AEW FULL GEAR 2022 PAY-PER-VIEW PREVIEW
This Saturday night, live on Bleacher Report, On Demand PPV providers, in theaters courtesy of Joe Hand Promotions, as well as on FITE and PPV.com for International audiences, All Elite Wrestling is back on pay-per-view!
For the fourth time, AEW presents FULL GEAR and with it comes multiple championship matches that will shape the face of All Elite Wrestling as 2023 approaches! The World Championship will be at stake when Jon Moxley battles MJF, the Interim Women's Championship is up for grabs between Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter, and the World Tag Team Titles are on the line in the rubber match between The Acclaimed and Swerve In Our Glory! But that's not all; the ROH World Championship will be contested in a Four Corner Survival, the TBS Championship will be at stake, and two former friends will collide inside the confines of a Steel Cage! Plus an icon of women's wrestling returns to action after five years away from the ring, THE Icon enters into tag team warfare with Darby Allin at his side, while the next Semi-Final bout in the World Title Eliminator Tournament will take place during the ZERO HOUR and the legendary Jun Akiyama goes one-on-one with Eddie Kingston!
It all begins at 7pm ET/6pm CT with the FULL GEAR 2022: ZERO HOUR, available on the official YouTube account and kicks off on PPV at 8pm ET/7pm CT at all of the above mentioned options! It's the final PPV event on the 2022 All Elite Wrestling calendar, and it is absolutely loaded from top-to-bottom! Do not miss out on the opportunity to experience the best professional wrestling on the planet this Saturday night on PPV, or live & in-person at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ!
AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Jon Moxley(c) vs. MJF
At ALL OUT 2022, under the disguise of a devil mask and with the assistance of Stokely Hathaway's Firm, Maxwell Jacob Friedman returned to All Elite Wrestling to win the Casino Ladder Match and earn himself a future AEW World Championship match. This triumphant moment came after months of MJF refusing to show up for events, holding up the company for more money, and in general being the absolute lowlife he has always been.
Even the Tony Khan voicemail recording that played at ALL OUT 2022 highlighted MJF's generally awful way of doing business, and yet there he was at the end of the night, holding the poker chip symbolic of his future championship bid. It's not as if Max hadn't challenged for the AEW World title before, he actually failed in a bid to dethrone Jon Moxley at ALL OUT 2020, but this just felt different. That version of Max approached his championship fight quite differently, almost as if he didn't take it seriously, and was just playing at the role of top contender. In short, he wasn't that guy yet, and though he lasted 23 minutes with the champ, MJF didn't show he was ready to be the face of All Elite Wrestling.
But now, in the fall of 2022, Maxwell Jacob Friedman has become a different person, at least in some respects. He is still an arrogant ass, he still believes he is better than everyone else on both sides of the guardrail, but he isn't coming into this championship bout with Mox putting “Smart” Mark Sterling in his path or doing some political parody. In fact, for several weeks, he was quite insistent about not using The Firm as his hired hitmen to wear out Mox prior to their championship fight. After having his very essence questioned, nay challenged, by William Regal and Moxley, MJF wanted to face the AEW World Champion at his best, at 100%. Max wanted to prove that he was the better man of the two, and he needed to do it as much for himself as, in his mind, to spite William Regal for how he believed Regal should have treated him years prior.
So when The Firm actually attacked Moxley following his bout with Penta El Zero Miedo, despite MJF's stern warnings to Stokely Hathaway about doing just what, it came as a shock that the self-proclaimed devil of AEW stopped the assault from taking place. It was even more shocking that The Firm then proceeded to assault MJF just as they had done to the AEW World Champion, with W. Morrisey leaving Max laid out in the rubble of a broken table. Instead of a 100% MFJ fighting a 100% Jon Moxley at FULL GEAR 2022, it now looked like both men would be heading into their PPV confrontation with their fair share of bumps and bruises. The assault didn't stop Mox from fighting Lee Moriarty in an Eliminator Bout a week later, but that too ended with The Firm's “All Ego” Ethan Page laying out the World Champ. However, the beating did stop MJF from making his presence known at the arenas in the weeks following, preferring to talk his trash from the safe distance of the “Pardon My Take” sports podcast rather than standing eye-to-eye with the AEW World Champion.
