Monday, November 2, 2020

AEW Full Gear 2020 Preview & Predictions

Oh man, AEW has put together a lineup.  This Saturday is the second annual Full Gear PPV event, and on paper it's one of the company's strongest cards to date.

I count four potential show stealers on the Full Gear card, and as it should be with any good wrestling show, they're all going to be very different matches.  

Not that I want to turn this into a "bash WWE" piece, but I realized last week that it's been roughly seven months since I cut the cord on the WWE Network, and I haven't regretted it in the slightest.  Yes there a handful of matches I've missed that I'd like to watch at some point - Balor vs. O'Reilly, Sasha vs. Bayley, etc. - but reading and listening to the reviews of RAW and Smackdown feels like talking to a mutual friend about how badly my ex is doing since the breakup.  Walking away was the right move.  

And that brings me to AEW, which is by no means a perfect product.  But I actually have fun watching Dynamite.  When they have a segment or match that's a miss, it doesn't drag down the whole show because it isn't one awful creative choice after another.  Their booking is logical and clearly designed to get over as many stars as possible.  Even when it doesn't work, at least I can see that they're trying their best, as opposed to an obvious act of sabotage, which is what happens on a regular basis in WWE.  AEW doesn't make me feel like I've wasted my evening.  That's the big difference.

But enough about that, let's pick some winners....

Buy In: Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver

Welp, Mr. Cassidy had a couple disappointing weeks, coming up short in two consecutive TNT Title bids against Cody.  The first was a time limit draw, the second was a Lumberjack Match loss.  So this is just a way for him to get a win back, against one of said lumberjacks who cost him the match with Cody.  Should be fine, if forgettable.

Pick: Cassidy

Elite Deletion Match: Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara

A makeup from All Out where Matt suffered a potential concussion and thus the match was cut short, I'm not sure if this will be another Falls Count Anywhere scenario or a cinematic match.  That last one was called Broken Rules, so maybe this will be a Final Deletion-type segment.  Regardless, it should be mildly entertaining.  I think Sammy should really win here; he hasn't had a major victory in I dunno how long.  Beating Matt in his own match would go a long way.

Pick: Sammy

AEW Women's Championship: Hikaru Shida vs. Nyla Rose

This women's division desperately needs some help.  Shida as I've said before is a great centerpiece but she doesn't have much of a supporting cast to work with.  Rose is the only credible challenger and there hasn't been much of a build to this rematch; instead it felt like "Well, we got no one else so Nyla, get back in there."  I think Shida should retain and hopefully AEW can sign some more strong challengers as well as push Abadon (I was sad to hear that her Dynamite return last week was scrapped due to an injury).  Let's build a women's division the company can be proud of.

Pick: Shida retains

TNT Championship: Cody vs. Darby Allin

The build to this one has been weird too.  They announced that Allin would get a title shot at the PPV but then had Cody face Cassidy twice, which made it look to me like Cassidy would be added to this match after taking Cody to the limit.  But instead Darby has just sorta been waiting in the wings.  And I think Darby should win here but he's been presented as a bit of an afterthought.  Either way, the match should be really good.  Darby did wrestle a time limit draw against Cody, so they have that story to build off of.  I assume the 20-minute time limit applies here.

Pick: I'll go with Darby to take the belt in a squeaker.  Cody can afford the loss and he'll be playing the heel in this match.

Chris Jericho vs. MJF

This is one of my four potential show stealers.  The character work in this match should be fantastic - two absolute douchebag heels trying to out-heel each other.  MJF promised he'd do "anything" to win, so it'll be fun to see how that plays out.  If MJF wins he gets to join the Inner Circle, which could provide months of fun angles as the other members try to convince Jericho to kick him out.  On the back burner of course is the eventual Wardlow babyface turn (Goddamn, that guy has IT - lock him up in a lifetime contract, AEW!).  I think it makes the most sense for MJF to win, so we can see this storyline advance.

Pick: MJF

AEW Tag Team Championship: FTR vs. Young Bucks

I'd say this will almost certainly be the match of the night.  These two teams have been wanting to wrestle each other for two years now and there's no way they're letting anyone follow them.  The stip here once again is if the Bucks don't win the belts they'll never challenge for them again.  They did this a year ago with Cody and he actually went through with it.  I don't think Matt and Nick should lose.  They're the star team of the division and should be the tag champs for a while.  They were knocked out in the first round of the original tag title tournament in 2019, but now is the time for the Bucks to be the focus.  FTR is undefeated in AEW and can afford to take this loss.  They'll undoubtedly win the titles back at some point, but for now it should be the Bucks' time.

Pick: Bucks win!  Bucks win!

#1 Contender Match: Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page

Likewise here: Kenny was everyone's favorite to be the inaugural AEW Champ when the title situation was first announced.  But then Jericho beat him in the qualifier and he took a backseat in the singles division.  Holding the tag belts with Page helped both guys be built back up, but now Kenny needs to be groomed for a run with the big belt.  He's had some great matches in AEW but quite not on the level of his NJPW run.  A major singles push would allow him to get there.  Page has also proved himself a great young singles star but it's Kenny's turn.  Moxley vs. Omega II at Revolution 2021 - book it.  This should be a phenomenal match.

Pick: Kenny

AEW Championship I Quit Match: Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston

I was pretty underwhelmed when they set up Kingston as the title challenger here; he doesn't have the star power of the other top challengers and I don't think anyone is predicting him to win.  But I'll be damned if his and Moxley's promo work hasn't won me over.  These two have made pretty brilliant use of their personal and professional history together and gotten the story across even for casual fans who didn't follow their CZW days.  With that in mind I expect this match to be absolutely brutal.  They'll try to capture the CZW style and present something that feels really dangerous and gritty.  Should be a helluva fight.  Moxley is obviously retaining.

Pick: Mox retains

That there is a strong PPV lineup.  Aside from the women's match and the Deletion match (both of which should be fine), the entire main card looks incredible.  I'm hoping for at least one or two MOTY candidates.  Enjoy!

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