The first ever AEW Collision comes to us tonight from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
With a nice-looking card and a ton of intrigue based around a local dude named Phil. What will he say? What will he do? How will the crowd react? Will Kenta be there? All questions that’ll be answered in the next two hours.
I’m psyched for this, especially with the reveal of Kevin Kelly, Nigel McGuinness & JR in the booth. Don’t know McGuinness’ work but Kelly & Taz at last year’s Forbidden Door is the best AEW commentary I’ve ever heard.
Very retro feel to the opening theme with the Elton John tune. Feels more like a video package. Nice looking set, quite industrial, metallic.
Well, right to it, Cult of Personality kicked in, Punk out to a huge pop, the crowd singing along. Shaved head, pair of boots round his neck. Seems that’s the ol’ MJF thumbs down/fart noise combo for my assertion he’d be booed anyway.
He’s also clutching a red draw-string bag with something inside. Muffins maybe?
Crowd respectfully quiet as he began to speak.
‘I’m tired of bein nice’. As long as he’s here, this is the professional wrestling ‘business’, ‘a place for grownups’. ‘I’m tired of bein nice’, he repeated. He really played to the crowd. ‘I love you because you love me’.
Basically said he’s not going to change. Then mentioned some people hate him, ‘the sheer magnitude of me makes people uncomfortable’. Wow, MJF might want to borrow that one.
‘I am the truth, and the truth is painful’. Sparking a ‘F the Elite’ chant. He pointed out signs both for and against him and fans can call him any of it. He’s true to himself in a ‘business full of counterfeit Bucks’ (yeeesh).
Tony’s gotta be sweatin’ right about now.
He asked the fans why he’d change. He’ll always be himself and never compromise. And there are people ‘who think they’re owed an apology’. He said anyone who feels they’re owed an apology, he’s ‘sorry the only people softer than you are the wrestlers you like’.
Daaammmnn. This dude’s getting the S booed out of him everywhere else. Only got louder here though.
He revealed that what he had in the bag was the title he held last summer. Mocking MJF’s claim to have the ‘best’ matches, since he wins his. Saying no-one’s beaten him for that belt, and no-one can fill the boots he has round his neck.
This played really well here. Not sure it’s going to help things in any other city or backstage though. Not that he cares.
Also, he should be kept far away from the title until he proves that he can both stay healthy and that he isn’t going to cause another issue.
Wardlow vs Luchasaurus (TNT Title)
Backstory: Saurus & Christian attacked Wardlow’s ‘mentor’ Arn Anderson Weds. in the latest edition of this feud
The bulls bashed shoulders, nothing doing until Wardlow dropkicked Luchasaurus to the outside. Christian briefly interfered then fled under the ring. As Wardlow flung Saurus back in, Cage grabbed Wardlow’s leg and he was booted off the apron.
Saurus hit shots and chops in the corner then knocked the champ down via lariat.
Wardlow had Luchasaurus on his back and dumped him off as the crowd chanted his name. Then ran through Luchasaurus with lariats and charged him to the corner, driving shoulders to the gut, spinebuster, Wardlow to the top.
Wardlow was distracted again, and crotched. Luchasaurus chokeslammed him off the top.
Then went for another, Wardlow bit his way free, took an elbow strike but came back via lariat, knocking the dinosaur to the mat.
Symphony ready, Cage going crazy outside, trying to distract the big man, grabbing and throwing a chair outside, anything to stop the inevitable. Luchasaurus popped up to snag a chokeslam for a close two count. Wardlow slipped out of a slam to hit a powerslam, just about muscling the dinosaur up, mixed chants as he headed upstairs for a senton bomb.
But he couldn’t capitalize, Cage again distracting then smacking Wardlow with a camera, the ref of course distracted by a dog with a poofy tail. Luchasaurus snatched the pin to claim the gold. Man, this company should be taken to the Hague for what they’ve done to Wardlow and this title.
Huuuuge cheer for Saurus winning too.
Cage immediately grabbed the belt and posed with it. Then did so atop the dinosaur’s shoulders.
That’s more fuel for Jack Perry to turn now that his former friend has a belt before him.
Lexi with Will Hobbs and, of course, QT Marshall. Have to get those big names on the new show. Marshall promised Hobbs would win the Owen Hart tournament. Hobbs said he’s the face of TNT, the next chapter of his story is about redemption, winning that tournament and ‘taking what’s mine’.
Hobbs pointedly looked at QT as he said that line and walked off. QT blamed Lexi for annoying the big man.
I’m very bored of hearing about ‘chapters’ and ‘the Book of Hobbs’. Because nothing ever comes of it.
