John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling AEW Full Gear preview. It’s the third ever AEW pay-per-view (not counting All In last year) after they did Double or Nothing and All Out earlier this year. However, the first one that has been built up using the AEW Dynamite TV show that started over a month ago. The plan as far as we know is for AEW to have four PPV events per year starting next year. That means they should have about three months between PPVs, which is great and will allow them to properly build to these shows.
I think the build for the top two matches of Jericho vs. Cody and Moxley vs. Omega has been tremendous. In the case of Moxley/Omega, they have six months of footage they can air from when Moxley debuted in AEW at Double or Nothing in May, so it’s hard not to get excited about that. Jericho vs. Cody feels like a huge match with the AEW World Title on the line as well. The last match of the night is expected to be Moxley vs. Omega because it’s a Lights Out match that is Unsanctioned, so the idea is the show ends with Jericho vs. Cody, but then we get this extra match as a bonus and it gets to be in the main event spot.
If you want to order AEW Full Gear on pay-per-view, AEW has a post on their website with all the info on how to watch in your part of the world. I’m going to pay and order it on B/R Live here in Canada.
Joining me for the preview are Kurt Zamora and Lance Augustine, who does the AEW Dark reviews for us on TJRWrestling every week.
Kurt: It’s great to be back writing something for TJR. My real life commitments have taken most of my free time away, but I love writing for the site so thanks to John for asking me to join this preview. I’ve been on board with AEW since the beginning as the WWE product has made me quite jaded. Thankfully, AEW has presented, for the most part, a product I can buy into. I thought the build for the second half of this card could’ve been better, but they did a great job building the top matches and overall, I am stoked to see this show on Saturday.
(Note: All graphics are from AEW. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)
Dr. Britt Baker vs. Bea Priestly (BUY IN PRE-SHOW)
Kurt: Is Britt a dentist? Asking for a friend. Britt SHOULD be the star of the division, but I don’t think they’ve done her any favors since the TV product started. Her appearance as a guest commentator a few weeks back was not good and made me tune her out. Then they built up her return home to Pittsburgh, and in a match where she should’ve been put over strong, she was booked to have a long struggle against an opponent the announcers basically told the audience was an enhancement talent. There’s a lot of issues with the Women’s division, more of which I’ll get into later, but one of the two biggest issues to me is how they’ve booked Britt. This has at least a rivalry feel to it since this is based around Bea giving Britt a concussion at Fight for the Fallen, but this needs to be a decisive win for Britt to get her back on track.
Winner: Dr. Britt Baker
Lance: This match stems from Bea knocking Britt out at Fight for the Fallen. Baker is out for revenge and I am pretty sure she gets it here.
Winner: Britt Baker
John: They started this rivalry earlier in the year, but then in the last few weeks there was barely anything done to further the story. I think this is only here so the announcers can remind us 37 times that Britt Baker is a dentist. I don’t know that much about Bea. Baker is one of the women they want to push the most, so she would win. I’m surprised they didn’t put a tag team match on the pre-show to get the crowd excited for the show more.
Winner: Britt Baker
Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. Joey Janela
Kurt: There’s a lot to like about AEW Dark, and how this match came together is one of them. Two hours on TV can be hard sometimes to fit everything in for a PPV. AEW Dark can make the “dark” matches for the crowd feel important, which makes it better for all parties, and it gives you more time to develop your undercard. I enjoyed the brief segment this week after Janela’s tag match where Tully confronted him about a previous transgression Janela had made, and then Spears showed up and proceeded to pull pliers out to pull Janela’s tongue out and as the camera panned away, he seemingly put out a cigarette on Janela’s tongue. This week on TV they were able to further that story and built what should be a fun PPV match around it. This seems like the start of a bigger story for Spears, and he’s a big star waiting to happen. I LOVE pairing Tully with him. I wish they had more promo time together because Tully can really sell him as a top heel.
Winner: Shawn Spears
Lance: Spears attacked Janela at the end of Dark this week and put a cigarette out on his tongue, which was gnarly. Janela has been on a little bit of a role lately, so I think he gets the win here.
