This week’s AEW Collision saw the World Champion MJF compete in two matches, plus Samoa Joe facing Roderick Strong in the main event with CM Punk on commentary.
It’s “All Elite” Gino Lews back for a review of the July 1st edition of AEW Collision. AEW’s first-ever Canadian tour continues. Collision comes to us from the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
The show was held in the same building as Dynamite and was filmed on Thursday. I haven’t seen any spoilers, but I normally don’t enjoy taped shows as much as live shows. AEW is on a bit of a high coming off a phenomenal Forbidden Door PPV last Sunday. Dynamite was a bit of a letdown after that. Tonight’s card is solid with three Owen Hart Tournament matches. It’s also MJF’s first appearance on Collision. I wouldn’t say it’s a stacked must miss kind of show going in. Let’s get to the action.
We start the show with short backstage promos from Powerhouse Hobbs with QT Marshall, Dustin Rhodes, Roderick Strong and Samoa Joe. They all talked up their matches later in the show. It was the same way they started the show last week. It has a Saturday Night’s Main Event vibe to it. I really like it and hope they keep doing it.
MJF def Kip Morst – MJF is out to start the show wearing patriotic USA gear on Canada Day. Of course, he is. Good move for a heel. He hit a Heat Seeker and pulled Kip up. MJF tapped him out with the Lebell lock? Danielson’s move. Interesting choice. Rating SQUASH
MJF calls the crowd hillbillies and more typical heel banter. The crowd is stupid and dumb. He’s willing to put his title on the line versus anyone from Hamilton. A big dude MJF calls fat comes out. Then Ethan Page! Nice, I like this. Ethan slaps the mic out of MJF’s hand. He pops the crowd as he is from the area. His father moved to Hamilton when he was a kid. Good babyface promo from Page. I like seeing him in this spot. He called MJF a bare minimum bitch. Excellent line. MJF actually accepts his challenge. This is cool. Great way to start Collision.
MJF def Ethan Page – Page is on fire to start. The crowd is into it but not very loud tonight. MJF worked over Page’s knee. “You Suck” chant for MJF. MJF had a single-leg crab in for a long time. Ethan finally got to the ropes. “Let’s go Ethan” chant. A couple of good power moves by Page including a snap powerslam for a 2 count. Page hit a Twist of Fate. It seems like he’s embracing working for Matt Hardy. Powerslam from the top rope but Ethan’s knee gave out so he couldn’t make a cover. Page couldn’t hold MJF up for Ego’s Edge. MJF hit a dragon screw leg whip on the rope which is a nod to Tanahashi. MJF finished Page off with a Heat Seeker. Rating ***¼ out of five.
Gino’s take – Solid opening match. The crowd liked Ethan Page but they don’t sound loud at all. I liked how MJF worked over the knee leading to a clean win for the champ. I’m glad MJF is finally wrestling on TV. MJF teaming with Adam Cole should be a good story. Not wrestling much was a fine enough schtick. It had run its course. I’m glad AEW saw that. Page working as a babyface and hitting the Twist of Fate is an interesting development. The contract storylines are dumb but Page turning face and joining the Hardy’s would probably be good for him. AEW could certainly use him better.
Powerhouse Hobbs def Dustin Rhodes – QT distraction early leading to Hobbs gaining control. QT slammed Dustin into the ring post busting him open. Dustin hit Cross Rhodes then a Piledriver for a near fall. The Piledriver was a bit sloppy but it was a decent near-fall. Rough looking Code Red (destroyer) from Dustin. It actually looked pretty good on replay. Spinebuster from Hobbs. Dustin kicked out at 1. He’s Hulk Hogan now apparently. Nice powerslam from Rhodes. Vintage Dustin. That looked good. QT hit a big right hand while Harley Cameron distracted the ref, Hobbs hit a second Spinebuster for the win. Rating ***
Gino’s take – The announcers mention this is part of the last ride for Dustin. He’s had a great career and it surely must be coming to an end. It would be cool if he got a storyline out of it. I’m not going to crap on the Owen tourney too much this week. However, this would have been a good spot for a Canadian. Maybe Shawn Spears or even Ethan Page. It wasn’t a bad match. A little better than I expected. Dustin got a couple of nice near-falls. There was never really a point where it felt like he might win. The interference to end the match was predictable. I don’t think Powerhouse should have needed it to beat Dustin. You don’t need to protect everyone.
Another video package hyping Strong and Joe later in the show. They have a lot of history. Strong has never beaten Joe apparently. This is probably the main event and they’ve pushed it well. I really like how Collison has promos and video packages to build excitement for matches on the show. It’s something they don’t a lot with the fast-moving presentation of Dynamite. Kevin Kelly confirms it is the main event as the Redeemer Miro makes his entrance. He gets a good pop. Probably as good as this crowd can produce.
