All Elite Wrestling
Full Gear 2019
November 9, 2019
Royal Farms Arena
Watch: PPV & B/R Live
Meet our previewers
Mike Spears (@fujiiheya): Co-host of Everything Elite and Open the Voice Gate. If you are a fan of the Everything Elite family of products, check out our new patreon where we are releasing AEW Extended Universe content several times a week!
Tyler Forness (@CCSTheRealForno): Co-host of the Coast To Coast Pro Football podcast and die-hard wrestling fan. Having missed the original wrestling war, Tyler is excited
AEW Women’s World Championship
Riho © vs. Emi Sakura
Mike: The teacher is challenging her upstart student here. It’s a pretty simple story: Riho went on an absolute tear over AEW’s “pre-season” and first television cycle highlighted by winning the first title match against Nyla Rose and defending the championship against Britt Baker. Sakura’s been an ancillary member of the women’s division, but slowly collected wins to build up her claims to the title shot. There was a weird quirk where the 11/6 episode of Dynamite had Sakura score a direct fall on Riho AFTER this match was made. Sure that works on a momentum perspective, but I feel like it would have been better as the last piece of evidence for Sakura’s title shot claims.
I’m really excited for this match. Riho (even with her scaling back her physicality in the US), has been one of the most exciting people in AEW over this first half of a year. She’s managed to get a great crowd response over these six months, and is one of their hidden viewership drivers. Emi Sakura’s been a lot of fun, even though she hasn’t been a point of focus. Her maestra trickster schtick is great, and it’s going to be fun to see her try to fool her most prominent student. I still think there’s a lot of gold in Riho’s reign, so I think the result isn’t really in doubt. Prediction: Riho
Tyler: Having little to no Joshi knowledge coming into the AEW product, it has been a lot of fun watching the rise of Riho. At the age of only 22, it is remarkable that she already has 13 years of pro wrestling experience. While appearing very slight in the ring, she does an excellent job utilizing every ounce of her being to inflict damage onto the opponent.
In the opposite corner, as Mike mentioned, is her trainer Emi Sakura. While her frontman Freddie Mercury gimmick hasn’t gotten over completely with the crowd, she has a great presence and aura in the ring that has drawn me to her. I love that her in-ring style in AEW is very crafty and as Mike said, is a trickster that can catch you at anytime. With just a little build storyline-wise as to Sakura being the trainer of Riho, I think she retains here, but this is something that will be worth keeping an eye on moving forward, as I believe that this company isn’t going to introduce something like this for no reason. Prediction: Riho
Bea Priestley vs. Britt Baker
Mike: This feud has been tediously built on an accident that happened the first time they faced off (Baker getting concussed in the ring with Priestley at Fight for the Fallen). It’s somewhat good that they’ve somehow managed to make that accident into a storyline as wrestling is usually at its best when you are able to reach out to reality and incorporate the wrestler’s humanity into the equation.
The problem about when you added that into this feud, you have one person who has just been a part-timer in Priestley and someone with the charisma of a rice cake with Baker. Britt Baker’s been one of AEW’s most prominent stars in both promotions and screen-time, but in my opinion, she’s done nothing to warrant it. She’s been out of her depth in title matches, and the ratings don’t support her being any sort of draw. Priestley’s a lot better than people credit her, but I don’t expect her to pull a surprise out of her hat. I can only hope that this can be a write-off for Baker, and I’m prepared to be disappointed. Prediction: Britt Baker
Tyler: Even though she hasn’t been the best in-ring, I like how Baker is being positioned so far. She is a wrestler that has a lot of talent, but just doesn’t have the in ring experience to be great. One of the benefits of her being a certified dentist (did you know that? It’s true) is that it can be a kayfabe crutch for why she isn’t the smoothest in the ring.
