AEW Collision tonight comes to us from the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, CA. After last week drawing 396,000 & 0.11 in the 18-49 demo. Both of which are show lows on non-WWE PLE days. Neither of which should surprise anyone at AEW HQ.
I’ll be back with a PPV preview later btw. This show didn’t give me too much to add.
Kelly introduced the show as we threw to Schiavone in the ring. To introduce Christian Cage. Nigel was excited. And whenever’s Nigel’s excited, I’m excited. Ric Flair is going to be in Sting’s corner at the ppv apparently. Always good to add an aging ‘Legend’ to a match with three other aging ‘Legends’.
There’ll be a four-way later here and the winner will face Cage for the TNT Title on Rampage. Nice they remembered the belt exists. Schiavone went to leave after Cage took the mic but Cage admonished him to do his job and come hold the mic for him. Crowd laughed.
He insisted that Full Gear would be Sting’s last match. He wondered what’d happy to Darby when that happened and he’s available if Allin needs some ‘fatherly guidance’. Cage then said Flair already looks like the Crypt keeper and it’ll be his ‘literal Come to Jesus’ moment if he gets involved.
Then addressed Copeland – crowd chanted ‘Adam’ – who might claim to have come to team with him but Cage knows better. Copeland came to steal his thunder like he always does. He hasn’t been coddled like Copeland and we’ll find out who’s more ready to fight. He told ‘Beth’ (Phoenix) to keep the girls up late to watch because ‘Adam, I am gonna break your neck’.
Finally, he addressed having to defend his title later. He quoted James Harden (just signed for the Clippers, the Lakers’ rivals): ‘I don’t work within the system, I am the system’, which is a fantastic heel line since Harden’s oblivious to how he comes across. Then left.
This was fine but nowhere close to being a good enough ‘go home’ segment. Cage always talks well but had too many issues to address in too short a period. There wasn’t even time for Schiavone to react to Cage threatening to break Copeland’s neck while his kids watched, the announcer just breezed right on to his next question. Kelly picked up a little of the slack afterwards by being disgusted at this threat.
Doesn’t help that only the ring is lit and there are clearly very few fans here.
Backstage, Lexy with the tag champs. Who have an announcement – they’re the BTTEIHNQ (Best Tag Team Ever In History No Question) yet don’t have to be pinned to lose their belts. So they went to Tony Khan who allowed them to pick a stip. So that’s now going to be a ladder match.
That’s called a booking shortcut folks. We’ve done nothing to build the match so we’ll ask the guys to kill themselves. On one day’s build.
Starks did a dead-on Dax impression which was very amusing. And vowed to walk out of Full Gear as the champs and best team we’ve ever seen.
Fun when heels are deliberately uncool and that acronym fits the bill.
Miro vs Daniel Garcia
Backstory: Garcia danced at CJ Perry last week, Miro ‘s happy with neither and promised Garcia would bear the brunt
Kelly did a nice job trying to explain Garcia – being caught between Sports Entertainment and Wrestling, dragged different ways by the ex-JAS etc. Garcia danced on the ramp, Miro stomped the crap out of him in the corner = fair. Suplex out, ripcord lariat, Miro played to the crowd before a gut wrench throw.
He posed as if about to do Garcia’s dance and the youngster struck from behind, snapping jabs, punt when Miro lowered his head, but caught and spiked out of a cross body.
Back to a chinlock, it’s totally unclear who’s supposed to be what here. Garcia slipped out, slipped behind, chop block, dropkick to the knee, some fans in the crowd were singing some of the weird sounds they play in NBA arenas when it’s quiet. He forced Miro to the corner, stomping away, Miro down, running knees in the corner, running dropkick after a whip, another, a third, Miro remained standing and caught the youngster coming in for a fourth with a machka kick.
Except Garcia grabbed his foot on the pre-hold stomp, to his feet, slaps to the face, Miro paintbrushed him, Garcia ducked a kick, belly to back, Miro down. So he danced. Or was going to when Matt Menard hit the apron to tell him not to. Garcia flung Miro into Menard for a near fall via roll-up. Then got a cross face, Miro rolled through, Garcia took him down into the Dragon Tamer, torquing right back, dead center, allowing Miro to grab him by the head and slam it against the mat to free himself.
