AEW Full Gear Review (2023)

18/11/23 – KIA Forum in Los Angeles, CA 

Commentary – Tony Schivone, Excalibur, Nigel McGuines and Taz

Zero Hour Pre-Show

ROH World Championship Match 

Eddie Kingston (c) vs Jay Lethal (with Jeff Jarret, Karen Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh) 

Stokley Hathaway joins the commentary team. Stokley who is on the board of directors for ROH has a problem with Kingston being champion and isn’t afraid to show it. 

Both men start the match with a half hearted hand shake which I found strange as the feud hasn’t been friendly at all, with Kingston saying he didn’t  respect Lethal. 

Lethal had all his cronies at ringside with him who played their part in distracting the referee to give Lethal the advantage.

Some may not like being on the pre-show but I think it was a good spot for this match as the crowd were hot and not fatigued like they probably will be in 5 hours. The crowd got into this match. 

Both men kept it classic in this one.

The crowd popped when the pink suit wearing Dutt got punched to the outside by Kingston for interfering on the apron, he fell back and took out Jeff Jarrett in the process. 

Both men clotheslined each other to the mat and it was a crawling race for the first one to get the vacant guitar of Jarrett’s on the ring apron. 

Ortiz came to ringside and grabbed the guitar, he blasted Dutt over the head with the it aligning himself with Kingston after a few weeks of Dutt trying to recruit him. 

In the ring Kingston hit Lethal with the spinning back fist to pin him and retain the ROH championship. 

Singles Match

Buddy Matthews vs Claudio Castagnoli 

The match was created the night before on Collision after Buddy beat Wheeler Yuta and was going to beat him after the match with a chair. 

Super physical match, these guys like to wrestle a hard hitting style and that’s exactly what we got. Castagnoli European uppercutting Buddy all over the guard rail. 

He tried it too many times with Buddy cutting him off with a knee strike. Back in the ring Buddy tried a drop kick but was caught by Castagnoli who put Buddy in the Big Swing. 

Castagnoli had Buddy in the Sharpshooter, Buddy crawled to the ropes but got dragged back to the centre and had no option but to tap out. Castagnoli with the win via submission. 

Buddy ignores Castagnoli’s attempt at a handshake after the match. 

Ring Of Honor Tag Team Title Match

MJF and Samoa Joe (c) vs The Gunns

MJF came out with a Lakers inspired shirt that said “He’s our scumbag” In the words of Nigel McGuiness he was pandering to the LA crowd.

MJF put the boots to the Gunns and dominated them, he went to Samoa Joe and said “I don’t need you” Joe slapped MJF’s chest and tagged himself in, he cleaned house and tagged MJF back in. 

The Gunns got in control of MJF and made some quick tags in and out until MJF made a hot tag to Joe. 

Joe was getting doubled team by the Gunns until Adam Cole’s music hit as he hobbled down to the ring in his crutches which distracted The Gunns allowing Joe to clutch a rear naked choke on Colten Gunn for the victory. 

Joe and MJF had a handshake after the match,  they agreed on the deal for a AEW title match for Samoa Joe.

Joe left and The Gunns attacked MJF with Cole unable to do anything being on crutches. The Gunns delivered chair shots to MJF’s knee and jumped on a steel chair wrapped to MJF’s ankle putting him in doubt for the AEW title match for later on this evening. MJF was stretchered out as the pre-show ended. 


Six Man Tag Team Match

Christian Cage, Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne vs Sting, Adam Copeland and Darby Allin (with Ric Flair) 

Bit surprised this was the first match of the night but probably a good spot to be in when the crowd is hot. 

Nick Wayne got beaten and thrown around the ring by Darby then Sting, Wayne tagged out to Christian, Sting went to tag Copeland so the two former friends could face, Christian in typical heel fashion tagged out to Luchasaurus to avoid confronting Copeland. 

Darby was tagged in and took a hellacious bump when Luchasaurus chokeslammed him over the top rope onto the the hard outside part of the ring. 

Darby proceeded to get beaten up by all three men. Christian was an absolute thorn in the side as he frustrated the hell of out of Sting and Copeland. 

Finally Darby made the hot tag to Copeland who went straight for Christian but was cut off by Luchasaurus as Christian scampered away. 

There was a fun spot on where Flair confronted Christian on the outside, Christian pushed Flair who then punched and chopped him, Christian poked Flair in the eyes and them delivered a low blow. 

