AEW's Full Gear Event Thrills But Leaves Questions Unanswered

A violent main event and two exciting opening matches carried AEW's Full Gear despite some unresolved storylines.
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AEW’s Full Gear pay per view provided a legitimate alternative to WWE programming, offering a wildly violent main event between Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega.

The show opened with two phenomenal matches in the Young Bucks-Santana/Ortiz and PAC-Adam “Hangman” Page, then closed out with a double main event, as Cody Rhodes challenged Chris Jericho for the AEW world title, followed by the Moxley-Omega carnage.

The biggest story development was MJF turning on Rhodes. Due to the loss, Rhodes is now unable to wrestle for the world title. Moxley’s victory should make him the next contender for Jericho.

Here are the results:

• Dr. Britt Baker defeated Bea Priestley on the pre-show

• Santana and Ortiz defeated the Young Bucks

• “Hangman” Adam Page defeated PAC

• Shawn Spears defeated Joey Janela

• SCU retained the AEW tag team titles in a triple threat over the Lucha Bros. and Private Party

• AEW women’s champion Riho defeated Emi Sakura

• Chris Jericho defeated Cody Rhodes to retain the AEW world title after Rhodes’ cornerman MJF threw in the towel

• Jon Moxley defeated Kenny Omega in a non-sanctioned “Lights Out” match

And here are my takeaways from AEW’s third pay per view:

1. If Cody Rhodes ever wins the AEW world title, rest assured it will happen in the main event.

Chris Jericho celebrated his 49 birthday in style by defeating Rhodes in the co-main event. Jericho appeared on the verge of winning via referee stoppage when MJF threw in the towel.

I would have preferred a clean finish for Jericho, but the story being told made more sense after MJF turned on Rhodes after the match.

As a result of the decision, Rhodes can no longer compete for the AEW title. That story now has even more to it, considering that Rhodes lost due to MJF double-crossing him. This has the potential to be a great storyline once Rhodes finally returns to the title picture.

The match succeeded in its ability to keep the audience unable to predict the winner throughout. Rhodes’ near pin fall following his Crossroads maneuver was a fantastic near fall. This was the match of the night, and it was a high-stakes, intense encounter that added value to the meaning of the AEW title.

Rhodes will now shift his focus to MJF. Jon Moxley is likely to emerge as the next opponent for Jericho.

2. Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega combined for a very non-traditional finale to the pay per view.

This was a non-sanctioned “Lights Out” match that did not count against either man’s win-loss record. I would have much preferred a no-DQ match that counted toward Omega and Moxley’s records. Why focus so much on records if your main event doesn’t count?

The match was gory and covered in blood, with a sadistic Omega working more as a heel and torturing Moxley with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire.

This was not a match that you would ever see close out a WWE pay per view in 2019 due to its violent nature. In addition to the barbed wire bat, trashcans and tables, there were also spots with mousetraps, broken glass and an ice pick. Each spot actually took a little away from the one prior. The focus on violence, punctuated by a spot onto a web of barbed wire, served as an unnecessary distraction from a match featuring two of the best performers in the business.

Wrestling fans have still yet to see the best of Omega in AEW. Instead of highlighting his wrestling ability, the match was a stunt show.

Even though the match doesn’t officially enter the AEW record books, this match decided the new number one contender for Jericho’s world title. With the Moxley victory, it will be interesting to see how AEW pivots to a Moxley-Jericho storyline.

3. The Young Bucks had one objective in the opening match: get Santana and Ortiz over with the AEW audience.

And they succeeded.

The match served as the perfect way to open the card, and the outcome was exactly as it should have been with Santana and Ortiz winning.

Known on the indies as EYFBO, then in Impact as LAX, Santana and Ortiz are Proud ‘n’ Powerful in AEW. They delivered an outstanding performance against the Bucks, who bumped and sold for their opponents. The Bucks remain the best tag team in the promotion, but early losses—to Private Party in the tag tourney and now to Santana and Ortiz—are necessary to help build the tag division.

Santana and Ortiz came off as stars in the win, but an important piece of their success in Impact was having Konnan as their manager. Konnan would add a lot to the team in AEW.

My only frustration was the aftermath, where the Bucks and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express teamed up to extract some revenge on Santana, Ortiz and fellow Inner Circle member Sammy Guevara.

Santana and Ortiz attacked the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express a couple weeks ago on Dynamite, then tormented the legendary tag team at their seats in the front row during Full Gear.

While Santana and Ortiz certainly deserved some comeuppance after their actions on two legends of the business, I would have preferred that the enormity of their AEW pay per view debut belonged entirely to them.

4. How did WWE allow PAC to slip away?

PAC, formerly Neville in WWE, lost to “Hangman” Adam Page in the second match of the night. The decision to have PAC lose was something of a surprise, but it was the right call.

PAC defeated Kenny Omega at AEW’s All Out pay per view in August, and clearly he is being groomed for a run atop the company, but Page needed this victory. Page also lost at All Out, dropping the main event to Chris Jericho.

Page is also a contender for the world title, so dropping consecutive matches on pay per view would have been a bad look for him. PAC already has his win against Omega, making him somewhat bulletproof in this match, even with a loss.

5. Riho defeated her mentor Emi Sakura to retain the AEW women’s title.

The broadcast team did a solid job highlighting the 13-year history between Riho and Sakura. But unlike the title match between Chris Jericho and Cody Rhodes, two performers with deep connections to the audience, both Riho and Sakura are largely unknown in the U.S.

The match was entertaining and intense, and the finish saw Riho outsmart her former teacher. But the 22-year-old Riho would have benefitted here by working against a more established opponent, like continuing her feud against Dr. Britt Baker.

AEW needs to invest more time into its women’s division. This match would have meant more if there was a bigger build for three or four weeks on Dynamite.

6. SCU defeated Private Party and the Lucha Bros. to retain the tag team titles in a triple threat match. The match adds some steam to the SCU-Lucha Bros. story, highlighted by Christopher Daniels’ return and subsequent attack on Pentagon, and effectively removes Private Party, at least for now, from the title picture.

Private Party took the fall, so there is no closure to the story between SCU and the Lucha Bros. Following the match, the lights went out—which has become all too common in pro wrestling—and Daniels appeared in a mask and Pentagon gear, unmasking after he laid out both Pentagon and Fenix.

Pentagon and Fenix delivered a package piledriver to Daniels on the October 16 edition of Dynamite, and the storyline included Daniels being stretchered out for what AEW said was a pinched nerve in his neck. I wouldn’t have had Daniels wear the Pentagon gear—we already saw Chris Jericho do that at All In and the crowd appeared to want a new talent to unveil himself under that mask—but it did show how Daniels is obsessed with revenge on Pentagon.

Singles matches between Pentagon and Daniels, as well as Daniels-Fenix, have the potential to be outstanding. That would allow the two luchadores to return to singles wrestling, where both could have a run as world champ (though that is far more likely at the current moment for Pentagon). Following their win over the Young Bucks, Santana and Ortiz should be the next challengers for SCU’s tag titles.

7. Overall, the pay per view was very good—but not quite great.

The show introduced MJF as one of the promotion’s new top heels and cemented Moxley’s place atop the card. The tag team title picture is now centered around SCU and the Lucha Bros., and “Hangman” Page was reintroduced as a top babyface.

But there are also many unanswered questions.

Will Riho receive more television time to build her next storyline? Where does AEW go next with Omega? Did the violent-filled main event force viewers to go too far in suspending their disbelief?

But the pay per view succeeded, as Wednesday’s edition of Dynamite is now must-see.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.