Here we are. We’ve made it to the final AEW Pay-Per-View of the year. Full Gear is going to be the turning point for a lot of stars as it could produce new champions, new opportunities, and for some, the final chapters in month-long wars. Amongst this mass of matches, we’ll see the NWA Women’s World Title defended against a former Champ, MJF take on Chris Jericho for a spot in the Inner Circle, Nyla Rose getting her rematch at the AEW Women’s World Title, Darby Allin getting a chance at the TNT Title and the big main event of Eddie Kingston taking on Jon Moxley in an I Quit match. There’s all this and more as we take AEW’s wild ride once again. So, join me, the ringmaster of blood and guts as we strap in for AEW Full Gear 2020.

The Buy-In – NWA Women’s Title Match: Serena Deeb defeated Allysin Kay via Serenity Lock

AEW decided to tease in the viewers by putting a high-profile title match on the Buy-In. it would be the newly-crowned champion Serena Deeb taking on one of the title’s most prestigious holders, Allysin Kay. Would Kay be able to reclaim her lost gold or would the champion be able to hold on? Both women brought their A-game for a very aggressive and hard-hitting fight of limb-targeting, powerful impact moves, and even more powerful strikes. Allysin Kay brought a vicious side out of Deeb and ultimately paid the price for it as Deeb ruthlessly broke the limbs necessary for the Serenity Lock. Kay wasn’t a pushover, bullying Deeb through a height advantage but in the end, some clever targeting and Dragon Screws in the ropes led to the former NWA Women’s champion tapping out. They definitely should have brought in more viewers with this exceptional slice of women’s wrestling and the surprise confrontation between Thunder Rosa and Serena Deeb only leaves us with a sense that those two will be squaring off again soon.

World Title Eliminator Tournament: Kenny Omega defeated Hangman Adam Page via One-Winged Angel

The main show opened with the highly-anticipated tournament final between Hangman Page and Kenny Omega. After weeks of build and eliminations, we’ve reached the final of the World Title Eliminator title tournament. It would be the former tag champions falling apart and fighting for the right to challenge for the AEW World Title. Bonds would be broken and dark sides would be unleashed as Page and Omega went to war.

What an opener it was. These two took a time limit and weaved an insane back-and-forth tale of two fighters who know each other so well. Omega and Page smacked so many shades of hell out of each other as they hit hard and got hit harder. The V Triggers, the Lariats, the powerbombs and so much more gave this match an incredible amount of impact. After some close calls with Dead Eye and a roll-up, Omega was able to destroy the knee of Page and get him up for the killing blow, The One-Winged Angel. This might have been predictable but with the action in-ring, I still got sucked into the action and reeled in with the near falls. This is how you open a show.

Orange Cassidy defeated John “4” Silver via Beach Break

On paper, this match might seem pretty throwaway. A Dark Order vs. Best Friends bout with minimal stakes. Then you remember who’s in the match. John Silver and Orange Cassidy are two of the most fun, athletic and entertaining guys in the company, and here they had a big platform to work with. Whilst not quite as dramatic as the previous match, it was definitely as physical. John Silver is a powerhouse, able to lift Cassidy with one hand, and when he hits you or kicks you, it hurts.

This match gave him a lot of time to show what he was capable of as he tore away the source of Orange Cassidy’s power, his pockets, and laid into him with a whole host of vicious strikes. He had an answer to all of Cassidy’s offence but couldn’t keep him down. Instead, he decided to go for his leader’s finisher and tried for the discus forearm but it missed and gave Cassidy the chance to quickly take the win. Again, it was a bit of a predictable result, but it gave Silver a ton of air time, and I’m happy for that.

TNT Championship: Darby Allin defeated Cody (w/Arn Anderson) via Roll-Up

Now we come to the most hotly contested title in the whole company. Since its introduction, the TNT Title has led to surprise appearances and many a mystery opponent especially with Cody at the helm. Now that Cody had reclaimed it from Mr. Brodie Lee, he was going to present an opportunity to an old foe, Darby Allin. Could Allin be the man to end Cody’s second reign with the belt? Cody even rubbed the lonely angle in Allin’s face by coming out with his whole entourage. What followed was a slow-burn match of Cody systematically dismantling the arm of Allin. As time went on, he got cockier and cockier and more and more clumsy until it cost him the match. Arn Anderson was getting more and more agitated with Cody as the match went on and Cody made more mistakes or deviated from his plan. After surviving an avalanche Cross-Rhodes and so much more, Allin was able to make it back into the match and started to really give Cody a taste of his own medicine. Once a roll-up train began, Allin got leverage and won the title. He had finally bested Cody and took the TNT Title for his own.

