AEW Collision tonight comes to us from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. After last week drawing 816,000 & 0.33 in the 18-49 demo.
Straight to a pre-done promo with the main event babyfaces and heels going back and forth. Before the show had even officially started. Certainly makes it feel different. And they even had Tanahashi in the opening video so perhaps they’ll just add people each week depending on who’s appearing?
Kevin Kelly introduced the show then sent things to Tony Schiavone in the ring. To bring out Darby Allin and St… Chris Jericho’s music kicked in to interrupt. Alongside Minoru Suzuki. As the crowd loudly sang him to the ring.
And they recapped what happened between these five Wednesday. With a focus on Sammy’s reaction to Jericho and Suzuki posing together.
The Ocho told Schiavone to shut up and heeled on the crowd. Which looked about half-full at best but was enthusiastic.
Emphasizing he was not from Toronto, he and Suzuki are sick of waiting to hear who’ll be teaming with Sting and Darby.
Before admitting Sammy isn’t there since he’s ‘miffed’ about Jericho and Suzuki getting close – the pair performing an elaborate handshake routine like NBA players before a game. Though putting Sammy over as a top-class flyer.
They know that Schiavone knows who the partner is and began to threaten him until Sting’s music made the save. He and Darby joined the heels in the ring. Loud ‘whoos’ and chants of ‘Holy S’ as all four came face-to-face.
Darby first addressed Sammy at home, looking into the camera to suggest Sammy leave Jericho but if he shows up tomorrow ‘I’m gonna kick your ass, just like our tag partner kicked your (Jericho’s) ass, at the Tokyo Dome…’
Sparking loud ‘Naito’ chants in Toronto before his music hit. Suzuki laughed; Jericho looked flummoxed. As Naito emerged to a huge pop. Clad completely in white, a bit like a mafia don with a coat hanging loosely from his shoulders.
Kevin Kelly’s superb.
Naito went right to Jericho, the pair smack-talking, Jericho quickly left the ring to boos. Naito holding the ropes trying to beckon him back in as his music played once more.
Seems this might be a trend, Collision opening with a promo segment/angle rather than a match.
They went to a recap of Miro’s return and win last week. Then went to a video promo.
God – ‘that coward’ – promised Miro he’d be His champion once again, all he had to do is ‘praise Him’. But ‘the Redeemer kneels before no man or god. I must walk alone. I renounce my god, my gold, my beautiful wife, because I am Miro, and I am godless’.
AEW have a nasty habit of generic promos like this because there’s no plan. Think Book of Hobbs. Is that the case here? Or will this actually go somewhere? Miro’s too popular to waste.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Swerve Strickland
Presumably they added this to sell some tickets for those already in town to see the NJPW stars.
Tanahashi out to a big response from the crowd. Kevin Kelly put him over as being able to join Omega tomorrow as the only guy to hold both the AEW and IWGP titles. He and McGuinness did an excellent job explaining why Tanahashi’s important.
And there were loud ‘Ta-na-hashi’ chants before the bell even rang.
Lockup, Tanahashi backed to the corner, rope break, lockup once more, into a headlock, Swerve again backed him to the corner, whipped him across, Tana got an elbow up, cross body, air guitar, big cheer.
To their feet, Tanahashi threw Swerve said ‘guitar’, then dropkicked him in the knee. But missed a charge in the corner, Swerve hit his handspring headscissors, sending Tanahashi outside and spoofing the air guitar to boos.
Then crotched the vet as he re-entered, smacking him with a knee and choking him as Aubrey audibly told him to stop.
‘Let’s go Ace’.
Corner once more, stiff uppercuts from the youngster to chants of Swerve’s House; Tanahashi skinned the cat to headscissors Strickland outside, then launched a basement dropkick but was caught by Swerve in the ring apron as we went to break.
Fun start with the crowd very into it.
