AEW Collision Review – July 8, 2023

aew collision july 8

This week’s AEW Collision featured a big CM Punk-Samoa Joe match in the main event, plus FTR facing off against Bullet Club Gold’s Jay White & Juice Robinson in an excellent tag team match.

AEW Collision #4 is live from Brandt Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Check out my past AEW Collision reviews on TJRWrestling here.

Last week was a taped show with a lukewarm crowd. There was a fantastic Canadian crowd for Dynamite Wednesday. Crowd reactions really help or hurt a show for me. I’m hoping for a hot crowd in Regina. I have high hopes for the show heading in. In the short history of Saturday Night Collision, this is the best card on paper. The headliner; CM Punk vs Samoa Joe is a big-time main event. FTR vs Bullet Club Gold should be excellent. There were scheduled to be 3 Owen Hart Tournament matches. Willow Nightingale had to be pulled from the show due to injuries she sustained wrestling in Japan recently. It’s unfortunate. I was looking forward to her match with Athena. Let’s get to the action!

The show starts with short promos from Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, Samoa Joe and CM Punk like we are getting used to seeing open Collision. Joe says Punk has never beaten him. Punk is coming out to tell us about their rivalry. Punk comes out during the intro music instead of his own. Different touch. Punk hyped up his match with Joe but didn’t really talk about their past. He said it’s the biggest match of his career. I don’t agree with him about that. He got the crowd to chant “Owen Hart”. That was cool. Easy way to pop the crowd. He says none of them would be here without Owen Hart. He says he’ll earn the Owen Cup which drew “CM Punk” chants. After that, there was a video package featuring Punk and Joe’s rivalry in ROH. That was cool. Good start to the show!

Ricky Starks def Powerhouse Hobbs – Hobbs came out first before a commercial break. Starks is out after the break to cheers, “Ricky” and “let’s go Ricky” chants. The crowd isn’t super loud, it seems much better than last week. Hobbs has QTV in his corner. They help him get an early advantage with typical heel distraction tactics. Hobbs hit a good looking vertical suplex. There is a second commercial not that far into the match. Starks made a comeback after the break. The crowd is firmly behind him. Ricky took down Hobbs with a jumping clothesline. Hobbs shook it off getting the advantage back quickly.

Hobbs perched Ricky on the top rope. Starks got out of it and hit a massive powerbomb after lifting Hobbs from the top rope. Great spot. Ricky with a terrible looking swinging DDT. Bad spot. He seemed frustrated by it. QT grabbed Starks foot but also distracted referee Aubrey Edwards as Hobbs hit a Spinebuster. He would have had Starks pinned. It was a rare spot where a ref in AEW caught a cheating heel and did something about it. Powerhouse is furious at QT. Hobbs gets in QT’s face and yells for QT to get off the apron. That allowed Ricky to nail Hobbs into QT from behind and land a huge Spear for the win. Rating: ***1/4 (out of 5)

After the match, QT tries to explain his actions to Powerhouse. Hobbs shoved QT down to the delight of the crowd. They are chanting “Powerhouse”. A chant I’ve never heard before. Aaron Solo tried to play peacemaker and ate a Spinebuster for his efforts. Harley Cameron threw herself in front of QT to make the save bringing things to an end.

Gino’s take – It was a pretty good match. I like the referee getting involved in a positive way. The crowd seemed to enjoy it which helped a bit compared to Ricky’s match last week on Collision. I wasn’t that excited about this going in. They had a feud that was mid last year. Starks winning is the right call. If the finals were Punk vs Hobbs, that could have been an ugly match. Harley Cameron is someone who is standing out. For multiple reasons. She deserves the TV time she is getting. Harley gets massive heat which is something not many on the AEW women’s roster do. There is a small backstory between Starks and Punk as they’ve sort of been having each other’s back. It’s slightly possible Joe wins the main event. I’m looking forward to Punk vs Starks if not. It’s the match I expected when the brackets were released. Powerhouse Hobbs turning face doesn’t excite me, but it could easily be better than him being involved with QT Marshall.

Another short video package from Miro. He said his hot wife is also double-jointed. That was funny. There wasn’t much else to it.

Gino’s take – I’m rating the Miro squash matches higher than I should. Building him up as a huge monster is smart. The short matches have been enjoyable. We’re getting to a point where we need more than squash matches and short vignettes.

Willow Nightingale is backstage with Tony Schiavone. She is injured and can’t compete. Athena interrupts her and said she didn’t want to take another L like she did to Giuila. Athena said she got injured taking 3 flights in coach to get to Regina. Mildly good line. Athena doesn’t think Willow will be cleared by next week.

Gino’s take – Willow/Athena’s segment was pretty good to hype up their Owen Hart Tournament match if it happens. It possibly sets up another ROH title defense for Athena. By AEW’s standards, this is a good rivalry on the women’s side.

