AEW Collision Review – April 20, 2024

AEW Collision April 20

It’s AEW Collision featuring some big tag team matches including The Elite vs. FTR & Pac and Bryan Danielson teaming up with Claudio Castagnoli in a Bunkhouse Brawl.

Episode 42 of AEW Collision comes to us from Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois. It’s the second straight week we are getting three hours of AEW wrestling with a “High Flying” 4/20 episode of Rampage taking place after Collision. Rob Van Dam will appear on that show. This is strongest card Collision has had in a long time. For the first time, I can remember the last episode of Collision before a Pay Per View seems like an actual go-home show. Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli are facing Konosuke Takeshita & Kyle Fletcher in a Bunkhouse Brawl, The Elite (Kazuchika Okada, Matthew & Nicholas Jackson) against Pac & FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) and The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) are taking on The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn). It’s as much star power on a show Collision has had this year. Most of the matches feature wrestlers we’ll see on the card Sunday for Dynasty.

Check out the AEW Dynasty preview I did with John Canton right here. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Let’s get to the action!

Adam Copeland, Eddie Kingston & Mark Briscoe def Top Flight (Dante & Darius Martin) & Action Andretti – Tony Schiavone and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary. McGuinness keeps calling Copeland “Angry Adam”. Neither team was able to gain an advantage after a few minutes of fast-paced back-and-forth action. Hot start before a picture-in-picture commercial break. The crowd is strongly behind Eddie Kingston who is in control after break. Everyone is hitting big move after big move. They are tagging in and out for the most part. All six men are down after a triple clothesline times two as called by Schiavone. The crowd chanted “this is awesome”. Copeland hit an Impaler DDT on Dante Martin, Jay Driller from Briscoe to Darius. Kingston hit a spinning back fist on Andretti, followed by a Spear from Copeland then a Froggybow from Mark Briscoe for the win. Rating *** ¾

The lights go out. House of Black is on the big screen above the ramp. They are going to eradicate Copeland, Briscoe and Kingston’s dreams at Dynasty.

Gino’s take – WOW! That was an awesome match. A fitting way to start a go-home show for a PPV. The action was tremendous the whole way through. It never slowed down at all. Every move was crisp. There really weren’t any mistakes. Great job by everyone involved. The post-match promo from House of Black was just a simple way to remind us about the match tomorrow at Dynasty.

There is a video package for the AEW World Championship match between Samoa Joe and Swerve Strickland at Dynasty. It included a replay of Swerve stomping a bunch of security guards on Dynamite. That was an impressive spot from Strickland. I think Swerve should win at Dynasty. I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t.

“Powerhouse” Will Hobbs def CJ Esparza – Hobbs hit multiple World’s Strongest Slams before putting CJ in The Rack making him tap out. Rating SQUASH

Don Callis grabbed a microphone and was booed heavily by the crowd as always. He talked about Hobbs match against Jon Moxley for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship Wednesday on Dynamite. He mostly put himself over like he’s prone to do.

Gino’s take – This was just a way to hype up Hobbs match against Moxley on Dynamite. It was effective enough but I don’t think anyone believes Hobbs has a chance to win.

Another video package for Dynasty airs. This was for Will Ospreay facing Bryan Danielson, which should be a match of the year candidate.

After the commercial, we get another replay from Dynamite where Jericho pushed Taz down causing more trouble with Hook. Jericho now has a promo where he says he is facing Hook at Dynasty and something about “The Learning Tree” which might be his new catchphrase. Jericho says it’s going to hurt him more than Hook.

Gino’s take – I hope Hook wins at Dynasty and AEW moves away from the Jericho/Hook rivalry. It hasn’t been that interesting. I don’t think Jericho calling himself The Learning Tree is going to help.

The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn)def The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens – Max Caster did a rap including a line about cancer killing OJ. It wasn’t terrible. He was able to get through it. There was an awkward exchange between Schiavone and The Gunns before the match. Tony said Bullet Club Gold will lose their match at Dynasty if they walk out. Then Austin grabbed the mic and said they are going to walk out. Seems like they got it backwards. We go quickly to commercial. The Gunns had Bowens singled out for a few minutes. The Gunns hit 3:10 to Yuma on Bowens, Caster hit a mic-drop on Austin Gunn immediately after. Good spot. Colten Gunn pinned Caster with help from Jay White. Colten held Jay’s gold bat he stole from Darby Allin. Rating *** ¼

Gino’s take – A good match that wasn’t too long. There was around six minutes after the commercial. I think it got the right amount of time. This was another match similar to the opener that was fast paced and really didn’t slow down. It is hard to write about when it’s move after move. That’s not a bad thing to me. I know a lot of fans would like to see more selling. One thing I liked about it is I didn’t know who would win. It’s not like the stakes were very high but this is a good kind of match to make between opponents at a PPV.

