Saturday night, All Elite Wrestling presented “Full Gear 2023” from the Kia Forum from Inglewood, California. This was the 5th annual “Full Gear” event from AEW. The event started with a pre-show called “Zero Hour”, that was aired on Facebook, X, & YouTube. Then, the main card was aired on pay-per-view outlets.
Full Gear 2023
“Zero Hour” began with “The Mad King” Eddie Kingston defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against Jay Lethal. Kingston & Lethal were involved a hard-hitting brawl. However, there was frequent interference from “The Last Outlaw” Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh, & Karen Jarrett. Late in the match, Karen & Satnam distracted the referee to set up Lethal knocking out Kingston with Jeff’s guitar. However, Ortiz showed up to hit Dutt with the guitar. Kingston blocked the Lethal Injection, then pinned Lethal with the Uraken to remain the ROH World Champion.
The next match featured Claudio Castagnoli of the Blackpool Combat Club taking on Buddy Matthews of the House of Black. This match featured the speed, striking, & chicanery of Matthews against the power & natural ability of Castagnoli. Matthews used his knees early in the match, but Castagnoli would respond with his famous European uppercuts & giant swing. In the closing moments, Matthews nearly pinned Castagnoli with a power bomb & a jackhammer, then nearly made him submit with a crossface. After the Ricola Bomb, Castagnoli made Matthews submit to a sharpshooter. After the match, Matthews refused to shake Castagnoli’s hand.
The final pre-show match featured (AEW World Champion) Maxwell Jacob Friedman & “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe (substituting for Adam Cole) defending the ROH Tag Team Titles against the Gunns. Despite MJF showing some distrust, he & Joe showed some incidental teamwork against the members of Bullet Club Gold in the early stages of this championship match.
However, the Gunns constantly took advantage of constant disagreeing & miscommunication between MJF & Joe. Despite that, when the Gunns hit the 3:10 to Yuma on Joe, MJF pulled Colten out of the ring to prevent the pin. After Austin came to his borther’s aid, they rammed MJF into the steps & refocused on Joe. Suddenly, Cole surprisingly showed up on crutches.
MJF pulled Austin out of the ring, as Joe made Colten tap out with the Coquina Clutch. After the match, Joe reminded MJF that if he successfully defended the AEW Title, tonight, then he owes a championship match to Joe. Both men shook hands & Joe left.
Meanwhile, the Gunns attacked MJF. Colten held MJF’s left leg, while Austin attacked it with a chair. With Colten holding MJF down, Austin placed the chair around MJF’s ankle & jumped on it from the middle rope. MJF had to be stretchered out of the arena, but he made Cole promise to not let him take the AEW Title from him.
Now, it was time for the pay-per-view portion of the card. Sting, “The Rated R Superstar” Adam Copeland, & Darby Allin wrestled against the Patriarchy. A children’s choir sang the theme song of (AEW TNT Champion) Christian Cage, as the Patriarchy made their way to the ring. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair led Sting, Copeland, & Allin (who wore Rated R coats & face paint) to the ring.
While the early stages of this trio match was even, things swung in favor of the Patriarchy, when Luchasaurus chokeslammed Allin on the apron. The Patriarchy took turns on Allin, until he delivered a “code red” sunset flip from the middle rope to Nick Wayne. When Copeland was tagged in, he threw Wayne on Luchasaurus, then Allin delivered a somersault tope. Sting leapt over Flair from the apron to Wayne & Luchasaurus. After being provoked by Cage, Flair unleashed some chops, until he was poked in the eyes & low blowed by the TNT Champion.
Cage tried to hit Copeland with the TNT Title, but accidentally Luchasaurus with it. Copeland chased Cage, who left the arena. Luchasaurus received a Stinger Splash from Sting, then a spear from Copleand, & the Coffin Drop from Allin, before Copeland pinned him. After the match, Allin got on the mic and asked the metropolitan Los Angeles crowd to give an ovation to their hometown man, as it would be Sting’s final time wrestling in California, before he retires at “Revolution 2024”.
“Switchblade” Jay White was getting ready to be declared the new AEW Champion, as it was revealed that MJF is injured. However, Cole announced that he would compete against White, if MJF couldn’t defend the title.
Next, “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy defended the AEW International Title against Jon Moxley of the Blackpool Combat Club. In the main event of “All Out” in September, Moxley won the title from Cassidy & he was making to look history repeat itself. However, Cassidy was looking to avenge that loss, so he could say he defeated every person he competed with in a match for the AEW International Title.