Winner: Joey Janela
John: There’s not much of a story here. It just started on Dark last week, then furthered a bit on Dynamite this week and we’re supposed to care now. I like Spears more than Janela, but you can’t deny that Janela has a strong connection with the crowd. The hardcore AEW fans love the guy. I’m going with Spears getting a much needed win thanks to interference from Tully Blanchard. If you’re going to have a manager out there, make them a factor in the results of matches.
Winner: Shawn Spears
AEW Women’s Championship: Riho (c) vs. Emi Sakura
Kurt: The one sore subject I have with AEW currently. If there was one thing it was going to be hard to compete with WWE/NXT on, it was the women’s division. Where as AEW’s male singles division had a lot of established stars, their women’s division did not. Their most established female was Brandi Rhodes and I don’t think the plan has been or ever was to be for her to wrestle on a consistent basis. So it was going to be tough to get people behind the division. Based on crowd reactions on TV, perhaps I’m in the minority here but I just cannot buy into Riho. How she beat Nyla Rose is beyond me. I think their first champion needed to be someone that has charisma & can cut a strong promo. Riho has neither of those. If I could sign one person to any roster, I would give Tessa Blanchard a blank check to sign with AEW. Then you have Emi Sakura, who I legitimately had to find the match graphic to see who she was. AEW just puts out these women, they have fun/solid matches, but none of them have a story to get behind. This is just a match to me, so thus I don’t see any chance of a title change.
Winner: Riho retains
Lance: AEW seems to be firmly behind Riho at this point and I don’t think she is losing the title this early after winning it. Emi Sakura has put in some good work, but Riho wins here.
Winner and STILL AEW Women’s champion: Riho
John: This has the worst build on the card. It’s just a match they added on Wednesday and then Sakura pinned Riho in a tag team match to give her the momentum going into it. The bigger backstory for them is Sakura trained Riho to wrestle and they know eachother well. I’m hoping after the match is over we see Awesome Kong (with Brandi Rhodes by her side) go in the ring and destroy the tiny champion Riho and set up a feud. Anyway, this should be a win for Riho, who has the AEW crowd strongly behind her every time she’s out there. I hope AEW tells better stories for the women’s division because right now that’s an area where they have been lacking so far.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. “The Bastard” Pac
Kurt: I appreciate how when AEW has been thrown a curve ball twice in their top matches, they don’t just completely scrap it. They have enough long-term sense to find ways to come back to them. We have both those examples on this PPV with the main event and this match. The irony of this match happening after being pulled from Double or Nothing, is that depending on who you believe, Pac was supposed to win that match and I don’t think he’s going to win this match. Pac is a great heel, but with a top heel stable now in structure, there’s a ceiling for him. However, there is plenty of room for top babyface status and Page is going to be that guy for the company. I love the “Cowboy Shit” from Page and he just feels like a modern-day Barry Windham.
Winner: Hangman Page
Lance: Pac has been on a tear as of late, with his only loss being in a tag team match. Page is part of the “Elite” but seems to be the most expendable. I think Pac is in line for some big things and there is no reason for him to lose here, making him 2-0 against Page.
John: Pac is one of my favorite wrestlers in AEW. He’s a pure heel that has no interest in trying to pop the crowd or do anything to please there. Here’s there to be an asshole and I think calling him “The Bastard” is perfect for him too. I like Page as a babyface that’s on the rise. He’s a guy that’s in his late 20s, he’s got a good look and the crowd supports him. The “cowboy shit” chants make me laugh too. If there was a singles men’s secondary title then this would be the perfect match to crown the champion. Perhaps that is something to consider for down the road.
I think Page probably needs the win more since he’s lost to Pac in the past and he lost to Jericho at the last PPV. However, if they went with a Pac win that would build him up to another level as a legit main eventer. I’m going with a Pac win although I think it’s a tough call. I can see it going either way. It should be an awesome match too.
AEW World Tag Team Championships: So Cal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) (c) vs. Lucha Brothers (Pentagon and Fenix) vs. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy)
Kurt: Kudos to whoever decided to book the win for SCU with an inside cradle. I love how legitimate it makes the match feel and doesn’t take anything away from the Lucha Bros. I can’t help but feel though, that the win for SCU was a booking decision from the EVP’s to give their buddies a notch in their belts to always be remembered as the first tag champions of the company. I don’t think it’s meant to last long, however.
