LECLAIR’S AEW FULL GEAR 2021 REPORT: Detailed coverage of Omega vs. Page, Danielson vs. Miro, Punk vs. Kingston, more

By Brandon LeClair, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

LECLAIR’S AEW FULL GEAR 2021 REPORT
NOVEMBER 13, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS, MN AT TARGET CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON B/R LIVE (U.S.), FITE.TV (INT)

Announcers: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur

-The show opened cold to a sea of pyrotechnics on the stage as Jim Ross welcomed the audience to the show. “It’s Saturday night, and you know what that means!” he exclaimed. Excalibur and Tony Schiavone took turns running down the card for the evening.

J.R. said the night would kick off with Darby Allin vs. MJF. He said the match has been boiling for a long time, “and now it’s time to eat.”

MJF entered first, wearing a new purple robe accented with his signature plaid scarf pattern. Darby Allin had a special, pre-shot entrance where he drove a beat up car with “LOSER” spray-painted on the side. He eventually rolled the car, climbing out the window as it filled with smoke. Allin tossed a molotov cocktail at the car and watch it burst into flames. His normal entrance followed. Sting joined him on stage, but returned to the back as Darby made his way down the ramp on a skateboard.

(1) MJF vs. DARBY ALLIN

MJF and Darby Allin circled the ring after the bell rang. MJF tried to throw a cheap shot, but Allin shrugged him off. The crowd was split down the middle, with a large dueling chant for both men. MFJ took Allin down with a headlock takeover. Darby quickly wrestled back to his feet.

Allin took MJF down with a drop toe hold. He and MJF worked their way back to their feet. MJF dropped Allin with a shoulder tackle, this time being met with boos. Allin caught MJF with a monkey flip, but MJF bounced to his feet. The two men wrestled each other into a double pin fall. Both men bridged out multiple times at two.

Allin leapt onto MJF’s shoulders for a hurricanrana and cover. MJF kicked out at an early two. Friedman leapfrogged Allin off the ropes, then Allin responded in kind. Both men wound up on their feet in a stalemate. The crowd rose to their feet in appreciation. An “AEW” chant ensued.

MJF locked up with Darby and backed him into the corner. He sucked punched Darby, dropping him to the mat. MJF tossed Darby to the outside and delivered a hard clothesline. He taunted the crowd. Darby jawed with someone in the crowd after tossing Allin in the ring. Darby launched himself through the middle rope like a human missile. He tossed MJF into the steps, then back in the ring. Darby clubbed at Friedman’s chest. He stepped on his throat with his entire body weight. Allin climbed to the top rope for an apron Coffin Drop, but MJF moved. Allin crashed and burned, bouncing to the floor violently.

Friedman retrieved a limp Darby and tossed him back in the ring as the match passed the 5:00 mark. He wrenched at Allin’s arms, slowing the pace. Darby broke the hold with boots to the face. MJF maintained control with a backbreaker and covered for a two count. He whipped Allin into the corner twice, then held his arms up in triumph much to the crowd’s chagrin.

Allin managed to counter Friedman’s Irish whip, buying some time. MJF still managed to come out with a backbreaker. He sold a knee injury off the move. Darby tried to recover, but MJF cornered him and bit his forehead. He hoisted Allin to the top rope. Darby fought free, then crawled over the shoulder of Friedman. MJF got him in position for a top rope tombstone, but Darby countered into a stunner. Allin grasped his tailbone in pain. The referee began a double count.

Both men answered the count at six. Allin caught MJF with a headbutt. He dragged Friedman to the corner and geared up for the Coffin Drop. MFJ rolled across the ring before Allin could attempt the move. Allin leapt onto Friedman’s shoulders for a hurricanrana, but MJF dropped him with a powerbomb onto his knee. MJF covered for a near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out at the 11:20 mark.

Darby no sold a pair of punches from MJF, rising to his knees with ease each time. He clawed at Friedman’s face, but MFJ caught him with a thumb to the eye to stifle the comeback. Allin went for a Code Red, but MFJ countered into a nasty powerbomb on the back of the neck. Friedman grabbed a weak looking Sharpshooter. Darby hammered away at the injured knee and broke the hold.

Allin caught MJF with a chop block to the back of the injured knee. MJF created separation with an elbow to the face. He leapt to the middle rope and drove his boots into Allin’s outstretched arm. MJF set up for Salt of the Earth, but Allin blocked it and took MJF out at the knee again. He applied a Figure Four. MJF fell flat. The referee counted for two. Friedman managed to turn the hold over, but Allin quickly grabbed the ropes for a break.

Both men rolled to the apron as Justin Roberts announced 15:00 had passed. The two men traded blows. Allin set up for a suplex, but MJF blocked it, scooped Allin up, and hit a Tombstone pile driver on the apron. Allin collapsed to the floor in a heap. Allin clutched his injured knee. The referee began to count.

MJF returned to the ring at a count of seven. Darby rose at eight, and made it inside just after nine. MJF used the ropes to help him stand. He limped to Darby Allin. MJF went for a suplex, but Allin blocked it and rolled him up for two. The two men rolled back and forth in small packages for half a dozen two counts. They traded headlocks, head scissors, and small packages for several moments, each resulting in a two count for the man in control. Eventually, Allin hit a Code Red for a very close near fall.

Allin climbed the ropes after a period of rest for both men. MJF rolled to the outside to save himself. Allin turned around and hit the Coffin Drop off the top rope all the way to the floor. Allin barely connected, instead hitting his tailbone hard on the floor. He managed to get MJF back in the ring and go for another Coffin Drop, but MJF got his knees up.

Both men laid flat on their stomachs in the ring. Shawn Spears made his way down the ramp with a chair. Sting followed, ripping the chair from Spears’ hand. Wardlow appeared, but Sting fought him off as well. Back in the ring, another chain of roll-ups ensued. Tandem two counts follows. MJF caught Allin with a super kick. He left the ring and retrieved Darby’s skateboard. He slid the skateboard to Darby, begging him to use it.

Allin stood, using the skateboard for balance. He wound up, but fought better of using it. Allin gave the referee the skateboard, who then handed it to an official on the outside. With the referee’s back turned, MJF pulled out the Dynamite Diamond Ring and hit MJF in the face. He gave Allin a side headlock takeover and covered him for a three count.

WINNER: MJF in 21:56

(LeClair’s Analysis: Really good match that probably could’ve had a few minutes shaved off in the middle. This is guaranteed to be a long night, with a lot of important main event level matches, so I wouldn’t have blamed them for going a little shorter with the opener. Still, these two brought it and the finish worked well. I could’ve done without the overly cute small package rolling spot, it just felt a little too unbelievable, Even still, a very good opener that kept the crowd wholly engaged throughout and set the tone for what’s sure to be an excellent night of wrestling.)

-Team Taz was shown in a skybox at the Target Center.

-Justin Roberts introduced the AEW Tag Team Championship match. Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler headed to the ring with Tully Blanchard at their side. They wore their AAA Tag Team titles proudly, and sported some 80’s inspired generic wrestling music.

The Lucha Bros entered next. Alex Abrahantes waved the Mexican flag high in between the champions.

