Adam Page and the Real Winners and Losers from 2021 AEW Full Gear
Full Gear 2021 is officially in the books. All Elite Wrestling's final pay-per-view event of the year served as a fitting culmination of a momentous year.
All Out was always going to be a tough act to follow thanks to its stacked card and bevy of surprise debuts. However, Saturday's event still offered a great selection of matches and dramatic conclusions to storylines.
Nyla Rose and Jamie Hayter vs. Thunder Rosa and Hikaru Shida kicked off the event on the Buy-In. Then MJF and Darby Allin settled their feud in the opening match.
"Hangman" Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega was the biggest selling point of this year's card. The storyline was in the making for two years, and fans tuned in to see whether Hangman could finally fulfill his dream to become AEW world champion.
Let's take a look at how he and the rest of the performers fared as the company aimed to close out 2021 on a high note. These are the real winners and losers From AEW Full Gear.
Winner: Hikaru Shida
Hikaru Shida continues to be a highlight for AEW since she returned to television to face Serena Deeb.
Yes, the former women's champion competed on the kick-off show, but it wasn't hard to see why she was a fixture on pay-per-views during AEW's first two years. Furthermore, she has improved at emoting and catering to the live crowd while she was away.
Shida is one of the best in-ring competitors on the roster, so it's good to see that she is trying to fine-tune her character work. To that end, the Japanese star made an excellent babyface in peril and she picked up a gutsy win with Thunder Rosa by her side.
In the process, the 33-year-old obtained some momentum heading into the next round of the TBS Championship Tournament. AEW also seemingly teased another match with Deeb. If it's anything like their previous encounters, sign us up.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman is the best heel in the company. Some of his detractors have suggested he's just an effective talker, but he proved he is the total package in his best AEW match so far.
On Saturday night, Friedman and Darby Allin delivered an incredible opening match and set a high bar for the rest of the card. MJF is a much better technician than he gets credits for. He showcased that as he ingeniously targeted Allin's back after he missed a Coffin Drop early in the bout.
Nevertheless, the two-time Dynamite Diamond Ring winner resorted to nefarious tactics, as he distracted the referee and used said trinket to defeat his fellow pillar for a much-needed win following his loss to Chris Jericho at All Out.
This was a fantastic way to reestablish him as a threat and produce another strong showing between the ropes. The 25-year-old will undoubtedly be an integral part of AEW's crop of homegrown stars, and his future looks bright.
Winner: Bryan Danielson
Bryan Danielson hasn't had a bad match since he joined AEW. His latest performance, against Miro on Saturday, was no different.
Miro looked invincible at several points, and he put his opponent through the wringer in this incredibly physical match. Still, The American Dragon managed to survive the onslaught and dish out some stiff strikes of his own.
In the end, Danielson hit Miro with an avalanche DDT and quickly capitalized with a guillotine choke to win. Some savvy viewers may have noticed that it was eerily similar to the way Roman Reigns ended the 40-year-old's WWE run in their title vs. career match on the Apr. 30 episode of SmackDown.
It was an interesting way to gain a statement victory and become the new No. 1 contender for the AEW World Championship. In a little more than two months, Danielson has already made a huge impact on the company.
The highly touted technical wrestler looks unstoppable. Soon, he will present a challenge for the new champion, who just overcame The Best Bout Machine
Loser: Cody Rhodes
The way AEW's fanbase has turned on Cody Rhodes has been one of the most befuddling stories of the year. The Target Center greeted him with a chorus of boos Saturday, and the negative reception never let up.
As a result, it made it hard to invest in the dynamic of this tag match against Malakai Black and Andrade El Idolo. At one point, The American Nightmare struggled to get back on the apron but finally emerged to accept a tag from PAC. However, his valiant hot tag fell flat because the live crowd wouldn't give him anything.
Rhodes didn't do anything wrong here. In fact, he wrestled a solid match, and his partner secured the win for his team with the Black Arrow.
Regardless, the storyline around this match is getting stagnant because fans aren't quite sure how to react to it. The brief brawl afterward showcased just how confusing Rhodes' confrontation with Black has become. It's all getting a bit too convoluted, and everyone involved could use a new direction.
It's unclear what Rhodes can do to get out of this rut, but he needs to do something different. This tag match didn't fit on this card, and it feels like it only existed as a way for the second-generation star to compete at the event in some capacity. That's not a good sign, and it momentarily sucked the energy out of the crowd.
Losers: The Inner Circle
The Inner Circle has run its course. This stable did what it set out to do, which is elevate members Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz.
However, the bigger problem is that they are just not as engaging as babyfaces. As such, their most recent feuds aren't that interesting. To tell the truth, they should have split up after their rivalry with The Pinnacle.
Dan Lambert and America's Top Team aren't much more intriguing as antagonists, but they would have fared better against more likable protagonists. It was hard to root for either team, and their match Saturday was way too long.
Chris Jericho paid homage to the late Eddie Guerrero, who died 16 years ago in Minneapolis, no less. It was a touching tribute, but it sadly came at the end of an overindulgent street fight.
This was easily the weakest match on the card. It's time to move on from The Inner Circle, and this was yet another example as to why.
Winner: Adam Page
At AEW's first press conference, Adam Page vowed to become the company's first world champion. Hangman failed to do make good on that promise in the inaugural title match at All Out 2019, but his time has finally come.
His quest to achieve his goal will go down as AEW's crowning achievement because it successfully helped to develop the 30-year-old into a top babyface. Even more, this was the company's most well-executed display of long-term storytelling to date.
Hangman's resilience, vulnerability and crowd-pleasing offense have made him a fan favorite. Still, Page's confrontation with Omega was a long time coming, and the Target Center crowd was ready to believe that he could overcome his toughest opponent.
Page pulled out all the stops, including a One-Winged Angel of his own, and he pulled off a pair of Buckshot Lariats to seal the deal. As the Young Bucks reluctantly looked on in approval, their old friend ended Omega's 346-day reign and took his rightful place at the top of the card.
This was a fantastic payoff that hit all the right emotional notes. The Belt Collector cheated to beat Jon Moxley nearly a year ago. Even though Page initially failed, he came back and won the right way. This first world title triumph felt even sweeter because after everything he went through, he didn't change to succeed.