More ‘Go Ace’ chants as he brawled with Strickland, both grabbed the hair, Swerve went back to it, Tana hit a leaping forearm, more shots to the face and body, bodyslam, to the middle rope, somersault senton, count of two from the first pin of the match.
The vet beckoning the crowd into the match, being struck via rolling flatliner, two only.
Strickland grabbed a hold, the crowd clapping Tanahashi to his feet, he rolled through into a cradle for two (bit sloppy, the crowd forgave him), inside cradle for nearly three, dragon screw, slingblade, another close call. As Kelly talked about the vet looking for momentum ahead of tomorrow’s big title match.
Tana to the top, Swerve down, High Fly Flow, Strickland got his knees up to bag two. Then retreated to the corner, beckoning Tana up, kick to the knee, heelkick to the face, Swerve to the top, Stomp missed, he sold the knee, hit with a slingblade, Tana upstairs once more, crowd beckoning as he slipped and almost fell.
Strickland joined him upstairs, Tanahashi fought him off, regained his balance, High Fly Flow, 1, 2, 3. Very quick thinking from Strickland to mitigate that brief mistake.
As the vet was celebrating, his music playing, MJF’s interrupted. Though he only appeared on the screen, since Tanahashi wasn’t worth him appearing in-person. Before promising to embarrass Tanahashi. And Tony Khan’s promised him they’ll be on first tomorrow since Max doesn’t want to spend any more time in Canada than he has to. Or watch the rest of the card with all the New Japan guys on it.
‘With all due respect, ‘’Ace’’, you are not on the level of the Devil’.
Max’s use of ‘no offense’ and ‘all due respect’ are perfect. Simple yet effective.
It’s a little sad to see Tanahashi so obviously pained by his knees. Even with a language barrier the guy’s superb at working a crowd but can barely run. Meaning this was fun but had a couple moments where most guys would’ve received ‘you F’d up’ chants.
Raising the question of whether it was the best idea to have him wrestle back-to-back nights? Suppose they can play that into the story when he loses.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
They again pushed the main event then the next match. Certainly the show is much easier to take in – and cover – than Dynamite. They take time to push matches and allow segments to settle.
Perhaps if it proves effective, they’ll slow things down a little on Wednesdays too.
Andrade El Idolo vs Brody King
Backstory: the HOB attacked Andrade last week after he beat Buddy Matthews
Brody came out with Julia but left the others behind. Dasha’s announcing of Andrade continues to be phenomenal. As is his theme.
His pec taped this week as he received another great response from the crowd and the commentators explained the exact injury and what the tape did.
Stiff headlock, El Idolo tried to knock Brody down, no dice, he tried another tactic by sliding under and going after the knees. Keeping the big man at bay with knee strikes then hitting an over-the-shoulder hurracanrana from the middle rope.
He again landed in his pose between the middle and top after being whipped into the ropes, though did sell the pec. Before the two battled on the apron until Brody was sent into the ringpost, falling to the floor and being hit with a moonsault from the top to the outside.
(Andrade banged his head hard against the barricade on landing. Amazing reaction to the moonsault from one of the fans. For once it did not seem a fake attempt to get themselves on tv by doing a ‘shocked’ face.)
But only got a one-count after rushing the big man back inside. Then went after the knees once more, hit a series of chops, but was sat on the top rope and chopped right on the injured pec, sending him plummeting to ringside to bring the break.
Superb so far.
The big man was on top as we came back, smacking the injured pec with more chops and generally targeting the injury. Chest red, El Idolo fought back, chops and strikes, until being dumped onto the apron and smacked across the chest Seamus style.
On noting the crowd chanting along, Brody stopped. Good man, now that’s a heel.
Andrade snapped Brody across the top rope, slipped back inside, dropkick to the knee, King slumping in the corner but sending Andrade back to the apron, where he snapped King’s leg across the middle rope via dragon screw.
Then headed upstairs: cross body, another dragon screw, flying forearm, both down, Andrade kipping up, King landing elbow strikes but smacked with a lariat in the corner then just absolutely drilled with a running double-knee strike for two.