(2) THE LUCHA BROS (c, Penta El Zero M & Ray Fenix, w/ Alex Abrahantes) vs. FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler, w/ Tully Blanchard) – AEW World Tag Team Championship match

The four men came to blows shortly after the official held the titles up, causing an early bell. Penta El Zero M and Dax Harwood were left in the ring, becoming the legal men by default. They traded quick chops to open things up. Penta went for a quick kick, but Harwood rolled him up for a two count instead.

Harwood caught Penta in another roll up for another two. Penta countered it into one of his own, but Cash Wheeler broke it up with his leg from the apron. Penta tagged in Ray Fenix, who challenged Harwood to tag ib his partner. Dax obliged. Cash Wheeler begged off of Fenix, instead having a quick word with his partner in the corner. Wheeler caught Fenix with a quick shot toe face, then a hard chop that sent Ray to the mat.

Fenix quickly battled back, leaping onto the top rope and jumping over Harwood’s arm. FTR quickly rolled to the outside to regroup. The Lucha Bros flew over the ring to meet them, but FTR blocked them and tossed them into the ringside barrier. Harwood tossed Fenix back into the ring to a waiting Wheeler, who delivered a quick knee to the face.

“Such a nice mask!” Wheeler proclaimed as he ripped at Fenix’ face. He tagged in Harwood, who applied an abdominal stretch to Fenix. Ray managed to break free and catch Harwood with a leaping kick to the temple. Wheeler hit the ring for a dropkick, but Fenix ducked him. Wheeler kicked the ropes. Penta came into the ring to help out. FTR went for a double suplex, but Fenix helped pull Penta down. Penta kicked Harwood in the face. Harwood stumbled into the corner. Fenix placed Wheeler in tree of woe position on top of Haroowd, then assisted Penta in launching himself into FTR in the corner.

Penta was tagged in. He covered Harwood for a two count. Penta applied a crossface to Harwood while Fenix used Wheeler’s leg to wrench the hold. The referee admonished the champions and forced them to break the tandem hold. Penta sent Harwood to the corner and mounted him for a series of punches that didn’t connect with Harwood’s head at all.

Dax Harwood got in the face of Ray Fenix, taking the referee’s attention. Cash Wheeler used the opportunity to tie the back of Penta’s mask to the bottom rope. Harwood tagged in Wheeler, who began stomping at Penta and mocking the “Cero Miedo” taunt. FTR continued to work over Penta, applying quick headlocks and holds and trading frequent tags.

Penta eventually tried to make a tag, but Harwood held him back. They gave each other simultaneous clotheslines. Wheeler tried to knock Fenix off the apron, but Ray blocked it. Penta managed to make the tag, but the referee didn’t see it. Meanwhile, FTR tried to double team Penta. The champion managed to counter, hitting a DDT on Harwood and making the hot tag to Fenix.

Ray Fenix caught Wheeler with a jumping knee strike in the corner. Harwood punched him to the mat, but Fenix bounced to his feet and super kicked Dax. He rolled him up for a two count as the match hit 11:00. Fenix leapt to the top turnbuckle, walked the top rope and landed a kick to the side of Harwood’s head. Fenix covered for a near fall. Fenix set up for a rolling DDT, but Harwood blocked it. Fenix hit the ropes, but Wheeler clocked him with the AAA tag team title. Harwood hit a brainbuster on Fenix for a believable near fall.

Harwood tagged out. FTR hit a tandem back drop for a two count. Harwood tagged back in. Penta blind tagged Fenix. Fenix gave Wheeler a hurricanrana to the outside. Tully Blanchard grabbed at Penta’s leg, allowing Harwood to get his bearings. He punched Penta square in the jaw, then gave a little Eddie shake. He began the Three Amigos – the crowd booed wildly. Penta blocked the third suplex and did the shake himself. He began his own Three Amigos, connecting with all three and tagging in Ray Fenix. Fenix hit the Frog Splash and covered, but Wheeler broke it up just in time as the match neared 15:00.

A loud “Eddie” chant reverberated throughout the Target Center. Ray Fenix hit Cash Wheeler with a spin kick the forehead. Penta set up for the Fear Factor, but Wheeler knocked Fenix off the top rope. Harwood grabbed Fenix while Wheeler climbed the ropes. They hit the tandem spike piledriver for a near fall. A “Lucha Bros” chant broke out.

FTR set Penta up for a double brainbuster, but Penta broke it up. Fenix rolled Harwood up for a two count. Ray tagged in Penta. Penta hooked Harwood’s arms for the Fear Factor. Fenix leapt off the top, bounced off the bottom of Harwood in mid-air, and landed on Wheeler. The Lucha Bros initiated a tandem cover, but both members of FTR kicked out.

FTR rolled to the outside. They retrieved their masks they used in their AAA title win. Wheeler rolled up Penta and put his feet on the ropes, but the referee caught him. Penta set Wheeler up in an underhook, and then spike slammed him with the help of Fenix for a three count. The announcers were quick to note that Wheeler was not the legal man, but the masks confused the referee. “The plan backfired!” Schiavone said.

WINNERS: The Lucha Bros in 18:37 to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championships

(LeClair’s Analysis: Really good match between two excellent teams. The Lucha Bros continue to be one of the most consistently entertaining tag teams in wrestling, while FTR prove to be excellent foils to just about any babyfaces. Plenty of creative spots, fast and furious action, and crazy near falls. The finish was a bit convoluted, but Excalibur did a great job explaining that FTR wanted to use the masks to try to confuse the tag champions and steal a victory. Instead, it cost them, allowing the Lucha Bros to pin Cash Wheeler, who wasn’t the legal man. Though complicated, I loved the acknowledgement from the announcers and the way they helped tie the visuals in the ring together. That’s exactly what a commentary team should aim to do.)

-J.R. tossed to a video package for the finals of the World Title Eliminator Tournament.

-Miro headed to the ring, followed by Bryan Danielson.

(3) MIRO vs. BRYAN DANIELSON – Title Contender Eliminator Tournament Finals

Bryan Danielson offered a handshake to Miro to begin the match. Miro refused, backing into his corner. He raised his arms for a feeling out process. Bryan followed. The two men locked up. Miro tossed Danielson backward toward the corner with ease. Bryan set up in the corner, taking a deep breath and staring down his opponent.

They teased another lock up, but Bryan hit a quick kick to Miro’s shin. Miro shook it off, tossed Bryan toward the corner and then clear across the ring. Danielson regrouped. He crouched in the corner and came out slowly, looking for another lock up. Danielson used his feed to outsmart Miro. He caught him with a chop, then a hard knee to the chin. Danielson hit a pair of uppercuts to the jaw. He kneed Miro again, then backed him into the corner. J.R. said Danielson should look for a quick pin, because the methodical wrestling is just pissing Miro off.

Miro caught Danielson with a hard knee. Bryan tumbled to the outside. He lifted his knees to his chest and tried to regain his breath. Miro challenged Bryan to get back in the ring. Danielson returned slowly. Miro teased a pounce, but Bryan didn’t budge. Danielson sported a fresh black eye.