MJF staying away from the fray isn't shocking at all, he's never been one to run towards the fight without working some kind of angle to get an advantage ahead of time, but what is shocking, and has been ever since he returned to the fold, is how the AEW faithful have responded to Maxwell. Despite the fact that nothing about MJF has changed, that he still runs down the fans chanting his name and the cities where they cheer his every move, the people persist on rooting for this reprehensible man who has shown no sign of ever changing his ways. Perhaps this is what people mean when they talk about liking the taste of a boot...
Meanwhile, through all of MJF's machinations, there is the AEW World Champion Jon Moxley who continues to carry All Elite Wrestling on his back through all the highs-and-lows, through any hardships encountered, and through any triumph experienced. From the moment Mox entered the building, he has fought with his heart on his one sleeve, and All Elite Wrestling on the other, and has challenged everyone in that locker room to step up or get stepped on. He is a man who wants the best for All Elite Wrestling, not just for himself, who wants to see every man and woman under the umbrella become their absolute best, and he (along with the rest of The Blackpool Combat Club) believe that is best achieved through the battles fought inside the squared circle. Jon Moxley has been a tireless force as a wrestler, giving men opportunities in Eliminator matches as well as World Title fight, stepping into tag matches and trios with his BCC brethren, and AEW could not ask for a better representative than this 3-Time World Champion.
And that is what's at stake here on Saturday night at FULL GEAR 2022, no matter how entertaining fans may find Maxwell Jacob Friedman, no matter how much they appreciate his gift of gab, or respect his abilities as a professional wrestler, the bottom line with MJF is always MJF. There is nothing unselfish or altruistic about his motives, his desire to fight a 100% Jon Moxley isn't about sportsmanship or respect, but rather Max's desire to rub it in everyone's face, especially Regal's, that he beat the best at his best.
Will it be Maxwell Jacob Friedman who leads All Elite Wrestling out of FULL GEAR 2022 as the World Champion, or will it continue to be Jon Moxley? We know what Moxley's world is made of; a world of fighting for everything you get and testing yourself against the best to stay the best. It's a world where iron sharpens iron, where no one gets a free pass to the top, and All Elite Wrestling is treated with the respect it has earned.
The world of MJF, at least the one he has shown everyone over the last three years, is one of entitlement, shortcuts, and backstabbing. It's a world where one finds their way to the top by any means necessary, even if they haven't earned their way there, and where the humiliation of your supporters is a must. If MJF becomes World Champion, will that be the world he encourages All Elite Wrestling to become, or will he show everyone that there is a different side to Maxwell Jacob Friedman? Is there a side of MJF that cares about more than just his own wants and desires, one that is fueled by something more than spite and anger?
Shockingly on DYNAMITE, we all witnessed MJF run into the fire when The Firm elected to assault Jon Moxley in the closing minutes of the event. One-by-one, Max laid low the very men he used to become the #1 Contender to Mox's championship, but once it was just MJF, Moxley, and Regal standing in the ring, AEW's devil made it clear as crystal that he wasn't saving Moxley for any reason save his own ego. This seemingly altruistic moment was consistent with MJF's edict to Stokely weeks earlier, the one that turned The Firm against their former-employer, that he wanted the World Champion at 100% come FULL GEAR 2022. What wasn't consistent with Max's usual modus operandi, but in a positive fashion, was that he delivered his thoughts to Jon Moxley and William Regal face-to-face. He wasn't on a radio show far away from the fray, or speaking from the safety of a video screen, MJF was right in Moxley's face telling him exactly what he thought about their impending collision.
Max showed something different on Wednesday night, but will it be enough to overcome the best man in the AEW locker room on the final pay-per-view event of the year? If he can't dig that stuff out of the basement, the stuff that forces him to the next level, Jon Moxley will remain AEW World Champion and MJF is going to have to look in the mirror and ask himself where he failed.
AEW INTERIM WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Toni Storm(c) vs. Jamie Hayter
The AEW Interim Women's World Champion and her challenger have known each other for quite some time, and the ties that bind run quite deeper than just their first in-ring match four years for Pro Wrestling: EVE in England or their collisions here in All Elite Wrestling since Toni first arrived during the Spring.
