AEW Collision Review – April 27, 2024

AEW Collision April 27

This week’s AEW Collision featured words from Swerve Strickland to start the show and that led to Swerve defending the World Title against Claudio Castagnoli in the main event.

AEW Collision is back at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville Florida for episode number 43. It’s the third straight Saturday where we’ll have three hours of AEW programming with Rampage airing after Collision. AEW will go on air right after the NBA playoffs and are expecting their largest lead in to start the show. For that reason, Swerve Stickland will open the show with his first interview since winning the AEW World Championship at Dynasty. For better or worse Tony Khan was able to get AEW a ton of publicity this week making this a somewhat significant show. I thought last week’s episode of Collision was the best of the year. This lineup is not as strong headlined by Bullet Club Gold facing Top Flight & Action Andretti and Toni Storm against Anna Jay. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Let’s get to the action!

No intro this week. The show starts with highlights of Swerve beating Samoa Joe at Dynasty becoming the first African American to win the AEW World Championship.

Let’s hear from Swerve Strickland

Prince Nana introduces Swerve as the champion. There is a “thank you Swerve” chant as Nana handed him the microphone. Swerve runs down some things that happened at Dynasty including Willow Nightingale winning the TBS Championship, Bryan Danielson and Will Ospreay tearing the house down and of course Jack Perry’s return. He praised Tony Khan as someone who put all his faith in me. Swerve called The Elite taking out Khan a bitch move. The crowd chanted “bitch move”. Swerve announces an open challenge for tonight! He says it’s the Dynasty era and he is the leader of that Dynasty before getting the crowd to do his “whose house” catchphrase. Claudio Castagnoli is answering the challenge. Nice!

There is a replay of Tony Khan reinstating Jack Perry on Dynamite then being attacked by he and The Young Bucks. Tony Schiavone says Khan has suffered multiple head and neck injuries. Doctors have said Khan can’t travel. He will be running AEW from Jacksonville. Nigel McGuiness suggests that the EVP’s might run the show if something happens while Tony Khan is out. One thing that still needs to be explained is why there is no disciplinary action against Matthew, Nicholas and Jack. Just using their EVP status as an explanation would work. I do think it needs to be addressed.

Gino’s take – Wow! I was not expecting that. It’s now a much stronger card now. I assume we will see the open challenge in the main event. Swerve was excellent in his promo. The crowd is completely behind him. It was definitely the right time for him to become champion. Schiavone announcing that TK will run the show remotely with the tease from Nigel that the EVP’s may take control is very interesting. This is the kind of storyline that makes me want to see what happens next. It sounds like we could see Jack Perry face Swerve at Double or Nothing. That would be a great opponent for him. I doubt Swerve will drop his title this early but it’s a lot less obvious than with most new champions considering Jack Perry is also at the very beginning of what should be a huge push. Awesome start to Collision!

AEW Trios Championship: Bang Bang Gang (Jay White, Colten & Austin Gunn) def Action Andretti & Top Flight (Dante & Darius Martin) – It might be for both sets of Trios Titles. I really don’t know how it works. “Ass boys” chant early with the heels in control. The faces got the advantage which each of them hitting a dive or high flying move as we go to commercial. Action Andretti got a hot tag and cleaned house including taking out The Gunns with a springboard double elbow. Top Flight hit a double team DDT then a standing Spanish Fly from Andretti for a two count on Austin. Jay White took control after a ref distraction. 3:10 To Yuma from The Gunns to Darius Martin. Action went for the springboard elbow again on White. Jay caught him and hit Bladerunner for the win. Rating ***¼

Gino’s take – Jay White went on social media to say he wanted this match because Dante Martin cost him a shot at the International Championship in the Casino Gauntlet match on Dynamite Wednesday. It’s a good enough reason to make a TV match and explains why Top Flight and Andretti get a title shot after losing last week. Good match that went the right amount of time. It was about ten minutes. The champions looked strong which is what I want to see in a match like this. Bullet Club Gold needs to get new AEW Trios Championships. They are still holding the scissor titles of Acclaimed and Billy Gunn. They should probably just unify the AEW and ROH titles into one set of belts.

