All Elite Wrestling held its Full Gear pay-per-view event this Saturday from the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD.
The Buy-In (PRE-SHOW)
Britt Baker def. Bea Priestley
This match has been built around the legitimate injury Britt Baker suffered at the hands of Bea Priestley at Fight for the Fallen. The two traded some dynamic promo packages with Bea saying Britt was 5 years too late to be relevant in professional wrestling. It was a nice, subtle shot at the WWE Divas era.
The match was slow-paced, which the commentators mentioned Britt was performing with the flu, so that kind of explains why. Bea dominated most of the match with rest holds and strikes.
Britt gets a destroyer on Priestley for a 2 count. Baker hits a superkick and attempted to put Priestley in the Lockjaw, but Bea pulls her hair and powers out of the attempt. Baker hits another superkick, locks in the Lockjaw and taps out Priestley for the win.
It took a while to get there, but the finish was a fun one.
Grade: 2.75 Stars
Post-match Brandi comes down with Awesome Kong to attack Bea Priestley. Kong pulls out a knife and chops a piece of Priestley’s hair off. This was weird.
Proud & Powerful (Santana & Ortiz) def. The Young Bucks
Full Gear kicked off with The Young Bucks going up against Proud and Powerful (Santana & Ortiz).
The match starts with all four men going to blows in the middle of the ring. Santana attempted to tag in by tapping Ortiz’s boot, but was denied by the ref. It was awkward as Santana argued with the ref. Ortiz did eventually score a tag, but the ref’s back was turned and Santana was instructed to go back to his corner.
There was a brutal spot where Nick missed a kick on the apron to Ortiz and nailed the post. Ortiz swept the legs from under Nick and he face planted onto the apron. Ortiz tossed him into the stands and Santana tossed Matt into the Rock & Roll Express who was seated in the front row ringside.
Another spot where Nick hits a superkick on Ortiz and Ortiz’s selling was the best thing I have seen all week. Matt ran through Proud & Powerful ending with hitting Northern Lights Suplexes on both S&O at the same time… TWICE! It was insane!
Matt threw Ortiz into the corner and attempted to whip Santana into him, but Ortiz back body suplexed Santana. Santana rolled through that and caught Matt with a Cutter. Bucks go for the Meltzer Driver, but Nick’s leg fails him as he fell off the rope after the springboard attempt. Santana & Ortiz hit the Street Sweeper on Nick Jackson for the 3.
This was good despite some lulls and awkward ref nonsense.
Grade: 3.75 Stars
The Proud & Powerful beat down The Young Bucks after the match along with Sammy Guevara, but the Rock & Roll Express come in for the save.
Adam Hangman Page def. The Bastard Pac
The two men lock up right at the bell with Adam Page getting the better of Pac. The two go to the outside as Hangman tosses Pac from barricade to barricade. Page knocked PAC off the top rope with a right hand that knocked Pac to the floor and followed up with a suicide dive. PAC gains control after a bit of dirty strategy. He slowed down the match with some rest holds and hard hit. Pac hit a spinning kick and knee after Hangman tried to make a come back.
Pac missed a Phoenix Splash off the middle rope. This opened up Page to make a come back and regain control. Page followed up with chops and hit a Spinebuster on Pac. Page hit an slam on the apron and a moonsault off the top rope to the floor. Pac regained control with hard kicks. (Pac’s kicks are the best!)
Pac went for the Black Arrow, but Hangman caught him. Page hit a fall away slam from the top rope. Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat, but Pac caught him with a superkick. Page went for the Deadeye, but Pac counters with the Brutalizer before Hangman falls into the ropes for the break. Pac goes to the top and misses with the Black Arrow. Pac tied the two up with the ref. Hangman blocked a low blow attempt and hits the Deadeye for the win.
Grade: 3.5 Stars
Shawn Spears def. Joey Janela
This match was built up on AEW Dark. Janela lays into Spears and tears away Spears’ “No More Garbage Wrestling” T-shirt. (I need that T-shirt.) Janela got caught with a Powerslam onto the floor after going for a crossbody off the apron. Spears laid into Janela with chops and hit a back body drop onto the apron of the ring.