Bryan hit his signature flip over the rope but stumbled into Miro’s waiting arms. Bryan fought free, swept Miro’s leg and grabbed a waist lock. Miro shook him off with ease and dropped Bryan with a shoulder tackle. Miro whipped Bryan off the ropes. Danielson ducked two clothesline attempts and hit a leaping one of his own. Miro rolled to the outside. Bryan went for a middle rope dive, but Miro caught him out of the air with a strike to the face. Miro gave Danielson an overhead belly-to-belly on the outside as the match crossed 5:00.

Miro tossed Bryan into the ringside barricade. He scooped him up and ran him into the steel steps. Miro returned to the ring and held out his arms. Referee Aubrey Edwards checked on Bryan Danielson through the ropes. Danielson rolled back in the ring. Miro immediately hit a pair of snap suplexes and covered for a two count. Miro grabbed a grounded side headlock. The crowd tried to will Bryan to his feet.

The Redeemer broke his own hold by tossing Danielson into the corner and peppering him with quick jabs to the ribs. Bryan slumped down in the corner, but Miro didn’t let up. Edwards forced a break. Miro whipped Bryan across the ring. He taunted the crowd. Danielson managed to catch Miro with a chop, then a series of kicks to the midsection. Bryan hit a running kick into the corner. He caught a second one. Bryan went for a third, but Miro scooped him up and hit a Samoan Drop for a two count.

Miro tossed Danielson into the steel ring post. Bryan crumbled to the mat on the outside, clutching his shoulder and bicep. Miro slammed Bryan into the apron. He lifted Danielson on his shoulders, but Bryan slid down Miro’s back and shoved him into the ring post. Danielson climbed back on the apron and hit a running knee to the floor. Bryan dragged Miro back to the ring at the 10:20 mark.

Danielson climbed to the top rope. He connected with a missile dropkick, sending Miro rolling to the corner. Danielson called for Miro to rise. He hit the first kick to the chest, then a second, third, fourth, fifth, round up and a catch by Miro. Danielson calculated it, though, and rolled Miro into a cover for a two count. Danielson transitioned into a knee bar. Miro screamed in agony. Bryan went to work on the ankle with the knee bar still applied. Miro set up and grabbed Bryan’s waist. He managed to stand up, knee bar still applied, and drop Bryan with a gut wrench to break the hold.

Miro dragged Danielson to his feet by his tights. He gave Bryan a release German suplex. Miro went for a back drop, but Danielson rolled through it. Miro’s knee gave out and Bryan kicked him. Danielson grabbed a front face lock and drove his knee into Miro’s neck, head, and ribs repeatedly. He grabbed onto Miro’s wrists and began stomping. The crowd chanted “yes” in unison with every kick.

Danielson set up in the corner, willing the crowd to continue their chant. He went for the running knee, but Miro countered into a Powerbomb for a near fall. Miro stomped on Danielson’s back and and applied Game Over. Danielson raised his hand to tap, but Miro stumbled just a little, allowing Danielson to instead plunge toward the ropes and break the hold. Miro recovered quickly, dragging Danielson back to the center and stomping his back and shoulders. Miro tried Game Over again, but Bryan rolled out of it and transitioned into the LaBell Lock. Miro was blinded by Bryan’s arm and clawed desperately for the ropes, eventually reaching them.

Miro tried to club Bryan, but Danielson just the wild shots to pull Miro into a Triangle. Miro gouged Brian’s eyes to break free. he crawled desperately to the corner to create some separation at 17:45. Both men stood slowly. Danielson punched Miro repeatedly, but Miro no sold every hit. He cocked back and elbowed Danielson in the side of the neck, dropping him Miro opened up, giving Danielson free shots. Bryan kicked him repeatedly, but Miro shook him off and dropped him again with a single punch.

Danielson rose slowly. Miro invited more kicks. Bryan obliged. Miro blocked the third one and gave Danielson a kick of his own. Bryan fell to his knees. Miro carried Bryan to the corner and lifted him to the top rope. Bryan fought back, keeping Miro at bay. They traded shots, posted on the top rope. Danielson hit a tornado DDT off the tope rope. “It stunned him!” Schiavone exclaimed. Bryan didn’t leg go, locking in a guillotine. Aubrey Edwards called for the bell, declaring Miro out.

WINNER: Bryan Danielson in 19:59, new #1 contender for the AEW World Championship

(LeClair’s Analysis: Excellent match. Bryan Danielson worked his first match as the underdog in AEW to tremendous success. Miro is an excellent striker and believable monster heel, completely dominating Bryan throughout much of the match and forcing creative use of holds, strikes, and finisher attempts. The finish was creative, and, in line with recent Danielson matches, unexpected. Bryan just keeps putting on clinic after clinic with a variety of opponent, proving he’s still one of the absolute best in the world. These two were once as synonymous as could be with WWE, and tonight, they went out there and had a match WWE would never dare to have, with tremendous results.)

-The announcers planned to recap the major spots of the match, but instead head to quickly transition to the Falls Count Anywhere six man tag match. The Young Bucks headed to the ring, followed by Adam Cole. Christian Cage and Jurassic Express followed.

(4) THE SUPER KLIQ (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson & Adam Cole w/ Brandon Cutler) vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE & JURASSIC EXPRESS (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) – Six-Man Tag Team Falls Count Anywhere match

The action began as soon as the bell rang, with all six men coming to blows. Jungle Boy ended up outside the ring with The Young Bucks, who were quickly taken down by a moonsault to the outside by Luchasaurus. In the ring, Adam Cole tried for Panama Sunrise on Christian Case, who countered and attempted a Killswitch. Cole kicked himself free, but was quickly taken down with an arm drag and drop kick from Jungle Boy.

The Young Bucks returned to work on Jungle Boy. The Bucks avoided a tandem arm drag and dropped Jungle Boy with a double clothesline. Luchasaurus gave the Bucks clotheslines in return. Adam Cole tossed a chair in Luchasaurus’ face. Jungle Boy grabbed the chair from Cole, leapfrogged him, and tossed the chair in his face. Jungle Boy set up for a powerbomb on the chair, but the Young Bucks broke it up.

The Bucks tried to toss Jungle Boy onto a table on the outside, but Jungle Boy countered into a double arm drag, sending the Bucks to the outside and giving him a brief moment to sit down in the chair. Adam Cole dropped Jungle Boy. Christian Cage leapt onto Cole, and the chair, for a quick two count.

The Young Bucks returned, but got tossed into the corner but Luchasaurus. He followed up by German suplexing Matt and Nick at the same time. Meanwhile, Jungle Boy dove onto Adam Cole twice on the outside. He tried a third dive onto the Bucks, but they caught him out of thin air with a trash can. Christian Case dove onto the Bucks and crushed the can. Matt Jackson retrieved the can, but Luchasaurus kicked it into his face.

Luchasaurus retrieved a table from underneath the ring at the 6:00 mark. Cage and Jungle Boy helped him set it up. Christian tossed a pair of chairs in the ring. Jungle Boy tossed Adam Cole in the ring. Cole was bleeding profusely from the forehead. Cage set him for a Con-Chair-To. He gave the chair to Jungle Boy. Matt Jackson dragged Cage from the ring. Nick Jackson dropped Jungle Boy. Cage and Nick Jackson wrestled into the crowd and toward the side of the stage.

