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Collision TV report for 07/15/2023

AEW Collision tonight comes to us from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Canada.  After last week drawing 580,000 & 0.21 in the 18-49 demo.

Let’s hope none of these wrestlers forgot to submit form 7Z2/40H to clear half of their move-sets ahead of their matches tonight.

*****

As we opened with duelling promos between FTR & BCG.  Dax said it was nice they’d become relevant again but tonight that’s going to end.  Juice set the volume and intensity to about 230 – vowing to win gold before White hit the ‘top guys out, guns up’ line.

Willow vowed to bring big hair, big smile and big fight to tonight’s contest.  Soho countered by saying she was going to have her teammates on the apron for the whole match.

Starks generically said he’d win, Punk told him to lace ‘em extra tight because the air’s thinner and the water’s deeper where they’ll be going – will Ricky sink or swim?

Which are pretty much my thoughts entirely as relates to Mr Starks and tonight’s contest.

Punk is so good on the mic.  These sound-byte promos are hard, yet he got a clear message across in his.  Willow’s was very effective too tbf.

Ian Riccaboni filling in for Kevin Kelly.

Jay White & Juice Robinson vs FTR (Tag Titles, 2 out of 3 falls)

Backstory: After earning a title shot last week in a classic, White bragged that the only thing better than beating the champs twice would be doing it on the same night

Big pop from the crowd when this was announced as the opener.  As Ian Riccaboni explained everything a casual fan could possibly wish to know about the match.  And they replayed what happened last week.

You couldn’t fail to understand what this match was or why it was happening.

FTR wearing classic Hart Foundation gear – black trunks, pink lettering, skulls in the middle.

All four face-to-face, a little smack talk, Juice and Cash in a shoving match, Dax and White to get us going.  Some ‘too sweet, whoop whoop’ chants from the crowd as White immediately began stalling, heading outside.  Where an angry Cash tried to run him back in.

Dax returned the favor, leaving the ring to slap hands with fans at ringside.

Finally things got going: a tentative White avoiding a lockup, run over by a Dax shoulder, hooked into a cradle, count of two.  Right back into a headlock takeover, Harwood maintaining his grip to their feet, White flung him to the ropes, hiptoss, armdrag before working over the shoulder.

Tag to Juice.  Who demanded Cash after their earlier shoving match.

Collar and elbow, Juice headlock, Dax slipping free, headlock takeover, to the corner for the break.  Juice irish whip, reversed, he tried to get an elbow up in the corner, Cash hooked a backslide for two.

Before absolutely smashing through Juice with a shoulder block, sending him sprawling to the outside, the heels regrouping as we hit the first break.

Back to Dax tripping White, shot to the gut, Russian legsweep (love that move), two only.  ‘FTR’ chants from the fans as he dropped White into a backbreaker across the knee, before trapping him via abdominal stretch, baiting Robinson into occupying the ref and using the ropes for leverage.

Nother whip, big elbow strike, Cash in for a belly to back/legdrop combo, another two.  Desperate, White got a dropkick to the knee, tag to Robinson, snapping lefts, Left Hand of God, Cash down.  Being worked over in a headlock

To his feet, Juice ran through him, Cash looking for a leapfrog/monkeyflip, Robinson countering into a pin, Cash reversing it, both bagging two counts.  Very close count following after a Cash body scissors, before he dumped Juice out through the ropes via body slam into the bottom one.

Tag to Dax, who followed Juice out for a chop battle, it continued into the ring where Dax hit one that sounded like a god damn thunderclap.  More following in the corner, Robinson reeling, the crowd alive, Dax ducking a wild swing to plaster Juice with another chop – snap suplex, legdrop, count of one.

The way the announcers discussed that kickout was superb, made it seem so realistic.

As Dax worked a headlock from the mat, Juice to his feet, shots to the gut, he and Dax fighting in and out of headlocks until Dax’s great equalizer – his chops – rocked Robinson.  Back to that headlock on the mat.

Robinson shoulder block, Dax telegraphing a back drop and paying for it – flung shoulder-first into the ringpost.  Tag to White, Dax struggling in the corner, an angry White rocking him with repeated chops to that same shoulder.

