Rarely are high expectations met — they certainly were at All Elite Wrestling’s Full Gear pay-per-view.
There weren’t hits everywhere, but AEW’s most stacked card yet hit a ton of high notes on it’s biggest storylines Saturday night with nearly 1,000 socially-distanced fans in attendance at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Fla. Here are some takeaways from the show:
Sweet Dream Match
The Young Bucks and FTR delivered a love letter to tag team wrestling in their long-awaited dream match that lived up to all the hype.
FTR broke out the finishers of the Heart Foundation, The Steiner Brothers, and even NXT’s DIY while the Bucks paid homage to the Dudley Boyz and The Hardys. They also told a story around Matt Jackson — who said during the post-show media call that he has a slight tear of his MCL and ACL (from an old injury) — having a hurt ankle in storyline and Dax Harwood injuring his hand after smashing it against the ring post. Their hand and the knee even struck each other during the match.
A bunch of near falls followed, including Matt getting his leg on the rope in time to break a pin after FTR hit their Mind Breaker finisher. The two teams made the other use everything in their arsenals to the point FTR broke from its game plan. Cash Wheeler tried a 450 splash off the ropes from the apron that failed. Matt delivered a superkick and pinned Wheeler for the 1-2-3 to give the Young Bucks their first AEW tag teams championship and not trigger the stipulation of them never challenging for them again with a loss.
The teams sold the dynamics of this match down to their attires with the ‘showtime” like Bucks wearing Lakers color and the fundamentally sound FTR in Celtics-like garb. This won’t be the last time they meet.
Matt said on the post-show media call this was his ninth match wrestling with the new MCL injury. He’s been taping up and feels “pretty good all things considered.” so it doesn’t seem like it will slow their title reign. He added that this match took a lot of inspiration from The Rockers and The Brain Busters and felt like he “was performing in one of those old matches I used to watch when I was a kid.”
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 8, 2020
We Meet Again
The Jon Moxley-Kenny Omega rematch is set after the two met at last year’s Full Gear.
Moxley retained the AEW world champing by beating Eddie Kingston in a brutal and at times uncomfortable ‘I Quit’ match. It fed into the storyline that the desperate Kingston would go to all lengths to earn his first world title.
There were chairs, barbwire bats and thumbtacks — all of which came out way too early unless they were pressed for time in the nearly four-hour pay-per-view. It was Moxley that hit the tacks on a belly-to-belly suplex. Kingston later poured rubbing alcohol on the champion’s back. This one ended when Moxley picked up the piece of barbwire Kingston tore off the bat and dug it in under this opponent’s chin in his bulldog submission to finally makes him say I quit. This wasn’t Kingston’s night, but his story has a great babyface run written all over it.
Omega is now waiting for the undefeated Moxley after he beat “Hangman” Adam Page in the tournament finals to become No. 1 contender.
Page and Omega really played up their familiarity with each other as tag team partners with the number of counters —putting their great chemistry was on display. In the end, Omega ducked a Buckshot Lariat and Hangman countered into a near pin that felt oh so close. Hangman’s second attempt at his finisher was also ducked, Omega hit a V-trigger knee and went for the One-winged Angel. Hangman kept trying to fight off Omega’s hand reaching for his head to complete the move, but ultimately failed.
Omega is the most likely person to end Moxley’s run atop the company. This is the level fans expected Omega to be at when AEW started and having Impact Wrestling executive vice president Don Callis — a friend of Omega on commentary at his request — was a great way to frame that for the audience. Tony Khan said on the post-show media call that he is open to Callis coming back, but this was done as a favor to Omega.
Pair of Aces
Cody, introduced as Cody Rhodes after getting the trademark for his last name back — wrestled as the “heavyweight” in this TNT title match to hammer home the storyline. It was also a great way to add significance to Allin eventually winning the “ace belt” since Cody already had beaten him twice. Cody flexed after pushing Allin around early and carried the challenger to throw him over the top rope and onto the stage later.
Cody, who took Allin for granted at times, hit an avalanche Cross Rhodes. But Allin rolled enough to have his arm under the ropes when the champion went for the pin. Allin had three near-falls that including one a Coffin Drop. He ultimately prevailed, keeping Rhodes’ shoulders to the mat as the two rolled around countering pins. Cody didn’t turn heel. He instead got down on one knee and handed Allin the belt.
