Anticipation is high for tomorrow’s AEW Full Gear pay-per-view, but AEW still had a surprise or two up its sleeve ahead of the big event. Tonight’s AEW Rampage featured a big return about midway through the night, and it all happened because of a heel turn from Athena. Athena would win her match against Madison Rayne but then would punch the referee and then locked Rayne in a submission, only letting go when Ring of Honor Women’s World Champion Mercedes Martinez came out to the ring and made her surprise return from injury.
Martinez has been out of action since before Death Before Dishonor, though the nature of her injury was never revealed. In September Tony Khan revealed she was injured during a media call at the time, saying “A lot of the best wrestlers in the world are champions in Ring of Honor. Mercedes Martinez, the Women’s World Champion of Ring of Honor is actually out with an injury but will be back soon.”
— AEW on TV (@AEWonTV) November 19, 2022
That was in September, and now Martinez is finally making her way back to in-ring action, as she also took part in a taping of AEW Dark. Martinez was a babyface before she was hurt, and the actions tonight likely gave her a new opponent that is now a heel in Athena. Athena has been showing an edgier side, but this was a big step into heel territory.
Martinez is still the ROH Women’s Champion, so it seems that Athena might be moving into that Title picture to take on Martinez, perhaps on the next ROH-specific pay-per-view, though she could always take her on during the next AEW pay-per-view as well.
Martinez headed into the ring and had a face-off with Athena, and hopefully, we’ll get more of a program between the two moving forward. If we do, it should be a fantastic match-up and is certainly a match worthy of a pay-per-view card. You can find the full updated card for Full Gear below.
Pre-Show: Eliminator Tournament – Ricky Starks vs Brian Cage
Pre-Show: Orange Cassidy (C), Best Friends, Rocky Romero, and Danhausen vs The Factory
AEW World Championship Match: Jon Moxley (C) vs MJF
Interim AEW Women’s Championship Match: Toni Storm (C) vs Jamie Hayter
TNT Championship Match: Wardlow (C) vs Samoa Joe vs Powerhouse Hobbs
TBS Championship Match: Jade Cargill (C) vs Nyla Rose
AEW Tag Team Championship Match: The Acclaimed (C) vs Swerve In Our Glory
ROH World Championship Match: Chris Jericho (C) vs Bryan Danielson vs Sammy Guevara vs Claudio Castagnoli
AEW Trios Championship Match: Death Triangle vs The Elite
Eliminator Tournament Finals: Ethan Page vs Brian Cage or Ricky Starks
Saraya vs Dr. Britt Baker, DMD
Steel Cage Match: Jungle Boy vs Luchasaurus
Sting and Darby Allin vs Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal
Are you excited for AEW Full Gear? Let us know in the comments and as always you can talk all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!