This week’s AEW Collision featured a huge main event as MJF defended the AEW World Title against Kenny Omega in an incredible match.
Episode 20 of AEW Collision is a big one! Mohegan Sun Arena in Montville, Connecticut is the site for the AEW World Championship match between Kenny Omega and MJF. Collision has had plenty of huge matches. This is the biggest to date. There has been plenty of talk about whether giving the match away on free TV with a short build is smart booking. Based on what I’ve seen on X/Twitter it looks like AEW sold about 1,000 tickets since the match was announced. That said, it looks like there are about 3,500 tickets sold about an hour before the show. It’s not like it’s a huge crowd. I understand the criticism. It really doesn’t matter to me. I love that we’re getting the match tonight. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Let’s get to the action!
Jay White def AR Fox – Loud “Ass Boys” chant at the start. Fox has some offense early including a shooting star press off the apron to the floor. AR worked the crowd who seemed firmly behind him. That’s a little surprising to me. Good to see. White hit some hard shots and a DDT with Fox draped in the ropes for a 2-count before our first commercial break. Fox hit a pair of Tope Con Hiro’s including one that took out the 3 other members of Bullet Club Gold. He hit a slam and Swanton for a great near fall. The crowd chanted “holy shit” and “this is awesome” for him. Tony Schiavone said the crowd was going bonkers. Surprisingly, they really are going nuts for Fox. The pace quickened toward the end with Fox getting lots of offense and a couple more near-falls. White eventually turned it around and won with Blade Runner. Rating ***½
Gino’s take – Jay White has been hot on Collision. AR Fox hasn’t been seen much since not being able to make it to All In. The outcome of this one was obvious. Fox’s offense is awesome. It was great to see the crowd so strongly behind him. There’s still some juice in AR Fox if Tony Khan wants to go back to him. The action was really good. They worked well together. The crowd was into it and sounded loud tonight. Nice choice as an opener.
After the match, MJF came down and tried to get his title back. He and Jay had a tug of war. MJF bailed and ran through the crowd after the other members of BCG tried to do a 4 on 1 beatdown.
Acclaimed is backstage with Billy Gunn. They have been Trios Champions for 62 days. Next week will be 69 days. They made a joke about it. Max got a text from someone he thought was MJF. He was being catfished. Max had sent the person pictures. That was pretty funny. I liked this better than most of Acclaimed’s comedy skits lately.
The Gunns def The Boys – Dalton Castle is with The Boys. They are actually his lackeys. My wife Amber likes Castle and The Boys. It didn’t go well for them here. The Gunns dominated and won with 3:10 to Yuma. Rating SQUASH
Gino’s take – Kevin Kelly says Bullet Club Gold has dominated the first half hour of Collision. It’s a smart way to book them as they are in the midst of a major push right now. I like that MJF bailed instead of trying to take on all of Bullet Club Gold himself. Smart move. I’m not sure if a babyface has ever been booked like that. It always bothers me when faces run out there to get their ass kicked like idiots. It’s even worse when a clever heel such as MJF turns face and immediately becomes a dumb ass losing all their savvy. I’m glad AEW isn’t doing that with MJF.
The hype video for Kenny Omega and MJF that was originally shown on Rampage last night was shown here. It’s tremendous. Something AEW could do more of. I’m excited for the match!
After a commercial break we get the video package for Danhausen who should be returning soon. Lexy Nair is backstage with Ryan Nemeth after that. He knocks on CJ Perry ‘s locker room door only for Miro to open it and destroy him. LOL, serves the jobber right.
AEW Women’s Championship: (C) Hikaru Shida def Abadon – This looks to be some sort of Halloween-themed match. It makes sense to have Abadon in a Halloween-type match. Abadon looks like Beetlejuice. Shida is wearing a dress. It looks good on her. Abadon hid under the ring to gain an advantage before a picture-in-picture break. Shida tried to fly off the top rope with a witch’s broom in a silly spot. Abadon crawled under the ring again and had a bat this time. Abadon acted like a zombie absorbing shots from Shida like nothing. Abadon dumped candy in the ring then landed a blockbuster on Shilda onto the candy. Shida nailed Adabdon over the head with a kendo stick. She put a jack-o-lantern over Abadon’s head, hit her finisher Katana for the win. They were starting to lose the crowd but they popped huge for the finish. Rating ***
The amazing “Timeless” Toni Storm came out after the match. The screen turns black and white for Toni. The announcers put her over a huge star as she lays on the announce table. My wife loves all of this.
