PAC vs. TRENT BERETTA (w/Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy)- 6.5/10
This was an otherwise great match brought down by two things. The first was the fact that someone decided that this match needed to be paused so that we could have some stupid Orange Cassidy bullsh*t in the middle of it. Making matters worse, said bullsh*t occurred when Pac was firmly in control, and by the time it was over and Cassidy had been disposed of, Trent had been given enough time to recover and he took control of the match. So yeah… they did a spot that is usually done for the heel to cut off the babyface and start the heat and decided that would be a good way to start the babyface’s comeback.
The second problem was on the finish, as after Pac hit the Black Arrow and went for the pin, the referee just stopped counting at two and a half even though Trent hadn’t kicked out. Pac then locked in the Brutalizer and Trent passed out from the pain, because apparently we had to protect the tag team wrestler against one of our top singles star by having him not tap out.
After the match, Pac cut a great promo on Adam Page to build up to their PPV match.
This thing that AEW does where they do the commercial split-screen even though nothing is going on in the arena is very weird.
CODY FINALLY MAKES HIS BIG ANNOUNCEMENT FROM TWO WEEKS AGO- Good. I’m glad they didn’t forget all about this like WWE did with Daniel Bryan this summer. That being said… oh dear G-d was this not good.
He starts off by saying that Jericho and his group have been “blunt” and then says that they have been “strategic” and “taken a scalpel to The Elite.” THOSE ARE OPPOSITES.
He started off by talking about his father, Eddie Graham, and Bill Watts, saying that they were great wrestlers and big stars, but that “they were also management” and Cody doesn’t want to have that same attached to his name, and as a result he is going to resign his position as VP so as not to have a conflict of interest.
JUST KIDDING! That’s what Cody would have done if this segment made sense. Instead he vowed that if he doesn’t beat Jericho at the PPV, he’ll never challenge for the world title again. So he won’t be able to abuse his power to give himself more titles shots… but if he does win he’ll still be in a position where he could abuse his power to handpick or duck challengers and to made stipulations that favor him and schedule matches at times that favor him. If he wins, the problem still isn’t solved!
As stupid as that was, the thing that annoyed me the most about this was that him framing this the way he did by bringing up Dusty, Watts, and Eddie Graham actually makes this break kayfabe not make sense. None of those guys were ever kayfabe owners of the company while they were the top stars. No one complained that Dusty Rhodes gave himself too many world title shots. They complained that Dusty booked himself on top too much.
Not only does this promo not mesh with the kayfabe history of pro wrestling, it also doesn’t actually mesh with kayfabe in AEW. Did I miss a bunch of promos where people complained about Cody giving himself a title shot? No one has complained about this in kayfabe to my knowledge, and AEW made sure to book Cody over the first few shows in such a way that it was pretty hard to argue that anyone else (other than maybe Pac) deserved a title shot more than Cody.
This is a criticism that has only come outside of the context of kayfabe (and even then the criticism has been that all of the money for video packages and stuff all seems to go to Cody and almost none to anyone else, no matter how badly an Adam Page or Kenny Omega or Dark Order or might need one to help people understand who they are and why we’re supposed to care about them). And because this is a non-kayfabe criticism, Cody attempting to bring it into kayfabe and volunteer to kayfabe give up power isn’t going to assuage anyone’s fears!
The stupid sh*t out of the way, we then proceeded to…
CODY CUTS A PROMO ON CHRIS JERICHO- OUTSTANDING babyface go-home promo stuff
Although I’m not sure how Cody’s sister factors into any of this. Also, there is an amazing irony in Cody accusing Jericho of doing to AEW what Cody himself did to Bullet Club in order to get himself over after he left WWE.
WINNER IS ADDED TO THE AEW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH AT FULL GEAR: Private Party vs. Dark Order (w/the Creepers)- 5.75/10
I like the idea of a “bronze medal match” to quickly set up top contenders, but I don’t like the idea of adding them to the already-announced title match. The rematch coming out of a roll-up finish feels like it’s something that should be just those two teams. I’m not really thrilled with the rematch being for the title without an angle to set it up, either. Just have the Lucha Bros. attack SCU and cut the “your win was a fluke” promo, have SCU go to Tony Khan and demand a match with the Lucha Bros. at the PPV, only to find out that the Lucha Bros. have already talked to Tony and they refuse to have a match against SCU unless the tag titles are on the line (they’ll walk out and go back to Mexico if they don’t get their way), so SCU tell Tony they are more than willing to put their titles on the line for another shot at SCU. If you’re not going to do something like that you really don’t have any actual top contenders because you just did a big tournament to crown the champions, and in that case I’d rather the tag titles were kept off the PPV and Bea Priestley vs. Britt Baker take it’s spot on the main show.
