AEW Collision tonight comes to us from the FirstOntario Arena, Ontario. After last week drawing 595,000 & 0.21 in the 18-49 demo.
So Fight Forever’s finally out and a prominent review noted the key single-player mode is ‘poorly written’. Much like Dynamite Wednesday which crashed in the ratings. Hopefully tonight’s a better effort.
Like last week we had promos before the show even started – Hobbs, Dustin, Roderick and Joe all vowing to win the Owen tournament for various reasons.
The Elton theme’s growing on me.
Fireworks and all as Kevin Kelly introduced things before MJF’s theme kicked in.
MJF vs Kip Morst
Backstory: Max’s Collision debut
This is a strange way to open the show.
Some boos for the champ since the enhancement guy is as usual a local. And Max’s covered in stars and stripes since he’s a proper heel.
Clothesline from behind, Heat Seeker, LeBell Lock, win.
Max took the mic to run down the crowd. Slamming the locals to such a degree he challenged anyone from the area to come out and face him. ‘How dare you!’ yelled Kelly at his abuse of the crowd.
A large man came out, whom Nigel McGuinness referred to as a ‘black belt in poutine’. Superb line. Until Ethan Page stormed past, demanded a mic and slapped Max’s away.
To say he was going to remind him and everyone backstage what he’s about. His dad worked a tough job locally, showing him not to be lazy like MJF and not to settle, going on to become a president of several companies. So, no, Page is not like Max – ‘I’m not a bare-minimum bitch!’.
When the company needs something they don’t go to Max, they go to him, and he always delivers. Always does what’s best for the company, promoting events at the expense of his family. His wife asked him when AEW will pay him back, Page said the time is now.
Max might be the AEW champ; Page champions AEW.
Challenging him to put the belt on the line ‘right here, right now’.
Handing the belt to the ref, Max retreated to the corner. And we had ourselves a match.
MJF vs Ethan Page (AEW title)
Page avoided a rushing Max, stomping a mudhole in the corner, up for the Edge, MJF slipped out, chop block, beginning to work over the legs with various stomps and wrenches.
‘You suck!’ chants from an enthusiastic though small-sounding crowd.
Page hit a thrust kick, Max fought back into a single-leg crab, Lance Storm style. Middle of the ring, for a long time. Page making several crawls. Finally getting the ropes after a good few minutes.
Before abruptly zooming to a break.
Out-to-in cutter from Page, unable to follow-up due to his injured leg. To their feet, slugfest, Max went low, Ethan came back with shots and a hurracanrana, using the ropes to hold himself up, forearm in the corner, iconoclasm off the top, up onto the shoulder into a snap powerslam.
Up for the Edge again, Max avoided it, ate a Twist of Fate, Max out cold, Page to the top, until Max popped up to crotch the challenger. Then looked for a superplex, Ethan fought back into an avalanche powerslam.
Again unable to follow-up due to his knee, he crawled over late, allowing Max to kick out once more. Limping, he looked again for the Edge, his leg crumpling like Razor/Jarrett at the Rumble as he stumbled to the apron, Max dragon-screwed his leg into the ropes, Heat Seeker, 1, 2, 3.
Will there be follow-up?
An incredibly abrupt angle with Page becoming babyface out of nowhere and losing on his home turf with it being clear who’d win since the champ’s already in a feud. Another of those situations where making it a title match achieved nothing other than removing the tiniest slither of doubt about the victor.
I’d like it if they got serious about Page. But have my doubts this was anything other than a one week thing to pop a crowd.
Coming out of the opening segment, the most important question is – what is going to hook viewers to stick around? And Punk being on commentary for a Joe/Strong main event is not enough.
Dustin Rhodes vs Powerhouse Hobbs (Owen Hart Cup)
Backstory: Winner faces Starks/Juice in round two
QT’s with Hobbs so we know where this is going.
Lockup, Rhodes muscled to the corner, paintbrushing the youngster in response. Side headlock, clash in the middle, neither budging, until a diving shoulder saw Hobbs kick out before one. Then work over the vet in the corner with shots to the side of the head.
Bringing Rhodes to his knees. The vet getting a boot up in the corner, crowd almost silent as he hit the ropes, QT grabbed the boot, Hobbs clotheslined him outside then slammed his head into the apron.
Before QT flung him into the ringpost with the ref distracted.
Wouldn’t you know it, Dustin’s bleeding. Break. Very hard for any matches to come across well with so little atmosphere.