The Lucha Bros are the best tag team not only in the company, but in the world. The division should revolve around them. They work well with SCU and I think they’re going to have a long rivalry revolving around the titles, especially when Christopher Daniels is cleared to return. Private Party will stand out in this match, but I think they were thrown in to be beat by Lucha Bros, so SCU has a bigger gripe about how Lucha Bros never beat them for the titles. If there’s a show stealer on the card, this is it.
Winners: New AEW Tag Champions, Lucha Bros
Lance: This has the potential to be the match of the night. SCU and The Lucha Brothers had a hell of a finals match and Private Party are slowly becoming one of my favorite tag teams. Like I said with Riho, it’s hard to imagine SCU losing the titles so quick so I will go with them.
Winner(s) and STILL AEW Tag Team Champions: SCU
John: I’m not a huge fan of triple threat tag team matches. I don’t like triple threat matches in general, so when you have six guys out there it can get confusing to watch. They are going to ignore tag team rules for most of the match since this is AEW and they don’t do a good job of establishing rules. It’s not a major complaint. It’s just an observation. I fully expect these awesome teams to do some incredible tag team moves throughout the match. There’s been a story with SCU/Lucha Brothers for a few weeks while Private Party were just added to the match this week. I’m sure I’ll be saying “wow” a lot during this match. It should be outstanding.
I’ll go with SCU retaining, but it wouldn’t shock me if Lucha Brothers won. I think Private Party is the team that needs to be built up long term to where AEW can make it a priority to put the titles on them eventually in like six months. It’s not their time yet, though.
Winners: So Cal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky)
Santana and Ortiz vs. The Young Bucks
Kurt: The first match I ever saw with Santana and Ortiz was earlier this year in their Full Metal Mayhem match with the Lucha Bros for Impact Wrestling. I knew immediately that they would be a superstar tag team for someone. Here we are a few months later, and they’re in a semi-main spot against arguably the most popular tag team in all of pro wrestling. If you asked me what tag team makes most sense for Jericho’s Inner Circle, I wouldn’t say Santana and Ortiz, but they’ve made it work so far. They’re believable and their work is solid. I loved the use of the Rock and Roll Express to get more heat on them, then following that up with the attack in the crowd on the Young Bucks. The Bucks are coming off a “spotfest” feud with the Lucha Bros, so it’s going to be nice to see them do a different style in this match. That’s what makes them so good, you can put them in any type of tag match against any type of opponent, and they still thrive.
I think that whoever wins this match will dictate who wins the AEW title match. Meaning, between the two matches, each faction will win a match. I have a stronger feeling for who I think is going to win the title match than I do this one, so based on that, I’m picking the Young Bucks to win this one. Not just for that reason, but they’ve taken a couple big losses recently, so not that they need a big win, but it’s just time for one for them.
Winners: The Young Bucks
Lance: This is the first of what I think will be many matches between these two teams. Santana and Ortiz have been playing great heels and have thwarted The Young Bucks at every pass. I think The Young Bucks get theirs and win the match, though.
Winners: The Young Bucks
John: It’s another awesome match on this show. I like how Santana and Ortiz has been booked as heels that are a part of the Inner Circle group, but they haven’t been in a big match in the AEW yet. This is huge for them and I know they are outstanding wrestlers. The Young Bucks are always having outstanding matches as long as you don’t get frustrated by the parts of matches where they go several minutes ignoring tag team match rules. I’m used to it and I don’t mind it that much anymore. Either side could win and I don’t think it matters that much because they are both going to be major factors in the tag team division for years to come.
I’ll go with Santana and Ortiz to win because I think the Bucks, as Executive VPs in AEW, have no problem putting over teams like they did for Private Party. If Santana and Ortiz win here, it’s huge for them as well as the Inner Circle group and they can always go back to this match down the road.
Winners: Santana and Ortiz
AEW World Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Cody
(Notes: If Cody fails to win, he’ll never compete for the AEW World Title again according to what Cody said on Dynamite this week. There’s a 60-Minute time limit with three judges to name a winner if it goes 60 minutes without a winner.)
