AEW Collision tonight comes to us from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. After last week drawing 518,000 & 0.16 in the 18-49 demo.
The theme played while the intro video featured all the wrestlers appearing tonight, beginning by highlighting Omega and Max. Don’t know if that’s new or I’ve just missed it previously. Schiavone led comms. again alongside Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness.
Jay White’s music started the show, he came out with the BCG & the BBB. The one that’ll be competed for later by two other wrestlers.
Jay White vs AR Fox
The announcers painted Fox as on a redemption tour and they played a bunch of his highlights. Not optimal but better than usual for wrestlers fans might be unfamiliar with.
Collar and elbow, to the corner, White headlock takeover out, the announcers debated who the real world champ is – Nigel in favor of Jay. Kelly ran through White’s accomplishments as he stomped Fox in the corner. Chops following, Fox whipped to the opposite buckle, getting his feet up, cutter, turn-around enziguri sending White through the ropes, he then hit his run-the-buckle moonsault – never not graceful.
Back inside, White slipped out of a suplex and hit one of his own into the corner and ropes. Fox landed a chop, White asked for more then hit back: ducking a lariat, another stiff chop, whip, hiptoss, low chop, cover, barely one. An angry Fox asked White to bring it but was nailed with a running back elbow, crushed in the corner, ddt, nearly three.
Ads. White’s looking strong here, as he should. And the announcers are doing a nice job discussing the storyline issues including the Gunns trying to wear down MJF with that ROH tag match at Full Gear.
White still on top, more chops in the corner, Fox flurry, rights and kicks, big chop from White cut him off, White sent to the apron, Fox flipped away to avoid a senton before nailing the BCG with a tope con hiro then another onto White on the other side, fans up for that. Spinning suplex back inside, to the top, senton bomb, very near fall. Fans loud for that flurry. TiA.
They hyped and explained the Dynamite main event for Wednesday.
Slowing back down, Fox placed White atop the buckle, White kicked him away but Fox leapt up to drag him off with a Spanish fly, then missed off the top, right into a sleeper suplex, Blade Runner, 1, 2, 3.
Perfect. For most of the match, every time Fox got a flurry he was cut back down by White, finally had a brief comeback with lots of high spots but ultimately lost. Nice action too, building to a flurry at the crescendo.
As BCG were celebrating, MJF – dressed in black – tried to steal his belt back but was spotted and fled through the crowd. Who chanted for the champ. Like that he at least tried it. Awkward situation given that if he had got it back it would’ve negated the Dynamite main event.
Winner: Jay White
The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn backstage, who’ve been champs for ’62 days!’. Max was again banished to face the wall after being catfished by someone messaging him pretending to be MJF. They’ll celebrate 69 Days next Saturday.
And I was immediately happy as Dalton Castle’s music brought us back to the ring. Unfortunately he left after bringing his Boys out. The Gunns stayed out there after the last match.
The Boys vs the Gunns
The Boys sent Austin to the buckle, nailed an elbow in the corner, Austin slammed through one of the Boys then wailed on him in the Gunns’ corner. Colten in, Branden came in too and was flung right back out, 3:10 to Yuma to the other Boy.
This announcing is really good tonight, they keep pushing the main event and the main storylines.
Winner: the Gunns
Video package highlighting MJF & Omega. Max listed his own accomplishments and called tonight’s main event one of the biggest matches in wrestling history. If he beats Omega, that’ll solidify him as the best champ in company history. Omega said he’d have laughed at that notion in the past but now he’s not only protecting his record, he’s protecting his pride as the best. MJF is fully aware of how big this match is. They ended with Omega’s ‘three days bitch’ line from Dynamite.
This was superb. Exactly how you sell a match. So good that part of me is disappointed it isn’t on pay-per-view without the ads and with a clean finish (don’t think we’re getting one tonight).
They repeated the same Danhausen package. He’s ‘very nice; very evil’ you know.
Lexi Nair with Ryan Nemeth backstage. Nemeth bragged about all his new movies and tv shows. But wants to translate that into success in AEW. To do that he needs a top-level manager. So was outside CJ Perry’s office and tried to get a hug off Lexi who said ‘absolutely not’ and left. Nemeth knocked on the door, Miro answered and beat the crap out of him.
Between Nemeth trying for a hug with a reluctant female and Perry’s door listing her as ‘hot and flexible’, this seemed like something from the 1970s. Doesn’t say much for Perry that a bunch of lower-card talents want her as manager.
