AEW Collision Review – July 22, 2023

aew collision july 22

This week’s AEW Collision featured a big tag team match main event, the AEW Trios Tag Team Titles on the line and plenty more.

The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey hosted the sixth episode of AEW Saturday Night Collision. At first glance, this isn’t as strong of a card as we normally see for Collision. The fallout from Ricky Starks cheating to beat CM Punk last week and win the Owen Hart Tournament should be interesting. House of Black is defending the Trios Tag Team Titles against Acclaimed and Daddy Ass. That’s a rematch and there is a bit of a story but it’s not like AEW has put a lot of effort into building up the match. There really isn’t a clear main event. I still expect it to be an enjoyable show. Let’s get to the action!

The Acclaimed/Daddy Ass, Darius Martin/Action Andretti, Jay White/Juice Robinson speak before Ricky Starks shows up in a luxury car carrying the Owen title to end the show opening video packages. Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting brings us to Tony Schiavone in the ring introducing Ricky Starks as the winner of the Owen Hart Tournament. I thought this might close the show.

Ricky Starks Interview with a CM Punk Interruption

There is a big firework display for Starks which should have ended the show last week. I’m glad he finally got it. Hopefully, Willow Nightingale gets the same treatment later in the show. The crowd is chanting “Ricky” and “you deserve it”.

Starks said he got the job done by any means necessary. He’s cockier than ever tonight. The crowd is still cheering him. He’s definitely acting heelish and more like the Rock. Corporate Rock. CM Punk came out with no music to loud boos. Punk says he’s proud of Starks. Punk is playing the heel tonight as he talks crap on the New Jersey Devils not getting out of the first round. Punk asks Ricky if he can live with the win knowing he had to cheat. Punk left the ring then came back. He said he’s the still the real World Champion and challenged Starks for the title he keeps in the red bag. Christian and Luchasaurus come out for the interruption.

Christian asked CM Punk what kind of man carries around a championship he didn’t win whilst carrying Luchasaurus’s TNT Championship. Top level heel trolling as usual from Christian. There is a lot going on here. Darby Allin comes out. Darby is still friends with Punk. Darby made a funny joke about Luchasaurus taking drugs and thinking he’s a dinosaur. He challenges Ricky Starks and Christian to tag match against him and Punk. The crowd was hot for it chanting “YES”. I mentioned there didn’t seem like a main event and there it is. I don’t mind that at all.

Andrade was banned from the building after what he did last week. It’s ridiculous really. He did nothing. It was just a way to get him on TV since they only had about 15 seconds to devote to his storyline against Malakai Black. It could mean he will interfere in House of Black’s trio’s title defense later in the show. Ian Riccaboni makes the main event official and announces Miro is in action to a good pop from the crowd.

Gino’s take – I like that a few things were announced during the show. AEW normally announces the entire card in advance. I don’t mind it but it’s not necessary every week and seeing them mix it up feels fresh. This was another excellent start to Collision despite not having a match.

Bullet Club Gold (Jay White/Juice Robinson) def Darius Martin/Action Andretti – Bullet Club Gold got a decent babyface-type pop for our opening match. They deserve it after they had masterful performances against FTR the past 2 weeks. The Ass Boys errr Gunns are out with them wearing new Bullet Club type shirts. They look cool. I like Bullet Club merch for the most part. Andretti hit an amazing springboard spinning splash for a near-fall on Juice. The crowd chanted “Ass Boys”. Jay White tossed Darius Martin against the railing as BCG distracted him with over-the-top heel antics before the first commercial.

Martin gets a hot tag after the break and cleans house. He nails both members of BCG with a DDT and gets a 2-count on White. The crowd is enjoying the match. Andretti hit an impressive springboard moonsault followed by a cool double team move for another near-fall on Jay. Bullet Club Gold got the advantage and hit 4 or 5 big moves in a row on Andretti. White hit Bladerunner for the win but the camera missed it. The Gunns continued the beatdown after the match but it didn’t go too long. Rating: ***1/2

Gino’s take – Good match that was given the right amount of time. AEW often gives too much time to matches like this with an obvious result. Darius and Andretti got enough time to stand out while not boring the crowd by dragging out a foregone conclusion.

A recap of Willow winning the women’s Owen Hart Tournament and her match against Athena at Ring of Honor Death Before Dishonor Friday night. I hear it was an outstanding match. Ian called it the best women’s match in Ring of Honor history. I don’t watch ROH, there is only so much wrasslin’ a person can watch. I didn’t think Willow would get fireworks like Starks. At least they mentioned her. Miro is coming out for his match. Nick Comoroto jumps him from behind.

Miro def Nick Comoroto – Even though Comoroto did the heel attack from behind he still got destroyed. This might have been Miro’s shortest match yet. I will call this one what it was. Rating: SQUASH

Gino’s take – I wouldn’t have minded a longer match considering Comoroto took the cheap shot. He has an impressive look. I think it’s a missed opportunity to make him look credible. It wouldn’t have hurt Miro to sell for 3 or 4 minutes considering he got jumped from behind. We need more for Miro than this.