Adam Cole crawled around the ring, a bloodied mess. Luchasaurus followed him, chopping him from corner to corner. He set Cole up for a Jackknife Powerbomb through the table on the outside, but Cole slid down his back. He kicked Luchasaurus in the face. Matt Jackson returned and delivered super kicks all around. Luchasaurus spilled to the outside. Jungle Boy returned and gave Adam Cole a hurricanrana off the apron and through one of the tables set up at ringside. Meanwhile, Matt Jackson dropped an elbow on Luchasaurus through the other table.

All four men still at ringside were laid out as the crowd began a “this is awesome” chant. The camera cut to Christian Cage and Nick Jackson, who’d been joined by Brandon Cutler in the crowd. Cage climbed one of the exits atop a lower bowl section and dove onto Jackson and Cutler below. He covered for a near fall. Cage and Jackson fought down the aisle, back to the floor, and eventually back to ringside.

Back in the ring, Jungle Boy gave Matt Jackson a basement dropkick and then slid toward Adam Cole. Cole caught him and slammed him on the apron. The Young Bucks were left alone in the ring with Jungle Boy. Cole tossed them a bag of thumbtacks at 12:00. Matt poured some tacks into Nick’s hand. Nick propped open Jungle Boy’s mouth and shoved the tacks in Adam Cole grabbed a clutch. The Bucks hit the ropes comically, planted kisses on Cole’s cheeks, and then super kicked Jungle Boy. Cole covered, but Christian Cage broke it up just in time.

The Bucks retrieved a ladder and propped it in the corner. Matt slammed Christian into it repeatedly. Cole wound up for a shot with the trash can, but Cage kicked him in the gut. He hit Nick Jackson with a tornado DDT off the middle rope and onto the cornered ladder. Both man landed awkwardly.

All three members of the Super Kliq were positioned in separate corners. Luchasaurus looked to each of them. He chose Cole, who countered out and attempted Panama Sunrise. Luchasaurus caught him and tossed him spine-first into the ladder. The Young Bucks tried for double chair shots, but Luchasaurus blocked them. Matt Jackson caught Luchasaurus in the head with a trash can. He slammed him repeatedly. Luchasaurus sat up, unaffected.

Matt Jackson was spooked, walking up the ramp in a hurry. Jungle Boy flew into frame, tripping Jackson and locking in the Snare Trap. Adam Cole rushed to break it up. Christian Cage grabbed Matt Jackson for the Killswitch on the ramp Nick Jackson caught him with a super kick. Luchasaurus tried to chokeslam both Bucks off the stage, but Cole low blowed him.

Christian Cage catapulted Nick Jackson into the stage scaffolding, but Nick hung on. Matt Jackson tossed Christian off the stage and dove onto him. Adam Cole climbed the stage scaffolding and hit Jungle Boy with Panama Sunrise. He covered, but Luchasaurus broke it up. “No one can get an advantage!” Schiavone exclaimed.

The Super Kliq were left standing opposite of Luchasaurus. They hit a trio of super kicks as the match hit 19:00. Adam Cole pulled out a thumbtack studded knee pad. He put on on himself, then gave one to each of the Young Bucks. They set up Luchasaurus and hit the BTE Trigger with the thumbtack knee pads. All three covered, but Jungle Boy broke up the attempt.

Cole and Bucks turned their focus to Jungle Boy. He tried to fight them off, hitting Nick with a German suplex on the ramp. Christian Cage speared Matt Jackson out of nowhere. Luchasaurus chokeslammed Adam Cole off the stage. The heels all gathered on the floor, setting up for Luchasaurus to hit a Shooting Star Press off the ramp. A “holy shit!” chant broke out.

Christian Cage returned to view with two steel chairs. He propped one underneath Matt Jackson’s head, and handed the other to Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy completed the Con-Chair-To. He covered for a three count.

WINNERS: Christian Cage & Jurassic Express in 22:20

(LeClair’s Analysis: A wild one. Fast, furious, and at times, dangerous. Spot after spot after spot that had the crowd in a complete frenzy from opening to closing bell. Generally speaking, this isn’t my kind of Bucks match. I like it when they’re a bit more reigned in, but I can’t say this wasn’t a ton of fun. I think they may have gone a little too far with the near falls and constant kick outs. Even the announcers seemed to be a little worn out, seemingly throwing up their hands because no one could get anything resembling an advantage. You sort of expect this kind of layout in these big AEW Pay-Per-View matches, and while it may not always be my style, there’s no question that the crowd ate up every second.)

-Excalibur tossed to a video package hyping Cody Rhodes & Pac vs. Andrade El Idolo & Malakai Black.

-Andrade El Idolo headed to the ring first, accompanied by Jose Garcia. Excalibur said he’s made a mortal enemy out of Pac by trying to create dissent between the Bastard and the Lucha Bros.

The lights cut out and the crowd popped in anticipation for Malakai Black’s entrance. Black sat atop the ramp, bathed in light and wearing horns. J.R. said he’s highly skilled in multiple disciplines. Excalibur said he’s intent on destroying Cody Rhodes, using the Nightmare Family as target practice.

Pac entered next. Tony said he’s one of the few men in AEW who holds a victory over Kenny Omega. The lights cut out and the crowd broke into a chorus of boos as Cody Rhodes’ signature intro began. The boos intensified as Rhodes rose from the stage. Excalibur wondered if there’s anyone more dangerous than Cody when he’s focused.

(5) ANDRADE EL IDOLO (w/ Jose Garcia ) & MALAKAI BLACK vs. “THE BASTARD” PAC & CODY RHODES (w/ Arn Anderson)

Andrade El Idolo began the match with Pac. El Idolo shoved Cody Rhodes on the apron. Rhodes shook it off, but blind tagged himself in. The crowd booed. Pac looked on angrily, reluctantly moving to the apron. An “F you Cody” chant broke out. Pac tagged himself back in. The crowd roared with approval. El Idolo dropped Pac.

Pac recovered quickly. He drove Andrade into the corner, flipped out of it and caught El Idolo with a quick kick to the gut. He gave Andrade a leaping headlock takeover, and then wrenched the neck. El Idolo worked back to his feet, drove Pac to the corner. Malakai Black tagged himself in.

Pac and Black wrestled each other to the mat and back up. Pac slid through Black’s legs and caught him with a quick arm drag. The two jostled into the corner. Cody Rhodes tagged himself in. Rhodes got in Black’s face. Malakai stepped back. Idolo tagged himself in. Rhodes dropped Andrade with a shoulder tackle. Idolo recovered, whipping Cody to the corner. Rhodes flipped over onto the apron. Idolo followed up, nearly tumbling back in the ring in an awkward looking spot. Jose Garcia grabbed at Cody’s leg. Andrade took control.

Rhodes kicked Garcia through the ropes, then gave El Idolo a whipping powerslam. He backed toward his corner and Pac tagged in, aggressively slapping Cody on the back. Malakai Black did the same to Pac on the opposing corner. Black and Pac locked up in the center. Pac missed wildly with a back elbow. Black worked him to the corner and tagged in El Idolo. The two began isolating the Bastard. El Idolo offered a clean tag, but Malakai slapped Pac on the chest instead.

Pac stumbled back to his corner, Cody tagged himself in again. Hit the Cody Cutter on Black, then set up for the Cross Rhodes. Black blocked it. Cody set up for the Tiger Driver, but Black shoved him off. Rhodes stumbled into the corner, and, you guessed it, Pac tagged himself in. He tossed El Idolo and Black to the outside, then hit a standing moonsault onto both off the apron.

