It’s AEW Collision featuring three Continental Classic matches including Bryan Danielson facing Eddie Kingston, Claudio Castagnoli against Brody King and more.
Episode 25 of AEW Collision comes to us from Erie Insurance Arena in Erie PA. I wasn’t able to review the show last week due to Thanksgiving or the week before where I attended Full Gear. Full Gear was fantastic! The Texas Death Match between Swerve Strickland and Hangman Adam Page was insane. It’s definitely the most violent match I’ve seen live.
AEW has maintained the momentum with the Continental Classic. We have three more tournament matches in the Blue League tonight headlined by Bryan Danielson vs Eddie Kingston. I may be hit or miss the next few weeks with Christmas, New Year’s and NFL playoffs around the corner. A fun time of year! Stressful but fun.
Brody King, Claudio Castagnoli, Andrade El Idolo with CJ Perry, Daniel Garcia who got a nice pop, Bryan Danielson to a bigger pop and Eddie Kingston started off the show on a high note hyping up their Continental Classic matches in the show opening promos. Eddie got a similar reaction as Bryan. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Let’s get to the action!
Brody King def Claudio Castagnoli
Gino’s take – Excellent match to open the show. It was hard-hitting as you’d expect. Neither man could gain an advantage the first few minutes. Very hard strikes from both men. Claudio hit an amazing lifted uppercut. He swung King 7 times shortly after that. The crowd loved it. Brody hit his huge cannonball splash. Claudio kicked after a 1 count. King kicked out at 1 after a Death Valley Driver. King got the victory after a piledriver and huge lariat. King had a cast on his right arm that he broke at All In. Kevin Kelly mentioned it could have contributed to the finish. Brody is now tied for the tournament lead with 6 points. I picked Brody to win but it’s fair to call this an upset which is nice to see. Rating ***½
Jon Moxley cut a promo talking about how intense the Continental Classic Tournament is and how banged up he is. He’s sick and tired of being sick and tired. He’s the “ace of the world bitch”. This was tremendous stuff from Mox that felt very real.
Abadon def Kiera Hogan
Gino’s take – The women didn’t get their normal 9:23 timeslot tonight. Abadon did a nice-looking slingshot cutter from the outside. She licked Hogan’s face which was weird. Fitting for her character. Hogan got a little offense. Abadon has an armbar slam type finisher that looks great. The match went about 5 minutes. Abadon has 42 now 43 wins in AEW. I haven’t seen most of them. I’m glad she’s getting more TV time recently. I think she’d be a good opponent for Juila Hart and the TBS Championship. Kevin Kelly mentioned she had her eyes on gold during the match. Abadon looks good in the ring. She has improved a lot. Rating **½
The lights went out after the match. Julia Hart was in the ring. She left after the lights went out again. That made Abadon scream. I guess we won’t have to wait long to see that match. Let’s see who can be the spookiest.
Samoa Joe is backstage with Alex Marvez. Before Joe could say anything, he was interrupted by Roderick Strong and the Kingdom. He did his “ADAM” schtick telling Joe that MJF is the devil. Joe just laughed and walked away. Entertaining short segment.
Andrade El Idolo def Daniel Garcia
Gino’s take – A fast-paced show that has been in-ring heavy. Another great tournament match. CJ Perry was with Andrade looking lovely as always. I really like her top. She was forced to go back to the backstage area. Boo! Daddy Magic Matt Menard was on commentary. He was entertaining and doing a great job continuing the story of Garcia focusing too much on his dancing. This was a back-and-forth affair with both men landing heavy strikes while mixing in some mat wrestling and even a little high flying. Andrade hit a superplex and held on for a three amigos suplex combo. He hit a hammerlock DDT for the win shortly after. That’s 3 points for Andrade while Garcia has predictably started 0-2. Rating ***½
We get a recap of the Gold League matches that took place on Dynamite Wednesday. It’s a smart thing to do to make the tournament seem like a big deal. I’ve liked the way the tournament has been booked so far.
There is a replay of Wardlow squashing AR Fox on Dynamite. I don’t think he’s the devil but I think he’ll be involved in the storyline. The big goon Wednesday could be him. Willie Mack got a little backstage face time. He challenged Wardlow saying AR is his friend. Fine by me. I’m glad to see Mack getting some run in AEW even though we know he isn’t beating Wardlow.
