Mike Reviews AEW Full Gear 2019
By Michael Fitzgerald on 18th November 2023
Happy Saturday Everyone!
I don’t review a lot of AEW on here, so let’s change that this week by looking at Full Gear 2019, which may as well have taken place in an alternate universe considering how different both AEW itself and the world is now.
The two big matches on Full Gear 2019 are Chris Jericho defending the AEW World Title against Cody Rhodes and Jon Moxley taking on Kenny Omega in an unsanctioned match. We’ve got plenty of promising matches on the undercard as well.
You can view the full card for Full Gear 2019 by clicking below;
The event is emanating from Baltimore, Maryland on the 9th of November 2019
Calling the action are Excalibur and Jim Ross
The opening video package focuses on overcoming pressure, which tends to be something you need to do in an athletic endeavour, so that makes sense.
Proud-N-Powerful (Ortiz and Santana) Vs The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson)
Ortiz and Santana are part of Chris Jericho’s “Inner Circle” faction, and they are in natural opposition to The Elite, thus setting up this match. The Bucks actually did quite a few jobs in the early days of AEW so they could help build up the tag division, which led to people complaining, but when they started winning matches people complained again that they were putting themselves over too much. There’s no pleasing some people is there?
Santana and Ortiz give some disrespect to The Rock N Roll Express at ringside prior to the match, but The Bucks intervene before anything can happen. This one is a fist fight to start, with The Bucks actually getting the better of it and then sending PNP outside of the ring for stereo dives. The Bucks do the traditional babyface shine to start, working the wristlock and double axe handle spot. PNP make some illegal tags, leading to referee Rick Knox actually enforcing the rules and preventing the illegal man from coming in. Interestingly, the crowd actually boos this; as they seem to be more pro PNP than pro Bucks.
PNP work a mini-heat segment on Nick Jackson for a bit, with Nick selling the leg well, but that doesn’t last long and Matt is soon making a comeback following a blind tag. They go back to Nick’s injured leg though, as Nick accidentally kicks the post (leading to Ortiz hilariously yelling that he’s a genius for dodging it) and that leads to PNP regaining control, with Matt even getting flung out onto the RNR’s at ringside. We seem to have our heat segment proper following that, with Nick getting worked over and PNP targeting the leg with most of their offence.
Nick is selling his right leg instead of the left actually, which is opposite of what you’d normally see. I’m guessing because that means Nick can still believably base for a Super Kick because he bases with his left and kicks with his right? Anyway, Nick does deliver a desperation Super Kick at one stage before collapsing Kobashi Style due to him using the injured appendage, and that gives us the double down into the hot tag. Matt runs wild with suplexes during that, with the crowd getting into it, leading to a double suplex onto PNP at one stage.
Nick’s leg keeps slowing him down during the home stretch, which means that Matt eventually falls prey to the PNP numbers game and they double on Matt for a bit, although Matt manages to survive and get some near falls. I like how during this wild near fall section the two teams are still making sure to tag one another so you don’t get that annoying “who is actually legal?” trope you often get in tag matches.
Nick’s leg injury ends up paying an important part in the direction of the bout, with Nick slipping on the ropes when attempting The Meltzer Driver, thus allowing PNP to survive and mount a comeback. Nick goes on a one legged flurry against both of PNP, but eventually gets Powerbombed by Santana for two when Matt breaks it up. Matt can’t save Nick from the Street Sweeper though and that gives PNP the win, as The Bucks lose again.
Thoughts: Possibly the biggest compliment I can give this one is that they wrestled for over 20 minutes and it felt like 10. It wasn’t a classic or anything, but it was a fun tag match and I liked that Nick’s injured leg actually played a role in The Bucks losing, meaning all the parts of the match where PNP attacked it actually mattered and it wasn’t just filler
PNP and Sammy Guevara try a beat down on The Bucks following that, but The RNR Express make the save, with Ricky Morton actually busting out a Canadian Destroyer and a TOPE SUICIDA to pop the crowd
The B*stard PAC Vs Hangman Page
Hangman was struggling in the early days of AEW, with him losing as many as he won, but he’d gotten very fired up during the build to this one saying that he was going to do some Cowboy Stuff, which seemed to suggest that he was getting back on track somewhat. They start this one on the front foot, with Jim Ross bemoaning Hangman’s desire to all this high flying stuff when he should be focusing on doing the meat and potatoes stuff. I think part of Hangman’s appeal is that he is a brawler who can also do cool stuff, which means he can hang as well in a street fight as he can in a party match. That sort of versatility is to be admired in my opinion.