A replay showing Takeshita taking out Bryan Danielson with a brainbuster on the ramp after his match last week on Collision. Then The Callis Family jumping Claudio on Dynamite. Danielson is backstage with Lexy Nair afterward. He talks about his Bunkhouse Brawl along with Claudio against Kyle Fletcher and Takeshita and his match against Ospreay at Dynasty. Will Ospreay came in and said he had nothing to do with the attack on Danielson or what happened between The Callis Family and Claudio Castagnoli on Dynamite. Bryan said “sure” suggesting he doesn’t believe him. Will said he wanted Danielson at 100% for their match.

Gino’s take – Finally we get some interaction between Ospreay and Danielson. It was very short and to the point. The idea is that their match doesn’t need a dramatic storyline because it’s really just about who is the better wrestler. You could make a good case the match is about who is the best wrestler in the world. AEW has shown a lot of hype videos and replays to build up the match. It’s not they’ve ignored it.

Were shown another replay from Collision last week of Thunder Rosa rubbing make up all over Toni Storm’s face. Toni has a promo after that. This time in color so we can see how bad Thunder made Toni look. Toni says Rosa might be a fighter but she is a star. She had a bunch of funny lines like always.

Bunkhouse Brawl: Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli def Konosuke Takeshita & Kyle Fletcher – It’s been very hard keeping up with all the action on this show. This match is no different as Takeshita and Fletcher jump Danielson and Castagnoli before the match started. Then the teams brawled through the audience. Bryan had Kyle in a fan’s lap and was kicking him. That was funny. My wife Amber laughed for it. Claudio nailed Takeshita with a trash can. Danielson slammed Fletcher’s head into the announce table multiple times. Takeshita attacked Claudio with the ring bell hammer. Bryan choked out Fletcher with a cable similar to what he did to Justin Roberts when he was part of the Nexus that led to him being fired. McGuinness acknowledged it on commentary. Claudio with a Giant Swing on Takeshita.

Fletcher threw powder in Castagnoli’s eyes then got a two-count after a sit-down powerbomb. Danielson is down on the outside bleeding before commercial. Claudio smashed Fletcher’s head on the steel steps multiple times busting him open. Danielson leveled Takeshita with “Yes” kicks. Fletcher and Takeshita hit brainbusters on both opponents. Takeshita got a two-count on Bryan. Claudio and Danielson with hammer and anvil elbows on their opponents. Will Hobbs ran in. He destroyed Danielson and Claudio with Spinebusters. That brough Moxley out. It’s no DQ so it’s all legal.

Mox and Hobbs brawled while Moxley’s “Wild Thing” theme music played. The music played a little too long. Fletcher introduced a chain to the match but wasn’t able to use it. Takeshita tried to powerbomb Danielson on a chair from the top rope. Bryan reversed it into a huricanrana onto the chair. Awesome spot there. Claudio took out Takeshita and Fletcher using uppercuts with a chain wrapped around his arm. Danielson hit Fletcher with a Busaiku Knee then threw him in the Lebell lock. He wrapped the chain around Fletcher mouse forcing him to tap. Rating ****

Danielson has a mic after the match. He said people are asking him why he would do a Bunkhouse Brawl the night before wrestling Will Ospreay. He says it’s because wrestling is heaven for him. He says he’s going to beat Ospreay’s ass before getting the crowd to chant “Yes”.

Gino’s take – The whole thing was incredible. It was a wild physical brawl that saw two wrestler’s bleed. It was a Pay Per View caliber match from Danielson the night before a dream match. The promo after was even better. Danielson saying when he dies his heaven will be in a wrestling ring bleeding was so great. It’s what makes him so likeable as a pure babyface. AEW should have him in that role for the rest of his full-time run. I even liked the run-ins from Moxley and Hobbs. It was short and didn’t take away from the match. This episode has been excellent so far. It’s definitely the kind of show that would make me want to buy a PPV if I were on the fence.

