All Elite Wrestling held its fourth annual Revolution event this past Sunday in San Francisco, California. The show featured a 60-minute Iron Man match head into sudden death, new Trios Champions, and the most violent Texas Death Match to date.
While the build towards Revolution has been mixed at best, that didn’t prevent the actual event itself from being one of AEW’s finest in the promotion’s four-year history. From top to bottom, the final card of Revolution delivered in some way and AEW head Tony Khan will certainly be satisfied at the reception of his company’s latest supercard.
Below is our recap of all the major matches that took place at Revolution:
The Iron Man Match
Weeks of gauntlets, insults, and face-offs between challenger Bryan Danielson and champion MJF culminated in a 60-minute Iron Man Match. This match was the main event of Revolution, and by the time we reached its finish, it was deserving of this spot.
The match started off with MJF hotdogging as much as possible to avoid prolongued confrontations with Danielson. The AEW World Champion also took frequent impromptu “breaks” for hydration, contrasting with Danielson’s experience in going Broadway in these long 60-minute matches.
Danielson earned the first fall at the 26 minute mark when he struck MJF with the Busaiku Knee, going up 1-0. With the Champion at a disadvantage, he hit Danielson with a low blow to get himself DQ’d. That was part of the plan, however, as MJF rolled up his challenger for two quick falls to tie things up at 2.
As the match wore on, the sense of urgency between the two combatants picked up. Danielson survived a MJF diving elbow through the timekeeper’s table to beat out a near-countout scenario. The AEW World Champ responded in kind, blasting Danielson with a Tombstone piledriver through the remains of the table at ringside. One Heatseeker DDT later, and MJF found himself up 3-2.
Feeling like he was in the driver’s seat, MJF certainly took his time to flaunt his supposed superiority over the American Dragon. That seemed to be for naught, however, as Danielson roared back with a flurry of offense. The challenger evened things up at 3-3 after making MJF submit to the Regal Stretch – paying homage to mentor and former BCC patriarch William Regal.
The final ten minutes of this Iron Man match was a dizzying sprint to the finish, as MJF and Danielson battled hard to gain the last-second victory. Its last minutes saw Danielson trap MJF in a single-leg crab — pain undoubtedly enhanced by the Champion’s bum knee. Despite this agony, MJF fought every impulse to tap out to the hold and held on for an entire minute to force a tie.
Per Tony Khan’s edict, the match entered a sudden death round – one fall to a finish, the winner leaving Revolution as the AEW World Champion.
It seemed as though all of MJF’s dirty tricks – including the Dynamite Diamond Ring – would be all for naught. But, in the end, a well-timed oxygen tank shot would spell the beginning of the end for the challenger. MJF ended up locking in Danielson’s own LeBell Lock on him, eventually forcing a tapout to retain his AEW World Title (60:00; 5:15 of OT).
This Iron Man match delivered in every way and was a fantastic showing for both champion and challenger. Once the action picked up, it was impossible to ignore the close drama that a closely-battled Iron Man Match should bring.
Danielson was, per usual, proving why he is the best wrestler in the world today with his performance here.
MJF’s heel work is usually a hit or miss (and can be grating for some), but there’s no denying that he can be talented in the ring. He proved it in this match, hanging with the best in the world and managing to survive 60 minutes of action.
The bitter, hateful rivalry between “Hangman” Adam Page and Jon Moxley came to a violent head in the appropriately-named Texas Death Match. Heading into this match, the series between
Page entered the bout to “Ghost Riders in the Sky” instead of his usual theme, dressed in all-black attire.
It wouldn’t be a Jon Moxley match without a little colour, and it took only two minutes for Page to make Mox bleed with barbed wire. From there, the match lived up to its brutal name, with Page and Moxley taking turns in violently dissecting one another.
Page drilled Moxley with a Deadeye onto a chair wrapped with barbed wire, then also using barbed wire to add more pain on a moonsault he hit Mox with.
Moxley brought some of the more visceral violence to this match, particularly using a fork to bust Hangman open at one point.
Mox later put a pair of bricks to good use in this match, first using them to crush Hangman’s hand, and then paying tribute to former Shield brother Seth Rollins with a stomp that crushed Hangman’s head against said bricks.
When it was all said & done, Page lived up to his “Hangman” moniker and choked Moxley over the top rope with a chain, forcing a shocking tapout (26:04). This was the first time that Mox ever tapped in AEW, and the first time he tapped since 2013.
While, of course, your mileage will vary on whether you enjoy the TDM’s sheer brutality, but this was an appropriate end to Page & Moxley’s rivalry. Hangman’s win easily re-establishes him firmly at the top of the AEW pyramid and easily slots him back into the main event picture.
Whether that involves vying to become a two-time AEW World Champion remains to be seen, however.