As Storm told the world several weeks ago, during the pandemic lockdowns, the two women lived together and became as close as sisters, yet when Toni arrived in AEW the vibe was completely different, and Hayter's attitude toward Toni had changed. Perhaps it was the affiliation with Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D that brought about this shift in their relationship, perhaps it was because Hayter was intimidated by Storm's arrival, or perhaps it was because Jamie had a fear of Toni seeing the woman she had become with Britt Baker.
Hayter has said that nothing's changed, she is still the same woman she's always been and that Toni just didn't see Jamie. The champion, on the other hand, sees a woman who has lessened herself for the Good Doctor, who allowed Baker to rob her of the Interim Women's World Championship at ALL OUT 2022 with little repercussion, and who, for most of Jamie's tenure in AEW, has let her own interests take a backseat to Britt's.
Even the fans have seen it, increasingly rallying behind Hayter every since that moment at ALL OUT 2022, and that makes this even more of an intriguing bout. It's a battle for the championship, Interim label be damned if you ask Toni Storm, but it's also a battle of these women's shared history, it's a battle over two world-class competitors that the fans have embraced, and it's possibly a battle over who Jamie Hayter chooses to be should she defeat her former friend.
If Toni Storm wins, fans can expect her to continue fighting week after week while giving any wrestler an opportunity, be it in a championship match or in an Eliminator contest, to show they have what it takes to beat the champ. Should Hayter win, what will the ripple effect be? As part of the camp of the woman who claims she is the face of the division, will it sit well that her “friend” has the championship and not her? Will jealousy rear its ugly head if someone on Team Britt that isn't Britt is carrying the title? As it should be, for Storm and Hayter the Women's World Championship is the most important thing in this fight, but ignoring the potential consequences would be detrimental for all involved...
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens & Max Caster)(c)
Swerve In Our Glory (Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland)
At ALL OUT 2022, Swerve In Our Glory successful defended their AEW World Tag Team Championship against The Acclaimed in a match that absolutely stole the show on a night chock full of potential show stealers. On multiple occasions it felt like Anthony Bowens and Max Caster would find a way to dethrone the champions, but Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland held on by a thread to retain, even while dealing with their own issues in the midst of the fight.
Their rematch at DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM 2022 would prove just as exciting, just as intense, but result in a wholly different outcome. This time it was The Acclaimed, essentially playing with home court advantage at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, who walked out of the ring as the new AEW World Tag Team Champions. It was a moment of celebration, a triumphant culmination of an AEW career that began in the empty arena of Daily's Place, performing their now-signature raps to an echoing silence on AEW DARK. There were no fans screaming “SCISSOR ME DADDY ASS!” at the top of their lungs, or wearing “EVERYBODY LOVES THE ACCLAIMED” merchandise at ringside, it was just Max and Anthony grinding it out to earn their spot in the most talented locker room in professional wrestling today. It all paid off that night in Queens, but Swerve and Keith took issue with how the involvement of “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn influenced the outcome of the proceedings.
That, in turn, created a whole new set of issues for S.I.O.G as Keith and Swerve had their own ideas about how best to get the rematch they feel they deserved. Keith spoke his truth to the new champions and Billy, Swerve's mentality became increasingly dark and twisted, from cheating to beat “Daddy Ass” in their singles match, then using a low blow to defeat FTR in their #1 Contender's bout on DYMAMITE, and then kidnapping/assaulting Billy Gunn on RAMPAGE, it was clear Swerve was willing to pull out all stops to get back what he felt was robbed.
This week on DYNAMITE, it all came to a head when, first, The Acclaimed dropped their newest music video “A Hand For A Hand”, verbally dissecting Swerve In Our Glory like they had done so many foes before them, unfortunately for the champs that dissection didn't continue in the ring when Swerve and Bowens went one-on-one...
Between the work to Bowens' shoulder and that JML Driver that sealed the deal, Swerve Strickland looked like a killer, and left one-half of the tag champs walking around in a sling following that fight. So one question now, as the these two top-shelf tag teams prepare to collide at FULL GEAR 2022, is if Bowens will be anywhere near fit for the fight, or if Swerve did what he clearly set out to do and sent the champs into Saturday at a physical disadvantage? Another question that must be asked though, one not to the benefit of the challengers, is if Swerve and Keith can continue to operate successfully while being on different pages, if not reading two different books?
