Did you enjoy AEW Full Gear 2022? I did!
Seeing it live was an incredible experience. Aside from the drunk guy in my row who got ejected for being a doof, the event was jam-packed with action.
The pre-show matches warmed up the anxiously anticipating crowd.
The Best Friends (Rocky Romero, Trent Barretta, Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy and “A Very Evil” Danhausen) defeated The Factory (QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, Nick Comorotto, Lee Johnson, and Cole Karter)
One thing QT does very well is generate heat. I know people don’t like him, but if you want to make the fans happy, you have their favorite beat up QT. Comorotto is a big dude in-person. Holy cow. Everyone had their opportunities to show off, but the real kicker came when a late-entering Danhausen in a darker persona arrives carrying… A jar of teeth. Yep, said jar got dumped on Comorotto. However, Danhausen busted out an arsenal’s worth of wrestling prior to this spot.
Fan-friendly and fun way to kick things off.
Ricky Starks defeated Brian Cage to advance in the World Championship Eliminator Tournament
Good match, and in case it wasn’t apparent on television, the live crowd exploded for Starks. Starks displayed the ring psychology and finesse to show he will be a major player in the wrestling business. An insane Destroyer followed by a damn impressive Rochambeu earned the pinfall victory.
Eddie Kingston defeated Jun Akiyama
Before the match, Kingston’s promo felt real. I bet it was. He’s facing his idol. A man who inspired Eddie to be the man he is today. It sounded like a guy in surreal territory.
The live crowd roared in applause throughout the hard-hitting match. Both proficient in the chest-reddening chops, the T-Bone and Exploder Suplexes, and the sheer guts and determination to never give in. From bell-to-bell the fight never slowed and the live crowd roared with every shot.
I admit, I cried a bit. Eddie hitting a second spinning backfist for the win was incredible. He respectively bowed on the mat to Akiyama, who did the same in return. You could see Eddie didn’t want his music played, and then post-match, his promo of appreciation and thanks, and then of course, a humorous cheap plug to order the damn PPV.
The Full Gear show kicks off with the Steel Cage Match, where “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry defeated Dark Luchasaurus. What a way to kick things off. The dark dino leveled Perry with an onslaught of overpowering attacks, to a point where he took Perry’s head like cheese into a grater and sliced him open in front of my very eyes. After an attempted interference by Christian backfired, Perry hulked up and ultimately plowed Luchasaurus through a table off the top of the cage, then locking him into the Snare Trap for the submission victory.
Death Triangle defeated The Elite to retain the AEW Trios Championships
Coming down the ring to “Carry on my Wayward Son” by Kansas popped the live crowd and I’m sure broke the internet. It broke the guy next to me who unsuccessfully tried starting a CM Punk chant. Seriously? This guy spent the entire show bored and begging for it to end. So why buy a ticket? Fool.
In any event, as one would expect, nothing but a classic fast-paced match from six of the most talented wrestlers in the world. At one point, Death Triangle dominated a portion of the match, with PAC teasing numerous times to use the time keeper’s hammer, but Fenix would not allow it. As the match progressed, the stakes were raised as Nick Jackson took Penta off the top turnbuckle with a hurricanrana, but to the floor, crashing on top of everyone else! Destroyers, superkicks, triple tombstone, all led to a fired up crowd. In a shocker, Omega had Fenix up for the One Winged Angel, only for Fenix to hit him… with the time keeper’s hammer!! Alex Abrahantes appeared shocked and dismayed to see Fenix resort to poor tactics.
After the match, it was announced this was now the first in a Best of Seven series.
For all those who thought the Elite were giving themselves the championships back, you were wrong, but after a series of seven, might be right. Who knows?
— Being the Elite (@BeingTheElite) November 20, 2022
Jade Cargill vs. Nyla Rose
My wife made an interesting observation. While it seems Cargill seems to align more as a babyface with the cosplay gear and how Nyla is a definitive heel, it would make sense for her to finally lose to gain the babyface sympathy.
Nyla Rose, Marina Shafir, and Vickie Guerrero entered in a low-rider, nice tribute to Eddie Guererro. Cargill is dressed as Cheetara from Thundercats.
Sorry, but this was dud of the night. This seemed like a step-by-step manual being played out, feeling at times they hit a stride but something would cause it to fall disjointed again. Some nice false finishes using the other’s finisher was a surprising touch, but once again, Cargill won. At least this time it appeared clean.
Still, when majority of wins came from YouTube, it’s hard to take this streak seriously.
Chris Jericho retains the Ring of Honor World Championship against Sammy Guevara, Bryan Danielson, and Claudio Castagnoli
What a great match. So impressively paced and the inevitable fights between stablemates did not feel forced or cliche. Danielson and Castagnoli shook hands then put on a clinic. The big story comes when Jericho goes for a pin and orders Sammy to back off. Next time around, Sammy pulls Jericho off which leads to a breakdown. Gotta hand it to all four, they put on one hell of a title bout. Jericho ultimately capitalized during a big swing, hitting two consecutive Judas Effect strikes for the pinfall victory.
I know everyone hates Sammy, but the kid is a star. He brought out his best yet again.