Miro def Anthony Henry – Miro worked the crowd like a baby face. The crowd reacted very well to him. He’s had the loudest crowd reactions so far. Henry got in a few shots. His offense looked really good but it only pissed Miro off. Miro destroyed Henry as he should. Rating **½
Gino’s take – Miro kept the Camel Clutch on after the match. I like matches like this to get a monster like Miro over. I think it was what is should have been. Henry even got to shine a bit. I can’t rate it that low. It also didn’t take up much time. Booking Miro in semi-squash matches will be fine for a few more weeks. They need to find a good rivalry for him soon. He should definitely be on either the All Out or All In card.
Bullet Club Gold Interview
Tony Schiavone is in the ring. He introduces Bullet Club Gold (Jay White & Juice Robinson) and officially confirms The Gunns are now part of the crew. I like it. I enjoy calling the Gunns Ass Boys but I think they are moving past that. They seem like a threat with White and Juice. The crowd chanted “Ass Boys”. It’s one of my favorite chants. I will miss it if it goes away. Jay White works the crowd. The crowd is getting louder. The show is getting better. Austin Gunn shooshed Tony while covering his lips. That was funny.
Jay White calls out CM Punk. Jay talks about Punk having his AEW World Championship in the bag. He says keep it in the bag. Jay calls out FTR and had ridiculous names for them. White challenges FTR for the tag titles. CM Punk, FTR and Ricky Starks are on the big screen. Another different touch from Dynamite they are continuing to use on Collision. I like it. The shows should be different. The faces were all very strong talking up their budding rivalry. FTR didn’t accept Jay’s challenge; they will get to them later. Instead, they called out The Gunns saying they used to praise them as the future of the tag division. They actually did do that so it’s good follow up.
Gino’s take – Tremendous promo work. The crowd hated Bullet Club Gold. The Gunns said they had their first tag match only 16 months ago. That doesn’t sound right but I have to admit they are impressive and improving at a rapid pace. Colten and Austin now get outstanding heel reactions. FTR wants to face the Gunns before Jay White and Juice Robinson. That makes sense since the Gunns beat FTR last time they faced them. I’m pretty sure it was FTR’s last loss in a traditional tag match. This whole thing was very good to add tension to the match between Starks and Juice which is up next. It also created 2 future title defenses for FTR. I like the presentation of Collision a lot.
Ricky Starks def Juice Robinson – Awkward looking chop block type move from Juice to take out Starks’s knee. They showed a replay, it was a safe spot. It led to Juice getting the advantage and working over the knee. There were 2 commercials. The crowd isn’t that into it. The action is fine but those things hurt the match quality for me. Juice has been in control most of the match. Starks is doing a great job selling the knee although it doesn’t seem like a huge beatdown.
The crowd did get back into it when Starks made his comeback. Juice got the advantage back with some good-looking offense including a near-fall after a neck breaker type move. The crowd isn’t that into it again but it really is a good match. Starks hit a big Spear. Juice did a comeback of sorts. He didn’t sell the Spear much. Instead, it was an awkward looking roll up from Ricky to get the 3-count. The match got pretty good at times. The ending fell flat. Rating ***¼
After the match Bullet Club surrounded the ring. Punk and FTR came out to even the odds. It got a decent reaction from the crowd. It was split, not that loud. Nigel McGuiness said look at this reaction. On TV it wasn’t that impressive. Maybe it was better in person.
Gino’s take – Considering Hobbs won earlier, the outcome here was an obvious Starks win. I think a Dustin upset would have been good for the show. It wouldn’t have hurt Hobbs that much if they did it right. I would have thought Juice had a good chance to win if we didn’t already know the winner was facing Powerhouse Hobbs. The better way to book it would have been if this match went before Hobbs and Dustin. The outcome might not have been as obvious. The ending hurt the match. I would have gone 3½ stars with a better finish. I do like this rivalry and they continued it here.
Christian and Luchasaurus are backstage. Christian is holding the title. Spears comes up to them. He calls Luchasaurus, Stegosaurus. Not bad. I got a small chuckle out of it. Christian says Spears isn’t dangerous. Lucha roars at Spears to end it. It was silly but there was nothing wrong with it. Hopefully Spears gets his title shot in Canada. That’s how AEW should book the Canadian wrestlers.