PAC is on the back foot for a bit, but he eventually kicks the rope into Hangman’s face for the cut off, leading to the heat segment. PAC plays the role of violent vicious goblin well, so he’s good working the heat here, whilst Hanger sells it well.PAC succeeds in getting the crowd to boo him, with him deliberately keeping the offence basic in order to deny the fans the chance of seeing anything cool or exciting. PAC is very good at pressing fans’ buttons with stuff like that. PAC does eventually try a Phoenix Splash from the second rope, but he takes too long taunting the crowd and that allows Hangman to dodge it and make a comeback.
The crowd wants to see some Cowboy Stuff, as Hangman counters a rana into a Spine Buster at one stage for a near fall. Some fans are also chanting for PAC though. Maybe it’s Julio Geordio and some of his family from Columbia? (sadly not his mum though). PAC does manage to draw some boos by bailing from the ring to avoid the Buckshot Lariat though, and he then ups the ante by giving Hangman and Brain Buster onto a chair outside the ring. That looked like an unpleasant landing for The Hangman, as the chair was in a seated position instead of being laid down flat. Hangman manages to beat the count out, which of course annoys PAC as he would have happily taken an underhanded win like that.
Both wrestlers continue to lay into each other back inside the ring, with PAC kicking the fudge out of Hangman at one stage, whilst Hangman delivers a big Fall Away Slam from the top rope onto PAC. Buckshot Lariat is met with Super Kick, but Hangman manages to survive the Brutaliser and make the ropes to break the hold. PAC tries to end things with the Black Arrow, but Hangman dodges that and then blocks an attempted PAC low blow before getting the Dead Eye for the three count. It’s good to see that Hangman has more than one move in his arsenal that can end matches for him.
WINNER: HANGMAN PAGE
Earlier in the night; Awesome Kong and Brandi Rhodes beat up Bea Priestly and cut off some of her hair. This was all part of Brandi’s awful “Nightmare Collective” that they eventually mercy killed.
Shawn Spears w/ Tully Blanchard Vs The Bad Boy Joey Janella
Spears had gotten a reasonably strong push in the early days of AEW, being presented as a rival for Cody Rhodes and blasting folks with chairs. Adding Tully to the act was another way that AEW was trying to get him over. Spears did have pretty awesome music during this period at least. Janella was a bit of an odd one, as he was a big part of the original All In show and it looked like they had plans to push him in the early days of AEW, but then the pandemic hit and he kind of became just a guy on the roster who usually lost.
Janella shines on Spears to start, but Spears catches him with a Powerslam out on the floor and that appears to be the cut off. I should say so! Spears goes after Janella’s back when the two wrestlers re-enter the ring, with Janella doing a decent job selling it and Spears showing some good Heel mannerisms whilst he works his opponent over. Unfortunately for Spears, he’d been a developmental/lower card guy in WWE for so long that it was always going to be an uphill battle to push him as a serious upper card Heel threat, so he had a ceiling from the off, even though his wrestling was usually always mechanically sound.
Tully eventually gets involved to help his charge, distracting Janella so that Spears has time to recover and cut Janella off when he tries heading up top. Spears gets a nasty looking back breaker onto the top turnbuckle following that, leading to Spears removing one of the pads from a different turnbuckle. Referee Earl Hebner is distracted by putting the pad back on, and that allows the Heels to get a Spiked Piledriver on the floor, leading to Spears getting a Spicolli Driver back inside the ring to pick up the three.
WINNER: SHAWN SPEARS
Thoughts: Kind of an extended squash at points, although Janella got enough offence that it felt like an actual proper match. The crowd didn’t seem that into it, but Spears and Blanchard worked well together as client and manager respectively
Kip Sabian insults interviewer Golden Boy and that introduces Penelope Ford as his new manager/love interest. Sabian was quite funny here.
We get clips recapping the AEW World Tag Team Title Tournament.
AEW World Tag Team Titles
Champs: SCU (Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian) Vs Private Party (Isiah Quinn and Marq Quen) Vs The Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo)
SCU had been a mildly surprising choice for the inaugural Champions, with most thinking the belts were sure to go on The Bucks, but Private Party had upset The Bucks in the Tag Title Tournament and SCU ended up going on to win the Titles.