Machka kick, stomp, Game Over, Garcia passed out.
Pretty fun while it lasted.
CJ and Andrade with Lexy. Who asked if Andrade was happy with his new representation. El Idolo said he was… because she’s hot (Perry must be so proud). She put over Andrade as being ‘born to do this’ so she’s entered him into the Continental Classic. Andrade wasn’t happy about this at first, Perry whispered in his ear, Andrade said he trusted her and they shook hands.
Having a new alliance instantly bicker is something Russo would do so let’s hope that was simply to establish Perry’s powers of persuasion. Decent segment.
Kings of the Black Throne vs the Boys
Kelly very honestly said ‘it may not matter’ which of the Boys is in the ring as he tried to identify who was who. It was Brent I think. Malakai worked the arm a bit before blasting him with a back elbow. Then tagged Brody; Brandon came in too – he tried a cazadora and got slammed on his tailbone instead.
Malakai hit a knee strike, Dante’s Inferno, win.
Winner: Kings of the Black Throne
They played a package of Julia Hart saying Skye Blue turned her back on her and will pay for it. And re: Statlander, the best revenge is success. She called herself ‘the Princess of the Black Throne’ and next TBS champion
Skye warned Julia not to get in her way then told Stat ‘I’m coming for you’. Both very unconvincingly. Don’t know if that’s the gimmick or what.
The champ said the other two had had to change themselves totally to come after her. She gets stronger everyday and ‘It’s gonna take more than just that to beat Stat’.
Julia’s really coming along – she has that vacant/dismissive voice down while speaking with conviction.
Trent Beretta vs Penta vs Komander vs Brian Cage
Backstory: Winner gets a shot at the TNT Title
Digging Cage’s new theme (sorry if it’s not ‘new’ but it’s new to me). Crowd were pretty dead until Penta came out. Continues to baffle how little they do with him and his brother.
A ‘zero miedo’ chant played, duelling with a Trent chant by a section of the crowd. Penta went round doing ‘zero miedo’ to the others till a big boot from Cage. Komander took the big man down via springboard rana, Penta thrust kick off the apron then launched Komander into a tornijo on the big man at ringside.
Penta was prepping a dive when Trent caught him via back elbow to boos. They chopped it up, Trent leaping knee, half and half, Komander in via sboard dropkick, to the top – he tried his rope-walk but Cage tripped him then suplexed him off the apron onto the other two. Looked really dangerous, wouldn’t fancy being a crash mat for a guy that big.
(About forty minutes in, Kelly mentioned that ‘we’ll talk about that as best we can’. ‘That’ being the Swerve/Page story and segment from Dynamite. And that’s the problem with this show. It’s been entertaining enough; you’d barely know there was a pay-per-view tomorrow. They even added a TNT Title defense to Cage’s list of things to address at the top of the show when Full Gear should have been his sole focus.)
Ads. Good start.
Cage nailed a flipping facebuster to Trent, posed and got no reaction – poor guy he’s so good. Penta kicked at his legs, propelled Komander into a dropkick on Cage, leaving him down in the corner – the youngster propelled Penta into a cannonball/splash on the big man.
Then got two on Trent via roll up but saw a cazadora turned into a pair of high-angle Germans, Penta tried to free him via thrust kick but nailed his partner instead then ate a Trent German too. And another, Trent maintaining his grip as Cage got to his feet, Trent tried to German him too, no dice, too strong, the big man took him to his shoulders, Trent countered into a poisonrana, Cage popped up to nail a lariat, both down.
Cage blocked a Komander tornado ddt into a face-first slam from a reverse ddt position, cover, Penta punted him in the head to a big ‘oooh’ from the crowd. Backcracker to Trent went a little awry, cazadora to Cage rolling through into a destroyer on Komander, slingblade to Cage, MIP on Trent, near fall. Nice flurry.
Penta hit kicks to Komander leaving him on all fours then used him as a springboard into a tope con hiro to Cage outside, Komander followed to take out Penta, ran back in, to the top, Trent avoided the rope-walk shooting star, Komander landed on his feet, Trent hooked Strong Zero to win here and lose later.
Fast, athletic, spot-filled match which the crowd enjoyed. Yet it was still quiet so empty is this building.
