Buy In: Britt Baker def. Bea Priestley
I didn't care about this rivalry originally, but Baker's pre-match promo via the video package was excellent. They put together a pretty decent match and I liked how you could feel the bad blood between them. Baker giving Priestley her comeuppance should spell the end of this feud. Additionally, Awesome Kong finally returned afterward with Brandi Rhodes in tow. I was afraid Brandi would be coming back as a wrestler, but I don't mind her as a manager for Kong. On a side note, it was nice to hear Taz on commentary for this and I wouldn't mind him working more pre-shows in the future.
Santana and Ortiz def. The Young Bucks
These are two of the top tag teams in the world today and therefore it should have been no surprise that this was excellent. I loved how this was positioned as the opener and that they received as much time as they did. What's scary is that I know they have an even better match in them, which I assume we'll get as the feud continues. The Bucks have lot a few matches lately, but Santana and Ortiz picking up their first big win in AEW was more important. The Rock 'n' Roll Express laid out Santana and Ortiz post-match as retaliation from a few weeks ago and I'd be all for them going it in a one-off sometime soon.
"Hangman" Adam Page def. Pac
I was worried the crowd would be quiet for this coming off that hot opener, but Page and Pac managed to keep them engaged throughout. I don't know if this needed to be as long as the Bucks vs. Santana and Ortiz, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the match too much and both guys had great showings. It feels like Page has lost more than he's won since All Out, so he was the correct choice to go over here.
Shawn Spears def. Joey Janela
This was added to the card only a few days ago and didn't have much going for it aside from how Spears attacked Janela backstage on Tuesday's AEW Dark, so it was clearly intended to be filler. I appreciated Janela competing in something other than a hardcore match for a change and Spears needed this victory to get back on track. He was catching fire after his heel turn in June but was derailed by his loss to Cody at All Out. This was another outing that definitely didn't need to be as long as it was. Shave five minutes off this and it would have been a lot better. It was basically a means to an end with Spears winning as he should have.
AEW World Tag Team Champions SCU def. Private Party and The Lucha Brothers in a Three-Way Tag Team Match
I was hoping for an all-out sprint from these guys and they did not disappoint. I'm normally not a fan of total spot-fests, but this didn't have a story behind it, so I thought it was perfectly acceptable in this case. The crowd ate up everything they did and there never seemed to be a dull moment. My only nitpick of it was the flat finish. SCU are popular, yet not nearly as popular as Private Party or The Lucha Brothers. They wanted either of the other teams (specifically The Lucha Brothers) to take the titles and were let down when they didn't. Christopher Daniels returning afterward was a cool moment, but I'm not sure what the point was of him wearing Pentagon's gear to fool everybody. The dude was out of action for all of three weeks, so it's not as if it was some sort of shocking debut/return.
AEW Women's Champion Riho def. Emi Sakura
The video package that preceded this match was well done, though I wonder why none of it was shown prior to the pay-per-view. It would have given fans way more incentive to care about this. They had good chemistry together, but it just didn't have a big fight feel. Riho is a likable babyface, but she desperately needs a heel she can thrive against. No, I don't think that woman is Nyla Rose (their last match wasn't as amazing as some people made it out to be), but maybe Awesome Kong? Penelope Ford would also be a fine choice if she was actually featured on TV.
AEW World Champion Chris Jericho def. Cody
MJF accompanied Cody to ringside while Jake Hager accompanied Jericho. I was worried when this started out slow that it wouldn't live up to the hype, but once Hager was sent to the back by the referee and they picked up the pace in the second half, it turned into a super suspenseful main event with the crowd hanging on every nearfall. Cody did a masterful job of getting the crowd to rally behind him and the blood streaming down his face was a tremendous visual (Cody tends to bleed more than I'd like, but that's just personal preference). I can understand why some would see the finish as being anticlimactic, but it played perfectly into the story they were trying to tell with MJF wanting to protect his "best friend" (or so we thought). That led to MJF finally betraying Cody afterward with the low blow heard around the world. We knew this was coming sooner or later, but it packed a punch nonetheless and MJF drew major heat for it.
Jon Moxley def. Kenny omega in a Non-Sanctioned Match
I maintain that this didn't need the non-sanctioned stipulation attached to it, but I can't deny that it was wildly entertaining to a certain degree. It won't be for everyone, but I dug most of the spots and thought it was befitting of the feud they've had up to this point. They went a little too far with some of the stuff they did (including with the screwdriver and shards of glass) as it came across as too "indie" in my opinion, but at least it felt like they were doing everything imaginable to put the other away because they were desperate to prove themselves as the superior athlete. To say they took full advantage of the extreme environment would be an understatement, as it only got more and more brutal as it progressed. There were a number of points where I would have ended it, yet they continued to kick out everything that was being dished out. That nasty-looking Paradigm Shift from Moxley on the exposed wood made a hell of a finish, though.
First and foremost, I hated how Full Gear exceeded the three hour mark. I'm not a fan of when WWE does it, either, but at least they advertise their pay-per-views as running four hours in advance. If AEW truly wants to be an alternative to them, they need to end their events on time. Tighten up some of the matches and get rid of the filler (such as Spears vs. Janela). I understand AEW might be doing quarterly pay-per-views, which is ideal, but that's no excuse for these shows to be wrapping up around 11:40 p.m. eastern time. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed Full Gear. All of the main matches delivered, and although no championships changed hands, I'd argue all of the right booking decisions were made and the audience was electric for everything that mattered. I'm looking forward to the fallout on Wednesday's Dynamite.
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