Wednesday, November 15, 2023

AEW Full Gear 2023 Preview & Predictions

This Saturday it's the fifth(!) annual AEW Full Gear, emanating from Kia Forum in sunny Los Angeles!

For whatever reason Full Gear tends to be a consistently strong PPV every year, and I see no reason to think this will be any exception.  As of now we have eight main show matches and a pre-show match with title and storyline ramifications.  Looks like AEW will reach the 11,000-ticket mark, making this their best-selling show since All In.  The company seems to be finding the right formula of price point, local promotion, and general fan interest to bring in a consistently healthy crowd to their shows, and that's very encouraging.  They just need that one red-hot angle to get everyone talking again.

This lineup looks very strong on paper, as basically all their PPVs do, and numerous matches have a real story to them (in spite of what the beyond-the-pale anti-AEW crowd would have you believe), plus there's the ongoing intrigue of who's behind the Devil mask (I have my theory but we'll get to that).  Should be a helluva fun slate of matches and we also have the just-announced Continental Classic (think G1 Climax but with AEW wrestlers) to look forward to over the next month!

Let's look at the card....

Zero Hour ROH Tag Team Championship: MJF/??? vs. The Gunns

Once again young Max is pulling double duty, as he and a TBD partner will defend the ROH Tag belts agains Austin and Colten.  This will likely be another short match, and the outcome really kinda depends on who the partner is.  All signs point to Samoa Joe, who's offered to help out only if Max gives him another title shot.  That could really go either way, as I could see Joe dominating the match and giving the champs a win, but I could also see Joe screwing Max over.  Personally I think if Adam Cole isn't coming back anytime soon it's probably time to move on from this experiment, as MJF has enough on his plate without a set of secondary tag belts.

Pick: The Gunns

AEW Tag Team Championship: Ricky Starks/Big Bill vs. FTR vs. Rush/Dralistico vs. Malakai Black/Brody King

This should be a wild one.  Lotta stuff going on with these teams and it seems like they're building to a Starks/Bill/House of Black vs. FTR/LFI ten-man tag (hopefully held under Survivor Series rules), maybe on the Thanksgiving Eve Dynamite.  I don't see Starks and Bill losing the straps just yet, but then who do you pin here?  FTR have already lost to them, LFI and HOB you want to keep strong.  I suppose if they retain it would be via cheating anyway.

Pick: Ricky & Bill retain

TBS Championship: Kris Statlander vs. Julia Hart vs. Skye Blue or Red Velvet

Tonight's Dynamite will include a playoff Blue vs. Red match to determine which of them gets added to this match.  I'd probably prefer a Kris vs. Julia singles rematch but this should be fun too.  The third woman in the match is likely to get pinned, and I think Julia will probably be the one doing the pinning.  If it's Skye, she might even turn on Kris and lay down willingly, revealing her allegiance to the House of Black.

Pick: Julia Hart

Sting/Darby Allin/Adam Copeland vs. Christian Cage/Luchasaurus/Nick Wayne

This should be a helluva fun trios match and it'll be Copeland's first AEW PPV bout, as well as his first match against Christian in I dunno how many years, 22?  Its clear the babyfaces are winning, as Copeland isn't losing this soon after being signed, but it's gonna be entertaining.

Pick: Team Copeland

AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy vs. Jon Moxley

These two had an epic main event at All Out and this should be just as great.  I feel like if Mox hadn't gotten concussed at Grand Slam he'd have held the International Title till now and had this rematch anyway, but with Orange going over.  Seems like that was the original plan, and if so, I'd book Orange to retain here.  Then you can always do a rubber match where Mox gets his intended title run.  

Pick: Cassidy retains

Kenny Omega & Chris Jericho vs. The Young Bucks

Matt and Nick in their hometown against a tag team that includes Kenny Omega?  Take my money.  I wonder if the Bucks get cheered here despite basically being the heels in this conflict.  Anyway this should be stunning, full of breathtaking action, and very much story-driven.  Oh, and the winners get a tag team title shot.  I have to think the Golden Jets eke out a win here and maybe even win the tag belts so there can be a rematch with the Bucks down the road.

Pick: The Golden Jets

AEW Women's Championship: Hikaru Shida vs. Toni Storm

Toni's "Timeless" gimmick is pure, hilarious FIRE.  Shida is and has been a great champion but it's time to complete Toni's transformation into the larger-than-life burnout starlet, by making her the champion once again.  This should be a very good and highly entertaining match.

Pick: Toni

Texas Death Match: Hangman Page vs. Swerve Strickland

These two had a classic at WrestleDream and this should be even better and certainly more violent.  Both guys are great, this feud has real heat to it, and Swerve is absolutely a future AEW Champion.  But I think Page evens things up first with a win here.  They'll need a rubber match either in December or early 2024 where Strickland goes over.

Pick: Page

AEW World Championship: MJF vs. Jay White

This will be a classic 80s NWA main event, and I mean that in the best possible way.  You have MJF playing the 1989 Ric Flair - charismatic, sympathetic, but not above cheating, and Jay White playing a cross between heel Flair and 1989 Terry Funk - a consummate pro who's mechanically as good as anyone in the business, but with a violent killer instinct.  I think this one goes a good half-hour since both guys' styles are conducive to longer bouts.  MJF is obviously retaining, as he has Joe and Wardlow both waiting in the wings for their shot, but the big question is "Will we find out who's under the Devil mask?"  Numerous Easter eggs have been oddly pointing to CM Punk, and if they've actually worked something out with Phil after all the debacles, then well done I guess?  But I don't think it's Phil.  I have a feeling the original plan was Adam Cole, but since he's out for a while longer it seems, I'd go with Jack Perry.  He was a red-hot bad guy when he got suspended, the Punk hints would fit right in and he could subtly reference Punk as part of the angle (which would draw massive heat), and MJF vs. Perry is always an excellent match.  I could be wrong, but that's my prediction for the mystery man.  Punk would be the bigger short-term business move but we'd be right back to everyone walking on eggshells backstage and I don't think AEW needs that ever again.  Perry would be a better long-term choice.

Pick: MJF retains (Perry unmasks)

So there's the lineup.  They may add a main show match or two and a couple Zero Hour matches but I wouldn't be sad if they limited Full Gear to eight bouts so everything has more time.  Enjoy the show!

Thanks for reading - subscribe to our mailing list, and follow us on Twitter, MeWe, Facebook and YouTube!

No comments:

Post a Comment