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LECLAIR’S AEW FULL GEAR 2022 REPORT
NOVEMBER 19, 2022
NEWARK, NJ AT PRUDENTIAL CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON B/R LIVE (U.S.), FITE.TV (Int.)
Announcers: Excalibur & Jim Ross & Taz
-Pyro shot from the refreshed LED stage as Excalibur welcomed the audience to a sold out Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, He introduced himself and his broadcast partners, Jim Ross and Taz. The camera focused on the steel cage, already lowered to envelope the ring. He plugged Draft Kings and threw to a quick promo.
-Christian Cage entered first, wearing a suit, arm still in a sling. He looked pensively around at the crowd before turning back toward the curtain. Luchasaurus followed to his own music. Flames shot stage. Excalibur said a steel cage match can shorten careers and that they’re reserved for when “the blood boils too hot.” J.R. agreed, saying the rivalry was deeply personal.
Jungle Boy headed to the ring, serenaded by the crowd. The announcers said it was a good chance to get the “dinosaur off his back.” Jungle Boy slammed the door of the cage behind him.
(1) LUCHASAURUS (w/ Christian Cage) vs. “JUNGLE BOY” JACK PERRY – Steel Cage match
Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy looked around hesitantly at the structure surrounding them. Luchasaurus scooped Jungle Boy into the air, but Perry slid down his back and caught him with some quick kicks. Perry leapt onto the top rope. Luchasaurus tried to grab him by the throat, but Perry fought free, leapt onto the wall of the cage and then onto Lucharsaurus, taking him down. After some quick clothesline ducks, Luchasaurus dropped Jungle Boy with a big boot, then dumped him into the wall of the cage. J.R. said it’s a huge mismatch physically.
The camera pulled back to show a wide shot of the steel cage. Luchasaurus raked Jungle Boy’s head across the chain link of the cage. Perry was already bleeding from the forehead. Christian Cage talked trash from outside. Luchasaurus gave Jungle Boy a Suplex over the apron and back into the ring. Perry crawled toward the corner, but Luchasaurus followed, dropping the much smaller Jungle Boy with big knife-edge chops. After a clothesline out of the corner, Luchasaurus hit a walking Sidewalk Slam for a cover and two count.
Jungle Boy wiped the blood from his eyes, it was really pouring now. Luchasaurus tossed him into the cage wall repeatedly. Perry tried to fight back with a clothesline, but Luchasaurus barely staggered. He scooped Jungle Boy and tossed him haphazardly into the steel cage. Perry collapsed in between the chain link and the ropes in a heap. Luchasaurus retrieved him, seating him atop the turnbuckle. Jungle Boy grabbed the arm and dropped backward, stretching the elbow and forearm. Luchasaurus pulled himself free and slammed Jungle Boy for a cover and near fall just past 6:15.
Christian Cage watched on from the outside as Luchasaurus tried to intimidate referee Bryce Remsburg. Christian stole the key from the outside official and tried to unlock the door. Bodies spilled from the back, hauling Christian away. The damage was done, though. Luchasaurus exited the ring through the now-unlocked door. Jungle Boy followed, diving onto him. Luchasaurus shrugged it off and retrieved a table from underneath the ring. J.R. said “the integrity of the steel cage match has gone to hell.”
With Perry down in a bloody heap on the floor, Luchasaurus began filling the ring with steel chairs. He walked Perry back inside. Jungle Boy kicked Luchasaurus through the ropes. The dinosaur was stunned. Jungle Boy hit him with a trio of dropkicks, sending him to the apron. Perry caught another dropkick, driving Luchasaurus’ back into the steel. Perry drove his boot into Luchasaurus’ face, slamming it against the steel. He headed to the apron to meet his foe, looking to deliver a Piledriver. Luchasaurus back-dropped Perry on the edge of the apron as the match approached 11:00.
Luchasaurus opened a chair and looked to Chokeslam Perry onto it. Perry countered and delivered a Destroyer off the chair for a roll up and one count. He followed up with a Killswitch onto a steel chair for a believable near fall. The crowd opened up a “we want tables” chant. Perry choked Luchasaurus across the middle rope. He leapt off the chair a second time, but Luchasaurus caught him out of thin air and Chokeslammed him onto the chair, breaking it in half. Luchasaurus covered for a near fall of his own.
The two men fought into the corner and to the top rope. Luchasaurus set Perry up for a backdrop, but Jungle Boy elbowed himself free and hooked the big man to deliver an avalanche Sliced Bread. Luchasaurus sat up. Jungle Boy did, too. “You were my best friend!” Perry yelled. The two rose quickly, trading punches. Luchasaurus dropped Jungle Boy with a massive headbutt. “Stay down, you’re done!” he yelled. He chopped Jungle Boy down repeatedly. Jungle Boy shot up and wiped the blood from his face, slapping Luchasaurus with the bloodied hand.
Jack Perry hooked Luchasaurus and lifted him into a Spike Piledriver for a cover and near fall at 15:30. The camera pulled back to show the crowd as Jungle Boy set up up the table. Perry jumped on Luchasaurus’ back, but the dinosaur managed to topple the table over. He pulled Perry to his front side and delivered a Tombstone Piledriver for a two count. “This is awesome!” rang out from the crowd. Luchasaurus returned the table to an upright position. He scooped Perry, but Jack rolled onto his back and into a Sleeper. Jungle Boy was able to dump Luchasaurus onto the table. He cracked him in the head with a steel chair, then climbed to top rope.
Jungle Boy continued climbing, all the way to the top of the cage. He hit a massive diving elbow off the cage, breaking the table. He turned Luchasaurus over and applied the Snare Trap submission. Luchasaurus hesitated, but tapped.
WINNER: “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry in 18:43
“It was a war, and it was decisive victory for Jack Perry”, Excalibur exclaimed as Perry climbed the cage to celebrate.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Fun, hot opener. This crowd was certainly in stark contract to Wednesday’s Dynamite, which suffered greatly from a subdued, disengaged audience. Wrestling is always better with an invested crowd, but AEW in particular has covered up many flaws over the years by having hot crowds willing to buy into everything. This was a very good match with a strong story behind it and a crowd ready to come alive for Jungle Boy, who got the much needed win after a long road. Luchasaurus absolutely dominated in the early going, and to the crowd’s credit, they waited patiently for the underdog to get his comeback. I liked the fact that AEW treated the cage match like a big deal, drawing attention to the fact that they rarely do it, and that the feud had to call for it. Effective stuff.)
-The announcers tossed to a quick video package for the Trio’s Championship match, featuring the return of the Elite.
Death Triangle headed to the ring first, receiving a strong reaction from the crowd. The camera pulled back as the audience anticipated the return of The Elite. Taz said they’re making everybody wait. The lights went out, and the camera moved to focus on a video on the tron above the ring. After brief silence, “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas played. Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks were shown atop the stage in silhouette. They headed to the ring with Brandon Cutler and Don Callis on tow.
(2) DEATH TRIANGLE (c, Pac & Penta El Zero M & Ray Fenix) vs. THE ELITE (Kenny Omega & Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson, w/ Brandon Cutler & Don Callis) – AEW World Trio’s Championship match
All six men stood in the ring as the bell rang. They looked around amongst themselves, trying to settle on who would open things up. The crowd chanted “welcome back!” as the teams settled on Kenny Omega and Pac, respectively. Don Callis joined the commentary team. Omega and Pac circled the ring, then locked up. They traded quick standing switches. A huge “F— C.M. Punk” chant broke out. Taz said it’s a “salty” crowd.
