much focus on the whole scissor thing in this feud. It feels very Attitude Era-ish, and not in a good way.
Keith Lee walks out on Strickland to officially end their partnership, and The Acclaimed retain. God I hope FTR is next in line.
Winners: The Acclaimed
Jon Moxley vs. MJF (AEW World Championship Match)
Dear God the heat going into this match is nuclear. The fans make it known that they’re here to see one thing happen, and without saying it there could be a riot if AEW doesn’t follow through.
Mox plays up to the heel reaction he’s getting quite well.
Rhino Driver (pile driver from apron through table on the outside) at one point to really put MJF’s win in doubt. Mox also hits an Avalanche Paradigm Shift at one point as well, and part of me would love to have seen him hit a Pepsi Plunge instead.
Matches is going extremely well until ref bump city.
MJF goes for the ring but William Regal convinces him to go clean. Foreshadowing?
Two refs are down when MJF taps out to Moxley, Regal slips the knux to his seeming new protégé who gets the duke and, while everyone goes insane for the win, there’s a big question now as to whether MJF is the heel, and how this impacts the rest of the Blackpool Combat Club.
So this was a real up-and-down card overall. The results, really save for Samoa Joe, were predictable, but they were also the right results for the most part. MJF’s crowning moment feels a little tainted and felt a bit like the Stone Cold Steve Austin-Vince McMahon finish to WrestleMania 17.
AEW Revolution will the next AEW pay-per-view, on March 5th, 2023 from the Chase Center in San Francisco, California.
Until next time, stay classy.
TOP PHOTO: MJF as the new AEW World champion at Full Gear. Photo by George Tahinos, https://georgetahinos.smugmug.com