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AEW Full Gear 2023 preview: People can’t stop talking about Tony Khan’s mystery signing

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All Elite Wrestling returns to pay-per-view tonight (Sat., Nov. 18, 2023) with their fifth Full Gear PPV. The latest edition of their annual November event comes our way from the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California at 8pm ET.

A Zero Hour pre-show will stream live and free starting at 6:30pm Eastern on All Elite’s YouTube channel, Bleacher Report, and right here at Cageside Seats.

In the U.S., the main card can be purchased on Bleacher Report (and traditional PPV). Internationally, it’s available on Fite.

People can’t stop talking about Tony Khan’s mystery signing

As is usually the case with AEW pay-per-view events, wrestling fans are in for a long night of action with 11 matches currently scheduled for the show. But the most anticipated segment at Full Gear isn’t MJF’s main event world title match, Adam Copeland’s first PPV match for AEW, or what looks to be an incredibly violent Texas Death Match. That’s because the thing people can’t stop talking about is who will Tony Khan reveal as his mystery signing tonight?

Khan promised that one of the best pro wrestlers in the world who is respected by all AEW fans will show up tonight at Full Gear and sign an AEW contract. Just last night on Collision, Tony Schiavone referred to this person as a “gigantic” free agent signing.

We’ve been down this road before with Tony Khan, so of course it’s within the realm of possibility that the ultimate reveal is a big letdown. For example, if Tony Khan’s mystery guy turns out to be Sami Callihan, or a high work rate longtime indie vet, well, it’s probably going to result in a lot of eye-rolling among wrestling fans.

Nobody seems to really know who it will be. There’s been a lot of speculation involving names like Mercedes Mone, Will Ospreay, Bill Goldberg, Ronda Rousey, Dolph Ziggler, Mustafa Ali, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, and Many More. Some of these folks are not technically free agents, still tied down to WWE, retired from active competition, don’t fit Khan’s description as being one of the best wrestlers in the world, or otherwise don’t make sense as the big reveal. But that hasn’t stopped people from speculating about who the mystery star will be, which is one of our favorite pastimes as wrestling fans.

Do you think Tony Khan’s mystery signing will live up to the hype? Give us your best guess as to who it will be in the comments below, Cagesiders.

The rest of the card

These eleven matches are currently advertised for tonight at Full Gear:

MJF (c) vs. Jay White for the AEW World Championship

One week after MJF retained the AEW world championship at Grand Slam against Samoa Joe, he was confronted by Bullet Club Gold leader, Jay White. They talked trash like you would expect to hear in a pro wrestling ring. At the end of the night, a mystery assailant wearing MJF’s devil mask led a group attack backstage on White and took him out.

MJF denied being the guy behind the devil mask. White wasn’t buying it, so he responded by stealing physical possession of MJF’s AEW world championship. Since then, White has obnoxiously paraded around with the gold and even “defended” it against Hangman Page. MJF now gets to reclaim his stolen belt tonight when he steps in the ring with White in the Full Gear main event.

The Devil and his mystery gang recently took out MJF’s new friends, Daddy Ass & The Acclaimed, seemingly lending credence to MJF’s claim that it’s not him hiding underneath that mask. White still doesn’t believe a word coming out of MJF’s mouth and says MJF is the real villain of this story, not him.

Will The Devil show up again tonight and affect the outcome of this world title match, maybe even revealing his identity in the process? What about Wardlow, who has promised to take everything away from MJF when he least expects it? Will Samoa Joe stay out of this one after he teams up with MJF on the pre-show?

Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Toni Storm for the AEW Women’s World Championship

Shida regained the women’s championship last month with a win over Saraya. Since then, Hikaru has prevailed in singles action against stars like Ruby Soho, Abadon, and Willow Nightingale. Now she defends the gold on PPV against Toni Storm, whose championship loss to Shida back in August sent her spiraling down this path of becoming a delusional starlet. Will Toni’s new fangirl Mariah May help her favorite star regain the world title?

Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Jon Moxley for the AEW International Championship

Cassidy’s impressive run as AEW International champion came to an end in September at the hands of Jon Moxley. Moxley was then injured and dropped the title to Rey Fenix, who dropped it right back to Orange. Moxley is now back from a concussion and feels disrespected by the chain of events surrounding this belt during his absence. Orange says this is a must-win match for him after failing against Mox at All Out. That might be a problem, because his Orange Punch doesn’t seem to faze Moxley one bit.