Gino’s take – Abadon won a 4-way match on Rampage to earn this shot. She is a random wrestler to get a title shot like we often see in AEW. I don’t mind it in this case. It makes sense for her to be in this style of match. I liked the match more than most AEW’s Women’s matches. Most of it was fun and the crowd ate a lot of it up. Toni coming down after the match was a good way to build up the Women’s Title match at Full Gear. Everything Toni does is gold to me right now.
A video package to hype up the match between Dax Harwood and Ricky Starks later tonight. Starks talks about how he and Bill are already a better tag team than FTR. We may see a rematch soon. Full Gear seems likely.
We get another video package for whatever is going to happen between Keith Lee and Shane Taylor after the break. This was decent and it did shed some light on their past. However, just do the damn match already. At one point Keith was going to face Lee Moriarty before Taylor. They haven’t even gotten to that yet if it’s even still happening.
ROH Television Championship: (C) Samoa Joe def Rhett Titus – Titus hasn’t been on AEW TV much if ever. He’s not exactly a jobber. He’s a former ROH TV Champ. I am familiar with him. Titus got a couple of big kicks but Joe caught him in the corner. Joe nailed an Uranage then tapped Rhett out with Coquina Clutch. Rating SQUASH
Gino’s take – Another effective destruction for Joe. I thought this might go longer. Titus is talented. He lost Joe’s TV Title to Minoru Suzuki who Joe won it from. He’s not far removed from being champion but wasn’t any threat to Joe.
We get a clip of Renee Paquette with QTV from last night at Rampage. QT is back with his AAA Latin American Championship. QT is going to defend his title against the Luchadores in AEW. QT says the best Luchadores in the world are in AEW. He might be right. They aren’t booked very strong though. I suppose this could lead to something but it’s not that interesting.
A replay of Orange Cassidy and Okada injuring Bryan Danielson from Dynamite. Claudio Castagnoli gets a video package saying he will make them pay for hurting his friend. Claudio is facing Orange on Dynamite Wednesday. This was a good way to hype that match up. It should be excellent. Niguel McGuiness mocks Bryan Danielson for getting injured again. Schiavone says Danielson had surgery on his orbital bone and will be out until later this year. I don’t think that’s true. I sure hope it isn’t. I’ll be at Full Gear and am looking forward to seeing him. I later found out it looked true. BUMMER!
Ricky Starks def Dax Harwood – I really like matches like this. It should be great and it fits within a running storyline. Every episode of Dynamite and Collision should have matches like this. The lights go out. House of Black is shown in the crowd. Julia Hart is on the stage according to the announcers. She wasn’t shown. It makes sense after what happened last week. Starks did his Michael Jackson rope walk bit and had the advantage early. Ricky suplexed Dax on the ramp outside before a PIP commercial break. Harwood hit a Superplex after the commercial. Dax got a couple of near-falls with a rollup and inside cradle. Brainbuster for another 2-count. Big Bill had to pull Dax out of the ring after he leveled Starks with a Piledriver. The distraction allowed Starks to hit a Piledriver on Harwood for the win. Rating *** ¼
The lights went out. Julia was shown on the ramp. I think the announcers screwed up earlier. They said Julia was on the ramp but I think they were supposed to save that for after the match. That’s funny. Rush came out with his Los Ingobernables group Preston Vance and Dralistico. They got in FTR’s face. They attacked the House of Black instead. Hell yeah! FTR and LIJ fight off the bad guys. They show each other respect. My wife wonders if this could be setting up an Anarchy in the Arena match at Full Gear. We’ll be there and would love to see another one. The last one we saw live was incredible.
Lexy Nair was backstage with Andrade El Idolo. Andrade says no one needs to know his business. He is likely starting a program with CJ and Miro. It wasn’t really advanced tonight.