They re-capped the finish to the TNT title match.
Buddy Matthews vs Andrade El Idolo
Backstory: Andrade’s return after being some mixture of injured/in the doghouse for about a year
As Todd Martin pointed out, fun that this is Rhea Ripley’s man vs Charlotte Flair’s.
Matthews was accompanied by Julia Hart. To not much of a reaction. Andrade got a nice pop. Dasha’s ring announcing of his name was just superb. Kelly made a ‘tranquilo’ reference as he walked the ramp. Nothing? Or a Naito reference? Supposedly none of the AAA affiliates will appear on anything to do with New Japan so likely the former.
Very loud ‘Welcome back’ chants from the audience.
The two circled, stiff lockup, clash of shoulders, neither budged. Headlock, irish whip, ‘nother clash, same result. Andrade shoved Matthews as the pair wrestled in and out of headlock takeovers and legscissors, to another stalemate.
Until this time Andrade smashed through Matthews with a shoulder charge, Matthews flung him at the ropes, Andrade landed between the top and middle to pose. Incensing Matthews who came flying in and was sent outside. Julia went after Andrade’s mask, briefly distracting him before he cartwheeled across the apron into a moonsault to take Matthews down outside.
Matthews turned the tables by flinging the Mexican into the crowd. Andrade came back quickly to hit a hurracanrana from the barricade, landing hard on his shoulder. Before throwing Buddy back inside, count of two.
El Idolo headed upstairs, Matthews cut him off, beginning to target the shoulder, culminating in a meteora for two. Matthews clutching his knee; Andrade his shoulder, as we went to break.
Lightning quick, high-impact stuff so far.
Andrade down at ringside, still suffering with his shoulder as he made it back in with the count at eight. Matthews began booting him in the face, over and over, Andrade rallying with the crowd behind him, dragon screw, another, another, as each went after the other’s weak point.
Then a flying forearm and kip-up very much in keeping with the HBK theme this week. To the top, double moonsault, two-and-a-half. Andrade vividly selling his shoulder; Matthews clutching his knee.
Andrade then sent to the apron and absolutely spiked back inside with a snap draping-ddt. Somehow didn’t get three.
Buddy upstairs, cut off, Andrade hooking him for a superplex, Matthews countering, looking for a powerbomb and slipping, his knee giving way, he hit a thrust kick then went for an avalanche bomb, again the knee buckled, Andrade absolutely smashed him with a knee strike, the crowd roaring, another ready, Matthews met him with a bicycle knee.
Andrade just kicked out. The crowd absolutely frothing – TiA chants.
As Buddy looked for a submission, Andrade sent him to the ropes, Buddy rebounded right into a figure four, dead center, Matthews writhing, Andrade bridging up a la Charlotte to force the tap. Huge response from the crowd for that finish.
This was tremendous. Andrade’s some athlete. McGuinness said a figure eight was better than a four.
Andrade tried to help Matthews up, the latter shoved him away. Just as it looked like he might accept a handshake, the lights went out. When they came back up, the HOB were in the ring, Big Brodie poised behind, they laid Andrade out, Malakai whispered something to him.
The lights went out again and we raced away to the next segment.
It’d be smart if they largely kept the trios on one show and tags on the other so both can be properly featured. Presumably this leads to some LFI/HOB matches? Though the rest of LFI are decidedly heels.
Winner: Andrade El Idolo
Scorpio Sky package, with him clutching a drink as clips of his career played. Nothing much to it. Doesn’t suggest a serious push.
Miro vs Tony Nese
Backstory: Miro’s first match since last summer
Nese, with Smart Mark Sterling, called the crowd fat and etc. He’s going to shut the show down so the crowd can do some ‘group training’. Not so fast…
Looking serious and dressed in black, the Bulgarian paced round the ring, stepped inside to a huge reaction from the fans, and more ‘welcome back’ chants.
As Nese quickly fled to ringside. Ducking and dodging, he tried to cut Miro off as he got back in the ring. And was stomped down in the corner in a way Stone Cold would be proud of.
Then decapitated via lariat.
Before Sheamus-style clubbing blows with Nese on the apron and Miro behind. Nese briefly fought back but was caught coming off the top and fallaway slammed.
About to be Game Over, Sterling hit the apron, Nese hit a couple shots, Miro ignored every one then spiked Nese to the mat.
Matchka kick, ‘GAAAME OVAA!’.
Both the stuff at the start and the match itself probably went twice as long as needed. No doubting Miro’s fan support though. They were pleased to see him back, as was I.
