All Elite Wrestling was able to tell its most memorable story with poetic style.
“Hangman” Adam Page is the new AEW world champion, completing a two-year story arc in the company, by beating former friend and tag team partner Kenny Omega in the main event of the Full Gear pay-per-view at Target Center on Saturday night. It was the highlight of a superb pro wrestling show that more than made up for it’s bumps along the way.
Five things you can learn from Full Gear
The moment AEW fans and Hangman Page have waited two years couldn’t have played out any better. Hangman had refused to be seconded by The Young Bucks for the chance to win the first AEW World Title. However, they chose to not interfere with the process. Hangman told them that they would be destroyed if they interfer. First it was Nick Jackson and then Matt on either side of the ring giving him nod and not stopping him from delivering the two Buckshot Lariats the ended their friend Omega’s more than year-long reign. While it remains to be seen what this all means for The Elite, Hangman got a huge hug from the Dark Order after tossing away a beer — his emotional crutch for much of this run — after a huge pop from the crowd.
In a match which was both technically stunning and physically brutal, Omega and Hangman showed the natural chemistry they have that makes them great tag teams. Hangman was adamant throughout the match, even though it took him two years for his storyline confidence to come back to normal after losing the main prize. Hangman even hit Omega using his One-winged Angel finisher, and was finally able to deck Don Callis following a bump.
We already know what’s next for Hangman, who recently welcomed a son into his life. He will have to face No. Bryan Danielson is the number 1 contender. Hangman could beat Omega or Danielson in a way that is more effective than any other. Even though an angry Omega can interfere, it is still possible. But that’s for another day. Tonight we raise a drink and chant “Cowboy S–t!”
Horses of War
CM Punk and Eddie Kingston were every bit as violent as they hoped. Kingston has become such a sympathetic child that Punk actually got booed after he gave the last knees and went to sleep for the pin. Kingston, like he did with Bryan Danielson, refused to shake Punk’s hand at the end. Let’s hope the frustration becomes part of a redemption arc for Kingston as Punk remains undefeated and on course for an eventual title program.
The two really sold the exhaustion of the pace and emotion of this fight 15 years in the making. Punk was too exhausted to go for pins and hit the GTS in the final bout. He eventually crawled over to Kingston. Punk was felled by the Yonkers native, who used a Uraken back elbow to knock him down. It is clear that Punk cared less about winning than he did in beating Punk. There was a lot of colorful sign language and a few FU’s said in this stiff battle. Punk had color applied to his outside, so Kingston applied it like warpaint before the 50/50 crowd. Punk teased the Five Knuckle Shuffle with some great facials. Old school pro wrestling at it’s best.
MJF and Darby Allin started the opening match with some superb mat wrestling — a skill both don’t get enough credit for — because MJF said he could beat Darby with a headlock takeover. They continued to tell the story with MJF taking advantage of a number of Darby’s more reckless moves attempts. This was a 50/50, maybe 60/40 crowd for Darby, which actually shows you MJF’s talent may be winning over some fans.
Allin was able to work MJF’s left knee. Long Islander Allin even offered it as a pile driver for Allin to use on his ring apron. Following a long sequence of rolling small packages, Allin hit a Code Red and was almost knocked to the ground.
Wardlow and Shawn Spears were both threatening Sting’s safety, so he came to the rescue. But MJF then brought Allin’s skateboard into the ring and begged him to hit him with it. Allin did not. But as the referee took it away, it opened the door for MJF to hit Allin with the Dynamite Diamond ring from his trunks and win with the headlock takeover he predicted to win the match. It was brilliantly cohesive storytelling, and it was a wonderful ride.
Minneapolis Street fighting between American Top Team/Mens of the Year and Inner Circle was chaotic. There were many high-energy moments. After Junior do Santos hit Le Champion, it ended in ATT founder Dan Lambert almost pinning Chris Jericho. Lambert wanted Jericho to fall. Jericho eventually won the match and gave Lambert an emotional Frog Splash for the 1-2-3. A point to the sky was also given to Eddie Guerrero in his honor 16 years ago.