They replayed Paul Wight being slammed onto the hood of a car Wednesday. Then went backstage to Lexy with Callis and Hobbs. She was disgusted at what they’d done: ‘the word that comes to mind is… brutal’ (more babyfaces need to react to angles like this).
Callis said the real word is ‘out’. Because Wight is done, gone. Hobbs slammed a giant of a man, a living legend, through the hood of a car and broke him, ended him. Lexy asked what that meant going forward. Hobbs said it meant ‘Anyone can get it… I’m 6’3’’, I’m 270 pounds, I’m big, I’m black, I’m jacked’ (crowd popped at that line). He knows Wight’s probably watching from the hospital but warned him to stay away, repeating his ‘anyone can get it’ line.
Nice segment. Be better if he had a ppv match, but that’s good follow-up.
Wardlow vs Evan Daniels (per Kelly, they didn’t announce him)
Wardlow stormed the ring, rushed the dude into a powerbomb, pitch perfect senton bomb (which Schiavone’s never seen him do – somehow it’s endearing when Tony says this), Symphony, ref stoppage.
Not only did he hit the aerial but he accepted the ref stoppage and didn’t continue the beating so clearly they’re going with ‘edgy babyface’. Which is the right call. He needs an edge.
Hard to tell since this crowd’s so small but it seemed he was pretty over here.
They finally got to running down the Full Gear card. Even Toni Storm’s image is now shown in black and white which is a nice touch.
Ricky Starks got his entrance to join on comms. Bill came with.
Dax Harwood vs Rush
Backstory: 2 of the 8 guys competing for the tag titles Saturday
Kelly and Starks did a nice job on comms talking Ladder Match strategy.
Right to the chops, Rush unloaded, Dax took a step back then fired back, Rush smiled. Lockup, Dax slipped under but took a shoulder block, avoided a senton splash, ducked a lariat, both guys crashed together, Rush rolled outside.
Harwood followed, chopping the Mexican up the ramp until taking a back body drop on it. More chops before Rush did his run the guy round ringside smashing him into every barricade thing. Crowd liked it. Starks did more of his dead-on Dax impression, Nigel thought Harwood had joined them on comms.
Back in the ring, they were exchanging more big chops, Harwood hit a flurry of rights in the corner, ran into a big boot, more chops from Rush to Harwood’s already blistered chest. Then his fake-out Bull’s Horns, rolling back into his tranquillo pose, crowd chanted his name.
Rush got two via suplex, Dax blocked a second, dropping behind to land a pair of Germans, standing switch before Rush threw another chop. And an open hand with Dax placed atop the buckle. Dax slapped his face repeatedly, stiffly (these guys ain’t holding back), Rush plummeted to the mat. But popped up to crotch Harwood then superplex him down for two.
TiA from the crowd, Starks tried to take credit for it.
As Rush and Dax just belted each other with open-hands while they had each other’s wrist clutched, fans the loudest they’ve been all night. Dax swung wildly, Rush ducked then just punched Harwood in the face, least that’s what it looked like. Both down, ref counting, at eight as they dragged themselves up via the ropes, opposite corners, they locked eyes and raced into simultaneous lariats until each dropped the other, both popped up, Rush ducked under, belly to back, two only.
‘Let’s go Rush’ as he was up first, seeking a suplex, Dax countered out thinking piledriver, elevated over, tried a sunset flip, ducked a punt, backslide, Rush rolled through, pulled back into the piledriver for a very near fall. Really nice sequence.
They fought to the outside where Rush got in Starks’ face. He held his belt in the Mexican’s which wasn’t smart. Rush shoved him. Back in the ring, Dax was slunk in the corner, Bull’s Horns coming, Rush really milked it, meaning you knew he wasn’t going to hit – and didn’t as Starks nailed him with a Spear. Bill hit the scene too as the rest of the tag guys hit the scene.
Schiavone said that ‘Tony Khan has thrown this thing out’. Are AEW’s refs not even allowed to decide that? They’re the most impotent officials ever.
They built to Brody and Bill staring one another down, each grabbing for the same ladder which just so happened to be there. Kelly did a nice job covering by explaining the ring crew use it to check the lights.
They all brawled, a bunch of refs and security came out to break it up. Decent angle, shame they’ve done absolutely nothing else to build it.
Rush and Dax beat the crap out of each other btw.