On the opposite side of the ring, Jose Garcia came face to face with Arn Anderson. Anderson fired off a series of right hands, sending Jose reeling up the ramp in retreat as the match crossed 7:20. Back at ringside, Pac tossed Black back in the ring and climbed to the top rope. El Idolo shoved Pac off the top, allowing Black to catch him with a boot to the face. Pac rolled to the outside. El Idolo corkscrewed over the top rope onto Pac. He slammed the Bastard into the ringside barrier, then tossed him back in the ring.

El Idolo tagged in Black cleanly this time. Malakai kicked Pac in the chest with precision. Pac fell to the corner and Black drove his knee into the face. Cody Rhodes tried to regroup on the outside. Excalibur and Tony Schiavone talked about the heel kick that took Cody out of the match. Black tagged in El Idolo, who hit a split legged moonsault on Pac for a cover. Pac got his foot on the ropes at two.

Pac traded forearms with El Idolo. Both men wound up on the mat, initiation a double count. Pac wandered to his feet, looking to tag Cody, but Rhodes was still crouched over the barricade. The team doctor come to check on Rhodes. El Idolo caught Pac with a leaping Pendulum DDT through the middle rope and onto the apron. Pac fell abruptly to the floor. El Idolo retrieved him and covered for a near fall.

Malakai Black tagged himself in and shared a stare down with El Idolo. Pac ducked a heel kick from Black and hit one of his own. Cody Rhodes returned to the apron. Both men crawled for tags, both succeeded. The crowd booed Cody loudly Rhodes hit a series of quick jabs to El Idolo, then a spinning punch. He gave Black a Disaster Kick on the apron. El Idolo leapfrogged him onto the top rope, but Cody kicked him. El Idolo was crotched on the top rope. Rhodes hit a reverse suplex off the top rope and covered for a near fall at the 13:30 mark.

Rhodes took Black down outside and shook the barricade to rile up the crowd. They still booed. Back in the ring, El Idolo dropped Rhodes and set up for a Figure Four, but Cody kicked him away. Cody applied the Figure Four himself. Pac reached over the ropes and tagged himself in. He climbed to  the top and hit the 450 Splash on El Idolo. He covered for a near fall.

El Idolo managed to gag out. Pac caught him with a kick, sending Black to the outside. Pac dove over the top rope, but Black pulled Cody into harm’s way. Pac took Rhodes out. In the ring, Black hit Pac with a bridging German suplex for a cover, but Rhodes broke it up. Rhodes suplexed Black over the top rope. On the outside, Black charged and kicked Rhodes right over the barricade into the crowd.

Pac and El Idolo continued to battle in the ring. Pac got Andrade in position and hit the Black Arrow for a three count.

WINNERS: Pac & Cody Rhodes in 16:52

Cash Wheeler rushed the ring and attacked Pac and Cody Rhodes. Malakai Black joined in. The referee broke it up quickly.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Good match, even though it almost felt like it was supposed to serve as a bit of a comedown. I’m not a fan of seemingly random pairings, though AEW did a good job getting these four into a position where it made some sense as to why they’d team up. They want incredibly heavy-handed with the tease of dissension between both teams, but wound up paying off neither scenario. The fans’ continued displeasure with Cody Rhodes was on full display – it’s getting increasingly harder to justify keeping the guy babyface, especially being one the only character’s AEW has who’s designation does not line up with the fan’s perception. I think El Idolo and Black would’ve been better served winning this one, given their stronger allegiance and the need to keep both guys strong moving forward. As a result, I’m not quite as high on this one as I have been the rest of the matches thus far, but it was still a fun ride.)

-The announcers tossed to a video package hyping the AEW Women’s Championship match.

-Tay Conti headed to the ring first. Fozzy’s guitarist played Britt Baker to the ring.

(6) DR. BRITT BAKER (c, w/ Jamie Hayter & Rebel) vs. TAY CONTI – AEW Women’s World Championship match

A strong “D.M.D.” chant broke out as the match began. The two women circled each other, then locked up. Baker twisted Conti’s arm and rolled her into a headlock. Britt rolled Conti up for a quick two count, then transitioned back into the hold. Schiavone said that Britt Baker has been in these big matches, but Tay Conti is new to this. Excalibur mentioned that Conti has never competed on Pay-Per-View.

Conti managed to finagle the champion into an arm hold, but Baker flipped through it and tried to apply Lockjaw. Conti slid free. The two came most to nose and shoved each other. Conti took control of Baker’s wrist and whipped her around the ring. Britt broke free with a kick to the stomach. Baker tossed the challenger toward the corner, but Conti caught her with a kick to the face. The two got tied up in the ropes, but the official broke it up. Jamie Hayter pulled on the ropes to give Baker a chance to regain control. She flipped Conti back into the ring and elbowed the back of her head.

Baker led the crowd in a quick “D.M.D.” before returning to toy with Tay. She fired off a number of punches and kicks, then climbed on Conti’s neck over the bottom rope. Baker dragged Conti to the center and clubbed at her back, feeling firmly in control and displaying clear hubris. Baker tried for the Lockjaw again, but Conti punched Britt’s hand repeatedly. Baker shook it out. Conti gave the champion a pair of clotheslines, then a pump kick in the corner at the 5:30 mark.

Conti hit a second, then a third pump kick out of the corner. She leapt toe middle rope and then dove onto Baker for a two count. Conti psyched herself up. She elbowed Baker in the face. Britt gave one right back. They traded elbows. Britt went for a rolling elbow, but Conti ducked it and hit a release German suplex. She covered for another two count.

Tay climbed to the middle rope, but Britt Baker kicked at her heel to stifle her. She hit a neckbreaker off the middle rope and covered Conti for two. Baker went for a swinging Fisherman’s neckbreaker, but Tay blocked it. Britt went for a suplex, but Tay went dead weight. Baker quickly backed off and hit the stomp. She covered for a near fall. Jamie Hayter passed Baker her glove. Britt pulled it on, turned around, and ate a stunner from Tay Conti. The challenger cover for a near fall.

Conti yelled at Hayter and Rebel. She and Baker climbed to the apron. Baker scooped up Conti and hit the Air Raid Crash on the edge of the ring. She tossed her back inside gingerly and covered for two. Baker transitioned into the Lockjaw, but Conti reached the ropes immediately.

Britt went for a super kick but Conti blocked it. Conti went for a backslide, but Britt held on. The two women struggled against each other’s weight. Conti lifted Baker and hit the Tay-KO. She hooked the leg, but Baker kicked out at the last moment as the match crossed 10:40. Conti set up the corner. She charged, but Baker caught her with a kick. Tay shrugged it off and hit a pump kick. Tay grabbed Baker and hit a Gotch Piledriver for a near fall.

Rebel jumped up on the apron, distracting the referee. Hayter pulled Conti to the outside. Baker climbed out and gave Conti a stomp on the ring steps. She tossed her back in the ring and applied the Lockjaw. Conti managed to roll over and get her feet on the ropes. Conti was draped over the bottom rope. Baker went for another stomp, but Conti moved. Baker crashed to the floor. Conti dragged herself to the top turnbuckle. She hit a moonsault off the top, onto Hayter and Rebel on the outside. Baker moved. Tay still managed to toss the champion in the ring.