Package pushing the main event. Focusing on Punk’s return from injury. Essentially more of what was shown Wednesday.
Kevin Kelly’s so damn good. Not convinced by McGuinness yet.
Skye Blue & Willow Nightingale vs the Outcasts (Toni Storm & Ruby Soho)
Backstory: The Outcasts attacked Blue Weds. until Willow made the save
Willow was out first to her usual nice pop, Toni’s mock dancing to her theme was fun. Blue got a decent pop, considering it’s her hometown. Her mum was in the crowd again.
Continuing the theme of every ‘good girl’ in the company being dumb as a box of rocks, they were blindsided entering the ring and beaten ‘round ringside. Blue’s mum slapped both heels, allowing the faces to strike, Blue landing a hurracanrana off the apron.
As the bell rang and Willow and Ruby kicked us off. Nightingale hitting her low splash for an early two. Firing a chop and a lariat, another, crowd quieting a little. You’ll be shocked but the Outcasts interfered from outside to take the advantage into the break.
The same two in the ring as we came back, Willow smacked Ruby with a lariat, Blue pacing for the tag, getting it, firing away at Storm, tejeiras, step up knee strike, low enziguri, kick to the head from the apron, to the top, cross body, Ruby stopped the cover at two.
Spinebuster from Willow, Toni took her out then locked the cloverleaf on Blue, who finally got the ropes only to be scooped into Storm Zero but countered out. Tag to Willow, spinning Samoan drop, straps down, gut wrench, ref’s stupid, Outcasts interfered.
Storm hit her hip attack, Soho in, they had Blue beat but wanted to spraypaint her.
Nightingale broke it up, Storm sprayed Soho by mistake, Blue hit Code Blue to win.
Crowd enjoyed the high spots and the finish. Don’t know that it really did anything for any of these women. (I’m only just remembering while editing that Storm’s the champion. Doesn’t begin to feel like it.)
I literally never want to see the Outcasts ever, ever, ever again. Same lowest common denominator garbage every single time they’re out there. Heels are supposed to look stupid themselves, not make everyone else appear so.
Winner: Skye Blue & Willow Nightingale
Ricky Starks declared for the Owen Hart Cup. He said it was an ‘honor and a privilege’ to rep Owen. Another guy who’s slipping through the booking cracks.
Kelly called him ‘one of the biggest stars in the company’. He should be, but keeps being forgotten.
Jeff Jarrett promo package. In case any new fans were taking the company seriously. He’ll face Mark Briscoe in a concession stand brawl. ‘Mark, I’m kickin’ your ass’.
Isn’t that a babyface line?
Tony Schiavone in the ring to introduce the Acclaimed. They ‘stole more hearts than Trump stole documents’ and wanted the crowd to wish Billy a ‘Happy Father’s Day’ in their rap.
AEW now also stands for ‘Acclaimed Every Weekend’ (to be clear, they’ll be on both shows).
Then readied the first ever Collision ‘scissor’. Including Schiavone.
So are these guys going to have a purpose to one of their segments ever again?
CMFTR (CM Punk & FTR) vs Bullet Club Gold (Jay White & Juice Robinson) & Samoa Joe
Backstory: We’ll stick to just the build for the actual match shall we? BCG have promised to spoil Punk’s return & have also been linked with the Gunns whom FTR traded the tag belts with
They should get the Bulls announcer to do the whole D-Rose ‘frooooom Chicago!’ here for Punk. That’d be cool. Maybe even some Alan Parsons Project.
Nice pop for White’s music. Robinson came out with him. JR joined on comms, despite suffering a nasty fall and bad black eye today. His voice sounded very worn as a result.
Great to see Joe back on tv. He got his usual chants. Such a badass. Would’ve liked to hear something about why these three are teaming. Kelly’s best explanation was ‘common enemies’. So he did at least try.
Healthy pop for Punk’s partners. The three did the ‘clobberin time’ thing together as Punk came out to a slightly diminished pop compared to that at the start. Still very loud. The trio had matching ‘CMFTR’ hoodies in Hart Foundation colors.
White and Dax set it off: lockup, White forced to the corner, break. ‘CMFTR’ chants from the crowd as White tried again only to be run through then rolled up for two. Stiff chop from White, more in the corner, Harwood fired back, White wanted a tag but ate a back body drop.
Then a clubbing lariat in the corner, another, and a third as Dax looked for the sharpshooter. White slipped out and bailed outside. Then tagged Juice.
With Dax distracted, Juice struck from behind. Didn’t last long as Dax smacked him with more chops, tag to Cash, who went to work in the corner with yet more chops. Until Juice begged for a break, was trapped in a backslide for two, Cash ran him over but then ran into a bodyslam.
