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AEW Full Gear
by Ultimate Worrier
November 13, 2021
Written in September 2022.
Live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur.
MJF vs. Darby Allin (with Sting)
First, we get a spooky Darby video, in which he picks up a hitchhiker in an MJF mask, crashes the car on purpose, and then sets it ablaze. MJF has been bragging that he can beat Darb with a simple side headlock, tries to prove it, but Darby is able to trade holds. MJF cartwheels through a monkey flip, so Darby hits a springboard armdrag. They lock knuckles and creatively trade pinning predicaments on their backs. They exchange monkey flip reversals and reach a stalemate. MJF takes control with a cheap shot, but Darby cuts him off with a high speed tope. Darby misses a Coffin Drop onto the apron! MJF smells blood and goes to work on Darby’s spine. MJF hurts his own knee delivering a backbreaker. Darby sacrifices his own back to counter with a stunner. MJF rolls away from a potential Coffin Drop, tries a side headlock, but settles for a sick powerbomb onto his knee! Fans chant “This is awesome!” Darby dropkicks the bad knee, but MJF reverses Code Red into a powerbomb for only 2! MJF applies a Scorpion Deathlock, Darby escapes to chopblock the bad knee, and applies a Figure Four! MJF escapes and hits a Tombstone Piledriver onto the ring frame! Darby avoids a countout and desperately goes for quick pin attempts. They get caught in an inside cradle position and roll around in circles. Darby reverses into Code Red, but MJF kicks out! Crowd gives them a standing ovation. MJF rolls outside to avoid the Coffin Drop, but Darby hits it anyway! Darby tries another Coffin Drop in the ring, but MJF blocks with his knees. Meanwhile, Sting stops Shawn Spears and Wardlow from interfering. MJF again sacrifices his bad knee for a superkick and limps to retrieve Darby’s skateboard. He passes the board to Darby and dares him to get disqualified. Darby is tempted but passes, which allows MJF to hit a stuffed punch to the face and win at 22:03! This was all kinds of awesome with both guys incorporating injured body parts into their story and strategy. When the crowd spontaneously gives a standing ovation mid-match, you know it’s something special, ****½.
Team Taz are spotted in a skybox, apparently scouting potential recruits.
AEW Tag Team Championship:
Lucha Bros. © (Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo, with Alex Abrahantes) vs. FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood, with Tully Blanchard)
They start with a hot brawl, Lucha Bros. clear out Wheeler. Penta and Dax trade blows. They tease another brawl, but Fenix and Cash tag in to feel each other out. Fenix hits a nifty springboard armdrag, Penta tags himself in to help swarm Dax, but Cash pulls him out harm’s way. FTR counter Penta’s baseball slide dropkick, then catch a diving Fenix for a fallaway slam onto Penta! FTR cut the ring in half to work Fenix over. Penta doesn’t allow this to last long, and helps his brother pile FTR in the buckles for a monkey flip cannonball senton! Lucha Bros. hit stereo superkicks, but Dax kicks out. Lucha Bros. tie up FTR for stereo submissions, but the ref won’t allow it. FTR work together to hang Penta on the ropes and manage to cut the ring in half again. They tie Penta’s mask to the ropes, but the ref quickly unties him. Penta counters Cash’s catapult to hit Dax with a DDT. Fenix gets a hot tag and runs through FTR faster than I can type. Fenix hits a tight rope walk penalty kick but Dax kicks out! A series of miscues results in Cash hitting Fenix with a title belt, for a red hot nearfall! FTR hit Fenix with an assisted backdrop for another close 2 count. Lucha Bros. reverse the Big Rig, but Tully grabs Penta’s leg. Dax mocks Eddie Guerrero and goes for the Three Amigos. Penta reverses the last Amigo and hits his own Three Amigos to loud “Eddie!” chants. Fenix hits a frog splash, but DAX KICKS OUT! FTR block Fear Factor and hit Fenix with a stuffed piledriver for only 2. FTR’s tandem brainbuster is foiled, Lucha Bros. hit Fear Factor/Meteora combo, but FTR KICKS OUT! WHAT IS THIS MATCH!?! FTR put on mocking Lucha masks in an attempt to pull as switcheroo, but the ref is too smart for this. Rick Knox is the real MVP. Lucha Bros. spike Wheeler to finally win at 18:42! This match was off-the-charts bonkers. They missed the crescendo by a few minutes, but that’s my only knock. If this was a Dynamite main event, I think we’d still be talking about it today, but it got lost in the shuffle on a loaded pay-per-view, ****½.
