This week on AEW Collision featured Christian Cage defending the TNT Title against Bryan Danielson, plus words from Adam Copeland and a whole lot more.
Greetings, Colliders! Episode 18 of Collision takes place in Toledo Ohio at Huntington Center. There is one quality match on the card that will see Christian Cage defend his TNT Title against Bryan Danielson who beat Swerve Strickland on Title Tuesday to earn the shot. The rest of the card honestly isn’t very intriguing. AEW is not in a good place in the news cycle.
One criticism I think matters and negatively affects the product on television is the struggling attendance. Dynamite had a stacked card on Tuesday. Three weeks ago, Collision had a lineup that included a triple threat between Christian, Luchasaurus and Darby Allin, Jay White vs Andrade El Idolo and Bryan Danielson against Ricky Starks in Texas Death. RVD also appeared on that show in his home state. I won’t claim to know enough about the wrestling business to fix AEW’s attendance issues. It would seem obvious that booking quality shows like Title Tuesday and that episode of Collision could only help. We don’t have that tonight, but most AEW shows still end up being enjoyable for me. Let’s get to the action!
No show opening short video packages tonight. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Kevin Kelly, Niguel McGuiness and Tony Schiavone are on commentary tonight. We’re starting off the show with Adam Copeland.
Let’s hear from Adam Copeland and others
Loud pop for Cope. There are actually people sitting in the upper deck. It looks like a bigger and louder crowd tonight. Christian Cage didn’t let Adam have the spotlight for long before coming out for the interruption flanked by Nick Wayne, Luchasaurus and a few bodyguards. There is a “Christian Did Nothing Wrong” sign in the crowd. That’s good. Loud “you suck” chant for the heat magnet Cage. Christian and Danielson are in the main event. Christian had Blackpool Combat Club escorted from the arena so there won’t be any “funny business” in his match. I guess were to believe Christian has as much stroke on Collision as CM Punk did. Bryan Danielson comes out to a loud ovation. Bryan is glad Christian wants a fair fight because he had Nick Wayne and Luchasaurus banned from ringside.
Out comes the new Tag Team Champions Ricky Starks and Big Bill. This reminds me of how many shows started during the Monday Night Wars. Lots of star power to open the show. Starks respects Christian and enters the ring behind his security detail. There was an excellent exchange between Starks and Copeland where Adam made fun of Starks leather pants and how he ripped off the Rock’s gimmick. Out comes FTR to loud “FTR” chants. Cash Wheeler says FTR are still the best tag team in the world despite losing the titles last week. Danielson challenged Christian to do their match now. Christian pushed one of the jobber security guards into Danielson. That led to the faces destroying them while Cage snuck out of the ring like the weasel he is. The match is still on for the main event.
Gino’s take – A hot start. It’s something we don’t see often in AEW but have seen many times over the years to start wrestling shows. Considering how AEW is being seen lately it might be smart to take notes on things that have worked in other companies.
We go to a video package for Stand Up to Jewish Hate. MJF visited New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former Patriots Wide Receiver Julian Edelman. MJF did well here. Considering the horrible things going on in that part of the world it was smart to show this. I am praying for a fast and peaceful resolution for all involved. I won’t add more to it than that. I’m not educated enough on what’s going on.
ROH Television Championship: (C) Samoa Joe def Willie Mack – Willie doesn’t wrestle in AEW much but he gets a title shot. Their styles should mesh well. Willie is getting a decent amount of offense as we go to an early PIP commercial break. After the break, Mack tried a titty twister on Joe which only pissed Joe off. Willie still got the advantage back and hit a huge Cannonball Splash with Joe prone in the corner. Both guys got a couple of good near falls including Mack hitting a Stunner. Willie was going for his 6-star Frog Splash. Joe got up and knocked him off his feet leading to the Muscle Buster and a win for Joe. Rating ***¼
Gino’s take – Fun MEAT style match. My wife and I are big Willie Mack fans. He’s from near where we live. My wife actually went to Disneyland with him and a group of friends many years ago during his PWG days. He’s had a good amount of success in Impact Wrestling including a run as Tag Team Champions with Rich Swann. He’s a funny guy. A great follow on social media. I may have rated the match a little high for those reasons. I understand a good part of the audience probably has no idea who he is. Anyone who reads this column regularly knows I don’t like the formula of giving title matches to wrestlers who we never see win. I liked the match but I would completely understand if others didn’t.
