Thumbs Up/Down: Collision 07/22/2023


Following Up

Ricky Starks was highlighted as the show began and introduced as the Owen Hart winner when announced for his match.  Then won in the main event by the same means as last week.

Likewise, White and Juice weren’t forgotten about: given a decent win to confirm this.

And FTR were given promo time to address their continuing run as tag champs and upcoming match with BtYBB.

I might have reservations about who they aren’t using, but the guys they do don’t disappear for weeks at a time like some of Dynamite’s lost souls.  Hopefully this continues, it’s crucial in establishing stars.

Proper Heels

Not a single ‘bad guy’ on this show did a single thing to endear themselves to fans.

Christian immediately killed any cheers for interrupting Punk and was duped into admitting he sees himself as the TNT champ.  Starks bragged about his designer gear and brushed off his disrespect of Liger like it was nothing (would’ve been nice if they’d properly shown this outside of BotB).

BCG were obnoxiously annoying (the Gunns) and cheated to win (Juice).

Taya arrogantly patronized Skye Blue.

While Cage and Starks’ consistent reluctance to enter the ring against the babyfaces was both entertaining and effective.

Bullet Club vs Top Flight

I called this excellently-worked in the review.  Because it was well-structured and worked with clear heels and babyfaces.  The latter of whom were allowed to shine with their high-octane offense before being cheated in the end as the bad guys – correctly – got the win.

Meaning that next week’s six-man is totally justifiable.

And BCG walk the line perfectly between playing heel and cheating without making anyone look dumb.  They had the Gunns out there but won without the interference ubiquitous on Wednesdays.

(Which apparently a Punk-led talent meeting had a lot to do with, so kudos)


His match got the biggest pop when announced, his comeback the biggest pop of anything in-ring.  ‘Keep doin your thing, he said, say no more’.


The Punk Conundrum

‘He gets a reaction’ has become the announcers’ go-to.  And it’s inarguable that there’s been an extra energy to his matches because the fans provoke one-another with their chanting.

But the opening segment here showed why it’s also a real problem.  AEW might have had issues getting Ricky Starks booed anyway – he’s a popular guy.  But he was clearly supposed to be established here as a heel.  That’s the message fans at home were supposed to receive.

Yet he was cheered.  Because he’d cheated a guy many fans don’t like and was confronted by the same dude.  We all know how easily babyfaces trend into heels and vice-versa based on one or two crowd reactions.  There’s a chance that might stick.

And when it begins affecting the guys Punk’s working with – it’s an issue.  And one that wasn’t solved by leaving Canada.

His baiting the crowd about their hockey team didn’t help.  Especially since he had supporters among them.  He’s presented as a ‘controversial’ babyface; that was full-on heel.

Trios titles, champs and challengers

As a nerd curious about this sort of thing, I occasionally check YouTube views to see what’s popular.  And going back months now, almost nothing draws fewer eyeballs than the Acclaimed.

Which of course isn’t the be-all end-all.  Could simply be that the younger viewers who like them are checking them out on more trendy platforms.

But when the card was run down last night, the total lack of reaction to their clash with the House, gold on the line, suggests AEW have messed up a hot act.  Nor does it speak much for the HOB themselves and certainly not for the trios titles.

None of which is surprising.  Miro aside, there aren’t six guys on the roster used-less relative to popularity.  And AEW should scrap the trios titles if they can’t book them properly, since they’ve achieved nothing in almost a year outside of ruining the tag division.

Announcer Credibility & More Less is More

Related to the above, Ian Riccaboni trumpeted the House of Black as having the ‘longest reign’ of any trios champs.  So I ask which is your favourite aspect of this momentous run?

That the belts have existed less than a year?  Or that they never defend them (certainly not against anyone good)?

Could be he’s told to say this.  Either way, it reduces his credibility next time he tries to push something.

Which indeed he did later in the show by announcing that AEW have not one but two(!) ‘dream matches’ next week.  There’ve been WrestleManias & Forbidden Doors that don’t have two dream matches.  But next week’s AEW tv…

If they’re this plentiful, then they’re not really dream matches.


Thanks for reading.  Curious to know what you thought of the show if you fancy banging a comment in?  Cheers.


Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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