Conti hit the DD-Tay and hooked the leg, but Baker kicked out for a believable near fall. Conti grabbed Baker’s arm and kicked her in the face repeatedly. She set up for another DDT, but Baker rolled her over into the Lockjaw. Conti countered it into a cradle. Britt used leverage to roll through into a pin of her own for a three count.

WINNER: Britt Baker in 15:16 to retain the AEW Women’s World Championship

(LeClair’s Analysis: Good match. I think this was one of the better wrestled AEW Women’s title matches to date. Tay Conti is a strong worker who has come on strong in AEW after WWE failed to utilize her. She’s proven to be a valuable commodity in a division that has been in need of stand-out starts outside of Britt Baker. For her part, Baker played the heel foil well, utilizing Rebel and Hayter sparingly but effectively. The moonsault to take them out of the fight was a nice touch, and though it mostly missed, I liked the idea of giving Conti new hope by effectively eliminating them from the conversation. I like the roll up finish, too. It keeps Conti strong as a potential challenger again in the future, while showing Baker’s resourcefulness as a heel champion.)

-The announcers threw to a video package for C.M. Punk vs. Eddie Kingston.

-Eddie Kingston entered first to a great ovation. Punk came next to a similar reaction, sporting new MMA style trunks instead of his “long bois”, as he affectionately calls them. The announcers talked about the growing animosity. Punk walked to the ring briskly. The referee quickly stepped between the two to avoid them coming to blows before the bell.

Kingston hauled off and hit a spinning back elbow, dropping Punk. C.M.Punk was motionless on the mat for a few moments. The referee checked on him. Punk gave him the okay.

(6) EDDIE KINGSTON vs. C.M. PUNK

Eddie Kingston pounced the moment the referee signaled for the bell. The crowd broke into a massive dueling chant. Kingston maintained the upper hand briefly on the outside, but the action returned to the ring quickly. There, Punk threw punches wildly at Eddie in the corner. Kingston hobbled out and caught Punk by surprise with an exploder suplex. Punk crawled to toward the corner.

Kingston hit rapid-fire punches to Punk’s gut in the corner. C.M. Punk crumbled to the mat. He bulldozed his way out of the corner and mounted Kingston. The crowd booed. Punk kicked Eddie in the face. Kingston no sold it and asked for more. Punk kicked him again. Eddie shook it off. Kingston shoved Punk to the mat and tossed him to the apron. Kingston set up for an exploder on the apron. Punk blocked it. He caught Kingston in the side of the head with a kick, then hit a running kick to the face. Kingston fell to the floor.

Punk gathered himself as a chant for him broke out. Punk slammed Kingston’s arm onto the steel steps. Eddie shook it off and punched Punk in the gut, but quickly showed regret, clutching his arm in pain. Kingston pulled Punk into the ring post, then slid in the ring to break the referee’s count. Punk came up from the post bleeding heavily from the forehead. Kingston attacked the cut, then smeared the blood all over his own face. Schiavone said that Kingston would view making Punk bleed as a victory in and of itself.

Kingston tried to give Punk a piledriver on the floor, but Punk blocked it and dropped him. The blood dropped down into his eye and over his nose. He flew off the apron with a clothesline. Both men slowly returned to the ring. Punk gave him a pair of shoulder tackles, but Kingston popped right back up. Punk gave Kingston a spinning back drop, then raised a hand in shades of John Cena’s Five Knuckle Shuffle. The crowd booed. Punk flipped Kingston off. Kingston grabbed his hand and fought him off.

Punk clutched Kingston’s head and began his version of the Three Amigos. He finished it up with a little shoulder shake, blood running down his whole face and neck. Punk started to climb to the top rope, but Eddie shot up in defense. He punched Punk’s face rapidly, stuck his middle finger in Punk’s face, then hit a superplex from the top. The referee began to count both men down.

Kingston and Punk retreated to opposite corners as the match hit 8:30. Mirroring one another, they pulled themselves up by the ropes and charged, firing flurries of wild punches. Both men dropped to their knees. Kingston checked his jaw. He gave the “Go to Sleep” taunt. Punk scooped Kingston up and hit the Go to Sleep. Kingston fell into the ropes to avoid a cover. Punk sat back against the apron, trying to catch his breath.

As both men returned to their feet, Kingston tried to surprise Punk with another back fist. Punk ducked it. He struck Kingston in the stomach and drove his elbow into Eddie’s neck. The crowd booed. Punk gave Kingston a number of hard knee strikes to the face. He looked around at the crowd, lifted Kingston and hit a second GTS. Punk covered for three.

WINNER: C.M. Punk in 11:07

Punk offered Kingston his hand after the match. Eddie ignored him, leaving the ring and stumbling up the ramp to a chorus of boos.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Oh man, did this deliver. I’d wondered how they’d approach this match, given the animosity they managed to build in the last couple of weeks. They succeeded by just going all out in a hard hitting, killer brawl that earned every second of it’s 11:07. As the shortest match of the night, this somehow felt like it couldn’t have gone a minute longer. These two beat the living hell out of each other. This went exactly as it should have – Kingston beat the living hell out of Punk, made him bleed, took his pound of flesh, but couldn’t get it done in the end. Punk is too important a commodity right now to lose this match. Kingston is a great feel good story, and undoubtedly a wonderful hand to have around, but this is the right spot for him. Punk weathered the storm of a crowd that was incredibly excited to cheer for Eddie, and managed to come out still looking like the babyface by offering his hand to Kingston at the end of the match. Eddie’s refusal works for me, too. He’s a proud man who beat Punk up badly, but didn’t come out on top, and that hurts him. This was a great short term story with an excellent, bloody payoff. Just excellent all the way around, and quite easily Punk’s best AEW match to date.)

-The announcers tossed to a quick video package hyping Inner Circle vs. American Top Team.

-American Top Team and the Men of the Year headed to the ring first. Schiavone and Excalibur talked up ATT’s accomplishments outside of wrestling. The Inner Circle followed, crowd singing along to “Judas.” The camera showed Baron Von Raschke sitting ringside.

(7) MEN OF THE YEAR (Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page) & AMERICAN TOP TEAM (Dan Lambert & Junior Dos Santos & Andrei Arlovski) vs. THE INNER CIRCLE (Chris Jericho & Jack Hager & Sammy Guevara & Santana & Ortiz) – Minneapolis Street Fight

Sammy Guevara began the match with Scorpio Sky. Guevara hit Sky with a pair of quick, hard chops. The two battled into the corner, trading chops back and forth. Guevara gave Sky a leaping heel kick off the middle rope. He leapfrogged Sky, backflipped over him, then hit a corkscrew dropkick. Sammy held his arms out for the crowd to shower him in approval, which they did.

Guevara tagged out, allowing Santana and Ortiz to run quick double teams on Sky before covering for a quick one count. Jake Hager tagged himself in and called for Andrei Arlovski. Sky obliged, tagging him in. Arlovski and Hager traded quick strikes and jabs. Hager charged, but Arlovski scooped him up and hit a Samoan Drop. Arlovski tagged in Junior Dos Santos. Dos Santos gave Hager a shoulder tackle. Hager stumbled into the corner and tagged in Chris Jericho.