Winners and still AEW Tag Team Champions: Lucha Bros.
AEW World Championship #1 Contenders Eliminator Tournament Finals:
Miro vs. Bryan Danielson
Miro is nursing a taped quad, which may end up being important. They lock up, Miro shoves Bryan down. Bryan tries quick kicks, but Miro tosses him across the ring. Bryan gets mad and scores a series of stiff shots, but Miro knocks him outside. Bryan hits some YES kicks, but Miro blocks his tornado DDT and hits a shoulder tackle. Running clothesline by Danielson, then a blocked dive attempt. Miro hits a vertical suplex on the floor! Bryan avoids a countout, Miro rewards him with consecutive suplexes. Miro goes to work on Bryan’s spine. Bryan bonks Miro into the ring post and then hits a running knee off the apron. Missile dropkick by Danielson, YES kicks, and a tight knee bar. Miro reverses with a dead lift gut wrench suplex! Release German suplex by Miro, but he’s slow to follow up and eats a roundhouse kick. Danielson viciously knees the skull and ribcage, then captures the wrist for face stomps. Miro reverses the Busaiku knee into a powerbomb! Miro applies Game Over! Bryan gets the ropes, Miro can’t believe it. Bryan counters into the LeBell Lock! Miro reverses into some vicious elbow strikes, crowd chants “This is awesome!” Bryan counters with a triangle choke, Miro gouges the eyes to escape. They summon their FIGHTING SPIRIT and exchange kicks. Bryan hits a top rope DDT! He goes for the LeBell Lock, but Miro is already knocked out, so Bryan wins at 20:00! This was an awesome hard hitting match, that had me flashing back to Bryan’s matches with Morishima. Of course, since this is Full Gear 2021, it got lost in the shuffle, but is a legit ****¼.
Winner: Bryan Danielson
Falls Count Anywhere:
The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson, with Brandon Cutler and Michael Nakazawa) and Adam Cole vs. Christian Cage and Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus)
I seem to remember Dave Meltzer giving this one a surprisingly high rating. They’ve got a high bar to reach after the first three matches. Bell rings and they waste no time brawling. Jungle Boy holds the Bucks still for a Luchasaurus moonsault. Christian tries a Killswitch on Cole, but Cole superkicks his leg. JB helps with a flipping armdrag on Cole. The Bucks ambush JB, but he answers with a double armdrag, but the Bucks cartwheel to safety and hit clotheslines! Luchasaurus takes the Bucks down , Jungle Boy finds Cole for a chair throw. The Bucks try to throw JB into a table, but Cole armdrags them and takes a seat, only to suffer a Cole kneestrike. Cage interrutps Cole’s BAY-BAY spot for an inverted DDT onto a chair, but the Bucks rescue him. Luchasaurus German suplexes both Bucks at once! Cole attacks, but JB suplexes him into position for some tope suicidas! JB’s third tope is blocked by the Bucks’ chair shot.Luchasaurus ambushes the Bucks, and at this rate, my PBP is going to be 10 pages long. Jurassic Express hit Cole with a superkick/DDT through a chair. Cole is busted open, Christian hands JB a chair for a one man con-chair-to, but the Bucks interrupt. Luchasaurus stops the Bucks, but Cole drops him with a superkick. Matt puts Luchasaurus on a ringside table, but JB counters to hit Nick with a rana through another table! Matt finds time to elbow drop Luchasaurus through his table! Meanwhile, Cutler accidentally sprays Nick in the face, which allows Christian to hit a flying crossbody off a balcony! Back to ringside, Nick whips Christian into the steps, meanwhile Cole suplexes JB onto the ring frame! Nick superkicks Luchasaurus, and the Elite are in control! The Bucks grab handfuls of thumbtacks and force feed them to Jungle Boy! Cole holds JB in a chinlock so the Bucks can kiss him and hit JB