SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The second AEW Full Gear event takes place tonight in Jacksonville, Fla. at Daily’s Place. While there are no matches that stand out as the obvious main event, several of the bigger stories may be coming to their conclusions, simultaneously sending several things in new directions, so I make my boldest prediction, here, in the preamble.
This might be the turning point we’ve been waiting for Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. Things are set up so if they don’t happen know, then these guys will never max out their true potential. Another to watch out for is the heated rivalry between Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley, and the potential directions Chris Jericho and MJF can go. While I’m sure that the rest of the card will provide for some good matches and maybe some laughs, their build seems to be more of an afterthought, with the AEW Women’s Title match being the most egregious of the examples.
Is it worth the money they are asking for? I won’t be parting with it easily, but I will nonetheless.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega – AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament Final
Story in a nutshell: Former tag team partners collide at the end of a tournament to determine the next challenger for the AEW World Championship.
This is a story that began in the earliest days of the company. Adam Page won a Casino Battle Royale for the opportunity to face the winner of a Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho match (which Jericho won). The winner of Jericho and Page would be the first ever AEW champion. The narrative around that time was whether or not Page was ready. He lost and became consumed with self-doubt, eventually seeking to divorce himself from The Elite (the faction of Cody, the Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega) in order to discover his own identity.
Much to Page’s chagrin, he was paired with Kenny Omega as a tag team and through Omega, still had a foot in the Elite’s world. For their part, The Elite were so self-absorbed they never noticed Page’s discomfort, taking him for granted. Instead of confronting them head-on, Page let his feelings fester and he turned to alcohol and adopted a devil-may-care attitude.
This shift in attitude in Page, combined by the success he and Omega found as a tag team, earned the fans support with Adam Page being chosen by the fans as their favorite. Page, having found acceptance, doubled down on his behavior and tied his identity to that of being the tag team champion. (Yes, if you were one of the many people cheering Page on, congratulations, you are enablers.)
Eventually, Page’s contentment would prove to be a mirage when it came time to face the Young Bucks. Omega was more simpatico with the Bucks than with Page, so Page felt their partnership was threatened, and with that, his identity. Eventually he forced Omega to decide between the championship and the Bucks and Omega chose Page. Together they defeated the Bucks.
Enter FTR, Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood. They took advantage of the fact that they had more in common with Page than Page with Omega, driving the wedge that already existed between Page and the Bucks in further, eventually setting up a situation where Page had to choose between the Elite (and by extension Omega) and FTR. Page turned on the Elite which led to FTR getting a shot and capturing the tag team championship.
Page, having all of his identity invested in the tag team hoped to reconnect with Omega only to be rebuffed. By this time Omega was done tagging and entered the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament. So did Page. Now they meet at the finals.
Kenny Omega was heralded as the greatest wrestler in the world in the earliest days of AEW. The question was not if, but when he would be AEW World Champion. Instead, he threw everyone a curveball by going after tag-team gold in the company that arguably has the best tag team roster on the planet. To this end Omega tagged with “Hangman” Adam Page. Despite and emotional distance between the two, they found success and captured the tag team championship.
The normally brash Omega was taken aback when the fans seemed to have more affinity for Page than for him. Instead of bristling at this, he was supportive of Page and encouraged the fans. When it came time for the Young Bucks to challenge them, Page called Omega’s loyalty into question. Omega chose his teammate Page over his friends, the Bucks, and together, he and Page successfully defeated the Young Bucks.
Enter FTR. They lured Page away from Omega and the Elite by offering Page a false sense of camaraderie. In a moment of weakness, believing to have found acceptance in FTR, Page betrayed the Elite which led to Page and Omega’s defeat at the hands of FTR. After staying by Page’s side through thick-and-thin, ever the dutiful partner, Omega’s vinculum to Page was broken by Page’s betrayal. Now Omega has turned his sights to the AEW World Championship only to see Page standing in his way. Now a solo act, Omega is free to unleash his brash side and exult in the greatness that is the “Best Bout Machine”
Prediction: Omega wins in heelish fashion, either by cheating or by brutalizing Page, leading to an eventual Moxley/Omega rematch.
FTR (c) vs. The Young Bucks – AEW World Tag Team Champion
Story in a nutshell: After years of speculation of which tag-team is the best in the world we finally get our answer when Nick and Matt Jackson get their only shot to defeat Cash Wheeler and Dax Hardwood for the championship.
Matt and Nick Jackson have talked about being the best tag team in the world but since AEW’s inception, they’ve had a hard time proving it as they’ve been beset by setback after setback. After the Elite was sundered due to the machinations of FTR, Cash Wheeler and Dax Hardwood, The Young Bucks sought to recapture the edge they had in the independent circuit by super-kicking everyone in sight and embracing their more psychopathic tendencies. As they feel like they operate best with their backs against the wall, the Young Buck promised to never challenge for the championship as long as FTR holds them. To get an edge for their match, FTR have injured Matt Jackson’s leg.