Flinging him corner to corner, Dax reversed it, missed a splash, spluttered out into a ddt, one for Cash too as he entered, White eyeing Dax across the ring, big running elbow, Spiccoli driver, Harwood just kicked out.

White seeking a uranage, Dax freeing himself with chops – what else – but rebounding off the ropes into a flatliner, wheelbarrow German, bridge, Cash made the save at two.

White grabbing a choke, crowd chanting for the champs, Dax backed White to the corner to free himself, another chop barrage, White knee to the gut, big chops of his own, both guys slumping.

Until White hit the ropes to eat a big lariat, both down, Dax hooking a cradle for two, Robinson in illegally, White bagging a distraction rollup for two, blind tag to Cash, Big Rig on the way, Robinson shoved Cash into Dax to break it up, the latter spilling through the ropes, Cash left to take a Left Hand of God, Bladerunner:

1-0 Bullet Club.  At around the 20-minute mark.

Right to a break.  The crowd really into that pinfall, definitely some Bullet Club fans in the house.

Back to Juice attacking Dax’ shoulder, bodyslam blocked, Dax landing one of his own but then being kicked away and hooked into an armdrag.  Before being dragged by his bad arm over to the heels’ corner.

Tag to White who came out of the corner into a back body drop, Cash in, big splash in the corner, uppercuts to follow before dragging White out into a massive wrist-clutch lariat, obliterating him for two slaps of the mat.

Suplex, floatover, same result.

Series of standing switches ending in a belly to back on Cash, Juice in, senton, another, barely two.  Into a chinlock, turned into a front facelock as Wheeler got to his feet, looking to muscle his way to his partner, back body dropping his way free, only for Juice to tag Jay who cut-off Cash.

A struggling Wheeler being worn down – neckbreaker before being rolled to the heels’ corner and catapulted throat-first into the bottom rope then ddt’d on the ringside mats by Robinson.

The ref counting, Cash struggling back in, met by Juice, snap suplex, rope break at two.

White back in, boot to the face then stomping Cash against the bottom rope.  Wild swings from Cash easily avoided before drilling him back down via chop, a neck crank wearing down Wheeler, brief crowd chant dying as Robinson came back in to hit a senton.

Again seeking a second, Cash got the knees up, cradle, count of two.  Wheeler rallying, to the apron, fighting off White, sunset flip to Robinson, who held the ropes and tagged his partner – Harwood cut-off once more.

Trapped in the wrong corner, Juice holding him in place as White came off the ropes, Wheeler got a boot up, elbow to Juice, big forearms to Jay, making the dive to tag, White caught him, took a cheap shot at Dax, allowing Cash to strike via hurracanrana, finally the tag to Dax:

Snapping jabs, big rights for both heels, crushing lariats in the corner, chops and jabs to Juice, White briefly fighting back before being blasted via short-arm clothesline and rolling outside, O’Connor roll out of the corner to Juice, who kicked out at two but only sent Dax back to the buckle where he springboarded into a cross body for another close count.

Robinson swing and a miss, Dax duck-under, German, another, White in, elevated over into a back body, brainbuster to Juice, 2.9.  Crowd booing at the lack of a three.  Rare you hear something like that.  They weren’t booing a screw up, just the fact that the good guys weren’t level.

Cash finally back to the apron – TiA chant kicking up – the crowd louder with Dax thinking Sharpshooter, Robinson kicking his way free, Dax taking a nasty spill into the middle rope, whiplashing right on his neck.

And right in the heels’ corner: White in, suplex to the buckle, Robinson cannonball to follow, kickout at 2.5.  Stiff chops from White, Dax firing up but quickly cut-off as White went after the shoulder then crushed Dax against the ropes where he spilled outside.

Before dragging Cash in, spike piledriver lined up; Dax shoved Juice off the top, sunset flip off the top to White, rolling through, holding White up in place – Cash lariat-ing him back down into the pin, for what was basically three.  But wasn’t quite.

More booing and protests from the fans.

FTR talking strategy, tag to Cash, he pointed to the sky, crucifix bomb/cutter combo, jackknife pin, another kick out!  FTR in disbelief.

