This week’s AEW Collision featured FTR defending the Tag Team Titles against MJF & Adam Cole while CM Punk revealed what was in the bag.
The XL Center in Hartford CT, brings us episode seven of AEW Collision. The card is somewhat of a mixed bag. There are two incredible matchups. I’m stoked for Andrade El Idolo and Buddy Matthew in a ladder match. Collision has already had many high-caliber memorable matches. This episode has possibly the most meaningful match yet pitting the World Tag Team Champions FTR against the winners of the Blind Eliminator Tournament. Better Than You BAY BAY; MJF and Adam Cole. The rest of the card seems pretty random. Let’s get to the action!
The opening video packages saw Darby Allin issue an open challenge, MJF/Adam Cole wearing Double Clothesline shirts claiming they will win the Tag Titles while FTR says “and still top guys”. Loud “A-E-Dub” chants to open the show. We are starting out with the ladder match!
Ladder Match: Andrade El Idolo def Buddy Matthews – A replay of the buildup to the match involving Andrade’s mask. It’s not the strongest storyline. That won’t matter to me if they deliver a classic match here. Andrade hit a nice moonsault off a ladder on the outside while the refs held it. They got the ladders involved early as they should. Buddy threw a ladder hard into Andrade’s face. It looks like Matthews legitimately hurt his shoulder. He tries to get the doctor to pop it back in headed to our first commercial break. Dr. Sampson must have fixed it as the match continued.
After a great sequence of hard strikes, Andrade went for a spear through the ropes. Matthews caught him and reversed it into a DDT on a ladder that was draped between the apron and announce table. Ouch. That looked brutal for both guys. Matthew introduced a table and then climbed a ladder for the first time. Andrade knocked him off the ladder and leveled Buddy with his beautiful spinning elbow. Both wrestlers climb a ladder on the outside leading to Andrade hitting a sunset bomb onto another ladder. That drew “Holy Shit” and “This is awesome” chants. Awesome spot. The refs were holding the ladder again.
Buddy destroyed Andrade with a knee after pulling him off a ladder. Julia Hart handcuffed Andrade to the ropes. He was able to get the keys from Hart and unlock himself quickly. Andrade handcuffed Matthews to the rope and threw the key into the crowd. Julia gave bolt cutters to Matthews. He was able to free himself while Andrade climbed a ladder with Hart on his back. She eventually climbed off onto the other side of the ladder and slapped Andrade 3 or 4 times. He caught her hand and tossed her off the ladder into Buddy’s arms who fell through the table. It was a safe bump for Julia. Really creative spot that allowed Andrade to retrieve his mask and win the match. Rating ***¾
Gino’s take – Splendid opener as I expected from these 2. The striking looked so good from both guys. Buddy really stands out as a striker. I think he’s the best in AEW. I thought we would get a post-match angle involving Malakai Black. We didn’t get it. I think we should have that with All In and All Out now just weeks away. It seems like there should be a match involving Andrade and House of Black on one of those shows. The refs holding the ladders is cheesy but it wasn’t that bad in this match. Production did their best by not putting the cameras right on the refs.
Tony Schiavone is backstage with Miro and asked him about a battle coming soon. Aaron Solo came out and attacked Miro with a chair. Miro quickly got the advantage and laid out Solo.
Gino’s take – I want Miro to have a storyline. I don’t think him feuding with QTV is interesting at all if that’s where they are going. Perhaps Powerhouse Hobbs will stay with QTV. There isn’t anyone in that group that can give Miro a challenge but Hobbs is credible enough to do that.
Darby Allin def Minoru Suzuki – Nice! When Darby opened the show with an open challenge, I wasn’t expecting Suzuki to accept it. Darby aggressively took the fight to Suzuki to open the match. It really just pissed off Minoru as he dropped Darby with one lethal forearm. Suzuki was in control during the commercial break choking out Darby with the tape he was wearing on his midsection. Allin tried to exchange chops with the legend which turned out to be a mistake. Darby went for a Coffin Drop. Suzuki caught him with a sleeper hold. Darby managed to roll through and pin Minoru who still had the sleeper locked in. Really good finish! Rating ***¼
After the match, Christian and Luchasaurus taunt Allin from the big screen. Christian called the TNT Title his before correcting himself to ours since it’s actually not his at all.
Gino’s take – The match didn’t go very long. It was a good way to give Darby a decisive win over a quality opponent. The action was fast-paced at first followed by a methodical beatdown from Suzuki until the surprise finish. Good stuff. Darby is working at a very high level. My wife said he’s the face of AEW right now. He’s definitely one of the only guys working both shows. The video package was a simple way to continue building Darby vs Luchasaurus at All Out.
We go to another video package hyping Toni Storm and Shida’s Women’s Championship match on Dynamite 200. It’s a good matchup they could have held off a week or 2 to give it more heat. Shida earned the shot by beating Nyla Rose on Rampage.
