Wow, I beat Tommy tonight? Go me!
The SmarK Rant for AEW Full Gear 2020 – 11.07.20
Live from Jacksonville, FL
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Don Callis! Apparently just for the opener, though.
World title eliminator tournament finals: Kenny Omega v. Hangman Page
Page is a “Focused Yeehaw Man” according to the graphic. Kenny’s handshake is declined and battle to a stalemate to start, before Page hits him with a chop and they trade those. Kenny takes him down with a rana and Page bails to the floor, but comes back in with the big boot and they fight to the apron. Page snaps him back in with a superplex for two and they fight to the floor again and exchange more chops. Poor Kenny’s chest is already beet red, so Page changes it up by running him into the railing a few times. But on the third try, Kenny springs back with a moonsault off the wall and they head back in, where Kenny hits the Krusher for two. They continue exchanging horrifying chops and Kenny tries the fireman’s carry but lands badly on his knee and they do a facelock for a bit while Kenny recovers. Page clotheslines him to the floor again, but follows with a dive and misses, and Kenny hits the Terminator Dive off that. Back in, Kenny gets two. They reverse One Winged Angel attempts and Page gets sent to the floor, but Kenny hits him with the V-Trigger to the ramp and they fight out there. Page tries a Deadeye out there and Kenny escapes, but Page powerbombs him out there and then follows with another one in the ring for two. They slug it out and Page wins that with a rolling elbow, but Kenny hits him with the Tiger Driver for two. They trade suplex attempts, but Page hits him with a lariat to counter and follows with the Deadeye for two. Page sets up for the Buckshot, but Kenny ducks him and gets a crucifix, which Page blocks with a cradle for two. Another Buckshot attempt, but Kenny wrenches the leg to counter and hits a V-Trigger in the ropes. Page tries another one, but Kenny hits a pair of V-Triggers to counter and finishes with the One Winged Angel at 16:16 to win the title shot. Felt like they could have gone longer, but that’s a compliment. ***1/2 Didn’t really get into the big killer groove they were going for, but it was a really good opener.
John Silver v. Orange Cassidy
Orange goes for the pockets while Silver protests, and then takes Silver down for a selfie opportunity and rolls him up for two. Orange with the shin kicks while Silver yells that IT DOESN’T HURT, so Orange hits him with the dropkick and Silver finally has had enough and TEARS UP THE POCKETS. What a maniac. HE’S HARDCORE! So with the pockets ruined, Silver takes over for a bit and blocks a DDT attempt with a suplex for two. Silver whips him into the corner for two, but Orange flips to the apron and goes up with the bodypress into the swinging DDT for two. Orange goes up and Silver brings him down with a one-handed press slam, but Orange spins into a Michinoku Driver for two. Orange with a laconic throat cutting gesture, but Silver puts him down with high kicks, and Orange kips up again and makes the comeback. Silver rolls him up for two, and counters a backslide with kicks, but Orange gives him the stunner. Silver counters the Orange Punch with a spinning backbreaker slam for two, which is called the Spin Doctor. A lariat is blocked with the Orange Punch and the Air Raid Crash finishes at 9:48. Started slow but got really good by the end! ***1/4
TNT title: Cody RHODES v. Darby Allin
So I guess Cody’s declaration that he wouldn’t be using the Rhodes name was just kayfabing us. Cody’s increasing entourage of midcarders while Darby stands alone doesn’t exactly make Cody look like a super babyface. They trade hammerlock attempts and Cody escapes from that and flexes on us, then offers a condescending handshake. Cody gets cute again and Darby smacks him in the back of the head and Cody decides to get some advice from Arn. Darby chases him out again and then headfakes him into a tope, so Cody grabs a hammerlock and then drops Darby onto the ramp from there. Ouch! Back in, Cody works the arm and cranks on an armbar, then stomps the injured shoulder like a dick while demanding the ref ask for a submission. The man falls off high places in bodybags, I don’t think he’ll quit. Darby tries a springboard armdrag, but Cody counters by holding the wrist and takes him down with a double armbar on the mat and Allin has to make the ropes to escape. Cody does some pushups and Arn freaks out about it as we start up that storyline thread again, but Cody takes him to the top and gets a hammerlock slam off the top for two, then goes to an armbreaker as Darby has to make the ropes again. Cody goes up and misses a moonsault, then misses a blind charge and Darby fires back with a Code Red for two. Cody puts him down with a superkick, however, but Darby pulls off a turnbuckle pad and runs Cody into the steel for two. He tries to go up for the coffin drop, but Cody bites the arm to stop that and brings him down with a top rope Crossroads…which gets two, since Darby landed in the ropes and Cody didn’t bother to check. Darby tries a sleeper and Cody walks the turnbuckles and slams out of it, which puts Darby on the floor, but he beats the count at 9. Cody gets frustrated and hits him with slams while laying the badmouth on him, and a press slam gets two. Darby fights back with a cradle for two and the Last Supper for two, and the stunner sets up the Coffin Drop…for two. Cody tries the Crossroads, but they trade rollups and Darby ends up on top for the pin and the title at 17:05! They needed to pull the trigger on Darby and this was the right time. And Cody does the right thing and presents him with the belt to put him over. Great story told here with Darby not giving up and Cody not wanting to put him away, and paying for it with his title. **** But then Team Taz comes out to break up the celebration, as Cage and Starks lay out both guys and Taz steals the TNT title, and they haul Darby over to the Full Gear set piece and throw him through it while Cody tries to make the save. And then the poor guy is about to have his arm broken in his own car door, but Will Hobbs makes the save and chases them off.
