Zero Hour: ROH World Champion and NJPW Strong Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston def. Jay Lethal (NJPW Strong Openweight Championship Was Not Defended)
This would have been so much better as a straightforward singles match without all of the outside interference and shenanigans. That's not to say this was bad, but I would've preferred Lethal's group being barred from ringside. What we got was fine, though. Unless they build to a rematch, I assume this feud is now finished, leaving me to wonder what the Final Battle main event will be for next month. We did find out that he'll be entering the Continental Classic and putting both belts on the line in every match he has, which is an interesting twice.
Zero Hour: Claudio Castagnoli def. Buddy Matthews
I appreciate that this was relegated to the pre-show and not the main card, but I feel like it would've been more memorable had it happened on an episode of Dynamite or Collision. That aside, this was the really well-wrestled affair you'd expect from these two. They didn't go all out or anything, but it was damn good. I know House of Black and Blackpool Combat Club are currently feuding, but I'm curious if anything will come from Castagnoli extending a handshake to Matthews afterward and Matthews denying it.
Zero Hour: Samoa Joe and AEW World Champion MJF def. The Gunns to Retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship
I don't typically write headlines like that, but Joe was only defending the tag titles on the injured Adam Cole's behalf, so he's not actually one-half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions while MJF is. The match itself was fun with MJF and Joe having chemistry as partners along with Cole's surprise appearance. The Gunns' post-match attack on MJF created doubt as to whether he could be cleared for the main event.
Adam Copeland, Sting and Darby Allin def. AEW TNT Champion Christian Cage, Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne
The matching attire and face paint for the babyfaces was an awesome touch. This was a wise choice for the opener as the crowd was into the action and it kicked off the main card on a high note. Christian continues to be a riot and was the highlight of this match for me, though everyone had solid showings. I could've done without Ric Flair getting physical at ringside, or just Flair in general. There hasn't been any tension between Christian and Luchasaurus since before WrestleDream, but maybe Christian accidentally hitting him with the TNT title belt toward the end will cause another rift.
AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy def. Jon Moxley
This had a different story than their original encounter (especially with Cassidy having held the title for a year at that point), so while they didn't top themselves here, it was still an entertaining outing. They work so well together despite being polar opposites in many ways. Cassidy once again proven he could hang with a main event player and I like that he retained the title this time around. Tony Khan really needs to have a chat with Moxley about his excessive bleeding, but it's probably too late for that.
Toni Storm def. Hikaru Shida to Win the AEW Women's World Championship
I had high hopes for this match because their last one-on-one match was top-notch. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this was mostly a mess. There were several awkward moments and some stuff didn't look great, including the nonsensical finish where Storm's illegal object was clearly visible in the back of her trunks and yet referee Aubrey Edwards didn't catch it. On the bright side, Storm getting the belt back was absolutely the right call. She's one of AEW's hottest acts at the moment. The title has changed hands a lot since May, so hopefully Storm can hold onto it for the long haul.
AEW World Tag Team Champions Ricky Starks & Big Bill def. FTR, The Kings of the Black Throne, and La Faccion Ingobernable (Rush and Dralistico) in a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Ladder Match
I've said countless times that WWE and AEW have gone overboard with the Ladder matches in recent years, but this definitely benefited from the stipulation being added. It would have delivered anyway, but we just got a four-way tag match on the last pay-per-view, so this was a welcome change. Of course, it was chaotic and there were some crazy spots. It won't go down as an instant classic, but it was what it needed to be. Starks and Bill just became champs, so them retaining was the logical outcome.
Julia Hart def. Skye Blue and Kris Statlander in a Three-Way Match to Win the AEW TBS Championship
This a well-worked three-way match and much better than the other women's match on the show. The crowd was quiet early on (which wasn't shocking considering they had to follow that Ladder match), but they came alive down the stretch for the suspenseful nearfalls. Statlander had a terrific run, but I'm happy Hart got her moment and captured the championship. She's improved immensely this year and was ready for a run with the belt.
Will Ospreay Announced He's All Elite
It was practically AEW's worst kept secret, but Ospreay has indeed signed with the promotion. After all of the hype, it had to either be him or Mercedes Moné. Part of me was excited by the idea of what he could do in WWE, but I don't blame him one bit for putting pen to paper with AEW, especially since it means he won't have to relocate his family to the United States. He's arguably the best wrestler in the world, making this a massive signing for AEW. Now the key is ensuring he doesn't get lost in the shuffle, but I get the feeling that won't happen with him. He mentioned during his promo that he'll be finishing up his contractual commitments with New Japan Pro-Wrestling before reporting full-time to AEW in early 2024. He came across like a total star in front of this crowd.
Swerve Strickland def. "Hangman" Adam Page in a Texas Death Match
AEW must be obligated to have at least one ridiculous hardcore match per pay-per-view because the violence was over the top at times. I mean, Page drinking Strickland's blood early on was just abhorrent. I realize they've had a personal feud and that it was a Texas Death match, but the issue is that AEW does too many of them for the stipulation to matter. That said, they gave it a strong effort and I have to imagine it will be remembered for years to come. An absolute war, to say the least. Strickland beating Page for a second straight time was the cherry on top.
The Golden Jets def. The Young Bucks to Earn an AEW World Tag Team Championship Opportunity
Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho would've had to split up had they lost. Having stakes made this match more meaningful, but the crowd was clearly spent coming off the Texas Death match and it took time for these teams to wake them up. It wasn't on the same level with Omega and Page vs. the Bucks from Revolution 2020, but it ended up being an above-average matchup once it was over. I could've done without the constant kickouts, but that's just par for the course with the Bucks, so I can't say I was too bothered. There's already a perception among some fans that the Bucks act like babies anyway, so regardless of whether that's true or not, it's smart to play into that and turn them heel. It's the role that suits them best. I'm not sure what that that means for The Elite as a whole, but everyone in the group would benefit from going their separate ways for a while. As for Omega, have him and Jericho unsuccessfully vie for the tag titles and move on from there. He needs to be on his own again.
AEW World Champion and ROH World Tag Team Champion MJF def. Jay White
First and foremost, the nonsense with MJF not being cleared to wrestle due to a storyline injury and then the legitimately-injured Adam Cole filling in for him until MJF came back was ridiculous and unnecessary. It felt like a tale of two matches in that they had an excellent wrestling match while also trying to incorporate a ton of shenanigans and interference. The smoke and mirrors worked with MJF vs. Cole at All In, but not so much here. That was a hinderance in my opinion, but the rest was top-notch. Yes, it was slightly silly that White couldn't win despite having the deck stacked in his favor, but that didn't bother me too much as I'm sure he'll be fine and I assumed MJF was winning, anyway. Cole being there was pointless unless it's revealed he's involved with the Devil storyline, which had zero progression on this show.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Full Gear. Was it one of AEW's best shows ever in the same way WrestleDream and other events were? No, but it didn't need to be. The main event and the Texas Death match won't be everyone's cup of tea (there were parts of the latter I loathed), but both delivered in my book and the rest of the card held up. My only real complaint is that it was four hours long again (not including the pre-show). I thought AEW moving to monthly pay-per-views would make them slightly shorter, but apparently not. At least they filled the time nicely.