We’re shown a replay of the Ladder Match where The Young Bucks won the vacant AEW Tag Team Championships against FTR at Dynasty with the help of Jack Perry. It was a tremendous match. I think it was hurt having to follow Danielson vs Ospreay. I would have been more into it if it was earlier in the show. The crowd was very tired for it.

House of Black has a vignette about how Dynasty went just like they told Adam Copeland it would with a replay of Malakai Black spitting the dreaded black mist into his face. Brody King now has two wins over the TNT Champion. They are accepting the “Cope Open” challenge but he won’t know who he’s facing. He’ll find out May 1st in Winnipeg.

Gino’s take – I expected Copeland to face each member of House of Black when this feud started. It should start with Matthews and end with Malakai at Double or Nothing. I’d like to see Mark Briscoe and Eddie Kingston continue to be a part of the program. I’m enjoying it so far.

Rey Fenix def The Beast Mortos – Great to see Rey Fenix back! The crowd chanted “let’s go Fenix”. As you’d expect there was a fast pace at the start with both wrestlers hitting counters and flying around. Mortos hit an awesome twisting dive through the middle rope to the outside. The Beast who used to be known as Black Tarus has very impressive offense hitting three or four big moves on Fenix. He’s been firmly in control for the first few minutes. The Beast ripped at Fenix’s mask. We got to a picture-in-picture commercial with Fenix basically not getting any offense. Rey finally went on the attack right after we returned from break taking down Mortos with multiple kicks.

Rey landed a spectacular move where he leaped onto Mortos shoulders and then kicked him in the head. The Beast then leveled Fenix with a huge spear. Mortos missed a knee in the corner and went crashing to the outside. That allowed Rey to hit a big tornado splash from the top rope. Mortos hit a crazy move Tony Schiavone called a “lung blower” it’s basically a back stabber to the front. That was followed by a devastating move that was similar to a Widow’s Peak for a near fall. I’d imagine that was The Beast’s finisher. Mortos stalled which allowed Fenix to get up and hit three thrust kicks followed by a rope-walking penalty kick. Frog splash from Rey for two count. Fenix won by reversing a move into a tight victory roll to pin The Beast. Rating ***½

Gino’s take – Welcome back to Rey Fenix who had been out for quite some time now. Great match. That was a lot of fun. Rey took a huge beating. The announcers put it over like Fenix was lucky to win. It really did feel that way even though he was the obvious victor. Outstanding performance by The Beast Mortos. The announcers said he established himself as a threat. I believe that after his showing tonight. This was a lot better as a random match than what we often see on Collision.

We go to a video package hyping up Chuck Taylor facing Trent Beretta in a parking lot brawl later on Rampage. It also covered Trent’s budding rivalry with Orange Cassidy. Cassidy is being interviewed by a woman I don’t recognize. He’s afraid of what Trent and Chuck will do to each other. Kris Statlander comes in and tells Orange they need to go because “he needs us”.

Rush def Martin Stone – Stone looks like a small version of Luke Gallows. I don’t like his chances. Rush hit a running knee sending Stone to the outside. Rush threw a chair in he ring which distracted the ref allowing him to whip Stone with some cables he pulled from under the ring. Rush won with his finisher a running drop kick with Stone laid out in the corner. Rating SQUASH

Rush continued the attack after the match landing his finisher again while the crowd chanted “Rush”

Gino’s take – Great to see Rush back as well. He’s been out with a hamstring injury he sustained in the Continental Classic. Rush and Fenix returning shows how loaded AEW’s roster is. They could definitely improve the quality of Collision if they become regulars on the show. Strong first hour tonight!

There is a replay from Dynamite where Anna Jay attacked Mariah May and Mina Shirakawa after losing her match against Mina. Serena Deeb came out and sat next to the AEW Women’s Championship that Toni Storm had left on the ramp. Serena Deeb is interviewed by the new backstage interviewer. Serena says she is the obvious number one contender being undefeated since her return. She tells Toni Storm it’s not a movie sweetie, it’s real life. Deeb vs Storm at Double or Nothing seems likely.