The commentators kept talking about Tully’s influence on Spears, but they can try to sell that all they want the audience isn’t buying that angle. Spears tied up Janela’s hair in the corner with the tag rope, but the spot meant nothing as Janela fought out of it. Spears put Janela in a Sharp Shooter. Janela hit a Senton off the top to Spears on the floor.
Spears distracts the ref by pulling off the turnbuckle pad. This allows Spears and Blanchard to hit an assisted pile driver on the outside. Spears hit the Death Valley Driver on Joey Janela for the win.
Standard issue match from Janela. Standard issue match from Spears.
Grade: 2.5 Stars
SCU (Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian) (c) def. Lucha Bros and Private Party – AEW Tag Team Championship
Not sure anyone knew this was supposed to be a 3-way dance before last week’s episode of AEW Dynamite.
Frankie and Quen kick it off. The two trade counters before Rey Fenix slaps Quen’s shoulder and tags himself in. Scorpio Sky argued with the referee while the Lucha Brothers hit stereo kicks to Private Party. Kazarian got worked over until he was forced to tag in Kassidy after Fenix took Sky off the apron. The Lucha Brothers hit a Doomsday Dropkick on Quen. Cero Mierdo!
Quen hit a dropkick and with Kassidy out of commission for the time being is forced to tag in Scorpio Sky. Sky hits a cutter on Fenix and rolls into a Dragon Sleeper. Kazarian does the same to Kassidy. Pentagon and Quen come in to break it up. The teams trade Suicide Dives with Fenix finishing with a Tornillo. Quen hit a shooting star press on Kazarian for 2.
Private Party goes for Gin & Juice, but is blocked by Kazarian. SCU hits the SCU Later on Kassidy for the win. Champions retain.
Grade: 4 Stars
The Lucha Brothers go to beat down SCU after the match, but the lights go out only to reveal a Pentagon clone. He wipes out the Brothers only to reveal it was Christopher Daniels.
Riho (c) def. Emi Sakura – AEW Women’s Championship
The teacher vs. the student. A nice video package plays laying out the history between the two women. Beautiful moment as Emi Sakura was in the corner during the announcement holding back tears. The match kicks off with a test of strength as Sakura got the better of the exchange. Riho took a beating until she hit a foot stomp onto Sakura on the apron. She followed up with the double knees to the back of the head for a 2 count.
Sakura hit a crossbody to Riho in the corner. Her crossbody’s are second to none. Nikki Cross should study her. Sakura does a trio of rolling surfboards to Riho. Riho hit a 619 to Emi followed up with a crossbody from the top rope for 2. Sakura hit a Tiger Driver and Riho countered with a double stomp. The two trade strikes with Riho getting the better of the exchange hitting a Northern Lights Suplex pinning combination for a 2 count. The two trade pinning attempts with Riho winning on a full stack pin, borderline roll up.
Really fun match. Great exchanges kept the crowd invested and on the edge of their seats.
Grade: 3.75 Stars
Chris Jericho (c) def. Cody
Rhodes – AEW World Championship
The match has a 60 minute time limit. If the match were to go the distance, it would then be decided by 3 judges – Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson and The Great Muta. Cody walks out to all the pyro with MJF by his side and his mom sitting in the stands. Le Champion, Chris Jericho, the youngest ever AEW Champion, comes out with Jake Hager by his side on his 49th birthday. Chris gives the finger to the crowd as they sing Happy Birthday. The crowd then turns around and chants “F*ck your birthday!”
The two traded shots and counters as Jericho went to the floor for a breather and threatened the judges. Cody targeted Jericho’s right arm with the idea of trying to take the Judas Effect away from Jericho. Cody missed a dive on the ramp and face planted getting a nasty gash above his eyebrow. Jericho tossed Cody outside the ring with Hager taking a cheap shot on him. Jericho missed a Lionsault. Cody caught Jericho with a Diamond Cutter for a 2 count.