Omega and Pac continued to trade quick take downs. Omega leapfrogged Pac and tried to give him a Famous-er, but Pac flipped through it and rolled to the outside, daring Kenny to come at him. Omega tagged in Nick Jackson. Pac tagged in Ray Fenix. Nick and Ray locked up, then traded quick clothesline counters. Fenix tried to hit a Sunset Bomb over the top to the outside, but Jackson held on. Both men quickly returned to the ring. Jackson caught Fenix with a dropkick. Fenix popped up looking for a cutter, but Nick blocked it. Both men ducked quick Roundhouse Kick attempts. Jackson went for another and hit it. He tagged in Matt Jackson. Fenix tagged in Penta.
The Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers traded multiple tandem Super kicks. All four men kipped up, to the crowd’s delight. The Young Bucks hit more Super kicks. Pac entered the ring and ate double Sucker Kicks, too. Kenny Omega hit the ring and Pac rolled to the outside as the match approached 5:00. Omega and Penta traded counters. Omega sent Penta to the corner and the Young Bucks kicked him in the head. Matt Jackson flipped through his brother’s legs, taking down Pac on the outside. He accepted a drink from a fan in the front row, smelling it before taking a very small sip. The announcers called him brave.
Back in the ring, Pac tagged in to work over Omega. He walked Kenny to the corner and tagged Penta. Death Triangle hit trios kids to the head of Omega and covered him for a two count. Taz noted that Pac was bleeding from the nose. Penta tagged him back in. Pac gave Omega a body slam and climbed to the top rope. Omega wandered to his feet and charged, but Pac ducked him. Omega grabbed Pac’s head and slammed him into the mat. Omega tagged Matt Jackson, Pac tagged Ray Fenix.
Matt Jackson gave Ray Fenix a pair of Northern Lights Suplexes. Penta entered to help, but Jackson gave both Lucha Bros the move. Penta tagged in and went to work on the legs of Matt. He kicked the thigh and caught him with a quick dropkick before tagged in Pac. Pac thwarted a tag attempt from Matt and drove him into the Death Triangle corner. Ray Fenix tagged himself in, again cutting Matt Jackson off.
Nick Jackson clapped his brother to life as the match hit 10:00. Matt tagged him in. Fenix tagged Pac. Nick dropped Pac, then took both Lucha Bros down with an Arm Drag off the top rope. Nick tagged in Kenny Omega. Omega and Pac traded vicious rights and body kicks. Omega exploded with a Snap Half Nelson Suplex. He led the crowd in his signature Terminator Clap, then flipped over the top rope onto Pac and Penta, landing on his feet. In the ring, Ray Fenix walked Nick Jackson up to the top rope. Matt Jackson pulled him down and gave him a DDT on the apron. In the opposing corner, Penta and Nick choreographed a climb to the top rope and then dove onto everyone else waiting in the pool below.
Brandon Cutler sprayed Kenny Omega as he wrangled Pac back into the ring. He connected with a Fisherman Buster for a cover and two count at 13:10. Omega pointed to the sky and called for the V-Trigger. Pac side-stepped it and used the momentum of the ropes to nail a Snap German Suplex. Pac kicked Omega in the gut, then the face. He charged, but the Young Bucks caught Pac and fed him back to Kenny. The Lucha Bros entered and scooped the Young Bucks. Kenny held Pac in Tombstone Piledriver position for several seconds before Pac turned it around on him. Death Triangle hit trio Tombstones. Fenix hit Nick Jackson with a cutter. Pac climbed to the top rope and hit the Black Arrow on Omega.
Pac immediately turned Omega into the Brutalizer. Omega reached his legs out for the ropes. Nick Jackson broke it up just in time. The Lucha Bros tossed the Bucks to the outside, then dove onto them. Pac tagged in Ray Fenix. He hit a step up kick to the face of Omega, then an arm drag off the top rope. Pac tossed Fenix a hammer. Fenix argued with Pac, reluctant to use it. He tossed it back to Pac. Kenny caught Fenix with the V-Trigger. The Bucks held Pac and Penta on the outside. Omega hit the Tiger Driver for a near fall.
“Fight forever!” the crowd pleaded. Omega sized up Fenix for another V-Trigger. Penta hit the ring and cut him off with a Slingblade. He delivered the same move to Nick, then Matt Jackson. The Bucks and Kenny rose quickly and hit Penta with a trio of Superkicks. Omega Powerbombed Ray Fenix and he and the Bucks hit the BTE Trigger. Omega covered, but Pac broke the cover. Pac tossed the Bucks to the outside. He pulled the hammer out, charging at Kenny. Nick Jackson exploded onto the screen and Superkicked Pac.
Pac rolled to the outside. Nick Jackson dove onto him. Matt Jackson delivered a Moonsault onto Pac from the top rope. Omega caught Fenix with another V-Trigger. Pac tossed the hammer to Fenix again. Omega scooped Fenix up for the One-Winged Angel. Fenix hit Omega in the head with the hammer and rolled him up for a three count.
WINNERS: Death Triangle in 18:42 to retain the AEW World Trios Championships
(LeClair’s Analysis: Phew. This was just about 18 minutes of non-stop action at a break-neck pace. Nearly impossible to cover coherently, but certainly a whole lot of fun to watch. I’ll admit, this loose no-rule, no-sell style does often wear a little thin with me, and I thought this was another entry in a long list of those bouts in AEW, but it’s hard to argue with the formula when the crowd is so fully invested. I thought the story they told throughout with Pac trying to convince Fenix to cheat was effective. It’s a wrinkle they’ve alluded to several times, and Fenix has always let cooler heads prevail. Tonight, he tried that again, and only when faced with certain defeat did he bite the bullet and heed Pac’s advice. Should make for an interesting story going forward.)
-The announcers tossed to a quick video package for the TBS Championship match.
-Nyla Rose rode to the ring in the back of low rider, accompanied by Vicki Guerrero and Marina Shafir. Excalibur noted that Nyla has possession of the TBS Championship, but it’s not yet hers. Rose posed atop the lower bowl barricade as she headed through ringside to the ring.
Jade Cargill headed to the ring in a Thunder Cats-inspired look. Excalibur noted that Cargill began her reign as TBS Champion in the Prudential Center.
Aubrey Edwards handed off the TBS Championship to the Baddies on the outside. Nyla Rose immediately left the ring to attack. Jade followed and tossed Nyla into the ring.
(3) JADE CARGILL (c, w/ the Baddies) vs. NYLA ROSE (w/ Vicki Guerrero & Marina Shafir) – TBS Championship match
Jade Cargill took control out of the gate, tossing Nyla Rose toward the corner and smothering her with forearms. Nyla Rose fought free and charged, but Cargill side-stepped her and sent her flying to the outside. Cargill followed her out and connected with a Pump Kick. Rose went flying over the barricade and into the crowd. Cargill gave chase. Rose tried to charge at her, but Jade lifted her up over the barricade and dumped her onto the ringside floor.