Toni Storm def Anna Jay – This is not for Toni’s AEW Women’s Championship. Luther and Mariah May are with Toni. Anna looks good in her ring gear. Jay hit a spinning kick to Toni in the corner and a hip attack. That angered Storm who took Anna down with a Thesz Press. Toni knocked Anna onto Mariah May on the outside. That distracted Toni allowing Jay to hit a neckbreaker on the middle rope before a PIP break. Backstabber, DDT and fisherman’s suplex from Storm for a two count. Anna hit a Gory Special for a near fall of her own. Sit-down powerbomb and near fall for Toni. Jay slapped on the Queenslayer choke after hitting a facebuster. Toni lifted Jay up and slammed her while she was on her back. Hip attack in the corner and Storm Zero to give Toni the win. Rating ***

The screen went black and white while Toni celebrated her win with Mariah May in the ring.

Gino’s take – Competitive bout. They had good chemistry together. It was a follow up from what happened on Dynamite that was called a grudge match. I like that a couple matches on the card tonight were following up on things that happened on Dynamite. It’s a good way to keep the action flowing between Pay Per Views without having to have a long-term dramatic story. While it should be good, I don’t think Serena Deeb will beat Toni Storm when they have their match. She is a credible opponent. I’m glad AEW has started the build up for it now. It’s the right amount of time for a rivalry of this caliber if they are doing the match at Double or Nothing.

We’re shown the set for the Parking Lot Fight that will take place between Chuck and Trent on Rampage. Chuck is sitting backstage getting ready. Orange comes up with a dog that he puts in Chuck’s lap. Chuck says not matter what happens to not interfere. They have done a good job building up that match later tonight. I’m looking forward to it.

The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) def Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zac Gibson) – Max Caster did a rap before the match. It was decent. Not very controversial this time. Nigel McGuiness reacted to one of Caster’s lines by saying I can promise you Grizzled Young Vets are not pillow biters. That made me laugh. Acclaimed hit a neck breaker/back stabber combination early on. The teams exchanged double teams in a good display of tag team wrestling. Drake launched himself off his partner Gibson and took out Caster with a flying leg lariat over the top rope. Great move before the commercial. Drake took out Caster with a dive. Max has been isolated. Anthony Bowens landed hard strikes and a fameasser on Gibson after making a hot tag. Scissor Me Timbers from Acclaimed to Gibson followed by their double team lifted powerbomb type move for a near fall.

Caster was slammed over the top ropes onto the ramp landing on some stage lights. Bowens attempted to take on both members of GYV. He got caught up on the middle ropes which led to Gibson hitting a lung blower as called by Schiavone. I haven’t seen that move often but it’s the second time tonight. It’s a good move. Gibson continued to hold Bowens down on top of his knees. Drake climbed to the top rope on the other side of the ring and hit a coast to coast drop kick for a two count. Very impressive. GYV taunted Billy Gunn. That distracted them. Caster came back in and took out Drake. Bowens lifted Gibson on his shoulder and hit a modified powerslam. Max hit his Mic Drop finisher for the win. Rating *** ½

Gino’s take – It was Grizzled Young Veterans debut in AEW. They are a talented young team that should add to a tag team division that has lacked depth if they are sticking around. GYV were very impressive in defeat. I would have liked to have seen them get the win. They are well-known enough that they could have been treated like contenders from the beginning. Matches like this would seem more interesting if there were an upset every once in a while. This would have been a good spot for one. That said, I get why Acclaimed won. We’ll see what’s next for them after dropping the AEW Trios Championships at Dynasty.

We get a replay from Collision two weeks ago when Shane Taylor attacked Katsuyori Shibata. Shibata has an interview with the unnamed interviewer. Her name is Arkady Aura. I don’t remember seeing her before. Lexy Nair is usually is in this role. Shibata is facing Chris Jericho on Dynamite. Shibata uses the translator on his phone to say he’s going to chop down the Learning Tree which is Jericho’s new gimmick. His phone says he will take on Shane Taylor Promotions alone on Rampage. Daniel Garcia comes in and says he’ll team with Shibata. Shibata types into his phone and it agrees. The phone says save me the last dance. It was mildly funny. Rampage sounds like a good show following Collision but I won’t be reviewing it. Main even time!

