It’s AEW Collision with Brian Danielson facing Andrade El Idolo while Big Bill & Ricky Starks put the Tag Team Titles on the line against Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta.
Greetings, Colliders! FedEx Forum in Memphis Tennessee is the host of the 19th episode of AEW Collision. Attendance issues have been a big deal for AEW recently. It looks like Saturday may see one of the roughest nights to date in that regard. FedEx forum is the home of the Memphis Grizzlies and has a capacity of 19,000. Hours before the show AEW had sold well less than 3,000 tickets and only had a set up for 3,128.
The card looks good featuring two matches that should be fantastic. Ricky Starks and Big Bill will defend their Tag Team Championships against Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta. Tony Khan teased a big Dream Match for this show. It ended up being Bryan Danielson vs Andrade El Idolo. While that should be excellent, it’s a stretch to call it a Dream Match. Let’s get to the action!
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting! It looks like the show’s opening short promos might be a thing of the past as they weren’t present again. Tony Schiavone is on commentary again. It looks like he may be a fixture on the show now. Kevin Kelly and Niguel McGuiness are alongside him. We’re starting out with Danielson vs Andrade.
Bryan Danielson def Andrade El Idolo – This isn’t the first time these men have faced each other. There was a match between them on SmackDown in April of 2018. I can’t say I remember the match. However, for me, a Dream Match really should be a first-time meeting. The match starts with a “this is awesome” chant. It’s not like it isn’t a cool match. The crowd doesn’t sound bad. You can definitely tell it’s not a full house. The combatants wrestled to a stalemate early leading to a handshake. “This is wrestling” chant. There is a heavy mat wrestling style with tons of counters. Very good technical action. They got tired of that, landing heavy chops and kicks. The action went to the outside where Bryan slammed El Idolo’s shoulder into the post head to the commercial.
Danielson continued to work over the damaged left arm. Andrade hit a beautiful flying elbow and a Moonsault to the outside. That got him a “this is awesome chant”. Back in the ring Andrade hit a Split Leg Moonsault and got a near-fall. Danielson got plenty of offense including his Yes Kicks and Blackpool Stomps. Andrade hit a stomp of Bryan with him hanging from the top rope. That was followed by double knees in the corner for another 2-count. Danielson got Andrade in the Lebell Lock after reversing Andrade’s double Moonsault. Andrade got out of it and got Bryan in the Figure 4. Danielson got to the ropes. Spinning back elbow from Andrade. There was a series of roll up pin attempts before Danielson pinned Andrade with a Crucifix type maneuver. Rating **** ¼
The wrestlers shook and held each other’s hands up after the match. The lights went out. Malakai Black was in the ring and leveled Danielson with Black Mass. The crowd chanted “Holy Shit” for that. This is cool. I wasn’t expecting it. When the lights came on Claudio and Yuta were in the ring but it was too late.
Gino’s take – Tony Khan bills too many matches as “Dream Matches”. This was another case of that. With attendance struggling it’s the kind of match that should be on every episode of AEW television. The timing of the match announcement shows Khan’s inexperience. Had this match been announced 2 weeks ago and promoted heavily in the area it probably could have sold some seats. With it being announced the night before, it hardly moved the needle. That said, it was an incredible technical style match that was hard-hitting at times as well. I enjoyed it a lot. I’ve been advocating for a Blackpool Combat Club rivalry against House of Black. It looks like we’ll be getting that soon!
There is a vignette for what has happened between Darby Allin and Nick Wayne. Darby says he’ll be at Dynamite for Tony Khan’s gift to Sting. He made it seem like it was going to be an awesome gift. The announcers put it over as well. We’ll see, I can’t say I have extremely high hopes. Sting’s farewell tour could be very good for the company if they handle it right so I’m excited about that.
Skye Blue def Hollyhood Haley – I don’t know anything about Hollyhood. She got a little offense early. Blue hit a really bad looking Code Blue for the win. The announcers talked more about Skye Blue’s new darker character than the match. Rating SQUASH
Gino’s take – AEW’s Women’s Division may have less going on than ever. That’s obviously a really bad sign in a company that never pushes women. Other than the story of Willow Nightingale and Skye Blue being misted in the eyes by Julia Hart, there really isn’t anything happening. I’m not sure if that is even going anywhere. We’re less than a month from Full Gear and there really doesn’t seem to be a challenger built up enough for either Women’s Championship.
The Gunns def Outrunners (Turbo Floyd/Truth Magnum) – A second straight jobber match. Kevin Kelly puts over Outrunners as a threat. I don’t believe him. I don’t mind them as jobbers. They did the job quickly. The Gunns hit 3:10 to Yuma on Turbo after a couple of minutes. Rating SQUASH
Jay White entered the ring after the match. No Juice Robinson tonight. The lights went out again. This time it was the mysterious man in the devil’s mask on the big screen. The crowd chanted MJF. They might not watch a lot of wrestling. It’s not him. This was a cool reminder of what should end up being a big storyline but nothing happened.