This one is all about quick paced offence and double teams, with all three teams having periods where they are in control of things. The crowd seems to really dig The Lucha Bros, which keeps the trend going of a vocal section of fans cheering for the Heels tonight. Hey, I’ve watched The Wire; it doesn’t shock me that a show in Baltimore has a Heel crowd.
It kind of just becomes a conveyor belt of moves after a certain point, which means I could see some not enjoying it for that reason, but I find it to be high tempo fun for the most part. We of course get a series of wild dives to the floor, with Fenix stealing the show with a wacky twisty thing from the top rope down onto everyone else on the floor. After the mandatory dive sequence, we move into the near falls, with every team getting a chance to get it as the match descends into Finisher Madness™.
Private Party get one of the best near falls of the bunch, when Quen comes off the top rope with a Shooting Star Press onto Kazarian, with Kaz only JUST managing to kick out. SCU take it home soon after by getting SCU L8r onto Quinn for the three count. That finish almost felt a bit too abrupt, like they could have done a few more minutes of action first. The match was still good fun though.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: SCU
Thoughts: I had fun with that, although the dive and move heavy presentation of it isn’t going to be for everyone
The Lucha Bros try a beat down following that, but Christopher Daniels returns dressed as Penta to help SCU fight back.
We get a video package for the next match, focusing on the relationship between the two wrestlers, with the challenger being the mentor of the Champion.
AEW Women’s World Title
Champ: Riho Vs Emi Sakura
Sakura is a mentor figure for Riho, so both are quite emotional about wrestling one another here. Sakura had managed to pin Riho in a tag match in order to get herself into contention. Riho is a talented wrestler, but unfortunately she gets a lot of nasty stuff sent her way online due to her having the temerity to be both small and Japanese whilst working in an American Wrestling company, which is a shame as she seems like an affable lass.
Riho uses her speed and agility to keep Sakura on her toes in the early going, including a grizzly looking double stomp from the top rope onto the apron on Sakura whilst the challenger is tied up on the second rope. Sakura doesn’t initially play Heel here, with her trying to encourage the fans to clap along with her at points when she manages to slow Riho down and cut her off. Riho of course sells all of that well, with Sakura eventually being a bit more heelish by taunting her smaller opponent whilst she works the Champ over.
Jim Ross does a really good job in this one, getting across Riho’s likeability as a person and also pointing out how Riho can use her speed and determination to put bigger opponents on the back foot. You give Jim Ross a traditional wrestling story to tell (Davina Vs Goliatha in this case) and he will invariably knock it out of the park. He struggles a bit more with the more modern high spot style though, bless him. Riho eventually starts fighting back, getting a rolling cradle into a double stomp before getting a Northern Lights Suplex for two, which is a move you can believe a smaller person doing because it’s more about momentum and positioning than it is about muscling your opponent over.
The closing stretch is done well, with both wrestlers having a chance to win it and Riho having to get her foot on the ropes to break a pin at one stage, getting across just how close Sakura was to winning. Sakura tries getting a cheeky roll-up to win, as she got the win over Riho in the tag match with it, but Riho manages to survive this time and gets a roll-up of her own to pick up the three count. I liked that finish as it not only called back to a previous match between them but it also played into the size difference.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: RIHO
We get a video package hyping up the next match. It’s got the dramatic slow song, where the singer whispers the vocals. You know the sort of song I mean.
AEW World Title
Lucha de Apuestas
If Cody loses he can never get another shot at the AEW World Title
Champ: Le Champeon Chris Jericho w/ Jake Hager Vs The American Nightmare Cody Rhodes w/ Maxwell Jacob Friedman
Jericho had only had one successful Title defence prior to this, so it seemed unlikely that he’d lose it so soon, but they threw in the nuclear stipulation where Cody wouldn’t be able to get anymore Title shots if he lost. It did leave the match result up in the air somewhat, which added some intrigue as to what they would do. This was one of the earliest examples of them teasing an MJF face turn, as they’ve played that note a few times during his AEW run, with him being in Cody’s corner here. We’ve got three judges at ringside in case this goes to the time limit, with Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson and Keiji Muto being the men deciding it. That’s one heck of a panel!