Julia Hart def Bambi Hall? – Julia is out first. Her entrance is phenomenal. She doesn’t quite live up to it in the ring but she’s improving. I didn’t quite catch the jobber errr hometown talent’s name. I think I have it close. Julia’s strikes look decent against her larger opponent. Hart tapped out Bambi quickly with her submission finisher Hartless Lock. I was impressed. Everything Hart did looked great. Her finisher looks deadly. Rating: **

Gino’s take – Nigel McGuiness said he was impressed by Hart. I was as was well. Julia’s offense looked great tonight. It wasn’t a long match. It shouldn’t have been. Give Hart another couple wins like this and she might seem like a credible opponent for someone like Kris Statlander.

There was a video package after the match re-setting the rivalry between Andrade El Idolo and House of Black. Malakai Black mocks Andrade for stealing his mask. Black was great as he usually is in this type of setting. Andrade’s backstage interview was fine. Andrade talked about how important his mask is to him and his culture. It’s not the strongest story but he’s not wrong about what he’s saying.

Gino’s take – The Black and Andrade stuff was solid to continue building their rivalry. This was the second week it hasn’t gotten much time. The storyline is good, but this didn’t add much to it. It needs some advancement next week.

Bullet Club Gold (Jay White and Juice Robinson) def. FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler – This is a tag title eliminator. Jay White and Juice Robinson get a title shot if they win. The action is back and forth early. The crowd is into it. Although it’s not the loudest, it is a good crowd. Juice Robinson is in control of Dax Harwood after the break. They exchange chops with the crowd yelling “wooo”. “FTR” chants after they gain control from Juice. Jay took out Cash Wheeler on the outside with the ref distracted giving his team the advantage. White and Robinson work over Wheeler’s ribs with bear hugs which really isn’t exciting. It is good old school tag team wrestling though. There was a spot where Dax was frustrated and Jay got the best of him on the outside. Kevin Kelly did a good job pointing out it was good strategy and how White is good at getting in his opponent’s head.

The action is fine but the crowd is getting quieter the longer BCG stays in control. There was a great false hot tag spot. The crowd was back into it for that. This is much more of a traditional tag team match where they are following rules and the heels distract the ref before they cheat. There is a second commercial break for the second time on the show. Wheeler makes the hot tag to Harwood shortly after the break. Dax is on fire and gets a near fall on White with a small package. Dax hit a Brainbuster for another close 2 count. The crowd is chanting “this is awesome”. The match broke down for a minute allowing Cash to destroy Juice with a Rock Bottom type move on the apron. FTR hit the power and glory for the 1 – 2 – thre…no! Jay kicked out. Amazing near-fall.

The action really picked up. The performers worked at an incredible pace. There was too much going on to keep up with and another 3 or 4 really good near-falls. This is a superb match drawing crowd chants of “this is awesome” and “fight forever”. Dax hit a slingshot powerbomb and sliding uppercut on White for two more near-falls. The match broke down towards the end with all four men in the ring. White knocked Cash out with Bladerunner. That allowed BCG to have the numbers advantage to get the win. It wasn’t the cleanest finish. Juice hit an OK-looking DDT on Dax for the pin. Jay blocked Cash from making the save. The timing seemed off. It didn’t look bad so it didn’t hurt the match. Rating: ****1/2

Gino’s take – Incredible match! They got plenty of time and made the most of it by the end. I wrote last week that White and Juice should win. That’s what happened. We might see more rivalries on Collision that are completely based around in-ring action. That could lead to 50/50 booking that we haven’t often seen in AEW. If it means we get more matches between great teams like this, I’m all for it! The win for BCG means they get a tag title shot which I assume they will lose. That doesn’t mean the feud has to end since the heels got a big win tonight. (Note from John Canton: I rated this match 4.5* too just like Gino. Incredible match!)

A short video package announcing Shawn Spears getting his title match next week on Battle of Belts in Alberta. It’s worth noting they showed the infamous chair shot from Spears to Cody Rhodes twice. AEW seems to like bringing up Cody. I think it’s smart. It’s not like they overdo it.

After a commercial break, Tony Schiavone is trying to interview FTR backstage when Bullet Club Gold shows up. They set up a 2 out of 3 falls match next week on Collision. That should be brilliant, however, this might have been a match you want to build up for a week or two. Jay calls Dax and Cash “Fuzzy Wuzzy” and “Silly Willy”. Dax says he’ll fuzzy wuzzy all over your Regina. That was good.