He couldn’t celebrate though as Taz and Team FTW rushed the ring and laid out both Cody and Darby Allin. Ricky Starks and Brian Cage threw Allin through a set-piece and nearly broke his arm but Will Hobbs saved him. This was genuinely way better than I expected it to be. Whether you love him or hate him, Cody knows how to work to someone’s strengths and bring the drama and story to a match.

AEW Women’s World Title: Hikaru Shida defeated Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) via Tamashii/Knee Barrage

Despite Cody’s lacklustre response to the build-up of this match, I was excited about it. The original match between these two was exceptional and I highly doubt Nyla Rose has been quietly contemplating that loss she was given. She was coming for blood, Shida’s blood. With Vickie Guerrero at her side, could she reclaim the Women’s Title and make history as the first two-time champion? No, she could not as Shida started very strong and very fast, hammering Rose until Rose took out her knee and went all-out to try and cripple her. We went into a slug-out fight to maintain control and come back from certain doom. Vickie Guerrero would actually be the deciding factor in Shida’s victory as she saved Rose from a Tamashii then took a lariat from her own partner. Shida would use this miscommunication and assault Rose with a barrage of running and standing knee strikes until she knocked Rose out long enough for the pin. Despite the lack of build here, the ladies made the most of the time they had and gave us a very physical and tactical bout. I found this fun and it offered a nice clash of styles as Shida worked and succeeded in showing she is the dominant Women’s Champion.

AEW World Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) defeated FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) via Superkick on Wheeler

Hey, remember when this feud was just a joke in Being the Elite? Now, it was here for us all to see. The Young Bucks and FTR were going to go to war for the tag belts with an added stipulation. If the Bucks lost, they were never allowed to challenge for the belts again. With an ankle injury hampering them too, could the Bucks pull off the big win or would they lose all their future shots at tag-team gold? This was absolutely mental. Talk about a homage to every classic tag team in professional wrestling. We saw so many throwbacks as old-school battled new-school in a battle for supremacy. Harwood fought with an injured hand as Matt fought with an injured ankle. Both weak points were targeted heavily as we saw so many questionable choices made. Cash Wheeler was the top flyer of the match, showing old school guys do it best but ended up getting so into it, he cost his team. Wheeler went for a flip and missed, eating a superkick from Matt for the killing blow. This match had an unbearable amount of hype to live up but somehow, it managed to do it. I think the stipulation limited it a bit but the action more than made up for it. I loved this but I get it will not live up to everyone’s lofty expectations.

The Elite Deletion Match: Matt Hardy defeated Sammy Guevara via Head-Crusher Chair Shot

I love the Hardy Compound. When Broken Matt Hardy gets a chance to shine, things can only go well. These two have had a bit of a turbulent feud that resulted in a lot of outrage so now, the pair have a chance to satiate people’s need for a match and bring them something much more entertaining than shock-inducing. I think this was more shocking, to be honest. Entertaining 100% but towards the end, this entered the realm of the nasty. We had monster trucks, fireworks, appearances from Gangrel, Greg Helms, and The Hurricane, Private Party vs Proud N Powerful and so much more throughout the runtime of this match.

Sammy was murdered by the end of this as he hurt his neck performing a Swanton off a ladder and got destroyed by several table and chair shots. There was “blood” pouring from Guevara as Hardy finished him off by mashing his head against the concrete of the Dome of Deletion then put him in a bin and had Senor Benjamin take the trash away. This was silly but my god was it fun. I loved the throwbacks, the jokes, the mud show antics, and everything goofy or dangerous they did. Once again, this won’t be for everyone but I imagine it tickled way more than it turned off.

We also got a message from the White Kit-Kat Lance Archer (you’re welcome Pat) after the match threatening to kill everyone in his way as he had nothing to do and no one to play with. He was ready to throw boulders at those in glass houses. AEW better beware because Lance Archer often proves that everybody dies.

Inner Circle Membership Fight: MJF defeated Chris Jericho via Lying Cheating Roll-Up

This one was a unique one. Two bad guys fighting over the right to enter a secret society of wrestlers after enjoying a musical dinner that broke the internet, well sign me up. There was no predicting what could happen here, especially with an Inner Circle invite on the line. Unfortunately, this match fell quite flat. You know you’re loathed when you make Jericho the good guy in the match. it felt like Jericho of old vs modern-day Jericho. The pair didn’t really mesh and though they tried to tell the story of MJF breaking Jericho’s arm for the Salt of the Earth, it just didn’t really have a lot of energy behind it. I enjoyed the trading of shenanigans as they both tried to be bad guys and use the sneakiest of tactics to win. MJF tried to use the Dynamite diamond ring as a villain but it was a fake-out with Floyd the baseball bat that got him the sneaky roll-up on Jericho.

