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Not-So-Immediate Full Gear Thoughts

Wasn't able to quite watch this one live, but as soon as I got home, I quickly began watching the program while trying to fight off spoilers that were seemingly coming in from whatever. Let's see what happens here...

Darby Allin vs. MJF was a great (and unexpected) choice for an opener. If you believe that there are truly four pillars of AEW, all four of them were protected to a degree tonight, including both of these men. Allin can afford a loss here and there so long as he looks strong doing so and keeps having the crazy entrances. MJF, on the other hand, needed a big win here to get his momentum back that had been on the decline in the past few months. Tons of energy here and the perfect way to kick off a show of this magnitude.

The Lucha Bros vs. FTR was slightly underwhelming... at least compared to how I thought both teams might mesh together. Nothing bad with this one at all, but it definitely paled in comparison to last PPV's Lucha/Bucks cage match, which is still my top contender for Match Of The Year. This was fine, but they needed better than fine for a promotion that prides itself on tag team wrestling.

Bryan Danielson (and not Daniel Bryan, as he was referred to here) vs. Miro was a very satisfying tournament final, even when you consider that Miro only entered the tourney in the semifinals. I actually thought Miro may have gone over in this one, but that doesn't take away from this tremendous back-and-forth match, and one that now guarantees Danielson a future title shot.

I thought Christian Cage, Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus vs. The Superkliq was fun..... but definitely felt like a step down for Adam Cole since his debut. Still, this was a wild six-man and kudos to Christian especially being able to still hang in such a brutal, fast-paced match.

I wasn't totally there for Cody Rhodes and Pac vs. Malakai Black and Andrade El Idolo. Beyond the fact that they NEED to pull the trigger (hmmmm, poor choice of words?) on the Cody heel turn, there really didn't seem to be a ton of chemistry for either team. It wasn't a bad match, it just didn't feel PPV worthy.

Tay Conti vs. Dr. Britt Baker felt like it went far too long, and I'm also starting to get concerned that Baker doesn't even have a potential (credible) opponent for her championship any more.

I loved CM Punk vs. Eddie Kingston, with had all the intensity it promised and them some. I do wonder whether Kingston will take the place Jon Moxley was likely going in terms of a heel turn and if so, I have no issues there. This was Punk's first grudge match since returning to AEW, and he managed it really, really well.

The Inner Circle vs. American Top Team & Men Of The Year felt a bit gimmicky (which was probably what it needed to be, given the three members of ATT aren't actual wrestlers). It was great in some respects, given it balanced out some of the more serious issues on this show with a fun brawl... but it also felt as though this type of match would have felt more at home in the pandemic "cinematic match" era than it did tonight. Still, hard to argue with a random Baron Von Raschke cameo!

Hangman Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega was everything it needed to be, and the main event AEW fans have been waiting to see for over a year now. I'm glad they didn't overthink this one by having Omega retain (and as a side note, does anyone else see an Inner Circle-Elite feud coming back soon?) and giving the crowd what they wanted to see with a big Page victory. A tremendous match here that played on the feud's massive history with an incredibly satisfying victory.

Was this PPV of the year? I'd have to say no; I enjoyed All Out much more than this, for example. But for a steady stream of good-to-excellent matches, this was certainly worth your money and then some.



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