We get a video package of the 5-star match between Bullet Club Gold and FTR last week. Good idea to show that. It was a great moment for the company. No reason not to take a minute and celebrate it!

House of Black def Acclaimed/Billy Gunn – Max Caster said something to Buddy Matthews that was probably a reference to his storyline with Aalyah Mysterio or his relationship with Alexa Bliss. Whatever it was Buddy attacked him before the match started so he couldn’t finish his rap. You know it’s serious if Max doesn’t finish his rap! It actually doesn’t happen much. No scissoring tonight mentioned by the announce team. Caster is getting dominated early. He was almost able to tag Anthony Bowens but Brodie King pulled Bowens off the apron. Daddy Ass took care of King on the outside then got the hot tag from Caster. Billy cleaned house for a few seconds before getting demolished by Brody King with a clothesline and pinned after a Black Mass kick by Black. Uhh what? That was an abrupt ending for sure. Rating: **1/4

Malakai Black and Buddy Matthews whispered something to Billy Gunn after the match. It looks like a show of respect. The announcers mentioned it. Billy started unlacing his boots. The crowd is chanting “No”. He takes off his boots. Loud “You still got it” chant. I certainly wasn’t expecting this. I don’t know if it really means he’s done but Daddy Ass Billy Gunn has left his boots in the ring and walked past the Acclaimed.

Gino’s take – WOW! Nigel McGuiness says he’s stunned. That’s a fair thing to say. It wasn’t a huge moment in wrestling history or anything. It was a nice swan song for Billy if he’s really done and those were his own terms. The match itself was short and below average. It didn’t really matter considering what happened after the match. Of course, it could all just be part of a new storyline. I wouldn’t mind it if it was.

A replay of Darby winning Royal Rampage giving him a shot against Luchasaurus at All Out in September. The Royal Rampage was pretty good. It was obvious Darby would win the way they booked him getting dominated the whole match. There really weren’t any other serious TNT title contenders in the match either.

FTR comes out for an in-ring promo with Schiavone. Cash Wheeler says Adam Cole can’t trust MJF. He knows because they were in the Pinnacle together. Everyone except Cole knows he can’t trust MJF. That’s why it would be a better storyline if it went a long time and Cole ended up turning instead. Dax says MJF and Cole take the tag title match as a joke. The crowd chants “double clothesline”. The chant kind of proves Dax’s point. Yes, the crowd loves the MJF and Cole pairing but if you make it silly as the dance contest on Dynamite you can hurt their opponents. Especially a team that takes their craft very seriously like FTR. Dax says they are going to kick Adam Cole and MJF’s ass.

Gino’s take – Good promo work from FTR. Dax is not wrong about what he said. I think it adds suspense to their match next week. It’s an interesting dynamic for sure. I loved the body slam spot with MJF and Big Bill and the “devastating” Double Clothesline to finish off Daniel Garcia. I think a serious team like FTR could be hurt by being involved in a silly match like that. Harwood mentioned it in his promo. I think FTR is likely to win. I would love a serious match and title change.

They showed a replay of Blood and Guts. It was a brutal brawl. The bed of nails was something I’ve never seen before and wouldn’t mind if I never saw it again. It was certainly unique in a good way but we shouldn’t see that level of violence very often.

Taya Valkyrie def Skye Blue – I like this matchup. Both women could use a win but especially Taya Valkyrie who AEW has really botched so far. Skye Blue has been wearing very revealing ring gear recently. It’s definitely not a compliant and worth noting. The crowd is chanting “Skye Blue” loudly. Taya knocks her to the floor and hits a spear on the outside. Taya hit a nice-looking Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall before commercial. The crowd is pretty hot for the match. It’s been competitive. The women went back and forth hitting big moves before Valkyrie caught Blue, hung her up in the ropes and hit a sliding German suplex. Good move. Taya was in control after that and nailed Skye with her finishing stomp type maneuver for the win. Rating: ***1/4

Taya called out the New Jersey crowd after the match. She acknowledged things haven’t been going her way. It’s nice to see a woman get mic time like this. Taya calls out Britt Baker for a match on Dynamite in Albany on Wednesday.

Gino’s take – I really liked this match. I give a lot of criticism to AEW’s women’s division and it’s rightfully deserved. I’m not going to complain tonight. It was a good match with a result that wasn’t obvious. The right lady won. The more we see competitive matches from the women the more we will care about the division. Taya Valkyrie could be booked like a star. Her promo wasn’t amazing or anything but giving a woman a little mic time and a chance to set up another match is a lot better than we normally get.

There was a short video package for AR Fox who is challenging Orange Cassidy for the International Championship. It wasn’t much but it’s smart to at least show us that Fox has won some matches on ROH. They announce matches for Dynamite and Collision. Both shows look very good but I wouldn’t say stacked cards. They do have a lot of matches booked that make sense based on current storylines so I will say that is good to see.