Possibly the funniest sign of the night is “Walls of Cholesterol”, as Jericho was carrying a bit of extra timber during this period until he started leaning up again in the 2020’s. They do the slow build with this one, as they have the two wrestlers feel one another out in the early going until Cody is able to get into the babyface shine. Cody looks good on offence, whilst Jericho looks like he might be struggling to move a bit (perhaps he was carrying an injury). Cody eventually misses a dive onto the entrance ramp, which is going right up to the ring in classic WCW/ECW style tonight, and that leads to Cody coming up bleeding and on the defensive.
Cody sells well whilst getting worked over, whilst Jericho pushes the crowd’s buttons in his usual arrogant style, with Hager getting the odd cheap shot when referee Aubrey Edwards isn’t looking, much to MJF’s consternation. Cody is selling the mid-section as well as his head here, with the idea being that both were hurt on the missed dive. I wonder if the blood was hardway and it was really only the mid-section that was supposed to be hurt following the tumble onto the ramp. Cody eventually manages to get his knees up on the Lionsault and gets a Diamond Cutter for two before Codying up for the comeback proper.
Jericho makes the mistake of getting in the face of Cody’s family at ringside, leading to Cody’s fiery Cuban mother slapping Jericho right in the mush! Cody gets the Alabama Slam (which Jim Ross puts Excalibur on the spot for, as we find out that Ex probably doesn’t watch a lot of modern WWE based on his reply) and then goes to the Figure Four, but Jericho survives that and Hager gives Cody yet another cheap shot. However, Aubrey Edwards decides to send Hager to the back, and Hager complies, but not before laying MJF out first.
Jericho clocks Cody with the belt whilst Edwards is in the midst of kicking Hager out of the ringside area, which gets two once Edwards gets back into position. That was a decent near fall, but it might have gotten more of a reaction if there had been less delay in the pin, as I don’t think the majority of the crowd really bought that Jericho was going to win there. Cody manages to catch Jericho with a Cross Rhodes following that, which gets two for him in a much better near fall as the crowd bought into it a lot more.
We get some more near falls, with both wrestlers throwing out some of their bigger moves in an attempt to win, such as the Bionic Elbow from Cody and the Code Breaker from Jericho, but neither is able to secure the victory. They time the kick outs well and it’s good dramatic action, with solid selling from both of the wrestlers. Jericho eventually manages to counter a Cody rana attempt into THE DREADED YOUNG LION BOSTON CRAB, but Cody is able to make it to the ropes after a struggle, giving us a Jericho/Edwards argument into a Cody roll-up for two. Jericho tries the Lion Tamer next, with Cody having nowhere to go and MJF being forced to throw in the towel to save his friend, leading to Jericho picking up the win and Cody never being allowed to challenge for the belt again.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: CHRIS JERICHO
Thoughts: That was a gutsy finish right there. Still though, it’s not like Cody not being able to win the World Title would leave him with no real clear goal after a certain point meaning that he’d decide to leave for WWE where he actually COULD win the World Title is it? The match itself was great, although Jericho seemed to have trouble keeping up at points. The booking was excellent though, with MJF being a believable babyface with the way he ended the match, as Cody was clearly boned and had nowhere to go, so if he didn’t throw in the towel then Aubrey Edwards was probably going to call it anyway, so MJF just spared his friend any additional pain/damage by doing what he did, which is what makes him a good friend.
HOWEVER, MJF is of course not going babyface, and he kicks Cody right in the Stardust following the contest, revealing that he was *gasp* evil all along! AEW hadn’t done multiple teases of Maxwell going babyface yet, so this was incredibly effective. In a nice touch, Cody was very forgiving of MJF prior to MJF’s Heel antics, which only made MJF all the more dastardly. Everything from the build-up, to the match itself and to the post-match angle with this was all grand business.
We get clips of Jon Moxley being angry about the next match being non-sanctioned, as it means that it won’t count against his win/loss record. We then get a video package to hype up the Main Event, and it’s really good.
Lights Out Non-Sanctioned
Jon Moxley Vs The Cleaner Kenny Omega
Moxley had immediately targeted Omega upon his AEW debut and the two had been going at it since the beginning of Dynamite, so this was a big weapons filled brawl designed to settle things for a while. As this is Non-Sanctioned, it won’t count against each wrestler’s record, and there are no rules either. Sadly they don’t go the whole hog and film this at an unnamed location somewhere in the middle of international waters.