Back in the ring Luchasaurus had Copeland held so that Christian could nail him with the TNT title, Copeland ducked and Luchasaurus got hit with the belt, Copeland went straight for Christian who once again ran and made his way into the crowd. 

Back in the ring Luchasaurus got triple teamed with Darby hitting the Coffin Drop and Copleland making the cover for the win. 

Tony Schiavone has Jay White with him and a referee, Tony comes across very surly and states that MJF is injured and his match with Jay White is cancelled, he was a about to say by default Jay White would be champion but was interrupted by Adam Cole.

Adam Cole on crutches and injured says he won’t allow Jay White to take his best friend MJF’s title and said with one leg he will defend the title for him. He apparently already talked to Tony Kahn and it’s official. 

So let me get this straight, they won’t allow MJF to defend his title because he is injured from the beating at the hand of Gunns earlier tonight yet Tony Kahn is perfectly fine allowing the actually injured, on crutches,  Adam Cole wrestle? That makes no sense.  

AEW International Championship Match

Orange Cassidy (with Hook) vs Jon Moxley (with Wheeler Yuta) 

Moxley looked bloodthirsty in this match and whooped Cassidy from pillar to post. 

Moxley did a good job in this feud to make me feel he had distain for Cassidy and actually hated him. Cassidy also does a good job of taken a beating and would probably be second to Darby Allin in that regard. 

Moxley can’t help himself but to bleed in nearly every PPV match he is in and had a crimson mask after several headbutts from Cassidy on the top rope. 

Cassidy hit several dives through the rope to the outsid on Moxley that had him dazed.

Back in the ring Moxley had enough and started the ground and pound on Cassidy and locked in a headlock to try tap him out but Cassidy slipped out. 

The turnbuckle came off and was exposed from a flurry in the corner which the referee didn’t see. 

Moxley got hit into the exposed turn buckle a few times as well as several orange punches and then a beach break to win the match. 

Another loss for Moxley, I’m surprised it went down this way and I think his stock is dropping with losses like this to Cassidy and also Fenix at the last PPV, he should be pummeling these guys. 

AEW Womens Championship Match

“Timeless” Toni Storm (with Luther) vs Hikuru Shida

Two women who are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Toni Storm is all character based whereas Shida is all wrestling with little to no character at all. 

Toni Storm took some hard chops early on that had her chest flare up in welts. 

Mariah May was seen watching the match backstage, we have seen her in the last couple weeks be a super fan of Storm. 

Much of this match was dominated by Shida until she dived off the top rope and tweeked her knee that gave Storm an opening to apply the ankle lock and put further damage to the injured leg. 

On the outside, Shida had a kendo stick ready to hit Storm but Luther stopped her before she could strike, he got a kick in the balls and kendo stick shot for his troubles which the crowd loved. 

Storm hit Shida with a German suplex and nailed her with running Butt splash in the corner to pin Shida to become the new AEW women’s champion. 

Eddie Kingston with Rene Paquette backstage. Kingston announces he will be in the continental classic tournament and every match he will put his ROH World Championship and his NJPW Strong Open Weight Title on the line. 

AEW Tag Team Championship Ladder Match

Ricky Starks and Big Bill (c) vs LFI (Rush and Dralistico vs FTR ( Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) vs Kings of the Black Throne (Malakai Black and Brody King) 

A Side note, FTR’s music sucks, it doesn’t suit them. I’ve found this match and it’s build to be very thrown together, the ladder match stipulation was added at the last minute and came out of nowhere, Kings of The Black Thrown were just kind of thrown in this one also. 

Lot of guys jumping on one another on the outside to begin. They are all guilty of looking silly by waiting for an eternity to catch the diving opponent off the top ropes. 

Cash Wheelers face looked like it could have been smashed in from Malakai Black flinging the ladder off the ropes to catch him in the face. 

Cash Wheeler uncharacteristically low blowed Malakai Black on the top rope and pile drove Black onto the ladder. 

Most men in this match will be sore after this one with nearly all of them taking hard back bumps on the ladders. 

One of the worst bumps was Brody King doing a modified pile-driver on Dralistico onto a ladder that was positioned between the ring apron and the guardrail. Ouch! 

Bodies were flying everywhere and it left only one and that was Ricky Starks who climbed the ladder and grabbed the championships. 