Robinson still down outside, White set atop the buckle in FTR’s corner, dual chops from the champs, Powerplex coming, crowd to the feet, huge roar – White got his knees up to block the splash, at the same time Juice hit a frogsplash to Dax, all four down, White barely draping an arm over Harwood, titles on the line, kickout at 2.9.

The way they’re building the drama to these near falls is expert.  It’s incredibly rare you see a crowd rise and roar as one the way they did when that Powerplex was being readied.

‘AE-Dub’ chants from the fans as McGuinness emphasized ‘This is pro wrestling!’ and how ‘proud’ it made him.

Juice and Dax to their feet, Robinson grabbing a headlock, run into the ropes, blind tag to Cash, double drop-down, Robinson running over both, rebounding into the Big Rig, we’re all level y’all.

Break.

1-1.  At around the 40-minute mark.

Wheeler and Robinson fighting outside; Dax and White battling on the apron, Dax kick to the gut, piledriver on the way, Jay wiggled out to elevate Harwood over back-first onto the apron, he recovered to look for a powerbomb, the two dragged one-another all the way over the barricade, spilling into the crowd, the ref calling for the doc as Cash looked on.

A hush over the crowd as they and I wondered whether this was legit or not.

Another vicious chop-fight answering the question, still in the crowd, big right from Dax knocking White on his ass, suplex onto the concrete, Harwood back to the ring to break the count.

As the ref and doc again looked over the New Zealander.  Who was hooked back into the ringside area via double suplex, Robinson attacking straight after, he took one too onto the ringside mats.

All four feeling the effects now, FTR struggling inside, the ref counting out the heels, White just sliding back in before ‘ten’.  Struggling across to tag Juice, FTR holding each other up across the ring, White slumping in the ropes, falling to his knees, Robinson holding his back as all four eyed one-another.

Appreciative cheer from the crowd as they struggled to the middle to go face-to-face once more, fans to their feet in fact.  Four-way fistfight, Cash and Juice taking a nasty spill to the outside via suplex as the ads arrived.

Dax down in the corner, White eyeing him, stomping his boot Sweet Chin Music-style to angry boos, readying the superkick only to instead sweep an exhausted Dax into the Sharpshooter, the boos louder, White absolutely reveling in them.

Tremendous heel work.

Dax making the crawl, nearly there, dragged back middle, White wrenching back, Harwood finally muscling his way to the ropes and freedom.  As the second hour of the show began.

Harwood using the ropes to get to his feet, back to ol’ reliable – the chops, dropping Juice with a right, taking White upstairs, belly to back from the top, Harwood unable to cover, the fans counting along with the ref as both tried to rouse themselves, Dasha announcing five minutes remained.

That did not feel remotely like 55 minutes – best complement you can give.

Harwood about to bag the tag, Juice took Cash off the apron and flung him into the steps, White hit a chop block and sleeper suplex with a bridge for another close call.

As McGuinness very openly rooted for the heels before emphasizing he was ‘trying to stay as unbiased as I can’.  Just brilliant.

White to his feet, Bladerunner coming, Dax blocked it, swept the legs, Sharpshooter, huge cheer, Cash in to block Juice and sweep him into one too – so full of adrenaline he almost couldn’t get the hold – crowd roaring on the champs.

The heels face-to-face in the middle, locking hands to stop each other tapping, until tired legs forced FTR to release the hold.  Really nice touch, totally believable.

Harwood pulled his knee-pad down, Robinson looked for Pulp Friction, was again swept into the Sharpshooter, Harwood able to synch deeper with his knee able to bend more, as Robinson tapped.

Just phenomenal.  After twenty minutes I was thinking last week’s was better.  But this built brilliantly – to near falls, to finishes and ultimately to the Sharpshooter tap.  No better way to end a match in Calgary.  I’ve literally got goosebumps.

My favorite match this year.  Unbelievable.

Afterward, FTR respectfully offered a handshake, BCG ignored them, to boos and chants of ‘shake their hand’.  Instead, the heels spat at the mat.

This ain’t over.

Winner: FTR

Package hyping Blood and Guts.  Clips of prior matches combined with current promos.  Omega talked about the heels trying to force them ‘out of our own company’.  Mox ranted that they weren’t scared of the Elite or Ibushi.