I am with Mike in that this has not been the best-built feud. Having Priestley only making two appearances is not the ideal way to build a feud that fans should care about. One element that did get me somewhat excited about this feud is the erratic promo that Brit Baker. Even though she blurred the lines between reality and kayfabe, her use of medical terms she knows from being a dentist and how she would “press down on her mandibular nerve, causing the most excruciating pain” was a fantastic way to integrate her character into the story. Unlike Mike, I don’t think Britt will get the win, as I believe she will be handled similar to Kenny Omega in the men’s division and given a long babyface chase. Plus, this is a great opportunity to establish Bea to the audience as a legit force in the women’s division. Prediction: Bea Priestly
Joey Janela vs Shawn Spears w/ Tully Blanchard
Mike: This has been a nice little feud mostly built up on AEW Dark, which seems to be Janela’s home as of late. Joey’s been trying to get away from his plunder path and has grown tired of Spears & Blanchard’s shenanigans. Spears seems to have settled in a “jobber killer” role with his recent actions towards Michael Nakazawa and Brandon Cutler, but saying he has any sort of direction is probably overstating it. Plus he’s killing my SEO. Try searching “Spears and AEW.” It’s all this schmuck. How is someone supposed to develop any sort of brand with him around? Prediction: Shawn Spears, sadly
Tyler: The use of Tully Blanchard has been really odd so far. While I love trying to use his aura to establish Shawn Spears as a star, it hasn’t worked out really well. While I don’t believe it hasn’t been all the fault of Tully and Shawn (Shawn should not have lost clean to Cody), his positioning has been nothing more than a mid-carder, which is a shame because the chairshot angle was red hot.
Joey Janela, however, is someone that Tony Khan has chosen to invest in as a long term project. As Mike alluded to, Janela has been a feature on Dark in an effort to separate himself from the deathmatch character that made him the biggest star on the independent circuit. He has been working on his body and his work in the ring. It was evident how much he had improved in his match on Dynamite with Kenny Omega where he looked really good. At the end of the day, Janela is a long term play, whereas they need established mid-carders right now and that is why I think Spears gets the win. Prediction: Shawn Spears
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Adam Page vs. PAC
Mike: Even with this feud being on ice this summer, they’ve done a pretty good job revitalizing it, and Page in the process. Page was in a rough place, both perception-wise and storyline-wise, after losing to Jericho at ALL OUT. He wasn’t over to the level of his push, so the promotion decided to cycle him down and let him be more of himself. Being in the crowd in Chicago and Charlotte, it’s clear this worked. “Cowboy Shit” is over to a surprising level, probably because people like a good cuss.
No wrestler in the world is as good as knowing themselves as a character as PAC. Since he returned to wrestling, he told a company to give him eight months and he’d give them their next five years for Dragon Gate, and he’s had clear motivations in AEW: He feels slighted in not being recognized for his win-loss record and that led to Hangman Page getting the second direct fall on PAC in the last eighteen months in any promotion.
This is one of the rare times that I feel like AEW has used the win-loss record well: PAC now wants to redeem his sole AEW loss and Page wants to win their rubber match. I think Page still has a bit to be rehabbed, so I think a definitive win for PAC is the right move and should move him into title contention. Prediction: PAC
Tyler: I have loved the build for this match. From the introductory press conference in January where PAC appeared in full ring gear for some reason, these two have been intertwined. While the idea seems to have been to have PAC vs Hangman Page as a de facto semi-final for the inaugural AEW Championship, visa issues got in the way and they had their first match on the debut episode of Dynamite, which PAC won in decisive fashion. After starting 2-0, PAC felt slighted that his wins over Omega and Page weren’t good enough to warrant a title shot, but Darby Allin’s wins in the Cracker Barrel Classic and over Jimmy Havoc were good enough.
Hangman Page is a unique case. He is a guy who has megastar potential but the fans didn’t take to him right away. Throughout the first five weeks of television, he has established a connection with the fans and they have bought him as a star in the promotion. While he is another long term project for AEW (one of their many strengths), he is capable in-ring at a level where he can compete with the best in the world. PAC has to win here, as they need more established challengers for the AEW Title, and Page can afford it. Prediction: PAC
The Young Bucks vs. Santana & Ortiz
Mike: I really like how they’ve raised the stakes of this feud week-by-week. Show-to-show storytelling hasn’t been the strongest thing in AEW’s playbook so far, but they’ve had something important to build this feud each week on Dynamite. This climaxed in Nick Jackson jumping off one of the entryways onto the Inner Circle, and I’m going to approve wild dives as a promotional tool each and every time.
Santana & Ortiz have added a much-needed team to AEW that’s over solely as heels. There’s been nothing fan-friendly from them at all: They debuted by attacking the Bucks after a match, they attacked the Rock and Roll Express with something in a sock before sending Ricky Morton off the stage.