Lexy Nair is backstage with the hot and flexible CJ. That’s how Lexy introduced her. CJ says she wants to help people who feel like they are stuck on the sidelines. Action Andretti introduced himself to CJ. It was more like he was flirting with her but he did ask her to manage him. The action was really good here. I wouldn’t mind seeing CJ manage him but I think it spells trouble for Andretti with her husband.
After the commercial, we get a video package for the soon-to-be returning Very Nice, Very Evil, Danhausen. It’s the same one they showed on Rampage last week. Great news to me. He’s not a great wrestler but he is a brilliant character that I enjoy.
Juice Robinson def Christopher Daniels – The lights went out like Juice’s opponent was going to be a big deal. Nope, just Daniels. Bullet Club Gold is with Juice. I like their antics. They help Juice get the advantage early before the commercial break. Juice was still in control when we got back. Daniels made a good comeback including landing an STO and Death Valley Driver. My wife says it shouldn’t be this long of a match. I like Daniels but she’s right. The match didn’t last much longer. Juice hit a Cannonball Splash and his finisher that might be called Juice is Loose now. Rating **¼
Gino’s take – Is this the Gino’s indy favorites reunion tour? Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels retained his EWF Championship at the first indy show I ever went to when I was 16. He dropped it at the second to a guy named Mad Dog. Mad Dog celebrated with me and my friends. We weren’t even cheering him but in reality, he only had about 12 people to choose from. Really cool seeing Daniels and Mack in back-to-back matches. That said, this wasn’t a great or interesting match. It went a little long but not too bad. This was just about getting Juice an easy win.
After the match. Jay White got down on one knee like he was going to propose to Juice Robinson. He gave Juice a ring. Possibly MJF’s stolen Dynamite Diamond Ring. Robinson clobbered Daniels with it knocking him out. Juice grabbed a mic as the crowd chanted for MJF. The ring is actually from TJ Max and costs $24.99 lol. Juice put over his left-handed punch as a dangerous move. It is something he’s used as a finisher in the past. Usually loaded with quarters or a ring in this case. Jay White got the mic. He blamed MJF for attacking him in the devil mask again saying he’s going to become the actual World Champion. The announcers mentioned that Jay feels justified for stealing MJF’s Title because MJF jumped him 4 on 1.
Gino’s take – Juice is likely to win the Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal to get a match against MJF for the Dynamite Diamond Ring. The segment was pretty good. It’s smart to give Jay White and Bullet Club Gold a lot of TV time ahead of Full Gear. It’s nice to see AEW actually building up a contender for a change. It was also smart for Jay and the announcers to mention the attack by the devil and his “gimps”. It should be a big payoff whenever we find out who actually attacked Jay White. I don’t like stealing the title angles. I do like that the announcers explained it. It makes sense for Jay to think MJF was the one in the devil mask who orchestrated the attack on him.
Dustin Rhodes gets a vignette. He’ll be in the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal or whatever it’s called. If Juice Robinson and Dustin are the only people being pushed in the match, I don’t have high hopes for it.
Lexy Nair is backstage with Nick Wayne after a commercial break. Nick has a sit-down interview with Jim Ross and his mom on Dynamite. That could be good but it is funny that Nick has to get a talking to from his mom on a wrestling show. Nick’s mom is easy on the eyes as Christian has mentioned. She has a history in the business with her late husband. I don’t mind her getting involved in the storyline.
Kyle Fletcher def Boulder – Boulder is part of Iron Savages who let’s just say have a unique gimmick. Fletcher had trouble with a dive again like last week. He didn’t almost die this week so that’s an improvement. Fletcher was able to powerbomb Boulder. That was impressive. Kyle tapped out Boulder in a Dragon Sleeper. Rating **
Gino’s take – Last week, I wrote about how talented Fletcher is and how he shouldn’t lose all the time. It’s nice to see him get a win but it’s like it was against a credible opponent.