The two women worked back into the ring. Rose got Cargill into the corner and gave her a splash. Nyla delivered a pair of Bodyslams and then flexed her arms for the crowd. She covered Jade after a standing splash for a one count. Cargill retreated to the corner. Rose hit a running Cannonball. Rose continued to flex to the crowd, then cornered Cargill again for some body shots. Cargill managed to fight free and knock Nyla down. She climbed to the middle rope and jumped, but Rose caught her with a boot the face. Ross said Cargill should stick to her effective ground game.
Nyla Rose ducked a bicycle kick as the match crossed 4:00. She tried to Suplex the champion, but Cargill blocked it. Rose managed to get her up anyway, draping her over the top rope. Rose climbed to the top rope and delivered a diving knee drop to the back of Cargill’s head. She hooked the leg for a two count. Nyla set up for the Beast Bomb, but Cargill rolled through it and caught Rose with a knee to the face. Both women were down in the center of the ring as the camera pulled back to show the audience.
Cargill draped an arm over Nyla for a two count. Excalibur mentioned that it’s not just the title on the line, but Cargill’s 41-0 win streak. Both women struggled to their feet. Cargill caught a kick to the head, then a sit-out Powerbomb for a cover and near fall at 6:30. Cargill set up for Jaded, but Rose slipped free. The two engaged in a messy roll up sequence, eventually leading to Rose hitting a Jaded of her own. She covered for a near fall.
With the champion down, Nyla Rose climbed to the top rope. She dove, but Cargill rolled out of the way. The champion hit a Bicycle Kick, then followed with an emphatic Jaded for a roll-over cover and three count.
WINNER: Jade Cargill in 8:00 to retain the TBS Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: Wade Keller and I talked a lot about match-ups on this card that could suffer from having torn crowds. I think this was the first example of that coming to fruition. With both Cargill and Rose pretty clearly defined as heels, it seemed hard for the crowd to get invested. The action was fine, with some sloppy instances that felt a little too telegraphed, but I thought it mostly worked for what it was. Cargill continues to impress in big-match situations, despite still being green. This served it’s purpose to end this silly “steal the belt” angle, but I think we’re now getting to a point where Cargill needs some challengers that people can genuinely perceive as a legitimate threat to her streak.)
-Excalibur tossed to a quick video package hyping the ROH World Championship match. After the video, he threw down to ROH ring announcer, Bobby Cruise for introductions. Ian Ricaboni joined the team on commentary.
Claudio Castagnoli headed to the ring first, followed by Bryan Danielson. Both got big, positive reactions. Boos rang out for Sammy Guevara. Chris Jericho entered last. The camera cut to members of the audience as they sang along to “Judas,” many of them flubbing the lyrics.
(4) CHRIS JERICHO (c) vs. CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI vs. BRYAN DANIELSON vs. SAMMY GUEVARA – 4-way match for the ROH World Championship
Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara naturally took to one side of the ring while Claudio Castagnoli and Bryan Danielson congregated at the other. When the bell rang, they paired off instantly. Jericho and Castagnoli spilled to the outside. Danielson and Guevara traded advantages in the ring. Danielson dumped Sammy over the top rope the floor, then dove through the middle rope onto him. Jericho joined their fray, tossing Danielson violently into the steel steps, then into the ring.
Jericho threw his arms up and circled the ring. He got showered in boos. Jericho went after Danielson in the corner, but Bryan shrugged off his chops. Claudio hit the ring. He and Danielson took turns giving big uppercuts to both Jericho and Guevara. The two heels wound up in opposing corners as Danielson and Castagnoli ran back and forth, elbowing both of them. Guevara and Jericho rolled to the outside, leaving the two members of the Blackpool Combat Club to shake hands and engage in a stare down before coming to hard chops. Danielson rolled Claudio into an Arm Bar. He tried to transition into a Triangle Choke, but Claudio dead-lifted Bryan off the mat.
Danielson and Castagnoli traded sunset roll ups for two counts. Jericho eventually broke up the stalemate as the match crossed 4:30. Danielson and Castagnoli dropped Jericho with a double-teem Flapjack, then rolled him over into tandem single-leg crabs. Sammy Guevara broke it up by diving onto both Bryan and Claudio. He covered each of the two men for quick one counts. The crowd opened up their second “F— you Sammy” chant of the match. Guevara completed a Spin-a-Rooni like move on the mat and posed with Jericho, who blew a kiss to the hard camera. The J.A.S. members tossed Castagnoli to the outside and began to isolate Danielson.
Guevara and Jericho delivered a stalling double-team Suplex on Danielson. Sammy flexed with his tongue out, the crowd pelted him with boos. Jericho stomped at Bryan. They shoved him toward the corner after poking him in the eye. Guevara fed Danielson to Jericho for a Death Valley Driver. He instructed Guevara to stand back while he covered Bryan for a two count. Guevara looked conflicted. The duo chopped and bunched Bryan in the corner.
Bryan’s chest had turned a shade of crimson. He fought out of the corner with quick strike elbows to both Guevara and Jericho. He dropped them to their knees and initiated the “Yes” kicks. He finished the sequence on both men with kicks to the side of the head. Bryan stayed on Guevara, carrying him to the corner and lifting him to the top turnbuckle. Danielson went for a top rope ‘rana, but Sammy landed on his feet. He caught Danielson with a Spanish Fly. Jericho gave the Lionsault to both of them and covered Danielson for a two count.
Claudio Castagnoli finally returned. He picked Jericho up for a Gutwrench Suplex. Danielson and Guevara rolled to the outside. Claudio tripped Jericho to the mat and set up for the swing. Jericho kicked free, but Claudio leapt onto Jericho’s chest. Castagnoli tried to springboard off the ropes, but Jericho caught him or a Codebreaker. Jericho covered, but Guevara broke up the count. Jericho was incensed. He got in Guevara’s face as the crowd “ooh’ed” Jericho and Guevara came to blows quickly. Sammy worked the champion into the corner. Jericho exploded free, but Sammy caught him with a Codebreaker of his own, covering for a two count.
Sammy Guevara tried to turn Jericho over into the Walls of Jericho as the match hit 12:30. Jericho blocked it and applied the hold himself. Jericho sat into the hold as Guevara screamed in the center. Danielson flew off the top rope to break it up, but Jericho telegraphed it. He leg go of Guevara and caught the legs of Jericho, applying the hold on him instead. Castagnoli returned and kicked Jericho in the head, but the champion didn’t relinquish the hold. Claudio kicked him again. Jericho just yelled in his face. Claudio broke Danielson’s legs free and tripped Jericho into the Cloverleaf. Jericho cleared toward a downed Danielson. The champion covered Bryan while stuck in the Cloverleaf. Danielson kicked out and rolled into the Labell Lock. Jericho was trapped in a double submission for several seconds before Guevara kicked both Claudio and Bryan in the head to break it all up.
Jericho and Guevara stood together in the center and hugged. Guevara pulled him in and hit the GTH. He rushed to the top rope and hit a Shooting Star Press for a cover and near fall on his friend and mentor. Guevara turned his focus to Bryan Danielson. He hooked the arm for the anvil elbows. Danielson completely no sold them, staring deadpan toward the camera and slowly rising to his feet. Guevara took notice and started to back up. Bryan fed Sammy to Claudio. Castagnoli hoisted Guevara high above his head in a Military Press, and tossed him high over the top rope, onto Jericho below. Claudio turned around and ate a Psycho Knee for Bryan for a cover and near fall.