Both guys grabbing a breath after a rapid match so far, the crowd clapping in support.
Brody backed Andrade to the corner, hit a discus punch, hauling Andrade onto his shoulders to hit a running DVD corner-to-corner, dumping Andrade headfirst against the bottom buckle. Just brutal.
And he wasn’t done. Cannonball in the corner, his knee then buckled again looking for a powerbomb, Andrade slipped behind, figure four applied, Julia to the apron holding Andrade’s mask.
Thankfully, it didn’t work, Andrade ducking a discus punch, landing a big elbow strike, Figure Four hooked once more, bridge into the Eight, as Buddy Matthews flew in to attack before King tapped. The HOB pair destroyed Andrade, finishing with Dante’s Inferno.
To heavy boos.
Julia held the mask up, the lights went out like they do every week.
Really like the selling of the injury which kept Andrade out for so long. And both matches so far have been excellent.
He’s now beaten the others, is a dodo-rare singles match with Malakai next?
Winner: Andrade El Idolo by DQ
Schiavone in the ring once more. To bring out Christian and Luchasaurus. Cage again held the title, walking ahead of Saurus as they recapped how Christian helped his man win last week.
Cage said he was in a bad mood after leaving the show last week. And now he’s in a worse mood because ‘this city breeds losers’. Then began heeling on the Maple Leafs and went on about Kawhi Leonard being the only reason the Raptors won. Must be fun if you’re in the crowd. Boring and generic if not.
He’s ending the open challenge, you have to earn a title shot now, ‘the same way that I did’. That’s a great heel line. Though the rest makes him a total babyface to me.
He made a brief Cody reference before promising to make the TNT title the most prestigious title in the company and to remain the face of the network. Simple but effective in that everything he said could’ve been said by a babyface. But is totally disingenuous.
Luchasaurus again held him on his shoulders as Cage held the title aloft. Can see where this is going…
Satoshi Kojima promo promising to ‘flatten’ Punk and win the whole tournament. ‘I will kick your ass’.
Punk cut a very humble, very babyface promo saying what an honor it is to face a guy like Kojima and rep Owen. Then threatened to ‘bite his f****** ears off’ if that’s what it took.
All of the other six guys cut brief promos to varying degrees of quality. Yes they’re in Canada, but this feels crammed in alongside Forbidden Door and that stupid Blind Tag tournament.
They then recapped Skye Blue defeating Anna Jay on Rampage.
Nyla Rose vs Willow Nightingale (1st Round Owen Hart Cup)
Backstory: Winner faces Athena or Billy Starkz in Round Two
Willow came out to a nice response from the crowd with her New Japan Strong title.
Chants of ‘Willow’ as the pair locked-up. Stalemate. Try again, Willow backed to the corner, ducking a Nyla splash, knocking Rose over via shoulder charge but drop toe hold-ed when she ran in again.
As Nyla got two via magistral. Then took Willow to the corner, until she cartwheeled free, hit an enziguri and big chop in the corner. The crowd quiet outside of big spots.
Test of strength. Nyla wrestled into a roll-up to bag two. Willow fired back via shotgun dropkick; Rose bailed outside. Marina Shafir blocked Willow from getting to Nyla. Allowing the latter to hurl Willow into the ringpost and call her a ‘Mooselicker’. Suppose it could’ve been ‘Mousse-licker’, cause who doesn’t like mousse?
Break time. Not much to it so far.
Bodyslam from Nyla, legdrop missed, Willow got a boot up, fired shots, avoided a rushing Rose, hit a splash in the corner, snapmare, shotgun dropkick from the middle. Count of two. Nice flurry.
She looked for Dr Bomb but couldn’t get it due to the injury to her shoulder after being flung into the post earlier. Nyla took her to the corner to launch shots then look for an avalanche powerbomb.
Willow slipped free but was beaten back down with fists and knees, until pouncing Nyla across the ring then hauling her into Dr Bomb for the win and a big pop at both the feat of strength and the finish.