Hobbs smashed through the vet via shoulder block. Two slaps of the mat. Rhodes firing back with trademark rights, lariat, another, kick to the gut, drop-down uppercut – crowd waking.
Snap powerslam – nope – Hobbs blocked it, Dustin countered back to slip into Cross Rhodes, piledriver, very nearly three. The action picking up.
Dustin to his feet, he was powered to the corner, Rhodes got a boot to the gut, code red, another two slaps. QT hit the apron and fell off somehow in a sloppy sequence, Hobbs took advantage with a spinebuster.
Rhodes kicked out at one. They’re trying very hard here to make this seem like it’s not a foregone conclusion. Rhodes elbowed free of Town Bidness, snap powerslam, two once more.
Dustin looked for the figure four, QT interfered for a fourth time with a right hand, into the spinebuster, Hobbs wins. Jeff Jarrett and the Outcasts are jealous.
This did nothing for Hobbs.
He got his ass kicked all match long excepting when Marshall interfered. Dustin is not at a stage where he needs protecting like this. This should’ve been a story of an unstoppable young monster against a valiant veteran who couldn’t quite overcome said monster.
Damn sure didn’t need QT. But then, when does it?
Action pretty good at times, outcome never in doubt, crowd flat.
Winner: Will Hobbs
Promo package for the Strong/Joe main event. It’s their first match in seventeen years.
Miro vs Anthony Henry
Miro stomped Henry down in the corner, overhead belly-to-belly, ‘Seamus’ strikes on the apron, Henry got a brief flurry but was slammed to the mat.
Machka kick, Game Over.
A little longer than my description but basically a squash.
Worth noting that the crowd were more into this than the last match since they saw Miro as a star.
I wondered last week if there were plans for the Bulgarian. Three weeks in, there’s no indication of any.
Footage of the Gunns joining Bullet Club Gold. Tony Schiavone called them to the ring for an interview. A few ‘Ass Boys’ chants as he asked what was next for the group. White took the mic to introduce ‘the Golden Gunns, the Top Shelf Gunns’.
It’s the golden era of Bullet Club and that’ll continue tonight when Juice defeats Ricky Starks.
The Gunns said they’d joined due to the others’ accomplishments all over the world. And that Bullet Club recruited them since they’d only been a team sixteen months but have already won the tag titles and defeated ‘all your favorites’. Naming the Hardys, Acclaimed, Punk and etc.
A CM Punk chant started and was booed but seemed louder than said boos.
Schiavone announced that BCG were banned from ringside for the match vs Starks. The heels weren’t happy.
White then addressed Punk: when he returned, Punk had a bag containing something that always attracts Jay. If what was in that bag was Punk’s AEW title, then Punk should leave it in the bag. The implication being that White’ll take it if he even sniffs that it’s gold.
FTR too have Bullet Club’s attention. And since they already beat them, why not put the tag titles up against he and Robinson? ‘Top Guys Out, Gunns Up’.
Backstage – Lexi with Ricky Starks, Punk and FTR. Starks was getting ready for his match so Punk spoke first. If White wants what’s in the bag, he can go to AEW shop and pretend like Max does.
He then showed Ricky what was in the bag as the two smiled. While FTR talked about ‘Gunns shooting blanks’. Harwood accepted the tag title challenge.
Before Starks said he knows what’ll happen now BCG are banned from ringside. It’ll end the same way it did when he met Robinson the first time – with Starks winning.
They all had Lexi say the ‘Top Guys… out’ line.
Really like the continued affiliation of Starks with Punk, who had his arm across the youngster’s shoulders. And Punk was leagues ahead of anyone else on the mic here. He’s just so comfortable and knows exactly what he wants to say. Even getting in a great line to continue stirring the Max pot.
Really wanted White to absolutely nail this. And it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t nailed.
Ricky Starks vs Juice Robinson (Owen Hart Cup) (BCG banned from ringside)
Backstory: Winner faces Will Hobbs in round two
Juice stayed out there, Ricky made his entrance after the break. A few weak ‘Ricky’ chants. Before a duelling chant broke out as the two wrestled in and out of arm wringers. Side headlock, whip, Ricky shoulder-blocked Juice to the mat.
Drop down/leapfrog, Starks got a hip toss then snatched Juice into a headlock takeover. To their feet, Starks again smashed Juice via shoulder block then tripped over a Robinson drop down (Assume it was a mistake but they did a nice job working it into the match if so, Ricky holding his shin and Juice going to work on the leg).
