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Hangman Page Era Begins at 'Full Gear'

Kenny Omega's reign atop AEW is over after Hangman Page defeated him Saturday night in a captivating world title match.

There is a new face of All Elite Wrestling.

Hangman Page won the AEW world title in the main event of Full Gear, defeating Kenny Omega and putting an end to his 346-day title reign. Page becomes just the fourth person to hold the belt since its creation in August 2019, and there is a tremendous amount of optimism surrounding this new opportunity for the “Anxious Millennial Cowboy” as he takes his place as the top star in the company.

The matches ran long, with eight out of nine bouts running over 15 minutes. The shortest was CM Punk against Eddie Kingston, which clocked in at 11 minutes, leaving fans wanting more. Both Punk and Kingston came off as stars here, and the violent encounter fit their story perfectly.

There was a lot to like at Full Gear, and the match of the night was the opener of MJF vs. Darby Allin. It ended with MJF—just as he predicted—defeating Darby Allin with a side headlock. Right before, MJF had knocked out Allin with his Dynamite diamond ring, so finishing the match with the side headlock was a creative finish. There was also a surprise debut at the pay-per-view, with former two-time Ring of Honor champion Jay Lethal announcing that he is now All Elite.

Here are the results from Full Gear:

  • Hikaru Shida and Thunder Rosa defeated Nyla Rose and Jamie Hayter on the pre-show
  • MJF defeated Darby Allin
  • The Lucha Bros. defeated FTR to retain the AEW tag team titles
  • Bryan Danielson defeated Miro to become the number-one contender for the AEW title
  • Christian Cage and the Jurassic Express defeated Adam Cole and the Young Bucks in a Falls Count Anywhere match
  • Cody Rhodes and PAC defeated Andrade and Malakai Black
  • AEW women’s champion Dr. Britt Baker defeated Tay Conti
  • CM Punk defeated Eddie Kingston
  • Chris Jericho, Santana, Ortiz, Jake Hager, and Sammy Guevara defeated Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page, Junior dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski, and Dan Lambert in a Minneapolis Street Fight
  • Hangman Page defeated Kenny Omega to become the new AEW champion
Hangman Page delivers a blow to Kenny Omega.

Hangman Page delivers a blow to Kenny Omega in the AEW world title match.

The show opener pitting MJF against Darby Allin was, in a word, phenomenal. Both were coming off pay-per-view losses; MJF lost to Chris Jericho at All Out in September, while Allin lost that same night to CM Punk. MJF bounced back by outsmarting Allin and bending the rules. MJF brought Allin’s skateboard in the ring and handed it to him, tempting Allin to get disqualified. He instead handed it to the referee, and while the ref’s back was turned, MJF drilled Allin with his “Dynamite” diamond ring. Then, just as he had boasted he would, MJF defeated Allin after hitting a side headlock.

It is a surprise that MJF did not win his feud against Chris Jericho, but the stipulation that Jericho would have to leave AEW gave no other choice but for Jericho to win. With the win against Allin, MJF is now ready for an even bigger program, and there is no better opponent for him right now than CM Punk.

The Lucha Bros. and FTR also continued their program. Penta and Fenix retained the AEW tag titles at Full Gear, gaining a measure of revenge against Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, who defeated them last month for the AAA tag titles. This was another outstanding match, which is a reoccurring statement each time both of these teams step into the ring. The finish, which protects FTR as well as prolongs the feud, saw Harwood and Wheeler put on their luchador masks. That backfired when Wheeler was pinned even though Harwood was the legal man, but the referee never noticed that difference because of the masks. The two teams meet again on December 4 at AAA’s Triplemanía Regia II.

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Bryan Danielson and Miro then offered a unique contrast of styles. The match, which determined the new No. 1 contender for the AEW title, was a stark change of pace from the opening two matches. Danielson won the match by submission, marking the first real surprise finish of the show. With the conventional wisdom leading to the notion that Hangman Page was winning the world title, it would have made sense to have Miro win here and be the first challenger for the belt. But Page-Danielson is an extremely compelling matchup. It is one that does not need to be rushed into happening anytime soon, and the two stars should build toward a major clash.