Roderick Strong is out with the Kingdom ahead of their match. More of the same comedy from Roddy as he yelled “DASHA” at ring announcer Dasha Gonzalez.
The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) def Iron Savages (Bronson & Boulder)
After the match, Strong got in the ring and hit a big knee before remembering his debilitating neck injury falling to the mat in pain. He stumbled out of the ring and fell over his wheelchair. That was really funny. Rating *¼
Gino’s take – The Savages did their silly sexual antics but didn’t get much offense. The Kingdom won with a spike piledriver after 3 minutes. It was a little more than a squash. Iron Savages usually look better than they did here. I think it’s likely Strong and The Kingdom are the Devil’s 3 other goons along with Wardlow. While I’m on the topic, Britt Baker is my pick for The Devil.
Ethan Page is backstage with Lexy Nair. Nice to see Page. He says he’s in the best shape of his life. He really is because he looks great. Ethan calls out Kenny Omega for a match next week in Montreal. Sounds good to me!
A recap of Mercedes Martinez and Willow Nightingale’s interactions on Collision recently. I wouldn’t call it a rivalry but it hasn’t been bad when they’ve crossed paths. Kris Statlander is also somewhat involved in this somewhat rivalry. Seems like that’s another match we’ll see soon.
House of Black (Malakai Black & Buddy Matthews) def Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal
After the match, the lights went out. It’s FTR who are coming out to the ring. Malakai grabbed a microphone. He assumes FTR wants to join House of Black. The crowd popped for that. Loud “House of Black” chants. It was a ruse as said by Tony Schiavone. Matthews and Black beatdown FTR. Matthews held Dax making him watch Malakai hit The End on Cash Wheeler. Before hitting The End on Dax as well. Rating **¾
Gino’s take – This was surprisingly a lot better than I thought it would be. I expected a squash. Daniels and Sydal were in control quite a bit. Matthews and Sydal hit dueling Meteoras. Daniels hit a good-looking tope suicida. He’s still got it at over 50 years old. Matthews hit a stomp on Sydal. Malakai wiped out Daniels with Black Mass. I think they call it The End in AEW. The post-match angle worked very well for me. I’m looking forward to FTR facing Matthews and Black. This was the most significant build to that bout. My wife Amber said that was a good development for House of Black and that the House is winning tonight. Well said!
The brilliant “Timeless” Toni Storm is backstage with Renee Paquette. Storm talked about Skye Blue interrupting her Championship celebration last week. She made a joke about Skye only being good for taking pictures of her bottom. Good line. It’s not all Skye is good for but her point is well taken. Skye can be her first challenger. She called the Women’s title “this little huckleberry”. Toni was barefoot so she took off Renee’s shoe and threw it over her shoulder.
After a commercial Skye Blue got some face time backstage and accepted Toni’s challenge. She’s going to have her chin up, tits out and will shove Storm’s shoe up her ass.
Gino’s take – Exceptional work from Toni who continues to get better every week. Give AEW credit for their booking of Storm. Good work from Skye as well.
There was a recap of the outstanding storyline between Adam Copeland and Christian Cage. Their segment on Dynamite Wednesday added a lot of fuel to the fire with Cope telling Christian “go F*ck yourself” just like Christian told him weeks ago. I’m looking forward to their match next week in Montreal even if I don’t think we’ll get a clean finish.
El Hijo Del Vikingo def Kip Sabain
Gino’s take – This was a “standby” match that Tony Khan had planned in case the tournament matches don’t go the full time. It’s not a bad thing to point out. Vikingo’s offense is awesome. He’s been sloppy at times in AEW. Not tonight. Everything he did looked so smooth. Sabian probably has something to do with that. He’s a talented worker. Vikingo hit a crazy Phoenix splash from the 2nd rope on the outside to inside the ring. Sabian had some nice offense of his own including a sit-down package slam. Another Phoenix splash from Vikingo this time on the outside from the top rope. Vikingo won with his 630-splash finisher. Rating ***
Keith Lee is going to be interviewed. Instead, it’s another interruption. Shane Taylor challenges Lee to a match at ROH Final Battle. Lee accepts.
Gino’s take – I’m not a fan of that. I don’t watch Ring of Honor. AEW has made us sit through weeks, maybe months of meaningless promos from Lee and Taylor talking about an eventual match. It hasn’t been interesting at all but I would have liked to have seen the payoff. It’s not something I want to see bad enough to order a PPV of a brand I don’t watch.