Starks elbowed his way free, to their feet, slugging away, Juice knee to the gut then a body slam against the ropes which got dangerously close to Starks landing on his neck. Then another, this time ensuring Starks’ injured leg took the brunt.
Posing to boos as we went to break. Hit and miss in the short time so far.
Robinson hit chops in the corner, big running lariat, cannonball, first cover, for two.
Juice on the attack again, Starks shook off a lariat, asking for another. And another. Causing Juice to throw a cheap shot but be body dropped: Starks hitting lariats, ddt, kip-up into his pose. Still selling the leg.
Snake eyes in the corner, tornado ddt, two only.
Draping ddt ready, Juice fought free, big leg lariat as Robinson got two. Chants of ‘Ricky’ as Juice beat Starks to his feet. Texas cloverleaf, McGuinness openly talked about him ‘taking it from his missus (ie ‘Mrs’ for those that don’t speak colloquial English)… Toni Storm’.
Great selling from Starks as he grimaced and screamed while making the crawl to break the hold. To the apron, Juice followed looking for a suplex back in, Starks slipped behind, series of standing switches, Juice bagged an O’Connor role with the tights for 2.9.
Arguing with the ref, he wandered into a slam as Starks bagged two. More ‘Ricky’ chants, Juice looking to bail on a Roshambeaux, using the apron then flinging Starks into the buckle. Headbutt in the corner before hauling Ricky upstairs, thinking hurracanrana.
Starks held on, Robinson crashed, Ricky missed a leaping something, Robinson got a spear, Starks kicked out once more. Left Hand of God being readied, Starks got free, hit the ropes, hit a Spear, Juice grabbed him into a cradle; Starks reversed it for the win.
Before you could blink, Bullet Club Gold had the ring surrounded. Bringing Punk and FTR to the ring, to mostly boos. BCG fled.
It helped that it wasn’t a totally foregone conclusion like every other thing on the show. But still felt flat due to such a small crowd. Who did try, but just couldn’t get the noise up.
Winner: Ricky Starks
Christian and Luchasaurus with Lexi. Quickly interrupted by Shawn Spears. Who said he wanted to talk ‘to the champ’.
Cage said Spears didn’t seize his opportunities, isn’t dangerous and never will be. Spears said anyone’s capable of becoming that, they just need to meet the right person. As he looked right at Cage.
This was good promo work from Spears. Doesn’t change the fact that everything Cage said is correct. A wild idea for AEW might be prepping for a run through Canada by having some of these guys actually appear on tv before they challenge for titles.
To make it seem y’know, even remotely, minutely possible they might win and convince the crowd of said.
Kris Statlander vs Lady Frost (TBS Title???)
Are you psyched? It’s the Night of Obvious Finishes here on week three of AEW Collision!
Frost basically performed a bunch of gymnastics which Statlander avoided and/or blasted her with lariats afterward.
Statlander avoided a lariat to hit an inverted slam for two, missed a knee strike, ate a German but again caught Frost mid-gymnastics. Only for Frost to turn it into a tornado ddt and hit a rolling knee strike for two. Not a single person bought it.
The crowd clapping Statlander to her feet as Frost did more gymnastics as they fought in and out of piledrivers. Statlander got Saturday Night Fever to win.
Frost is incredibly athletic but just isn’t ready for tv. It does not look like a contest when she’s out there, it looks like a routine.
Winner: Kris Statlander
Lexi with Andrade. Who snatched the mic to demand his mask which the House of Black stole last week. He called them cockroaches and demanded his mask again in Spanish.
As the House did some spooky magic to warp onto the tv behind him. ‘Tranquillo, all in good time’.
I love the House in-ring and was such a big fan of Malakai when he debuted; all this spooky, lights-out warping amid nothing else is getting old.
Promo package for Yuta/Omega. The former reminding us he pinned Omega at DoN and that the Elite/BCC thing isn’t done yet.
Roderick Strong vs Samoa Joe (Owen Hart Cup) (Punk on comms)
Backstory: Winner faces Punk in round two
Know it exists to get Punk out there but this just isn’t a main event.
On the subject, he came out first, to a mixed response. Plenty of people in the front row and elsewhere clad in his shirt. He reverentially eyed the Owen trophy then slapped hands with folks at ringside, most of whom seemed to be his fans.
He said he had no preference who he faced since he couldn’t separate either guy.