This one is exactly what you think it’s going to be, with both wrestlers quickly grabbing plunder and then brawling into the crowd. There hasn’t been an abundance of brawling tonight, with most of the matches keeping to the ring and ringside area, so all of this stuff doesn’t feel overplayed and is instead quite exciting and fresh compared to what we’ve seen on the show already. We eventually head back to the ring, where Moxley grabs a barbed wire wrapped baseball bat and rakes it all over Omega’s body, leading to Omega coming up bleeding across his back in a suitably grizzly visual.
Omega responds by getting a barbed wire wrapped broom (because he’s The Cleaner of course) and that leads to Moxley’s back getting ripped up as well. Well, we knew this level of violence was coming during the ever escalating build-up, and now they’re delivering on it, so you can’t say that AEW don’t fulfil their stipulations. Speaking of violence; Omega finds a wooden board with some mouse traps attached to it (just in case there’s one lose about the hoose I guess) and that appears to be our next contraption of misery for the evenings entertainment. Omega of course ends up getting suplexed onto them, because Professional Wrestling, and he does the big sell job for it too.
Moxley introduces the next weapon, like this is some kind of ghoulish ultra-violent potluck, by bringing a golden chain into things and using it to try and perform what looks to be an overeager tooth extraction on Omega until Kenneth is able to fight his way out by clobbering Moxley with a metal bin lid. Our next weapon is a screwdriver (easy on the orange juice and vodka) but that ends up getting wedged in the top turnbuckle pad and Omega is able to fight back and then choke out Moxley with the golden chain before following up a TOPE CON HILO through a table at ringside. I believe Karl Gotch did similar in his 4 out of 7 falls match with Heavyset Kitteridge in Vaduz, Liechtenstein back in 1954.
Next up we have a bag of glass, with the glass supposedly being form a table that Moxley DDT’ed Omega through on an episode of Dynamite, and Omega gives Moxley a Spine Buster onto the shards for two in one of the more gruesome near falls we’ve had tonight, complete with the poor referee getting glass in his hands whilst counting. The “ouch” factor is turned up even further when Omega locks Moxley in a Scorpion Deathlock and Moxley has to crawl THROUGH THE GLASS in order to break out of the hold. This of course could just be sugar glass (I certainly hope so) but if not it’s one of the more visceral spots I can remember watching.
Omega takes the fight to the ramp and entrance way following that, demanding that The Elite brings out the dreaded trampoline of barbed wire, which they reluctantly agree to. In keeping with the trend tonight though, Omega ends up taking a tumble onto the weapon that he personally introduced, when Moxley suplexes Omega off the ramp onto the wire in the spot this match is probably best remembered for. Moxley tries to finish Omega once and for all by suplexing him through one of the lights that make up part of the entrance, but Omega fights back and ends up giving Moxley a V-Trigger through it.
It’s back into the ring after all that for some near falls, which we actually haven’t had that many of in all honesty, with both wrestlers being more focused on ending one another instead. Moxley eventually gets frustrated at Omega refusing to die, and removes the apron in order to reveal the wooden boards. However, in keeping with the trend in this match, Omega ends up punishing Moxley with his own intended weapon/item, by giving Moxley a DDT onto the boards for two in a good near fall. Moxley won’t be denied though, and dodges a Phoenix Splash before following up with the elevated Paradigm Shift onto the boards for three.
WINNER: JON MOXLEY
Thoughts: This is certainly a match that will divide people depending on what kind of wrestling you like to watch. If you think all of this ultra-violent stuff is irredeemable garbage wrestling, then you’re likely to instinctively hate this and nothing the wrestlers could do in the match would win you over. If you like this style of wrestling, or can abide it if the work within it is to a high standard, then I think it’s likely you will enjoy this match as both wrestlers were working hard and they built the issue up between them for months so that it “earned” this kind of violent action as a payoff to their issue. It wasn’t just two folk going in there and doing big violent spots for the sake of it, the match had a clear story where they hated one another and were continuously escalating the violence in a quest to maim one another
Moxley flips off the camera and celebrates whilst The Elite tends to their fallen comrade.
This one was an easy thumbs up, with nothing bad on here and most of the matches on the show ranging from good to great. The last two matches made for a strong conclusion to the show, and the event itself was paced rather well and built nicely throughout the evening. They had seven matches that mostly felt different from one another in how they were worked, and the show came in at around 210 minutes and never really felt like it was dragging or running on for too long.