Having the Young Bucks have something to do while they’re out of the title picture is important: they’re pretty much teflon in the crowd’s eyes, but you’ve gotta give something with stakes. Also if the win/loss record is important, a loss would have the Bucks at .500 in the tag team division. That might take some work to improve if you want them to be a near-future title challenger. I’m at a coin flip for this, but I think the stats lean me to them winning. Prediction: The Young Bucks
Tyler: When I initially saw that Santana and Ortiz had left Impact Wrestling, I hoped they would end up here. As Mike mentioned, this division desperately needed a true heel team, as every other tag team (except for the Dark Order) is really over with the crowd as babyfaces. From their debut, they have been positioned as mercenaries set on destruction, attacking the Young Bucks multiple times and destroying the legends Rock N Roll Express.
The Young Bucks, however, are in a really weird spot. Solely out of the tag team title picture, they are in the midst of a war with The Inner Circle. As Mike mentioned, this is very important that they have something very important to do. As the best tag team in the world, they should be in the tag team title picture, and they will be sooner rather than later, but they don’t need to be when they still feel like stars involved in a major storyline. With this being the first major tag team match in AEW, Proud and Powerful Santana and Ortiz need to pick up the win here and keep the Young Bucks chasing in every facet Prediction: Santana and Ortiz
AEW Tag Team Championship
SCU © vs Lucha Bros vs Private Party
Mike: This is either a run-back or the top three teams from the tag team tournament facing off for good to decide who is the best team in the division. That’s nice. It’s not the kind of booking that you’re going to remember next year, or probably in three months, but there’s clear justification here for these three teams to be in a title match.
I guess I look at this division as somewhat incomplete with all the ancillary stuff going on with the Bucks and Santana and Ortiz. Then you’ve got all the teams that just exist like The Hybrid 2 and Dark Order. SCU’s probably a caretaker champion, but if you weren’t going to go all the way immediately with Private Party, you should hold off and do the slow build so they get the great payoff with FINALLY winning. Lucha Bros are in a unique situation because I can’t find a single person to tell me if they are under an AEW contract and they wrestle practically everywhere when not on Dynamite. You might not want to strap up a team that might lose against a local team in Monterrey or greater Orange County.
It’s been pretty clear with how they’ve presented Scorpio Sky that he’s a future singles guy, so that makes this match even harder to predict. Are we supposed to go with the upstart team? The champions that were portrayed as an impromptu thing? The larger stars that have been featured heavily, but are reportedly not under a contract? It’s an interesting situation for sure. Prediction: Lucha Bros
Tyler: This build has been weird at best. Initially, it started off really well with the Lucha Bros attacking SCU and taking out Christopher Daniels, positioning Scorpio Sky, as Mike mentioned, as a future singles star taking over the match against The Best Friends. In the championship match, the match was really good but had an unexpected finish, as Sky rolled up Pentagon Jr to win the tag team titles.
Private Party is a prime example of why this tag team division is the best in the world. They are relatively inexperienced and green, but they come off like stars because they aren’t asked to do things that make them look inexperienced. They delivered huge against The Young Bucks and Lucha Bros and had another strong showing against The Dark Order this Wednesday on Dynamite.
What really makes the outcome of this match so puzzling to predict is the use of the medals. Why would you give out medals long after the tournament is over and have the 3rd place match after the title match? In all honesty, I think we see the Lucha Bros get the win by pinning Private Party, extending the feud with SCU. Prediction: Lucha Bros
AEW World Championship
Chris Jericho © vs. Cody
Mike: This has had probably the most consistent, and strongest, builds for a match on the show. And it should. It’s the company’s biggest star as champion (Jericho) and the person that has both been presented as the ace and who the crowd believes is the ace (Cody). With the exception of the episode of Dynamite where they had the overly long interview between Cody and Tony Schiavone in the limo along with the contract signing, each week has been successful in building to the title match.
I do have one rather large quibble about this match: Cody’s promo in Charlotte saying that if he loses he will never challenge for the title again feels both near-sighted and paints the promotion in a corner. Cody’s story would have more impact, in my opinion, if he lost this and then continued to chase for a while before winning the big one. Jericho’s title reign is still young, and I think that they are either forcing their hand, or cutting this reign off at its ankles. How is Cody going to get back at Jericho if he loses here? Are we going to get El Hijo del Midnight Rider?