Gino’s take – This show is really hard to write about. In a good way. There is so much going on that it’s hard to keep up. Most of it has been tremendous. It looks like the Los Ingobernables group will be babyfaces backing up FTR. I don’t mind it but admit it’s strange. They have had a few vignettes recently after a hostage-type storyline. It seemed like they were being positioned as heels. AEW’s rivalries are all over the place right now. This only adds to that. That being said, I think a feud between LIJ and House of Black could be amazing!
After the commercial Lexy Nair is backstage with Kris Statlander, Skye Blue and Willow Nightingale. Kris is trying to sort out what is wrong with Skye and Willow since being misted by Julia Hart. Skye said anything she had to say to Julia was between her and me and left.
Gino’s take – This was decent. The mist storyline hasn’t been that interesting. It picked up a bit here now that Julia is back from her honeymoon. There’s still no real direction for it. It could be setting up something at Full Gear. Statlander has already beaten all 3 women on TV so I’m not sure how it would be an intriguing PPV match.
Claudio Castagnoli def “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams SQUASH
Gino’s take – Third squash match on the show. It’s too much for me although they haven’t taken up much time. I didn’t even have anything to write about this one. It’s a minor complaint on a show that has been outstanding.
Samoa Joe approaches MJF who is warming up for his main event match. Joe tells MJF that if he gets in trouble then he should just scream Joe’s name and Joe will be his friend. Joe’s offer to be MJF’s friend is interesting considering how many rivals MJF currently has. When the match was announced I thought Samoa Joe helping MJF win was the most likely result. That would set up Samoa Joe vs Kenny Omega at Full Gear. I have a lot more thoughts ahead of tonight’s huge main event.
Gino’s take – Two weeks ago in this column I wrote “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”. You would think it would be hard to make a match of that caliber mean something in such a short period of time. I believe AEW has done that. The story of Kenny wanting a shot before MJF breaks his record makes sense. This was really the only show that could happen. There was an incredible hype video for it on Rampage. It doesn’t seem likely we’ll get a clean finish. That doesn’t hurt my excitement for the match. I think whatever they have planned for the ending will be a big angle setting up something down the line.
I might say it was announced a week too late. Selling 1,000 tickets is a nice boost. The crowd sounds better tonight than last week. That is also because the arena is a little over half the size. If the match was announced 2 weeks ago and the hype video was shown on Dynamite, they might have sold another 1,000 tickets or more. It would have given AEW time to promote the match locally. Beyond ticket sales I like the timing based on the ongoing storyline of multiple challengers wanting a shot at MJF. While everyone knows Kenny Omega is a top guy in AEW, he hasn’t been booked like one since he dropped the title. He’s lost multiple PPV matches this year. I think most fans find Omega more interesting but someone like Jay White who hasn’t been pinned in AEW makes more sense as a PPV opponent.
AEW World Championship: (C) MJF def Kenny Omega – Kenny Omega is out first wearing a jacket with pink angel’s wings. It looks like a tribute to Bret Hart. One of the wings fell off. I think it was some sort of symbolism for the One Wing-ed Angel. A fan was holding an MJF scarf that says “Too Poor to Buy a Real One”. LOL, now that’s good. The match starts with a loud “holy shit” chant. Fitting. The crowd is on fire, there is half hour to go in the show. I have high hopes for this. MJF offers a handshake and led the crowd in a “sportsmanship” chant. Kenny took his hand only to be poked in the eye to the delight of the crowd. MJF hard to the outside. Kenny landed his awesome Rise of the Terminator Tope Con Hiro. MJF responded with a backflip-type dive to Kenny on the outside. It was awkward and Kenny had to catch him. It was still really impressive to see from Max. The crowd changed “holy shit” for it.