Winner: No contest
Lexy was with Action Andretti to get an update on Darius Martin. I can’t even remember what happened and they didn’t show it. The Kingdom wheeled Strong in to say the update is Martin has a weak neck.
Andretti shouted back at them, Strong said he’d found his next victim then shouted ‘ACTION!’. And Andretti just stood there. Until muttering ‘victim, my ass’ as they left. Between this and being mauled by Miro they’ve just killed this kid even deader than he already was.
Buddy Matthews vs Wheeler Yuta
This’ll probably be a belter. But once again it’s time that could be used building and pushing the ppv.
Buddy slipped behind, they wrestled in and out of waistlocks – standing switches and etc, until Matthews began working the arm. Yuta reversed things, working over Buddy’s arm until being taken over via headlock, crowd damn near silent here as they ran through a quick sequence of dodges and counters.
Yuta mocked Buddy and kept offering his leg then pulling it away, bagging a roll-up for barely one then dropkicking the Aussie out though the ropes. He again baited Buddy by offering his leg then dropkicked him back out as he tried to return.
Matthews came back by hurling him into the barricade. Then pump kicked him after perching him on a chair. Back inside, Yuta avoided a rush in the corner by slipping to the apron, shoulder to the gut caught into a draping ddt attempt before elevating Buddy over to join him.
They fought until Matthews had enough and just flung Yuta off to crash against the announce desk.
Buddy nailed a series of kicks until being caught with a forearm which staggered him. Yuta kept nailing him and ducking responses until a flurry left Matthews on his knees. He struck back with a knee, Yuta slipped behind, Buddy fought free but turned into a rolling elbow, hit a bicycle knee, Yuta did his skin the cat back in, countered a slam into a roll-up for two, did his skin the cat again, slipping behind into a German then firing thrust kicks, Matthews again left outside where Yuta dived onto him.
Right back in, Olympic Slam from Yuta for two. It’s good action but hard to get into cause there’s no atmosphere. So quiet.
Yuta took Buddy to the apron, the latter blocked a German then dropped Yuta across the buckle via suplex. Duelling chant re: Yuta as Matthews tried a superplex, Yuta fought him off then booted him down to the apron, firing kicks to the face, leaving Matthews draped over the middle rope, Yuta dived off onto him and bagged two.
Wrists captured, stomps coming, Yuta looked around for a reaction and got none, Matthews avoided the first stomp, rolling him up for two, they exchanged more kicks until Yuta went for a superplex, Matthews slipped under, pair of thrust kicks into a running powerbomb off the top, Curb Stomp, win.
Actually wasn’t sure who was winning this. Refreshing. Good action which would’ve felt much better before a larger, more receptive crowd.
Matthews grabbed a chair until Claudio’s music played and he came out. Again to almost no reaction. ‘Hey there Buddy boy,’ he addressed Matthews, if he wants the attention of the BCC he doesn’t have to cut some ‘spooky promo’ all he has to do is ask. And Claudio likes to make his challenges face to face, in the light.
So challenged Buddy – though wondered if he’d have to get Malakai’s approval first – for Full Gear. Tony Khan just never knows when enough is enough. More is not more. Especially when it’s a match which wouldn’t be anything special – as an attraction – on your average Dynamite.
Winner: Buddy Matthews
Mox/Orange package. Moxley’s sick of showing respect and not getting it in return. Cassidy thought he’d achieved his goal when he won his title back but it didn’t feel the same and won’t till he beats Mox. Mox said he ‘hits like a bitch’ as they showed him shaking off the Punch. ‘It’s gonna be me/I have to beat you’ (Mox/Orange respectively) ended the package, which was short but good.
Ruby Soho & Saraya vs Hikaru Shida & Kris Statlander
Re: the Outcasts, what’s the opposite of don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
Fair amount of time left considering the heels’ limitations. Statlander doesn’t always come across well on the mic but the way she puts over her partners and etc. is good.
Ruby countered an early slam into a headlock takeover, Shida headscissored free, dropkicked her to the corner, went for ten punches, Soho slipped under and tripped her but took a slap. They talked about something going on between Soho and Angelo Parker or something?
Tag to Stat, the faces both in, Saraya was shrieking relentlessly as usual while Soho took a bump despite a Statlander trip coming nowhere near her legs, Shida followed up with a running back elbow, Stat handstand legdrop for two.