Scorpio Sky def Action Andretti – Andretti got a jobber entrance and seems miles away from the guy that beat Chris Jericho in a nod to the 1-2-3 Kid. The crowd is pretty dead to start the match. We went to commercial early. Andretti’s offense is good. He hit a nice-looking Spanish Fly. The action is pretty good. The crowd is more into it but still quiet. Sky hit his TKO finisher without getting much offense. Scorpio shook hands with Action after the match to show class and that he is a babyface. Rating: *3/4

Gino’s take – These are two very talented performers. The match is an example of why throwing two random opponents together with no story rarely works. Especially when it’s two guys we haven’t seen on TV recently. I don’t think it was meant to be a grueling battle or anything. It was passable for the return of Sky. From a booking perspective having Sky beat a jobber quickly would have accomplished the same thing without hurting a young talent like Action. Similar to what I wrote about the women’s division, this is the type of match you could have built towards with both wrestlers getting wins on TV in short matches.

CM Punk def Samoa Joe – The wrestlers stare each other down to start things off. The crowd is into it, but not as loud as I thought they might be. McGuiness mentioned how Bryan Danielson broke his arm before they can wrestle each other. Interesting. I wonder if we’ll see them re-visit that ROH rivalry in AEW. The crowd seems pro-Punk tonight as he gets “CM Punk” chants. There were rumors Punk didn’t want to take any chops from Joe. He is dodging them early. It must not be true after Joe leveled Punk with a few chops drawing “Joe” chants. The crowd is getting louder as Joe pummels Punk in the corner. Kevin Kelly says Joe looks dominant after chopping Punk off the top rope to the floor heading into a commercial break.

Punk is bleeding from his mouth after the break. Punk hit a trio of knees on Joe who was prone in the corner. The knee strikes didn’t look great. The crowd isn’t reacting to Punk’s offense in a big way. My wife mentions Punk isn’t looking as good as he used to. I think she’s right. Punk went for a GTS and picked Joe up rather easily. Still, his legs gave out allowing Joe to slap on a Crossface. Crisp powerslam from Joe for a two count. The crowd is chanting “Owen Hart”. Now that’s cool. The match is fine but doesn’t seem like the magnificent encounter it should be. Joe went for the Muscle Buster then Rear Naked Choke. Punk countered everything. It looked decent, then Punk destroyed Joe with the ROLLUP of DOOM! Punk scored the win. Nigel puts it over as a huge deal screaming how Punk has finally beat Joe. It was good but not what I was hoping for. The crowd seemed to agree as they were louder for other parts of the show. Rating: ***1/2

After the match, the combatants looked at each other with respect. Joe held his hand out as the crowd chanted “Owen Hart”. It seems like the show is going to end with a touching show of respect. Nope. Joe grabbed Punk from behind with the Coquina Clutch. Joe grabbed a chair with Punk passed out in the ring. FTR came out to stop the attack. Ricky Starks came out to survey the situation since he is facing Punk in the finals of the Owen Hart Tournament next week. That was the end of the show.

Gino’s take – The match fell short of what I was hoping for. The ending of the show was pretty good in spite of that. There are two very good rivalries on Collision; CM Punk against Samoa Joe and FTR vs Bullet Club Gold. The rivalries are intertwined with other performers like the Gunns and Ricky Starks. The show closed out highlighting that. Jay White has been outstanding every week of Collision. Starks is in the best spot he’s been in for a while. I’d love to see Starks win the Owen Hart Tournament over Punk next week. I doubt it will happen. A bigger beating from Joe on Punk leading to sympathetic opponent for the babyface Starks could have added a dramatic dynamic for their match next week.

Overall Rating – 8.25/10

Final Thoughts – This was a terrific episode of Collision even if it didn’t quite live up to what I thought it could have been. I loved the tag title eliminator match. My 4.5* rating for FTR-Bullet Club Gold is my highest rating for a match on Collision. I’m really looking forward to the best two out of three falls title match next week. Joe and Punk didn’t live up to the epic Odyssey it was built up to be. I think the age of the performers has a lot to do with that. I still give AEW credit for allowing Joe to get his heat back after Punk won the match. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy the match and don’t want to see it again with more heat on it. The 50/50 booking would work in this case as well. Joe should win their next match when they have it. I like how they’ve booked Joe as a monster heel. He definitely could have beaten down Roderick Strong last week and CM Punk a lot more to make him look like a bigger badass.

When I first wrote about the Owen Hart Tournament before the brackets were announced I said this would be great for someone like Ricky Starks to win. I don’t think it’s been an exciting tournament. However, Starks is in a position for a monumental upset if he goes over Punk. I don’t think it will happen, but perhaps the tournament has helped Ricky win or lose. Julia Hart looked really good. Having women win matches on TV is a good thing even if the match itself isn’t thrilling. Keep it short in those cases and then when you give someone like Hart a title shot against Statlander and it goes ten minutes it seems like more of a challenge. It was nice to see Scorpio Sky back. He looked great, but I think what stood out about that match was how random it was and how poorly AEW has used Action Andretti who probably has the biggest upset in AEW history. Overall, I enjoyed this episode a lot.

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