Wrestling Review: AEW Full Gear (2020)

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) powers through the pandemic as it presents an absolutely stacked pro wrestling card at Full Gear. In the main event, a decade long friendship ends and the AEW World Championship will be decided, as Jon Moxley defends his title against Eddie Kingston in an I Quit Match. The two best tag teams on the planet will also collide for tag team gold, as FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) defend their belts against real life brothers, The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson). What started as a Twitter exchange almost three years ago has escalated into a violent and personal affair, but with FTR’s manager, Tully Blanchard banned from ringside, this must be settled within the confines of the rules. When it comes to Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida and the Native Beast, Nyla Rose, one thing is clear: the Beast’s patience has run out, and now aligned with Vickie Gurrero, she will look to take back the AEW Women’s World Championship from the women who beat her back in May at Double or Nothing.

The Championship Eliminator Tournament final will take place, as former friends and former tag team champion collide, when Kenny Omega and Adam “Hangman” Page, with the winner earning a championship match against the winner of the main event. Will Darby Allin be able to conquer his darkest challenge, and finally obtain the victory over Cody that has eluded him? With the TNT Championship on the line, Allin will be willing to give it his all to overcome only the two time TNT Champion in AEW history. Meanwhile, for Chris Jericho and MJF, the weeks of playful arguments and song and dance numbers are over, and the rules for MJF now are simple: win, and you’re in. Chris Jericho has vowed that if MJF can defeat him in a match, Jericho will allow MJF to join the Inner Circle.

Rounding out the card, a rivalry that seems to never end will hopefully come to a conclusion, as Sammy Guevara travels to Matt Hardy’s personal Hardy Compound for the first ever Elite Deletion match. The exact specifics of that match are yet to be determined, but if these two men’s previous confrontations are anything to go by, it will be a blood and guts affair. Orange Cassidy will also take on John Silver, also known as “#4” of the Dark Order in a preliminary match, and taking place on the Buy In Show before the PPV event begins, the new NWA Women’s Champion, Serena Deeb, will face the AK-47 herself, Allysin Kay.

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+ Jon Moxley (c) vs Eddie Kingston (I Quit Match for the AEW World Championship): the history these two had, and then the match these two had recently, followed by the back and forth promos between the two leading up to this match, and then this match itself, is probably one of the best feuds in all of wrestling this year. I won’t go into all the moves and grapples and brawls, but just have a look at one of the photos down below, and you’ll know what to expect. I loved this
+ Chris Jericho vs MJF: this was so, so interesting. The match itself was relatively standard (but so well worked, as you would expect) but the crowd was the loudest they were for the whole show, and both men played their roles perfectly. Both men were ostensibly the bad guy, but even if they cheated the same way, the crowd cheered Jericho and booed/chanted against MJF, all the way up until an ending you may expect and have certainly seen before, but just done so well it’s hard to fault them at all
+ Matt Hardy vs Sammy Guevara (The Elite Deletion): nobody does these pre-taped, “cinematic” things quite like Matt Hardy. This started slowly, but once it got going, I was absolutely hooked. Tables, ladders, boats, lakes, fireworks and I think maybe an actual (in story) death? This was a great spectacle that never once promised it would be a match and never once pretended to be a match
+ FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) (c) vs The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson): this was a love letter to tag team wrestling, full of homages to all the top tag teams from history. It is no surprise to say that both duos are great wrestling teams, and it’s also no doubt that they wanted to put on the best possible tag team match they could, and Tully’s being barred from ringside even played into the match and the finish. I can’t say this was better than the Bucks versus Omega/Page match, but it’s also clear there will be more to come from these two teams, whether the titles will be involved or not. Still, this was really good
+ Cody Rhodes (c) (w/ Arn Anderson) vs Darby Allin (TNT Championship): yes, Cody has a last name now. This was really Darby’s match to lose, and it was imperative that he had a good showing against Cody, who for better or worse has been continuously positioned as the top of the show (outside the AEW World Champion, of course). Cody looked good, and has of late playing the bigger wrestler in his self-described “light heavyweight company”, and the very clearly light heavyweight Allin used that size to tell a great story. This was good, though admittedly a little bit anti-climactic
+ Orange Cassidy vs John “#4” Silver: this was really, really good. Silver’s offense is incredible to see, considering his diminutive size, and the crowd’s reaction to OC in general is just unparalleled. This was great, and hopefully a sign of bigger things to come for Silver in particular
+ Kenny Omega vs Hangman Page (World Title Eliminator Tournament Final): I was shocked this opened the show, but hot damn it did not disappoint. It was relatively predictable, as was the whole tournament. Omega’s special commentator really set this match apart from the rest on the show as there was no title on the line in this, but both guys are great. I was expecting this to be at least the last before the title matches, so I was happy to start the show off with a bang, and it really was a banger
+ Serena Deeb (c) vs Allysin Kay (NWA Women’s Championship): though relegated to the Buy In pre-show, the new Women’s Champion and her opponent put on a fantastic match. Allysin’s size and power advantage meant Deeb was the underdog from the opening bell, a role that they each excel at, respectively. This was really good, and hopefully a sign of a Wrestling Alliance going forward (tee hee, get it?)

Hikaru Shida (c) vs Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero) (AEW Women’s World Championship): the last time these two fought, it was one of the best women’s matches in a long time, but frankly this one failed to live up to that. I’d go as far as to say that this was not a good match in a vacuum, either. Nyla looked out of breath very early on, and the match never really kicked into second gear

> AEW’s previous event, All Out, was simply not very good, and I got the feeling a lot of the competitors wanted to show that that was an anomaly. They were working their asses off, and it was great

Should you watch this event: Holy smokes, what a show. It’s a shame that the recent Hikaru Shida/Thunder Rosa story wasn’t playing out on this show, because if that Women’s Championship match was better this would have been the best western wrestling show this year. Every single match delivered in one way or another — MJF/Jericho was all crowd involvement; Bucks/FTR was a great tag; Hangman/Omega was a back and forth singles; Moxley/Kingston was blood and guts; Darby/Cody was the underdog against the establishment; Elite Deletion was a cinematic feud-finisher; OC/Silver was a not-comedy match between two guys who have been mostly comedy — and so much more. This show was fantastic.

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