Prediction: The Bucks pivoted away from super-kicking everyone in sight and apologized for their actions, ostensibly pushing them back to the side of the angels. This is a feint. With Omega going heel, a loss to FTR will have the Bucks fully embracing the dark side.
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Eddie Kingston – AEW World Championship “I Quit” match
Story in a nutshell: Eddie Kingston, a wrestler who has made his living in the shadowy fringes of the wrestling ecosphere seeks to finally emerge from the shadows by taking the championship from his former friend Jon Moxley.
Eddie Kingston challenged Jon Moxley for Moxley’s championship on the September 23rd episode of Dynamite. Moxley choked him out. Moxley later successfully defended against Lance Archer but was attacked by Kingston who claimed he never quit. Now, to win, you need to get your opponent to say, “I quit”. Along the way to this match, their back-and-forthpromos have gotten more and more personal and vicious. Eddie Kingston claims Moxley “sold out” when he went to the WWE and forgot his friends. Moxley claims that Kingston has always been his worst enemy, invoking Kingston’s mother in the process. Things are really heated going into this match.
Prediction: Moxley wins. If this is the last match on the card, I can’t discount a post-match run in by Omega. Otherwise, a Pac or Brian Cage appearance are possible.
Cody (c) vs. Darby Allin – AEW TNT Championship match
Story in a nutshell: Darby Allin gets another crack at Cody after coming up short (but closer) on multiple occasions.
Cody and Darby Allin have crossed paths on multiple occasions with Darby coming out on the losing end. Darby has previously been critical of Cody being a “suit” and not respecting him for that reason despite occasionally coming to his aid. Theirs has been a rivalry where Darby seeks to overcome his better.
Prediction: Cody has been teasing a heel turn for a while now, kinda-sorta-maybe. But I’ve got Omega and the Bucks turning. There has also been bad blood between Darby and Ricky Starks and Taz did promise an FTW presence on the show. I wouldn’t be surprise if this is a case of not getting an ending due to the lack of build for the match. But I’ve got Cody.
Chris Jericho vs. MJF
Story in a nutshell: MJF wants in on the Inner Circle but the only way he gets in is by defeating Chris Jericho.
After losing to Moxley in his bid for the championship, MJF surveyed the landscape of AEW and decided that he needed to join a faction. He chose the Inner Circle due to his similarity to and “admiration” of Chris Jericho. Several Inner Circle members are against the inclusion of MJF, most notably Sammy Guevara. One whimsical musical interlude (I loved it, and if you didn’t, I won’t judge, I’m just sorry you were born without a soul) and a townhall meeting later, and we have this match.
Prediction: MJF wins, likely due to Sammy getting involve and accidentally, or “accidentally” costing Jericho the match. This will drive a “wedge” or a wedge between Sammy and Jericho, leading to Sammy getting either kicked out of or “getting kicked out of” the Inner Circle. Fair warning: don’t trust anything you see coming up between these two. They are both con men who will try to outcon each other.
Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara – Elite Deletion Match
Story in a nutshell: Matt Hardy almost killed himself last time these two faced off, so this is the redo.
AEW REALLY wants to pay off the Matt Hardy-Sammy Guevara feud that seems to have been snake bitten. Most recently, a mystery man attacked Hardy prior to a Private Party match. To the surprise of no one, it was Sammy. They’ve gone back and forth few times attacking each other and now face off in an Elite Deletion match.
Prediction: I’m guessing this is a cinematic match, in which case I’ve got Matt. If it’s some sort of normal-ish match, then Sammy.
Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Nyla Rose – AEW Women’s World Championship
Story in a nutshell: The AEW Women’s World Championship needed to be on the show.
Nyla Rose said she wasn’t wrestling again until she faced Hikaru Shida for the championship. Shida said okay. That was the extent of it.
Prediction: It’s hard to get a sense of where things are going in the AEW Women’s Division since there hasn’t been much development on TV. A big part of that is lack of experienced wrestlers on the roster, injuries, and having the most experienced members of your roster consigned to Japan due to the pandemic, but if Nyla Rose and Shida was your only goto choice, then more… scratch that… ANY build would have been nice. Personally, I hope Shida wins, none of this is her fault and she deserves better.
Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver
Story in a nutshell: Dark Order’s feud with Cody brought John Silver and Orange Cassidy into each other’s orbits and Cassidy… you know… whatever.
To make waves, Alex Reynolds and John Silver of the Dark Order vowed to interfere in the Cody/Orange Cassidy AEW TNT Championship match and this brought Silver into conflict with Cassidy, hence this match. Also. How do you not have one of your most over acts on the card?
Prediction: This is a showcase for Orange to do his comedy bit. Should be fun unless you are one of the aforementioned soulless people.
Buy-In: Serena Deeb (c) vs. Allysin Kay, NWA World Women’s Title match
Story in a nutshell: The NWA title is on the line.
I haven’t been following NWA closely since the pandemic, so I don’t know the backstory here other than Serena Deeb recently won the championship. Both are experience wresters so it should be a good match. I do question having your buy-in preshow match be two women fighting for a title that belongs to another company but, what do I know?
Prediction: Deeb just won so she retains?