Of course, there are workarounds, Cody could aggravate Jericho or whoever is the champion so much that they make the challenge. Or Cody’s actually not ever going to champion if he loses. Ultimately, Cody as AEW World Champion was going to be an end-point for the company. I’m somewhat disappointed that they’ve eliminated this great build, and potential future storylines, to jump to that conclusion. Prediction: Cody
Tyler: In today’s day and age, we don’t see a lot of the basics in American wrestling. The days of person A not liking person B with a real story behind it, especially with the decline of WWE’s quality and the rise of promotions like PWG. Cody, however, is a wrestling history buff. He understands how the basics of storytelling can create greatness inside the square circle. From the video packages, to the promos and the large brawls, everything that Cody and Chris Jericho have touched has been incredible.
I am with Mike about having a large quibble about the stipulation for this match. Why would you say that you wouldn’t challenge for the title ever again? We all understand the scrutiny that he is under being one of the 4 EVP’s, but why didn’t he just say he wouldn’t challenge as long as Jericho was champion? I really don’t think that you can take the title off of Jericho right now, as he has been so great and you can really make the chase matter for Cody. There are ways around the stipulation. You could make the crowd so hot for Cody that he gets challenged or create a loophole that he wasn’t approved to make the stipulation. However they choose to handle it, we will see, because I think Jericho wins this match to give the Inner Circle huge momentum going into the Match Beyond, likely happening in February Prediction: Chris Jericho
Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega
Mike: For the match that will be the main event (since they always say they’ve concluded the normal show before “Lights Out”), this feud has been uneven, discordant, and unsatisfying. After ALL OUT, this feud seemed as difficult as being an adult batting in coach pitch: nothing was settled and things were postponed to the next PPV. Omega cut a great promo after the news of Moxley’s MRSA hit. It should have been easy to continually stoke that fire until this weekend, right?
Wrong. On television, Moxley has done nearly all of the story beats for this feud. He was the one attacking Omega on Dynamite’s review. His love of barbed wire introduced the weapons. He was the one that walked out during their only in-ring encounter. He was the one who initially reacted with Tony Khan about the stipulation. He was the one who grabbed a microphone in the ring to talk about the feud.
What has Omega done? Well he introduced a barbed wire broom of all things, made points about Moxley’s propensity for hardcore/deathmatches, but that was it. He’s promoted his matches in AAA and DDT more than this one. He’s seemed somewhat lethargic and languid, which is only really brought up by commentary and not really seeming to be a part of this storyline.
This feud has been awkward to say the least.
Without getting into the ramifications of having yet another “Lights Out” match and Khan becoming an onscreen character after vehemently stating that he wouldn’t, I don’t think I’m being unfair if I’m sounding underwhelmed at what road we took to get here: They were at the plate playing coach pitch and decided to bunt.
Even without this match “counting,” this match could set up the next contender for whoever wins the match before this. It’s been clear that they were willing to cool down Omega until he was going to get the big push. Is this going to be the beginning of that? Or is this setting up Jon Moxley on the path to prove that he can be a promotional cornerstone? Prediction: Kenny Omega
Tyler: This build has been both excellent and abysmal at the same time. Kenny Omega has said about 10 words on this match during the entire build. His focus has been more on winning the AAA Super Mega Heavyweight Championship in a classic against Rey Fenix and his longing to be back in Japan. In fact, his intro video referencing New Japan and Ibushi was longer than his time promoting this match. The one interesting aspect that I am looking forward to is the continuing references of his character in New Japan: The Cleaner. We have seen it during the video package and the multiple appearances of the barbed wire broom.
On the other hand, how great is Jon Moxley? When you see his ability to draw emotion from a crowd when he is on the mic, it truly is amazing that WWE saw him as nothing more than a comedy guy. His hardcore background is perfect for this match, but that’s not who he wants to be anymore, or is it? Jon has spoken that he cares, then doesn’t, then does again care about the win/loss record. What is the real direction of Jon Moxley? Does he want to be the top guy or a guy who wreaks havoc throughout the promotion? I think this match will show that he is both, but he will come up just short. Meanwhile, Kenny will put himself in line for the AEW Title, which will be right in the middle of The Elite’s feud with The Inner Circle. Prediction: Kenny Omega