Jericho hot Dos Santos with some rapid fire punches. Dos Santos shrugged him off, scooped Jericho and hit him with a powerslam. Dos Santos gave Jericho a delayed suplex, then a standing moonsault for a two count. Dan Lambert begged for a tag. Dos Santos smiled and tagged him in. Lambert hammed it up, running around the ring and acting like he had Jericho beaten. He ran around the ring for a charged slap, but Jericho blocked it. Pandemonium ensued, with the corner emptying and the ring filling up.

The Inner Circle managed to get Lambert in the ring alone, but ATT and Men of the Year prevented the beating with hockey sticks from trash cans positioned at ringside for the street fight. The match devolved into a brawl on the outside, with all men eventually coming together in a large group for Jake Hager to dive off the turnbuckle into the pit of bodies below.

Dan Lamber got himself a metal pipe as the match hit 6:45. Jericho chased him down. Lambert fell backwards, tripping into the steel steps. Jericho retrieved a Prince logo sign from under the ring. The crowd roared. Ethan Page attacked Jericho from behind. The crowd chanted “Purple Rain.” Men of the Year worked over Santana on the outside, then tossed him back in the ring. Elsewhere at ringside, Jake Hager hit Andrei Arlovski with a toaster. Arlovski covered up, then mounted Hager and rained down punches.

In the ring, the Men of the Year beat down Santana in the corner. Ortiz returned to assist, dropping Page. Santana came out of the corner with a rolling clothesline on Sky. They placed a trash can over Page’s head and took turns striking it with hockey sticks. Sky wound up in a stretch over Ortiz’ back while Santana locked Page in a Boston Crab. They combined the holds. Guevara threw a football at Sky’s head.

Arlovski came to the ringing began working over Ortiz. He held him up for Page to hit a leaping kick off the middle rope. Jake Hager hit the ring with his toaster in hand, dropping Arlovski and then Sky. The crowd chanted for the object. Sky took Hager down with a chop block. Men of the Year began stomping away at Hager. Jericho returned with a water ski. He took Sky and Page down with it. Dan Lambert tripped Jericho and dragged him to the outside.

Sammy Guevara hit Men of the Year with a double springboard cutter. He followed up with a Swanton onto Sky for a near fall. Junior Dos Santos stomped away at Jericho on the outside. Santana and Ortiz came to his aid, double-teaming Dos Santos. Sammy Guevara retrieved a table. Jake Hager attacked Ethan Page and Andrei Arlovski with a bunt cake pan. Jericho tossed Page onto a table. Junior Dos Santos climbed to the top rope. Santana and Ortiz climbed up to meet him. They gave Dos Santos a double superplex.

Outside, Jericho and Guevara set up a massive ladder. Sky was laid out on the table, positioned below the ladder.Guevara climbed to the top and hit a diving Swanton off the ladder and through the table at 15:30. Ortiz hit Page in the back with a chair.  Page shrugged it off and hit him with a knife-edge powerbomb. He taunted Jake Hager’s wife, who was seated in the front row. Baron Von Raschke rose to defend her. He gave Page a jab that sent him reeling. Santana tossed Page over the barricade, then called for the crowd to clear the way. He dove over the barricade, onto Page and several rows worth of chairs.

Dan Lambert celebrated by himself in the ring. Jericho appeared behind him. He gave Lambert a bulldog and hit the ropes for a Lionsault, but he stayed there awkwardly waiting for Dos Santos to reach him with a kendo stick. Jericho collapsed backward. Lambert covered him for a very close near fall.

Jericho recovered and grabbed the kendo stick. He beat Lambert with it repeatedly. Dos Santos tried to get in the ring, but Jericho hit him too. He found a purple stapler, and deployed it on Lambert’s crotch. Jericho starred up to the heavens and did Eddie’s shoulder shake. He climbed to the top rope and hit a frog splash, covering Lambert for three.

WINNERS: The Inner Circle in 19:37

Jericho teared up, looking up at the sky and mouthing “I love you, Eddie. The Inner Circle regrouped in the ring.

-Excalibur previewed Wednesday’s Rampage as the Inner Circle continued to celebrate.

(LeClair’s Analysis: This felt rather bloated, given the length of the show already and the incredible pace they’ve been maintaining all night. This feud has been fine, though I do consider it to be a weak spot on AEW’s weekly TV for the most part. The Inner Circle has sort of ran its course for me, and I find that everyone involved is more interesting when they’re doing their own thing. It served its purpose, and the crowd popped for the Minneapolis-themed gimmicks and weapons, but I think they would’ve been better served shaving some time off.)

-Tony Schiavone stood on the stage to welcomed a very special guest to the stage. He introduced Jay Lethal. Lethal said he’s opened the forbidden door and officially become “All Elite.” Jay challenged Sammy Guevara to a TNT Championship match on Wednesday’s Dynamite. Guevara stepped into view. He got in Lethal’s face. “You’re on,” he said. Guevara held up the title. Schiavone sent things back to J.R. and Excalibur.

-J.R. tossed to a video package for the main event.

-Justin Roberts introduced the main event for the AEW World Championship. “Hangman” Adam Page received an extended intro, showing him riding a horse through the abandoned streets of Minneapolis toward the Target Center while highlights of his journey played on walls and screens around the city.

A huge “Cowboy Shit” chant rang out as Page’s music hit. Hangman entered to a huge ovation. He marched to the ring and climbed the barricade, looking out at the crowd and soaking in the emotion.

Kenny Omega entered, flanked by Don Callis. He talked trash toward the camera, and to the fans. Omega looked held the title up in Page’s face. Justin Roberts provided standard championship match introductions. Schiavone said it’s fitting that these two faced off at last year’s Full Gear in the finals of the World Title Eliminator tournament.

(8) KENNY OMEGA (c, w/ Don Callis) vs. “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE – AEW World Championship match

Both men stayed in their respective corners as the bell rang. They stared each other down intensely. They jockeyed for a few moments, before finally locking up a minute into the match. Page bested Omega early, sending him reeling into the corner. Hangman attacked the champion’s chest with a flurry of hard knife-edged chops. Omega turned the tables and hit several of his own.

Page shook off the chops and whipped Kenny to the opposing corner. He hit a running chop. Don Callis grabbed at Page’s boot from ringside. Page turned to kick him away, allowing Omega to recover and gain control. Kenny cornered Hangman and stuck his boot deep into the neck. Page fell to the ropes. Kenny distracted the referee while Callis choked Page on the middle rope.

Omega backed Page into the ropes and clubbed at his back. Page managed to lift Omega over the top rope to the apron, then kicked him to the floor. Hangman flew clear over the top rope and landed a cross body onto Omega on the outside. Callis wandered into frame. Page chased him off. Omega recovered and slammed Page into the ringside barrier, then into the ring apron. He set up for a suplex on the outside, but Page outpaced him, giving a snap suplex of his own.

The champion rolled back into the ring. Page climbed to the top rope and hit a big cross body for a cover and a one count as the match crossed 5:00. Omega stood and drove his thumb into the eyes of Page. Kenny hit a running clothesline and covered lackadaisically for one. The crowd began to chant “Kenny no balls.”