Meanwhile, Dustin and QT have had enough of Allie’s gold-digging crap, and this Wednesday it’s a Bunkhouse match to settle things with the Butcher and the Blade.
AEW Women’s title: Hikaru Shida v. Nyla Rose
Shida blitzes Rose and knocks her down to set up the running knee for two, but Nyla fires up and charges, landing on the apron as a result. Shida sets up her chair, but Rose takes her down with it and then gets sent into the railing while Vickie argues with the ref. And then Vickie hits Shida with a kendo stick behind the ref’s back and Rose takes over. She works on the leg outside, and back in for a unique splash onto the knee, which gets two. They fight to the top and Rose sends her down, but misses a senton and Shida makes the comeback. Running forearm gets two. Shida manages a suplex for two, but tries the running knee and hurts herself in the process. Well that was dumb of her. Shida keeps coming, but Nyla does a clawhold on the knee and slams her out of a fireman’s carry for two. Nyla goes up and drops the guillotine knee onto Shida’s bad knee, and that gets two. They fight to the top again and Shida slugs her down to the ramp, and follows with a dropkick out there. Back in, a missile dropkick gets two. Shida tries another knee, but Nyla takes out the knee again and hits a powerbomb for two, but picks her up. Well that’s a mistake. Nyla hits her own knee strike, but that only gets one. Shida comes back with a running knee in the corner and they head to the top again, where Shida brings her down with a falcon arrow for two…but she picks Rose up. She tries to finish, but Vickie trips her up and Nyla sends her to the floor, where Vickie gets involved again and the heels accidentally collide. Back in, Shida does the deal again and that gets two. They need to wrap this up. And another knee strike gets two. Another knee to the back this time and she hits Nyla with more knees to the face to finish at 14:11. Whatever magic they had last time did not translate here, unfortunately, as they went too long and had too many twists and turns. ** And that proves to be the end of the Vickie-Nyla relationship, apparently.
AEW Tag team titles: FTR v. The Young Bucks
Tully Blanchard is banned from ringside and if the Bucks don’t win, they never get another shot. Matt starts despite the bad ankle, so Wheeler goes for it immediately and Matt fights him off and chases him to the floor. Back in, Nick trades slams with Dax and takes him down with an armbar, and then more of the same for Cash. The Bucks double-team Cash for two, but Nick gets caught in the corner and Dax works him over. Nick fights back with a dropkick out of the corner, but tries one too many and misses. Matt comes in and Bucks get stereo ranas to chase them to the floor, and Matt suckers Dax into punching the ringpost by mistake. Back in, Matt stomps him down in the corner and works on Dax’s bloodied hand, which eliminates the fists and I guess just leaves the flips. Matt just unloads with kicks on the hand in the corner, but he goes to the apron and gets caught with a cheapshot from behind. Matt goes up with a moonsault attempt, but lands on the bad leg and Wheeler takes over with some shots to the leg outside. Dax gets his hand bandaged and FTR goes to work on Matt’s leg with a neat spot where Cash does a deathlock and Dax hits his own partner with a forearm shot to knock him down. Cash continues with the deathlock, but Matt fights out of the corner until Dax takes him down again by the leg and then takes out Nick, but Matt rolls up Dax for two before getting tossed to the floor again. Back in, FTR continues double-teaming, but Matt fights back with a DDT after head-faking him, and it’s hot tag Nick. Moonsault to Dax outside misses, but he keeps coming with the bulldog clothesline combo on the floor. Back in, Nick tries a bodypress on Wheeler, but he rolls through into the HART ATTACK from FTR for two. FTR follows with a PowerPlex attempt, but Nick escapes and superkicks Dax, and Matt tags in with a spear on Cash for two. Matt tries a powerbomb and gets foiled, so he goes up and gets caught with an elevated bulldog from FTR for two, while Cash spears Nick off the apron for good measure. Nick comes back with superkicks and they pull out a 3D on Dax and then a Hardy Boyz swanton combo for two on Dax. But then Cash trips up Matt and Dax hits Nick with a slingshot powerbomb, but Matt rolls up Dax for two. Thought that was it! Matt slugs it out with Dax, who has the broken hand and loses as a result, but then Matt kicks him with the bad ankle so it’s even. Finally Dax just sucks it up and hits him with a lariat, and then FTR pulls out the DIY double superkick for two. CHEEKY! They set up for