AEW World Championship: (C) Swerve Strickland def Claudio Castagnoli – Prince Nana is with Stickland as always. The combatants held onto a knuckle lock and matched multiple moves for a couple minutes in a good exchange. Swerve hit three neck breakers the last one with Claudio draped on the middle rope. Claudio press slammed Swerve against a concrete wall near the ring on the outside. You wouldn’t see a wall that close to the ring in most venues. We go to our first commercial break with Castagnoli in control. Flatliner from Swerve to get a two count. Swerve is selling an arm injury. Claudio lifted Swerve onto the set. Swerve ran and landed a spinning moonsault off the stage. Nice spot. 450 splash from Stickland back in the ring. That drew a near fall. The crowd chanted “this is awesome”.

Swerve dead lifted Claudio and hit a brain buster. An impressive display of power. Swerve Stomp from Stickland only gets a two count. Great near fall. Swerve went for the House Call. Claudio reversed it into the Giant Swing. He probably swung Swerve around twenty times before slapping on a Sharpshooter. Crossface from Castagnoli who is doing his vintage spots. Claudio ran the ropes and hit a huge lariat for another two count. Swerve reversed a Gotch-style piledriver attempt into a DDT. Strickland went for another stomp but Claudio caught him on his shoulders and dropped him into an uppercut.

Claudio hit multiple uppercuts with Swerve prone in the corner. Claudio charged Swerve who moved out of the way sending Castagnoli slamming shoulder first against the ring post. Both men are firing up and screamed in each other’s faces. Claudio went for a lifted uppercut but Swerve reversed it into a stomp. Great looking spot. Stickland nailed Castagnoli with the House Call kick to the back of the head. That got the three count to give Swerve his first title defense. Swerve offered a handshake after the match that was reciprocated by Claudio. Rating ****

Gino’s take – Outstanding main event as you’d expect from performers of this caliber. You know Claudio isn’t going to win a match like this but he always delivers when called upon. There were a lot of believable near falls from both men. It’s what you want to see in a competitive Championship bout. Sometimes AEW has their champions go too long in matches against lesser opponents. This wasn’t one of those cases. They got a little over twenty minutes. It felt like the right amount of time as Castagnoli is a credible enough opponent to have a long match with the new Champion. Swerve looked like the face of the company tonight!

Overall Rating for AEW Collision – 8/10

2024 Average Rating: 7.35

Final Thoughts – That’s back-to-back excellent episodes of AEW Collision. It’s something we haven’t seen much in 2024 if this isn’t the first time. I wouldn’t say Collision is back to being booked like a second “A” level show just yet. There does seem to be more of an effort to get more star power and meaningful content on the show. Dynamite featured a huge angle with Tony Khan being attacked by The Elite. There was some criticism that the new Champion Swerve Strickland was not featured enough on the show. He did win a match against Kyle Fletcher but he didn’t get a coronation speech like we normally see from a new World Champion. That wasn’t the case tonight. Swerve was put in a prominent spot to open the show with AEW thinking they will have a large lead in after the NBA Playoffs. Then he had a fantastic main event match in a surprise open challenge against a worthy opponent in Claudio Castagnoli.

The action for the rest of the show was very good as well. There wasn’t a bout I rated under three stars other than the Rush squash match. It was great to see Rey Fenix and Rush return. The Beast Mortos and Grizzled Young Veterans were excellent in their debuts. Talent like that could really elevate the match quality on Collision. I hope AEW doesn’t book them to lose week after week like we often see from newer wrestlers like Shane Taylor, Byran Keith and Queen Aminata. Surprise Championship matches, returns, debuts and four-star main events are what we want to see as wrestling fans. We’ll see if all the publicity TK got AEW this week followed by a great show tonight moves the needle at all. This was the quality of episode I’d like to see every week on Collision.

Please follow me on Twitter/X @GeenoEvel86. Thanks for reading!