Kris Statlander def Lady Frost – Statlander is working the crowd early. The crowd is behind her. Kris has won 10 in a row and 17 out of 18. The crowd is quiet. They do react when Statlander hypes them up. That’s a good sign for Kris. Most of the match looked pretty good. They had a couple awkward looking spots leading up to Stalnder hitting her finisher. They got through it fine. It was another decent match that didn’t stand out. Rating **¼
Gino’s take – Frost is 0-2 in AEW and gets a title shot. I like Frost. She has a strong following. This is an example of how AEW needs to book the women’s division better. An 0-2 wrestler shouldn’t get a title shot. Lady Frost is very talented. A couple wins under her belt would make her seem more formidable. I like the open challenge but they need more credible opponents.
Andrade El Idolo is pissed at House of Black for stealing his mask. He showed good intensity. HOB showed up on the screen behind him with his mask. Andrade got even more mad to end it. It was a good short segment. It was fine that they didn’t get much time this week since they had matches followed by in ring segments the last 2 weeks.
There is a rundown of things to come. One interesting match announced is Bullet Club Gold vs FTR in a tag team title eliminator. White and Juice should win. I wrote last week how the heels need wins if this is going to be a long storyline. The 50/50 booking can get repetitive. It’s also necessary at times in long term rivalries. AEW doesn’t do it much. Perhaps we’ll see more of that on Collision.
CM Punk comes out to do commentary for the main event. This has been a solid show. It could use an amazing main event that pops the crowd.
Samoa Joe def Roderick Strong – Outstanding matchup on paper. I’m a big fan of both performers and excited even though the outcome feels obvious. The crowd chanted “Joe” as he came down to the ring. They do seem more into this match than the rest of the show. “CM Punk” chants as well followed by “Joe’s gonna kill you”. Good strikes early from both men. Punk is doing a good job putting over the performers. I’d like to see him face either one. Punk says he came back to fight guys like this. The crowd is behind Joe, booing Roddy. They are louder for Joe than anyone else on the show. Samoa Joe has mostly been in control. Roddy is holding his own headed into the commercial break.
Strong is in control after the break. It didn’t last long. Joe hit some more power moves and got the advantage back. Olympic Slam from Strong followed up with a Back Breaker. Strong is showing great power lifting Joe. Roderick had a good burst at the end. He went for a big move that ended as a bit of a botch. Probably a DDT or cutter type move. Joe went quickly to the rear naked choke. Roddy passed out without tapping. It covered up the botch well. Rating ***½
After the match, Joe went after Punk with a chair. Security got between them allowing Joe to powerslam Strong onto the chair. That brought Punk into the ring to check on Roddy. Adam Cole came out as well. They are treating this as a huge beatdown. Strong is doing the stretcher job. It’s a little overdone for my liking. That wasn’t a brutal enough beating for a stretcher job. I thought Punk and Cole might interact. It didn’t happen.
Gino’s take – Punk called Collision fans “Colliders.” I like it. I admit it’s a little cheesy. I didn’t love finishing the show with a stretcher job. In AEW we see table spots far more brutal than what Joe did to Strong all the time. The wrestlers are always able to finish the match. Often times they hardly sell it. The announcers mention they are bringing back an old school style of wrestling. Collison does seem like a throwback. The ending was overbooked but in an effective way to put over Joe as a despicable monster.
Overall Rating 7.5/10
It was an enjoyable show. Collision has a nice contrast to Dynamite. It’s been three shows so I think the differences are intentional. There was nothing bad on the show. There was nothing spectacular either. It seems Collision might be more of a consistent wrestling-heavy show that might lack the high spots we often get on Dynamite. Those high spots can be disastrous when they are missed. We saw that Wednesday with that terrible botch between Keith Lee and El Hijo Del Vikingo. Jay White continues to stand out on Collision. I’m really liking the rivalry between Bullet Club Gold and CMFTR. The action was solid all night. Again, not spectacular as no match got a rating higher than 3.5 stars. The crowd wasn’t great. There were reports a few weeks ago that there were something like 800 tickets sold so it wasn’t terrible from that standard.
There were plenty of newsworthy happenings with three Owen Hart Tournament matches and the stretcher job to end the show. However, the Owen matches seem obvious with Punk winning the whole thing and the stretcher job off of one move was out of place in AEW. It would be cool if Samoa Joe beat CM Punk next week. Collision could use upsets if the focus is going to be on the in-ring action. The struggles of the women’s division were highlighted as always. I was worried about what AEW would do with Kris Statlander after she beat Nyla Rose and Anna Jay in open challenges. Sadly, those are 2 of the top women on the roster aside from the ladies involved in the title picture. After 2 weeks Statlander is already out of opponents which is evidenced by her facing an 0-2 Lady Frost.
Thanks for reading. Please follow me on Twitter @GeenoEvel86.