AEW World champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman promised his best brochacho Adam Cole that he wouldn’t drop the Ring of Honor Tag Team titles they won together at All In while Cole was out recovering from ankle surgery. He was able to retain them in a handicap match at WrestleDream, but at Full Gear he has to defend them against Bullet Club Gold’s The Gunns before facing their leader Jay White for his other belt in the PPV main event.
He made some other friends in The Acclaimed & Daddy Ass, but they were taken out by someone wearing MJF’s old “Devil” mask (which White insists Max is still wearing). So in order to keep his promise to Cole, MJF did something he really didn’t want to do — he agreed to give Samoa Joe another shot at his World title in exchange for his help.
How did it work out for him? We began to find out on Full Gear’s Zero Hour pre-show tonight (Nov. 18).
Joe’s entrance seemed to give Austin & Colten Gunn pause, but they were back to their Cocksure and nickname-less selves at the bell. Tension between MJF and the Samoan Submission Machine probably bolstered their nerve... tension that came even though Joe was going out of his way to be a good teammate to our Scumbag.
MJF’s reluctance to accept that may have led him to go it alone for longer than he should in this one — something he may regret when he has to defend his other title in the main event of the PPV to follow. For instance, Joe could have won the match with a Muscle Buster on Austin, but Max tagged himself in to try his own version of it — and took a Colten dropkick for his trouble, Then Joe returned the favor by tagging himself in before MJF could hit his Kangaroo Kick.
Miscommunication issues continued to be an issue, until Adam Cole’s music hit!
The injured Tag champ came down the ramp on crutches, which created a distraction for Joe. He locked the Coquina Clutch on for the victory as MJF and his friend hugged on the ramp.
Once he realized what happened, he shook for interim partner’s hand to seal their deal. Joe then left, which was bad timing since Cole was no help as The Gunns took a steel chair to MJF’s left knee — and Pllman-ized the champ’s ankle!
The Gunns @theaustingunn & @coltengunn with a blindsided attack to the #AEW World Champion @The_MJF post-match on Zero Hour!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 19, 2023
Watch #AEWFullGear LIVE on PPV!
Max was stretchered out of the arena and taken to the hospital. He made Cole promise not to let them take his title, but on one-leg it’s not at all clear what MJF’s friend can do...
UPDATE: On the PPV, it was announced that MJF can’t compete. Jay White was about to be named World champ, but Cole cut that off and said he had Tony Khan’s permission to compete in Max’s place.
No clue how they’ll claim Cole is cleared, or if he planned this all along. But shenanigans are assured.
TONIGHT@thekiaforum#AEWFullGear— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) November 19, 2023
On PPV now!
AEW World Championship Match@AdamColePro vs @JayWhiteNZ
With MJF hospitalized and unable to defend the AEW Title tonight, his partner Adam Cole has volunteered to step in to fight the main event, it will be Jay White vs Adam Cole! pic.twitter.com/uRrkCgJyxW
Find out what happens in our Full Gear live blog here.