TBS Women’s Championship Match

Julia Hart vs Skye Blue vs Kris Statlander (c)

Statlander dominated the two smaller girls in this match. She overpowered them at every turn. 

This mist in the eye storyline between Sky Blue and Julia Hart has been hokey, I’m wondering why Willow wasn’t included in this match as she has been prominent in this story. 

Sky Blue almost won the match after reversing a move from Statlander into her Code Blue finisher with Statlander narrowly kicking out. 

Statlander hit her tombstone pile-driver on Sky Blue, Julia Hart stole the win by clotheslining Statlander and picking up her scraps by pinning Sky Blue. 

Tony Schiavone makes the announcement of a new signing in AEW which turns out to be Will Osprey. He says he is on the road to Revolution. 

Texas Death Match

Swerve Strickland (with Prince Nana) vs Hangman Page

Hangman Page didn’t even had an entrance he just ran out and started attacking Strickland, hitting him with his Buckshot Lariat. 

Page threw a chair at Strickland super recklessly, I thought the corner cracked his head. Page tied Swerve’s hands together and used a staple gun on Swerve’s chest. 

Swerve was busted open, Page used his kids finger painting and stapled them to Swerve’s face. Page let Swerves blood drip into his mouth and sprayed it out. This was gross. 

Hangman tried to nail Swerve with a bar wired steal chair but got low blowed. 

Swerve stapled himself with a sadistic smile with blood running out of his forehead. 

Swerve threw Hangman head first into the barbwire steel chair that was positioned in the corner.  

Swerve did a DVD driver on Hangman on the ring apron on a cinder block. Both men were bleeding now but Swerve was the worse of the two. Swerve hit a Cactus Jack style pile-driver on the guardrail.

Swerve was so bloodied now, it’s one of the worst I’ve seen in recent memory. 

This match was hard to watch, barbaric, especially the barb wire stuff. Lunacy. 

Swerve went for the piledriver on the barbwire steel chair but got reversed with Hangman pile driving Swerve. 

Swerve hit Hangman on the back with the barb-wired Steel chair, one of the pieces of wire got loose and it wrapped around Hangman’s neck and face, super dangerous stuff here. 

Just when you thought it was nearly over Swerve brought out a bag of glass and put it on Hangman’s back and hit a 450 splash on his back with glass, insane! 

Swerve hit his driver and Hangman was getting counted, somehow he managed to get up.

Prince Nana got a barb-wired board out and put it in the ring, Swerve put it between two steel chairs and took Hangman up to the top rope to throw him threw it but was reversed as hangman did his backflip slam onto the barb wire, Power bombed and then did his Dead Eye finisher on the Wire. 

Hangman wrapped the barbwire around Swerves neck and face and hit his buckshot lariat. Referee counted but Prince Nana ripped Swerve out the ring to break the count.

Brian Cage came out and attacked Hangman and set up a table. Hangman fought back and nailed him with the barbwired, eliminating him from the equation. 

Prince Nana came in the ring and hit a Hangman with a steel chair to no effect, Hangman hit the Dead eye on Prince Nana through the table. 

Swerve came from behind and smashed the cinder block over Hangman’s head. 

Swerve wrapped a chain around Hangman’s neck and choked him till he was unconscious.

Swerve victorious in one of the most brutal matches I’ve seen in some time. Holy cow! 

AEW World Tag Team Title Shot Vs. Disbandment Match

“The Golden Jets” Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega vs The Young Bucks

Winner receives a AEW Tag Team Championship match.  

Don Callis joins the commentary team. 

I felt this match was made last minute. Jericho and Omega’s path was against the Callis Family and I think at one point it was suppose to be the 4 on 4 match at this PPV that we saw on Dynamite, now the focus has shifted to The Young Bucks.

Young Bucks have been a bit cold lately not really having much to do and this just feels like it was put together just to give them a match. 

Jericho was letting Matt Jackson have it in the corner, Omega tagged himself and blocked Jericho, showing that he still has alignment with The Bucks and didn’t want Jericho to hurt them too much. 

The Bucks began double teaming Jericho and using some dastardly tactics behind the referees back. 

Jericho’s arm was all bloodied from what I’m unsure of, maybe some left over barbwire from the last match perhaps? 

