Sting’s perfect farewell capped exceptional AEW Revolution

It feels like it’s been too long since an AEW pay-per-view left a feeling this good both about the present and future of the company.

What we got at Revolution from the Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday was the perfect sendoff for the icon Sting, a surprise return from Kyle O’Reilly, one of the early matches of the year between Konosuke Takeshita and Will Ospreay, who was in his first clash as a full-time member of the company, and the preservation of Swerve Strickland’s pursuit of the AEW world championship for a more fitting moment. 

It was a classic AEW show — if that’s such a thing after only five years of existence — that added to the expected arrival of Mercedes Mone’ next week and potentially Kazuchika Okada at some point.

Sting in his final match at AEW Revolution on March 3, 2024. Lee South

Ric Flair comes out to help Sting during AEW Revolution Lee South

But more than anything, Revolution was a chance to look back on the 39-year career of Sting and give the last great active wrestler of his era the sendoff he deserved while setting an example for how all-time greats should be treated on the way out.

It was a celebration as much as it was a farewell.

Sting’s entrance hit on all the emotions, from “The Final Showtime” video package of Sting in an empty theater watching some career highlights, to his sons dressing like Surfer Stings and nWo Wolfpack Sting, to the man himself coming out to his classic “Seek and Destroy” theme.

The match itself was more spectacle than your traditional classic, but that’s been Sting’s and Darby Allin’s strength during his 29-0 run in the AEW. Sting’s sons started with Stinger Splashes on the Young Bucks to pay them back for their prior attack before the real chaos began. 

Sting took two table bumps, including a suplex through one off the stage, and Allin was left in a bloody but still functioning heap following an insane head-first flip off a ladder from the ring through a pane of glass, which was set up on chairs on the outside, after the Young Bucks moved out of the way in the nick of time.

After that, the Bucks, who worked their butts off all night, did whatever they could to put Sting down. But he stood right up after going through a table and kicked out of superkicks and an EVP Trigger. The Bucks, who in the story want to send Sting’s generation packing, were at different points foiled by the likes of Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat, both of whom received superkicks.

Darby Allin and Sting retained the tag team championships before the legend retired Lee South

Once Sting got the upper hand back, a Scorpion Death Drop wasn’t enough to pin Matt Jackson’s shoulders to the mat. Allin got up in time to deliver a Coffin Drop before Sting made Matt tap to the Scorpion Death Lock to retain the AEW tag team championships, which will now be vacated and put up for grabs in a tournament in a perfect tie into Warner Bros. Discovery’s March Madness coverage.

Sting’s retirement was the prime example of AEW pushing all the right buttons for the most part at Revolution.

Hangman’s gambit

“Hangman” Adam Page beat up referees, broke up pins and ultimately got choked out by Samoa Joe, ensuring rival Swerve Strickland — who refused to cheat using Prince Nana’s crown — wouldn’t become AEW world champion. It wasn’t flawless, but made sense for the story they were telling coming in.

Swerve Strickland delivers a boot to Hangman Page Lee South

The right person in Wardlow is waiting now in the wings after winning a fun and fast-paced, but probably a tad too long, eight-man scramble match to become the No. 1 contender. 

AEW was also looking ahead by establishing Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli as a title-contending tag team with a brutally physical win over FTR before this tournament began.

Bryan Danielson had to finally shake Eddie Kingston’s hand after the holder of Continental Crown countered a second Busaiku Knee with a lariat and stacked-pin powerbomb to win. Danielson will soon end his full-time in-ring career having never held a title in AEW, but the list of talent he’s helped further legitimize continues to grow.

Will Ospreay and Konosuke Takeshita did battle at AEW Revolution Lee South

Ospreay and Takeshita was the mat classic we expect to get in AEW, from the picturesque and fluid counter sequences to the moments of hard-hitting physicality. It was Ospreay truly announcing himself to AEW fans and Takeshita proving he belongs in the elite class of wrestlers today.

O’Reilly’s return after nearly two years away because of a serious neck injury was a legit surprise following buddy Roderick Strong ending Orange Cassidy’s second reign as International Champion after finally doing more damage to the back than the champ could take. 

Fans were given a reason to tune in this week after O’Reilly congratulated Strong with a hug but refused to put on an Undisputed Kingdom shirt. He could become an unlikely ally for potentially MJF and Wardlow down the line. 

Falling short

Not everything was perfect. 

TNT champion Christian Cage retained against Daniel Garcia in a pretty standard match. Garcia was able to overcome Killswitch’’s interference, but not Nick Wayne, so it all felt like a placeholder until Adam Copeland is brought back into the fold of this story. 

Also, as fun as AEW women’s World champion Toni Storm’s “Timeless” character is and as good a job as AEW did in building a story around her and Deonna Purrazzo, this match felt a tad flat. 

It wasn’t helped by being about three and half hours into the whole show and following FTR against the Blackpool Combat Club, but it felt a bit slower than everything else on the card. Also, another interference finish as a distraction from Luther and Mariah May — who was dressed as and was the spitting image of red-and-black rocker Toni Storm — caused Purrazzo to break the Venus de Milo submission she had the champ in didn’t help either.

Still, those were minor blemishes on the “night to remember” Sting wanted to deliver us in his farewell. 

Biggest Winner: Sting

Biggest Losers: Deonna Purrazzo, Daniel Garcia

Best Match: Will Ospreay vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Grade: A

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