On the first AEW Collision episode of 2024, FTR faced off with House of Black in the main event while Eddie Kingston had a title defense as well.
The first episode of 2024 and the 29th episode of AEW Collision is live from Bojangles Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s not a particularly strong card to open the year. I’m looking forward to FTR facing House of Black. The rest of the card doesn’t build much excitement for me. Eddie Kingston is defending his newly won Continental Crown Championship against Trent Beretta. Trent is a fine performer. There could have been a more suitable opponent.
Before we get started, please check out my 2023 AEW Awards column honoring the best of the company last year.
We get straight to Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting intro. No show opening promos. The Work Horsemen are in the ring meaning Sting and Darby Allin are starting the show. Ric Flair is out first. It makes sense as it’s his hometown. One of them anyway. Let’s get to the action!
Darby Allin & Sting def The Work Horsemen (Anthony Henry & JD Drake)– The Work Horsemen attacked before the match started giving them the advantage. Darby hit a Coffin Drop on Henry to the outside. Sting laid out Drake with a Scorpion Death Drop for the win. Rating *½
Gino’s take – The Work Horsemen aren’t bad. I don’t think they are the caliber of team that belongs in the first match of the year for Collision. It showed here. Bringing out Sting and Flair was a good way to pop the crowd to open the show. It wasn’t much more than that.
After the match, there was a video package highlighting the rivalry between Darby Allin and the Don Callis family. Sting and Darby will face Konosuke Takeshita and Powerhouse Hobbs on Dynamite. That should be a lot better than this match was. There seems to be an audio issue with a bit of an echo. We quickly get to the next match.
AEW Continental Crown Championship: Eddie Kingston def Trent Beretta– Eddie nailed Trent with a massive chop to the face busting him open. We go to our first commercial with both men on the floor. Much better placement of the first break than we saw in the last episode of Collision. Trent’s mom Sue is ringside showing concern for her bleeding son. The combatants exchanged near falls after a powerbomb from Trent and half and half suplex from Eddie. Beretta hit three German suplexes on Kingston. Gotch-style piledriver from Trent for a good near fall. Kingston hit a back fist and Northern Lights Bomb. Trent kicked out at two. That was great. Eddie finished him off with another Northern Lights Bomb. Rating ***¼
Gino’s take – Decent match with an obvious result. Trent won a 4-way match on Dynamite to earn this shot. I would have liked to have seen Brody King be the first one to challenge for that title since he beat Eddie in the Continental Classic. Trent did well selling the beating Eddie gave him. He got plenty of offense. The blood helped the match.
Tony Schiavone interviewed Kris Statlander and Willow Nightingale earlier today. Kris has a huge lizard on her shoulder. The women talk about how they will continue their momentum in 2024. This didn’t seem to accomplish much.
Hook has a video package after commercial. He’s coming for Samoa Joe. That should be cool. I don’t see him winning the World Championship.
Proving Ground Match: ROH Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) def Kommander & Bryan Keith – Roderick Strong is with The Kingdom. A proving ground match has a ten-minute time limit. If Kommander and Keith win or tie they get a shot at the ROH Titles. There was decent action before the picture-in-picture break with The Kingdom in control. Kommander hit an array of high-flying moves after a hot tag. Kommander superplexed Taven while standing on Keith’s shoulders. Keith launched Kommander into both opponents while on the outside. Good double team offense from the makeshift team. Taven and Bennett won with their double team finisher with about a minute to go. Rating ** ¾
Gino’s take – The stipulation helped the match quality. It wasn’t quite as obvious The Kingdom would win. I thought maybe we’d get a draw. The announcers did push the time limit. They could have pushed it more. Keith and Kommander are about as random of a pairing as you can get. They were pretty good as a team.
Renee Paquette is interviewing Bullet Gold backstage. They are interrupted by The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn. Anthony Bowens says the only way to get the top in AEW is through factions. He brings up what Jay White was able to do in New Japan with Bullet Club. He asks them to “think about it”. It looks like BCG is going to think about it. Interesting development. We’re almost an hour into the show. It hasn’t been a great Collision so far.
Let’s Hear from Adam Copeland
Adam Copeland states he gets an automatic rematch against Christian Cage as the former TNT Champion. He may have forgotten what company he’s in. It doesn’t usually work that way in AEW. He says he’s willing to start from the bottom. He’s in his gear ready for a match. It’s an open challenge. He calls it the Cope Open. It has a nice ring to it. Griff Garisson, Cole Karter and Maria Kanellis come out. I guess they are a team in Ring of Honor. Griff accepts the challenge.
Adam Copeland def Griff Garrison – This probably won’t last long. Griff got the advantage using the numbers game. Schiavone says Garrison looks like a young Copeland. Nigel McGuinness says more like Sexton Hardcastle. Good line there. Copeland took out Karter with a sliding kick. My wife Amber says they are giving this match too much time. Garrison got a nice near fall after a discuss punch. Adam hit a couple of his signature moves and tapped Griff out with a crossface. Rating **
Karter laid Copeland out with a dropkick after the match. Karter ate a spear from Copeland shortly after.
