The Real Winners and Losers from AEW Full Gear 2019
AEW presented its first pay-per-view of the Dynamite era Saturday night from the historic Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore and left fans buzzing about the events that unfolded over the course of the 3½-hour extravaganza.
From shocking betrayals to momentum-building wins, the show put many of its stars in a position to thrive going forward. As is always the case, though, there were a few who did not quite benefit in the same manner as their peers.
In the aftermath of the spectacular, relive the night's most significant matches, hottest angles and, in some cases, questionable booking with these winners and losers from the monumental night.
After weeks of teasing and hinting at a betrayal of his best friend Cody, Maxwell Jacob Friedman delivered in superb fashion in the closing moments of the AEW World Championship match between The American Nightmare and Chris Jericho.
With Cody trapped in the Liontamer, MJF produced a white towel and threw it into the ring, bringing the executive vice president's championship aspirations to an end via forfeit. After the match, a tearful MJF tried to explain his actions to his clearly frustrated bestie. Then, in a moment that drew the loudest boos of the night from the fans in Baltimore, he dropped Cody with a low blow and walked out as smug and arrogant as ever.
It was a star-making moment for the best heel in the business.
MJF suckered Cody in. He elevated himself by proxy, and when he grew frustrated with what he perceived to be the No. 1 contender's selfishness, he struck. "It's my turn!" he exclaimed as he talked trash to Cody, still reeling from the low kick.
So effective was the turn that a fan threw a drink at the scarf-wearing villain, a traditional sign of displeasure with a bad guy.
The post-match angle immediately sets MJF for a high-profile feud with Cody, one that should instantly make him a main event star and a young face of AEW's bright future.
Just as he should be.
Losers: Santana and Ortiz
Santana and Ortiz may have defeated The Young Bucks in the night's opening match, but it was the post-bell angle that essentially erased the heat they built for themselves by virtue of the victory.
Moments after defeating the best tag team in the world, Proud and Powerful found itself bumping around the ring for the legendary Rock 'n' Roll Express. The team sold for Ricky Morton's destroyer piledriver and was wiped out by a plancha from the 63-year-old Hall of Famer.
Santana and Ortiz's night ended with them tucking tail and heading to the back, leaving the babyfaces to celebrate in the ring.
Yes, it was nice to see AEW paying respect to Morton and Robert Gibson, a team that had competed many times in the Royal Farms Arena as part of Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s, but to do it at the expense of a team that has been built so effectively through squash matches, multi-man tags and as part of The Inner Circle was a booking misstep.
Santana and Ortiz's most significant win to date should have been followed by them standing tall and putting the tag team division on notice. Instead, they looked weak in retreat.
Winner: "Hangman" Adam Page
Weeks of desperation and the need for a high-profile singles win culminated Saturday night with Hangman Page defeating "The Bastard" Pac in a hard-hitting war of attrition.
At the mercy of Pac for the majority of the contest, Page fought his way back into the match, blocked the low blow that cost him a win in their first encounter back on October 2 and put him away with the Dead Eye. The win not only reversed Page's fortunes but should also elevate him in the AEW singles rankings.
Page's story was one of the more interesting in the company. At one point, it appeared as though the frustration over his losses would take him down a dark path. Instead, he channeled it into an intense performance on pay-per-view and dealt Pac his first singles loss.
It should be interesting to see where Page heads from here. He very easily could return to world title contention, where his story would come full circle against Chris Jericho. It was Le Champion who started Page's downward spiral by defeating him back at All Out on August 31.
Loser: Private Party
Private Party's victory over The Dark Order on the November 6 episode of Dynamite catapulted the team into the AEW Tag Team Championship match at Full Gear. While the PPV appearance was a major milestone in Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen's journey to the top of tag team wrestling, it also felt like they were injected into the rivalry between SCU and The Lucha Bros just to take the loss.
The explosive tag team turned in the same energetic performance it has in every one of its AEW matches to date and never looked out of place while squaring off with the top two tandems in the tag team rankings.
Still, it was hard to shake the feeling that Private Party was in the match not to have a realistic shot at emerging with the titles but, instead, to take the pin so The Lucha Bros could be spared another loss. That is exactly what happened, as Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky of SCU retained the gold by pinning Quen following SCU Later.
Given the post-match activities, which saw Christopher Daniels return and confirm the rivalry between the teams will continue, it's even more apparent that Private Party was the sacrificial lamb here.
Kassidy and Quen will rebound because of their incredible connection with the audience and the effort they put into every match, but it is still difficult not to label them losers on a night when they were essentially afterthoughts in an escalating rivalry between elite teams.
Winner: Jon Moxley
The ability to absorb punishment, the relentless violence and the in-your-face attitude of Jon Moxley was on display in his Lights Out match with Kenny Omega, which closed out Full Gear.
Bloodied by barbed wire, battered by bumps on the exposed oak of the squared circle and lacerated by thousands of shards of broken glass, Moxley emerged from his war with The Cleaner victoriously and in prime position to make a run at the AEW World Championship.
The wild card of the company, neither heel nor babyface, took fans on a trip back in time to his days in CZW Deathmatches, delivering a level of chaos few would have thought possible in this day and age. And in doing so, he again proved that his creativity can be used for good or, in the case of Saturday's show-closer, destruction.
There will be some who take exception with the match against Omega, citing that it went way too far in terms of violence. They would be right. There was really no need for the depths Moxley and Omega went to in their battle. At the same time, it was to be expected. The stipulation was announced, and the violence was teased in the brawls on television leading to the match.
Moxley was every bit the unsanctionable force he claimed to be in a Dynamite promo two weeks prior to the event, and the toughness on display only further endeared him to an audience that appreciates his intensity and take-no-prisoners style of work.
Like it or not, Saturday's main event earned him more supporters and put him in a position to be the antihero of AEW. Whether that antihero adds gold to his resume is the question that should next be answered.