Saraya defeated Dr. Britt Baker, DMD
A match between an active AEW veteran and one who has been away from a ring for close to a decade, was much better than anticipated. Did everything click? No, and this is OK. I didn’t expect this to be a show-stealer, and it didn’t have to be. Baker losing while questionable, made sense to help Saraya get back the ring rust lost. The match was an emotional story for Saraya, but became one for Baker as well. Baker finding respect and admiration for her opponent’s road to recovery was an important one, which showed well tonight.
The question is, what is next for either? Does Baker begin her path towards the TBS Championship? Saraya wins her return bout, but where does she go from here?
Samoa Joe defeated Powerhouse Hobbs and Wardlow to win the AEW TNT Championship
This was a surprise for sure. I expected Hobbs to win the championship by pinning Joe. Did not expect Wardlow to go Powerbomb Symphony on Hobbs, only to get clocked with the title by Joe, who turned to Hobbs for the submission victory.
The match was solid. Big beefy dudes beating the hell out of each other. Yes, I know we love watching Joe murder people, but I give Hobbs the MVP of the match. He shined tremendously, hanging with Joe is no easy task. I hope Hobbs is not written out of the TNT title picture, or who knows, maybe he’ll defeat Joe for the ROH Television championship instead?
Sting and Darby Allin defeated Jeff Jarrett and Jay Letha w/ Satnam Singh and Sonjay Dutt
If the purpose of this match was to help calm the live crowd, it served its purpose. It was a wild brawl throughout the crowd, getting as close as one section over from where I sat. Sting dove off a ledge, Darby leapt off a ladder only to get caught by the giant and tossed around. Scary finish with Sting hitting the Deathdrop on Lethal, both collapsing to the mat as Darby hit a coffin drop.
I should add, Darby ate a guitar shot mid-match. He powered up just like Sting would. Oh, and who could forget the “TNA” chants?
Fun match, but could have been saved for a “Winter is Coming” event.
Not sure where anyone goes from here. Lethal is being featured on TV more often, perhaps there is a quiet push taking place.
Jamie Hayter defeated Toni Storm for the AEW Womens “Interim” Championship
I really don’t like calling it “interim” anymore. This is the first time an “interim” championship has changed hands, so in my book, this makes Hayter THE Womens Champion. I know Tony Khan has been on the fence about officially taking the title away from Thunder Rosa. As much as I enjoy Thunder Rosa, it’s time to move on.
A+ match. Perfect example of management listening to the fans and making the right call. You have someone who has organically become beloved by fans despite face/heel status. You put this person on TV, you give this individual the push, and it pays off. A great match where there was no moment of predicting the outcome. The live crowd in Newark was behind Hayter for majority of the match, however also showed appreciation towards Toni Storm. This was not a case of booing one just to favor the other. The crowd erupted as Hayter got the pinfall, assisted by Dr. Britt Baker right after Rebel got booted from ringside.
One has to wonder if Dr. Baker will take a managerial role temporarily, or perhaps now with Hayter as champ, Baker may try to win a second title for her group.
The Acclaimed retained the AEW World Tag Team Championships against Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland
All good things must come to an end. Swerve brought out a pair of pliers in an attempt to break fingers, but was stopped by “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn. Swerve’s antics were too much for Lee. When the confrontation became heated, Swerve smacked Lee, but instead of a brawl, Lee simply turned and left his partner to fall to the Acclaimed.
This was a good match overall, not as good as their previous bouts. This highlighted both The Acclaimed as major tag team stars, and the end of Lee and Strickland’s partnership.
Acclaimed will continue to move forward, while the feud between the former partners is now inevitable.
I do have to point out, the things Lee can do are uncanny. Taking a reverse-rana from Bowens was spine-tingly good.
The Main Event: Maxwell Jacob Friedman defeated Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship
This was by no means a technical clinic. MJF tried to wrestle, but Mox resorted to brawling tactics. The crowd completely turned on Mox in favor of MJF. At this point, anyone would have been booed in favor of the Salt of the Earth. Despite Mox’s efforts to take MJF apart, the young lion refused to give in.
The pivotal moment came, when MJF grabbed his Dynamite Diamond Ring, which prompted William Regal to abandon the commentary table and confront the challenger. He demanded MJF lose the ring, and surprisingly, he did. However, MJF would then fall to a Paradigm Shift, but refused to stay down for three. With both men down and groggy, Regal slid the brass knuckles to MJF, decking Mox for the three count. The Prudential Center erupted to celebrate the new champion!
After the PPV went off the air, BCC members Yuta, Claudio, and Danielson consoled Mox who was stunned in goofy fashion at this turn of events. While this was taking place in the ring, the fans in attendance chanted “Thank you Moxley!”
I hope he can finally get his long overdue vacation he rightfully deserves. He stepped in when things went south and held the main event picture together as long as he could. No one wants to see him burned out, so kudos to Mox for volunteering to stick around until things settled.
AEW Full Gear 2022 was an underestimated PPV, but delivered bigtime. This is a major turning point for AEW, not just for the return of Kenny Omega and the Jackson brothers, but the company as whole to regain some of the lost steam and push forward with some exciting new stories to tell. What made AEW so great in the first place, the building of either homegrown or indy talent yet to get their shot in the mainstream.
Exciting times are coming up, hopefully AEW can continue to balance a loaded roster with some well-paced story.