Chris laid out Cody as he went to talk trash to Cody’s mother. She slapped Jericho and Cody his Jericho with a spear on the outside. Cody hit an Alabama Slam on Jericho for 2 and then put Jericho in a Figure Four. Hager hit Cody with a cheap shot. Aubrey Edwards ejected Hager. MJF walked over to trash talk Hager when he got laid out by Hager. Edwards was tied up with Hager when Jericho hit Cody with the belt. Chris played possum when Edwards comes back in, covers for a two count, and went for the Judas Effect only to get countered into the Cross Rhodes for a 2 count.
The two exchanged strikes with Cody hitting the Bionic Elbow for a near fall. Cody got caught with a Code Breaker for a 2 count. Jericho whips Cody with his weight belt. How is that not a disqualification? Cody went for a Rana, but Jericho countered with a Lion Tamer. MJF throws in the towel as Chris Jericho had Cody in the Walls. Jericho retains.
This was an excellent title match.
Grade: 4.5 Stars
The rest of the Inner Circle meet Jericho at the top of the ramp as the bubbly flows.
MJF low blows Cody. Looks like this is the feud moving forward.
Jon Moxley def. Kenny Omega – Unsanctioned match
This is an unsanctioned, lights out match where there is no disqualifications. The two start brawling at the bell. Omega hits a yakuza kick and Moxley hits a black hole slam. Moxley goes to the floor and says it’s time for some “garbage wrestling” as he pulls out a trash can. Omega takes Mox into the crowd, hit a dropkick over the railing and a can of beer to the head.
Moxley breaks out the barbed wire bat from under the ring. Kenny blocks Jon temporarily, but ends up taking the bat across the back and then pinned the bat to Omega’s back before stomping on top of it. Omega hits Moxley with the trash can and then pile drives Moxley on the trash can.
Omega broke out a table and his barbed wire wrapped broom. He hit Moxley in the head and swept Mox’s back with he barbed wire broom. He then took the bat and raked it across his forehead. Moxley was covered in blood. Omega broke out a board with mousetraps on it. Moxley suplexes Omega onto the board. The wild spots continue as Moxley breaks out a pile of chains giving Kenny a sidewalk slam onto the chains for 2. Omega hung Moxley out the ring and put Moxley through the table with a dive.
Omega broke out a bag of broken glass. He cuts up Moxley’s hand, proceeds to mash up the glass and hit a spine buster on Mox into the glass for 2. Kenny grabs some broken glass and put it into the mouth of Jon Moxley. Omega grabbed the ice pick Moxley missed him with earlier and drags it across Moxley’s head.
Kenny calls for the Elite to bring out some barbed wire spiderweb thing. Moxley suplexed Omega onto it, but fell onto it with him. The ring crew helped the two out of the barbed wire. Kenny hit a V Trigger on Moxley through part of the set. The two headed back to the ring. Moxley hit a Paradigm Shift on the glass for 2.
Mox pulls apart the ring, but eats a Paradigm Shift from Omega for 2. Kenny goes to the top missing a Phoenix Splash onto the exposed wood. Moxley covers for 2. Moxley hits the elevated Paradigm Shift and scores the pin for the win.
As far as hardcore matches go, you won’t find much better in mainstream wrestling today. Time for Mox to move onto standard matches now. Also time for Omega to move on and actually win some matches.
Grade: 4 Stars
AEW Full Gear
This was an excellent PPV. It went a little long for my liking. I feel like they could have cut the Spears vs. Janela match from this card instead they could have elected to draw out the story a bit. I feel like those at AEW should be young and smart enough to know they can build long-term feuds and not rush into things. We saw this with the MJF turn which was brilliant, even if we saw it coming from a 30 miles away. The multi-layer storytelling, especially the in-ring storytelling, in that match was very good. Also, let’s not do any more unsanctioned/lights out matches for a while, please.