Jurassic Express and Christian Cage defeated the Young Bucks and Adam Cole in a chaotic Falls Count Anywhere match. While this was the AEW pay-per-view debut for Cole, leading to the belief that he would win, the finish made complete sense as Jungle Boy covered Matt Jackson for the victory. Cole is on a trajectory headed straight toward challenging Page for the world title, and this loss does not hurt his standing. The one that truly needed this victory was Jungle Boy. At only 24, this win at Full Gear marks an important moment in his career, and still leaves the door open for a match against Page, who he has yet to beat one-on-one.

Following the six-man tag, Cody Rhodes teamed with PAC against Andrade and Malakai Black, who are all former WWE stars. With so many former WWE stars now part of AEW, eventually there will come a time when an AEW star departs for WWE. The biggest name that could do that, at least in my estimation, would be Rhodes, one of the founding members of AEW. Wouldn’t it be remarkable if Rhodes was WWE champion before holding the AEW title? Greeted to a fair amount of boos at Full Gear, Rhodes worked an entertaining match with this talented collection of stars. Despite teasing issues between the two, Rhodes and PAC won the match, only to be attacked by FTR and Black afterward.

Dr. Britt Baker also successfully defended the AEW women’s title in a competitive bout against Tay Conti. There was no question that Baker was going over, as she's laying the foundation for a memorable title run, but the goal here was to build Conti into a legitimate contender for the belt. And that is exactly what happened. Conti got plenty of near-falls–and the finish was smart, with Baker fortunate to escape with a victory. Conti has all the tools to be a major wrestling star, and this match only reinforced that belief.

In a match dedicated to the memory of the legendary Eddie Guerrero, CM Punk defeated Eddie Kingston. A bloodied Punk won with the GTS, but the match provided a lot of offense, right from the beginning, for Kingston.

This was a short but dramatic program, and the only frustration surrounding is it did not last longer. Kingston opted not to shake Punk’s hand after the match, and there is plenty of reason to believe these two will reengage their program at a later point—especially if Punk ever becomes AEW champion.

There were a number of multi-person matches, including the Minneapolis Street Fight pitting The Inner Circle against Men of the Year and American Top Team. Sammy Guevara took an outrageous bump off the top of a ladder and onto a table in the spot of the night. He and the rest of the Inner Circle were victorious when Chris Jericho–in a finish reminiscent of Demolition pinning Mr. Fuji in a handicap match against the Powers of Pain at WrestleMania V–pinned Dan Lambert for the win. There was also a spot in the match where Ethan Page was outside the ring taunting Jake Hager’s wife, which led to a fun exchange where 81-year-old wrestling luminary Baron von Raschke, who was ringside, locked the famed claw onto Page.

In the segment before the main event, Tony Schiavone introduced Jay Lethal to AEW. Lethal, who at one point was the face of Ring of Honor, immediately challenged TNT champion Sammy Guevara, which he accepted. Beginning with Lethal, more talent from ROH is expected to sign with AEW.

In the main event, Kenny Omega and Hangman Page worked a captivating world title match. There were a couple of convincing near-falls, and the turning point occurred when Page escaped from Omega’s One-Winged Angel finisher. That is one of the most protected finishers in wrestling, but Omega never hit it. That built to Page hitting back-to-back Buckshot Lariats on Omega, each in front of the Young Bucks, for the win. Neither of the Bucks interfered in the match, and it appeared Matt Jackson gave Page a nod of approval before winning the belt.

Following the win, Page celebrated in the ring with the Dark Order. That celebration will continue, as AEW makes its debut in Virginia—Page’s home state—this Wednesday on Dynamite. Page winning the title was always part of the plan in AEW, and that finally materialized at Full Gear. Now he has a chance to lead the company, the biggest opportunity to date in his career.

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