Castagnoli and Danielson traded stiff elbows to the neck and chest. Claudio threw Danielson up for a Uppercut, but Bryan blocked it and turned it into a backslide for a two count. Both men struggled to stand. Bryan pulled himself to the apron as the match approached 18:30. Claudio met him at the turnbuckle. He dead-lifted Danielson for a Superplex, but Bryan pulled himself back down. Guevara re-emerged and hit Claudio with a cutter off the top rope. He leapt back up to Danielson and hit the Spanish Fly, but Danielson held onto him and turned it onto the Labell Lock on impact. Guevara looked poised to tap, but Jericho broke it up.
The champion dumped Danielson to the outside. Claudio clotheslined Jericho right out after him. Castagnoli caught Jericho with a running uppercut on the floor. Danielson dove at Claudio from the apron. Claudio caught him and hit the Neutralizer. Castagnoli and Guevara entered the ring. Sammy dove at Claudio from the top rope and got picked out of the air with a massive uppercut for a cover and near fall. Claudio went for the Neutralizer, but Sammy rolled it onto a cover with his feet on the ropes for a two count. Castagnoli recovered quickly, tripped Guevara and initiated the swing. He completed over a dozen rotations before Jericho dove at him with a Judas Effect out of nowhere. Claudio stood, stunned. Jericho hit a second Judas Effect for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Chris Jericho in 21:41 to retain the ROH World Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: Great match. Though I generally prefer titles be defended in one-on-one situations, a good multi-man match can certainly be a wild and entertaining ride. This one was excellent. I thought they did a really good job towing the line of J.A.S. vs. Blackpool Combat Club early on. Having Claudio and Danielson come to blows first worked, given that their action was rooted deeply in respect. Meanwhile, they built slowly to Guevara and Jericho getting physical, letting several minutes lapse from the time Jericho degraded Guevara by forcing him to stand by idly while he tried to cover to retain the title. Each of the four men got pretty believable near falls as the match progressed, and though it felt likely that Jericho would retain in the end, I thought that they did a good enough job at getting the audience to buy into the story that there could potentially be an upset from any angle. Though I’m quite down on the ROH stuff in AEW overall, it doesn’t mean the wrestling itself can’t be a great time, and this certainly lived up to the billing.)
-Excalibur tossed to a video package for Saraya vs. Britt Baker.
Saraya got a little emotional as Justin Roberts introduced her. She initially received a bit of a mixed reaction, but it quickly turned to mostly cheers. Britt Baker entered alone to a similar star reaction.
(5) SARAYA vs. BRITT BAKER
The crowd stayed on their feet as the two women approached each other for a stare down. They backed away from each other slowly, but then quickly went for stereo lock ups. Britt Baker took Saraya to the mat, but Saraya fought to her feet quickly. Off the ropes, Baker caught Saraya with a shoulder tackle. Saraya immediately grabbed at the back of her neck. The crowd fell silent. Baker looked concerned. The referee checked on her and Saraya shook out her arms. She stood up and apparently smiled at Baker, opposite the hard cam. Baker smiled back and the two locked up again.
Baker quickly worked Saraya to the apron. She hit a spinning Neckbreaker off the apron to the floor. Britt walked Saraya to the barricade, right in front of Saraya’s brother. Britt blew him a kiss and tossed Saraya back in the ring. Baker grabbed the neck of Saraya and twisted it. She let Saraya stand, but quickly dropped her with a Neckbreaker for a cover and two count. Baker pulled out the studded glove. She put it out, but Saraya caught her with some punches to the mid-section. Britt shrugged them off, dropped Saraya to the mat and mounted her for some punches. Saraya slid free and rolled to the outside to regroup.
Britt walked the apron, taunting the crowd as the match crossed 5:30. Saraya came to life, tripping up Baker and hitting a Cross Body off the apron to the floor. Saraya rolled Baker back in the ring for a cover and two count. Britt and Saraya traded right hands, staggering one another. Saraya hit a trio of short-arm clotheslines for a cover and near fall. Saraya cornered her opponent and stomped her to the mat. Baker grabbed onto her leg, but Saraya pulled her out of the corner and hit a Knight Cap for a near fall. Saraya hooked Baker for a Suplex. Baker blocked it and rolled into a Small Package for a two count. Baker went for the Lockjaw, but Saraya quickly grabbed the ropes.
Saraya pulled herself to her feet using the ropes. Baker caught her with an Air Raid Crash, then a standing stomp for another near fall at 9:00. Baker dragged Saraya to the turnbuckle, and then onto the turnbuckle. The two jockeyed for position up there. Saraya flipped over Baker into a Sunset Flip bomb. They landed awkwardly and Saraya scored a two count. Saraya popped up and connected with a Cradle DDT for a near fall. The two women struggled to their feet. Saraya grabbed a Full Nelson. Britt slipped out of it, tripped up Saraya, and went to apply the Lockjaw. Saraya turned it into a cover for two.
Both women battled to their feet. Saraya caught Baker with a knee strike to the face for a two count. The two traded a number of standing switches before Baker broke the stalemate with a ripcord elbow and another stomp. She hooked the leg, but Saraya kicked out again. Baker grew frustrated. She said up for another Air Raid Crash, but Saraya rolled down the back and caught her with a Shining Wizard. Saraya hit a second Cradle DDT, then scooped her up and hit it again for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Saraya in 13:27
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was pretty rough. I thought teasing a Saraya neck injury in the opening minutes was in incredibly poor taste, given her very real and very serious injury history. It took the crowd out of it almost instantly, and they never really recovered. Aside from some weak dueling “D.M.D./Saraya” chants, it was a largely quiet crowd suffering from another bout of indecision due to poor character definition. Britt Baker cut the most sincere babyface promo of perhaps the entire build to any match on Full Gear, then came out tonight playing every bit the heel she always has. Saraya continued to struggle to find her footing with an audience that sees her as an outsider who has undermined the credibility of the division’s biggest success story. Despite being okay at times, this just couldn’t overcome the multitude of issues working against it.)
-As soon as Saraya hit the ramp, Excalibur turned focus to the three-way match for the TNT Championship
Powerhouse Hobbs headed to the ring first to a modest reaction. Samoa Joe followed, earning immediate “Joe” chants. Joe stared down the camera on his way down the ramp. Wardlow entered last. J.R. said he looks amazing, but his championship is in serious jeopardy. Wardlow posed in opposing corners as Hobbs and Joe looked on with contempt.
(6) WARDLOW (c) vs. SAMOA JOE vs. POWERHOUSE HOBBS – 3-way match for the TNT Championship
All three men sauntered slowly toward the center of the ring. Samoa Joe and Powerhouse Hobbs talked a little trash while Wardlow was content to throw the first hands. He jumped Powerhouse Hobbs, which solicited Samoa Joe to go on the offensive. Hobbs rolled to the outside quickly, leaving Joe and Wardlow to go at it. Hobbs paced around the ring as the champion and Samoa Joe rolled to the outside, throwing punches. Hobbs waited for his opening, then took down both men. He rolled the champion back in the ring and gave him a delayed Suplex.
Samoa Joe returned to the ring to give Hobbs some hard chops. Powerhouse Hobbs shook them off and dropped Joe before scooping Wardlow onto the top turnbuckle. He chopped Wardlow’s chest and let him fall to the mat. Joe returned with a chop to Hobbs. Hobbs ate it and gave Joe a T-Bone Suplex. Hobbs worked Joe into the corner and gave him some quick body shots. Joe covered up, but still got whipped to the opposing corner. Hobbs tried to whip Wardlow into him, but the champion leapt onto the top rope and flipped onto both Hobbs and Joe below.