This hard-hitting match went to the floor, in its opening moments. When the match returned to the ring, Moxely continued his attack, until he tried to superplex Cassidy. The champion delivered some headbutts to make Moxley bleed, then superplexed the challenger. Later in the match, Cassidy applied Red Rum, a move he learned from (FTW Champion) “The Cold-Hearted Handsome Devil” Hook, but Moxley got to a corner. When the referee tried to separate the men, Moxley ripped the pad off of the top turnbuckle. Cassidy baited Moxley into charging after him, causing the challenger run into the exposed turnbuckle.
After Cassidy dropkicked Moxley in the back to send him into the turnbuckle, again, he nailed him with 3 Orange Punches, then tried to pin him with a twisting victory roll. After a 6th Orange Punch, Cassidy pinned Moxley with the Beach Break to remain the AEW International Champion. After the match, Hook was bumped into Moxley’s BCC teammate, Wheeler Yuta. Before anything happened, Castagnoli held Yuta back.
Next, Hikaru Shida defended the AEW Women’s Title against “Timeless” Toni Storm. The rivals engaged in a strike fest that was dominated by Shida. Storm would get the better of a later exchange, which was punctuated with a bulldog. Storm tried use some chicanery by using a high-heeled shoe to knock out Shida, but the champion refused to be defeated. That made Shida irate, as she unloaded a heavy attack, which nearly earned her victory.
As Shida went airborne, she landed badly on her left leg, which allowed Storm to execute an ankle lock. When Shida made it to the ropes, Storm removed the champion’s boot & tried to hit her with it. Shida blocked her & popped Storm to send the challenger out of the ring. Shida tried to use her kendo stick, but (Storm’s “butler”) Luther interfered, only to be hit with a kendo stick. While the referee was focusing on Shida’s attack, Storm hid a mini frying pan in her tights. Shida tried to finish Storm off, but Storm blocked the Katana & delivered a release German suplex. When Shida was in position, Storm delivered a hip attack, with the pan in her tights, then pinned Shida to become a 3-time AEW Women’s Champion.
Kingston says he’ll defend the ROH World Championship & the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship in the AEW Continental Classic tournament.
Next, “Absolute” Ricky Starks & Big Bill defended the AEW World Tag Team Titles against FTR, the Kings of the Black Throne, and “El Toro Blanco” Rush & Dralístico of La Facción Ingobernable in a ladder match. The ladders came into play early & often, but the wrestlers weren’t afraid to take to the sky to deliver some attacks, as well. After FTR’s Cash Wheeler delivered a tope to take down Rush, Bill, & Black Throne’s Brody King, Dralístico delivered a tope con giro to take all of them down.
Black Throne’s Malakai Black delivered a moonsault to the floor, taking down Wheeler & Bill. To finish off the aerial assault, FTR’s Dax Harwood superplexed Starks to the floor. Harwood & Rush decided to use ladders to take out Bill, then King, before going after each other. Wheeler gave Black a pile driver on a ladder. King went for a tope to Bill, but the House of Black member went face first into a ladder, instead. Starks went on the offensive attacking LFI & FTR, until Black attacked him. Late in the match, a bloody King would give Dralístico the Gonzo Bomb on a ladder.
After Harwood used another ladder to prevent Bill from giving Wheeler a chokeslam, Wheeler splashed King on the same ladder that he performed the Gonzo Bomb. Harwood knocked Starks off of a ladder, but Bill held him up. Black pulled Harwood off & delivered the End, but Wheeler clotheslined the House of Black leader out of the ring. Starks swung one of the titles into Wheeler’s face to knock him off, so he could retrieve the belts. Starks & Bill remain the AEW World Tag Team Champions.
Next, Kris Statlander defended the AEW TBS Title against Julia Hart from the House of Black & Skye Blue. Statlander used her strength to keep her challengers at bay, early. Realizing it would be smarter to team up to take the champion out, Hart & Blue worked together to take Statlander out of the picture, before going after each other. Throughout the match, all 3 women went after each opponent. At one point, Hart delivered a moonsault to Blue, but Statlander pulled Hart out of the ring & powerslammed her on the floor.
Blue nearly pinned Statlander with a surprise Code Blue. Hart applied the Hartless to Blue, but Statlander used a German suplex to break the hold. Statlander gave Blue the Saturday Night Fever, but Hart clotheslined Statlander, then pinned Blue to become the new AEW TBS Champion.
We learned that Will Ospreay is the newest member of AEW. He said he will finish his tenure in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but he will be on the road to “Revolution” & he wants to be at Wmbley Stadium for “All In” 2024.