Renee Paquette is backstage with the Acclaimed and Billy Gunn who have been Trios Champs for 48 days. They did a decent comedy bit about how Max Caster can’t make friends. Caster is acting like he has a crush on MJF but is coming on too strong. The former Jericho Appreciation Society guys interrupt them. Daniel Garcia was about to do his dance but Jake Hager pulled him away. You could hear the crowd was disappointed not to see the dance. The dance is definitely getting over.
Gino’s take – There has been a little better direction for Acclaimed and Billy lately. That’s a good thing. Max Caster’s infatuation with MJF is weird and not really great TV for me. We’ll probably get another Trios Title match for the JAS guys after this. I think they had a shot recently anyway. I assume we’ll see a match where Acclaimed team up with MJF against Bullet Club Gold. Maybe they’ll go against the JAS guys first.
TBS Championship: (C) Kris Statlander def Skye Blue – Skye Blue has a darker look now since she got mist in the face from Julia Hart. The announcers talked about it. Good back and forth action early. Blue hit a neckbreaker on the ropes as we go to a PIP break. Kris got a near fall after a Blue Thunder Bomb. Really nice swinging DDT by Skye. Statlander was setting Blue up for a top rope move. Blue slipped out and landed a Powerbomb. Blue went for a top rope cross body. Kris caught her and hit a powerslam. The action got fast paced after that. Statlander caught Skye and reversed a move into Saturday Night Fever to get the pinfall. Rating ***¼
Kris wanted a handshake after the match. Skye didn’t want it. That led Willow Nightingale to come out to attend to Blue. Schiavone mentioned Willow might know what Skye is going through since Willow also got misted by Julia Hart.
Gino’s take – The action after the commercial break was great. It’s a match that could have had more build up. It might have been believable that Blue could win. There was no story behind it or anytime where it felt like Skye might win. The announcers pushed Blue’s new attitude heavily during the match. They did a post-match angle including Willow Nightingale. Hopefully it’s going somewhere.
Kyle Fletcher gets some face time after his win. He calls out Kenny Omega for a match on Dynamite. Sign me up for that! It will be awesome. I’m glad Fletcher at least got one win before making the challenge. It would have been nice to see him get two or three to seem like more of a threat to win.
After break there is a vignette for Rush and his group Los Ingobernables. That was cool but they’ve been back for a while now and haven’t advanced past vignettes.
Keith Lee def Turbo Floyd – Shane Taylor and Lee Moriarty are watching a monitor backstage. The very very slow build to whatever is going to happen between Lee and Taylor continues. Floyd looks about as much like a jobber as a wrestler can. He’s apparently part of a team called the Outrunners. I think they’ve been on AEW TV before. He looks like Hulk Hogan and uses his mannerisms. That made me laugh a little. I’ll give him that. Lee destroyed Turbo with a gigantic sit down Powerbomb. That looked great. Not much else going on here. Rating SQUASH
Let’s hear from the Redeemer Miro. Miro talks about his wife CJ being in AEW. He thinks being in AEW is going to change her. Miro says he needs to cut off CJ’s pursuit at every corner. He has Action Andretti in a headlock and says he’ll destroy every man to protect his woman.
Gino’s take – Finally some actual development in the story between Miro and CJ. I have to say. I like it. It’s an easy story to tell. Miro doesn’t want his wife to manage again because the spotlight changes her. It’s easy to see his prospective but also CJ’s in that she wants to work again. It works as a story and is an easy way to set up matches. We found out shortly after Miro will take on Action Andretti next week. Even if that’s not an exciting match, it could be the start of a good storyline.
Now we get a video package for Mistico who they bill as the greatest Luchador in the world. Mistico is taking on Rocky Romero on Rampage next week. I like that they showed us who Mistico is to at least try to give us a reason to get excited for another one of Tony Khan’s random “Dream” matches. Jim Ross will join commentary for the main event after commercial.
