AEW had four of its championships on the line at Full Gear on Nov. 7 in Jacksonsville. Three of those were undercard, and title changes happened in the majority of them.
Cody Rhodes - introduced as such for the first time since leaving WWE in 2016 - defended the TNT championship in the third match of the PPV portion of the show. His opponent was Darby Allin, a man he fought to a draw last year and defeated in this year’s tournament to determine the first man to hold the belt. In the build, Cody told Allin he would never be the face of TNT, and his overconfidence was the story of the match. He could have put Allin away after moves like this one...
... but he let Darby Allin hang around long enough to win the title with his finisher.
The American Nightmare graciously accepted defeat and presented Allin with the strap. The duo were then ambushed by Brian Cage & Ricky Starks. It took a Will Hobbs save to chase off Team Taz, and the new & former champ look to have their next rivals lined up.
Immediately after that match, Hikaru Shida battled the woman she took their division’s title from, Nyla Rose. Overconfidence was a big part of the story here, too. Both wrestlers passed on a chance to end the match, pulling their opponent up before the count of three - Rose after a powerbomb and the champ after doing the deal in a big way:
The other story of this one was Nyla’s manager Vickie Guerrero. An cheap shot on Shida’s knee gave Rose the early advantage, and a body part to target. But a later attempt at interference didn’t work out, and led to Hikaru kneeing the challenger until she stayed down for three. The manager slapped her client and stormed off after Shida retained.
Our final pre-main event title bout was the long-anticipated Young Bucks/FTR showdown. This one had been building from before AEW even existed.
It was all Bucks at the jump, with Matt Jackson not being slowed by the leg injuries he came into the match with. In fact, Matt dodging a punch gave the champions a handicap when Dax Harwood busted his fist on the ring post. Unfortunately, an ill-advised moonsault aggravated the elder Jackson’s issues, and FTR isolated him and targeted the limb throughout the middle portion of the match.
As the match continued past the 20 minute, both teams looked to cement their reputations as all-time greats by pulling out moves from classic tag teams.
After a series of nearfalls and dramatic rope breaks, the Bucks established their babyface credentials when Matt refused to give in to frustration and hit Harwood with a steel chair (a DQ would mean they could never challenge for the titles again. In the end, it was a missed 450 by Cash Wheeler that set-up the finish. Matt managed to hit a superkick off his bum wheel, and fell on Wheeler to capture the titles.
Kenny Omega, who secured a World title shot for himself in the Full Gear opener, came out to celebrate with his Elite mates while a depressed Hangman Page watched from a distance.
Not enough drama for you? We still have three matches to go, and Jon Moxley defending the World title against Eddie Kingston in an “I Quit” match.
See how those go, and follow everything happening at Full Gear, in our live blog here.