AEW’s second instalment of the Full Gear PPV was last night. On the card we had multiple title matches, some grudge matches, even a cinematic one.
As many of you know, I’m Hooked On’s resident AEW mark so I’m here to break it down and review how the show went.
And while many tend to rate wrestling matches with the famed ‘star’ system, I’ll be saving my snowflakes for Christmas and rating these bouts out of 10. Just don’t tell Shawn Spears, okay?
The Buy In: Serena Deeb vs Allyson Kay – NWA Women’s Championship
This match was fine. I think it would have been better on the main show personally. Orange Cassidy vs John Silver has much more of a “pre-show” feel to it. Plus, if you had included it on the main show, it would have added an extra women’s match to a lacking main card. With that said though, a good performance from both women and a fairly obvious result. 6/10
Kenny Omega vs Hangman Adam Page – Final of the World Championship Tournament
Of all the matches on the card, this is not the one I would have expected to open the show, but it proved to be a good decision. The match itself was fantastic, as to be expected. This goes to show that long-term storytelling works and sometimes the obvious choice, really is the best one.
Both of these guys were at the top of their game in this match. Again, a fairly obvious result for Kenny Omega to pick up the win (he is good at tournaments after all) but the story at the end of Page lying sprawled on the canvas, he looked like a man who has hit rock bottom, and there is only one way to go from there! 10/10
Orange Cassidy vs John “4” Silver
This was fine. Not great, but not bad either. With a character like Orange Cassidy, you run the risk of over-exposure when the man’s whole gimmick is that he doesn’t care and doesn’t put in effort into his matches. If you then have him snap and go on the offensive every single time it takes away from it. It made sense with the Jericho feud because Jericho pushed him to the edge and even with the Cody matches, that was for a title, so it makes sense. But with John Silver? Why is he breaking his persona for him?
I would have much rather seen a match between these two similar to the matches Cassidy would have on the indies where he would accidentally roll up his opponent and such. Silver especially is one guy that would make that sort of thing work and can also afford the loss. That being said, the match was fine and I’m curious to see what they do with Cassidy from here. 6/10
Darby Allin vs Cody Rhodes – TNT Championship
This match was arguably the best on the card. Cody has been piling on the muscle recently and it worked well to contrast Allin who is small and skinny, but fast. And such was the dynamic of the match, with Cody trying to wrestle Darby down and Darby rolling and flipping his way out of it.
It was very back and forth, and it really seemed like Cody would retain, especially after the beautiful Avalanche Cross Rhodes, but alas after a sequence of roll-up attempts, Darby finally scored the three-count and was crowned TNT Champion. I’m happy for Darby, he has earned the spot for sure, but I wish it were more decisive than a roll-up pinfall. It would have done better to cement him as the new champion. Regardless though, it didn’t take away from the match at all as it was still fantastic. 9/10
The same cannot be said though for the aftermath. Now, is it just me, or is anyone else getting a bit bored of “Team Taz”? Don’t get me wrong, Taz is great on the mic and Brian Cage and Ricky Starks are decent in the ring, but for goodness sake leave poor Darby alone!
What they need to do is have Brian Cage actually do something with the FTW belt. Perhaps even, fall out with Starks and have them feud? Or face Will Hobbs. Just do something with it. Plus, Darby has already beat Starks so there is no need to revisit that. Just have Darby defend the TNT title against the two of them in a triple threat and let it be over.
We then had the Natural Nightmares appear in a backstage segment and challenge Butcher and The Blade to a “Bunkhouse Match” on Dynamite. I like Dustin Rhodes but whenever he cuts a promo, I can’t help but long for Goldust. He is just far better and more entertaining at playing a character like that than he is at making me believe what he is saying as himself. I’m excited to see what a “Bunkhouse Match” is though (yes, readers, Lewis is that young – Ed).
Nyla Rose vs Hikaru Shida – AEW Women’s Championship
I couldn’t help but be left with a strong feeling of deja-vu. Oh wait! It’s because we have already seen this less than a year ago.