Between being a New Japan champ and facing Toni tomorrow, there was no doubting the winner. A plodding match that went a few minutes too long.
Saraya’s back as the Outcasts surrounded the ring. Not that you’d know it since the three got zero reaction. Skye Blue flew down with a chair and the heels backed down.
Relative to tv time, there is not an act in the entire company who get less response than the Outcasts. Not surprising given the monotonous interference.
Winner: Willow Nightingale
Scorpio Sky backstage with Lexi. When he finally got his big break in AEW, he wasn’t ready. But now he is, running through all of his credentials despite having been a ‘shadow of my true self’. But now, he’s back and ready to reach his true potential. Before doing the cool finger snap/lights out thing.
I really like Scorpio. This was good. But as with Miro, it was generic. Is there a story or plan behind it? If not, it’s all for nought.
Powerhouse Hobbs vs Jeremy Prophet
Prophet was crushed against the ropes before/as the bell rang. The announcers really put Hobbs over as an incredible athlete, a big man who moves like a cruiser.
Prophet tried a roll-up, only irritating Starks, who just murdered him with a lariat then finished him via spinebuster. Town Bidness not needed.
Hobbs should be the winner of the Owen Cup for my money.
Winner: Powerhouse Hobbs
CM Punk, FTR & Ricky Starks vs Bullet Club Gold & the Gunns
Backstory: The heels have each helped the other win recently and were beating down Starks until FTR & Punk helped out & Punk made this challenge
The warnings were there when they ran through the ppv line-up, Punk was booed, Omega/Ospreay given the loudest cheer.
And Bullet Club got a healthy pop as they came out. While the Gunns got no response since they’re still barely established.
All leading to a flood of boos as Cult of Personality hit – forcing Kelly to announce that ‘We’re not in Chicago anymore’ – despite Starks and FTR receiving healthy cheers. Punk did have his fans too but the boos outweighed the cheers, the crowd duelling between ‘CM Punk’ chants and very loud boos.
He kicked things off this week. Demanding White as the two warily circled one another and White told Punk he was in his head before tagging Juice. Who got loud ‘Juice’ chants from the fans in Canada.
The two worked an arm wringer, to more duelling chants: Punk on top, tag to Dax. Who ran through Robinson via shoulder block, drop down, bodyslam, side headlock. Until Juice got back on top via senton to bag a one-count.
Austin in, jabs in the corner, Dax chopped him into next week, suplex, knee drop, not even one. Cash in via blind tag, dropkicking Colten off the apron, uppercut to Austin, stiff chop, Starks in to the biggest pop any ‘babyface’ has got so far.
Right to his ropewalk prance (I despise this, he does it without wearing his opponent down a jot). But then being slugged by Austin, tag to White, who begged off and demanded Punk. More boos as he entered.
The two circled once more, stiff lockup, to the corner, neither letting go, Punk firing shots to the gut, booed, White turning the tables to launch chops to a loud cheer. Punk fought back to launch ten in the corner which fans did count along with, hooking White into GTS, White slipped out thinking Bladerunner as both avoided the other’s finish.
The pair spilling outside, bringing all eight together, the ref stepping in as the ads arrived.
Fun start. As expected, this Punk/Elite thing is going to continue dividing fans for a while yet. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when we reach some neutral territory.
Harwood superplexed Robinson as we returned, tag to Cash, domesday device, White made the save at two. Robinson hit a chinbreaker, Colten in, snatched up by Cash and see-sawed into the buckle, duck under, roll-up, two. Straight back up, Cash whacked Colten down with a chop, tag to Punk, more heavy boos as he hit an elbow strike/backbreaker Demolition combo on his way in.
Kelly proclaiming this crowd would likely cheer Kojima tomorrow. The announcers generally trying to do the Cena – ‘well he gets a reaction’ thing.