Backstage Miro is trying to break into Andrade’s locker room. His hot flexible wife CJ Perry stops him. CJ pleads with Miro to not lay a hand on her client. Miro’s God is gone, he would have ripped Andrade’s head off in the tournament if not. He agrees not to go after Andrade. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Bryan Danielson def Eddie Kingston – Danielson is wearing a huge eye patch that has a lot of padding. Amber says she heard that’s the only way the doctors would clear him and he’s still having double vision. Eddie leveled Danielson with a chop early. That was stiff which was confirmed by Schiavone. Nigel McGuiness is ragging on Danielson as always. He’s been calling him a clam digger. I looked it up on Urban Dictionary. I don’t recommend doing that. Eddie ate a few hard chops and asked for more. Both men have taken a lot of punishment early. Kingston hit Bryan with a belly-to-back suplex on the outside before commercial.
A missile dropkick from Danielson after the break. The combatants exchanged hard strikes while they were down on the mat. Eddie hit 2 firm shots right on Bryan’s broken orbital bone one knocking off his eye patch. Brutal, I’d rather not see that. Eddie hit his spinning back fist which is normally his finisher. Bryan kicked out at 2. Tony went nuts for the nearfall. It wasn’t as over the top as normal because there is definitely a big fight feel here. Eddie is destroying Daniel with more rigid chops. Danielson’s chest is beat red. Yes kicks from Danielson. It only made Eddie mad before he hit a half and half suplex.
Harder Yes kicks from Bryan now. We’ve passed the 15-minute mark. Blackpool stomps from Danielson. He wore himself out and fell to the mat. Both men are doing a great job selling the beating they have taken. “This is awesome” chant. They were down on the mat facing each other. Kingston flipped Bryan off. Danielson hit the Busaiku knee for the win. Danielson celebrated his win and grabbed a sign that said “Eddie is a bum” from a fan and laid it over a knocked-out Kingston. Nice touch. Rating ****¼
Gino’s take – Awesome match. My favorite of the Classic so far. I think the tournament has been very good. I was expecting more matches of this caliber. It’s a minor complaint. I think we’ll get plenty of 4 star matches by the time all is said and done. Kingston is so impressive and likable. He embodies what pro wrestling is to me. Many AEW fans feel the same way. Danielson is one of the greatest to lace up a pair of boots. It’s no surprise they put on another classic match like they did on Rampage back in October of 2021. I think this match result sets up storylines for both wrestlers very nicely. Danielson should be the dominant odds on favorite while Eddie is now in must win situations for the rest of the tourney. It fits both of their characters. It wouldn’t shock me to see a rematch in the finals. Although, I think it’s very likely Swerve Stickland makes the finals as well.
Overall Rating for AEW Collision: 8.25/10
Final Thoughts – It was a wrestling-heavy episode of Collision as you’d expect during Continental Classic season. That’s a good thing for me. The Classic has put the focus back where it needs to be in AEW. It’s giving me early AEW vibes where all the matches seemed like they meant something since everyone was establishing themselves. I won’t say it’s on par with the G1 just yet. I will say it’s already the best tournament AEW has had. I’m excited to see it play out. The outcomes in the matches are less obvious because a lot of the wrestlers are evenly matched. We also know there will be a few upsets as we’ve already seen with Brody King getting wins over Eddie Kingston and Claudio Castagnoli. It was a good crowd all night long. It was a small crowd too. The key there? They were in a 6,000-seat arena so the 3,000-person crowd didn’t sound bad at all.
The rest of the card was obviously of lesser significance. The filler stuff wasn’t as bad as some of what we’ve seen on recent episodes of Collision. There wasn’t a true squash match on the show. The quality of the in-ring work was carried by the Classic but the rest of the show wasn’t a letdown. There really wasn’t anything bad on the show. I would say that even the women’s division is heating up a bit. There were 3 women’s segments in addition to the match which was decent. Maybe the women will finally start getting a little more time. Collision had build to 3 future matches; Julia Hart vs Abadon, Mercedes Martines vs Willow Nightingale and Toni Storm vs Skye Blue. I’m not saying it was awesome TV or anything. I am looking more forward to seeing all 3 matches after what happened on this show. It’s certainly more of an effort than we normally get from the AEW crew. With all the heat they take for the poor booking of the women, I’ll give them credit tonight!
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