AEW need to start building up more female stars who could challenge Shida. The problem is, they have a woman there who is phenomenal in the ring, but they haven’t booked anyone else to her level. So now she has completed a lap of the AEW women’s roster, including Thunder Rosa from NWA, and now she’s back where she started with Nyla Rose.
However, I will say that I’m glad they didn’t put the title back on Nyla. As good as she is, she is similar to a Nia Jax or an Awesome Kong in that she doesn’t need a title as she is a destroyer already. They just need to make the women’s division a bit more dynamic and they can do that with those two instead of having anymore matches between them. The match itself was fine but again, we’ve seen it all before. 4/10
The Young Bucks vs FTR – AEW Tag-Team Championships
This match was fantastic! Years of Twitter talk and expletives all finally came to a head in the aptly named “dream match” between two of the best teams in the world right now.
There was the added stipulation that if The Young Bucks lost that they would never challenge for the titles again which I think was a strange choice for the first match between the two. I thought that FTR were going to win only for The Elite to go back on their promises when they eventually turn heel, but alas, the Bucks come out victorious.
The whole match was great and was a perfect example of tag-team wrestling done right. The clash of styles worked really well, and I genuinely didn’t know how the match was going to go which was a nice change from an otherwise predictable card. The only let down was the finish, only because it didn’t really make sense why Cash Wheeler would go for the 450 splash. The bare foot superkick as well didn’t really work as well as they might have planned.
Despite that though, the match certainly did not disappoint. It was also an interesting sight to see Kenny Omega run down to congratulate and celebrate with the Bucks while Hangman Page stood brooding in the entrance tunnel. 9/10
Matt Hardy vs Sammy Guevara – Elite Deletion
This was yet another affirmation that no-one does a cinematic match like Matt Hardy does. At times it did feel messy, but I think it fit the narrative of the match. The only problem with it is that there was no real need for it. Hardy had already beat Sammy (despite being knocked out cold), in a last man standing match no less.
The involvement from Inner Circle and Private Party helped distract from Guevara and Hardy while they were setting up their spots which was clever, but I’m still confused as to why Gangrel and Hurricane Helms were there. The end sequence of Hardy locking the two in the “Dome of Deletion” was good, despite being a bit gruesome.
Overall, I’d say the match did well to put the final nail in the coffin of this feud and hopefully all involved move on to bigger and better things.
MJF vs Chris Jericho – If MJF wins, he can join the Inner Circle
This match was good. I really enjoyed the ‘heel v heel’ dynamic. When it works, it works, and if any two were going to make it work, it’s MJF and Jericho. From the entrances to the back and forth dirty moves, to the eventual heel finish, the match was well put together.
My only problem with this was that they had such a perfect opportunity for a swerve of some kind. Wardlow turning on MJF or Inner Circle dividing. That’s the problem with fantasy booking I suppose. Nonetheless it was a decent match and I’m excited to see where this story goes. 8/10
Jon Moxley vs Eddie Kingston – AEW World Championship ‘I Quit’ Match
Oh my God this much was just delicious. It was hardcore and brutal but so often with matches like this we see it turn into a spot-fest. Not this one though. It had just the right amount of big, brutal spots to keep the actual storyline going throughout the match. So much happened including barbed wire bats and makeshift barbed wire knuckle dusters, to a thumbtack spot, to the finish with the bulldog choke from Moxley with the barbed wire around his wrist. It was just phenomenal.
There was nothing negative either; usually in these sorts of matches something awkward or clunky happens and it breaks the illusion for a moment but not this one. Bravo to both these guys for putting their bodies through hell. It was also a nice bit of icing on the cake to have Omega come down afterwards, teasing the future challenger stepping up to the plate. 10/10
Overall, this was a stellar PPV. AEW benefits from not having a quota of a PPV every single month so when they do come around, they tend to do well, and this did not disappoint. Almost all of the matches were great from an in-ring perspective and the storytelling that went into them were fantastically executed. They were fighting an uphill battle to make such a predictable card entertaining and they knocked it out of the park. I can’t wait for Dynamite to see the aftermath and at the end of the day that’s what AEW want: leave the fans wanting more. Overall Rating: 8/10