Punk played the heel: arrogant covers as he bagged a pair of twos on Colten. Whip reversed, he was smashed via lariat to a big cheer. Austin in, stomping a mudhole, more cheers, Punk down in the corner as White choked him behind the ref’s back.
White in now, very stiff chops in the heels’ corner, he caught a kick and hit a dragon screw before tagging Robinson back in. As they continued working over Punk in their corner via elbows to the inside of the knee.
More quick tags from the heels as a Punk chant started and was quickly booed down. He and Austin fighting, Punk dragged back to the wrong corner once more, White stomping him down as the other heels took cheap shots behind the ref’s back.
White set Punk atop the buckle, talking smack until having his eyes gouged, more loud boos, Punk collected himself, diving cross body, clutching his ribs as he reached for the tag. White doing everything to block the tag, yay/boo chops and strikes, White being cheered of course, as he again cut off the tag until being swept into the corner and smacked with the step-up knee.
Punk slumping though, exhausted, unable to get the tag. Until hitting a spinning neckbreaker, the other heels knocking Punk’s teammates off the apron, Robinson in, looking for GTS, Punk landed on his feet, the crowd disappointed.
The Gunns in and quickly shaken off, tag to Starks, big cheer as he fired shots and ddts, chants of ‘Ricky’, slam to Colten, tornado ddt to Austin, two only.
He hooked Roshambeaux, the heels again flew in, a brawl breaking out, leaving Starks and Austin as BCG got rid of FTR outside. Starks dumped White via blue thunder bomb. For another count of two.
White slipped under a lariat to bag two with the tights gripped, searching for the Bladerunner, Starks hit a brainbuster. Juice broke up the pin, was smacked and piledriven by Dax, taken out by the Gunns, sent outside by Cash, the crowd hot, the atmosphere leading to Cash almost killing himself on a dive by overshooting.
Punk off the top, spiked via White uranage, another for Starks, 2.9. Bladerunner ready, Starks rolled through, kickout, Starks up to hit a Spear, ones for the Gunns too until being whipped into a Juice Left Hand of God and spiked via Bladerunner to win.
Smart to have White win. Not only was he unquestionably the star of a top-class match, but having Punk win here would not have helped things one bit (with fans). The heels worked exceptionally well together and if they’ll actually bother to properly establish the Gunns, could be a good unit. Even if the whole Bullet Club thing is a little past it.
The faces regrouped in the aisle, staring down the heels as White’s music played and the Gunns presumably joined Bullet Club via hand signal.
This was seemingly another feature of the show – a long main event through two ad breaks.
This one a lot better than last week. Faster, a little more storytelling with White and Punk playing head games. White was superb here. And it appears he’ll be Punk’s first feud. Not before time.
A show worth watching.
Winner: Bullet Club Gold
Added to Forbidden Door:
- Tetsuya Naito, Sting & Darby vs Le Suzuki Gods
- A bunch of stuff on the ‘Zero Hour’, all announced during the main event
- MJF’s Collision in-ring debut
- Roderick Strong vs Samoa Joe (Owen Cup)
- Dustin Rhodes vs Will Hobbs (‘’)
- Ricky Starks vs Juice Robinson (‘’)
- Ricky Starks getting the rub from Punk and co. At least until eating the pin
- Andrade vs Brody
- The slower pace of the show allowing things to sink in
- Jay White was easily the best thing on this show, his mannerisms, heel work and in-ring combining with his bagging the win in the main event to hopefully, finally, propel him into a position that matters
- The main event itself
- Commentary and overall different feel of the show
- Long term hooks and stories? They seem to be just surviving week-to-week. They did subtly setup Punk/White in the main event but not outwardly enough that it’s an obvious program. And all of next week’s matches are tournament ones
- Generic follow-up on guys they should be building – Scorpio Sky, Miro… Maybe I’ll be proven wrong and they have stories ready to go, but the company’s track record doesn’t inspire confidence
- Swerve is becoming a guy who appears only to put others over. AEW might regret this when his contract is up and HHH comes calling again
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.