Wardlow climbed to the top rope and nearly slipped. He recovered and delivered a Swanton Bomb to Powerhouse Hobbs. Wardlow covered, but Joe hit a running Senton to break it up. Joe sent Hobbs crashing into the corner, then caught him with an Enziguri as the match crossed 4:30. Joe drove his boot into Hobbs’ face, then caught him with a running kick in the corner. Joe gave Wardlow an inverted Atomic Drop, then a standing Senton for a cover and two count. Wardlow rolled to the apron. Joe turned his attention to a recovering Powerhouse Hobbs.
Hobbs got caught in a front guillotine from Samoa Joe. Wardlow hit the ropes and speared Joe to break it up, but Samoa Joe gave Hobbs a DDT in the process. Wardlow speared Hobbs into the corner and drove his shoulder into his abdomen repeatedly. He followed up with a big Spinebuster, first to Hobbs, then to Joe. He covered Joe for two at 6:30. Wardlow tackled Hobbs to the outside. The two men began trading right hands on the floor. Samoa Joe dove through the middle rope and took them both out. Joe was trying to lift Wardlow, but Hobbs threw himself wildly into Joe, sending him crashing into the ringside barricade.
The champion and Powerhouse Hobbs stumbled back into the ring. Hobbs caught Wardlow with a big Spinebuster for a leg hook and near fall. Hobbs and Wardlow traded several slide-outs as they jockeyed for position. Wardlow eventually got Hobbs in position and hit a Powerbomb. He looked to the crowd and called for another, delivering his second. He set up for a third and got it, then immediately rolled Hobbs over the the finale. Samoa Joe slid in the ring and hit Wardlow in the head with the TNT title. He applied the Coquina Clutch on Hobbs and the referee called for the bell.
WINNER: Samoa Joe in 9:54 to win the TNT Championship
J.R. said Samoa Joe took advantage of the situation and pinned Hobbs, not the champion. Excalibur had to remind him that he choked Hobbs out, he didn’t pin him.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Coming in at just shy of 10 minutes, it didn’t really feel like they had a lot of time to fit much in here. All three men took turns getting their big moves in, and all looked good at various points throughout the match. Again, this suffered from a relatively disinterested crowd, despite giving both Joe and Wardlow pretty big reactions during their entrances. Wardlow’s stock has fallen dramatically in recent months and that was on fully display here with relative apathy for everything but his Powerbomb Symphony just before the finish. It felt like they kind of had something going with Wardlow and Joe being reluctant partners, and by turning the guy beloved by the crowd for so long, it feels like they’ve done nothing but muddy the waters for both men. Despite seeming to be one of two heels in the match, the crowd seemed most interested in seeing Joe win, and popped when he won the title, despite doing so by relatively cheap measures. The TNT title once felt like a big deal that could main event TV regularly and be featured prominently on Pay-Per-View. Lately, it’s just felt like another under-utilized mid-card title in a long list of under-utilized mid-card titles. It’s just hard to build investment with under-cooked stories and ill-timed turns.)
-Tony Schiavone interview Chris Jericho with Jake Hager backstage. He talked about dissension with Sammy Guevara. Jericho said he expected Sammy to do what he did, and that he’ll be a future world champion. Orange Cassidy walked on screen with Danhausen. Cassidy said his friend Tomohiro Ishii wants a shot at the ROH title. Jericho accepted, and said he still views Ishii as a young boy. Jericho walked away. Hager asked Cassidy, “what’s in the bag?” Cassidy pulled out the All Atlantic title. He challenged Hager to take it from him next week. “Nice hat,” Cassidy said before walking away. Hager said he likes the hat.
-Back at the announcers desk, Excalibur, Taz, and Ross talked up Jericho vs. Ishii and Cassidy vs. Hager before throwing to the next video package.
Tony Schiavone joined the announcers desk as Jay Lethal headed to the ring with Sonjay Dutt at his side. Jeff Jarrett entered next to a very modest reaction. A bunch of hooded men in Sting masks joined him. The lights in the arena cut out. Jarrett and Lethal looked disturbed. Suddenly, a spotlight revealed a body bag atop the ramp. Lethal went to it to investigate. Smoke enveloped the stage and Darby Allin emerged, leaping onto Lethal and taking him down.
Sting entered the ring, standing behind Jarrett.
(7) STING & DARBY ALLIN vs. JEFF JARRETT & JAY LETHAL (w/ Sonjay Dutt) – No Disqualification match
The referee called for the bell as soon as Jeff Jarrett turned around. Sting pounded his chest as the crowd chanted “TNA.” Sting dropped fed Jarret into Darby, and the two went back and forth with punches. Jay Lethal returned. Sting dumped him over the top rope and Lethal landed awkwardly on his back. Darby Allin and Jeff Jarrett headed into the crowd. The walked and brawled all the way to the stage.
Somewhere else in the crowd, Sting crotched Lethal on a barricade. Darby Allin set up a ladder on the ramp and climbed. He went for a Coffin Drop onto Jarrett below, but Satnam Singh caught him out of thin air. He carried Allin through the crowd, back to ringside, then launched him freely halfway up the ramp. Allin landed in a heap with a sickening thud. Meanwhile, Sting and Jay Lethal battled up the lower bowl stairs as the match crossed 3:30. Sting knocked Lethal off the barricade of the lower bowl, but he was caught by Satnam Singh, too. Sting dove onto both men.
Jeff Jarrett and Darby Allin battled at ringside while Sting started to walk Jay Lethal back to that area. Jarrett cracked a steel chair over Allin’s back and tossed him back in the ring. Jarrett taunted the crowd, then gave Allin a clothesline. Both Jay Lethal and Sting had returned to their respective corners. Jarrett tagged in Lethal. Jay gave Allin a hip toss. Allin leapfrogged an Irish Whip attempt, then collided with Lethal face first.
Both men were down, crawling slowly to their corners. Jarrett and Sting tagged in. Sting dropped Jarret with a pair of clotheslines, then caught Lethal, too. He hit them both with Stinger Splashes out of the corner, then turned Jarrett over into the Scorpion Death Lock. Sonjay Dutt slid in the ring and punched Sting in the head. Sting shrugged it off. Satnam Singh entered and gave Sting a Chokeslam. Jarrett covered Sting for a two count at 7:25.
Lethal and Allin tagged back in. They traded quick kicks. Lethal gained control and hooked Allin up. Jarrett entered with a guitar. Darby moved and Jeff nearly hit Jay, but begged off just in time. Allin dropped Lethal and leapt to the top rope for a Coffin Drop. Jarrett smashed the guitar over his back during the fall. Allin kipped up, much to the chagrin of Jarrett. He dropped Lethal and Jarrett, then caught them both with springboard elbows. Sting entered the ring. Satnam Singh returned. Sting set up Singh for the Scorpion Death Drop but couldn’t drop him. Darby Allin flew off the top with a Coffin Drop to aid the move.
Jay Lethal returned for the Lethal Injection on Sting. Sting caught him and fell awkwardly into the Scorption Death Drop. Darby Allin rushed to the top rope and hit the Coffin Drop for a cover and three count.