We shall see when The Acclaimed and Swerve In Our Glory collided in their Rubber Match for the AEW World Tag Team Championship this Saturday night on pay-per-view!
AEW TBS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Jade Cargill(c) vs. “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose
“The Native Beast” Nyla Rose has been the proverbial thorn in Jade Cargill's side for weeks now, parading around with the TBS Championship title belt as if she were the genuine article, holding “Open Challenges” for the belt, even sporting it at pre-show Meet & Greets as if rightfully belonged in the Vicious Vixens camp.
Clearly the goal was to frustrate the undefeated Jade Cargill, to knock her off her game and provoke an actual TBS Championship match between the two women, and as fans witnessed every week, the game plan worked. Each week saw Cargill increasingly frustrated at her inability to reclaim the belt, which meant The Baddies took the brunt of the blame for not getting the job done when sent on the dirty work.
While in the lead-up to this championship bout, Jade has been uncharacteristically rattled, the question is if that will still be the case when the bell rings. Will this bit of psychological warfare on Nyla's part pay off in the form of The Native Beast's second championship in All Elite Wrestling? Or will Jade Cargill add a 42nd consecutive victory, and 15th championship defense, to her undefeated record? And if that's the case, if Nyla Rose falls to Jade in their first one-on-one collision, who can possibly stop this streak?
STEEL CAGE MATCH...
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry vs. Luchasaurus
At one point in this sad affair, Christian Cage seemed like the worst betrayer All Elite Wrestling had seen during its existence. He had ingratiated himself into the family of “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry, had become a dear friend and confidant outside the ring, and a tremendous ally inside the squared circle. A year ago at FULL GEAR 2020, he united with JB and Luchasaurus to defeat The Undisputed Elite in a wild Falls Count Anywhere match, and was right there when JurEx won the World Tag Team Titles from The Lucha Brothers to celebrate. Coincidentally, that championship victory took place inside the Prudential Center back on January 5th of this year, so it feels apropos that the circle of life has come round back to Newark, NJ.
Still despite all of that bonding time with Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, Christian Cage did not hesitate to slide a knife between Jack Perry's shoulder blades just moments after JurEx lost the World Tag Team Championship to The Young Bucks in that memorable Ladder Match back in July. He was more than willing to verbally desecrate the memory of JB's father Luke Perry, to speak the most vile things to his mother and sister, and yet with all that, it turned out that Christian Cage was not the worst man in All Elite Wrestling.
That distinction would be reserved for Luchasaurus after he, not once, but twice, turned his back on a decade-plus friendship with Jack Perry and chose to walk these roads alongside Christian Cage as his “Right Hand of Destruction”. At first it seemed a ruse, a diversion by the Jurassic Express pair to lure Christian Cage into a false sense of security, but it turned out Jack was the one being tricked all along. Luchasaurus had fully embraced the lead of Christian Cage, that became clear at ALL OUT 2022 when the scheduled match between Cage and Jack almost never came to pass thanks to a Luchasaurus assault on his former partner. Despite the beating, JB still tried to fight Christian but it was for naught as Cage toppled his former protege in barely 30 seconds.
And since then, things have only gotten uglier and more violent. Every attempt at settling the issue has resulted in Jack's suffering, and while Christian Cage insisted they were done with JB, that was not a mutual feeling. Jungle Boy wasn't done, not by a long shot, but that's not because he wants to keep Christian Cage and Luchasaurus in his life, he just wants it to end the right way: with an actual wrestling match, not cheap shots and sneak attacks, but a fair and even fight. Unfortunately for Jack Perry, the likelihood of getting that with Christian Cage at ringside is none, but fortunately for Jungle Boy, his desire to settle this is going to take place in a situation where Christian can't easily assert his influence: inside a Steel Cage!
