Whereas All Elite Wrestling does so many issues proper, it additionally has its shortcomings (nobody is ideal). One in every of these was the shortcoming to heart the roster round younger expertise, one thing the corporate can construct a basis on for years to come back. That should not be an issue after final evening’s Full Gear PPV, and particularly Swerve Strickland and Adam Web page placing on maybe the most effective match the corporate has ever produced.
I am not a deathmatch man. They definitely have their place within the wrestling world, and if executed proper, they are often the proper capstone to any story. However they might additionally simply be empty blood, which is simply shock worth. If I can take yet one more shot at my favourite goal, and I’ll as a result of that is my present, think about Cody Rhodes superplexing Andrade by a flaming desk for actually no purpose aside from to have a good time himself. There are lots of extra, however I at all times really feel like making a lateral transfer. Typically they’re simply an afterthought.
Web page and Strickland have been all a few deathmatch that any fan may have requested for. Oh, it had its ridiculous spots that made everybody flip away from the display screen. There was barbed wire, cinder blocks, staplersand every part else to make using easy tables and chairs look like nothing greater than a tea set. And of course bloodas a result of that is what AEW does, and Web page’s picture does not simply depart Swerve bleeding on the face but force him to do so may in the end grow to be the enduring picture of the present, if not the 12 months of AEW.
However this was not empty blood. This was the end result of a narrative that had grow to be very private, a blood feud in each a figurative and literal sense. Swerve, jealous of Web page’s alternatives to the purpose of a house invasion, and Web page in whole anger at Strickland’s overstepping of boundaries. When Web page reaches this stage, there will not be one other individual within the business higher capable of take a narrative to the red-hot stage.
Strickland was taken to a brand new stage the place he thought he may escape by his shortcuts, deceit and crafty and nonetheless get forward. Web page took him someplace we hadn’t seen him earlier than in AEW, each story-wise and now at star stage on the roster.
And none of this works with no connection to one thing, to a narrative that followers can dig into. This had it in abundance, because of the work of each males. Web page’s anger and Strickland’s wickedness have been clear as day and backed up by what had come earlier than, giving every spot that further 5-10 % spice and pop they wanted to go from simply pleasing the gang (so not abdomen cramps) to go to sharp factors in a plot. It meant a lot to each males to undergo this gauntlet, and so it meant a lot to the followers.
AEW has been making an attempt to show to its youthful facet recently, however not with full effort. MJF is the champion and the undisputed face of the corporate. However other than him, AEW has gotten loads out of Bryan Danielson, who will retire from full-time wrestling subsequent 12 months. Earlier than that, the corporate was depending on CM Punk, and whereas his volatility might not have been fully predictable (it was utterly predictable) he was nonetheless in his forties and definitely not a long-term fixture. MJF has had a feud with Samoa Joe, additionally in his mid-forties and unclear how for much longer he’ll wrestle. The signing of Adam Copeland did little to allay these fears. Chris Jericho is 50. Kenny Omega has lengthy hinted that he did not know the way for much longer he may carry out. AEW followers’ darkest moments discovered themselves questioning if this wasn’t all a fortress within the sand that the ocean would quickly meet.
Strickland and Web page, each of their early 30s, at the moment are the most important stars of the corporate behind MJF, even simply after that one match. Will Ospreay’s reveal final evening (although not with out some worry from many angles) is one other step in that route, and he is coming off probably the greatest years any wrestler has had in a very long time. Tony Khan did not even draw back from doing this on the ladies’s facet and creating some momentum there, with each Toni Storm and Julia Hart capable of capitalize on their current runs and recognition with title wins. Whereas that is simply the 497th probability If Khan desires to make the ladies’s division one thing greater than only a field ticked, followers are all in for ‘Timeless’ Toni Storm and goth queen Hart. Each are of their twenties and don’t have any much less potential to grow to be massive stars.
All of those strikes on final evening’s present have been sufficient to beat a shaky (at finest) essential occasion story that was overbooked in a method that will have made even Bruce Pritchard blush. MJF and Jay White delivered a very good match, which they need to have executed with no pretend match cancellation at first of the present and MJF arrived in an ambulance and teased Adam Cole which by no means paid off, at the least not utterly. There was nonetheless no reveal of the Satan that had lately appeared on TV. A easy damage angle for MJF to inject some hazard right into a match nobody thought he would ever lose would have been sufficient.
However Strickland-Web page was that good. With the remainder of the present culminating, all that silliness will likely be a facet subject. AEW will enter the round-robin “Continental Basic” part over the subsequent six weeks, which means it may have each guys on TV each week to make the most of their new standing. To any extent further, everybody desires to observe his matches, and Khan cannot give his spot to anybody else.
The corporate has lastly put in the long-term pillars that Sammy Guevara and Jack Perry have been by no means supposed to construct. AEW does not have to fret about waves for some time if they do not need to.
Observe Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky @felsgate.bsky.social