Despite an underwhelming show, can’t help but smile when Joe comes out. He’s everything great about pro wrestling. So believable, total badass aura. He stared-down Punk from the ring.
Stiff lockup, the two separated in the ropes. Back to it, Strong headlock, Joe pushed him to the corner. Another rope break. As Punk said facing guys like Joe is why he came back.
And the big man got too aggressive, running into big chops until laying out Strong with a single forearm, sending him outside. Strong avoided a dive and hit a dropkick through the ropes.
Chop fight outside, the last of which sent Strong flying several feet across the ringside mats. Before being flung back in to chants of ‘Joe! Joe! Joe!’. Strong threw shoulders to the gut in the corner, then back to very stiff chops. As Punk mentioned he’d never beaten Joe. Which he sees as a challenge.
Strong got a chin lock.
To their feet, Joe got a knee to the gut as the crowd chanted his name once more. Before a flood of snapping jabs left Strong on his ass in the corner. Dragged up only to take another big chop.
Strong briefly fighting back to whip Joe to the opposite buckle, storm in and be absolutely drilled via STO.
Brutal. Great stuff so far as the ads arrived.
Strong got a big running knee, the big fella kicked out at one. Back to the fight, chops and strikes from both sides until a flurry from a Joe: Manhattan drop, big boot, senton. The latter done while glaring right at Chicago Phil and shouting ‘F*** you’. Which Punk acknowledged.
Count of two.
The crowd as loud as they’ve been all night for these Joe flurries.
Punk referred to fans of Collision as ‘Colliders’. Which Joe’s knee did with Roddy for another two. Before he began grinding on Strong’s head, the crowd clapping away, Strong to his feet. Only to be flung right back down like a small child.
Joe sarcastically clapping the crowd, the cheering only getting louder.
As he missed a senton. Strong got a chin-breaker as a Punk/booing mix began again and the former acknowledged it. Series of big running lariats as Strong bounced off the big man several times. Until a dropkick caught Joe by surprise coming off the ropes.
Backbreaker to follow, Strong living up to his name, Sick Kick following, two only. Strong clutching his knee after the backbreaker. Then was caught in the corner, placed up top, Muscle Buster on the way, blocked, missile dropkick, two slaps.
Again, Strong hurled himself at Joe to little effect. Until an Olympic Slam bagged another close count.
Really enjoying the way Strong’s just hurling himself at Joe and bouncing off – makes the match seem real and a struggle while also making Joe look a beast. Nicely done.
Suplex ready, Joe ducked out, big chop, Strong came back with a leaping knee, looking for End of Heartache, Joe blocked it into the Clutch. Strong passed out.
Really good. Enjoyed this. Everything Hobbs’ win over Dustin should’ve been. Kudos to Strong for really making Joe seem a monster.
Punk said he had ‘short time and a lot of work to do’ before noting ‘I’m ready’ as Joe stared at him with his arms raised in victory. Then grabbed a chair with evil intent as a gang of security hit the scene.
Though they only cared about protecting Punk. Leaving Strong to be dropped head first on the chair. Joe left as Adam Cole came to check on Strong along with Punk.
They stretchered him out. Further putting across Joe as a real threat before next week. Very good closing angle.
And next week’s match will be interesting. Punk damn sure shouldn’t get his first ever win over Joe with one week’s build. But can’t lose straight up. Maybe some Jay White interference leading to Starks vs Joe in the final?
The fans chanted Strong’s name before the show closed with more ‘CM Punk’/booing.
Winner: Samoa Joe by ref stoppage
- Britt Baker vs Ruby Soho (Owen Cup)
- Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland vs Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy (Blind Tag Tournament)
- MJF & Adam Cole vs TBA (‘’)
- Moxley promo
- Kenny Omega vs Wheeler Yuta
- FTR vs Juice Robinson & Jay White (Eliminator match for tag titles (This is not part of the Eliminator tournament – confusing I know))
- Willow Nightingale vs Athena (Owen Hart Cup)
- Will Hobbs vs Ricky Starks (‘’)
- CM Punk vs Samoa Joe (‘’)
- They are trying to elevate BCG and Starks
- Joe vs Strong and a good closing angle to build toward a big match next week, somewhat saving…
- What felt like a slightly souped-up Rampage featuring CM Punk
- Filled with predictable matches
- Lacking promos and angles
- Any sort of storyline follow-up on acts such as Miro and Scorpio Sky
- And with no mention of Adam Cole despite supposedly spending the weekend with Max while the two feud over the AEW title
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.