The celebration was shortlived. Ricky Starks and Brian Cage of Team Taz attacked by Cody and Allin. They tried to break Allin’s arm in the door of the car he brought to the show, which was foiled by Will Hobbs. Hobbs had been asked to join Team Taz. This allows AEW to move smoothly to its next feud as Hobbs and Allin both have previous issues with Team Taz. All four of those talents have a lot to give and deserve this opportunity.
MJF out heeled Chris Jericho to earn entry into the Inner Circle faction. After MJF got his Dynamite diamond ring from Wardlow, Jericho got his bat “Floyd” thrown to him by Jake Hager. With Jericho welding the bat, he fell to the floor. It got the once distracted referee to question Jericho. MJF them rolled him up — even pulling the tights to earn the pin. MJF and Jericho both wrestled like heels, trading dirty tactics — more so from Jericho, who also sold a hurt elbow. MJF even used some of Le Champion’s signature moves against him. Now it will be interesting to see how these two huge personalities — and the rest of the group — co-exist. MJF’s entrance included a light-up robe the looked like one of Jericho’s old light-up jackets. Someone will eventually turn on the other here.
Just For Show
AEW tries to give you a buffet of wrestling styles. Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara in a cinematic Elite Deletion match was certainly that. There were fireworks as weapons and a ring in the woods of the Hardy Compound. There seemed to be little point to this match other than the sheer spectacle of it, though cameos for Hurricane Helms and Gangrel (who actually wrestled) were memorable.
Just when you thought this match couldn't get any crazier 😱#AEWFullGear pic.twitter.com/VcFHiuiQjm
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) November 8, 2020
Santana, Oritz, and Private Party showed up and chaos ensued as Hardy and Guevara — who arrived in the golf cart Hardy previously ran him over with — tried to finish their long feud, which included a scary botch at All Out. They finally cut everyone off inside the Doom of Deletion where Guevara delivered a Swanton bomb to Hardy off a ladder through a table. Hardy delivered a call back to the chair shot Guevara hit him with to really ignite this storyline, then hit him again with a chair on the concrete to finally secure the pin. Hardy and Private Party then put a bloody Guevara in a small trash can and had him hauled off by Senior Benjamin as Reba Hardy played the piano.
This match had its fun moments, but the veteran Hardy ‘deleting’ the up-and-coming Sammy Guevara just seems counter-intuitive to a company trying to build new stars. This feud needs to end here.
It was an OK night for the women’s division as AEW champion Hikaru Shida and NWA champ Serena Deeb retained.
Nyla Rose went after Shida’s right knee early and manager Vicky Guerrero also hit it with a kendo stick while the ref is not looking. The champion, who sold the knee getting worse, delivered an avalanche Falcon Arrow but pulled Rose up from a pin. It showed a much meaner side of Shida we have not seen. The match seemed to drag a little bit after that as shenanigans ensued. On the final of several running knee strikes and failed pin, Shida pushed Rose’s hands to the match to ensure the 1-2-3. Guerrero flipped out on and slapped Rose after the match. Shida is a fantastic champion, but the challenger getting more of a storyline after the match than she did coming is not a good thing It’s time for AEW to give her a story that feels meaningful.
Deeb and free agent Allysin Kay delivered a technically sound and snug match for NWA women’s championship on the preshow. Deeb eventually submitted Kaye and former NWA champion Thunder Rosa appeared to confront Deeb. All three women — if AEW signs Kay — are the types of veteran performers AEW’s division needs and others can learn from.
Orange Cassidy over Jon Silver
Orange Cassidy against the Dark Order’s Jon Silver was a good mix of comedy and skill. As Cassidy went through his soft shins kicks to open the match, Silver — who eventually ripped out his opponent’s pockets — kept yelling, “That doesn’t hurt!” The laughs did end and the two put together a strong wrestling match with Cassidy winning with the Beach Break after Silver took a second to pose like Dark Order leader Brodie Lee.
AEW has a video game announcement coming Nov. 10 and Khan gave some details. He said the company is working on multiple games across different platforms. He teases a major console game and a card-collection based one that will allow you to play AEW general manager.
AEW will also hold a “Beach Break” show in January in place of “Bash at the Beach” to bridge the gap to the Revolution pay-per-view in February.
Biggest winner: Darby Allin
Biggest loser: Nyla Rose
Best match: Young Bucks over FTR