MJF & Adam Cole OVERBOOKING! AEW Full Gear 2023 Review! | WrestleTalk

A huge AEW signing announcement actually lives up to expectations! Did MJF’s night-long injury storyline jump the shark? And did Swerve Strickland and Hangman Page just have match of the year? I’m Oli Davis, and this is my review of AEW Full Gear 2023. The Zero Hour pre-show coincidentally opened the exact same way as our Name Every Member of Bullet Club Survival Series special… on Jeff Jarrett! Double J was in Jay Lethal’s corner, who was fighting Eddie Kingston for the ROH World Championship. It was a Team TNA match, so everyone interfered, but Eddie’s friend-turned-enemy-turned-friend again Ortiz appeared

to even the odds and help Kingston retain. A standard opener to liven up the crowd. Far more interestingly, was Kingston’s announcement later on: He’ll be entering the Continental Classic, where he’ll also be putting both his ROH World and New Japan Strong Openweight Championships on the line in every match he wrestles. But because this is AEW, that isn’t enough titles! The tournament winner will also become the first ever Continental Champion – with Khan announcing they’ll become a triple crown champion at World’s End. But if Eddie’s defending his belts in each of his tournament matches, couldn’t he

be beaten and lose them to someone then, and then that new champion might not make it through to the final – how would those belts still

be on the line? Oh no I’ve gone crosseyed. Claudio Castignoli then beat Buddy Matthews, two incredibly slick professional wrestlers who had an incredibly slick professional wrestling match. Claudio won with the Sharpshooter and Matthews pushed past him afterwards. On a five hour show, I’m not sure this needed to be here. The kickoff show ended on the only match that really counted – MJF teaming with Samoa Joe to beat the ROH

Tag titles against The Gunns. It was a fun match… but it was the same deal as All In and WrestleDream – a very well built up feud, which is underserved by a short, mostly comedy match. Just like Aussie Open and the Righteous, I don’t see the Gunns getting much elevation here. And then came shenanigans! Adam Cole made his first in-person AEW appearance in months, the shock of his entrance music being enough to distract the Gunns, helping Joe lock in the Coquina Clutch to win. Joe shook MJF’s hand, reminding him of that deal of the devil,

his future title shot. The Gunns then took out MJF’s left knee with a chair. Max was stretchered out, put in an ambulance and driven off as he screamed to Cole “Don’t let them take my championship! At first, I was enthralled. What a great soap opera hook, minutes before the main show starts. I must buy the pay-per-view to find out what happens next! I love a night-long narrative, this is like the Attitude Era! But the Attitude Era wasn’t all super over main eventers and great soap opera. It was also… full of plot holes. The main card

opened with The Patriarchy vs Sting’s Coalition. A choir of all Christian’s children sang his theme song in an awesome entrance. Unfortunately they weren’t all wearing turtlenecks. This was a brilliantly fun opener, with Flair chopping Christian, an awesome Darby bump from Luchasaurus chokeslamming him over the top rope onto the apron, and Sting doing his falling splash. Christian accidentally hit Luchasaurus with the belt, and then ran away from Adam Copeland through the crowd – letting Edge get the pin. Cage and Copeland never touched, saving that for the next match. In which case, I’d prefer them not to

have gotten physical in the build either. The world title drama then got its big twist: Tony Schiavone was about to announce the main event was off, meaning Jay White would de facto become the AEW World Champion-but Adam Cole interrupted to announce he’ll be taking his place. It was awesome, but also, what? Cole’s expressions and performance were amazing. But not enough to get past the idea that he’s likely in worse shape than MJF. How could AEW’s medical team allow that? Also, AEW precedent is to crown interim world champions. It would make it more believable if Tony

was about to announce that, rather than Max being totally stripped of the belt. And thirdly, why did Joe just like Max get beaten up earlier? If MJF isn’t the champion, surely there’s no-one there to honour his title shot? Just like their Dynamite go-home angle, Orange Cassidy’s punches to the head weren’t very effective against Mox. He just worked through them. I guess in kayfabe, concussions only make Mox’s head stronger. Instead, Cassidy used Mox’s own offence against him – doing the back rake and bite spot on the turnbuckle, bringing back loads of Mox blood! Cassidy won after

multiple orange punches, an exposed turnbuckle and a Beach Break, but at 12 minutes, it didn’t feel as epic as their first encounter. Whereas that All Out main event really made me want to see a rematch, this one felt like a more decisive victory. Perhaps they’ll still have a third encounter as they’re now one a piece. The shortest match on the main card was more to service Toni Storm’s gimmick than serve as a fitting end to Shida’s latest transitional reign. Toni used a shoe, Shida took out Luthor, but Storm won with her loaded butt – putting

a metal tray in her tights for the running hip attack. Toni received a black and white celebration as Mariah May gave her flowers. The four way ladder match for the tag titles was just a whole load of crazy fun. Big Bill and Brody King facing off to meat chants. Cash Wheeler hitting a 2nd rope piledriver onto Malakai Black on a ladder. Brody crashing a Gonzo Bomb on Dralistico onto a ladder bridge. Ricky Starks unhooked the titles to retain. Skye Blue and Julia Hart decided to team up against the much taller Kris Statlander in their TBS