Samoa Joe def Gravity – Jobber entrance for Gravity. Gravity moves slowly like he’s in a zero-gravity chamber. It’s similar to Orange Cassidy in a way. I guess this match has something to do with the TV Title in ROH. I don’t watch it so that doesn’t do anything for me. Joe mocked Gravity’s schtick to the delight of the crowd. He hit the Muscle Buster and it was over just like that. Rating: SQUASH
Gino’s take – Gravity represented one of AEW’s worst booking flaws in this match. They bring in a lot of talented wrestlers only to have them lose every match. It’s happened to every Luchador. In this case, Gravity got a jobber entrance and was squashed so maybe he’s not someone AEW is high on.
CM Punk/Ricky Starks in ring segment
CM Punk comes to the ring to talk to Schiavone. He has the red bag. The crowd is very loud. It’s mixed but mostly positive. Punk panders to the Hartford crowd. Punk mentions Wembley Stadium and asks if he’s the first to bring it up. I think he is. It’s about time to start building that show! As we all knew the title Punk never lost was in the red bag. He says he’s the real-world champion. He’s not wrong that no one has beaten him for it. He spray-painted an X on the title. A lot of spray paint in AEW. Punk claims to be Collision’s champion. The crowd did not like that.
Ricky Starks comes out to the ramp. He asks for his music to be played and then comes out again. The announcers acted surprised to see him. That was funny. The crowd is hot for Starks. Ricky says he’s sold on gold. Nice line. Ricky says he’s the real-world champion and the face of Collision. There was a dueling “Ricky’s Title”/“CM Punk” chant. Punk says he needs a special guest referee. Starks said Punk might need to go to Stamford to get somebody. The shot at WWE drew a good reaction from the crowd as usual. The match is next week on Collision and Ricky the Dragon Steamboat is the special guest referee.
Gino’s take – This was very good. The crowd wasn’t as loud as I would have expected. Punk and Starks showed a lot of emotion. They did their best to pop the crowd who reacted well to a lot of it but not all of it. There was heel vs heel dynamic that didn’t seem to resonate. While it’s an exciting main event for next week, I don’t like doing the match so soon. It could have been saved for All In or All Out. My wife said “that’s pretty interesting” when it was announced. I think her reaction was fitting. It was a good segment. It’s a cool match but it was lacking a big fight feel. Punk introducing a “new” title is a huge development. I think if they announced this as the first match for All In it was have had a far bigger impact. Especially with Steamboat as referee.
They showed the same video package for the Tag Team Title match that they showed on Dynamite. I’m looking forward to the match. It wasn’t a bad idea to show it.
Bullet Club Gold (Juice Robinson & The Gunns) def El Hijo Del Vikingo/Action Andretti/Darius Martin – “Ass Boys” chant to start the match. A very early commercial break. The faces hit an amazing triple team where they launched Vikingo from the top rope into a senton on all 3 of their opponents on the outside. That was incredible. The Gunns hit 3:10 to Yuma on Darius Martin for the win. The heels had a cutout of Jay White with them that Juice brought into the ring to celebrate the win. Rating **½
Gino’s take – Nothing special here. I thought the faces might win because Jay White wasn’t in it and what was the point of doing the match if not? I get that BCG are the more pushed wrestlers but the faces are talented and lose every match. These matches just aren’t very interesting with such obvious results. The Jay White cutout was the best thing about the match.
Mercedes Martinez def Keira Hogan – Typical piss break spot for the women. Mercedes hit a pretty good looking swinging neckbreaker type move that I thought was going to end the match. They went to commercial instead. Hogan had some decent strikes and actually fired up the crowd a bit. Martinez slapped on a nasty looking submission called the Brass City Sleeper according to Ian. It’s a combination surfboard and dragon sleeper. Hogan tapped out but Mercedes didn’t release the hold. Rating **½
After the match, Kris Statlander came out to save Hogan and foolishly dropped her title as she went to check on her. That allowed Mercedes to level Kris with the title. Willow Nightingale chased off Martinez to end things for now.
Gino’s take – Talk about a thrown together match. It doesn’t get more random than this. Ian Riccaboni called them top contenders. I don’t remember seeing either woman on TV in months and I’m not sure if either has a meaningful win in AEW. That said, it wasn’t terrible and the post-match angle gives us a couple of potential new rivalries. It wasn’t spectacular but any kind of build for the women is positive for AEW. I’m going to focus on that and say this wasn’t bad.
AEW Tag Team Championships: FTR (C) def Better Than You BAY BAY (MJF & Adam Cole) – The crowd is on fire for MJF and Adam Cole like always. I don’t usually have a rooting interest in wrestling matches. I do in this one. I really want Cole and MJF to win. I’d mark out. I don’t think it’s going to happen but I have no idea how this will end. There are so many possibilities. It’s exciting. This truly is an outstanding main event. I’ll probably get a Double Clothesline shirt. The crowd is chanting it to open the match. The crowd is also chanting “FTR”. Not surprisingly the crowd is louder for this than any other time in the night.
