Wednesday, March 15, 2023

AEW Full Gear 2022

Thus we come to the final AEW PPV of 2022... and no, I'm not counting the ROH PPV that came afterwards. Anyway, this was a show that I had zero interest in watching back then... partly because of the All Out business and partly because the card on paper just wasn't all that appealing. Unfortunately, AEW was in the middle of a rut and showed no signs of getting out of it.

Still, thanks to a buddy of mine, I was able to give this show a watch and for what it's worth, it was certainly a show... that went very, very, VERY long.

Yes, it took me two days to watch this PPV. That's a bad omen right there.

Jungle Boy Jack Perry (yes, that's what they're going with now) defeated Luchasaurus via Snare Trap submission in a STEEL CAGE match. In what seems like a bit of a trend on this show, things started off a bit slowly before steam was picked up and the match ended up getting good. Lucha plays a great monster heel for the smaller Jungle Boy to play off of and having Jack beat Lucha with the submission was something I didn't expect to see, but I'm not one to complain about a surprising finish. All in all, this was a fun match.

The Elite - back from exile that wasn't explained on television, but those who know know and those who don't don't - did NOT defeat World Trios Champions the Death Triangle (PAC and the Lucha Bros), as one of the bros hit Kenny with a hammer and then went for the pin to retain the titles. This would turn out to be the first in a Best Of Seven series that the Elite would eventually win to regain their Trios titles that they'd had to suspend. No doubt this got a billion stars in the Wrestling Observer newsletter and this was a fine match, but I wasn't really feeling it. Probably because I had seen them wrestle on Dynamite so many times that the first match loses its luster. Maybe if this had been a one-off thing, I'd be more into it, but it wasn't, so I wasn't. It happens sometimes, no worries. Better luck next time, that's all.

The series would eventually be won by the Elite, gaining back their Trios titles that they'd probably still have had that whole business not taken place. Speaking of which, there were "Fuck CM Punk" chants that were very loud. Anyway, this was the Elite's first match back since All Out and they hadn't missed a beat, it seems.

TBS Champion "Thundercat" Jade Cargill defeated "Low-Riding" Nyla Rose to retain the title and get back her belt, which Nyla stole weeks ago and so this whole feud is over Jade trying to get her belt back. I don't get it; does AEW not have another TBS title to give to Jade? They can seemingly shoot out TNT titles out of their ass given how many different designs have been sported by champions, but they can give the only credible champion in AEW a replica belt to hold on to until she gets the real one back? Anyway, this was a thing that happened. Not going to call it bad, but it wasn't all that exciting... not when the end result was never in doubt and nothing was done to deviate from that mindset.

ROH World Champion Chris Jericho defeated Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, and Sammy Guevara in a four-way match to retain the title. While Claudio was doing his swing, Jericho hit him with his spinning elbow move and then hit another one for the pin, which made for a clunky finish. I think one Judas Effect would've been sufficient; the audience isn't that fucking slow. Beyond that, you have three of the best talents in the promotion (and Sammy was there too) working their asses off to produce a super match that I probably would've enjoyed more if it had been a singles match or two. Four ways seem too busy at times.

By the way, Claudio would win the belt back from Jericho at the next ROH PPV... which I didn't watch.

Saraya -formerly Paige of WWE - defeated Dr. Britt Baker in her first match back since her injury way, way, WAY back when... and it was fine. Look, it's Saraya's first match back. You knew that it would take a while for her to get her groove back (and she eventually did, for better or worse) and given that she made it through the match in one piece, I will cut some slack. The same cannot be said for the crowd, who were largely dead throughout the match, especially when the former WWE Superstar Paige defeated the AEW Original Dr. Britt. Oh well. Better luck next time.

ROH Television Champion Samoa Joe defeated Powerhouse Hobbs and TNT Champion Wardlow via chokehold submission to Hobbs to win the TNT title and declare himself the King Of Television. Not exactly forward thinking there, Joe, but whatever - we'll go with it. They wanted to go for that whole big fuckers beating the fuck out of each other vibe, but that doesn't work when you have three big fuckers in there. Not a fan... but hey, Joe was a double champ for a while there.

It was at this point where the show started to feel a bit long in the tooth. And so I stopped the show and saved it for another time.


Sting and Darby Allin defeated Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal in what was essentially a party match. It wasn't the most impressive showing or the most hard-hitting, but it was a fun time, particularly with Sting and Jarrett reliving their spotty rivalry over the years. 

Jamie Hayter defeated AEW Women's Champion Toni Storm to win the title. Slow to start, but about halfway through, things started to pick up and the match got real good. Hayter winning the title here instead of waiting another six months was the right move.

AEW Tag-Team Champions The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) defeated Swerve In Our Glory (Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland) to retain the title in a largely forgettable match that saw Keith have enough of Swerve's cheating ways and after a slap from Swerve, Keith walks off on his partner, allowing the Acclaimed to get the win and retain the titles. Their first two matches were better than this, I'm afraid.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman defeated AEW World Champion Jon Moxley via William Regal bestowed brass knucks to win the title. The end result was pretty obvious even if the circumstances were a bit of a cluster. I'd explain it, but my brain hurts just thinking about it, so I will just tell you to look that stuff up yourself and be the judge. Still, MJF can call himself a World Champion; a title he continues to hold to this day. The match itself was... fine. It was alright. The finish was kind of convoluted and if it lead to anything, fine. But all that happened afterwards was that Max brass knucked Regal out of AEW so he could go back to WWE, but not before recording a weird promo telling his Club members that they don't need him anymore. I'd explain that a bit more, but now my eyes are hurting as well as my brain. Best look that stuff up yourself and grab some tranquilizers just in case.

The biggest takeaway from Full Gear 2022 is that it was too damned long. Other than that, there were some good matches on there and some not-so-good matches, but nothing that really stood out or anything of the sort. MJF winning the title should've been a much bigger deal than it came across as, but considering how lackluster his run as champion would be afterwards, maybe this was an omen of things to come. Anyway, still a fine show, but not up to the standards held by prior AEW PPVs.

Next week is Revolution... I was gifted the show... let's see if it's any better.

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