Ricky Starks/Christian Cage def CM Punk/Darby Allin – Christian is wearing the TNT belt out to the ring. Fitting for his gimmick. Ricky Starks is out next. He’s carrying the Owen Hart Tournament title with him. My wife says she likes that he’s carrying it out. I agree. Adam Cole or Britt Baker never did. It does make the tournament win seem more meaningful if the winner carries the prize. Punk came out to a loud but very mixed reaction. It’s been a really good crowd tonight. My wife points out Starks trunks are a tribute to one of Corporate Rock’s silk shirts. Starks and Christian argue over who should start the match. It’s slightly funny. Sound chicken shit heel work.

Punk gets an early advantage over Ricky Starks drawing a loud “CM Punk” chant. There is a large pro-Punk portion of the crowd for sure! Starks tagged out to Christian who still refused to enter the ring. Christian was mad at Starks for tagging him. That was good. Christian is a classic cowardly heel and getting some of the best crowd reactions in AEW right now. The crowd chants “Absolute” for Ricky Starks after he tags in. Darby and Punk nail both their opponents with double clotheslines to knock them over the top rope. The crowd chants “double clothesline” in acknowledgment of the hottest program in AEW. That was well done.

Punk hits a dive and Darby a Coffin Drop to both opponents on the outside. Punk did really well in this spot. He held his opponents up for his partner and then walked away when Allin hit the Coffin Drop. Too many times in AEW we see a wrestler take a bump from his partner. It’s a small thing but it makes sense to walk away and not take the bump like Punk did. There is about 20 minutes left in the show after the first commercial. This will continue AEW’s trend of very long matches recently. The announcers say Andrade El Idolo will face Buddy Matthews in a ladder match with his mask on the line next week on Collision. I like that. It’s not a super strong storyline but it is a story that has been built up.

There is loud dueling “let’s go Ricky”, “CM Punk” chants. The crowd is really into the match. They show Scorpio Sky sitting in the crowd by himself next to a lot of empty seats. Not necessarily a great shot. Punk got worked over for a few minutes then made the tag to Darby who cleaned house for about a minute before being taken out by Luchasaurus on the outside. There were 2 quick commercials back-to-back. Starks has been dominating Darby for that time.

Allin tried to make a tag to Punk but Starks and Christian outsmarted the faces like we often see in tag matches. Darby does finally get the hot tag to Punk who cleans house to significant boos. Punk did a cartwheel and jump type dance. I thought it was calling out Cole and MJF but it was a nice tribute to Bam Bam Bigelow. I remember Bam Bam doing that. Punk hit a Macho Man elbow on Christian for a 2-count. Starks and Punk go back and forth with strikes. Punk is the face but the crowd favors Starks. Ricky nailed Allin with Roshambo for another great near-fall. This has been an excellent match and the crowd is hot for it.

Darby reversed a Starks superplex attempt into a reverse DDT for a near-fall. That was tremendous. Punk leveled Christian with a GTS on the outside. Luchasaurus is involved now. I think he neutralized Punk but they didn’t show it on camera. Starks reversed a move Darby was planning to do from the top rope. Starks and Allin rolled around for a couple of 2-counts before Ricky grabbed the rope for the 3-count like he did last week against Punk. Rating: ***3/4

Punk was frustrated and pounding the mat after the loss. AEW actually showed a good replay of Starks grabbing the rope for the win. Good production from the AEW crew for a change.

Gino’s take – A very good main event. They got a lot of time and put on a great performance. It wasn’t quite the epic odyssey we’ve been getting on Collision. I think the right team won. Punk can afford to be on the losing end in tag matches like this. Darby losing in fluke fashion doesn’t hurt him as AEW builds towards his match against Luchasaurus at All Out. I really enjoyed this match. I think it was smart for the heels to win ahead of All In/All Out. Ricky Starks has his momentum back which is great to see!

Overall Rating – 7.5

Final Thoughts – Another solid episode of Collision. It wasn’t as good as the last couple of weeks that had meaningful and spectacular matches. There wasn’t anything bad on the show. I liked the women’s match. Taya Valkyrie needed a win and got it. Jay and Juice getting a win after their amazing performance in defeat against FTR last week made sense. I don’t think House of Black and Acclaimed/Daddy Ass was that good although it was impactful if it’s indeed Billy Gunn’s last match. It was another lackluster night for Miro and the Andrade/Malakai Black storyline. However, we will get some advancement for Andrade next week. His ladder match against Matthews should be excellent!

Darby Allin stood out on the show tonight and in the Royal Rampage match Friday. I like the Royal Rampage concept and that Darby won a match that leads to a title shot on pay-per-view. I do think AEW advanced a couple of storylines during the main event. Even though Darby took the pin it was a really good night for him. I would say this was an average edition of Collision. It was a really good show so that’s a testament of how good the show has been so far!

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