TNT Championship: (C) Christian Cage def Bryan Danielson – There is almost half hour to go in the show. This could be an instant classic. The match started off at a slow pace as you might expect before we went to our first PIP commercial break. Danielson put Christian in a nasty looking Bow and Arrow then bridged into a pinning attempt. Bryan did a few cool submission mat wrestling moves. Like a true heel Christian evened the odds with one eye poke. That got him a “F*ck you Christian” chant. Danielson went for a diving head butt and sold that he re-injured his right arm when Cage moved. Christian had Danielson in a hammer lock and dropped him arm first on the apron. I’m sure it was safe but it looked brutal. Danielson is in great pain headed to the second PIP break.
Christian continued the assault on Bryan’s arm back from break. JR and Schiavone screamed that he was going to rebreak Danielson’s arm as Christian slammed it on the announce table repeatedly. Bryan hit the diving headbutt but did further damage to his arm. Danielson also successfully hit the Tope Suicida. Cage’s forehead is bleeding slightly. “This is awesome” chant. Frog Splash for Christian for a near-fall. Hard kick to the head from Bryan for a near-fall. Blackpool stomps from Danielson. Bryan went for the Busico knee but Christian nailed him with a Spear. Then he hit the Kill Switch for an amazing near-fall. Danielson landed the Busico knee for another tremendous near-fall. Bryan tried to tap Christian out with the Lebell lock. Big Bill has come down for the distraction. Ricky Starks slid in and hit Bryan with his title belt. It looked like he barely hit him. Weak finish to an excellent match. Rating ****
After the match, Nick Wayne and Luchasaurus joined the fray. The heels beat down Bryan until FTR came out for the save. Copeland came out to even the odds and cleaned house. Nick Wayne ate a spear from Cope to send the crowd home happy. The heels retreated and faces stood tall to end the show. Just like Dynamite, Collison ended with a wild brawl.
Gino’s take – I understand why they went with a dirty finish. That shot with the title by Starks looked awful. It certainly wasn’t something that would knock someone out if he even hit Bryan at all. It’s a shame to see a tremendous match like this end like that. It did hurt my rating. I would have gone ****1/4 with a normal looking finish even if it was cheap. It just can’t look that bad. I could have rated it even higher if the match had a good finish. I liked the show-ending brawl. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something we start to see even more of in a company that already has a lot of brawls. I don’t really mind it but you can definitely overdo it.
Overall Rating: 7.5
Final Thoughts on AEW Collision
There were plenty of things to like but the show only gets a slightly above average grade of 7.5 from me. There was too much on the show that simply didn’t matter that much. The card looked below average so I will say it was better than it looked on paper. The main event was outstanding even if the finish hurt it. The show ending brawl was fine. I do think we’ll see some matches come out of these brawls. I like it from that prospective. The best part of the show may have been the storyline development for Miro and CJ. It’s going slow but you don’t have to rush everything. I was intrigued by what happened. I think the story has a good pace. Kris Statlander and Skye Blue had a good match. It seems like they are building up a new character for Skye including an alliance with Willow Nightingale. I don’t have confidence in AEW creative to make something good out of it but it does seem like they are trying a little harder with the Women’s Division. At least on Collision.
On the negative side, all the matches other than the main event were slightly above average to below average. It wasn’t a great night of in-ring action for a show that is known for that. I liked seeing Willie Mack and Christopher Daniels in matches. I’m not sure many will agree with me about that. AEW has been doing a little better job building title contenders. Other than Danielson not so much tonight. While I’m fine with the pacing of the story with Miro and CJ, I can’t say the same for Keith Lee and Shane Taylor. I don’t know about their history in ROH so there’s no real heat there. Dragging it out isn’t adding anything. My main concern for AEW with a show like this is that it’s just not a good enough card to put butts in seats. If I was running a wrestling company and struggling with attendance, I would be trying to book the best matches possible every show. Within reason and within storyline of course. I know Tony Khan can’t just book MJF vs Kenny Omega out of nowhere for no reason. With the roster they have AEW should be able to book 2 or 3 great matches every show within those parameters. I’m not sure if AEW creative thinks these were great matchups tonight. My concern is that they did.
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