Gino’s take – Christian Cage said Copeland needs to go to the back of the line. Adam said he’s fine starting at the bottom. You can’t get much lower than this. I actually didn’t mind the match. I thought it would be a squash. Copeland talked about wanting to work with Garrison. That may be why he got a little offense.
Ric Flair, Darby Allin and Sting are backstage. Flair seemed more coherent than the last time we saw him in AEW. He hyped up Sting and Darby’s match at Daily’s Place next week. Sting was fired up and did his “showtime” catchphrase. I enjoyed this promo.
Skye Blue def Kiera Hogan – I have to start by acknowledging the impressive ring gear of both women. My wife Amber was singing the song “booty, booty, booty, booty, rockin everywhere”. It’s appropriate. The crowd is quiet at the start. The action was back and forth before the PIP commercial. Hogan hit a thrust kick and strung together a few moves for a near fall. Hogan may be the only wrestler in AEW with more revealing ring gear than Skye. It’s not a complaint, just an observation. Blue hit a TKO into a Dragon Sleeper to tap Hogan out. Rating *¾
Gino’s take – Honestly, there wasn’t much to write about aside from the ring gear in this one. The finishing sequence from Skye looked pretty good.
We got a vignette for Serena Deeb who should be returning soon. I liked this a lot and am looking forward to her return.
Claudio Castagnoli def Andrew Everett – I don’t know anything about Everett. He looks like a jobber. Claudio did the swing. You can’t call it a giant swing against a small jobber like Andrew. Everett got some offense that looked terrible. He flipped from the top rope. Claudio was supposed to hit an uppercut. He missed because Everett missed his spot. Claudio hit a couple of moves and pinned Everett. Rating ½*
Gino’s take – A match like this on a card of this caliber isn’t good enough. AEW has too good a roster for the effort they are putting forward tonight. Claudio announced he’s going to be facing Hangman Page on Dynamite. That was the best part of this. It went a little longer than a squash garnering it the lowest rating I’ve given. I would have preferred if they just did the promo announcing Claudio vs Hangman and not done the match. That was bad. I don’t say that about AEW very often.
Lexy Nair is backstage with the Tag Team Champions Ricky Starks and Big Bill. Starks is wearing a beanie. He doesn’t look like his normal rock-like self. Starks talks about his match against Sammy Guevara on Dynamite. Bill challenges Sammy and Chris Jericho to a tag title match on Battle of the Belts after Collision next Saturday. I like that. It’s one of the biggest matches in the unimpressive history of Battle of the Belts.
Time for the main event. This should be tremendous. There’s no saving this show. This has been the weakest effort by AEW creative that I can remember.
FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler)defHouse of Black (Malakai Black & Buddy Matthews) – We’re having weather here. Our feed paused with Dax Harwood’s butt on the screen. I told Amber I wished that would have happened during the Blue and Hogan match. Just saying. We missed the first few minutes of the match. Our feed came back just in time for commercial. Ugh. Dax Harwood’s family is ringside. It looks like something happened to them. The crowd is chanting “House of Black” after the break. House of Black did a nice job stopping Cash Wheeler from tagging out. I assume he was being worked over before the commercial. Just like that, we go to another commercial. That was fast.
Harwood tagged in during the break. He took some double team offense leading to a two count. Power and Glory double team superplex/splash combination from FTR. Matthews broke up the pin attempt with double knees from the top rope. The crowd chants “This is awesome.” It’s the loudest they’ve been tonight. Cash Wheeler went for a dive. Malakai and Buddy caught him and destroyed him with knee strikes. They threw him over the announce table. This is getting good. Black has a chair and taunts Dax’s family. FTR hit Shatter Machine on Matthews. Black broke up the pin. Spike piledriver on Black on the apron. Loud “holy shit” chant.
Brody King came out. Daniel Garcia took him out with multiple chair shots. Looks like they are continuing their rivalry from the Continental Classic. Sounds good to me! Matthews tried to pin Harwood. Dax reversed it for the three count. Rating ***¾
After the match, House of Black attacked Garcia and FTR. Matthews curb-stomped Wheeler on a chair. Malaki hit Black Mass on Dax with a chair held to his head. He was looking at Dax’s family while doing it. TBS Champion Julia Hart is now ringside ringing the ring bell slowly. House of Black lost the match but came out on top. The crowd chanted “House of Black” as we went off the air.
Gino’s take – The last ten minutes were phenomenal. I think this would have been over four stars if our internet hadn’t crapped out. The story worked with Dax Harwood’s family in attendance. There was a stipulation that FTR had to join House of Black if they lost. That was a strong thread all match. The announcers did a great job putting it over. The post-match beatdown is obviously going to continue the feud with Daniel Garcia now involved. Strong ending to a weak show.
Overall Rating for AEW Collision – 5.75/10
Final Thoughts – I don’t like being critical of AEW. I think they get plenty of that already. I don’t agree with most of it. It normally shows in my ratings. There is no sugar coating this one. This was a bad show. I don’t want to harp too much on it. You can obviously see I didn’t like the show very much based on my match ratings and commentary. Tony Khan, if you’re reading this, hit me up. With the roster you have, I don’t think I could possibly book this poor of a show. I’m not sure how you could have looked at that lineup and thought it would be good.
Please follow me on Twitter/X @GeenoEvel86. Thanks for reading!