Willow Nightingale vs Ruby Soho (Owen Hart Women’s Final)

Backstory: Soho cheated her way past Skye Blue; Willow defeated Athena

Damn these two are in a tough spot.  Not even much of a palette cleanser between matches.

Crowd up and clapping for Willow.  As Ian Riccaboni did the most cringeworthy rap I’ve ever heard.  Props for having the balls to do it but man was that awkward.  Nigel called him ‘Vanilla Arse’, as opposed to Vanilla Ice.

Right to a lockup, not a good idea, Soho sent sprawling.  She came alone here.  Presumably Saraya will be along in time.

Whip to the ropes, tilt-a-whirl, Ruby slipped behind, kept seeking an armdrag, again Willow too strong, proving it via shoulder block.  Then mocking Ruby with a ‘L’ sign and wagging her tongue.  Charisma to burn.

As she hooked a powerbomb, Soho slipped free, knees and strikes, thinking suplex, Willow reversed it, three amigos, lastly a fisherman with a bridge, count of two.  As the announcers emphasized Willow only wrestled her semi last night and Athena really worked over her left knee.

Ruby threw a series of knees to the face, count of two.

Break.  A long one.

Back to a Willow enziguri, duck under, lariat, another, chop in the corner, caught with an elbow but rebounding to hit a stampede.  An awkwardly slow slip behind/pin sequence followed, Soho hit a strike against the ropes, Willow hit back, crowd very quiet.

Soho victory roll for two.

Willow hit back with a spinebuster and single-leg crab, Ruby got the ropes.  Then grabbed the spraypaint which she’s apparently just allowed to leave on the ring apron.  She gave it to Willow, Aubrey confiscated it, Ruby poked the eyes and hit No Future, Willow kicked out.

Soho grabbed the spray once more, tried to spray Willow, who hit a pounce, Babe with the Powerbomb, 1, 2, 3.

Right result thank god.

Tough spot, match was fine for the time it had. But certainly didn’t feel like a final or a big deal.  Though Willow was emotional on receiving the trophy.

Confetti and etc fell as Riccaboni talked about Owen.  Nightingale went to the ramp where ‘Cowboy Tony Khan’ (Nigel’s words) was waiting in a big hat to hand her the trophy.

Winner: Willow Nightingale

Footage of how Ricky Starks got to the final, emphasizing QT of course.  Uh-oh.  Don’t like where this is going.

*****

Schiavone backstage last week with Hobbs, QT & Harley.  Marshall insisted there’s no way he’d intentionally sabotage him.  Hobbs said ‘Remember, your word is your bond’.  After QT vaguely said something about fighting the biggest and baddest in the company to prove to Hobbs he was telling the truth.

Hard to find any logic there.  Can’t get Miro or Scorpio on the show but always time for QT.

Kings of the Black Throne vs ???

Backstory: None

I’m begging for a Malakai single.  Must’ve been well over a year now.

The HOB had Andrade’s mask with them.  AEW didn’t bother naming their opponents in any way.

Andrade hit the ramp, Malakai eyed him then hit Black Mass to win.  A few meagre refs were able to prevent Andrade going after the thing he supposedly can’t live without.  At least as of last week.

Winner: Kings of the Black Throne

This announcing’s been fantastic btw.

CM Punk vs Ricky Starks (Owen Hart Men’s Final)

Backstory: Starks fluked by Hobbs; Punk did the same vs Joe

Curious about this one.  Don’t think Starks is bad but I’ve never been ‘grabbed’ by his matches.  While Punk’s had good ones since returning.  Time for Ricky to shine.

And he got a nice response.  Punk very mixed, certainly more boos than last week.  He wrestled in shorts once more, pink Hart Foundation-style ones.  And looked like he was enjoying his reaction.

The announcers continued the ‘he gets a reaction’ stuff as ‘CM Punk’ chants duelled with heavy booing and ‘Let’s go Ricky’.

Bell rung, lockup, the two battling around an arm wringer, Starks coming out on top – to a headlock duel as the chants continued doing the same, great atmosphere.  Punk headlock takeover, Starks leg scissors, Punk kip-up, repeat.  Fast start.