The first Double Clothesline attempt came just minutes into the match. The crowd booed loudly when FTR thwarted it. They’ve been chanting something most of the first 5 minutes or so in the match. Including “Bash his nuts”. That’s a good one. The sports entertainment spot will likely be MJF bashing Dax’s nuts while the referee is distracted or down. Very good start to the match. Things got intense with Dax and MJF slapping each other going into the commercial. MJF DDT’d both FTR and made the tag to Cole. MJF plays the face in peril very well. Dax ducked out a second Double Clothesline attempt.
MJF and Cole hit a superkick/tombstone combo on Wheeler for a brilliant near-fall. Another Double Clothesline attempt broken up by Dax. This has been an excellent match. A traditional tag match that isn’t silly like we’ve been seeing from Cole and MJF. FTR hit the Power and Glory suplerplex/splash combo. Cole kicked at 2. Slingshot powerbomb from Dax to MJF for another two count. Loud “A-E-Dub” and “Fight forever” chants. The ref was distracted so Max hit shattered dreams and crushed Dax’s nuts just like I wrote he would. Cash broke up the pin attempt. There was a lot of action at the end. Dax Harwood won with a rollup on MJF after he saved Adam Cole from taking the Shatter Machine. Rating ****
Gino’s take – Tremendous main event. The right team probably won. I loved the storyline possibilities with Cole and MJF as Tag Champs while also feuding for the World Title. It wasn’t meant to be. FTR are awesome champs. They absolutely deserve the spot they’re in and a big match at All In/Out. The finish was dramatic with MJF saving Cole from the Shatter Machine and then losing the match. I actually thought Cole was the legal man. Maybe that will come up and there will be another match. It’s worth noting they seem to be calling FTR’s finisher Shatter Machine again. It was Big Rig in honor of Brodie Lee for some time. Shatter Machine is a better name even if the tribute was very cool.
The aftermath saw some of the best storytelling we’ve seen in AEW. MJF was devastated and crying for losing the match. He was yelling about how he blew it. MJF was genuinely upset for letting down his new friend. It’s an easy story to believe. Predictably MJF started to get angry looking at his belt, thinking of laying out Cole. Adam had his back turned and started yelling at himself saying he knew it, meaning he knew MJF would turn on him. He held his hands up to let MJF take the shot. Instead, MJF threw the belt down. Better Than You BAY BAY lives on for another day as the friends hug it out twice to end the show! The crowd couldn’t have been happier for this.
Gino’s take – This was perfect! Outstanding cinema. I didn’t think MJF and Cole would win. I didn’t think MJF was turning tonight either. It definitely is too soon to end this program. The match and show ending angle really added the dimension we needed to make the turn more dramatic when it happens. Now as viewers, we may start to believe in MJF and Cole as true friends and a real team. I’m not sure if they’ll keep tagging. I think they should. We know either All In or All Out will have MJF defend the World Title against Cole. It would be a really cool dynamic if they kept trying to chase the tag titles while also facing each other. Whatever the end game is, I hope it’s more creative than the predicable MJF turning on the babyface angle we’ve already seen multiple times in AEW.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Final Thoughts – The ending really helped the overall rating of the show. It was as memorable as anything that has happened in AEW if you ask me. I think the storyline between Cole and MJF could last another 6 months easily. They needed to take this step if it’s going to be a long-term story. I’m not saying it will be but I’m glad MJF didn’t turn on Cole tonight. When he held the belt like he was going to take out Cole it was really easy to believe. That’s why it worked so well when they teased it. MJF turning was the obvious move and it didn’t happen. AEW rightfully gets a lot of criticism for not having compelling storylines. I’m so glad they didn’t end what is possibly the best one they’ve ever had.
The women had their normal bad spot on the show. Mercedes and Hogan made the best of it. It was a decent segment for the women by AEW’s standards. The ladder match to open the show delivered. Andrade has his mask back which I guess is a good thing for him. I would have liked to see him interact with Malakai Black after the win. That is the money match of the whole program. There was a bit of average stuff on the show. I probably would have rated it 7.5 if not for the picture-perfect ending. I was disappointed by Gravity getting squashed. Why even bring in a new guy for that when the roster is so bloated? Miro being attacked by Aaron Solo and possibly having a feud against QTV is very underwhelming. It’s just a way to have a couple more squash matches. Allin and Suzuki was fun in a short match as Darby continues to shine.
CM Punk crowing himself the real-world champion is certainly interesting. It didn’t go over as well with the crowd as it could have. AEW didn’t announce a match for either All In or All Out again. On Busted Open radio, Bully Ray mentioned it would be cool if AEW didn’t announce any matches for All In. It’s actually an innovative concept. Especially considering AEW has sold over 70,000 tickets without announcing a match. I doubt that’s what Tony Khan is doing. TK doesn’t seem to understand timing of big shows and when to start building up to them. We saw more of that tonight. Punk vs Starks with Steamboat as a special guest referee could have been announced for one of the big shows. It would have seemed like a huge announcement. Doing the match next week on Collision one week after Punk made himself champ doesn’t seem like that big of a deal and an obvious result. I’d be surprised if Punk loses next week.
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There was a post match bit with MJF/Cole and FTR that AEW posted that you can see below.