So I mentioned previously that I was going to this show live. It was actually a long time coming to finally see AEW live, I had planned on doing the 1st Arthur Ashe show but plans didn't work out, and then the 2nd Arthur Ashe show didn't work out either even after I already got tickets to it (which I had to sell). So finally, my dad, sister, and myself all made it to Full Gear.
So for context, driving to Newark was pretty terrible. Actually, scratch that, it was ass thanks to Apple Maps taking me on some weird convoluted path that made no sense. I love getting tailgated while trying to snake myself through random highways and side roads. We did end up eating at a local place called Tops Diner, which easily is one of the best diners I've ever been to. Great food, impeccable service, and they had a damn good carne asada which I never expected a diner to have.
Prudential Center was actually a pretty nice arena all things considered. Lot of concessions, lot of bathrooms, easy to navigate, so a plus there for all this. And our seats had a great view, but holy fuck were they steep. Steep, and with very narrow rows which made it difficult to really move around or stand up much. I didn't realize I was scared of heights to that extent till now, sitting in the tiers in other places like MSG or Radio City is a lot nicer.
So the venue, once it filled up, was about 90%+ full from what I can tell. The crowd did get up most for the Saraya match (which surprised me), and the most for the Jade/Nyla match (which didn't surprise me as much).
As for the show itself, we got in a bit later (security made my sister put her bag in a locker despite it being size, so we had to find our way over there which took awhile), so we missed the 5 on 5 tag match. Given half the match was QT & friends, I honestly didn't mind missing it although I did miss Danhausen.
When we got there, Brian Cage and Ricky Starks just started. They had a solid match overall with some nice added storyline fodder given them both being ex Team Taz guys. Cage in person is yolked as fuck, but isn't very tall. I mean I'm 5'10'' and he's maybe the same height it looked or maybe an inch taller. The ring was mic'd up well, all the big slams and moves in the center of the ring were making this big loud booming noise which was great, and it was especially loud when bigger guys hit the ring like Cage. Also, crowd popped big when Starks won the match by getting Cage up with Roshambo, didn't realize it till now but what a cool looking move.
Kingston/Akiyama was a good semi-kings road style match, similar to the match he had with Ishii really. Gotta love a good chop fest. Also, some guy behind me had to have been drunk already by this point, as he was counting every single chop Eddie did. My dude ran into a problem when Eddie did the machine gun chops however, I think trying to count this broke his brain because all I heard was a jumble of random ass numbers.
Post-match ruled though, Eddie's promo was fantastic and he sold the PPV better than most.
Then for the actual show, it made sense to do Jungle Boy and Luchasarus first given the cage stip. Christian got MASSIVE BOOS, that was awesome, and Luchasarus got some boos too. One of my favorite lines I heard from a fan was "I ate chicken nuggets shaped like your family" which I popped for. This felt like a classic old school david/goliath match, with JB getting destroyed early and blooded, and making a hell of a resilient comeback by the end. I screamed "THIS IS OVERZEALOUS" with the piledriver kickout though, they did a little too many of these. But they ended tremendously with the huge elbow drop and submission, and that match was an awesome opener. I'd say like 4.25 stars or so there.
Next we got Death Triangle and The Elite. Elite's entrance was exactly on brand for them, and I honestly did not expect to hear Carry on My Wayward son, I was joking when I posted that somewhere on here earlier. But we got Kansas, and I popped and screamed KANSAS when I heard it. Match was great fun as a party match, also overzealous at times with the choregraphed spots, but on brand for the Bucks. Kenny looked in amazing shape, and all of Death Triangle ruled and were highlights. Watching all of the dives and moves are really impressive live, I was screaming for somebody to DDT PAC but I didn't get it sadly. That being said, the finish got over HUGE, was happy to see Death Triangle get a big win here. Also, my sister and I were shocked to hear the LOUD "Fuck CM Punk" chants, dude was definitely hated tonight. Also, one of y'all on this board was sitting behind me because there were these two dude who were the smarkiest dorks ever. They bitched about the opener, and really bitched here about the style of match. They called the V-Trigger the Sperm Trigger, which made me cringe so hard I almost felt shame for them. 4 stars for this I'd say.
Jade's ass was next. Holy fuck, I have never seen gear that was that blatent, but she does have a nice ass and I think her thighs could crush my head. Match was clunky and not very good, but they tried. A ton of people got up and I wasn't surprised in the slightest. 1 Star.
