Venue: Chartway Arena, Norfolk, VA
Adam Copeland out to introduce this week’s ‘Cope Open’. Nigel said that sounds like a stop on the PGA Senior Tour. Shane Taylor and Lee Moriarty came out. Taylor sent to a package showing Moriarty competing against a lot of AEW’s big names (they refrained from showing that he lost every single match).
Moriarty took the mic to describe himself as the ‘prizefighter’ of Shane Taylor Promotions and vowed to make Copeland tap out. Copeland said they were talking a lot and better back it up or he’ll beat the hell of them.
Lee Moriarty vs Adam Copeland
Backstory: See above
They began methodically, each targeting the arm, Copeland got a headlock takedown, Moriarty countered into a headscissors, Copeland pushed up off his knees back into the headlock then worked over Moriarty in the corner.
Then sent him outside, tripped him on the apron; Moriarty countered by snapping Copeland’s arm across the top rope, shotgun dropkick, seems that’s the entirety of our ‘heat’ ladies and gents.
Copeland landed a full nelson slam but was feeling his arm after it was apparently worked over during the break. He went for the Impaler, Moriarty went for the arm to block it, Copeland sat back into a cradle for two.
Then went upstairs, Moriarty took him down via avalanche armdrag, Copeland landing on the injured limb. Moriarty got barely two then applied the Border City Stretch. And no-one cared. Copeland eventually got the ropes.
Moriarty stomped the arm then headed up top. Copeland tripped him then hammered the back, avalanche fallaway, Moriarty landing across the ring, Spear coming, but he’s dumb so Shane Taylor talking distracted even a thirty-year vet.
Copeland took out Taylor with a Spear but took a Moriarty lope against the barricade. Moriarty countered back into Border City Stretch and Nigel tried to cover for the fan indifference – ‘They are stunned here!!!’. Copeland tilted his weight to free himself then fought from his knees, ending up in the mount raining rights.
The ref forced a break since it looked like Moriarty was out, he wasn’t. Copeland hit a backbreaker then applied the same crossface as last week – ‘the Grindhouse’ apparently – to win.
If Copeland can beat Garrison and Moriarty, Cage’s days are numbered.
The vet took the mic to address Cage – ‘I’m still comin for your scrawny ass’. That was needed to reiterate that this open challenge isn’t completely pointless. It’s part of a story.
Winner: Adam Copeland
They replayed the House of Black beatdown on FTR and Garcia last week then went to Lexy with the faces. She asked about ‘being on the same page…’
Cash said yes, Dax said he wasn’t sure but they have similar mindsets. Garcia basically said he’s going to move to Collision fulltime to help him ‘grow’. And HOB have hurt people ‘that I love’ for far too long and will get what’s coming to them.
Garcia loves FTR? Since when?
Jericho and Sammy with Lexy. It sounded like mostly cheers. Lexy said Sammy was the only person ever to have won a belt at Battle of the Belts! (So stay tuned guys, nothin’ happenin – next! on TNT.)
Sammy called BotB ‘my event’ and vowed to win the titles. Jericho said they’d take it to the streets. It sounds like they possibly were pumping in sound here cause there was weird background noise that didn’t exist during the Copeland match.
Brian Cage & Gates of Agony vs Lance Archer & the Righteous (ROH Six Man Title)
Backstory: Archer and the Embassy fell out during their match Weds
So no time for Takeshita to get a separate entrance Weds. But the Righteous? Now them AEW have time for. The Embassy came out together.
Cage and Archer started, Cage hit a suplex then a headscissors; Archer hit back with a lariat. Cage’s shoulder is heavily taped, he legit injured it recently. Kaun in, Archer hit a cross body to he and Page then tagged the Righteous guy that isn’t Dutch.
Vincent, per the announcers. Kaun hit a slam, senton, two. Leona in, he crushed Vincent in the corner, nice double team from the Gates, drop toehold into a low splash for two. The Embassy continued walloping Vincent in their corner so guess they’re nominally the heels.
Vincent and Kaun threw rights, Dutch tried a cheap shot, everyone came in to brawl and the crowd made noise for the first time all match.
Apparently this is also for the ROH Titles, could’ve made that clearer.
Kaun was cut off by the Righteous when we returned, he hit a dropkick to Dutch off Vincent’s back, Archer took out both Kaun’s partners then went for a chokeslam. And hit it. Cage returned and hit him with a DVD. Vincent hit a Russian legsweep to Cage but was taken out by Leona, Dutch took him out via Bossman slam and was left standing.
He just about made it over the ropes to land on the opposition. Nana prevented a Blackout and took a right from Jake. Which got the biggest pop of the match and ‘you still got it’ chants because an actual star had done something.
Kaun and Vincent were left in the ring, Leona returned to pounce him into next week. The Gates hit a double team slam, Archer saved the pin but was taken out again by Cage. A weird, slow collision left Dutch and Leona down at ringside. Vincent got two via jackknife pin, Kaun hit a pedigree to win.
Went faaar too long.
Nana took the mic to say we were looking at the greatest ROH six-man champs of all time. He said he and Swerve had seen Bullet Club Gold complain about a lack of gold and ‘specifically’ the ROH six-man belts (they did???). But their boss couldn’t beat his boss in the Continental Classic.
He challenged BCG for Wednesday. Oh joy, ROH on Dynamite now too. Nana was ‘WHAT!’d throughout here.
Winner: Mogul Embassy
Lexy with Preston Vance. Roderick Strong and the Kingdom interrupted with Strong’s usually shouting. Vance said he’d kick his ass too after he beat Cassidy.
Not a thing Vance says sounds convincing.
Dustin Rhodes vs Willie Mack
Dude I just hope all these fans got their tickets cheap because they’re being given cheap content.
So the last match was all-heel, this is all-babyface, so they shook before Dustin took an armdrag and returned one of his own. Dustin hit his drop-down uppercut early with a rollup for two. They shook again, Dustin used it to snag a headlock. Break in the corner. Mack hit a nice leaping kick as Rhodes came off the ropes then a standing moonsault for just about two.
The fans aren’t counting along with any pinfalls tonight.
Mack hit a thrust kick then headed upstairs, thinking six-star frogsplash, fans did come alive a bit but he missed. Rhodes hit a destroyer to another pop, snap powerslam, two again. Mack enziguri in the corner, Dustin got a boot up, slipped behind, crossrhodes, another – elevated – out of a suplex, for the win.
At least they’re starting to do some shorter squashes. Dustin helped Mack up then hugged him and beckoned the crowd to cheer.
Winner: Dustin Rhodes
BCG backstage, they sarcastically clapped the Embassy. The Gunns made fun of Cage and Nana. White said they’d got too comfortable here while BCG were on Dynamite. White said after the match they’d be going home ‘sad and lonely’.
They did the ‘Gunns Up’ thing and the crowd chanted along with it. Didn’t realize it was that over.
Not much of a promo. If this is actually going to be a feud and it doesn’t involve Swerve, they are yet again defining down. In this case, Jay White.
They showed Hook arriving. Then hyped Hangman being ‘next’. They are at least making an effort tonight to make it seem like there are stars on the show.
Renee with Dustin. Christian Cage interrupted. He told Rhodes that if you’re a friend of Copeland’s, ‘you’re an enemy of mine’. And he should pass that around the locker room. Rhodes fired up and challenged him for the TNT Title Wednesday.
Cage made a ‘dead dad’ joke cause yeah. Rhodes said ‘talk is cheap’ and vowed to tap dance all over Cage’s ass. He left, Cage giggled.
Guessing they’re not too happy with the ratings since they’re just cramming title matches onto tv. Hopefully they’ll stop doing that, if, and when, they sign a new tv deal.
Hangman Page vs JD Drake
So as best I’m aware this is also Hangman’s show debut? Outside of that weird promo ‘outside the hospital’ that sparked so much controversy.
Obviously speaking for myself but this is the first thing I’m remotely interested in so far.
Stiff lockup, grappling around the ring till a corner break. Drake pie-faced the Cowboy who roared out of the corner with rights, Drake to his knees. Drake took down Page with a shoulder as the announcers said Hook had demanded to wrestle tonight. Page came back with a dropkick, headlock takeover, there’s a ‘snap’ to this match that hasn’t existed prior.
Drake took him down with a big chop, another in the corner, Page returned fire – chops, big right, ten in the corner – cut-off at four as Drake thought powerbomb, Page continued firing back into the corner where he kicked Drake free then launched via moonsault which just about hit. Running shooting star for two.
Drake bailed outside. Crowd thoroughly behind Page.
He missed a vaulting press, Drake flung him against the outside ropes then smashed him down via lariat.
Page down in the ring after being blasted by an Anthony Henry kick during the break. Page fought back: rolling rights, Drake bridged to the apron, springboard lariat, this time the vaulting press landed, cross body from the top back inside, near fall.
They went face-to-face, Page hit a pair of big rights, Drake stayed on his feet and blistered Page with a chop. The latter was sent outside, skinned the cat back in, ducked a lariat, hit one of his own, DVD to the big man. For another near fall.
‘Cowboy shit’ from the crowd. They’re into this like nothing else so far.
Drake fought off a Deadeye, Page blocked a piledriver, elevating Drake via body drop, Drake hit back via overhead belly to belly then crushed Page in the corner via cannonball. But just missed with a moonsault, Page ready with the Buckshot, even having time to moonsault down onto Henry before returning in time to nail Drake. For the popular win.
This was really good. Just had a different energy since Page is so fast, intense and athletic. Helped by the crowd actually caring about the match.
This is how you book to get someone over. It went a little longer than your average squash but Page dominated 95% of it and won cleanly after fighting off two guys, in front of a crowd delighted to see him do so.
Winner: Hangman Page
Deonna Purazzo vs Red Velvet
Backstory: Purazzo’s AEW debut; Velvet’s Collision debut
Deonna has a nice entrance and presence. Music sounds a little heelish.
Purazzo began working the arm, Velvet hit back via armdrag, both tried one at the same time, Deonna tried an armbar, Velvet slipped free, tried a thrust kick, Purazzo got her arms up to block and wagged her finger.
Velvet dropped down then popped up to hit a nice leg lariat for one, crowd are as silent as silent gets here which is a shame because this has started really nicely. Velvet tried a tope rope armdrag, Deonna held on through looking for the armbar again, Velvet was near the ropes and hurried outside to break it.
Deonna followed via low dropkick, a small section of the crowd are chanting loudly for Velvet and it stands out cause it’s so quiet. Then tried a suplex inside but settled for a flatliner after Velvet blocked it, down into a koji clutch, into a pin, for one.
Velvet snapped Deonna against the ropes then targeted the arm and launched shots from the mount. The announcers (sans Kelly) ignored all this to make jokes about Toni Storm and Deonna’s name. Schiavone became unable to say Purazzo’s surname afterwards.
Velvet continued the arm assault until Purazzo reversed a whip but immediately took a Japanese armdrag out of the corner, Velvet right back on top. She worked Purazzo’s arm against the ropes then fired body shots in the corner.
Snapmare out into a chinlock, now torquing the arm back, Deonna to her feet, big chops with the good arm, pump kick, Velvet hit back via thrust, a second Purazzo pumpkick, knee to the face, Russian legsweep, flipping over into the armbar, dead center, Velvet got two by rolling her weight back, Deonna now hooked both arms behind the back in a brutal looking hold that Velvet sold brilliantly, immediately tapping.
Enjoyed this. Unlike most AEW women’s clashes there was a story and nothing to violate disbelief. It felt like a wrestling match.
Deonna needs more wins though if she’s to feel ready for Storm, the audience here clearly weren’t familiar with her.
Winner: Deonna Purazzo
Hook vs Kevin Matthews
Backstory: Hook showed up and demanded a match
They projected Hook’s logo onto the ceiling again and pushed his title match Wednesday.
Matthews charged him in the corner, Hook avoided, German out, armdrag into an overhead throw, Matthews bailed outside and took another suplex on the ramp. Crowd solidly behind Hook here, might be the most popular guy on the show.
Crossface shots into Redrum, 29-1.
So this was good booking. You make the guy competing for the title seem like a star, seem like a fighting challenger and get a win on tv right before his title shot.
My quibble is with the planning. Why would you not have hyped Hook on Wednesday as having vowed to show up on Collision? The answer is likely because they hadn’t booked the show yet. Not great.
FTR & Daniel Garcia vs House of Black
Backstory: The faces were beaten down by the HOB after beating them last week
Matt Menard joined on comms. He’s pretty good tbf. Told a story explaining Garcia/FTR’s background – Garcia saw an FTR match live and it made him decide to become a wrestler.
Crowd were barking for Brody as Dax and Buddy got us going. Stiff lockup, break in the corner, Matthews speeding up now, chops and whips, Dax hit back, head to the buckle, suplex out, legdrop, Matthews kicked out before one.
Cash in, FTR double-team catapulted Matthews’ throat into the bottom rope, big Cash uppercut, Garcia in with a chop, Matthews got a boot up, Malakai tagged himself in.
Lockup, headlock, Garcia whipped him off, Malakai armdrag, a second as Garcia got back up, the youngster to his feet, maneuvering round into an armdrag of his own, Malakai came up swinging via roundhouse, Garcia ducked and sat down in Malakai’s pose.
Malakai ‘danced’ (he did the bare minimum, as he should) then flipped off Garcia. Who took the bait, going for a single-leg and taking a kick to the face, he ole’d Malakai outside, the House came in, FTR evened the odds, the faces tripled-up on Brody and sent him outside via lariat. Black and Buddy tried to re-enter simultaneously, the faces dropped down into Malakai’s pose, the heels retreated and regrouped outside.
Garcia sent Buddy back out via hiptoss, Matthews flew back in trying to block the tag, Brody and Cash in, Cash not able to budge the big man but knocking the other HOB off the apron. Tag to Dax mid-leapfrog, FTR finally took him down via high/low, Dax got two.
Dax firing away, Brody shaking it all off, Dax ducking a boot but caught into a chokebomb for two. Dax took a Bret buckle then was worked over in the heels’ corner, Malakai in, snapmare, kneedrop, using the ropes for a choke, Buddy took a cheap shot, Black headlock takeover, maintaining it for a long time on the mat, Dax got an elbow up in the corner, Dax missed a top rope headbutt, landing hard on his knees.
Matthews in, Dax uppercutted outside, Brody tagging and following, Dax to the barricade, beaten around ringside, finally back in, tag to Malakai, snap suplex for two. Dax still trapped in the HOB corner.
Dax fighting out of the corner, tag cut off by Buddy, he and Malakai hit a double team elevated knee strike for a near fall. Dax faked Matthews out, DDT, both down in the middle, Dax still out of it but finally making the tag through Malakai’s legs.
Garcia in, knocking Brody off the apron, wailing away on Black, fighting off Buddy too with chops, wrist-capture knee strike, Malakai sent outside, Buddy too, Brody rolled back in and clubbed away, going for his choke from the apron, Garcia fought free, blocked a Malakai blindside into a dragon screw against the ropes, Cash then tope’d onto all three before sending Malakai back in to a Garcia brainbuster for two.
Nice flurry, they’re trying hard to get Garcia over, he took out the House pretty much single-handed.
Malakai got two after a distraction, Garcia ducked a roundhouse, Brody back in, thinking Gonzo Bomb, Garcia countered into a guillotine choke but was elevated over. FTR in, double piledriver setup, Garcia climbed the ropes for the spike but stopped to dance first. It was more like a suplex in execution, very safe.
Cash caught a returning Buddy via powerslam after he’d taken out Dax via meteora but took a Malakai knee, Black hit Garcia with a round kick, all six down, fans up. TiA.
The House setup simultaneous superplexes, Cash fought off Buddy and helped Dax vs Brody, Malakai onto Garcia’s shoulders, Dax hit a Rick Steiner bulldog off, for two. Powerplex coming, Matthews shoved Cash off, Garcia fought him off then took Cash’s place and took Malakai’s knees as the Dutchman blocked a weak-looking splash.
Then caught Dax into a kneebar, he got the ropes after struggling as Brody took out the other faces with splashes against the barricade. Matthews tagged himself in, Malakai took out Garcia outside via moonsault, Buddy and Dax left standing, Matthews tried a sunset flip from the top, rolling through into a powerbomb, count of two, he raised Dax up into a second, Dax slipped into a cradle for two of his own, backslide for the same, piledriver, Harwood too tired to hook the leg, Buddy out at two.
The House all returned, Dax alone, Brody took the ref (no idea why, there’ve been no rules all match), Malakai hit The End, Buddy the Stomp, for the win.
This was really good, especially toward the end – chaotic, big moves, crowd into it. It was probably even better than I’m making it seem here. Because I’m so totally out on Garcia, the House and this story that I just didn’t care who won so wasn’t invested.
The House were about to work over Menard when Cash and Garcia returned with chairs. Brody took a triple-team Shatter Machine. So essentially, the winners have been beaten down by the losers both weeks. I hope they’re going for parity as part of the story rather than this being the dreaded 50/50 booking.
Winner: House of Black
- Hook vs Samoa Joe (AEW Title)
- Bullet Club Gold vs Mogul Embassy (ROH Six-Man Titles)
- Christian Cage vs Dustin Rhodes (TNT Title)
- Young Bucks promo
- Hangman vs Drake
- Purazzo vs Velvet
- The show at least had more star power than last week, or felt like it
- Main event
- They have to do something to differentiate this show, because atm it’s ‘less than’ rather than ‘different to’ Dynamite – they are merely trying to fill tv time and it shows
- And maybe hand the booking to someone else to help with both differentiation and forward planning
- Because there was one thing advertised ahead of time and it was nothing special
- And not a single thing for next week
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.