There were highlights and weapons with Minneapolis themes — including a Prince logo. Junior dos Santos was a UFC former heavyweight champion and performed a standing moonsault. He also did a double Suplex from the top. His skills continue to grow. Sammy Guevara performed a diving from the ladder’s top onto Ethan Page, and to the table outside. Page was also given an Iron Claw by Baron von Raske. After the match Ring of Honor staple Jay Lethal was announced as joining AEW and will challenge Guevara this Wednesday on Dynamite.
Jungle Boy to Jungle Man
Jungle Boy was at the center of the fall matters anywhere match between Christian Cage (Jungle Boy), Luchasaurus and Luchasaurus against The Super Elite. He was conflicted throughout the match about delivering a conchairto before finally — somewhat reluctantly — hitting it on Matt Jackson to win the match on the stage. It will be interesting to see if him being conflicted becomes the story or if AEW just uses this as part of Jungle Boy’s journey to main eventer.
The match had everything you’d expect from a hardcore match, tables, ladder, chairs, blood, thumbtacks and a big dive. The match felt just like what you’d see during the Attitude Era on WWE Pay-Per-View. But with a higher work rate. Christan dived from the top section entrance of the stands towards Nick Jackson and Brandon Cutler before landing on Michael Nakazawa. The Young Bucks put thumbtacks in Jungle Boy’s mouth before the kiss to Adam Cole and stereo superkicks. As the Bucks ran their ropes, Jungle Boy cleverly spit out many. Cole was wearing a crimson face mask and gave a Panama Sunrise speech to Jungle Boy. He did this from the top of one the scaffolding towers. With thumbtacked knee pads, Cole and Bucks made a BTE Trigger. Luchasaurus later did a bizarre standing star pressing onto the ramp.
Lucha Bros beat FTR to keep the AEW tag-team championships
A great match that featured some amazing near falls. However, the end was a bit strange. Cash Wheeler donned one the FTR green masks that they used to beat the Lucha Bros. He was however the illegal person in the match. Pentagon made it clear that Excalibur meant this, but the crowd became confused and quiet when Pentagon asked him to remain. FTR will likely challenge that so these teams aren’t done. This was not an easy way to do it.
Miro beat Bryan Danielson to win the No. The No.1 contender for the AEW global championship is Bryan Danielson.
Bryan Danielson and Miro had a high level WWE style match and that wasn’t a bad thing on this show. It made it different, but not truly stand out, The encounter was slow, deliberate and physical with both men fighting out of the other’s finishing submissions after Miro dominated Danielson early. The finish was a bit anticlimactic, but handed Miro another loss via his weakness to the DDT. Miro lost his mind when Danielson scored a top-rope hit that seemed to kill him, but Danielson still submitted. Miro had already been out, and was not tapped. The bell rang quickly. Miro now has recent losses to Sammy Guevara & Danielson. He is losing some of the shine and invincibility.
Britt Baker over Tay Conti to retain the AEW women’s championship
The goal was to get Conti out of a main-eventer, or as close as possible. She probably fell just short of that — some of it having to do with the lack of a compelling story between the two — because the crowd lost interest in this match a little. It was an excellent match and it is clear how Conti has grown. Baker, who kicked out of Conti’s finisher twice, won by reversing an inside cradle. Conti already has the right tools, all that’s needed is a bit more time with the public and some seasoning. What’s next for Baker is pretty much a clean slate at this point.
PAC, Cody Rhodes and Andrade El Ilido and Malakai Noir
It was not a very enjoyable match. The match was confusing with both sides struggling to live together with many blind tags, which really disrupted the flow. Rhodes received boos throughout the match. The crowd didn’t seem to really care much about Rhodes so it did not really get invested. Eventually Rhodes, PAC and Andrade came to an agreement and PAC won the Black Arrow. After the match Cash Wheeler attacked Rhodes and PAC, which may have meant they are not done. However, they ought to be.
On The Buy In, Thunder Rosa and Hikaru Schida beat Jamie Haytere and Nyla Rose.
Orange Cassidy will be facing Tomohiro Ishii and The Butcher on Dynamite Wednesday
Biggest Winner: ‘Hangman” Adam Page
Biggest Loser: Miro
The Best MatchDarby Allin vs. MJF & Hangman vs. Kenny Omega