Gino’s take – This hasn’t been a strong stretch over the last two segments.
Lexy Nair was backstage interviewing Orange Cassidy. Kris Statlander showed up and squatted Lexy. This was a way to hype up Battle of the Belts. It didn’t really accomplish that for me. Someone named Dave Brown has joined commentary for Jeff Jarrett’s match. Apparently, there is heat between him and Brown. Jarrett’s normal associates are out with him.
Memphis Street Fight: Jeff Jarrett (and friends) def Eddie Kingston – Sanjam Singh snapped a kendo stick early. Eddie took him out with a low blow. The opponents wrestled on a concession table that was conveniently placed near the ramp. They exchanged shots with popcorn, hotdogs, ketchup and mustard. Jay Lethal destroyed Kingston with a huge Cutter from the ramp through a table. Schiavone mentioned it’s a crazy street fight so far. He’s not wrong. It’s been pretty good. The action is definitely wild headed to a break. After break Jarrett worked over Eddie’s leg with a lead pipe and trash can. Karen Jarrett is yelling at some fans and has had an issue with Kevin Kelly all match.
Jarrett continued the assault on the leg before slapping on the Figure 4 leglock. Lethal took out Eddie back in the ring. This is essentially a handicap match. This Dave Brown guy isn’t adding much on commentary. My wife Amber says they need to wrap this match up after some over the top commentary from Tony. She’s right it’s become a mess. Kingston hit a nice-looking half and half suplex to Lethal then nailed Singh with a guitar. Jarrett with the Stoke for a very good near-fall. Karen Jarrett is in the ring slapping Kingston. Singh hit a Chokeslam. Jarrett hit The Stoke again. Jay Lethal hit Lethal Injection. Jeff finally pinned Eddie. Rating ** ¼
Gino’s take – This was a lot better before the commercial break than after. It was pretty much a 5 on 1 mugging after that with one of the five being a 7’4’’ “monster”. Jay Lethal gets a shot at Eddie’s ROH Title because of this. A 5 on 1 assault isn’t really a strong way to “earn” a title shot but I guess it’s something. The commentary was awful after the break.
Lexy Nair is backstage with Acclaimed and Daddy Ass. They tried to hype up Battle of the Belts again. Max Caster had a bad comedy line trying to flirt with Lexy. His gimmick is weird right now. I can’t say this made me more excited for Battle of the Belts either. It’s not a strong card.
Miro def Action Andretti – CJ is out ahead of the match. Always nice to see CJ! She is sitting ringside. Not managing Action. I’m curious to see how they book this. It could be another squash or Miro could be distracted by his hot and flexible wife. Andretti went for a springboard type move. Miro swatted him out of the air. That looked painful. Miro took out Action with multiple clotheslines before throwing him shoulder first into the ring post to the outside. We go to a picture-in-picture commercial break. Miro continued to pummel Andretti during the break.
The crowd was silent after the break. Miro is dominating but he doesn’t seem that enraged if the story is him being upset for Action wanting to start an arrangement with his wife. Andretti finally got some offense nailing Miro with an impressive Tope Con Hiro right in front of CJ. Miro hit a sidewalk slam, stomped Action on the back and went for his finisher Game Over Camel Clutch. Andretti rolled through and got a great near-fall with a rollup. Action hit a few other moves that looked good including a springboard 450 splash. It did look like Miro was distracted by CJ at one point. Miro ended up being able to apply Game Over for the win. Rating ***
Miro stood over Action Andretti. CJ looked concerned after the match. It didn’t escalate beyond that.
Gino’s take – The match was decent. The crowd was quiet for a lot of it. CJ added something to the match dynamic but it wasn’t like it was that compelling. It did seem like her presence led to a more competitive match for Miro. I still look forward to seeing where they go next and who else CJ might attempt to manage. It’s not like this hurt the budding storyline. It was the most interesting Andretti has been on Collision.
Lexy is now with Daniel Garcia, Anna Jay, Menard and Parker in another attempt to hype up Battle of the Belts. Garcia’s dancing came up again so it’s still a sticking point for the former JAS guys. Ruby Soho came up and had a short exchange with Angelo Parker. It seemed like they were flirting with each other. Maybe that will go somewhere but I doubt it as she told Parker to get out of her shot. Ruby said she deserves her title shot against Shida on Dynamite which was just announced.
There is another vignette for Rush and his Los Ingobernables group. As I wrote last week, there is nothing wrong with these. This group has been back for a while and still in vignette mode.
Someone is attending to Eddie Kingston in the back. He cuts a promo on Jay Lethal. Eddie is fired up. He used to respect Jay Lethal but now he’s just Jeff Jarrett’s bitch. He says to leave Jarrett and friends behind when they have their fight. Kingston is calling Jay by his real name Jamar. Eddie brings Jay’s parents into it. The medic looked impressed. I was too. The match earlier wasn’t good. This was great. Kingston at his best.