Hikaru Shida vs Abadon (‘Fright Night Fight’, Women’s Title)
Backstory: Abadon won a 4-way on Rampage
Abadon hope all ye who enter? I’ll get me coat…
Nice reaction for the champ. Silence as the match started. Abadon tried to bite Shida which didn’t help. Shida knocked her down with a shoulder thrust as a dueling chant played. Abadon nailed a flying headscissors then brought out a bone. Yes, a bone, to attack Shida with. Shida blocked it, hit ten punches in the corner, kicked Abadon away, missile dropkick, the challenger to the outside.
Where she disappeared, Shida looking for her but not checking the one place she might have disappeared to – under the ring. Abadon tried to drag Shida under, the crowd died again, Shida then looked around straight ahead of her again and Abadon appeared behind her again. That’s a nasty dose of DBS to bring the break.
The two fighting as we returned, headbutts vs rights, Shida nailed a leaping knee, firing up, broomstick out as the champ headed upstairs, she went for a stomp with the broom between her legs like she was flying on it. I laughed but she looked dumb when she missed.
Abadon brought a bat in, Shida ducked a shot and used it to choke her, the challenger freed herself and ignored all of Shida’s offence, popping up to hit a lariat for two. Then screaming. To apathy.
Rollup for another two, thrust kick, Shida sent head-first to the buckle, Abadon then poured candy out of a bucket – the fans booed ‘cause they thought it was thumbtacks. Abadon hit a blockbuster onto the candy for another two. They exchanged rollups, Abadon grabbed a pumpkin, Shida her kendo stick, she nailed Abadon in the head, hit her running knee for only two. Then grabbed a jack o’lantern to a massive pop, put it on Abadon and hit the Katana to win.
Willow needed to win that 4-way. Then be given a good fifteen minutes here to have an ass kicker; they needed to restore credibility quickly after that shambles on Dynamite. Yet they went with a gimmick cause it’s Halloween. On another week, they could’ve done this match, but not after that.
Toni Storm’s music interrupted the champ’s celebration, she acted weird and danced down the ramp in black and white. Then posed on the announcers’ desk. Schiavone was actively trying not to look at her ass right in front of him which was amusing. Shida just looked bemused which is about the right emotion. Lots of people love this Toni Storm character and I’ve enjoyed aspects of it. I’m just not sure why she’s getting a title shot based on creative p-in-p videos.
Winner: Hikaru Shida
FTR & Ricky Starks promo package. Dax has a lot of respect for Starks as a performer but not as a man. He’s going to beat him like he stole something. Starks said it took he and Bill one night to equal what took FTR years. Like the fact they’re doing promos for the match, which were solid.
Keith Lee and Shane Taylor package. Feels like they’ve been building this for years.
Samoa Joe vs Rhett Titus
Joe came out to his usual huge pop and the crowd chanting his name. Might be the most effective entrance in AEW. Bobby Cruise on ring announcing so even that’s creeping back in.
Titus got a few shots in, an angry Joe nailed a running back elbow, snapping jabs in the corner left Titus a puddle, before being squashed against the buckle, turn-around enziguri, Titus got a little offence so Joe could walk away from a cross bodu off the top, even checking his watch, crowd loved it.
He setup the Muscle Buster, Titus fought free, hit a couple kicks but ran into an STJoe then tapped to the Kokina Clutch. There are squashes and then there are Samoa Joe squashes.
The announcers again mentioned the 8-man on Dynamite and thought Max should be begging Joe to help him.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Recap of Rampage. Which is still featuring QTV. So if you don’t watch there’s your ‘I’m thankful for …’ sorted for Thanksgiving. You’re welcome.
Marshall banged on about defending whatever AAA title he has. And now wants to do that in AEW. No thanks. Very nice of you but we don’t want that.
Renee asked which luchadors in particular he wanted to face; QT wouldn’t say.
Claudio promo – a furious one because Bryan Danielson has a broken orbital bone. He doesn’t know whether the Orange punch or the Rainmaker did it and he doesn’t care. He’s coming for Okada here or in Japan and ‘will make you pay’ (so that sounds like they’re hedging in case BD’s not ready for WrestleKingdom).
Orange he’ll take care of Wednesday Claudio knows what he himself is capable of and it even frightens him a little. ‘You hurt one of the Blackpool Combat Club and now I’m gonna hurt you’.
Beast of a promo. Looked the part; sounded the part.
The announcers sent their best wishes to Danielson so seems that’s legit. Well, except McGuinness who said Danielson could dress up as ‘Mr Glass’ for Halloween. Schiavone said BD needs surgery and will be out till ‘later this year’.