with superkicks! The Elite bring in a ladder while fans chant “This is awesome!” Christian steals a trashcan to clean house and hits Nick with a tornado DDT onto the draping ladder! Luchasaurus returns and reverses Cole’s Panama Sunrise into an electric chair slam onto the ladder! Luchasaurus blocks the Bucks’ chair shots, chokeslams Nick onto the ladder, and hits a standing moonsault! Matt ambushes Luchasaurus with chair shots! Nick’s superkick gets 1 on Luchasaurus! Jungle Boy hunts Matt the stage for a Snare Trap, but Cole breaks it up. Nick rescues Matt from Christian’s Killswitch, Luchasaurus arrives, but Cole low blows him! Cage catapults Nick into the set, while Matt dives off the stage onto Luchasaurus! Jungle Boy climbs the set, but Cole pulls him down and climbs up for a makeshift Panama Sunrise! The Elite dominate on the stage with a big time SUPERKICK PARTAY! The Bucks put on thumbtack knee pads and hit Luchasaurus with a triple BTE Trigger, but JB SAVES THE MATCH! JB fights alone against the Elite, and Christian helps with a spear. Luchasaurus grabs Cole and chokeslams him off the ramp onto Nakazawa and Cutler! Luchasaurus then hits a SHOOTING STAR PRESS OFF OF THE STAGE! Christian then sets up a con-chair-to on Matt, but JB insists on doing the deed himself. That ends it at 22:27! Well, this certainly over delivered, especially considering the strength of this card to begin with. This was the greatest Attitude Era style stunt show ever, and if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now, ****¾.
Winners: Christian Cage and Jurassic Express
Andrade El Idolo (with Jose the Assistant) and Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes (with Arn Anderson) and Pac
Alright guys, you have to hit four stars or I’ll call your match an epic disappointment. The fans hate Cody so much that he’s going back to WWE in a few months to show them who’s boss. Andrade starts against Pac, but would rather fight Cody. Cody tags himself in and the fans still hate him. Pac also tags himself in, only to jumped by Andrade. Pac answers with a big boot, armdrag, and side headlock takeover. Black tags in , but Pac answers with a deep armdrag. Cody enters (to boos), Andrade tags himself in for an ambush. Cody and Andrade meet on the ring frame, Jose interferes, Andrade takes over. Cody dives onto Jose and powerslams Andrade. Pac tags himself in, Cody doesn’t like it. Black tags himself in too, and locks up with Pac. Another blind tag results in Cody running through Black to more boos. Pac’s blind tag results in Cody taking Black’s roundhouse kick. Pac dumps Black and Andrade for an Asai moonsault! Jose challenges Arn to a fight and gets beaten down. Meanwhile, Andrade and Black block Pac’s Black Arrow. Black pummels Pac, Andrade hits a buckle bomb and split legged moonsault. Pac answers with a German suplex on Andrade. Cody has been amusingly selling on the barricade throughout, and Pac can’t tag him in. Andrade hits Pac with a pendulum DDT! Black tags himself in and nearly gets pinned by Pac’s cradle. They hit stereo thrust kicks and go down. NOW, Cody wants a tag, and the fans still hate him. Cody gets the hot tag and cleans house to boos. Cody hits Andrade with a REVERSE SUPERPLEX but Andrade kicks out! Fans still hate Cody. Andrade drops the hammer on Cody, but his FIgure Four is reversed. Pac tags himself in and hits Andrade with a 450 splash, but Andrade gets the ropes! Black tags in, Pac miscues a dive and hits Cody. Andrade send Pac into the ring for Black’s German suplex, but Cody breaks the cover! Cody suplexes himself and Black to outside, Black boots him into the front row! Meanwhile, Pac hits Andrade with a Buckle suplex, poison rana, and Black Arrow to win at 16:44! How dare they only hit ****. What an insult.