FTR vs Bad Thad Brown and Darin Beingston – A third jobber match. The lights go out again. Malakai Black is in the ring again. The lights go out again. Now the other House of Black guys are in the ring and attack FTR. House of Black destroyed FTR same way they did Danielson earlier. The crowd really isn’t that loud. That’s a result of the building being less than 20% full. The match was thrown out.
Gino’s take – Another awesome attack from House of Black. This is the right way to use them. It’s intriguing that they attacked Bryan and FTR. There are a lot of possibilities. I will admit it’s a bit convoluted. The developments with House of Black have definitely been the highlight of the show outside of the opener.
Samoa Joe has been added to the Battle of the Belts card. He’ll be squashing Tony Nese on the show. My wife wondered why they needed Battle of the Belts tonight saying they could have just put those matches on Collision and got rid of some of the filler jobber stuff.
AEW Tag Team Championships: Ricky Starks/Big Bill (C) def Claudio Castagnoli/Wheeler Yuta – This could have been much more intriguing if there was a storyline behind it. It is better than seeing a team that never wins get a title shot. The announcers talked about Claudio and Yuta wanting revenge for the beating Danielson took at the hands of Starks and Big Bill. McGuiness called Bryan a coward as he often does. The crowd is quiet for the start of the main event. The teams went back and forth headed to the first PIP commercial. Bill hit a Bossman Slam on Yuta who has been singled out. Claudio tagged in to a decent babyface reaction. He hit 20 uppercuts on Starks. Claudio mocked Ricky’s Michael Jackson-style rope walk. That was good.
The crowd called for the swing. Ricky slid out of it but ate a huge uppercut on the outside. An uppercut for Bill as well before a second PIP break. Bill nailed Wheeler with a clothesline after a distraction from Starks. That got a near-fall. The story of this match is Wheeler getting stuck after missing opportunities to tag out. The announcers are doing a good job pointing it out. Claudio was able to tag back in. He picked up Ricky for the Giant Swing. 12 swings before Yuta drop-kicked him. Yuta had Starks pinned. Claudio walked out of the ring instead of stopping Bill from breaking up the pin attempt. House of Black hit the ring. Lights stayed on this time They took out Claudio which allowed Starks to hit a Spear and Roshambo on Wheeler for the win. Rating ***½
The brawl continued after the match. Danielson and FTR came out to small reactions. It’s the third show in two weeks ending in a wild brawl. Jon Moxley’s music hit. He joined the fray giving the faces the advantage as they cleaned house. Ricky Starks ate a couple of finishers. Claudio swung Starks until the show went off the air. Impressive! The crowd popped for Moxley about as loud as they could. My wife says this could be setting up an Anarchy in the Arena type match for Full Gear.
Gino’s take – Very good match. Claudio and Wheeler are worthy opponents. There was no build beyond the Blackpool guys making the save for Bryan Danielson last week. Starks and Bill have storylines going against FTR, Bryan Danielson and Adam Copeland. Just like Danielson’s match with Andrade, AEW could have made matches of similar caliber that were within a storyline. Slow it down a bit. Blackpool is likely going to be feuding with House of Black. There is a lot going on for a lot of people on Collison. A lot of it is all over the place. It could be more focused. That said, I really liked how House of Black was booked on this show.
I might have had Danielson and Adam Copeland in this spot after the exchange between Cope and Starks last week. They could have done a DQ ending to protect Copeland since the match had a cheap ending anyway. Andrade could have continued his rivalry with a rematch against Jay White who cheated to beat him recently. He also has unfinished business with Malakai Black. The brawl to end the show was fine. I wrote last week that I could see AEW doing more brawls while saying it could get repetitive. I think that’s already happening. This wasn’t a smart crowd to book a wild brawl in front of. The building was too empty to sound loud. You don’t want to see people like FTR and Bryan Danielson barely get a reaction.
Overall Rating for Collision: 7/10
Final Thoughts – The show was carried by two great matches. Besides House of Black’s involvement, there wasn’t much else to get excited about. There was a solid hour between the opener and main event where nothing of major significance happened. The crowd was hot for the opener. They didn’t have much of a chance of being a loud crowd when there were around 3,000 seats available in a 19,000-seat arena. Collision has been a very consistent show. It’s not like this was terrible. A lot of it was entertaining. It was at the bottom end for Collision. I’ve rated every show between a 7 and 8.5. I believe I rated one other show a 7 so this is tied for the weakest episode. I like to stay positive about AEW. After a show like this, a little constructive criticism is in order.
I know AEW has agreements in place for venues months ahead of time. They should look to move to smaller venues ASAP. There is no reason to be booking 19,000-seat arenas for 3,000-person crowds. I’m not saying they need to move to bingo halls. A crowd just isn’t going to sound good when the building is at 15% capacity. Bryan Danielson vs Andrade El Idolo was awesome even if not really a dream match. That said it is the kind of match people might buy tickets to see. Announcing it ahead of time would have been better than the night before the show. In fact, I think Tony Khan and AEW Creative would be wise to start announcing big matches two or three weeks ahead of time and heavily promoting those matches locally. The crowd really hurt the show tonight.
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