With All Out in the rear-view mirror, All Elite Wrestling’s pay-per-view calendar turns towards Full Gear. Currently scheduled for 19 November from Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center, the fourth-annual Full Gear card has the potential to be a must-see event.
Given the events of the All Out media scrum, fans are keen to see how, exactly, AEW bounces back with their first pay-per-view after the matter. So far, the situation has proved controversial; those involved were suspended, with four of AEW’s top stars – Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and CM Punk – remaining absent from the promotion. It’s unknown when they’ll return, but it’s unlikely Tony Khan will want to feature them on Full Gear.
That does leave a seismic gap on the card. Even if they are indeed kept off the card, it still leaves AEW with a fruitful roster to make use of, some of whom could make their pay-per-view debut at Full Gear.
Note, this feature will follow the same length of All Out – eleven main card matches and four for the Zero Hour pre-show. Furthermore, the assumption is being made that Bryan Danielson will win the vacant AEW World Championship at Grand Slam Dynamite, while The Acclaimed will become the new AEW World Tag Team Champions.
So, what’s (maybe) on the bill for Full Gear?
W. Morrissey vs. Danhausen (Zero Hour)
Wrestling fans worldwide loveDanhausen. He’s got a cult following that has trailed behind him throughout his, thus far, short AEW career. It’s unlikely he’ll ever be considered a top star in the promotion, but he provides something unique to cards in that he can be squashed without having his credibility ruined. It’s already happened vs. the likes of Ricky Starks and Tony Nese; W. Morrissey should be the next culprit.
The big man of The Firm, Morrissey could wipe out Danhausen at Full Gear for no reason other than to make a lasting impact. It worked so well in his early IMPACT Wrestling career that he grew exponentially within just a few months – there’s no reason it can’t do the same for him in AEW.
Hikaru Shida vs. Mayu Iwatani (Zero Hour)
AEW’s working relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling has seen the likes of Minoru Suzuki, KENTA, and Yuji Nagata step through the Forbidden Door, while the namesake pay-per-view in June featured a series of inter-promotional matches that involved Kazuchika Okada, Jay White, and several more. Now NJPW has a co-promoted event with World Wonder Ring Stardom in Tokyo the day after Full Gear – could AEW get a hand in this as well?
Bringing a current Stardom champion like Mayu Iwatani, the reigning SWA World Champion, could work exponentially well to get some last-minute promotion done, particularly if she works with someone like Hikaru Shida. AEW’s focus on Joshi performers was one of the key aspects laid out at the start of the company; it’s time to carry that to a grand scale.
Adam Page vs. John Silver (Zero Hour)
It’s almost difficult to dissect the career trajectory of ‘Hangman’ Adam Page. The one-time AEW World Champion has gradually fallen down the card since losing the title to CM Punk but yet, he remains a beloved member of the roster. At All Out, he was a crucial aspect of the World Trios Championships tournament, stepping in for an injured Pres10 Vance to join John Silver and Alex Reynolds against his former Elite comrades.
An accidental Buckshot Lariat to Silver ultimately cost them the championships. Page has doubted himself at the best of times, but this execution should be used to cause a serious rift between him and The Dark Order – in his mind, at least. John Silver is the best option for ‘Hangman’ to demand a match against, given that it’s him who took the wicked Lariat. Though it seems strange, given the DO’s love and admiration for Page, it’s an enticing avenue for AEW to continue its greatest story ever told.
FTW Championship: HOOK (c) vs. Ari Daivari (Zero Hour)
The FTW Championship is now just…there as another championship. Initially brought in for Brian Cage to carry around while then-AEW World Champion Jon Moxley was out of action, it worked for a brief while but now, it comes across as nothing more than a championship for HOOK to hold as another way to pay tribute to his father.
He’ll likely defend the championship on the Zero Hour pre-show, but does anyone care who challenges him? The Trustbusters’ Ari Daivari may be the best option, given AEW’s presentation of the group on Rampage, where ‘The Cold-Blooded Handsome Devil’ is also more of a regular. Until AEW builds up a legitimate challenger for HOOK, these are the sort of matches that await him when it comes to pay-per-views.