Kurt: One could argue that they’ve packed too much into this match. If you feel this way, I wouldn’t disagree with you. Between the 60-minute time limit, having judges ringside if it goes 60 minutes, and now Cody’s declaration that he will never challenge for the title again if he loses, it’s a lot to take in. Thankfully though, with the video packages and promos both men have done for this match, you can look past all that and just be excited to see these guys lock horns and see who the better man is. The odd man out in the entire Inner Circle vs. Elite feuding these last couple weeks has been MJF. I know the story with he and Cody, but he’s not actually in The Elite. He’s felt shoehorned into the angle, and now that Cody has put in the stipulation should he lose, I think we know why MJF has been put into the mix. This just screams MJF turning on Cody and having a real blood feud with him. When you’re a new company like AEW, you can’t have as many title changes as WWE has. These titles need to be established for a while with their champions. Plus, Jericho is your most household name. Have him keep the title for a long time.
I really can’t see any way Cody wins. I could see an MJF-less finish with them actually going the full 60 minutes and having the judges decide who wins, but I don’t think the crowd will be big fans of that. I think you need an actual pinfall finish here and with an MJF turn, it keeps Cody white hot as a top babyface and leaves Jericho to go against the winner of Omega/Mox more than likely.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Lance: This match here is one that we as AEW fans have looked forward to since the first episode of Dynamite. The promo that Cody just cut on Wednesday night was legendary and the Jericho vignette was amazing too. The 60-minute time limit has to come into play here, right? You also have the MJF factor of turning on Cody and costing him everything. All of these seem like possible solutions, but if I had to narrow it down I would say that the MJF heel turn would be too early. I think the match goes a little longer, but maybe not the distance. I’m going with a Cody win here only because I find it hard to believe he never challenges for the title again. Although, I do feel like it is a mistake taking the title off Jericho already, but we have booked ourselves into a little bit of a corner here.
Winner and NEW AEW Champion: Cody
John: There’s a lot to digest here. I like that they announced that if it goes 60 minutes then there are going to be judges ringside to determine the winner. I really doubt they go that long or close to that long, but I guess it’s a possibility. Cody’s promo on Dynamite was fantastic. It was one of the best wrestling promos I have heard in a long time. I don’t think they should have done the stipulation where Cody never receives another title shot if he fails to win the AEW World Title. This is only the first Jericho/Cody match. That should be a stipulation for a second or third match, not the first match. Does it add intrigue to the match? Sure it does, but I don’t think you need to add stipulations just to do it. If Cody loses and he’s not allowed to get allowed to have a title shot, is it really forever? This is pro wrestling. People retire and come back months later. AEW can say they’re different and all that, but it’s still a pro wrestling show. Anyway, all of those things come into play when thinking about the match.
I think they should have a very good match. Cody’s in-ring performance of late has been the best I’ve seen of him and I’ve been reviewing his matches regularly for over a decade. He’s in his prime, he’s in the best shape of his life and when you listen to the crowd reacting to him, he’s more popular than ever. Cody is getting the biggest reactions of his career. Jericho is still awesome 30 years after he started wrestling because he’s a smart, savvy heel that knows how to work a crowd and is the most established character on this show. The match quality is still there for Jericho as well.
Picking a winner is hard. I think Cody losing because his buddy MJF turns on him is an option they can go with. Maybe MJF accidentally costs Cody because Jake Hager will probably be there to support Jericho, so they could do a finish like that. I don’t think they should do the MJF turn on Cody yet, but that’s obviously coming and will be a big feud next year at some point. It could work easily with MJF joining the Inner Circle group too. However, I’m going with a Cody win. I think they have built him up well as the top babyface in AEW and it’s not like they need to keep the title on Jericho for six months. Jericho is the first champion, will always be the first champion, but that doesn’t mean there has to be a long first title reign. This should be a very good 25-30 minute match.
Winner AND NEW AEW World Champion: Cody
Lights Out Unsanctioned Match: Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega
Kurt: As you can tell from my glowing remarks from pretty much everything on this card, I don’t have much complaints on AEW besides the women’s division. If I did have a small complaint, it would be the fact that they are already beating to death all of the “Lights Out/Falls Count Anywhere” type matches. It seems like every show has some sort of hardcore/extreme match. I know they’re of the philosophy that there’s something for everyone, but if you do these types of matches at such a rapid pace, soon the crowd will just stop caring.