Robinson hit a couple shoulder thrusts but was dragged up into a military press before Cash tagged Dax who tagged Punk. For a two count after Cash hit a slam off the middle rope.
Signalling GTS, Juice slipped free and flew back to his corner, the crowd already chanting ‘Joe!’ then going nuts at him merely stepping through the ropes.
The two locked eyes and yelled across the ring before going right to a lockup, Joe muscling Punk to the corner then smacking him with chops that might’ve made Punk regret coming back.
Punk grabbed a headlock, working it for a good while, repeatedly grounding the bigger man who kept trying to escape.
As the ads arrived.
Juice got two on Dax, wore him down in the middle via headlock before Dax was dropped via a left from Robinson. Joe in with Dax in the wrong corner. Snapping jabs, Dax down in the corner, the crowd cheering Joe as he brought Dax again to the heels’ corner to tag both of BCG in.
They hit a double-team axe handle from the top, Dax finally struck back via German on Juice, the crowd willing the tag, Wheeler in, running through BCG with uppercuts and knee lifts then bagging two via rollup.
Before avoiding Juice in the corner: ten punches, duck under, big powerslam, backbreaker, tag to Punk who came in via middle-rope elbow. Another backbreaker, immediate tag to Cash.
Hard to see Punk having a singles match at Forbidden Door given how little he’s wrestling here.
Cash in a White half-crab, getting the ropes, Robinson in, bodyslam, senton splash, barely two. Waistlock this time, Cash struggling to his feet but planted via belly to back for just about two.
Robinson sent Cash hard to the buckle, Joe back in, more jabs, splash in the corner and turn-around enziguri, Punk broke up the pin, the two went face to face once more. Before White came back in to hurl more chops then chop-block Cash to the mat and bring Juice back in.
Wheeler finally hit a belly to back, both down, the crowd clapping for the tag, White tried to cut it off, Punk in to roll through the BCG with shots and bodyslams, leg lariat, spinning neckbreaker, another, step up knee in the corner to both, bulldog/lariat combo, the crowd rising, GTS signalled.
White raked the eyes to block it, ate a kick to the head, Punk to the top, crotched by Juice, Punk crumpling to the mat, hit with a uranage, kickout at two. Crowd didn’t buy it for a second.
Bladerunner ready, Punk ducked under, big lariat, tag to Dax, who placed White atop the buckle, all three faces tagged, P&G suplex and splash, Punk followed with the elbow, Robinson broke the pin at two.
White got the tag to Joe, Punk down in the middle, Joe fired shots, yay/boo as Punk fired back, White blindsided Punk, FTR brawled BCG to the outside, Punk and Joe alone in the ring.
Punk step-up knee strike, looked for GTS, Joe slipped behind – Kokina Clutch, BCG prevented FTR helping, Punk fading, down on his back, Wheeler freed Dax who freed Punk.
Juice back in to take the pin, and he did, Shatter Machine, GTS, 1, 2, 3.
Between the teasing and how little we saw Punk and Joe, seems that’s one we’ll be coming back to. Should be fun.
The winners posed as the show closed.
Capping off a somewhat eventful but honestly slightly disappointing debut show. The returns were fun and the crowd were loud. But really only Andrade/Buddy was worth going out your way to watch. This main event was disappointingly repetitive – BCG in vs FTR, heat, chops and strikes, wear down/rest hold, hot tag, repeat. Was probably given a bit too much time.
On tv, we barely saw any Joe/Punk.
- The Gunns vs the Hardys
- Orange Cassidy & Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr & Daniel Garcia
- Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Minoru Suzuki vs Action Andretti, Darius Martin & AR Fox
- Kris Statlander vs Taya Valkyrie, TBS Title
- Jeff Jarrett vs Mark Briscoe, Concession Stand Brawl (Crowd barely murmured)
- ‘Blind Eliminator Tournament’ for the tag titles
- Lots of fresh talent – whether returning or debuting – made the show feel new and exciting
- Andrade vs Buddy
- Hot crowd
- Punk’s promo in that the crowd loved it, it was passionate and had some great zingers
- Tons of interference, especially from the Outcasts, continuing to make the ref’s look groan-inducingly dumb
- Strange that nothing was advertised for next Saturday, doesn’t give a ton of confidence that they’re planning things out
- Doesn’t seem like they’re really going to use the extra time to elevate new stars
- Punk’s promo in that it will ensure a continuing divide among fans and backstage
Appreciate you reading. Have a good weekend.