WINNERS: Sting & Darby Allin in 10:57
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was an overbooked mess. I know some people appreciate this stuff, but far too often, AEW tag team matches just desolve into utter chaos with too much interference. I appreciate what Sting can do at this age, but I don’t need to see it. I don’t care to see Allin nearly kill himself once a quarter. Jarrett’s already overstayed his welcome, and the crowd seems to agree. I know that there is a segment of the audience that enjoys these matches, and they’re entirely entitled to that stance, but I’ve seen this done enough times and it just does nothing for me. I think it’s telling that the crowd went virtually silent the moment this thing started resembling an actual tag team match. They’re not interested in seeing any of these guys wrestle, they’re just looking for the stunts they know are coming.)
-The announcers tossed to a video package for the AEW Interim Women’s World Championship match.
Jamie Hayter received a relatively strong reaction. Toni Storm received respectful applause, but little more.
(8) TONI STORM (c) vs. JAMIE HAYTER – AEW Interim Women’s World Championship match
The two women stood in opposing corners as the crowd started a “Jamie Hayter” chant. They locked up and traded positions before taking a step back for a beat. They locked up again. Toni Storm worked Jamie Hayter into a rear hammerlock and the crowd booed her. Hayter broke free and wrestled Storm to the mat. Another strong “Jamie Hayter” chant broke out, answered by a significantly weaker “Toni Storm.” The champion caught Hayter with a shoulder tackle, then hooked her between her legs. Hayter dropped to her knees and rolled out.
Hayter raised a fist. Storm slapped her behind and whipped her challenger to the apron. Storm got a running start, delivering a hip attack to the floor. Storm drove Hayter into the barricade, then hammered her back. Storm slammed Hayter’s head off the apron, then followed her around ringside. Hayter recovered enough to run Storm across the floor and into the barricade. Hayter rolled into the ring to break the referee’s count, then retrieved Storm. Toni dumped Hayter into the ring post. Storm slammed her head into the ring post again, then delivered hard chops against the pole. Hayter ducked the last one, causing Storm to drive her own hand and forearm into the steel.
Toni Storm worked her way back to the ring to get dropped by a snap Suplex. Jamie covered her for a quick two count at 5:30. Hayter played to the crowd, trying to will them back to life. She chopped Storm repeatedly in the corner. Hayter hit a shoulder tackle off the ropes, then covered Storm with a single boot for another two count. Jamie drove Toni into the mat repeatedly. She gave her a Snapmare and applied a seated Sleeper. Storm rose to her feet, but Hayter dumped her. Hayter got in the referee’s face, shoving him away. He admonished her and she apologized, shaking his hand while she stepped on Storm’s back.
Champion and challenger trading elbow strikes to the face. Off the ropes, Storm caught Hayter with a press and mounted punches. She downed Hayter in the corner and connected with a running hip attack. Storm climbed to the top rope and dove into a Cross Body for a cover and two count at 8:55. Storm used the ropes for a step up Tornado DDT. She covered for another two count. Hayter hit a big elbow off of a counter. Storm shrugged it off and gave her a big headbutt, falling on top of Hayter for a cover and near fall.
Referee Paul Turner began counting both Storm and Hayter out. During the count, Rebel ran down to ringside. Storm and Hayter traded elbows from their knees. Hayter caught Storm with a high kick. Storm hit her with open palm strikes. Storm started bleeding heavily from the nose. The exchanged running elbows and knee strikes. Storm collapsed against the ropes while Hayter distracted Turner. Rebel hit Storm in the head with the Women’s title belt. Hayter covered for a very near fall.
Rebel jumped on the apron, title in hand. Paul Turner ejected her from ringside. Toni Storm set up Jamie Hayter for the Cloverleaf, but Hayter pulled herself to the ropes to avoid the hold. Hayter tripped Storm to the outside. Britt Baker ran into frame, face covered by a hoodie, and delivered a stomp. She tossed Storm back inside the ring. Hayter gave Storm a Storm Zero for another near fall. Both women used the ropes to stand. Toni Storm hit a Storm Zero of her own for a near fall. Baker jumped on the apron to get Storm’s attention, allowing Hayter time to recover. Jamie hit Toni with the Hate-Breaker for a cover and near fall.
Hayter pounded the mat in frustration. She Clotheslined Storm into the corner. In the opposing corner, Britt Baker began removing the turnbuckle pad. Storm launched Hayter into Britt Baker, sending her tumbling into the floor with the turnbuckle cover in hand. Storm charged at Hayter. Hayter tossed Storm into the exposed turnbuckle. Toni walked into a Ripcord Clothesline for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Jamie Hayer in 15:15 to win the AEW Interim Women’s World Championship
Jamie Hayter celebrated with Britt Baker and Rebel. Tony Schiavone said Toni Storm is a “great person” but he’s glad to see Jamie Hayter with the title.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Good match, probably one of the AEW Women’s title bouts to date. Hayter and Storm worked hard to keep the crowd engaged through a stretch of show that felt a little bogged down. They were largely successful, though I felt bad for Storm, who has fallen out of favor incredibly quickly. This was another match, though, that suffered dramatically by a promotion fighting an uphill battle in terms of character designation and crowd reactions. Jamie Hayter was treated like a full blown babyface, but wrestled the match like a heel. When she resorted to heel tactics, the fans cheered her more. When Rebel interfered on her behalf to screw over the babyface champion, the crowd cheered. When the dastardly heel Britt Baker got involved, fresh off a loss to babyface Saraya, the crowd gave her one of the biggest ovations of the night. When Jamie Hayter used an exposed turnbuckle to win the Women’s title, the crowd exploded. These are battles WWE fought for years, and it hurt their product. One of the strongest advantages AEW had in their early days was an audience that was fully in line with their vision. That isn’t the case anymore, and the negative headwind has been apparent tonight more so than perhaps any major event in company history. Even commentary was largely apathetic to Hayter’s cheating ways, playing even further into the mixed messaging.
With regard to the title switch, Hayter has built an impressive resume for herself, and has obviously earned the crowd’s approval despite still being booked as a heel. I fear, though, that this is just another title change for the sake of finding the next spark in the women’s division. The formula tends to repeat itself – fresh face wins title, fails to connect with the audience, company moves on. Rinse and repeat. Let’s hope Hayter’s recent momentum is enough to thwart the trend.)
-Excalibur talked up the main event over a clip of Jon Moxley warming up backstage. He then tossed to a quick video package promoting the AEW World Tag Team title match.
Swerve Strickland entered first, wearing a faceless LED mask. Keith Lee followed. Swerve stopped him for a fist bump. Lee hesitated, but Strickland insisted. The Acclaimed entered to a strong reaction. Caster had an extended wrap. The crowd ate it up. Bowens scissored with a fan at ringside. Excalibur noted that Billy Gunn isn’t with the champions.
(9) THE ACCLAIMED (c, Anthony Bowens & Max Caster) vs. SWERVE IN OUR GLORY (Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee) – AEW World Tag Team Championship match
Both teams paced around the ring. The crowd serenaded the competitors with an “oh scissor me daddy” chant. Swerve Strickland laughed. The announcers drew attention to Anthony Bowens’ heavily taped shoulder, wondering if or how it would come into play. Bowens struck first, going after Keith Lee with a rolling elbow. Lee didn’t budge, and Bowens grabbed at the injured shoulder immediately. The Acclaimed managed to work together to clothesline Lee to the outside. Keith banged his knee hard on the apron.