For this match in particular, Moxley has already put Omega through a glass table, so where do you go from there? That’s pretty extreme. On the flip side, one of my favorite things about AEW is how most of the Dynamite episodes end with a chaotic brawl finish, and this past week’s episode was the best yet. These two were at the forefront. They came back to these guys three times during the final minutes and it just helped the build keep climbing and climbing. It was great television.
Omega is in this interesting spot where he’s in The Elite, which is the big babyface group, but clearly by his actions in his promos and on the BTE YouTube shows, he’s showing a lot of heel tendencies. Is this the point where we see a full heel turn from him? I think it’s possible. Moxley’s injury that took him out of All Out may have actually been a blessing in disguise because it’s given them a lot of quality promo time to build this match and make it feel like a legit hatred between these two. This is the hardest match to pick for me, as Omega has already taken a loss on PPV and I can’t imagine there will be too many of those for him. However, Mox needs a big win to establish himself as a top guy in the company and with the anticipation of seeing him compete in a big match since his debut in May, I can’t really see him losing his first PPV match.
Winner: Jon Moxley
Lance: I have a feeling this match is going to be something we haven’t seen in years. By that I mean I think blood will be shed. Especially because most of the buildup of this match has revolved around the use of barbed wire objects. This is going to be an all out war that I think rightfully should go on last. It isn’t because I don’t hold the AEW Title in high esteem, because I do. With this particular stipulation though, I think all the matches happen before this one. Moxley has gotten a couple of wins in AEW thus far, and Omega hasn’t been too shabby himself. This was one of the harder matches to predict with feet to the fire though, I will go with Moxley. I don’t think anyone really loses, though.
Winner: Jon Moxley
John: This is my favorite match of the night. Kenny Omega is my favorite wrestler in AEW because I’m a biased Canadian, but also because he’s so amazing in the ring. Jon Moxley with a chip on his shoulder is the best version of that man and I’ve always been a fan. We have been waiting six months to see it after Moxley’s AEW debut, so I’m sure they are as excited about it as we are.
There’s not a face/heel dynamic in this match. The fans love both guys, they see them as huge names in the company and they are going to be hot for the entire match. Picking a winner is tough because each guy could benefit from the win, yet we also know that AEW said that this match won’t count as a win or a loss because it’s unsanctioned. I’m going with Omega for the win in what should be a wild, bloody and intense brawl all around the building. I don’t want to say it’s going to be the match of the night because it’s so tough to predict on a card with so many incredible matches. I just think if everything goes right, we could be talking about a legit match of the year contender. It can be that good, no doubt about it. I can see them having the longest match of the show in the 35-40 minute range.
Winner: Kenny Omega
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Kurt: They packed a lot into it, but the video packages and promos have pushed Cody & Jericho to the top for me.
Lance: Tag Team Title and AEW Title Match.
John: Moxley vs. Omega with Jericho vs. Cody right behind it.
The Match I Care About The Least
Kurt: Women’s title match.
Lance: Spears vs. Janela.
John: Baker vs. Priestley.
Lance: Cody vs. Jericho.
John: Moxley vs. Omega.
Lance: Riho vs. Emi Sakura.
John: Riho vs. Emi Sakura for me as well.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Kurt: It’s a solid 8 or 9. I’m not as excited as I was for Double or Nothing or All Out, but it’s close. The top 4 matches should be spectacular and I’m still in the honeymoon period with this company.
Lance: I would say a 7.5. The two big matches have a lot of hype and Wednesday night did nothing but boost interest in the PPV. Plus, this is the first big show since Dynamite has begun so we have a lot more to sink our teeth into. The other matches are interesting, so it should be a good night overall.
John: I’m going with 8 out of 10. In my weekly reviews, my average score for Dynamite is nearly 8 and I feel like the match quality on this show is going to be amazing. Will they deliver interesting stories to get us excited even more? I’m not sure, but when I look at the matches there at least five of them where I think to myself they are all going to excellent. That’s a good sign.
John: I’ll be back with a review of Full Gear on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday night. Check it out during the show or after it’s over.
Thanks for reading. You can follow Kurt on Twitter @KTankTJR and Lance is on Twitter @CollectiveHeel as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or comments.
I’m going to leave you with this incredible AEW Full Gear Countdown video that AEW posted on their Youtube channel after Dynamite this week. It’s well worth 30 minutes of your time if you’re a fan of this company. Check it out below.