AEW Full Gear (2021)

Instead of writing as I went yesterday, I decided to just kick back and watch the PPV. I relaxed and enjoyed it for a change, instead of typing away the whole time. It was nice. I had some hotdogs, popcorn and just watched the event with my family. Now we have to rely on my memory as I attempt to recap the near 5 hours of entertainment I watched yesterday.

The Buy-In featured an interview with Dante Martin, presumably to get his thoughts on his offer from Team Taz. As per normal, Dante was interrupted before he could get a word in. At least it was a welcome interruption for a change! The Acclaimed came out to offer Dante Martin a position on their team. Does everyone have to be on a team these days?

Unlike Team Taz, they weren’t willing to wait a week for their answer. They wanted it then and there. Dante gave it. I just don’t think the answer they wanted was a fist to the face. I guess Dante is still flying solo for now.

Aside from the interview, the buy-in had one match scheduled. It was a tag team match which saw Nyla Rose team up with Jamie Hayter to take on fan favourites Hikaru Shida and Thunder Rosa. Vicki was in the corner of Rose and Hayter.

It wasn’t a bad match. Vicki got involved a little bit and Shida was on the wrong end of her own kendo stick. It was all for naught though, Shida and Rosa managed to pick up the victory still. A disappointed Serena Deeb was seen watching from ringside.

With the buy-in over, Full Gear was officially underway. Unfortunately, AEW suffered once again with poor booking. They opened the show with the best match on the card – MJF v Darby Allin.

The match did not disappoint. It was as good as I expected. The match started fairly technical and featured a fair few counter holds and pins. It was reminiscent of last years bout between MJF and Jungle Boy.

Darby managed to get quite a few near falls and for a while there I actually thought he was going to walk away with the victory. MJF must have thought the same, because he tried to lure Darby into a disqualification. It didn’t work.

But it did provide a momentary distraction, just enough time for MJF to knock Allin out with the Dynamite Diamond ring. MJF extends his impressive singles record and Allin came away looking like the better competitor. What an excellent match to start things off!

The next match was also pretty enjoyable. We saw the Lucha Bros successfully defend their titles against FTR. FTR used as many cheap tactics as they could think of, but still fell short.

All in all, it was a good match but it did have some awkward moments to it. At one point, Wheeler tied Penta to the bottom rope (using the latter’s mask) but it took far too long. Penta just awkwardly lay on the mat, waiting for Wheeler to finish, only to have the referee untie him almost instantly. It seemed pointless.

After the two teams exchanged countless two counts, and their own versions of the “three amigos”, the Lucha Bros finally came out on top. It was a good showing from two good tag teams.

Miro and Danielson took to the ring next and it was a pretty hard hitting affair. The two displayed great in ring chemistry, but it was hard to ever believe Miro had a chance to win this one. That’s the problem when you have an injury replacement in a tournament. They just don’t have a chance to win. It is hard to fault this match, but I would have enjoyed it more if Miro actually had a chance. Or shocked me with the win!

Unfortunately, the card was on a downward slope from here (at least until the main event). The next match was the Falls Count Anywhere bout between Jurassic Express/Christian and the SuperKliq. I had very high expectations of this and it fell short on basically all of them.

There were a few good high flying spots, but not as many as I thought. Matt Jackson probably had the highlight jump with a nice elbow drop from the top rope. I can’t remember who he put through a table, but it was a nice, clean drop.

Cage also took to the skies, which was awesome but also incredibly forced. It always looks so awkward to watch everyone stand around for 20 seconds, just waiting for someone to crash into them. They really need to work on the timing better. Not just these guys, literally everyone in the company. They always mistime these things.

The SuperKliq managed to get me excited for a moment when they brought out some knee pads that had a bunch of thumbtacks on them. I thought this would bring the bloodshed, but they used it for one hit only and it was really soft at that.

The FCA really failed to live up to the hype and was the first of a few disappointing matches. In a FCA match, I want blood and violence. This fell short on both. Jungle Boy picked up the win for his team.

