Cody’s home town of Charlotte, North Carolina hosted this week’s AEW Dynamite as Cody was ready to make a potential career-altering announcement. How would this announcement affect Full Gear and did the in-ring action meet the stellar track record of AEW so far?

Trent w/ Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy vs PAC

One half of the Best Friends, the now surname-less Trent, took on PAC in an opening match that exceeded expectations. It seemed like an odd match up to pick a solo member of Best Friends and the assumption was that this would simply be a squash match. However, it turned out to be a highly competitive match that was almost convincing enough to make you think Trent was going to create an upset.

Everyone was expecting PAC to demolish Trent here but Trent was able to retaliate and showed a lot of guts fighting back against the Bastard. It was such a strong performance from Trent that it wasn’t hard to believe in him that he may manage to best PAC.

Unfortunately, the finish of the match didn’t live up to the rest as the referee seemed to hold off counting a clear 3 count after the Black Arrow and PAC had to lock in the Brutalizer for the win. A solid opener and another smart booking decision to set up tag team members as potential single stars such as Scorpio Sky, just a shame about the botched finish.

Cody’s announcement

Cody came out and gave an impassioned speech to the crowd targeting the accusations of nepotism as the head of the company levelled against him and Jericho’s condemning of Cody as a millennial with a silver spoon in his mouth. To simply reiterate it here would not do it justice, it was a fantastic promo that Cody would have never been able to do in WWE and cements him as potentially the top babyface in professional wrestling today.

The crux of the promo was for Cody to make the announcement for an extra stipulation to his Full Gear match. If he loses to Chris Jericho, he will never challenge for the AEW World Championship again. When you hear about a career-altering announcement you worry it will give too much away for the outcome of a match, however, the idea of Cody not being featured in the main title picture is completely believable. Considering his popularity isn’t necessarily going to be enhanced by the title any more than it already is, and the way Cody has been utilised throughout AEW so far to build new stars, it’s not out of the realms of possibility. It certainly adds more stakes that’s for sure.

Private Party vs the Dark Order

A tournament bronze medal and a chance to join SCU and the Lucha Brothers in a Triple Threat tag match for the AEW Tag Team Championship at Full Gear was up for grabs in this runners up match. SCU joined the commentary team for the English commentary while the Lucha Brothers joined the Spanish announce team. This was an entertaining match that demonstrated how easy it is for the crowd to get behind Private Party when they have a good heel foil to be up against.

The Dark Order stayed mostly grounded here leaving the flashy antics to the good guys, even disappointing the crowd by cutting off a hot tag from Marq Quen which only served to incite the crowd. It looked like the match was the Dark Order’s with a double cannonball from the team but Quen held on to get the kick out. The second counter of the Fatality allowed Private Party to plant Evil Uno with the Silly String and nail Stu Grayson with Gin and Juice for the win.

Chris Jericho parodies Cody’s promo package for Full Gear

Jericho and his Inner Circle crew made a side-splitting parody of the heartfelt package made for Cody a few weeks ago. Not only were there a bunch of hilarious piss takes at Cody and the Nightmare Family, but there was also even an appearance from the former Virgil, Soul Train Jones, that has so many layers of meta humour to it that it would just be too much to dissect in this review. Needless to say, this is the kind of snivelling heel antics that has been working wonderfully for the Inner Circle and this didn’t disappoint. A perfectly petulant response to Cody’s impassioned speech from Le Champion.

Jamie Hayter & Emi Sakura vs Shanna & Riho

Hayter’s nasty streak must have rubbed off on Sakura before they came out because she was on full heel mode here throwing Riho around the ring by the hair from the get-go. It makes sense seeing as Riho vs Sakura for the AEW Women’s World Championship has been confirmed for Full Gear but it almost would have suited to save that announcement for after this match, especially considering the finish.

Sakura and Hayter had good chemistry here and made sure to keep the champion isolated and on her back to keep her from gaining momentum. Riho came off as the underdog here but she did get enough offence and counters in for it not to disparage her abilities as a Champion.

Shanna also had a chance to shine with a fantastic top rope dive to the outside that had a lot of elevation. A hot tag to Riho looked like it would lead to her overcoming her opponents but a well-executed series of chain roll up attempts had Sakura pin the champ for the win.

Riho vs Sakura will likely be a great match but AEW desperately needs to give more airtime to the women in the company to develop compelling storylines as every women’s division match going into Full Gear is lacking any emotional involvement, which is a disservice to the excellent female roster they’ve amassed. As a side note, AEW need to stop putting Hayter’s wet willy spots in the ad breaks because they’re too good to be wasted.

Brandon Cutler vs Shawn Spears w/ Tully Blanchard

Spears quickly dispatched Cutler in a squash match. Some nice chain wrestling at the start led to Spears snuffing out any offence Cutler could muster before he finished him with the Death Valley Driver. Tully gave the Chairman his signature chair to hit another Death Valley Driver onto it but Joey Janela came out for the save setting up their match at Full Gear.

Spears has been in somewhat of a limbo state after a very hot programme with Cody at All Out. Hopefully, they’ll find a space in the main event picture again for him soon as he has a really strong presence in his entrance and demeanour that would be a shame to go to waste after his reinvention in AEW.

Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs Sammy Guevara & Chris Jericho w/ Jake Hager

The main event of the night was a very entertaining final match that made way for an even more entertaining post-match set up to Full Gear. Some great chain wrestling opened between Guevara and Omega as Jericho tagged out to Guevara early teasing and denying the crowd seeing him revisit his New Japan rivalry with Omega.

Everyone got a chance to shine in this match with the frenetic crescendo seeing Hager save Guevara from a throw to the outside before the pair ate a dive from Omega followed by an Orihara moonsault from Page. A surprise finish happened as a distracted referee gave an opportunity for PAC to sneak to the ring to take out Page giving Jericho the opportunity to plant him with the Judas Effect for the win.

The fallout is the real story here however as a post-match beatdown by the Inner Circle was broken up by Cody with MJF preventing the Inner Circle from retreating and serving up Jericho for Cross Rhodes. Suddenly Moxley came through the crowd with a barb wire bat to confront Omega as the Inner Circle brawled with Cody and MJF. Then Santana and Ortiz came to the ring to beat down both Omega and Moxley before the Young Bucks came down to stop them.

It was an all-out brawl with some great moments like a brief alliance between Moxley and Omega who dispatched Santana and Ortiz with their finishers before turning back on each other and Nick Jackson diving off the stage area onto everyone.

An absolutely crazy finish that was a great preview of Full Gear and couldn’t help but get you giddy with excitement for Saturday.

Take note WWE, this is how you do a go-home episode of TV.

Here are the matches confirmed for Full Gear on Saturday so far:

  • The “Buy In” Pre-Show: Britt Baker vs Bea Priestley
  • Jon Moxley vs Kenny Omega – Non-sanctioned Lights out Match
  • Riho vs Emi Sakura – AEW Women’s World Championship Match
  • PAC vs Hangman Page
  • The Young Bucks vs Santana and Ortiz
  • SoCal Uncensored vs. Lucha Brothers vs. Private Party – AEW World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Tag Team match
  • Joey Janela vs Shawn Spears w/ Tully Blanchard
  • Chris Jericho vs Cody – AEW World Championship Match (If Cody loses, he will never challenge for the AEW World Championship again)


All pics and videos courtesy of AEW, Lee South/AEW, and TNT