Welcome to the Black Parade
The Elite and The House of Black’s Trios Title showdown did not disappoint as two of AEW’s best trios teams put on quite a show for the San Francisco fans to enjoy.
This match featured the usual exciting trios action we’ve come to expect, but the faceoffs that happened within the match made things all the more interesting.
Throughout the match, we had one-on-one standoffs between Kenny Omega and Buddy Matthews, Omega and Malakai Black, as well as Brody King standing firm against all three members of The Elite. It made for some great spotlights in this contest.
In particular, King was a made man in this match and arguably the MVP of it all. His physicality and sheer size was the turning point for the House of Black to seize momentum in this contest.
Things ramped up as the match wore on, but further intensified when Julia Black got a V-Trigger from Omega after stepping on the apron. Black retaliated with his spinning Black Mass kick for a very close near-fall interrupted by Nick Jackson.
The Elite had Black isolated and hit their BTE Trigger, appearing to have the win in hand. Buddy made the save at the very last possible second to keep the House of Black’s hopes alive.
Omega and the Bucks appeared to have Black once again dead to rights with a Meltzer Driver, but Buddy intercepted a leaping Nick a wicked knee to the face. This allowed Black and Brody to hit Matt Jackson with Dante’s Inferno to capture the Trios Titles (17:58).
With Black, Matthews, and King now at the top of AEW’s Trios division, we’re guaranteed to have champions that are ready to impose their will on the rest of the three-person pairings in the promotion.
This match was an exhilrating ride, and the House of Black’s brawling style helped add a little variety to the Elite’s tried-and-tested trios match formula. All in all, a solid, enjoyable match.
Jungle Boy Buries Cage
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry looked to literally bury his rivalry against former mentor Christian Cage in the aptly-named “Final Burial” Match. The object of this match was to seal your opponent inside a casket situated at a makeshift burial site near the stage.
Fitting for a feud that has become increasingly heated in recent weeks, both Perry and Cage engaged in an intense battle filled with the right amount of melodrama. Christian’s work as an unrepentant villain has been great and it once again was on full display here. The veteran relished in making Perry suffer, literally whipping his one-time protege with a belt as Perry’s family was forced to watch.
The match inevitably spilled all the way to the gravesite as Perry and Cage fought tooth and nail to avoid a grisly fate. Christian looked to have the win, planting Perry with the Killswitch into the dirt. He produced two chairs from the casket and tried to finish Jungle Boy off with a con-chair-to, but Perry escaped at the last second.
Jungle Boy fought back with a shovel, eventually using it to enhance his Snare Trap submission to put Christian to sleep. Sensing this was finally the time to do what he couldn’t do before, Perry took the chairs and tearfully struck Christian down with a con-chair-to.
Perry got the win after placing Christian’s limp body into the coffin and closing it shut, which caused it to drop suddenly. A bit cheesy, yes, but kind of a fitting way to close out this match (14:49).
On paper, a gimmicky blowoff match like this should’ve never been as good as it actually was. Massive credit has to go to both Christian and Jack Perry for making this match made on such short notice work.
The Best of the Rest
- The Gunns fended off the challenge of former champions The Acclaimed, Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal, and the team of Orange Cassidy & Danhausen to retain their AEW World Tag Titles prior to the main event (13:22). Post-match fun saw FTR return to the fold, looking to get some payback on Colten and Austin Gunn for months of taunting and mocking them.
- Wardlow regained the TNT Championship by making former champ Samoa Joe submit to a sleeper (10:42). This puts him in a collision course with Powerhouse Hobbs, who won the Face of the Revolution match last week. They face off tonight on Dynamite.
- With the Jericho Appreciation Society banned at ringside, Ricky Starks was able to make it two wins over Chris Jericho in the night’s opening match. The JAS’s Sammy Guevara attempted to circumvent the stipulatuon, but was quickly intercepted by Action Andretti. Starks blocked the Judas Effect elbow and finished Jericho off with an emphatic Roshambo for the win (10:04).
- Jamie Hayter survived the challenge of Saraya and Ruby Soho to retain her AEW Women’s World Championship. The more interesting events happened post-match, when Saraya and Toni Storm attacked Hayter & Dr. Britt Baker. Ruby appeared to side with the homegrown AEW stars, but quickly turned against them, aligning with Saraya and Storm.
- The Zero Hour match saw Mark Briscoe and the Lucha Brothers defeat Tony Nese, Ari Daivari, and Josh Woods, with Briscoe scoring the winning pin on Daivari (12:50).
- The remainder of the Zero Hour preshow was hosted by Renee Paquette, with RJ City of Hey! (EW) fame as the backstage interviewer. This format was different from AEW’s previous PPV preshows, but worked, on the strength of Paquette as the host and RJ City’s charisma.
Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.