Ricky Starks & Big Bill (c) vs. FTR vs. LFI vs. House of Black in a Ladder match for the AEW World Tag Team Championship

Starks and Big Bill surprisingly won these belts last month by squashing FTR when the champs were too banged up to compete at a high level. LFI and House of Black returned to AEW shortly thereafter, and now all of these teams are gunning for the gold. Starks chose a ladder match for the stipulation because he believes it gives his team an advantage over all of the challengers.

Kris Statlander (c) vs. Skye Blue vs. Julia Hart for the TBS Championship

Statlander has defeated all comers thus far during her reign as TBS champion, including top stars like Jade Cargill and Britt Baker. Stat also defeated Skye Blue and Julia Hart in separate title defenses last month. Now Blue and Hart will try their luck again, except this time it’s a three way match where the champ can lose her belt without being involved in the fall. Hart and Blue have their own personal conflict underlying this whole thing, with Blue seemingly turning to the dark side after Hart sprayed poison mist in her face, only for Skye to recently swerve Hart and lay her out.

Kenny Omega & Chris Jericho vs. The Young Bucks

Omega and Jericho have a well-established history as enemies, but they recently put all of that to the side and joined forces as the Golden Jets for a war against the Don Callis Family. Kenny’s choice to become allies with Chris didn’t sit well with Matt and Nick Jackson, who will never forget when Jericho crossed the line with their father a couple years ago. That leads to this tag match with the following stakes: If the Bucks win, the Golden Jets must disband. If Omega and Jericho win, they take the Bucks’ future shot at the AEW world tag team titles.

Hangman Page vs. Swerve Strickland in a Texas Death Match

Swerve Strickland picked up the biggest singles win of his AEW career when he defeated Hangman Page last month at WrestleDream. But that wasn’t enough for Swerve, so he decided to break into Page’s home and threaten his toddler. That sent Hangman off the deep end, so now he plans to unleash the most violent and disturbing Cowboy Shit you’ve ever seen when he gets Swerve in the ring tonight in a Texas Death Match.

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

We are officially on Sting’s retirement tour, but Christian Cage plans to send The Icon into early retirement at Full Gear. This match came about after Nick Wayne shockingly turned on Darby at WrestleDream and now looks up to Christian as his father figure. Adam Copeland was initially hesitant to join Sting and Darby for this match, but he quickly changed his mind once his former best friend Christian threatened to break his neck. In fact, Cage guaranteed it will happen, so let’s see if he can deliver on his word.

Eddie Kingston (c) vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship (pre-show)

Lethal thinks Eddie Kingston is a fat slob who does a disservice to the history of the ROH world title. Lethal went on to earn this title shot when Jeff Jarrett beat Eddie in a Memphis Street Fight that was tantamount to a ridiculous handicap match, with Lethal and Jarrett’s entire crew helping Jeff secure the win over Kingston. Now Kingston gets to shut them all up by defending the ROH world title against Lethal on the Full Gear pre-show.

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Buddy Matthews (pre-show)

House of Black returned to AEW last month and decided to pick a fight with Blackpool Combat Club and FTR. Malakai Black & Brody King are busy dealing with FTR on the main card of Full Gear, which leaves Buddy Matthews on the pre-show to wrestle against BCC’s Claudio Castagnoli. Matthews beat Claudio’s partner Wheeler Yuta last night on Collision, so Claudio is looking to even the score.

MJF & Samoa Joe (c) vs. The Gunns for the ROH World Tag Team Championship (pre-show)

With his only friend Adam Cole on the injured list, MJF has struggled to deal with Bullet Club Gold’s numbers advantage. There was a brief moment where MJF had some backup after scissoring Daddy Ass & The Acclaimed, but then The Devil showed up and took those guys out. With no options left, MJF reluctantly accepted a deal with a different devil, Samoa Joe. Joe will help him retain the ROH tag team titles tonight in exchange for a future AEW world championship match.

Summary

Full Gear looks like a promising card from top to bottom, with the added hook of Tony Khan’s mystery signing on top of all the great action we should get once the show begins. AEW World Champion MJF is heavily involved in multiple storlyines at the moment, so it will be interesting to see how some of them merge together tonight, if at all.

What will you be looking for at Full Gear?

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