Home AEW Full Gear review: MJF, as expected, wins world title, but it was still a swerve
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AEW Full Gear review: MJF, as expected, wins world title, but it was still a swerve

Chris Graham
mjf aew full gear
Photo: All Elite Wrestling

AEW has a new world champ, as expected, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, but how MJF won the title from Jon Moxley on Saturday night at Full Gear was unexpected.

After teasing a face turn the past few weeks, MJF got help from Moxley’s manager, William Regal, who had been jawing back and forth with MJF in a series of promos that had been drawing attention and nice ratings on the show’s weekly “Dynamite.”

In a swerve, Regal handed MJF a set of brass knuckles that MJF then used to knock out Moxley and record the pinfall in the main event.

The win for MJF, 26, had seemed so foreordained that you had to expect a swerve of some sort, going by the old pro wrestling axiom – if it seems obvious, expect the unexpected.

Then we got not one, but two, ref bumps before the closing sequence.

AEW head honcho Tony Khan had done a nice job in the walk-up to Full Gear in building a possible side storyline with MJF and The Firm and its manager, Stokely Hathaway, over the dissolution of their heel relationship.

The ref bumps could have had you thinking that Hathaway was about to lead members of his group to run in to prevent MJF from winning the belt.

I was still holding out hope that something more elaborate involving The Elite – The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, who returned from a two-month hiatus following the fallout from Brawl Out.

Pairing MJF and Regal wasn’t expected, and now it will be interesting to see where Khan takes the story from here.

MJF is the absolute last person in pro wrestling who needs a mouthpiece, and Regal is too good as a mouthpiece to not have him on the roster and not on a mic each week.

Doing something along the lines of having Regal as the JJ Dillon to MJF’s Ric Flair in a Four Horsemen-like supergroup could make sense, if they could find MJF a Tully Blanchard and Ole and Arn Anderson to be his running mates.

Khan doesn’t do too well with factions, basically because he has way, way, way too many of them, to the point that it can be hard to tell who is with who sometimes, and harder to care because there are so many of them.

How about Bryan Danielson as MJF’s Tully, maybe FTR as his Ole and Arn?

Sorry, just fantasy booking again there.

Full Gear quick hits

  • Great news: the post-event media scrum didn’t lead to any brawls.
  • The Elite lose in their return: Another thing that had seemed too obvious was that Omega and The Bucks were going to win back their trios titles from Death Triangle. The finish with Penta getting the fall on Omega after using the ringside hammer handed to him by Pac was a nice swerve. This means we’re getting The Elite as faces, because of course the EVPs are setting themselves up to be faces.
  • Where was FTR? Not on the card, and reports are they weren’t backstage, either. Suggestion: give FTR and The Briscoes, who are under contract to AEW’s sister company, Ring of Honor, and otherwise not being used right now, a weekly segment on “Dynamite” where they either talk trash on each other or, and this is a radical concept, even wrestle each other once in a while.
  • Khan finally listened to the fans in putting the interim women’s title on Jamie Hayter. Her win over Toni Storm seems to suggest that former Storm rival Thunder Rosa is about to be stripped of the title.
  • Other title matches: Samoa Joe won a three-way for the TNT title by submitting Powerhouse Hobbs, meaning Wardlow lost the strap without factoring into the decision. This is how three-way title matches are supposed to work. … The Acclaimed retained over Swerve in Our Glory, which finally split as part of the finish. Good news there: Swerve Strickland needs to be a singles heel. … Jade Cargill defeated Nyla Rose in a forgettable TBS title match.
  • Missing inaction: In addition to FTR, we saw or heard nothing of or from “Hangman” Adam Page, Andrade, Miro, The Gunn Club, House of Black, Serena Deeb, Tay Melo …

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].