title match, but unfortunately not using my suggestion – getting on each others’ shoulders Muppet Man style to attack. The unholy alliance didn’t last long, as Julia turned on Blue. The tension between them following their long-running story was the second best thing in this match. Because the best was the shocking title win for Julia Hart! Statlander hit Saturday Night Fever on Blue, but Hart pushed Kris off to get the win herself. Julia has been so impressive recently, and deservedly gotten herself over – right at the moment when Statlander’s reign has become stale. Tony Schiavone then revealed

the much-hyped new AEW signing… the guy who’s been wrestling in AEW for over a year anyway, Will Ospreay! I’m being glib, this is one of those times that AEW delivered on expectations. Ospreay admitted in his unique bruv style that it won’t happen right away, as he’s got to finish up in New Japan, but he will be All Elite on the Road to Revolution – so around January/February time – telling Tony Khan to line up the best challengers, because he wants to do something big at Wembley’s All In. This is a great coup for AEW, and

I love how they’re building Wembley this far in advance. And then we got a match of the year contender: Swerve Strickland vs Hangman Page. The Texas Death match stipulation became just a vehicle to show the carnal nature of man. Hangman, twisted by vengeance, plummeted to his most violent, health, safety and basic hygiene disregarding depths. Swerve hit a 450 on Hangman covered in broken glass. Hangman shot staples into Swerve’s chest and face. Swerve hit a death valley driver on a cinder block on the apron. As if a cinder block wasn’t hard enough, he had to do

it on the hardest part of the ring! But it’s another spot I’ll likely have to enter therapy for – one of the most depraved things I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring… Hangman Page laying beneath Swerve’s head and drinking the blood dripping off his face. That moment took me, and the crowd by the sound of it, to some new weird place of violent depravity. To some carnal base instinct warfare. In that moment, I believed Hangman was genuinely beating Swerve for what Strickland did to his family. That spot overrode the rational part of my brain. I

became so invested I forgot I was watching a scripted wrestling match. And they hooked me in for the rest of their half hour match. Just like Hangman had his mouth open to drink some blood, my mouth was hanging open at their 25 minutes of hardcore insanity. They beat 10 count after 10 count, Hangman fought off Brian Cage and Prince Nana, but just like how Page beat Moxley, Swerve choked the Hangman out… by hanging him – wrapping a chain around his neck and looping it around the ring post. There have been more violent matches. There’s been

sicker spots. But few have combined the two with the emotional intensity of this feud. Once again, Swerve vs Hangman is match of the night. It’s not often you doubt the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega’s ability to follow a match, but that’s how good Hangman/Swerve was. It took them about ten minutes to get the crowd properly into the action. The story was the Bucks working over Jericho’s arm, because they don’t want him to be friends with Kenny anymore. I’m starting to think the Elite are pretty toxic for each other. If the Bucks win, Jericho and Kenny

would have to break up. Come on Bucks. I’ve never been more of a fan! It’s a story that would work much better, you see, if I was into Jericho and his relationship with Omega. But I just want Omega to be a good singles wrestler again, and Jericho is about a year overdue for a break for our screens. Which is why when Kenny teased hitting a V Trigger on Jericho – obviously a foreshadowing spot to when they split months down the line and have a singles feud – I got super excited and just wanted him to

break up and turn heel now. The Bucks went even more heel, low blowing Jericho, and also low blowing their friend Kenny, but they got too sucked into their hatred of Chris – letting Omega win with a One Winged Angel. The Bucks threw a tantrum around the ring afterwards, as Kenny still has their number. Because it seems just anyone can defend anyone else’s belt these days, Adam Cole hobbled down on crutches to defend MJF’s World Championship against Jay White, after Samoa Joe had defended Adam Cole’s ROH Tag Team Title with MJF four hours earli-oh no I’ve

gone cross-eyed. In true Attitude Era style, MJF burst back onto the scene driving a presumably stolen ambulance to fight instead. Even amongst the silliness, it was heartwarming to see Cole and Max reunited. What followed was a half hour long working over of MJF’s left knee using all the Bullet Club Gold tactics. The Gunns were eventually ejected from ringside, but Cole screwed up not just one, but two separate weapon spots. First White took the ROH tag title from him to use on MJF, and then he placed Max’s diamond ring on the canvas, for White to get

to first. Have we not learned anything from Santos Escobar! That, combined with the commentators saying Cole might actually be a distraction for Max at ringside, and the Figure 4 spot where Adam teased throwing in the towel, puts Cole’s friendship with MJF back in doubt. There was no devil appearance on this show. Maybe because Cole was physically there. The two haven’t yet crossed over. Max eventually used the diamond ring to hit White and retain – getting not just his best friend back, but also his world title. It was still a predictable result, and the soap opera

shenanigans undermined the singles grudge match intensity, but it was fun nonetheless. AEW Full Gear is 85%. Now go watch us fantasy book the end of Asuka’s streak…

%d bloggers like this: