Venue:Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, MO
AEW now have their formula for improving ratings: have two wrestlers who don’t lose often face off. And build it a little. Also, it seems the younger audience prefer watching younger wrestlers.
Schiavone was back with the usual crew after missing Wednesday. And so was Mox…
Jon Moxley vs Shane Taylor
And we were treated to an instant faux pas as Kevin Kelly couldn’t be heard. Also the ringside barricade and ring apron were video screens. It’s new to me…
You won’t be shocked to know this started with a fight: rights swinging, kicks kicking, crowd chanting for Mox. Taylor knocked Mox on his ass with a big shot, ref checking on him, the big man attacking anyway, continuing to wail away until smashing Mox with a lariat, whip to the corner, splash missing, Mox thinking piledriver but elevated over and rolling outside.
Taylor hip-checked him off the apron then continued the assault. Lee Moriarty ringside btw. Mox reversed a whip sending Taylor to the steps, Moriarty pulled Mox off the apron as the ref was gently caressing Taylor on route to asking for a date.
Taylor scooped Mox up into a side slam as he returned. For two. Taylor grabbed a hold, this offense has been going on more than long enough now. But isn’t over, he countered a slam into a splash for two.
But missed a splash from upstairs, back back up to rights in the middle, Mox had his boot caught and was shoved backwards but hit back with a cutter out of nowhere.
Second wind, lariat in the corner, ten punches too, bite for good luck but caught into a belly to back after Taylor ducked a lariat. Mox hit back with one of his own, Taylor avoided a Death Rider, each looked for lariats, ducking and dodging until Taylor smashed Moxley to the mat.
Taylor up with knee strikes, choke bomb, Moxley hooked him into a triangle, dead center, Taylor trying to scramble to his feet to break it, Mox clinging on until finally being hauled up – maybe, kinda – Taylor dropped him into something like a powerbomb, Moxley hit back with H&A, running knee strike, another, Taylor out at two. That wasn’t the smoothest either.
Yay/boo shots, Mox ducking behind, choke applied, dragging Taylor down, into the Bulldog, Taylor passed out. Can we save that for when it matters maybe? Moriarty gave Taylor a strange look.
These ‘give the loser a lot’ extended squashes are beyond played out. But seem to form the backbone of this show. There were good sequences but Taylor was on offense too long to hold my interest.
Winner: Jon Moxley
Moxley grabbed a mic as the other two left, crowd hot for the former champ. He said he’s ‘pissed off beyond belief’ and ‘hungry beyond belief’. He’s not taking any crap in 2024 and anyone who wants to face him or even any of his teammates only have to do one thing -‘keep the hell up!’.
Delivered well but generic. Another regular facet of Collision programming. Can we please get some feuds? Even just televised ones.
They played highlights from Joe/Hook from Weds but otherwise didn’t follow up, no comments or anything. The announcers did talk it up a bit.
Adam Copeland came out and they played clips of his last two wins, highlighting his new Grindhouse finish.
Dante Martin vs Adam Copeland
Backstory: Cope Open
I really don’t want to be negative here but Dante is the definition of ‘always goes close; never wins’. We’ve seen it so many times.
And we started with wrestling: Copeland working a headlock, hitting a shoulder charge; leapfrog and armdrag from Dante, a second, Copeland stopped short to prevent a third but had his leg swept by the youngster. Nice sequence.
After grappling to the corner, Copeland headed upstairs, Dante hit a gamengiri, Copeland blocked a rana but missed a spear from the top, Dante hit a splash and bagged two.
Then was sent to the buckle from the apron and crumpled down to ringside, Copeland aggressive so far.
Back to Copeland working a headlock once more. Dante fighting out with elbows but dropped with a big shot, right back to the headlock. Copeland focusing on an ‘injury’ picked up when Dante hit the buckle pre-break.
The youngster hit back with an enziguri, both struggling to their feet, Dante hit a knee from the apron, Copeland swiped the legs to block a Dante springboard then went for a powerbomb off the apron. Dante fought it off and hit a rana from the apron to the floor. Then headed back inside to build up steam for a tope.
Before sending Copeland back in, springboard cross body for two.
Copeland countered a full nelson slam into an Impaler and was up first as the crowd chanted lightly for him. Dante clambered up in the opposite corner, Spear coming, Dante flipped over the top to avoid it, Copeland hit the buckle, Dante hit a springboard moonsault press – basically a Nose Dive but with less oomph than usual, Copeland got the ropes.
But stayed down playing possum, cutting the youngster off atop the buckle, Dante hit back to land a sunset bomb from the top for a near fall. It was made as safe as possible but that’s a big bump on Copeland’s injured neck.
Light TiA from the crowd which Nigel translated as ‘Christian’s awesome’.
Dante to the apron, springboard, lost his footing (as was planned) and was Speared out of the air into the Grindhouse, immediately tapping.
If Copeland’s had a better match in AEW I can’t recall it. This was really good.
Winner: Adam Copeland
Schiavone headed to the ring to talk to the vet. Copeland put Dante over and said the crowd should too, which they did. And emphasized all the young hungry guys stepping up to answer his challenge. Then vowed to keep coming out and working hard (he repeated this several times) then contrasted it with Cage’s promise to work hard when he first arrived in AEW.
He’ll keep working to get the TNT Title and bring it back to TNT ‘for these people so they can see their championship, our championship’.
He had the fans absolutely eating out the palm of his hand here. Nice babyface promo and beating Dante is certainly a step up from his previous opponents.
Lexy with Claudio and Danielson, she mentioned Kingston beat both of them in the tournament. Danielson said losing to Kingston was the low point of his career and the highlight of Kingston’s. But being great means being great year after year after year like he and Claudio.
Claudio asked if they could stop talking about Eddie and warned Ortiz he’d be ‘a casualty’.
Dick Bryan Danielson is always fun.
Backstage with Top Flight and Action Andretti, Lexy was smiling and taking about Top flight ‘being on a roll’. Is that a fucking joke?
Private Party came in all cocky, Andretti called them out for cheating, Quen said he lost his balance. Darius challenged them to face off again, they accepted, PP stayed behind, messing about with Lexy who laughed and giggled as if they were fun guys (I like Lexy btw, she’s good, just wasn’t here).
A now-regular dose of confusing characterization.
Thunder Rosa vs Queen Aminata
Rosa took the newcomer to the mat, Aminata countered the hold and rubbed her butt in Rosa’s face so was taken down aggressively, the pair wrestling for control on the mat.
To their feet, standing switches, Rosa got a headlock and flipped behind into a cradle for two. They rolled back and forth into pinfalls for two until Rosa was snatched into a backbreaker.
She really sold this as the announcers talked about her back injury.
Aminata stepped on the back then hit a springboard knee drop to the front. Rosa hit back via tejeiras then a dropkick through the ropes to bring the break.
Slow and coordinated-looking so far.
Back to an exchange of stiff strikes to the chest, Aminata snapmare, kick to the spine, question mark kick, Rosa down in the corner, Aminata hit a hip attack (overdone in the division), Rosa avoided a second, back elbows and chops in the corner, running lariat up into an elevated knee drop using the ropes, running dropkick with Aminata against the ropes, bridging northern lights for two.
Back to throwing rights, Aminata hit headbutts and an air raid crash for two. Pump kick to follow, Rosa struck back, she feigned smoking a joint and yelled ‘Bucks!’ then hit the Tijuana Bomb to win.
Fine, nothing more. Crowd quiet. Rosa’s new theme is good.
Winner: Thunder Rosa
Lexy with Ortiz and Kingston. She said it was a while since they teamed up. Ortiz said they fell out but made up because they’re family, something the BCC are not. Kingston did his usual I’m busy before my match and don’t want to do a promo stuff then left. It seemed a little dickish.
Ortiz said Kingston does his best talking in the ring.
Not the most effective promo for building the main event.
Bullet Club Gold came out with their killer new theme. Those drums are nice.
Colten ripped off the Rock – ‘Finally…’. White asked if he’d come up with that himself then played to the crowd. But said ‘something’s missing still’. The crowd yelled ‘Juiiiiiice’. Austin went and grabbed a cardboard cutout from beneath the ring. Robinson has a back injury btw.
They were about to do ‘Gunns up!’ when the Acclaimed came out. Billy took the mic and made fun of White since he’s the only one in the trio who can talk right? Bowens again appealed to them to join forces. He too played to the crowd and said the people want to see Billy with singles gold.
Please. God. No.
And want to see them with tag belts. And want to see Jay as the world champ. The crowd cheered all these things. And started a spontaneous ‘Bang Bang Scissor Gang’ chant. Bowens said BCG owed an answer to them and the fans.
They offered a scissor, the crowd chanted for BCG to repricocate. BCG huddled. Then scissored. For the first time ever I’m begging for a swerve. Please extricate Jay White from this ridiculousness.
Toni Storm after Dynamite. Mariah was ranting about what Deonna did, Toni calmed her. Then admitted remembering Purazzo from their time in Japan and being envious of her technical ability. But said she’d ‘meet… greet… complete… then beat… then eat (she ‘bit’ the air)’ Deonna.
Before leaving for a ‘pork dinner’. I assume that’s a double entendre since nearly everything Storm says is.
This was more akin to the 1/10 Dynamite, her character fit within the story and built the match rather than dominating it. Entertaining stuff.
Buddy Matthews vs Daniel Garcia
Backstory: FTR & Garcia are feuding with House of Black
Matt Menard joined on comms. That guy has a future in the booth.
Garcia came out and was staring at the whole of HOB when FTR came to even the odds. This crowd seems larger than the average for Collision and it’s making a difference. They’re enthusiastic too, loudly chanting ‘FTR!’.
Cagey start, Matthews slammed Garcia down face first then shoved him on his ass, beckoning Garcia get up for more. The dominance continued via shoulder tackle, a second, Garcia dropped down but got up right into another shoulder. Headlock takeover, up to their feet quickly, a fourth shoulder block sent a frustrated Garcia outside.
FTR gave him a pep talk – telling him he’s not stronger but he’s ‘better’. He should outwrestle him.
Garcia didn’t listen, trying shoulder charges, the third of which finally knocked Matthews out through the ropes. The House joined him on the apron, FTR did the same on the opposite side. Tensions high in this very serious feud which’d played out in a very competitive start. Until…
‘Stay with us he’s gonna dance!’ yelled Schiavone as Garcia got into his pose and we went to break.
Don’t know what to say.
Back to the pair battling on the apron, Matthews seeking a piledriver, Garcia targeted the knee which’d apparently been injured during the break (that’s twice now they’ve done the ‘heat’ off camera), allowing the youngster to hit a piledriver of his own, both crashed to ringside.
Garcia looked like he was pretending to swim as he tried to get up, both got back in at the count of nine. Would you believe it!?
Matthews fired kicks but sold his knee each time he did. Garcia hit a headbutt, ducked a swing, snapping jabs, rights and lefts to the corner, stomps to follow, now targeting the knee as he whacked it against the post before continuing the Bret Hart homage via figure four. As Nigel emphasized.
Garcia clipped the knee as Buddy came back in, transitioning into the Dragon Tamer, wrenching right back and paying for it as Matthews slammed his head against the mat to break it. Matthews was bleeding from the nose now and hit back with stiff knees up into a deadlift jackhammer for two. Beautifully done. Kelly really put him over.
TiA from the crowd. It’s damn good.
Garcia avoided the Curb Stomp then danced (Smash his fucking face Buddy, end him).
Knee strike, Garcia countered a powerbomb to win the only way an underdog ever does in AEW, with a pinning combo, in this case jackknifing the legs. All six flew in to brawl, refs and lower card sent to break it up.
Outside of the stupid dancing, this has felt very real and heated. Helped by the crowd. The dancing is just baffling, the crowd likes Garcia well enough without it.
We just went to break out of nowhere as they were still brawling/being separated.
Winner: Daniel Garcia
Returning to Lexy with FTR and Garcia. Dax said it’s time to end things and that should be next week. In an elimination cage match. That sounds fun. With FTR it might not get ridiculously bloody either.
Roderick Strong vs Matt Sydal
We finally found it! The match between the most boring people in wrestling. The ostensible top heel group in the company saw Strong accompanied by fellow lower-card comedy act the Kingdom.
Lockup and mat wrestling, Strong getting the better into a bow and arrow, Sydal quickly slipped out to his feet and we started again. More slick wrestling followed, neither getting an advantage. Until a Strong shoulder block, though Sydal immediately hit back with tejeiras’ and spin kicks which sent Strong outside.
Sydal hit another headscissors, more kicks to the legs, rana, Storm struggling, pair of leaping kicks from Sydal, very nice spinning heel kick rebounding off the ropes, meteora, Sydal sold his knee before bagging a two count.
‘Breaking news,’ Tony Khan’s made that six-man.
Sydal got another two via cradle and another via air raid crash. Out of nowhere, Strong hit a big knee strike then End of Heartache. That was almost the definition of a guy taking 90% of the match then losing. Just absolutely baffling when the new heel group is so desperately in need of credibility. It’s such poor booking.
Winner: Roderick Strong
Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli vs Eddie Kingston & Ortiz
Ortiz is here to take the pin y’all. Otherwise we’d have seen him on something other than Rampage since August.
Crowd chanted for Kingston as he and Danielson stared across the ring. Danielson posed atop the buckle to cheers then beckoned Eddie do the same. He did and there was a mixed reaction actually. Back into loud ‘Eddie’ chants though.