Now neither “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry nor Luchasaurus have ever set foot inside a Steel Cage, so it feels like kismet that each man would have their first experience with it together, just as it's appropriate all of this is going down in the same location they won the AEW World Tag Team Titles ten months ago. Surely Jack would've once preferred this first Steel Cage bout be one in which he and Luchasaurus were united, but instead it will be one where these former friends, former championship partners, are set to tear each other apart.
Can “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry overcome the monstrous “Right Hand of Destruction” this Saturday night, or has he essentially created the circumstances of his own demise? We shall see at FULL GEAR 2022 live on pay-per-view!
Saraya vs. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D
December 27th of 2017; that was the last time Saraya stepped inside a professional wrestling ring as an active competitor when, after receiving a kick to the back, something fans have witnessed countless wrestlers endure for years, Saraya found herself temporarily paralyzed in the ring inside Nassau Coliseum. Barely twenty days before that fateful night, the multi-time Women's Champion had returned to competition after neck surgery had kept her on the shelf for 18 months. Then, in just her seventh match back in the ring, it was all over just like that, and from a simple kick to the back. There are few moments that encapsulate the dangers inherent in professional wrestling than that night in Saraya's life, a simple kick that took away the life she had known since birth. See coming from a wrestling family, the life of professional wrestling was all she had known, and since her first match in 2005 at the age of 13, it was all she'd ever wanted. Yet it was gone in the blink of an eye, and from a move she'd likely felt the sting of hundreds of times during her dozen years spent inside the ropes.
And while she remained involved in the sport in one capacity or another, none of it was equal to what she had been robbed of that night on Long Island. There is nothing that equals the feeling of stepping out onto the stage of a wrestling event, hearing...feeling the roar of the crowd, and having that rush of adrenaline when the bell rings to start the match. There is nothing like locking up with your opponent, giving them every ounce of fight inside your body, and knowing when the final bell tolls that you did everything you could to be the victor. No talk show or managerial role, no analyst gig or coaching job matches up to that feeling, and it seemed as if, for her own health and well-being, Saraya would never get to bask in those feelings again.
Then she came to All Elite Wrestling, and the speculation from fans as to Saraya's ability to get back in the ring, something they were already debating on social media platforms, that talk began to escalate. When she arrived on DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM 2022 and declared AEW to be “her house”, everyone watching knew that some of the women already here would take that as a challenge. It should come as no surprise that Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, the woman who has considered herself the face of the women's division regardless of her championship status, was the one who took the most umbrage with Saraya's presence in All Elite Wrestling.
So it will be this Saturday night, after weeks of verbal sparring and moments of physicality like Baker being dropped by Saraya's Cradle DDT, that the two women will face off in singles competition! For Saraya this is the culmination of a dream, an impossible one at that, in which she has finally been cleared to return to active competition inside the ring, doing what she has loved since she was 13 years old, fighting inside the squared circle as her entire family has done for decades, and getting to feel that rush of competition once again. It was evident on Saraya's face and in her eyes the kind of emotion that just telling the world she was medically cleared brought out, so imagine the feelings that will erupt on Saturday when she walks onto that stage, for the first time since 2017, not as a manager to other combatants or a general manager for a brand, but as a professional wrestler heading into a fight.
And for Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D standing on the other side of the ring, this may be a moment to present herself as fighting for the women's division she, and many others, have built over the last three years. It may be a time to remind the fans of the Daily's Place experience AEW went through between March 2020 and July 2021, and how Britt herself used that time to become the professional wrestler she is today; the self-proclaimed face of, not just the women's division, but of All Elite Wrestling as a whole. All of that is truth, it is all part of what has made AEW and its amazing crew of women's wrestlers, but it is also a wonderful narrative to make it feel like you're fighting for something greater than yourself, and if all involved here are honest, when was the last time Dr. Britt Baker fought for anything other than herself?
Yet perhaps this is a watershed moment in her career, perhaps the arrival of Saraya has brought about some introspection for the Good Doctor and she legitimately sees a need to defend what has been built up to this point from what she believes Saraya represents. Just as Saraya's eyes told a story of the emotions swirling about when she made her announcement, so too did those of Britt when she spoke into the camera at DYNAMITE this past Wednesday. Her eyes were watery, her voice cracked with emotion, it was as if perhaps the fans were seeing beyond the mask of D.M.D, and into the heart of the woman. We were hearing words straight from Britt's soul, rather than ones shaped for quick wit and stinging verbal jabs.