Another tag team match was scheduled next, Pac and Cody Rhodes teamed up to take on Malakai Black and Andrade El Idolo.

The match wasn’t bad, but it didn’t stand out either. El Idolo looked a bit awkward at times and stuffed a couple of moves up. It happens sometimes.

Neither team seemed to want to work together match, which will hopefully create some interesting storylines moving forward. The crowd still seemed to be mostly against Cody Rhodes.

Pac got the win, pinning Andrade after a Black Arrow.

Conti and Baker were next, with the Women’s Championship up for grabs. It was actually pretty good. Both of these two are incredible talents. Unfortunately it suffered from the same problem as the Miro/Danielson bout. Conti just never had a chance to win this one.

It’s still good to see her in the title scene, but I feel AEW need help making her a more relevant part of the show week to week. Until that point, it’s hard to see her winning the title. Great match otherwise.

Time for a singles match, the grudge match between Eddie Kingston and CM Punk. This was not a wrestling match so much as it was a slugfest. Which is fine, but it felt like this should have been the Falls Count Anywhere match.

It felt like the rules held this back from being all it could have been. There was a decent amount of blood and a lot of exchanging of middles fingers.

I enjoyed the match, but the ending felt very lacklustre. Almost as if they got bored and said “let’s just end it here”. Obviously Punk won, but at least a good portion of the crowd was in Eddie’s corner. That surprised me (pleasantly). Hopefully the rematch is a No DQ bout. That would have felt more natural with all the hatred they were showing for one another.

The Street Fight was next and it was easily the biggest disappointment on the card. I don’t even know where to start with this.

It was a street fight, but it started in the ring with normal tag team wrestling rules? That made no sense at all. This was only compounded by the fact that none of the MMA guys could hold their own in the ring. I hate it when MMA guys come over and don’t give the sport the respect it deserves. It felt like they had done next to no training for this.

The match was an absolute clusterfuck and not at all in a good way. It was just a hot mess and ended with another Eddie Guerrero tribute. Don’t get me wrong. I love and miss Eddie Guerrero, but sometimes it feels like this company is excessive with the tributes to him.

Just way to many moving parts in this match and I hated it. Absolute waste of a street fight. Where is the blood and violence? Jericho won after hitting a Frog Splash on Dan Lambert. I really hope this is the end of Lambert’s time in the company. This feud sucked big time and the grand finale sucked even worse.

After this match, it was announced that Jay Lethal had joined the company and would be in action against Sammy Guevara on Dyanmite this week, in a TNT title match.

Main Event time! This match was fantastic. It’s always nice to end on a high note. I might even say that it was better than the opening bout! They were both great, the perfect bookends for a so/so PPV.

This is how you are supposed to end a feud. The Omega/Hangman storyline has been going on in this company for well over a year, so it was nice to see them leave absolutely everything in the ring. It was also nice to see it finished cleanly, with no outside interference.

The chemistry between these two was obvious. They exchanged move after move, counter after counter. Neither man could get the upper hand. Every time it looked like someone was about to take control, the other would come back and turn the tide.

I lost count of how many near falls there were. You couldn’t really ask for much more in a bout. Eventually, Hangman got the win as the Young Bucks gave him the nod of approval from the outside. Is the end of The Elite?

The Dark Order came out to celebrate with Hangman. With the stellar match behind them, the real work for Hangman starts now.

He has some big boots to fill, following Omega’s title run. There is no doubt that Hangman is an incredible wrestler, but it remains to be seem how he will go as the face of the company.

I have my doubts of his capability, but I won’t write anyone off without giving them the chance first. Hopefully he proves me wrong.

And that’s the end of the PPV. I didn’t hate it. It was definitely better than anything the WWE have done for ages. Personally though, I think it fell short of how good their PPV’s normally are.

All of the results were pretty obvious, which negatively impacted a couple of bouts. The hardcore stuff sucked big time, which was unusually for AEW. Unusual and incredibly disappointing. The start and end were fantastic though and I’m interested to see the next steps. I guess we will find out on Wednesday!

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