Max Caster started things off with Swerve Strickland. He gave him a quick slam. then tagged in Anthony Bowens for Scissor Me Timbers. Strickland hopped around the ring, trying to shake it off. Bowens stayed on him, driving his elbow into Swerve’s neck and shoulder. Strickland managed to tag Keith Lee, who slammed Bowens down on his injured shoulder. Meanwhile, Strickland ripped Max Caster from the apron and tossed him into the ringside barrier. Swerve walked through the crowd and retrieved a loose steel barricade from the production booth in the back. Lee admonished him for leaving his post. Swerve told him to watch his man.
Bowens tried to mount some offense against Lee, but Keith struck him down and tossed him to Strickland on the outside. Swerve had balanced the steel barricade against the apron of the ring. He hooked Bowens up for a Suplex, but Anthony delivered one of his own onto the floor. The referee began counting Bowens out. He returned to the ring at seven, where a waiting Keith Lee continued to work over the injured shoulder. Lee planted Bowens by the arm, then gave him a big standing splash for a cover and two count at 5:45.
Excalibur noted how different this third match is compared to the previous two. Lee continued to drive his elbow into Bowens’ shoulder. He tossed Anthony into the corner and tagged in Swerve Strickland. Swerve stuffed Bowens hand down the back of his own trunks, causing him to land on the injured shoulder awkwardly when he got kicked in the head. Strickland posted Bowens on the turnbuckle and tagged in Keith Lee. Lee approached, but Bowens managed to hit a reverse ‘rana to buy time.
Anthony Bowens reached Max Caster for a tag. Swerve tagged in, too. Caster dumped Strickland to the outside and dove onto him. He rushed back into the ring and tried to life Keith Lee, but Keith elbowed him in the back and drove him into the corner. Caster managed to leap to the middle rope and flip Lee with a hurricanrana. Lee rolled right to his feet. He chopped Caster into the corner and hoisted him onto the turnbuckle. Lee climbed to meet Caster. Caster managed to shove Lee to the mat. He connected with a leg drop off the top rope. Strickland hit the ring, but Caster caught him with a Fireman Carry Slam. Caster tagged in Anthony Bowens. Excalibur noted it may not have been a good tag. The Acclaimed hit a double team cutter and Bowens covered for a two count.
Swerve Strickland caught Bowens’ injured arm and rolled him up for a two count at 10:30. Bowens managed to dump Swerve onto the apron. tried to dropkick Swerve into the propped guardrail, but Lee caught Swerve. Instead, Caster leapt off the top rope, knocking Lee off the apron and driving him through the leaning guardrail on the floor. In the ring, Swerve Strickland and Anthony Bowens struggled to their feet. Strickland flipped through Bowens’ offense and hit the Flatliner. He caught Bowens with a kick to the back of the head and hooked the leg for a near fall at 12:15. Bowens grabbed his shoulder. Swerve hit another running kick to the head. He propped Bowens up on his knees and hit him with a third kick.
The crowd booed as Swerve jawed at Anthony Bowens. He looked right in the camera and pointed before delivering a fourth kick to the head. He covered again or another near fall. Strickland headed to the top rope. He dove for the Swerve Stomp, but Bowens rolled through and caught Strickland with the Arrival. Bowens tagged Caster. Max hit a splash from the top for a cover, but Keith Lee broke it up just in time. Caster kicked Lee to the outside. The Acclaimed set Strickland up, but Swerve kicked Bowens and gave Caster a Brainbuster. Swerve tagged Keith Lee.
Lee crushed Caster in the corner as the match crossed 15:00. He launched himself into Bowens’ shoulder, sending him tumbling to the floor. Lee lifted Caster into Powerbomb position and backed into Strickland flying off the top rope. They covered Caster for another near fall. Excalibur tried to spin that the crowd was coming alive for the Acclaimed, but they were distracted by a fan being ejected. Lee dropped Bowens and Powerbombed Caster onto Anthony’s back. Caster fell to the outside. Swerve tossed Caster over the timekeeper’s table. Strickland conveniently found a pair of pliers in the table wreckage. He teased wrenching Caster’s finger, but Billy Gunn rushed to ringside and scared him off.
Officials poured from the back to escort Gunn away from the action. In the ring, Swerve Strickland handed off the pliers to Keith Lee. Lee threw them to the ground, “I can’t win that way,” he told his partner. Swerve slapped Lee across the face. Lee pulled Bowens to his feet and patted him on the back. Keith walked out, leaving Swerve alone in the ring. Bowens rolled him up for a two count. Bowens rolled him up again and Swerve pushed off, sending Anthony into his own partner. Caster tagged himself in. Swerve rolled Bowens up, not realizing he was no longer legal. Caster entered the ring and dropped Swerve. Bowens shook out his shoulder. Caster helped him hoist Strickland up for a sit-out driver for a cover and three count.
WINNERS: The Acclaimed in 19:44 to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championships
(LeClair’s Analysis: Another good one to close out the series between these two teams. They told the story of Anthony Bowens’ shoulder injury quite well, and I thought Swerve Strickland in particular did a really nice job of utilizing innovating offense to isolate and attack that body part. The Acclaimed remain hugely over with the crowd, and though there were some participation lulls throughout this one, they came through for most of the big spots when they weren’t distracted by a fan ejection somewhere off of the hard camera. I felt like the finishing sequence played out a little too similarly to the trios tag match earlier on, with the clearly heel partner trying to coax his buddy into turning to the dark side. Granted, this one ended differently, with Keith Lee walking away. Still, though, the initial visuals were too similar – handing a weapon off to convince your partner to cheat to win. Relatively small gripe aside, though, this felt like a fitting end to a long and mostly successful angle.)
-Excalibur and company announced a best of seven series between Death Triangle and The Elite, with the match earlier tonight being the first in the series. The second was announced for this Wednesday’s Dynamite. The showed the schedule for the entirety of the series.
-A video package for Jon Moxley vs. MJF aired.
Justin Roberts introduced the main event. MJF emerged from the back, receiving a solid reaction. He shook his head and turned away, disappearing back behind the curtain. He ran back out onto the stage to a huge pop. This time, he played heavily to the crowd. He bounced down the ramp, fully of vigor. At the bottom, he found a woman against the guardrail. He spoke with her briefly and then…motor-boated her cleavage. Max entered the ring and conducted the crowd to his music.
“Wild Thing” filled the speakers and the AEW World Champion sauntered out from a tunnel in the arena, right into the belly of the crowd. He climbed a lower bowl barricade and held up his title. Justin Roberts provided traditional Championship introductions. MJF initially received a mixed reaction, but it turned to mostly cheers. Jon Moxley was mostly booed. He gave MJF the finger. Moxley handed the title off to William Regal.
(10) JON MOXLEY (c, w/ William Regal) vs. MJF – AEW World Championship match
Jon Moxley walked briskly right toward MJF and punched him in the jaw. Maxwell turned his head back toward the turnbuckle and smirked. He stepped to Moxley and slapped him. The champion threw some quick rights and back the challenger into the corner. Moxley scraped his bear across MJF’s forehead. Referee Bryce Remsburg separated them. Moxley and MJF engaged in some quick counters. Friedman dumped Moxley to the outside. He teased a dive through the middle ropes, but instead, just kept running the ropes. The crowd cheered him. Moxley returned and shoved him into the corner. Mox bit MJF’s forehead.