the spike piledriver on Matt, but Nick gets rid of Cash and hits him with a dive onto the stage while Matt puts Dax in the Sharpshooter. Dax makes the ropes, so Nick superkicks the bad hand and Matt pulls him back to the middle again while Nick does a Sharpshooter on Cash on the ramp. The Bucks pull them apart again, but Matt’s leg gives out again and everyone is out. Cash is on the floor and the Bucks double-team Dax and Matt stomps the hand for good measure and then snaps the fingers to set up a BTE Trigger for two, as Cash dives in with a save. Nick puts him on the floor and follows with a somersault plancha, but then Matt grabs a chair and Dax dares him to take the shot and get DQ’d. But then Matt changes his mind, so Cash hits Nick with a powerbomb through the table and Matt takes the spike piledriver for two…and lands in the ropes. Cash has had enough of this shit and pulls off Matt’s boot as they really go to work on it now with a flying stomp, and Dax puts him in the inverted figure-four that they won the titles with, but Cash dives at Nick and misses, allowing Nick to break it up with a 450 on Dax for two. Cash comes back in with a superkick to put Nick on the floor and then puts Matt out with another superkick, but fails to make the cover. But then he tries to flip with a 450 and misses, and Matt superkicks him to win the tag titles at 28:41. Once they started doing tributes to their tag team heroes this just kept getting more and more awesome, and frankly it’s about time the Bucks got those titles. It was a weird buildup to get here, but the match was a classic and may have had one of the best finishes of all time, with FTR forgetting their own motto and losing the titles as a result. ****3/4 Kenny Omega even comes out to celebrate with them, and poor Hangman Page lurks in the tunnel, wanting to reunite but not able to pull the trigger on it.
ELITE DELETION: Matt Hardy v. Sammy Guevara
Yes, it’s CINEMATIC WRESTLING time from the guy who invented it. We’re at the Hardy Compound as Sammy pulls up in a golf cart and the drone pulls up information on him, revealing that Sammy is “Part of the circle that is internal”. And a Spanish Goof. So Matt drives in, in his monster truck, as you’d expect, quipping “Now that is a squash job” as he crushes the golf cart and we start the match. Sammy is alive, however, and hits a dive off the front tire for two and then beats on Matt with his own trash can. They head into the woods and Matt gets a suplex for two and rubs his face into the tree, but Sammy superkicks him on the front lawn and gets his own suplex for two. Over to the water fountain, where of course Matt stores the scepter of Mephistopheles, as you’d expect, and he beats on Sammy with that before they head to the ring that’s in the middle of the woods. Matt gets a Side Effect for two and brings a table in and hits a powerbomb through that for two. But Ortiz and Santana run in and make the save, so Matt finds a walkie talkie and calls in Private Party and everyone brawls in the ring. So then Matt finds fireworks and Matt and Sammy shoot roman candles at each other while Private Party just work a match with Santana and Ortiz in the ring. Matt hits Sammy with a Twist of Fate in the mud, because it’s a mud show, you see, but then Gangrel randomly shows up threatening the life of Hurricane Helms. “Matt, it’s been two years!” “Sorry, I had to get to AEW to actually finish this!” OK that was funny. Matt hits another Twist on Sammy, but he pops up with a superkick, and reporter Gregory Helms stops by to interview Sammy and gets thrown in the lake of reincarnation as a result. You cannot say they’re not going all out with this one. “Does Private Party even know who Gangrel is?” wonder the announcers. Sammy chases Matt into a shed, which is apparently the DOME OF DELETION and they’re locked in. So there’s another ring in there, along with ladders and a coffin and a piano, but Sammy undoes a turnbuckle and beats on Matt with the bolt. He puts Matt on the table and goes to the roof of the Dome via the ladder, then puts Matt through the table with a swanton for two. Matt comes back with the Twist of Fate and then spears Sammy out of the ring and through another table, as Sammy has a pool of blood from the back of his head after the camera cut. Matt tosses the chair viciously at Sammy’s head in a receipt for that spot, and then smashes the chair into the back of his skull and pins him at 19:35. Well that got pretty dark at the end there. And then Private Party helps put Sammy in a garbage can, and Senor Benjamin drives him away to end the feud. Given all the wackiness and camera trickery it’s hard to really rate it, but it was certainly entertaining.