The ROH 4 way was next. All the entrances were great, Sammy was universally hated as much as anybody here and got multiple "Fuck you Sammy" chants throughout the match, Judas is still as over as day one, so obviously that's why Jericho keeps using it. This was a ton of fun, the storyline elements with guys from both factions was great, crowd was electric when Sammy and Jericho fought or turned on each other, same when Claudio and Bryan started wrestling each other. Jericho laying out dead on the side of the ring multiple times during this was absolutely hilarious, I kept pointing it out, dude looked like a drunk who blacked out. We were all rooting for Danielson, so we were sad when Jericho retained, but it was expected. 4 stars easy for this. Also at this point, we moved up to the back of the tier we were in, my dad is having some health issues so steep stairs is really bad on him (he gets lightheaded which is bad for stairs). Was easier for him without having to try to go up and down them.
Saraya/Britt followed, and the heat for this was a lot smaller than I expected, including a decent amount of people who got up. I didn't expected anything great, and you could tell Saraya was very rusty at points. They did get into the swing of things by the end of this, and they got the crowd into it by the end. We spent this entire match trying to figure out how to call her finishers without using "Paige." Overall I'd call it a solid but unspectacular match. 2.5 Stars.
BIG BOI HOSS MATCH was next. Remember I mentioned the ring being loud for those bigger spots? Well this was 100% the loudest easily, lotta beef in the ring. Joe looked like a tank here, a whole ass big boi, and I was living for it. This was good for what it was, a bunch of beefy big bois slapping meat all over the place. Wardlow is still quite over, which is good to see, and all of us were shocked Joe won this. Completely unexpected all things considered. 3.25 Stars I'd say. Also, fans were constantly chanting BEEF all throughout which made us laugh like hell. All hail dem HOSSES.
Jamie and Toni ended up being one of the better women's matches AEW has ever done. Heat was good, and initially I think the crowd was maybe 70/30 split on Jamie and Toni when they both came out to start. By the end, it was basically 100% for Jamie. The spots with Rebel and Britt helped the match keep it's heat a ton, not sure if it came across on TV well, but it 100% worked in house live. Kinda felt bad for Toni given how literally nobody gave much care for her by the end, but wow did Jamie get a huge pop when she won here. Good shit overall that I'd call 4 stars.
Swerve/Lee and Acclaimed was next, and Swerve was one of the top heels of the night, getting thunderous boos. Some poor sap tried to do the "Who's House, Swerve's House" thing but absolutely nobody did the second line of that
Acclaimed were mega over, and props to this crowd for staying hot all show long. We got all the chants, "Ohh Scissor me Daddy" was done all throughout the match (which my sister didn't chant given she was sitting next to my dad and thought it would be weird
). This match was great, a better version of their last match I'd say, and WOAH MAMA is Keith Lee huge in person. Dude is a mac truck on legs. Crowd loved that barricade spot, and they went nuts when Lee finally said "fuck it" at the end and left. 4 stars for this as well. Also, that "asshole" chant was for some drunk dumb fan, not Lee.
STINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG was next, and on paper this wasn't the best match, but it might have been the most fun. We got SLAPNUTS in person in 2022, and in the ring with Sting which got TNA chants which was definitely a vibe in 2022. We kept screaming what was in the bodybag on the stage, but it turned out to be nothing. But the crowd was LIVELY and loved everything in this, from the wild Sting dive, to Darby getting caught by TALL MAN SINGH (he is enormous btw, like WTF huge), to Darby getting murdered by Jarrett with the guitar to the back off the coffin drop, and just all of it. These might be played out a bit, and this isn't like the best man on paper (I'd say like 3 stars), but this might have been the most fun match all night for sure.
And finally we get Moxley and MJF. MJF is over as fuck here, to be expected, and my sister had the scarf on, as did hundreds of people all over the arena. Dude basically was a babyface tonight. Moxley meanwhile was a huge heel, booed a ton, but everybody loved singing Wild Thing and his entrance is awesome to see live. Crowd was hot for most of this, my section anyway, and we had some drunk dudes scream chanting "REGAL'S GONNA FUCK YOU" over and over again. Turns out they were right! This was more psychological as a match for awhile, which MJF is great at, and I actually did think the finish was great and made sense given the lead up with Regal putting emphasis on the villain stuff. I'd say maybe 4 stars for this as well.
Overall, AEW is a really fun vibe to go to. Compared to the WWE shows I went to, this felt more lively and the crowd skewed a lot of people in their 20-30s, with some older fans who had been watching for a long time. I didn't see many kids at all, and some fans around us were a bit annoying with the smarkiness, but it was still really fun to see live wrestling after 8 years (I haven't been to a show since seeing WWE in January 2014). Honestly, its more fun in person than watching on TV. So I'd say go to a show nearby if you can, they put on a damn good show.
(Also since y'all wanted tags @LifeInCattleClass @DammitChrist