Next, “Hangman” Adam Page fought Swerve Strickland in a Texas death match. After Strickland made his entrance, Page ran to the ring & started attacking him, then delivered the Buckshot lariat. Page used duct tape to tie Strickland’s hands together, then punctured his chest, arms, & face with a staple gun.
When Page tried used a barb-wired chair, Strickland kicked him low, allowing (his manager) Prince Nana to cut the tape off of his hands. Strickland rammed Page into the chair, then gave him a Death Valley driver onto a cinder block on the apron. Strickland gave a pile driver on the barricade. Page used the chair to deliver the Orihara moonsault. Page delivered a tombstone pile driver onto the barb-wired chair. Strickland power bombed Page onto the chair, then delivered the Swerve Stomp.
Strickland poured glass on to Page & gave him a 450 splash, then the JML Driver. Strickland set up a barbed-wire board on 2 chairs, but Page delivered a fallaway moonsault through the board. Page delivered a power bomb & the Deadye to Strickland, on the board. Page then wrapped Strickland’s head in barbed wire, then delivered a 2nd Buckshot. After Nana helped Strickland to his feet, “The Machine” Brian Cage tried to get involved, but Page used some loose barbed-wire to take care of him.
Page gave Nana the Deadeye through a table. However, Strickland used a cinder block to hit Page. When he got up, he used a chain to hang Page. Strickland won the match, when Page couldn’t answer the referee’s 10 count.
Next, the Golden Jets wrestled the Young Bucks. If the Bucks won, then “The Best Bout Machine” Kenny Omega can’t team with Chris Jericho, again. If Jericho & Omega won, they would earn the AEW World Tag Team Championship match that the Bucks earned at “WrestleDream”. There was some tit-for-tat between the teams, early on. However, things took a turn when Nick Jackson put Jericho’s right arm between the steps & kicked it repeatedly.
The Bucks focused their attack on Jericho’s arm, until he was able to deliver a dropkick from the middle rope to Nick. When Omega tagged in, he cleaned house with the Bucks, punctuated with a knee strike to Nick. Jericho tagged back in & delivered the Lionsault to the Bucks. Jericho tried to apply the Walls of Jericho to Matt Jackson, but he was able to kick Jericho’s injured arm. After Nick snapped Jericho’s arm over the top rope, Matt gave him an armbar DDT. Matt tried for a hurricanrana, but it was blocked & turned into the Walls of Jericho. However, Jericho couldn’t maintain his grip, because of his injured arm.
Nick kicked Jericho in the groin, then Matt did the same to Omega. Nick nearly pinned Jericho with the Judas Effect, but Omega barely broke up the pin. Omega tagged in & teased that he would give Jericho a V-Trigger, but he did it to Nick, instead. After 2 snapdragon suplexes to Matt, Omega tried to give Nick the One-Winged Angel. However, Nick countered it into a poison rana. Matt gave Omega the One-Winged Angel, but Nick couldn’t get a pin. A few moments later, Omega pinned Matt with the One-Winged Angel. After the match, the Bucks left the arena angrily.
Finally, it was time for the AEW World Championship match. We thought Cole would take on “Switchblade” in the main event, but MJF returned to the arena driving an ambulance before the main event began. White went after MJF’s leg & had the Gunns attack him out of the ring. The strategy worked twice, but when Colten & Austen were caught the 3rd time, they were ejected from ringside. MJF tried to mount some offense, but anything he did affected his bad leg.
White quickly seized advantage, then took the fight to the floor. After MJF caught the challenger with a DDT, he tried to put “Switchblade” on the broadcast table (which had been used for attacks, throughout the night), but it collapsed under White’s weight. However, MJF gave a flying elbow drop. When both men returned to the ring, White refocused on MJF’s leg. Again, MJF tried to deliver offense, but his leg was affected by it.
The champion resorted to desperate measures by delivering a running cutter over the top rope to the floor. White applied a Figure Four leg lock & Cole was contemplating calling off the match, but MJF refused to quit. Cole thought about using his ROH Tag Team Title to strike White, but “Switchblade” used it to strike MJF, but he couldn’t get the pin. After White collided with the referee, Cole tried to give MJF’s “Dynamite” diamond ring to his partner, but White got to it, first. When White tried to knock out the champion, MJF low blowed the challenger & got the ring.
The Gunns tried to help, but MJF knocked them out. Then, he knocked out & pinned White to remain the AEW World Champion. MJF won the title at last year’s “Full Gear” and he would celebrate a reign of 1 year as champion at this year’s “Full Gear”.