Jericho made the hot tag to Omega who didn’t seem to care as much inflicting damage to The Young Bucks, doing some really innovative moves to knock them out of the ring. 

Omega seemed to hurt his knee and tagged Jericho back in. Nick Jackson behind the refs back kicked Jericho in the balls, he went to do the same thing on Omega but was caught red handed by Omega. The referee confronted Nick Jackson on this and behind her back Matt Jackson kicked Omega in the balls too. 

Nick Jackson hit the Judas Effect on Jericho with Omega narrowly saving Jericho. The Bucks hit the two knees to head which Jericho somehow kicked out of, Jericho was trying everything to fight both off Bucks and gave them a taste of their own medicine by low blowing Nick Jackson. 

Omega came back and teased he was going to knee Jericho but swerved the crowd and kneed Nick Jackson followed a few dragon suplexes, he went for the One Winged Angel but was reversed into a reverse Hurricanrana.

Nick hit Omega’s own finisher on him which Omega narrowly kicked out. All four men got in the ring with a flurry of super kicks, eventually Omega was able to get Matt Jackson up for One Winged Angel and get the win. 

The Bucks have a massive dummy spit after the match with Omega looking on disgusted with their behaviour. 

AEW World Championship Title Match

Jay White (with The Gunns) vs MJF (c) 

This started off with Adam Cole in place of MJF to defend the title for him. Before the match could get started a fire engine siren started to ring, MJF was driving the vehicle and was coming back to the arena. He hobbled out and was making his way to the ring. 

MJF’s music hit and the crowd erupted as he made his way to the ring with trainers and staff telling MJF to stop and that he couldn’t wrestle. 

I found this comical as no one stopped Adam Cole going to the ring to wrestle even though he had a cast and crutches. 

White attacked MJF like he was a wounded animal and went straight for the injured leg. 

He threw MJF out of the ring and distracted the ref while the Gunns stuck the boots into MJF, The Gunns continued to be a nuisance to MJF until finally the referee caught them red hand and ejected them to the back. 

White taunted Adam Cole on the outside which made MJF furious, he tried to fight back but it was always a struggle with Jay White just kicking his knee would gain him control. 

On a side note Jim Ross would have been perfect on commentary for this match, I could just hear him saying “MJF is like a one legged man in an asskicking contest.” 

MJF fought his way back in the match on the outside of the ring and went to place White on the table but it accidentally broke, MJF must of called an audible and went to the top rope and elbow dropped White straight on the floor, the impact looked like it hurt both men, crazy spot! 

MJF did another crazy spot where he had White on the ring apron he ran and dived over the top rope and hit a cutter to the outside. 

This match although had some spectacular moves and bumps it was just too long winded, the event was already 5 hours long and this didn’t need to be this long. 

Jay White had MJF in a Figure Four Leg Lock in the middle of the ring, Cole teased he was going to throw a towel in the ring to save his friend from getting seriously injured but at this point why would it matter as he has already done way worse than a figure four leg lock. 

MJF reversed the lock and White escaped. Behind the refs back, White ripped Adam Cole’s ROH tag belt off him as he tried to defend himself against White attacking him. Why he even had it to the ring to begin with was a little sketchy. 

In the ring the ref got knocked down after MJF kicked White backwards who bumped him to the ground. Cole tried to give his Dynamite Diamond Ring to hit White who struck MJF’s leg and ended up getting the ring instead. 

White was about to punch MJF with the ring but a low blow to White saved MJF. The Gunns ran down to the ring but ate some punches from MJF, he had the ring on his finger and punched White and got the three count to retain his title.

I thought the main event had a few plot holes, mainly with Adam Cole being perfectly fine to wrestle in place of MJF even thought he was more injured but somehow that was ok according to Tony Kahn and the trainers. 

Also why did MJF come back with a fire engine? I thought he went in an Ambulance to the hospital. 

The match was a little long for me but was entertaining for the most part and I’m hoping that this is the end of the feud for these two as I felt this feud had reached its plateau a few weeks back. 

Overall I enjoyed this year’s AEW Full Gear a lot more than the last one being Wrestledream. At least with this one every match had build up before hand. But why does it have to be this long? 5 hours is overkill in my opinion, but I give credit to the crowd, they never seemed to get tired and kept the energy up the whole event. 

Swerve and Hangman will probably be the match that people will remember most about this PPV.

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Kev Curran

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