Kenny Omega hip checked Page in the corner then tossed him to the outside. Omega distracted the referee long enough for Don Callis to stomp away at Adam Page on the floor. Omega headed outside to check on Callis’ work. He tossed Page into the ring steps and bounced his head off them for good measure. Omega slid Page back in the ring and taunted the crowd. He stood on the apron, begging Page to stand. Omega teased a springboard, but then just got in the ring through the middle rope.

The showboating by Omega allowed Page to recover. He tossed Omega to the corner, but Kenny countered out and sent Page back to the outside. He began pounding the mat, leading the crowd in the Terminator clap. Omega hit the Terminator dive onto Page on the outside. Omega dragged Page back in the ring, scooped Page up for a rolling slam, and then jumped to the middle rope. Omega went for a moonsault, but Page got his knees up.

Omega elbowed Hangman out of the corner. The champion charged, but Page caught him with a big boot. Page worked Omega into the ropes. He chopped him, caught him off a whip, and hit a fallaway slam. Omega rolled to the outside to recover, but Page dove through the middle rope and onto the champion. Kenny slammed hard into the barricade. Page leapt to the top rope and hit a moonsault onto Omega. Both men rolled around in pain on the outside as the match crossed 11:00.

Both champion and challenger returned to the ring slowly. Adam Page connected with a brainbuster and covered for a two count. Page and Omega worked their way to the corner, and then to the top turnbuckle. Omega slipped to the apron, leapt to the tope rope and flipped over them, delivering a springboard Liger Bomb from the top rope. Omega covered for two.

Kenny pulled Hangman to his feet and hooked him for the Snap Dragon suplex, hitting his first. He set up for a second. Page mistimed his counter to the second and ate another. Hangman dragged himself to the apron. Omega followed. He hooked Page and hit a third Snap Dragon, this time on the hard edge of the apron. Page slumped to the floor in a heap. Omega quickly tossed him back in the ring and tossed him against the ropes. Kenny called for, and hit the V-Trigger. He set up for the One-Winged Angel, but Page slid down his pack after a flurry of punches.

Page stayed in the fight with a release German suplex. It startled Omega, but he rose to his feet, hooked Page and hit an underhook Tiger Driver for a near fall. Omega mounted Page, biting the small cut atop Page’s forehead. Hangman began to bleed. Omega climbed to the top rope, but Page rose to meet him. Hangman bit back. He set Omega up, then hit an Avalanche Exploder. Page covered for a two count. Omega rolled to the outside to regroup with Callis.

Hangman climbed to the top turnbuckle, then removed the corner camera. He balanced himself atop the ring post and dove all the way onto Kenny, who was draped over the timekeeper’s table. The table exploded on impact. Page struggled to his feet, tossing Omega inside. He climbed to the apron, setting up for the Buckshot Lariat. Omega saw it coming and collapsed to avoid it. Page caught himself before leaping.

Omega was draped over the middle rope. Page tried for the V-Trigger, but Omega ducked it. He tried for a Snap Dragon, but Page rolled through it. Page hit a Tiger Driver, then leapt back outside to set up for the Buck Shot. He dove, but Omega pulled the referee in front of him. Page gave the referee the Buck Shot.

Don Callis entered the ring with the World Championship in hand. Page knocked it away, took Callis down, and hit Omega with the Dead Eye. He hooked the leg. Aubrey Edwards rushed to the ring to make the count. Omega kicked out at the last moment. Omega rose slowly. The men traded punches as the match hit 21:30. Omega began hitting quick strike jabs, dropping Page to his knees. Page gave Omega the finger. Omega gave him a standing V-Trigger once, then twice. He tried a third with a running start, but Page caught the knee.

Page and Omega traded punches again. Page fell into Omega’s arms, exhausted. Omega began peppering him with kicks to the face. Page no sold them, shooting straight up and getting in Omega’s face. Omega kicked him again. Page stumbled back then turned Omega inside out with a massive lariat. The Young Bucks walked down the ramp, arm and arm, selling their injuries from their match.

Omega connected with a back drop. Page bounced up and hit one of his own. Omega tossed Page to the apron. Page went for the Buck Shot, but Omega caught him out of thin air with the V-Trigger. Omega scooped Page up for the One-Winged Angel, but Page fought free. He lifted Omega and hit him with his own One-Winged Angel. Page climbed through the ropes to the apron. Nick Jackson stared on, visibly tormented. Page hit the Buck Shot Lariat to Omega’s back.

Sensing he needed more, Page went to the opposing ring apron. Matt Jackson stared up at him, Page looked down. Matt gave him a weary nod. Page hit the Buck Shot a second time, this time to Omega’s front. He hooked the leg for a three count.

WINNER: Adam Page in 25:10 to win the AEW World Championship

Hangman knelt in the ring, staring down at his AEW World title. The Dark Order emerged from the back. Page looked up the ramp and invited them in the ring. He gave them hugs. They hoisted him up and he rode the wave of bodies as the show went off the air.

(LeClair’s Analysis: What a story. It’s quite incredible to say that I don’t think this was even the best match of the night, but on a card so loaded from top to bottom with excellent matches, it didn’t need to be. It needed to tell the story of Kenny Omega and Adam Page, which has been beautifully crafted and executed by AEW for well over a year. While I was very much of the mindset that Omega could’ve gone plenty more months with the World Title, once this match was booked, they simply had to pay it off. Page wrestled for the title in the company’s first Pay-Per-View and came up short. He worked his way through the undercard, then the tag division, and then went on a journey of self-discovery and redemption. At Full Gear 2020, Page lost to Kenny Omega in the finals of the title eliminator tournament. On the one year anniversary of that match, Page returns to the same stage against the same opponent and comes full circle by winning the title that escaped him for over two years. It’s such a simple and concise pro wrestling story, but one that will always work if you sell it right. AEW undoubtedly did, to tremendous results. 

Omega’s demeanor coming in the match was strong – he was overly cocky, believing he knew Page in and out and couldn’t possibly lose to him. Page’s extended entrance was well produced, well executed and well received by a crowd ready and eager for his entrance. Page sold the intensity of the moment perfectly. Callis’ involvement early was a great way to take the audience’s mind off of Page’s backstage run-in with the Bucks. It made their appearance late in the match all that much more impactful. So much of this match, and really, this feud, is just pro wrestling 101 executed at the highest of levels. Bravo to Omega, Page, and AEW.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: A wild ride full of ups and almost no breathing room. If I can come up with any gripe at all, it’s simply that. As someone trying to cover the show in real time, the pace was blistering. Every match brought it from bell to bell, as though there were eight main events. Typically, pacing a show that way leads to a burnt out crowd by the time the main event rolls around. AEW gambled, though, betting that Minneapolis’ appetite would be insatiable, and I think they won the bet. The crowd was hot all night, coming alive for all the big spots, rallying strongly behind their favorites, and pouring their heart out for Page’s big moment at the end of the night. I’d consider the Minneapolis Street Fight the lowest point of the show, and even that was largely entertaining, albeit a little long. This was a tremendous night of pro wrestling, a fantastic outing for AEW as a whole, and quite simply my favorite wrestling show I’ve seen this year. Go out of your way to catch a replay.

 

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