Soho scrambled under Statlander’s legs to tag Saraya, they ran a bunch of dropdown/ leapfrogs until Stat ran her through via shoulder block. Julia Hart was shown watching backstage, from an angle people actually watch tv from too. Statlander countered a double-team suplex into a double suplex, tag to Shida as Skye Blue was shown watching as well.
Shida hit ten punches in the corner to Saraya, both heels were underneath her, Soho rolled out behind and the heels slammed Shida down off the buckle.
Angelo Parker was shown watching in the front row, applauding Ruby. They’ve certainly done what they can to not show the in-ring here. Shida got an enziguri to Saraya and tagged out, Statlander ran through the heels with lariats, running uppercut in the corner to Soho, running boot/knee too, fisherman buster for two. Easily the best sequence so far, fast and crisp.
Soho and Statlander dragged each other all the way outside and just happened to end up in front of Parker, very contrived. He was wearing a Soho shirt. Right back in having totally inorganically done the ‘spot’ they needed to do, Soho hit a poisonrana but took a Shida missile dropkick: Saraya in, forearms and kicks, Shida fought off a double suplex and took out Ruby via question mark kick, Shida and Saraya crashed together thinking cross body.
Shida hit a rising knee to knock Soho off the buckle, hit another to Saraya. Parker hit ringside to help Ruby up, Saraya caught Shida off the top with a kick to the face, Knightcap, Statlander saved the pin, Saraya threw her out and saw Ruby and Parker all lovey dovey, Statlander walloped Parker with a lariat in easily the hardest hitting move of the match, Shida hit a Katana to a distracted Saraya.
Not a fan of making Shida look that weak when she has no momentum whatsoever – she basically lost except for their 2:1 advantage. Blue and Julia were shown watching again as the champs celebrated. It was fine.
And AEW are becoming obsessed with friendship and relationship angles, Ruby Soho and Angelo Parker is not one worthy of interrupting any match, let alone a main event.
Winner: Hikaru Shida & Kris Statlander
We went to a sitdown with MJF and Schiavone. ‘Thanks for havin me ya fat old prick, Renee was busy today?’. He said he was just messing around and ‘having fun’. This after Schiavone had said earlier in the show that Max is at the lowest he’s ever seen him mentally.
Tony asked why he was defending the tag belts. Max said he’d made a promise to Cole and as ugly as the Gunns are they’re also that good. He promised to do ‘literally anything’ to keep the belts (so that means Joe’s helping), Cole’s injury is his fault and he’s ‘not gonna let him down no matter what’.
He said the world title means everything to him and when White stole it he was furious. But then remembered White reminded him a lot of himself – White’s insecure, that’s why he stole the belt, trying to prove to himself that he’s worth it. The championship doesn’t make the man, the main makes the championship. He vowed to win cause no one’s on the level of the Devil.
Full Gear marks one year as champ – MJF says he feels pride about that but talked about ‘likelihood’: that of him being conceived right after his mum had just bought a new contraceptive device, that of a guy with several mental disorders being a success, a Jew becoming an pro-athlete, a pro wrestler, of beating all these men, becoming a top guy, becoming the longest reigning champ. ‘All slim-to-none’.
So what’s the likelihood of him coming through Saturday with both belts, becoming the best champ of all time? ‘Slim-to-none… but unfortunately for Jay White and all my detractors, I just so happen to like those odds’.
Pretty good promo to end the show, setting up the odds being against the champ but him promising to come out swinging.
Added to Full Gear:
- AEW Tag Title match is now a Ladder Match
- Claudio Castagnoli vs Buddy Matthews
- Rush and Dax was good if you enjoy wrestlers absolutely walloping one another – at least till the finish
- Honestly I’m searching for things here: the Mox/Orange package was short but good
- And MJF’s promo pushing the ppv was pretty good (though telling us it was coming would’ve been nice, they didn’t mention it till it happened)
- Both good and bad – Starks was really entertaining on comms, he should be talking every week
- They continued the losing formula of no stars; lotta squashes
- And barely mentioned the pay-per-view, making it even more baffling that there were several matches they didn’t push Wednesday
- Crowds, setups and lighting like this make the company seem cold and second-rate
- This wasn’t a show you need to see in any way, shape or form
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.