Winners: Pac and Cody Rhodes
FTR jump Cody after the bell. I look forward to seeing him get his revenge and stick around AEW for years to come.
AEW Women’s Championship:
Dr. Britt Baker © (with Jamie Hayter and Rebel) vs. Tay Conti
You can tell the fans are starting to tire, but they still seem attentive while the women start with some chain wrestling. Tempers begin to flare after a standoff, Tay hits a martial arts throw, but Rebel shakes her off the ropes to give Britt the upper hand. Tay makes a comeback, hitting a series of running boots. High crossbody by Tay gets 2. Crowd has been dead since Rebel interfered. Tay’s German suplex also gets 2. Britt answers with a neckbreaker for a cold nearfall. Britt uses a gator roll to set up the Curb Stomp for another heatless 2 count. Britt signals Lockjaw, but Tay surprises with a Stunner. Tay looks for a piledriver on the apron, but Britt reverses into a nasty Air Raid Crash. Tay escapes Lockjaw and awkwardly counters a backslide into Tay-KO for 2. Gotch piledriver by Tay gets another nearfall, and some fans are now booing the match. Britt hits an opportunistic curb stomp on the steps, Tay counters Lockjaw. Tay desperately pump kicks Britt off the apron, and hits a moonsault to outside on Rebel and Hayter. Tay slams Britt on the floor and hauls her in for a DDT, but Britt kicks out again. Tay reverses Lockjaw, but Britt reverses the reversal and gets the pin at 15:14. This was a disappointing, heatless mess that lost the crowd, *½.
Winner and still AEW Women’s Champion: Britt Baker
Eddie Kingston vs. CM Punk
Both guys come in hot, ref tries to cool them down, Eddie cheap shots with a swinging back hand before the bell. Punk sells the attack like death, and Kingston leans in to the de facto heel role. Punk fires back with a flurry of punches and gets booed! Eddie pokes him in the eyes, which actually seems to endear him more to the fans. Punk begins targeting Kingston’s bandaged hand. Punk gets knocked into the ring post and blades. Punk sells fatigue from blood loss but dominates, even hitting the Three Amigos. Eddie is also selling exhaustion, but manages a superplex. Punk hits GTS but collapses. Fans chant “This is awesome!” Punk ducks a back fist and hits a second GTS to win at 11:08. I’ll give them credit for attempting a very different type of match than anything else on the show, and bringing the tired crowd back to life, ***½.
Winner: CM Punk
Baron Von Raschke is alive and well in the front row! He’s more than happy to ham it up for the camera with an Iron Claw.