Stalling done – maybe not, Danielson posed again in the corner. Nigel is hammering him on comms. Kingston posed again and we finally got to it – lockup, Danielson cravate, takeover, kick to the spine, Kingston down, BD doing star jumps. He’s wrestling sans mask now btw.
Danielson goaded Kingston in then threw kicks, yelling and mocking as he did, he’s such a great prick. He again climbed the buckle to work the crowd, getting more boos now, crowd chanting again for Kingston. Kingston hit back via snapmare into a kick to the spine, chops to the back and front, tag to Ortiz, double suplex, Danielson out at one.
He rushed Ortiz to the BCC corner and tagged the Swiss who flung uppercuts, leaving Ortiz down, then worked him over in the ropes. Tag back out, Ortiz ducked a double sledge, hit a double dropkick, rights for both until a Claudio knee to the gut, the BCC hit running attacks in the corner before Claudio hit snake eyes back into the BCC corner.
Danielson continued working the crowd. He’s having him some fun out there working an easy tag with more ‘sizzle’ than steak so far. As JR might say.
Ortiz still being worked over by Claudio, crowd again chanting for Kingston, Ortiz dived for the tag but caught into the swing, a ton of effortless reps before dumping him back down in the heels’ corner. Danielson back in, talking smack before aiming yes! kicks with Ortiz on his knees. Ortiz tried to fire up but kept being kicked down.
(Rankings are Returning!!!Schiavone with another Tony Khan announcement – rankings are returning – he made a big deal of this. As long as they do that well, its great news, badly needed since there are so many title shots just doled out to anyone, helps differentiate them from WWE and leans toward the promised ‘sportslike approach’ into 2024.)
Ortiz finally got the tag, Kingston straps down before entering, crowd hot, he and Claudio teeing off – chops vs uppercuts, now into big boots vs forearms, Kingston firing chops back to the corner, Claudio caught him in the face which drew an ‘oooh’ from the crowd before Kingston tee’d off with machine guns in the corner, several clips worth before bagging two as Claudio collapsed.
Claudio hit back via shortarm clothesline, back on top as he sought and hit a chokeslam, tag to Danielson who came in off the top via diving headbutt for two. Claudio hooked Ortiz off the apron and dumped him against the barricade, Kingston worked over now two-on-one, fighting back with chops, Aubrey not exactly keen to enforce the count as Nigel kept pointing out.
Kingston landed a DDT to Danielson as Claudio finally exited, Ortiz back on the apron to take the tag. He hit a double team dropkick into a Kingston suplex on Danielson, Kingston hit an enziguri which barely caught Claudio before a double lariat sent the Swiss outside. Both faces hit dives to the heels on either side, Ortiz got two flinging Danielson back inside.
They ran through the Dynamite card while Ortiz avoided submitting to the LeBell, Danielson stomping away now, Claudio and Eddie outside. Claudio held Kingston on the apron to watch the match-winning Busaiku Knee.
That was a nice touch, angles don’t need to be complicated. And finishes a good show in terms of more serious angles without any silly stuff. Danielson spat in Kingston’s face as he checked on Ortiz.
Match got better as it went and the way Danielson worked the crowd was just brilliant. It helped that they were willing participants but he subtly made it clear how over Kingston was. A pro. Breaking news I know.
Winner: Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli
- Penta vs Hangman (Good god yes!)
- Jeff Hardy VS Swerve Strickland
- Wardlow VS Trent
- Toni & Deonna face-to-face
- Acclaimed vs Mogul Embassy (Trios Titles)
- Minoru Suzuki vs Adam Copeland (You read that right)
- Darby and Sting promo
- FTR & Daniel Garcia vs House of Black (Elimination Cage Match)
- Making the BCC Collision-exclusive is a smart way to add some stars and make the shows seem at least a little different (if indeed that’s what tonight portends)
- Copeland vs Dante
- Matthews vs Garcia and the subsequent angle which focused on competition and forgot the gobbledygook – it felt heated for the first time in the feud
- Sidebar just to add that Buddy’s awesome, more of him please
- Main event was pretty good, built nicely after the break and they worked the crowd masterfully
- There were some stars and angles to go with the good wrestling
- Add to that a full Dynamite card featuring the two title contenders wrestling and this actually felt newsworthy and worth watching, a big step in the right direction which felt more serious to go along with the reinstatement of the rankings system
- If you like wrestlers dominating matches in valiant efforts before losing…
- Hooking Jay White up with such a bunch of comedy wrestlers: they’ve done a terrible, terrible job with the Kiwi since arriving, he might have been hurt more than anyone sans Starks by Punk leaving
- On the subject, where the hell are the tag champs? If Sting is going to win the things in six weeks, they should probably be at least a little important
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.