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AEW Full Gear review: Is five hours too much?

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I agree with Dave Meltzer’s statement that it really doesn’t matter how long a show is, as long as the pacing and match quality delivers, then there's no need to argue about show length. Some of the best NJPW and AEW shows have hit past the five hour mark, yet were still great because everything delivered. 

Full Gear was not one of those shows. 

Not to say it was a bad show by any means, as there was some tremendous wrestling on the show. It was better than most of Crown Jewel, for example. It’s just that by the end of the show, I was glad it was over. It’s all about pacing, folks.

MJF ended the show as AEW World Champion, a finish that was absolutely the right, and perhaps only, choice to make. In the end, after all the questions regarding if MJF would win the title the right way, he fooled us all yet again by joining forces with William Regal and knocking out Jon Moxley with brass knuckles to secure the championship at 26 years old. The match was good, but the story was the highlight, with MJF officially cementing himself as the top star of the company.Re

MJF has all the tools to become one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling. The work is there, and he has quickly reached the point where no one, including in WWE, can touch him in terms of promos. The question is, who is next? With Regal’s turn, someone in the Blackpool Combat Club (or whatever it may be now) makes sense. Danielson, maybe?

The good stuff on All Out was really damn good. The best match of the night easily went to Death Triangle beating The Elite in their big return match to retain the Trios titles. A surprise for sure, but given that the six will wrestle possibly six more times in a best of seven series, it makes the most sense for Death Triangle to win the first match. The match was about what you would expect in an Elite match: an awesome spectacle filled with cool moves and excellent synchronicity.

In the pre-show, Eddie Kingson defeated Jun Akiyama in what was very clearly a dream match for Kingston. The match itself was hard-hitting and very good, but the standout was Kingston’s interviews before and after the match. Kingston is someone that wears his heart on his sleeve, and it didn’t take much to realize that the match that took place really meant a lot to him. This was cool to see Kingston’s dream of wrestling someone from All Japan Pro Wrestling’s golden era come to life.

The ROH Championship match started slow, but picked up big time by the end largely thanks to two things: the drama between Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara, and the excellent back and forth between Claudio Castagnoli and Bryan Danielson. With Jericho’s win, that leaves the question of what we will be seeing in just a few weeks at Final Battle. I feel like they could do another Danielson match, but the question is how they get there. The match has already been done, but it feels like the next champion after Jericho should probably be Danielson.

Here is the tweet I wrote about the steel cage match:

Ok, now getting that out of the way, this match was great. The two had terrific heat and Jungle Boy came off like a star with the big submission win over his former tag team partner. This all leads to the eventualy match with Christian Cage, whenever he gets cleared.

The Women’s World title match between Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter ended up being great, a real stiff back and forth match. These two had terrific chemistry and the crowd, who wanted Hayter to win, reacted big to all the nearfalls. It seems clear that a split between Hayter and Baker is coming based on the finish. And with Revolution not until March, there’s plenty of time to build to it.

Speaking of Baker, her match with Saraya was a match where I waited for things to pick up, and they never quite did. Saraya has been gone for five years, and it showed. I don’t want to say this was a bad match, but it went too long and the crowd never really seemed to get into the match, leading to a flat finish when Saraya scored the win. I was expecting a bit more here, but it is good to see Saraya back and doing things on her own terms.

Let’s do quick hits on the rest of this card, as there were THIRTEEN matches on this five-hour program:

  • The AEW World Tag Team title match between The Acclaimed and Swerve in Our Glory was fine, but the match from All Out was worlds better. The true story of Saturday's match was Keith Lee walking out on Swerve Strickland and the likely fallout that will occur.
  • The ten man tag that opened the show was good, and the crowd was hot for it, so good stuff! Danhausen coming out in very evil form and clearing house was cute.
  • Ricky Starks defeated Brian Cage in a short, but good match. Starks advances to the finals against Ethan Page, which I see him winning. That means the next immediate title program will likely be Starks and MJF, which should end up being a fascinating promo battle.
  • The three-way for the TNT Championship was perfectly fine, though I thought it was time to put the title on Hobbs. That is probably the eventual result, it’s just a question of when. Final Battle?
  • The TBS Championship match wasn’t good, and there’s not much to say about it. The program just never clicked in any way, shape, or form.
  • Sting and Darby Allin defeated Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal in a match I could see being planned out in my sleep. Not a bad thing at all -- Darby did cool stuff and Sting did his cool obligatory dive. They also highlighted Satnam Singh here and I thought he looked good doing his spots.

With Revolution not taking place until March, that leaves plenty of time for new programs to build. Hopefully Revolution will be a more little tighter than Full Gear here.