Wait… there is an actual bronze medal here to give to the winners? NO! It’s supposed to be a f*cking metaphor! WHY MUST WE DO THIS?!
Anyway, spots happened. Private Party won. After the match SCU and then the Lucha Bros. came out for a very forced stare-down. Pentagon Jr. and especially Fenix look SOOOOOO weird in street clothes.
THE INNER CIRCLE VIDEO- EXCELLENT heel stuff!
This was a parody of Cody’s video from a video package from a few weeks ago with Jericho in Cody’s place. I laughed my ass off at Jericho seemingly asleep in the bathtub making fun of the shot of Cody in the sensory deprivation chamber (or whatever those things are called). And OMG they found f*cking VIRGIL.
If AEW “wants no part of” the Moxley vs. Omega match, then why are they plugging it? This “lights out” nonsense is silly. AEW’s record-keeping creates an intelligent meaning for the phrase “unsanctioned match,” so why are we calling it something else and trying to push it as if the company doesn’t approve of the match happening at all?
RIHO & SHANNA vs. EMI SAKURA & JAMIE HAYTER- 6.75/10
This went longer than it needed to. It came close to the point where it started to drag but didn’t quite get there. I think video packages would have been a better way to build up to the women’s title match on the PPV than this, as wrestling is the only thing we have seen Emi and Riho do so far.
BRANDI RHODES VIDEO PACKAGE- This was SOOO much better than last week’s weird nonsense. That being said, I have no idea who Brandi is supposed to be talking to, here. Is she angry at the fans? Other wrestlers? A specific other wrestler (wasn’t she feuding with Allie on the first few shows)? Someone else? Some combination of the above? All of the above?
BRANDON CUTLER vs. SHAWN SPEARS (w/Tully Blanchard)- 2.5/10
Apparently Spears tried to RIP JOEY JANELA’S TONGUE OUT WITH A PAIR OF PLIERS on AEW Dark yesterday. How the hell was this not the lead story tonight?
The good news is that this match was very good for the time it got, allowing Spears the dominant and clean win while still letting Cutler do enough to not look like a total loser. The bad news is that the announcers spent more time talking about Tully Blanchard’s career than they did about Spears. It was all “Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen this” and “Magnum TA that.” It made me want to scream.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Tully encouraged Magnum to attack Cutler with his chair after the match but Joey Janela came out to make the save.
MOXLEY VS. OMEGA VIDEO PACKAGE- good… but the Moxley parts were WAY better than the Omega parts. Kenny seems like someone who has NOOOOOO idea what he’s really getting into.
KENNY OMEGA & ADAM PAGE vs. THE INNER CIRCLE (Sammy Guevara & Chris Jericho) (w/Jake Hager)- 7/10
A little bit underneath my threshold for an acceptable main event, but I’ll give it a pass because I thought they came up with the perfect finish here (Pac ran in and kicked Page in the nuts, allowing Jericho to hit the Judas Effect and get the win), achieving multiple goals in one fell swoop. Said goals were 1) get some final heat for Pac vs. Page 2) get the world champion a win 3) protect Page a bit in defeat, and 4) greatly incapacitate Page for the…
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- didn’t like it
The Inner Circle beat on Page until Cody came out to make the save. Cody took out Guevara while Jericho and Hager retreated. MJF came out and attacked them from behind with a chair, then through Jericho into the ring so Cody could hit his finisher on Jericho, then pose with the belt.
Then Jon Moxley marched out through the crowd with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire to have a stare-down with Kenny Omega. Jericho grabbed Cody from behind and pulled him out of the ring and beat on him until MJF came over to help Cody and Cody, MJF, Jericho, and Hager brawled up the ramp.
Omega got his broom wrapped in barbed wire and they had a stare-down until Santana & Ortiz ran out and attacked Omega, bringing out the Bucks to make the save. Much brawling happened and everyone wound up on the stage so that Nick Jackson could do a dive off of set piece. Referees came out and pulled everyone apart.
I thought the stuff I wrote about in the first paragraph was good, but the rest of it felt WAY too mechanical. It felt like a segment someone wrote to be the go-home segment before the PPV rather than something that happened organically.
This was a very good show by AEW. It wasn’t much in the ring and I certainly indict like some of the choices they made creatively, but it was an excellent go-home show for Full Gear, which was a lot more important than giving us great matches this week.
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