Dax Harwood vs Ricky Starks
Backstory: Starks and Big Bill took the tag belts from FTR
The heels held up the tag belts to mock FTR as the latter made their entrance. The lights went out before the match to almost zero reaction. Then came back up to reveal the House of Black in the crowd. Again to almost zero reaction other than a few barks. Overdone.
Stiff lockup, break in the corner, back to the middle, Starks slipped behind, Dax took him over, Starks fought out of a single-leg. Start again: lockup, corner, break, Starks ducked a wild swing, began working the arm, crowd almost silent, Dax nailed a shoulder block, leapfrog/duckdown, Starks popped up to land an armdrag, headlock takeover from Dax, maintaining the headlock on the mat, they kept cutting to the HOB in the crowd. Lot of wrestling so far, the pair evenly matched.
Starks landed a right hand and a pair of big chops, slap to the face, Dax hit back with hard chops in the corner, snap suplex for one. Scoop slam, Dax to the top, the announcers pushed limited ads for the main event as Dax missed a diving headbutt.
Starks hit his rope-strut axe handle then crushed Harwood’s head against the ropes with his leg, following with a legdrop on the apron. Kelly called him one of a kind and not ‘the next …’. Harwood tried to fight back, Starks kept fighting him off, after a Starks leapfrog Dax used the momentum to fling him outside but was trapped in the ringskirt after baseball sliding out. Starks then nailed a snap suplex on the ramp to bring the break, even saying ‘We’ll be right back’ to the cam.
Back to Dax seeking a superplex, hitting it, both down. Up at seven, Dax ducked wild swings, hit chops and rights, Starks rebounded off the ropes with a stiff lariat, Dax countered a double underhook – series of jabs, Starks countered a whip, Dax pulled him down into an inside cradle for two, O’Connor roll out of the corner for the same, big lariat off the ropes, Starks down, this is really good.
Starks slipped behind a suplex, tornado ddt off the ropes blocked; delayed brainbuster as Dax got two. Harwood missed a spear in the corner, nailing the post, Starks poised for his own, Dax nailed him with a knee as he came in and hit a piledriver. Bill pulled Dax out with the count at two, FTR got in the big man’s face, Dax ran back in to a Starks piledriver for the win. Said it before – don’t mind interference as much when it builds a match. And this did. It was also done clearly behind the ref’s back.
Kelly said this was the ‘door closing on FTR’ as far as a title shot. Schiavone wasn’t convinced.
The lights went down again, Julia Hart appeared on the ramp dressed as a clown, the lights went down again, the HOB were in the ring when they came back up. They and the champs were cornering FTR when La Faccion Ingobernables came out. They stared down FTR but it was a SWERVE BRO! LFI turned around, attacked the HOB and the tag champs fled up the ramp. The House also headed for the hills though walked r/t ran. The announcers talked about LFI and FTR being together in the ring like it was Rock/Hogan.
The first sub-par thing all night – the angle, not the match. Does anyone care about LFI?
Winner: Ricky Starks
Lexi with Andrade backstage. She referred to his interaction with CJ Perry (which you only saw if you watched BotB, they didn’t show it here). Sorry, ‘the hot and flexible CJ Perry’, seems that’s contractually obligated. Then asked about Andrade’s past with LFI. Andrade said he’s a businessman which means it’s ‘my business, nobody else(s)’. Lexi wasn’t sure what that meant.
At least they addressed the LFI thing.
Lexi was now with Statlander, Willow and Skye Blue. Statlander addressed the other two and said they needed to sort their issues. Willow said there was a tension that kept growing between them and they should address this. Blue rolled her eyes for about a minute then said anything she has to say to Julia ‘is between her and I’.
None of that seemed to quite go together.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Hotsauce Somebody
Claudio’s music hit, he came out to a really big pop, marched to the ring, smashed Hotsauce with an elbow, hit a bunch of Rainmakers then an uppercut to win almost instantly. Then briefly applied the LeBell Lock. They’re clearly trying to push him into a top role since both Mox and Danielson are out.
Winner: Claudio Castagnoli
They pushed that the main event was next and showed the two warming up backstage. Samoa Joe appeared to offer MJF his help once more. In exchange for a title shot. Joe said he’d never, ever give him an ultimatum but if he needs a friend tonight just scream his name. ‘DANGERous opponent, I’ll keep my ears perked up.’ Joe’s amazing.
Fairly sure House of Black were supposed to be wrestling tonight but seems they’ve scrapped that.
Kenny Omega vs MJF (AEW Title)
Backstory: MJF’s closing in on Omega’s longest ever reign, this is the latter’s last chance to protect it
Back to Omega’s music, he came out to a nice pop in some very flamboyant gear – black leather jacket, fluffy pink neck along the lines of Hogan’s feather boas and dark shades. JR joined on comms and they again mentioned the stakes – Omega’s record reign on the line. Max came out to another nice pop but don’t think either beat Claudio’s.