Saturday night at FULL GEAR 2022 is going to be rife with emotion overall, but especially when these two competitors finally meet inside an AEW ring. Their hearts are fully on their sleeves about what this bout represents to each, and to the fans it is a dream thought impossible prior to DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM 2022 two months ago. It's another moment in history being etched in the annals of All Elite Wrestling specifically, and pro wrestling as a whole. It's the return of Saraya after five years, it's a battle of generations, and it can only happen in AEW!
TAG TEAM GRUDGE MATCH
Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal vs. Darby Allin & Sting
As has been discussed at length, the relationship between Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, and Sonjay Dutt goes back many years to their time spent together in other wrestling promotions. “The Last Outlaw” signed Lethal to his very first professional wrestling contract, he and Sonjay Dutt brought pro wrestling to India together in 2011, and they have all maintained a close friendship over the years no matter where each man went in their respective careers.
That being said, it came as an absolute shock when, after running their mouths to Darby Allin about a friend knowing Darby's weakness, that said friend would turn out to be Jeff Jarrett, and that “The Last Outlaw” would declare his arrival in AEW with a guitar across the skull of Darby Allin. With a bloody Darby left laying at their feet, this trio (along with the giant Satnam Singh in their corner) decided to ramp up their vitriol towards Sting and Darby following Lethal's victory over Trent Beretta a week ago.
So for the first time ever on Saturday night, Jeff Jarrett will lace up the boots and step into an AEW ring alongside Jay Lethal and renew a rivalry first fought on November 29, 1999 in Denver, CO. That was the night Jarrett and “The Icon” Sting first battled, and it ignited a rivalry that has crossed oceans as well as promotions. It has been fought over championships, inside Steel Cages and with Ladders, and even seen Sting's entire career put on the line at one point. The Jarrett/Sting rivalry is the kind that will never die as long as both men continue to operate in professional wrestling in any capacity, and now it has bled into All Elite Wrestling with this tag team affair.
And for as much venom exists between Sting and Jarrett, so too does that exist between Jay Lethal and Darby Allin, or at least directed towards Darby by Lethal. Jay's disdain for the record-setting former TNT Champion is palpable and led to Allin being dismantled on multiple occasions by Lethal, Satnam, and Sonjay. He's been assaulted, battered, trapped beneath a roll door, and been bloodied by a guitar crashing into his head, and yet all of it was done in the absence of Sting's presence, almost as if Lethal and company were scared of the repercussions if “The Icon” was there to support his friend.
Well on Saturday night there won't be any other choice for Lethal, Jarrett, and their ilk but to face Sting and the repercussions of their actions over the last several weeks. Sting will be in the house at the Prudential Center, he will be at Darby Allin's side when the bell rings, and then there will be no avoiding what they've got coming to them. It will indeed be showtime at FULL GEAR 2022; the question is if it will be, as Jeff Jarrett has insisted, the last time it ever is showtime?
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
“The Ocho” Chris Jericho(c) vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Sammy Guevara
Chris Jericho defeated Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH World Championship at DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM 2022 through some nefarious circumstances, and since that night in Queens, has done his level best to spit on the legacy of the most important wrestling promotion of the last two decades. Ring of Honor is the place that helped birth Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, Colt Cabana, Christopher Daniels, Dalton Castle, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, and others to numerous to name, into the eyes of the wrestling public. At its core, ROH carried the torch for the ideals of professional wrestling as a sport ever since it was born in a South Philly Rec Center in 2002, and those ideals were epitomized by a man like Claudio Castagnoli holding the same championship held by Danielson, Daniels, Cody Rhodes, Samoa Joe, Kevin Steen, Nigel McGuinness, Takeshi Morishima, and Homicide, just to name a few.
So when Jericho took it from Claudio and rechristened himself “The Ocho”, symbolic of the ROH World Title being the 8th world championship Chris had won in his career, it was a stain on the legacy of the championship. It should be noted that it was not a stain because Chris Jericho won the title, but rather because of how the original AEW World Champion loudly proclaimed he would treat said championship. As he is wont to do, Jericho began referring to it not as Ring of Honor, but rather Ring of Jericho, and insisted that he'd beat everyone who ever held any title in ROH to prove he's the best ROH champion there has ever been.