Minneapolis Street Fight:
American Top Team (Dan Lambert, Ethan Page, Scorpio Sky, Junior Dos Santos, and Andrei Arlovski) vs. The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz)
Sammy and Sky start with an aggressive back and forth fight. Santana and Ortiz swarm Sky, and hit a tandem brainbuster. Hager is passed Sky for a delayed suplex. Arlovski tags in to duke it out with Hager. Dos Santos helps knock Hager down with stereo shoulder blocks. Quick tag to Jericho, who relishes the chance to brawl with Dos Santos. Powerslam by Dos Santos, followed by a vertical suplex and standing moonsault. Lambert insists on a tag now that Jericho is in trouble. Jericho gets his hands on Lambert, prompting a quick breakdown. Jericho chases Lambert into a trap, as Page hits him with a hockey stick. This leads to the obligatory diving sequence. Weapons come into play at ringside, including an oversized Prince symbol. Santana and Ortiz trap Page and Sky in stereo submissions, and Sammy clocks them with a football. Arlovski helps Page botch a double team attack on Ortiz, but Hager saves him with a toaster. Jericho cleans house with a water ski. Lambert pulls out Jericho, while Guevara hits a double springboard cutter on MOTY. Guevara hits a swanton bomb for 2. Santana and Ortiz land a superplex on Dos Santos. Meanwhile, Sammy leaps off a ladder and puts Sky through a table. Page hits a ringside Ego’s Edge, stops to insult Hager’s wife, but Von Raschke steps in to save her with an Iron Claw! Santana leaps off a security guard’s back onto Page in the front row. Lambert is busy posing in the ring and Jericho finally gets him all to himself. Dos Santos mistimes interfering in Jericho’s Lionsault. Lambert tries a Walls of Jericho, but Jericho clocks him with a kendo stick. Jericho staples Lambert in the groin, gestures to heavenly Eddie Guerrero, and hits a frog splash to pin Lambert at 19:39. Well, this got over with the live crowd better than I expected it to. The MMA guys did pretty well for themselves, but still provided some botches and miscues here and there. They probably should have cut out the first 5 minutes where they had a normal tag match, and it’d rate higher, **¾.
Winners: The Inner Circle
Tony Shiavone introduces "special guest" Jay Lethal. He is All Elite and wasting no time cashing in on Sammy Guevera’s open challenge for the TNT title. Sammy limps out to accept.
Extra fancy video package of Hangman Page arriving at Target Center on a horse.
AEW World Championship:
Kenny Omega © (with Don Callis) vs. Hangman Adam Page
They lock up and go right to exchanging chops. They do a nice job making this feel personal and ugly. Don grabs Page’s boot, Omega takes over. Page answers with a springboard lariat, then a slingshot plancha. Hangman follows with a high crossbody for only 1. Omega regains control, and feeds Omega to some stomps by Callis. Omega hesitates on a springboard move, which gives Page an opening for a flurry of offense, but Omega cuts him off with a rana. Omega nails a Terminator dive! Finlay Roll by Omega, but Page blocks the routine moonsault! Fallaway slam by Hangman, and a quick tope suicida! Page lands the moonsault to outside! Brainbuster by Hangman gets 2. Omega counters into a SPRINGBOARD LIGER BOMB! Kenny then starts dishing out Snap Dragons. Page answers with a nasty release German suplex. Omega blocks Dead Eye and hits Tiger Driver ‘98 for a nice nearfall. Omega bites open a wound on Hangman’s head (which is ironic considering what would happen after All Out ‘22) but Hangman counters with an AVALANCHE BLOCKBUSTER for only 2. Page then leaps from the ring post to lariat Omega through a table! Page lands a roaring elbow, pop-up powerbomb, but Omega uses the ref to shield the Buckshot Lariat! Page stops Don from interfering and knocks him down. Omega misses a belt shot and Hangman hits Dead Eye for a red hot nearfall! Hangman resists the temptation to use the belt as a weapon, and Omega makes him pay with clubbing offense. Omega starts hitting V-Triggers, Hangman fires back, but Omega hits Kawada kicks. Hangman knocks Omega loopy with a sick clothesline. The Young Bucks limp out or potential shenanigans. Omega hits a Backdrop Driver, but Hangman pops up to return the favor. Omega blocks the Buckshot with a V-Trigger, Hangman steals One Winged Angel, but OMEGA KICKS OUT! Hangman hits a Buckshot to the back of the head, stares down the Bucks, and hits another Buckshot and wins at 25:12! Simply incredible match that paid off 3 years
of build. I haven’t seen long term storytelling in wrestling pay off in such a satisfying way in the modern era quite like this, *****.
Winner and new AEW World Champion: Hangman Adam Page
Final Thoughts: To date, this might be peak AEW. Business was booming after the end of the pandemic era, CM Punk was still hot, Danielson was hot, Cole was hot, and the Page vs. Omega saga culminated in the most satisfying way possible. Full Gear 2021 is one of the greatest wrestling shows I have ever witnessed.
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