Dasha announced the competitors as they limbered up in opposite corners, lights down, crowd chanted along with Omega’s name, Max’s too. Little weird him being announced as the champ while they showed his bare waist.
McGuinness called this unquestionably the biggest match in show history. I rag on AEW for exaggerating. But that’s unquestionably the truth.
The two exchanged a little smack talk, crowd chanted ‘Holy S’, Nigel gave Omega the experience advantage, JR agreed, as MJF rolled free of an armlock. Kenny took Max down, stiff chinlock, Max immediately countered to a hammerlock, Omega took him down by the legs, Max countered back to an armbar, Omega floated over, both free, staring one-another down. Dueling chants through all of that.
MJF grabbed a headlock, whipped in, ducked elbows, Omega dropped down, Max strutted over the top and posed, Omega not happy. He cartwheeled to avoid a body drop, series of rapid takeovers – headlocks and legscissors – both kipped up simultaneously, Omega didn’t quite pull it off, crowd mostly forgave him. McGuinness did a nice job linking this in to the match by giving Max the edge so far (yes I’m aware I’m mentioning Nigel every other sentence, such a fanboy).
Max offered a hand and got the ‘sportsmanship’ chant going. JR said he didn’t believe him. Omega did, shook; Max poked the eye. Babyfaces really should’ve learned that by now. Omega elevated him over, Max splatted against the apron, Terminator clap, Terminator Dive, big cheer. JR really put Kenny over. Max then propelled himself into a leaping press which Omega only just got underneath as they were clearly a little off. Crowd chanted ‘Holy S’ again.
Big cross body off the top from Kenny, Max blocked a whip, Omega vaulted over as he charged, Max countered the usual rana into a stiff powerbomb-backbreaker. Tough landing. Two only.
Max grabbed a chinlock, crowd a little quiet for the first time, perhaps wondering if Omega was genuinely hurt. Omega to his feet, still in the hold, big rights, Max held on to snap Omega over onto his shoulder then nailed an elevated ddt. Omega slow to his feet, Max mocked Omega’s pose and made a masturbation motion. And paid for it: Omega avoided a charge, nailed a snapdragon – ‘IMPACT!’, yelled JR. (No Jim they’ve changed their name again.)
Polish hammer, spinning one blocked, Kenny slipped behind, Max slipped back behind him but took a dropkick to the knee, Kintaro Crusher, for two. Max down, Omega choking him with his own arms, Max to his feet, forcing Omega to the ropes, finally breaking on four. Omega ducked a cheapshot, lariat sending Max over the ropes, Kenny to the apron to springboard into a moonsault, leaving the champ down outside. Another ‘Holy S’ chant, crowd behind Omega.
Max back in, Kenny to the top, missile dropkick to the back of the neck. For two. You Can’t Escape, Max got his knees up on the moonsault. (Amazing Omega’s able to do that sequence with vertigo.) Max nailed a bodyslam, smacked Omega’s face against the buckle, ten punches in the corner, crowd counting along, he bit Kenny on ‘ten’.
Before snapping him by his arm into the corner, Kangaroo Kick coming, hit, big pop, ‘You don’t like this JR,’ stated Nigel; JR remained silent. Omega landed outside, crowd clapping, he ran back in to nail MJF with a kitchen sink to block the subsequent dive, off the shoulder neckbreaker across the knee, goodbye/goodnight, V Trigger coming, MJF slipped outside, Omega nailed a baseball slide and Max smacked against the announce desk. Omega pulled out a table on the other side, set it up, nailed Max with a shoulder to the gut from the apron, sunset flip back in, Max shifted weight, both got twos. Into an MJF backslide, same result, Omega popped up to nail a buckle bomb, Max popped out to hit a big lariat.
Both down, ref counting, near the ropes, the table setup below.
Max to the apron, Omega too firing rights, the champ fought back, Omega blasted him with a knee strike to leave him down. Then readied a snapdragon on the apron. And hit it. ‘He broke the man’s neck!’ yelled Schiavone. A wild-eyed Omega eyed the table, pulled Max up, gutwrench powerbomb off the apron through the table.
Ninety-second break. Which they really emphasized, even putting a clock up in the p-in-p.