The champion gave the crowd double middle fingers. “I love it!” he smiled. Moxley whipped Friedman into the corner and kicked him to the mat. Moxley laid down and posed in the ring, feigning boredom. He draped Max over the middle rope and drove his forearm into MJF’s chin repeatedly. Mox went for a quick cover at 3:15, but only scored a one count. The champion turned MJF over into an STF. Max bit Moxley’s hand to break free.
Moxley delivered a Falcon Arrow and transitioned into an Arm bar. Friedman briefly turned it into a cover, but Moxley pushed off and back into the hold. Max turned frantically and reached the bottom rope with his legs. MJF retreated to the corner, clutching his newly-injured arm. Moxley dropped him with a short-arm lariat. The crowd pelted Moxley with boos and the camera pulled back to show off the sold out Prudential Center. MJF rolled to the outside. Moxley followed, but retrieved his title belt and held it up as he circled the ring. MJF re-emerged and spit something in Mox’s face.
The distraction only rattled Moxley for a moment. He tossed Max into the steel steps and slid back in the ring, shaking his head and waiting for Max for answer the count. Friedman rolled back in the ring slowly. Mox went right back on the attack. Jon whipped him across the ring, but Max exploded back out with a bit desperation clothesline. Both men were down and the referee began to count. Both men answered at seven. MJF fired off quick jabs and finally dropped Moxley with a left as the match approached 7:45. He walked Mox to the turnbuckle and slammed his head off the top one for a full ten count.
MJF whipped Moxley arm first into the corner. He covered for a quick two count. Excalibur talked about MJF facing Moxley at Daily’s Place during the crowd-less pandemic shows. Taz said it’s a very different atmosphere. MJF retrieved the timekeeper’s table and set it up near the apron. He slid back in the ring and Moxley dropped him with a surprise cutter. Mox held Max’s hands up and stomped him in the chest and neck, channeling Bryan Danielson. The crowd booed him heavily. Mox took a bow.
Max rolled out to the apron and the champion followed, teetering just above the table. Mox tried to hook him, but MJF slid free. He scooped Mox up and delivered a Tombstone Piledriver on the edge of the ring. Friedman grabbed at his knee, screaming in pain. He managed to roll back in the ring with Moxley and cover him for a two count. MJF shook out the injured knee. He dragged the champion back to the apron. The two battled for position. Moxley kicked at MJF’s injured knee. He pulled him in, lifted him up, and stepped off the apron, delivering a Piledriver through the table. Mox’s head hit the edge of the table awkwardly on the way down.
Bryce Remsburg checked on both men as they rolled about the table wreckage. Moxley returned to the ring first. MJF barely stirred until a count of seven. He reached the ring at a very delayed nine. MJF walked right into the Paradigm Shift. Moxley hooked the leg for a near fall just before the 14:00 mark. Mox immediately began rapid-fire kicks to Friedman’s leg. He dropped into the Figure Four. MJF nearly got caught in a three count on two separate occasions. He grabbed at the referee’s shirt, screaming in pain. He slapped his own chest, willing himself and the crowd to life. Moxley bridged, creating further pressure. After quite some time, Max turned it over and broke the hold.
Both champion and challenger limped to their feet. Max caught the champion in between the ropes and hit him with a Heatseeker for a cover and two count. Moxley looked dazed. MJF tried to repeat the move, but the champion shoved him away. He dragged Max to the corner and stepped on the injured knee. Mox draped Max’s foot on the bottom rope and began to climb the turnbuckle. In an act of desperation, MJF pulled the ropes to knock Moxley off balance. It bought him enough time to climb up to meet the champion. Moxley staggered MJF with anvil elbows. He hooked him on the top and delivered an avalanche Paradigm Shift. Moxley hooked the leg, but MJF got one finger on the bottom rope to break the count at 18:25.
Jon Moxley taunted the crowd as MJF struggled to stand. “Hit me with your best shot, come on,” Moxley said, with many more expletives thrown in. Max spit in his face. Moxley dropped him. MJF stood. They began trading hard right forearms. Moxley went for a running shot, but MJF pulled Remsburg in front of him. Mox took down the referee. MJF reached into his trunks and pulled out the Dynamite Diamond Ring. As he put it on, William Regal walked down the ramp, yelling at Max. MJF threw the ring outside.
Moxley grabbed MJF from behind, and the two of them backed into replacement referee, Paul Turner. Turner spilled to the outside. Mox applied a choke on MJF, and Max tapped. There was no referee to see it. Regal told Moxley to wake up Remsburg. Mox did so. Regal slid a pair of brass knuckles to MJF. He put them on and hit Moxley in the head. MJF covered for a three count.
WINNER: MJF in 23:08 to win the AEW World Championship
William Regal looked on with a smile. MJF climbed the turnbuckle and held the title up high. The crowd cheered him. “The MJF era begins for All Elite Wrestling,” Excalibur said. MJF collapsed on the ramp, laying the title over his waist. He laughed and did a snow angel as the show went off the air.
(LeClair’s Analysis: A good main event marred by the circumstances surrounding the story. Again, the fans are deeply at odds with the company’s presentation of a character. The build-up, which should’ve worked to clarify the dynamic, only muddied the waters further. To Moxley and MJF’s credit, they knew what the reactions would be like and they played into it, heavily. Moxley worked the match as a heel, dishing it out to the crowd, working a slow and plodding cadence with complete domination of his challenger in the early going. Max, for his part, continued to play up to the audiences cheers, but was still quintessential MJF when push came to shove. The finish wound up being one of many suggested as possible scenarios, and I think this was on the higher end of the options they had. The problem, though, is going to be the continued presentation of heel MJF. The crowd desperately wanted to see this title win, and though Moxley was screwed out of a Championship, I don’t see any scenario where he gets cheered going against the newly minted face of the company. They’re in a precarious situation going forward, having given the fans exactly what they wanted but telling them not to like it.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’ve been pretty down on the AEW product as a whole lately, and it has nothing to do with the wrestling. I’ve consistently maintained that, in a vacuum, AEW puts on a really entertaining Pay-Per-View in terms of wrestling quality. Full Gear was no exception. A lot of really good to great wrestling. The bookends of the show were particularly strong. The issues, as usual, come in terms of presentation. You had two major title changes tonight, and in both, the crowd popped huge for a heel cheating to win. I know AEW likes to tout the idea that their characters are nuanced and the face and heel dynamic is outdated, but they seem to be proving their own theory wrong in real time. Poor crowd reactions, specifically in key matches where this dynamic is at play, were on full display tonight. Impactful story developments are marred by the feeling that the promotion is at odds with its audience and is to blame for sending nothing but mixed signals. Someone needs to content edit and steer the ship, because right now, things just feel a little rudderless. Kudos to AEW to addressing one of my chief complaints about recent shows – they gave both Saraya’s win, and Jamie Hayter’s title victory a little room to breathe. I’d like to see more that going forward, as it stresses the importance of the moments you’re presenting. The break-neck pace can get really monotonous and create a bit of desensitization to the action. I’m inclined to view this favorably in terms of wrestling in a vacuum, but it’s hard to give it any sort of ringing endorsement based on storytelling and booking.