He tried playing a straight wrestling match with Jericho but it would be the shrewd villainous side of MJF got him the win. He’s now a part of the Inner Circle but will he be a blessing or a curse for the collective of AEW’s biggest and baddest? Only time will tell, we know he isn’t popular. Though having Jake Hager and Wardlow in the same group is a very terrifying prospect.

After the match and Jericho fulfilling his end of the bargain, we got a trailer announcing the next AEW PPV. It’ll be Revolution and it will take place on Saturday, February 27.

AEW World Championship – I Quit Match: Jon Moxley defeated Eddie Kingston via Barbed-Wire Bulldog Choke

Now for the main event. The big bad match of the night where someone was going to get hurt, badly. These two have been at each other’s throats for weeks. Both are more than capable of getting violent and I imagine both would rather die than say I quit. This was going to get brutal and I was going to love every second of it. They’ve murdered each other in the past and they were going to do it again. Kingston got extra style points for having very Mitsuharu Misawa-Esque gear and we had a tribute to Tracy Smothers.

They opened by throwing hands and chops before going into ground games with added biting. Kingston hit the first throw with an Overhead Belly to Belly and Moxley made the first dive. Moxley pelted Kingston with a chair and bounced him off the railings. He tried to break Kingston’s fingers and the pair brawled around Dally’s Place. Moxley suplexed Kingston onto the concrete and put him in a grounded headlock. Moxley got thrown across the floor and brought out the plunder. Moxley was cut open and took a barbed-wire bat to Kingston, hammering it into his ribs. He raked it across Kingston’s face and mouth then ate a duo of backdrops from Kingston. Kingston pelted him with a chair to the face and Moxley went to the eyes. They fought on their knees and Kingston went for a straight-up choke. Moxley took more chairs to the head and Kingston wrapped his fist in barbed-wire and mashed Moxley with ground and pound strikes. He hit the Uraken spinning back-fist and put Moxley in a Kimura lock.

Moxley broke free with a bite to the knee so Kingston let him go and set up some chairs. Moxley drove Kingston onto them with a Suplex but got KO’ed with a clothesline. He pulled out a black sack and covered the ring in tacks. They traded suplexes then Moxley floored Kingston with a rebound clothesline. Moxley tried for the Paradigm Shift but Kingston broke free and dumped Moxley into the tacks with a swinging Uranage. He grabbed a bottle of rubbing alcohol and stomped on Moxley’s balls, demanding he quit. This process happened multiple times but Moxley wouldn’t give. Kingston upped the ante by pouring the alcohol all over the punctured back of Moxley but Moxley still wouldn’t give up. He fed Moxley a mouthful of tacks and put Moxley in the bulldog choke mixed with cross-face shots.

Moxley transitioned this to a sleeper into a stump puller piledriver and a Paradigm Suplex. Moxley wrapped his forearm with barbed-wire and locked the bulldog choke in again. Kingston had nowhere to go and no other choice but to dejectedly say I quit. I could probably write a whole essay on why this match was amazing but it’s something that is conveyed perfectly through a visual medium. This wasn’t flashy, it was just raw, vicious violence. It was just two guys giving it everything and pushing the limits of their pain threshold to get the AEW title. It was a violent masterpiece of old-school wrestling storytelling. Imagine King’s Road of AJPW meets the violent tendencies of FMW. Perfection. Hat’s off to both guys for making this match work so damn well.

So, there you have it, AEW’s Full Gear 2020 reviewed for your reading pleasure. I loved this show for the most part. Most of the matches were amazingly well done, with the AEW stars all putting in their best efforts to make the final PPV of their year one to remember. It didn’t have the awkward moments of All Out and offered a tag team masterclass, another belter from the women, the madness of the Elite Deletion, and that masterpiece of a main-event. Even the lowest of the matches here had their moments. Full Gear was an enjoyable ride with very few roadblocks to make the trip unpleasant. I fully recommend it to everyone as there will be something to enjoy even if you aren’t usually a fan of AEW’s taste in wrestling. Even if it’s just for the main event. Right, thank you for reading, and be sure to come back for your weekly Dynamite review with Patrick! If Lance Archer hasn’t murdered him in-between…

All images, screencaps and tweets courtesy of AEW and @FrenchNygma exclusively for @steelchairmag

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