Keith Lee vs. Swerve Strickland
Many – your writer included – are predicting an Acclaimed victory of the AEW World Tag Team Championships at Grand Slam Dynamite. This would leave Swerve In Our Glory without the championships and, perhaps more importantly, without a reason to move forward as a tag team. They’ve done all they can together, so breaking them up either at or immediately following the event is the way to go.
A singles match between Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland then awaits AEW viewers at Full Gear. The ‘will they, won’t they’ dynamic has been ongoing for far too long, to the extent that Strickland eliminated Lee from the Casino Battle Royale – in June! A one-and-done singles match at Full Gear should be the culmination of this story to avoid souring fans on the pair of former NXT North American Champions.
Jon Moxley vs. Darby Allin
Presuming Jon Moxley is indeed felled by Bryan Danielson in the Grand Slam Tournament of Champions, it leaves ‘The Death Rider’ with no clear direction leading into Full Gear. The same goes for Darby Allin, who was eliminated in the tournament’s opening round by Sammy Guevara. You know where this is going.
Moxley and Allin have wrestled two singles matches in AEW thus far, with both being won by Mox. What was crucial about them, though, was the presentation of Darby Allin in the immediate aftermath. His November 2019 loss made many realise that Darby was a pillar, while his unsuccessful AEW World Championship jaunt July 2020 sent him on the path he needed to be on to become TNT Champion. Rekindling the rivalry between the two, which would mark two years since Allin’s title victory, may be the way to go.
Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Garcia
AEW is taking their time with building toward Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Garcia – but it’s definitely happening this year. Garcia has been torn on who to favour between Jericho and Bryan Danielson during their recent rivalry, going so far as to not join the rest of The Jericho Appreciation Society in celebrating with ‘The Wizard’ at All Out. Similarly, Jericho and the JAS were nowhere to be seen when Garcia won the ROH Pure Championship in his hometown of Buffalo; Bryan Danielson, however, was.
It seems inevitable that this will finally go down at Full Gear. If he hasn’t already by the time of the event, this will be the scene where ‘Red Death’ Garcia departs Chris Jericho’s faction, most likely jumping ship to Blackpool Combat Club. He’s a perfect fit for the William Regal-helmed faction, so much so that many were shocked when he instead joined up with Chris Jericho following Revolution. Now is the right time to rectify that.
Newark Street Fight: Jack Perry vs. Luchasaurus
Much like Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Garcia, a singles match between ‘Jungle Boy’ Jack Perry and Luchasaurus is going to happen at Full Gear. The latter’s second heel turn on his now-former tag team partner at All Out marked the logical next point in Perry’s story with Christian Cage, who handily defeated the one-time AEW World Tag Team Champion with a Spear and a Killswitch. This came after Luchasaurus annihilated Jack’s back with a Chokeslam on the stage.
Adding a Street Fight stipulation to the contest would add an aura of fire and intensity to the already-anticipated match. Jack Perry has proven to work well when up against it; his best match was against Kenny Omega, the cream of AEW’s crop. Needless to say, Luchasaurus provides an entirely different match to Perry than what ‘The Best Bout Machine’ did but given how well he decimated his ex-Jurassic Express partner at All Out, he’s going to do wonderful things in what could be a breakout performance.
AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament Finals: Sammy Guevara vs. Claudio Castagnoli
A staple of Full Gear over the past two years has been the finals of a World Championship Eliminator Tournament. Kenny Omega and ‘Hangman’ Adam Page did so in 2020, while Bryan Danielson and Miro contested the match in 2021. AEW should continue this for Full Gear 2022, with Sammy Guevara and Claudio Castagnoli reaching the tournament finals.
Given AEW’s abundance of tournaments and the landscape of the World Championship scene with MJF holding a future title match, it may not be the best option, but why change something that has proven continuously well in the past? With Guevara and Castagnoli contesting the finals, it provides an option to either give Sammy the main event spotlight he’s clearly being built for, or allow Claudio to move up the AEW ladder. Either way, you’re in for a solid match.
AEW World Trios Championships: Death Triangle (c) vs. The Firm
It may be too soon for The Firm to chase the AEW World Trios Championships, given their incredibly recent formation, but it needs to be the direction AEW heads in with the faction. Stokely Hathaway has already laid out his clients’ trajectory, with Ethan Page wanting the All Atlantic Championship, Lee Moriarty the ROH Pure Championship, and Austin and Colten Gunn the World Tag Team Championships. Failing this, the AEW World Trios Championship is an acceptable option as well.