With that in his mind, Jericho took on the challenges of Bryan Danielson, Colt Cabana, Dalton Castle, and Bandido, all former ROH champions in one division, if not multiple, and found a way to make it past all their challenges. This, of course, only stroked Jericho's ego, and it is The Ocho's arrogance that has led him directly to this match that the ROH of yore would have dubbed a Four Corner Survival.
Although the challenge came in the form of facing either Claudio or Bryan in a rematch, well-deserved given Jericho's tactics to beat both men, it was the defending champ who turned it into a match where he has three challengers coming after his ROH World Championship. Jericho took The BCC challenge and actively made it more difficult for himself, confident in his belief that not only would the tension between Bryan and Claudio cause them to turn on each other, but that his insertion of Sammy Guevara into the match would be a failsafe to insure Chris remained ROH World Champion.
He clearly expects Guevara to lay down for him if the situation arises, but after watching Jericho give up the ghost on Wednesday night in the JAS/BCC tag team preview of this championship bout, and after hearing his comments below, it doesn't seem like “The Spanish God” is eye-to-eye with “The Ocho”:
The last Four Corner Survival World Championship bout went down at DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR 2021, with Bandido retaining the championship under Elimination Rules, and in the fourteen total Four Ways where the ROH World Title has been defended, the champion has retained on 12 occasions. So there is historical precedent in Jericho's favor here, for whatever that is worth, but given his expressed disdain for the history of ROH, it is extremely doubtful “The Ocho” is aware of those statistics. His hope is that The BCC will tear itself apart, his hope is that “The Spanish God” will forego any desire to be a World Champion himself and lay down for Jericho if it comes down to that. But if Jericho's commentary on RAMPAGE is any indication, that repeated need to state how he'll be the winner may be showing a fear that perhaps he's bitten off more than he can chew.
Will we see a redemption of honor this Saturday night at FULL GEAR 2022? Or will “The Ocho” find a way to escape with title intact, and continue to bring shame onto the name of Ring of Honor?
TNT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Wardlow(c) vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. ROH World TV Champion Samoa Joe
And speaking of Ring of Honor, a week ago fans witnessed the ROH World Television Champion Samoa Joe wrap his arm around the throat of TNT Champion Wardlow, and choke him out while Powerhouse Hobbs looked upon this implosion of WarJoe.
Hobbs had been in pursuit of Wardlow and the TNT Championship for weeks, and it was clear that he had gotten to “The War Dog” with his continuous presence in Wardlow's life, but it was Samoa Joe who was clearly triggered by something the TNT Champion said, something that prompted him to squeeze the life out of “Mr. Mayhem”.
Wardlow's own words, his expressed to desire to come for every championship while failing to acknowledge his WarJoe partner's status as such, that is what led to Samoa Joe choking out Wardlow, and all of it led to the chaos that exploded on DYNAMITE in the video above. When three of the biggest men in the AEW locker room want to fight, it is best to just let them fight rather than try to step in the middle, and end up one of those victims the ROH World TV Champ was talking about.
So now instead of just Powerhouse Hobbs coming after his TNT Championship, Wardlow has created the situation where Samoa Joe is also on his tail, and this Saturday night on FULL GEAR 2022, “The War Dog” will have to contend with both of them simultaneously! Since his debut in AEW, fans have seen Joe duke it out with Minoru Suzuki, Adam Cole, and Brian Cage, to name a few, but they've yet to see the unleashed fury of the longest-reigning ROH World Champion in history. Powerhouse Hobbs and Wardlow are bad dudes, two of the toughest in the whole of All Elite Wrestling, but the Samoa Joe who spoke to the world on Wednesday night, that is a truly terrifying man.
Wardlow has his work cut out for him on Saturday night, his best hope may be Hobbs and Joe tearing each other apart, but that's not the TNT Champion's style. Just like his two challengers, Wardlow is a smashmouth fighter, and he will take it straight to Joe and Wardlow just as they will take the fight to the champ. This one is going to be rough and tumble and violent, and no one is walking away unscathed; it's just a matter of which one will walk away as TNT Champion!