The chants continuing as Punk worked a headlock, Starks to his feet, shoulder blocked down, responding via headlock takeover, this time Punk responding via leg scissors as the roles reversed: Starks now working a headlock, whipped in, drop down, leapfrog, shoulder block, mocking Punk by mimicking the GTS signal.  To some boos.

Back to the middle, lockup once more, headlock once more, whip once more, the two seeking hip-tosses, right across the ring, until Punk sent Starks outside with one.  To boos of his own.

He held the ropes, inviting Starks back in as the youngster complained about Punk trying to beat him in a match – ‘the hell was that!?’.  Very strange.

Break.

A little repetitive so far.

Punk missed a charge in the corner, Starks worked the shoulder with elbows then hit his rope-strut blow to it.  Posing as Punk spilled outside.  Then holding the ropes for the vet, returning the favor for earlier.

Punk refused the offer.  Coming in on the other side, back to the lockup, to the corner, stiff chop from Punk, snapmare, kick to the spine, bodyslam, before an homage to the Hitman: leaping axehandle/forearm off the buckle, shot to the gut, Russian legsweep, floatover, count of two.

Crowd mostly booed that sequence.

To a chinlock – chants of ‘Owen’ starting, something the crowd could finally agree on, as Starks fought free but was immediately taken back down via leg lariat.  Heavy booing.  (It’s very interesting that the same crowd who cheered FTR so fully are booing Punk)

To the buckle once more, thinking axe handle again, Starks popped up to sweep him off into a one-count.

Ads.

Punk running knee-strike, Starks down in the corner, Punk readied another, Starks got the boot up, looked for a tornado ddt, Punk flung him off, magistral for two, Starks countered for two of his own.

Both guys up, another knee-strike in the corner, Starks blocked the subsequent short-arm; hit a very sloppy springboard tornado ddt for two.  To the top, he took too long, missing an elbow, Punk hammerlock/clothesline combo, Starks kicked out at two.

Punk shots from the mount, crowd chanting for Starks, both missed clotheslines then collided with stereo cross bodies.  The ref counting both to their feet, at five when they reached their knees, slugging it out – yay/boo – Starks rocking the vet, rapid shots, crowd behind him, Punk to the buckle, he countered a wheelbarrow into a piledriver but was slow to cover.

Two only.

GTS time, signal made, Starks on the shoulders, fighting free, ducking under, Spear hit, Punk rolled outside to escape being pinned.  Starks went right after him, flung him back, second big Spear, Punk rolled through with it into a guillotine, Starks got the ropes with his boot.

Starks set atop the buckle, Punk avalanche hurracanrana, they countered back and forth in-and-out of pins until Starks grabbed the ropes to leverage the win.

Riccaboni certainly didn’t criticize him for this.  Bit strange after he’d been so good all night.  McGuinness said it showed gumption.  They raced away to end the show.

Ricky’s clearly going heel, so the way he won was fine both times.  Crowd made what was a very average match seem a bit better.  And now it’s time to see if AEW follow-up.  Will Starks brag about winning this all year or immediately forget about it like Cole and Britt did in 2022?

Winner: Ricky Starks

 ________________________________________________________________

Next Dynamite:

  • MJF & Cole vs Sammy Guevara & Daniel Garcia (Eliminator Tourn Final)
  • Kenny Omega, Young Bucks, Adam Page & Kota Ibushi vs Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta, Claudio Castagnoli, Konosuke Takeshita and Pac (Blood & Guts)
  • Jack Perry vs Hook (FTR Title)

Thumbs Up/Down

  • The three advertised matches could all have gone either way – that level of unpredictability’s rare on AEW tv
  • BCG vs FTR & the ‘Revival’ of tag team wrestling (hopefully?)
  • The crowd
  • Young talent winning the Cups

 *****

  • The HOB/Andrade story remains thin
  • A month’s-worth of shows – still nothing of note for Miro, or Scorpio Sky
  • Wrestling heavy – no room for angles – certainly not ones people will tune-in to see the next step of. It seemed almost like a standalone show – they didn’t even advertise anything for next week

Appreciate you reading.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

 

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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