This Saturday, from the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, All Elite Wrestling will be presenting Full Gear! This pay-per-view event is significant in that it’s the first since AEW debuted on TNT, which was a milestone in its own respect. At Full Gear, however, the focus will shift from TV accolades to championship contention, new feuds, and long-lasting grudges alike. Before we get to Full Gear proper, let’s cover the announced matches, how they came to be, as well as predictions.
Buy-In Preshow: Britt Baker vs. Bea Priestley
When it comes to the AEW women’s division, this is the longest-running feud of them all. From the very get-go, Baker and Priestley were at one another’s throats. Matters became more heated at Fight for the Fallen, when an errant kick by Priestley resulted in Baker suffering a legitimate concussion. At Full Gear, the practicing dentist and submission-based grappler will look for revenge as she squares off against one of the more divisive women’s wrestlers in AEW. Given Priestley’s aggressive nature, exacting revenge may be easier said than done.
Prediction: There is something to be said about a feud that has been largely built off a legitimate injury that one wrestler sustained at the hands of another. Nonetheless, this match will be aired on the Buy-In, which is partially designed to entice those that haven’t yet purchased the pay-per-view to do so. As far as who will win is concerned, I will have to give the nod to Baker. After suffering a recent loss to AEW Women’s World Champion Riho, as well as being largely left out of the title picture, it’s safe to say she’s looking to make her way back in.
Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. Joey Janela
This is one of the more recent programs in AEW. Following a victory on this past Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dark, Janela was confronted backstage by Blanchard, who had a cigarette dropped in his beverage by the former. Spears blindsided Janela, digging a pair of pliers into his mouth before producing a cigarette. Though the ensuing attack itself wasn’t filmed, assumedly due to its graphic nature, “The Bad Boy” was in a bad way. At Full Gear, Janela looks to return the favor against “The Chairman” of AEW.
Prediction: For a match that was thrown together close to Full Gear, this has the makings of a solid contest. Janela has become a popular figure in AEW, not only because of his charisma but his spirited performances in different bouts. Spears has also become one of the company’s most hated men, and with Blanchard by his side, he’s as dangerous as they come. I can see Janela coming away the winner, utilizing his daredevil tactics to ensure that this victory is a perfect 10.
Proud-N-Powerful (Santana and Ortiz) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson)
Since The Inner Circle first formed, one of the most standout parts of the group was the team of Santana and Ortiz. The former members of LAX entered AEW with a chip on their collective shoulder, focusing largely on The Young Bucks, attacking them at every possible opportunity. After issuing a challenge to the brotherly tag team, Proud-N-Powerful’s challenge was accepted. At Full Gear, these two teams will square off, and while there will be no championship on the line, gold may very well be in the sights of Santana and Ortiz moving forward.
Prediction: One of the more surprising aspects of The Young Bucks in AEW, to many fans, is how often they’ve lost. While they’ve certainly picked up victories since the promotion’s inception, they have also been on the receiving end of various losses to teams such as Private Party and The Lucha Bros. At Full Gear, I can see them coming up short against Proud-N-Powerful, who are still relatively unestablished in the eyes of AEW fans. Expect them to see them emerge victorious in a solid tag team affair.
Hangman Page vs. Pac
From the inception of All Elite Wrestling, Hangman Page and Pac have been at odds. Though their first scheduled match at Double or Nothing was called off due to various circumstances, they took different paths. While Page contended for the AEW World Championship, Pac was working his way back to the promotion, which he did with sheer dominance. Now, Page finds himself standing across from Pac, the two rivals ready to clash in what will certainly be a unique mix of styles. Will the Hangman get his man, or will The Bastard add another win to his record?
Prediction: Though Page has been positioned as a future star in AEW, the road to Full Gear hasn’t been without its bumps in the road. While he has achieved victories in not only the first-ever Casino Battle Royale and other match types, his loss to Chris Jericho at All Out halted his momentum. On the other hand, Pac has achieved big wins of his own, especially against Kenny Omega at All Out. At Full Gear, I see Page regaining some of his lost momentum by silencing The Bastard in what is sure to be a heated singles match.
Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega (Lights Out Match)
The big story coming out of Double or Nothing earlier this year was the surprise debut of Jon Moxley. Following an attack on Jericho, Moxley turned his focus to Omega, laying him out to close the show. Since then, they have exchanged attacks, each man standing tall on different occasions. They’ve also shown to have a certain level of honor, unwilling to attack the other unless they had an equalizer to defend themselves. This feud has become so heated that AEW President and CEO Tony Khan had no choice but to make this contest a Lights Out Match. In other words, it will be unsanctioned, ungoverned, and uncounted in the AEW record book.
Prediction: Moxley is no stranger to match types where all rules are moved by the wayside. Ergo, it would make sense for him to achieve victory, though this will prove difficult with Omega as his opponent. It’s important to note that Omega has lost many of his singles matches, specifically against names like Jericho and Pac, and it appears he’s desperate for a victory. In this match, I see Omega pulling out all the stops, perhaps to a fault, to incapacitate Moxley and achieve victory. I will give the nod to Omega in this Lights Out Match.
The Lucha Bros. (Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix) vs. Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) vs. SoCal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) (c) (AEW World Tag Team Championship)
To say that this AEW World Tag Team Championship match is interesting would be an understatement. On this past Wednesday’s episode of Dynamite, Private Party secured a victory over The Dark Order, which inserted them in this title match that also includes The Lucha Bros. Private Party has a major opportunity, but they will have to go up against two veteran teams to obtain championship gold. These are three of the premier tandems in the AEW tag team division and regardless of who comes away victorious, it’s hard to imagine this match will be anything other than exciting.
Prediction: Kazarian and Sky are still relatively early into their reign as inaugural AEW World Tag Team Champions. By the time Full Gear rolls around, they will have held the championship for a little under two weeks. As a result, I don’t see them dropping the championship here; I firmly believe that they will retain. Nonetheless, this match will showcase The Lucha Bros. and Private Party as potential titleholders down the road. Depending on how well Kassidy and Quen perform, which they have done well in previous bouts, we may see them with gold before long. It simply won’t be at Full Gear, however.
Riho (c) vs. Emi Sakura (AEW Women’s World Championship)
As stated on AEW commentary numerous times, Sakura served as Riho’s trainer several years ago. They have also squared off numerous times, Riho becoming more experienced over the years. While it can be argued that this story could have been better told on television, there’s no denying the sheer chemistry they share as teacher and student. With the AEW Women’s World Championship on the line, Sakura will pull out all the stops to achieve victory. In fact, she may have a trick or two she never taught Riho, which could make all the difference come Full Gear.
Prediction: In the women’s division, one of the major focuses has been Joshi Puroresu, as evidenced by the showcasing of such talents as Hikaru Shida, Sakura, and Riho. As a result, it’s not surprising to see this style be showcased at Full Gear. There’s no denying that Riho and Sakura will have a strong match, as evidenced by their previous contests, but I simply can’t see Riho dropping the strap this early. This, along with the various commitment Sakura has in Japan, leads me to believe that the champion will leave with her prize intact.
Cody vs. Chris Jericho (c) (AEW World Championship)
What was already a marquee match for Full Gear was made even bigger during this past Wednesday’s Dynamite. In an in-ring promo, Cody announced that if he fails to defeat Jericho at Full Gear, he will never again challenge for the AEW World Championship. From there, immediate stakes were created. These stakes can motivate Cody, though, resulting in him putting forth a fight never seen before from The American Nightmare. Can he achieve another world title? Or will Le Champion foil Cody’s ambitions, retaining the AEW World Championship before enjoying “a little bit of the bubbly” with The Inner Circle?
Prediction: The aforementioned stipulation has created an interesting dynamic in this upcoming AEW World Championship match. If Cody loses this match, how will it occur? Will Jericho win fair and square, or will it be the result of shenanigans by either The Inner Circle or The Elite? If Cody wins, what kind of a target does this paint on his back as not only a member of management but a titleholder on the roster? This is sure to be an intriguing match, and while I believe Cody has put in some of his best work as of late, I believe that Jericho will continue holding onto the AEW World Championship. Where that leaves Cody, though, will remain to be seen.