A replay from Dynamite of Willow Nightingale’s interaction with Mercedes Mone. Willow, Kris Statlander and Stokely Hathaway have a backstage promo. Willow talks about Mone and how she’s going to beat Julia Hart at Dynasty. Willow called Hart a bitch to end it.

Skye Blue def Leyla Hirsch – Julia Hart is with Skye. Skye hit a spinning neck breaker on the outside with Hirch’s legs draped on the apron. Cartwheel elbow from Blue with Hirsch in the corner. Leyla gained control by reversing a move from Blue into a suplex. Hirsch hit a flipping German Suplex from the top rope. Leyla seemed to make a mistake and fall. It might have been planned. That allowed Blue to hit a TKO and Dragon Sleeper to put Hirsch away. Rating ** ¾

Gino’s take – A good showing from Skye Blue who was in control most of the match. She has improved a lot in the ring but still doesn’t have much of a character. Amber asked me if I like her better as a heel or face. I told her I don’t think she’s really developed a character either way. It would be good for her to develop some sort of personality along with her improved in-ring abilities. I give AEW credit for booking a women’s match without a commercial. I’m not sure the last time that happened.

The Elite (Kazuchika Okada, Matthew & Nicholas Jackson) def Pac & FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) – They showed a unique shot of Pac from behind the tunnel as he entered the arena. The faces took it to the heels early with Pac mainly working over Okada. It’s another fast-paced match before the first commercial. There has been more selling in this one. There was a faint “CM Punk” chant that was quickly drown out by boos. Pac took out Matthew and Nicholas Jackson with a twisting dive over the top rope. Pac and Dax hit Okada with a spike piledriver for a near fall. Okada was able to get the advantage on Pac after The Bucks distracted the referee. Okada’s chest is really bruised up headed to our second commercial break.

Cash Wheeler did a move in the corner where he dragged Nicholas’s face into Matthew’s crotch. That was funny. Harwood reversed a Rain Maker attempt from Okada into a Sharp Shooter. The Bucks nailed him with a double super kick to break it up. The action is tremendous like we’ve seen all night. It’s another match where the action is too fast to write about everything. Power and Glory from FTR on Matthew Jackson followed up by a 450 from Pac for a cover that was broken up by Nicholas and Okada. Young Bucks hit Shatter Machine and the EVP Trigger on Pac for two near falls. Shatter Machine from FTR on Matthew. Pac hit the Black Arrow on Matthew for the win. Rating ****

The Elite kept the fight going after the match. Daniel Garcia came out to help FTR and Pac. The Elite got the better of him but FTR and Pac were up quickly fighting back. Pac ended up having the Brutalizer on Okada who The Bucks had to pull to safety.

Gino’s take – Pac stood out as being very strong getting the pin on Matthew Jackson and having his submission finisher on Okada to end the show. I think it’s going to be the win on TV lose on PPV philosophy for Pac and FTR. That’s not really a bad thing. Pac and FTR got a big win in a main event so that is good for them. There was a lot of chaos in the match like we normally see in AEW tag matches. I also think there were a lot of times they tagged in and out and followed the rules. It was like that most of the night on a show that was heavy on tag matches. I knew who the legal men were most of the night.

Overall Rating for AEW Collision – 8.5/10

2024 Average Rating: 7.30

Final Thoughts – I think this was the best Collision of 2024. I rated one other episode just as high. This show felt like the most important Collision of the year thus far. AEW doesn’t always do well with go-home shows. I don’t even usually consider Collision a go-home show. This week I thought Collision was much better and felt more important than Dynamite. I’m not sure if that’s going to continue moving forward but it was a good thing to see tonight. This show helped set the table for Danielson and Ospreay tomorrow. Ospreay said he wanted Danielson at his best. Danielson looked as strong as anytime during his AEW run after his match and his promo.

I rated two matches four stars and another three and three quarters. I may have overrated this show but it was refreshing to see a good card for Collision after reviewing average shows a lot of Saturday Nights. I still rarely rate three matches on Collision that high. I doubt I ever have. All the big matches delivered featuring the wild fast-paced action AEW fans love. I really enjoyed almost everything on the show. Making matches with PPV implications helped the match quality a lot because it wasn’t nearly as obvious who was going to win as most matches on Collision. Top to bottom it was an excellent go-home show that would make me want to order the PPV.

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