Back to both still down outside, they’d spent the previous 90 being looked over by the docs. Kenny up first, Max scrambling up using the apron, both dragging themselves back inside, struggling to their feet, Omega in agony. Big right, Max stumbling before firing back with a chop, yay/yay as they exchanged blows, snapping rights from the challenger, on top now, he caught Max’s boot but also a poke to the eye but followed him into the ropes with a V Trigger; rolling elbow from MJF, things speeding up, both ducking and dodging as they ran the ropes until another V Trigger, OWA coming, Max poisonrana’d out, Omega hit one of his own, both down again, crowd loving this.
They’re mostly respectfully watching now but alive for the big moments – ‘Fight forever!’.
Still down, ref’s count at six – fans chanting along, Omega ran at Max who got an elbow up, stomp to the shoulder off the middle buckle, Omega rolled away to avoid Salt of the Earth, leaping knee, arms captured, Max flipped free to hit some sort of cool inverted driver out of a gutwrench for a very close count. Apologies for not knowing the name.
Max up first: shoulder breaker, thrust kick to the face, Omega countered a suplex into a spinning one of his own, piledriver, Max got his foot on the ropes at two.
Another ninety second break with the timer.
Back to Omega powerbombing Max against the barricade, Max grabbing his ribs, Omega removing the protective guard from the top of the barricade but settling for throwing Max back in after nearly being counted out.
Kenny to the top, Max down, stumbling up to crotch Omega, the champ smacking the mat to psyche himself up before meeting Omega upstairs and humping his face, you read that correctly. Omega responded by slipping underneath, dropping Max face-first against the buckle, V Trigger to the back of the head, snapdragon, roll through, another V Trigger, two slaps.
Champ still down, another V Trigger, another coming, hit, up on the shoulders, One Winged Angel coming – Don Callis hit the ramp and Kenny just dropped MJF to jaw with Callis for ages, Max snagged a rollup, Omega countered back, both got twos, another blistering V Trigger, again Max kicked out. Callis was thrown out, OWA coming again, Max rolled through, Omega countered back, Max countered back, all for two. Omega missed a V Trigger, ending up on the apron, Heatseeker, Omega shoulder up at 2.9.
TiA from the crowd, Max to the middle rope, Panama Sunrise coming, Omega blocked it by hooking the legs, pinning the shoulders, Max out at 2.999999999. So close the fans booed as it seemed like 3, Omega ran at Max who propelled him up, hit a superkick, Panama Sunrise hit, Heatseeker, 1, 2, 3.
This match’s only competition on Collision and possibly AEW tv all year is FTR vs Bullet Club Gold.
Joe was shown watching backstage. As was Wardlow. Max got to his feet, Omega remained down. Will Hobbs shown too watching on – like that, he shouldn’t have been left off tv this week and wasn’t. BCG watching too. All these guys in separate locations of course.
Omega finally struggled to his feet, Max held his hand out, Omega shook it, they hugged, big cheer, Max spoke to Kenny for a long time. They pushed the 8-man Weds for Max to get his belt back. Kenny as one of his partners? Probs be the Acclaimed but that’d be more interesting. Possibly even they partner him with three guys who want the belt?
I can be hard on AEW. Because I want them to succeed. On Wednesday I accused the company of hot-shotting Max vs Kenny. But the way hot-shotting can actually work is if you surround whatever the draw is with a hot show. And this was possibly the best two hours of television they’ve done all year. It was tight, crisp, well-structured, the announcers pushed the relevant feuds and matches, most things were explained in case you don’t follow everything. And most everything had a purpose.
Whether to give the #1 contender a convincing win, give the women’s champ a televised win, Joe a killer squash to keep his momentum, a heated match between Starks and Dax to keep that feud alive and continue Ricky’s ascent, or to emphasize how pissed off Claudio is and what he’s going to do to Orange Cassidy Wednesday. They even squeezed Wardlow and Will Hobbs onto the show amongst a bunch of guys who want the world title. Which was competed for in a thrilling match.
If this was hot-shotting, they got everything they could’ve out of it.
- Claudio Castagnoli vs Orange Cassidy (International Title)
- MJF & TBA vs Bullet Club Gold (If MJF wins he gets his AEW Title back)
- Acclaimed 69 Days as champs celebration
Added to Full Gear (Zero Hour):
- MJF & ??? vs the Gunns (ROH Tag Titles)
- From the get-go they pushed the main event and kept pushing it, that video package helped immensely in making this seem big time
- Announcers better, show tighter, crisper, well-structured, almost no interference
- White vs Fox
- Claudio promo
- Dax vs Starks
- Joe’s speech to MJF and the tease
- Omega vs MJF
- QTV still exists (I so wanted to have no ‘Downs’ but then remembered this. And I cannot lie to y’all)
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.