For this, the combination of Page and the Gunn brothers is the best option to challenge Death Triangle. Presuming PAC remains in possession of the All Atlantic Championship until Full Gear, it provides the option of him coming nose-to-nose with ‘All Ego’ Ethan, regardless of if he’s had a crack at the title by that point. If he’s not, then it’s the next step in The Firm’s story post-Full Gear.
AEW World Tag Team Championships: The Acclaimed (c) vs. FTR
Arguably the most simplistic match prediction in this set of predictions, The Acclaimed vs. FTR seems to be the only acceptable choice for Full Gear’s AEW World Tag Team Championships contest. Anthony Bowens and Max Caster are surely lifting the titles from Swerve In Our Glory at Grand Slam Dynamite, while Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler are still awaiting their title opportunity, despite topping the rankings for several months.
It’s almost too obvious a match for AEW to book for Full Gear – but that usually makes it the best way to go.
AEW TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (c) vs. Jordynne Grace
An outside shout here, but it almost makes sense. Jade Cargill‘s AEW TBS Championship reign is nearing a full year, with seemingly no one on the current AEW roster able to dethrone her. Athena seemed to be the most plausible choice at All Out, however, she was felled by Jade in a matter of minutes. Diamante likely won’t defeat her at Grand Slam Rampage either. Step in Jordynne Grace.
The reigning IMPACT Knockouts World Champion, ‘Thicc Mama Pump’ is yet to wrestle for AEW. There could be music waiting for her eventual debut, though, as spotted during a live stream from AEW’s music producer Mikey Rukus. Although this has already been shut down and said to not be directly related to Grace in AEW, it could still be an indication that Grace is slated for an AEW appearance at some point. Full Gear vs. Jade Cargill is the perfect place.
AEW Interim Women’s World Championship: Toni Storm (c) vs. Jamie Hayter
You can swap this out with Toni Storm vs. Thunder Rosa if Rosa is fighting fit by the time of Full Gear but if not, Jamie Hayter is a more than suitable challenger for Storm’s interim AEW Women’s World Championship. Easily the shining star of All Out’s four-way to crown the interim champion, Hayter is visibly being geared up for a step away from Britt Baker‘s shadow.
Whether or not the split is executed by the time of Full Gear is the question. It’s deserving of a long stall to allow for the perfect payoff when Hayter does eventually turn, but you don’t want to take too long at the same time. Perhaps ‘The Doctor’ can cost Hayter the championship here to begin that story after the pay-per-view.
AEW TNT Championship: Wardlow (c) vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Ricky Starks
Of all the AEW championships, the TNT Championship is the most difficult to dissect for Full Gear. Wardlow hasn’t exactly done much with the championship, all while the likes of Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks have been killing it in the upper mid-card. Throw them all into the ring for a superlative Triple Threat.
Hobbs’ easy win over ‘Absolute’ Ricky Starks at All Out was surprising, and with reports of him being destined for a big push following that card, it may be easier to have the former Team Taz beast go it alone against ‘Mr Mayhem’. However, the added third party would make for excellent viewing. He shouldn’t necessarily be there for Wardlow and Hobbs to demolish, as the former FTW Champion should be protected to a degree, but a small wrecking will be acceptable.
AEW World Championship: Bryan Danielson (c) vs. Eddie Kingston
It’s not New York so it won’t have the same value, but this version of Eddie Kingston challenging for the AEW World Championship is perhaps the best avenue Tony Khan can go down with the title at Full Gear. ‘The Mad King’ is seemingly being built up for something huge, with his victory over Tomohiro Ishii and Grand Slam match vs. Sammy Guevara; a singles outing with Bryan Danielson, who many believe will be AEW World Champion at the time of Full Gear, is the logical next step.
With MJF holding a World Championship opportunity, it may make sense to have him immediately target career underdog Danielson – but that’s almost too obvious. Hold off on MJF’s title match for as long as possible. The payoff to that inevitable title reign will be worth the wait. Instead, build ‘The American Dragon’ back up as 2014 perennial babyface Daniel Bryan who’s constantly up against it. It’s the best version to then be knocked back down a peg or two by ‘The Salt of the Earth’.