It’s AEW Collision featuring FTR and Daniel Garcia facing off against House of Black in a trios tag team match in the main event.
Episode 30 of AEW Collision came to us from Chartway Aena in Norfolk Virginia. Collision did not get off to a hot start to 2024 with the episode last week. There seems to be a new formula for Collision. It could be that Bryan Danielson has been away working in Japan. The lineups definitely feel different after the Continental Classic made most everything feel important. It was almost shocking to see a show with so little at stake last week. Saturday’s episode had a similar amount of star power. Fortunately, it ended up being a much better show!
I wasn’t able to review it when I watched it, so here it comes a couple of days after. Here are my match ratings and a few thoughts.
Adam Copeland def Lee Moriarty – Rating ***
Adam is now 2-0 in the “Cope Open” challenge. It’s definitely something I can get behind. Moriarty is a much more credible opponent than Griff Garrison who Copeland beat last week. Moriarty got a short video package and a little mic time before the match. This is a good way to let Copeland wrestle every week working with a lot of younger wrestlers which we know is something he wants to do. Lee got plenty of offense. Young wrestlers like him will benefit from working with a veteran like Cope. Adam’s new crossface finisher is called Grindhouse. It’s a good name.
After the match, Copeland said he’s still going after Christian Cage.
ROH Six-Man Championship: (C) Mogul Embassy (Brian Cage, Tia Liona & Bishop Kaun) def Lance Archer & The Righteous (Vincent & Dutch) – Rating ***½
Fun match that predictably broke down about half way through. There was so much action with a ton of power moves that it was still very enjoyable. I like all the wrestlers in this match. The crowd reacted big when Jake “The Snake” Roberts got involved leveling Prince Nana with a punch. I wasn’t sure who would win especially after Brian Cage announced he is injured. That helped the match quality as there were a few times I thought either team could win. Kaun pinned Vincent after a distraction for the more heelish team.
Prince Nana challenged Bullet Club Gold to a Six-Man Title match on Dynamite.
Dustin Rhodes def Willie Mack – Rating ***
For me, this was as good as a short match can get. Willie Mack got a chance to hit a few nice-looking moves. However, this was all about Willie selling for Dustin and putting him over big. Mack couldn’t have done a better job in that role. Dustin’s destroyer and Cross-Rhodes looked about as good as you’ll see against a big man. I’d like to see this match again with them getting about ten minutes and Willie getting the win.
Jay White, Austin & Colton Gunn accepted Mogul Embassy’s challenge backstage. It’s a random match that should be pretty good. I can see a title change. I’m not sure if that would be a good thing for the members of Bullet Club Gold.
Hook arrived at the arena. He isn’t scheduled for a match.
“Hangman” Adam Page def JD Drake – Rating ***
Another showcase match which may be part of the new formula for Collision I wrote about in the intro. Drake is a good wrestler and showed it here. It was a competitive match that went longer than it needed. Hangman is from Virginia and the crowd was into the match so I can see why it got a decent amount of time. Page took out Drake’s partner Anthony Henry with a moonsault on the outside before pinning Drake after a Buckshot Lariat. I would have liked to see Hangman get some mic time after the match to push his budding rivalries with Samoa Joe and Swerve Strickland. The crowd would have loved to hear from him.
Deonna Purrazzo def Red Velvet – Rating ***¼
Tremendous debut match for Deonna! Excellent showing for Velvet. They worked together very well. It was a smooth, well-worked, professional wrestling match. Purrazzo looked like a star while Velvet looked like a future star. I liked the spot where Red dragged Deonna through the ropes injuring her shoulder. Purrazzo’s double arm bar submission finisher looked incredibly painful. They got the right amount of time. It wasn’t long or short. Not having a commercial break during the match really helped.
Hook def Kevin Matthews – Rating SQUASH
Just a showcase for Hook ahead of his World Title match against Samoa Joe. Nothing wrong with that. His throws on Matthews were very impressive.
FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) & Daniel Garcia def House of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King & Buddy Matthews) – Rating ****¼
Awesome main event as you’d expect from performers of this caliber when they get over twenty minutes like they did here. Everyone got a lot of time to standout. Daniel Garcia looked the best to me. He could be starting a big push. I’d like to see it. 50/50 booking isn’t a popular booking strategy for a lot of wrestling fans. It works here in a big way. We really never see that in AEW so it feels fresh. This is a personal rivalry that is taking place mostly in the ring. I think AEW would be smart to book more wrestling based feuds like this. Especially if they are moving to a more sports-based product. Harwood took the pin after a Black Mass form Malakai and Stomp from Matthews.
Even though they won the heels kept the attack going after the match was over. Matt Menard who was on commentary was taken out first. Similar to last week Garcia, Harwood and Wheeler got the advantage and stood tall after the taking the loss. It’s clear the rivalry is far from over which is more than fine with me. I like the 50/50 booking here. If you don’t do it too often there is no reason you can’t have two teams or wrestlers go back and forth for a few weeks. If AEW wanted to stick with that premise a Collision main event of Daniel Garcia vs Malakai Black would work very well this week.
Overall Rating for AEW Collision – 7.5/10
Final Thoughts – I’m not sure if there is a new formula for Collision or not. It’s only been two shows in 2024 but we have started out the year with a lot of matches that seem to be showcasing one wrestler over the other. I’m not sure if I like it. It worked Saturday as the crowd was hot for most of the show. My concern is that shows with lineups like this could lead to more issues with ticket sales. Collision’s original format where we see a lot of competitive matches is great and doesn’t need to be changed. There were a few things set up for Dynamite on Collision. That is something I could get behind. It could also position Collision as a “B” or “C” type show. That might not be a good perception long term. It’s still way to early to say. The production on this show felt tight and crisp which was good to see. It was fast-paced and flowed well match to match. Overall, Collision was a good show on Saturday.
Following Collision was AEW Battle of the Belts for one hour on TNT.
Battle of the Belts
Street Fight, AEW Tag Team Championship: (C) Ricky Starks & Big Bill def Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara – Rating ***½
TBS Championship: (C) Julia Hart def Anna Jay – Rating **¾
International Championship: (C) Orange Cassidy def Preston Vance – Rating ***½
Battle of the Belts was solid after Collision. In this case, I think Battle of the Belts added to the overall experience of the show which isn’t normally the case. The Street Fight for the AEW Tag Team Championships and Orange Cassidy defending the International Championship may have led fans to be more excited for the card. The bumps at the end of the Street Fight were insane. Big Bill put Chris Jericho through two tables after Takeshita hit Jericho with a Kendo Stick. Powerhouse Hobbs pulled Ricky Starks out of the way of Sammy Gevara jumping from a set about 20 feet up. Sammy crashed through the stage allowing Starks to pin him.
Julia Hart defended the TBS Title against Anna Jay. It was a decent match although a bit sloppy at times. Both women were trying to sell arm injuries. I think that led to some of the sloppiness. I like Julia Hart a lot. I’m glad she’s in this spot. Her inexperience is showing some in these longer matches. Wrestlers like Thunder Rosa, Britt Baker or Serena Deeb might do better holding a Championship if AEW wants to grow the women’s division. The main event saw Orange Cassidy get a victory over Preston Vance. It was a good showing from Orange like always. They advanced his story with Roderick Strong chasing the International Title. Undisputed Kingdom intimidated Orange after the match and took out Joe the Assistant. It was another strange scene where no one from the back came out to help. Bullet Club Gold was in the building and did nothing. It would get more heat for Undisputed Kingdom if the people they beat up actually tried to get revenge.
Please follow me on Twitter/X @GeenoEvel86. Thanks for reading!