FULL GEAR 2022: ZERO HOUR
DREAMS COME TRUE
Eddie Kingston vs. Jun Akiyama
Eddie Kingston had an opportunity to live his dream on Friday night, at least partially, when he faced Jun Akiyama in tag team competition with Ortiz at his side, and Konosuke Takeshita at Akiyama's. As has been discussed at length, Akiyama has long been one of Kingston's professional wrestling idols, a man who inspired him to chase the dream twenty years ago, and pursuit of a fight with Jun Akiyama has always been a motivating factor for Eddie Kingston.
And while the tag team match on RAMPAGE was a taste of achieving that boyhood dream, the man who Eddie Kingston has become was not satisfied with just Friday night's tag team affair. That is why, after the televised portion of RAMPAGE ended, Kingston took the microphone and pleaded with AEW CEO Tony Khan to give him a singles match with Jun Akiyama on Sunday night.
So it will be, during the FULL GEAR 2022: ZERO HOUR, that Eddie Kingston gets to live out his career-long dream and fight the legendary Jun Akiyama in a one-on-one contest! This is history happening before our very eyes, this is the joy of watching a man's dream come true after struggling for years just to prove he belongs with the top fighters in the world, and this will be the kind of beautiful violence that can come from professional wrestling.
MEN'S WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINALS “The Machine” Brian Cage vs. “Absolute” Ricky Starks
Originally slated to be the night that the Men's World Title Eliminator Tournament came to a conclusion, the actions of “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer forced everything to be delayed after the injury he inflicted on Ricky Starks.
But as we witnessed Friday night on RAMPAGE, Archer's assault only delayed the match from happening, it didn't stop it from going down, nor did it save the former IWGP United States Champion from defeat. Sadly for Starks, victory did not save him from another ambush by Lance Archer after the match, putting “Absolute” behind the proverbial eight ball heading into FULL GEAR 2022: ZERO HOUR.
To make matters worse for Ricky Starks, he now has to enter into the Semi-Final round less than 24 hours after the beating, and meet someone who knows him better than almost anyone else in All Elite Wrestling: “The Machine” Brian Cage. As members of Team Taz, these two men spent a great deal of time together under the tutelage of “The Human Suplex Machine” before Cage was excommunicated from the group and Starks defeated him to take the FTW Championship.
Cage, now with Prince Nana and The Embassy at his side, has his chance for vengeance this Saturday night during the ZERO HOUR while Starks has his opportunity to prove once and for all that he was always the linchpin of Team Taz. And to the victor of this comes the final with “All Ego” Ethan Page four days later on Thanksgiving Eve's DYNAMITE from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago!
TEN MAN CHAOS
Chuck Taylor, AEW All-Atlantic Champion Orange Cassidy, Rocky Romero, Trent Beretta, & A Very Mysterious, Very Evil Partner
Aaron Solo, Cole Karter, Lee Johnson, Nick Comoroto, & QT Marshall
This ten-man tag team affair came about late Friday night on RAMPAGE when The Best Friends/CHAOS contingent had a challenge for The Factory after recent events between the two groups escalated to a boiling point after a vicious assault on Danhausen.
Fans know who will represent The Factory, and they think they know who the five men on the side of Best Friends/CHAOS will be, but after watching that very mysterious, very spooky video tape (yes, a VHS tape), there are definitely some questions about WHAT is coming to team up with Orange, Chuck, Trent, and Rocky during the FULL GEAR 2022: ZERO HOUR that will kick off at 7pm ET/6pm ET on the official AEW YouTube Channel!
FULL GEAR 2022 , the final pay-per-view event of the year for All Elite Wrestling, begins at 7pm ET/6pm CT with FULL GEAR 2022: ZERO HOUR, available on the official YouTube account and kicks off on PPV at 8pm ET/7pm CT on Bleacher Report, PPV.com, FITE, as well as traditional PPV providers! With five championships at stake, as well as the in-ring return of Saraya, a Steel Cage Match, and the crowning of the next World Championship contender, this is a can't miss experience come Saturday night on PPV, or live and in-person at the Prudential Center in New Jersey!