Chris Jericho v. MJF
They slug it out to start and Max clotheslines him to the floor but then declines to dive for the fans. Jericho slams him on the floor and hijacks a camera to flip him off and then runs him into the post, but misses the Judas Effect and hits the post. Back in, MJF goes to work on the arm, but Jericho puts him on the apron and tries a springboard clothesline, which backfires on him as he hurts the arm. Back in, MJF bites the fingers, but Jericho fights back with the Lionsault and a top rope rana for two. Man, Jericho’s working at such a slow pace these days. MJF takes him down with a wristlock for two and goes to the top, but Jericho trips him up and tries a superplex, which MJF blocks and stomps the arm from the top. MJF stays on the arm and snaps him into the corner for two, and they slug it out until Jericho wins that one. Maxwell takes him down with the armbar and locks it in, but Jericho manages to roll him over into the Walls, and MJF makes the ropes. MJF tries to pull Aubrey into the line of fire, but Jericho stops that, so MJF gets the Heatseeker for two instead. MJF tries his own Lionsault, but that misses, and Jericho hits the codebreaker for two. MJF with a small package for two, but Jericho tries the Judas Effect and MJF counters with the armbar and Jericho makes the ropes. Wardlow runs out and gives him the ring, but Jake Hager throws Jericho the bat and MJF plays dead, leaving Jericho caught red-headed by the ref. And then MJF rolls him up for the pin at 16:19 and he’s in the Inner Circle. I could see what they were going for with the battle of heel shenanigans, and they were working hard, but Jericho is just so slow now that the match never got going. ** But after that, Jericho is proud of his new protégé and welcomes him to the team.
AEW World title, I Quit: Jon Moxley v. Eddie Kingston
Nothing worse than a loudmouth who refuses to quit and continually makes excuses despite clearly and legally losing multiple times. You know, like Eddie Kingston. They slug it out and trade bites, but Kingston hits a belly to belly to put Moxley on the floor, but Moxley hits him with a dive and throws a chair at his head. He sends Eddie into the railing and goes after the fingers, and they fight into the crowd and slug it out. Moxley suplexes him on the concrete and tries the bulldog choke out there, but Kingston bites the arm to escape that. Back to ringside and Eddie runs him into the railing and then into the post, but he throws chairs into the ring while Moxley finds a barbed wire baseball bat under the ring and bashes on Kingston with that. Both guys are busted open and Mox rubs the barbed wire on his forehead, but can’t make him quit. Kingston hits a backdrop suplex to put him down and then just tosses a chair at his face, but Moxley gouges the eyes and Kingston chokes him out as this gets dirty. Kingston beats on him with the chair and pulls some barbed wire off the bat to make a gauntlet for himself, and he digs that into Moxley’s face and follows with the backfist to set up a kimura. Moxley bites the leg to escape that, and suplexes Kingston on a pair of chairs, but Eddie hits him with a clothesline and then finds the thumbtacks. They trade suplexes, but Moxley puts him down with a lariat, so Kingston suplexes him on the thumbtacks. And then steals the doctor’s bottle of rubbing alcohol for later, before stomping on Moxley’s nuts. And then your cringe spot sees the “alcohol” poured on Moxley’s bleeding back, although it’s obviously water because it’s doesn’t evaporate. Kingston uses the bulldog choke on him, trying for a submission, but Moxley reverses to his own sleeper and then turns it into a piledriver and his own bulldog choke. That doesn’t work, so he hits the Paradigm Shift and then retrieves the barbed wire, wraps it around his forearm, and does another bulldog choke with that and Eddie quits at 19:00. This was your basic hard fought Moxley torture porn main event, and I think it’s time they move it onto Kenny Omega so we get something different for a while. ***1/2
So that was a pretty great show, with only a couple of matches being a disappointment but FTR-Bucks more than living up to the build and Moxley-Kingston being exactly what was promised. I think the Elite Deletion way overdelivered, too. Thumbs up.