MJF got a 2-count after a hammerlock DDT. MJF mocked Kenny before eating a Snap Dragon Suplex. Kenny hit a springboard moonsault from inside the ring to outside on Max. He hit a missile drop kick for a 2-count. It was in the back of the noggin according to Tony. MJF bit Omega before nailing him with the Kangaroo Kick knocking Kenny to the outside. Omega pulled a table out from under the ring so we’ll be getting a table spot at some point. Omega hit a buckle bomb before both men hit huge lariats laying each other out. Jim Ross says no one has been able to sustain an advantage. He’s right. The announcing has been solid so far. Kenny had a sadistic look in his eyes before nailing a Snap Dragon Suplex on the apron. Ouch. Kenny picked up Max for a delayed Gut-wrench Powerbomb through the table. The crowd erupted for that. I know some might complain that it should be a DQ. That’s fair. I still thought it was a great spot.
We got to our first commercial about 15 minutes into the match. It will only be 90 seconds. Smart time for the break as both men were laid out from the table bump. Both men are punch drunk as they exchange shots back in the ring. The fighters exchanged Poisonrana’s sparking a “fight forever” chant. MJF stomped Kenny’s arm and is working it over. MJF hit Made in Japan. That’s Shingo Takagi’s finisher in New Japan. Penta El Zero Miedo uses it in AEW. The announcers mention both men pulling out moves they’ve never done before. Kenny has hit 3 or 4 huge knee strikes. Both men exchanged big power moves dropping their opponents on their head multiple times. I know some don’t like that. This is turning into the brutal style of Kenny Omega match I love! MJF got his foot on the rope to break up a pin attempt before our second 90-second break.
After the break, Kenny powerbombed MFJ on the barricade outside the ring. MJF did some crotch thrusts in Kenny’s face. It backfired on him. He ate a couple of V-Triggers leading to a good near-fall for Omega. Kenny hit 2 more V-Triggers and was going for the One Wing-ed Angel. That brought Don Callis out. Kenny survived the distraction hitting another V-Tigger. That was the nastiest one. A series of roll up 2-counts. Max nailed Kenny with the Heet Seeker getting a tremendous near-fall. The crowd was on their feet chanting “this is awesome”. MFJ tried a Panama Sunrise. Kenny rolled him up for another awesome near-fall. MJF hit an Adam Cole type Superkick in the corner, hit the Panama Sunrise and the Heet Seeker to pin Kenny Omega and retain his title. This went right around 30 minutes. Rating ****¾
We see MJF’s rivals watching backstage as MJF celebrated his win. MJF offers his hand again. They shake hands and hug to end the show. Kenny put over Max in a big way.
Gino’s take – BRAVO! Amazing match. Ironically, I think the only way it could have been better is if there was a longer-term story behind it and I thought Omega had a chance to win. I’ll bet I would have rated this exact match ***** if it had been in the main event of a PPV. That was the criticism of doing the match on TV so I think it’s justified from that perspective. That is also certainly nitpicking what I think is the second-best match in Collision history. The insane hour-long tag match between FTR and Jay White/Juice Robinson being the only match to top it. For me, this felt like a great night to be an AEW fan! The performers couldn’t have worked better together. Everything was so smooth and hard hitting. There were even a couple of times when they messed up but they were so clean together that the moves actually looked better after the mistakes.
Don Callis distracted Kenny when he had MJF set up for his finisher. Kenny was slightly protected. However, for the most part, it was a clean and decisive win. There is no doubt that MJF is the top guy in AEW. Kenny acknowledged him after the match. MJF didn’t need Kenny to pass any type of torch to him but I think the clean win does put him over even more. I was surprised by the finish. Most people didn’t expect it to be clean. I thought we’d get more of a run-in than a Don Callis slight distraction. I wasn’t impressed by that. In a weird way, more interference might have helped the match since I was expecting it anyway. Something like Samoa Joe showing up on the ramp or better yet the mystery man in the Devil’s mask would have been more exciting than Callis for me. Nonetheless, this was a beautiful match that I enjoyed the hell out of!
Overall Rating for AEW Collision 8.75/10
Final Thoughts – Of all the episodes of Collision I’ve reviewed, this one was my favorite. It was an excellent show top to bottom. I enjoyed the opener, the women’s match and Starks vs Harwood. Besides the incredible main event, three other matches got *** or higher. That’s the kind of action I’m used to seeing in AEW that has been missing from some shows lately. The three squash matches didn’t really bother me because they didn’t take up much time. That said, this show was about one match and one match only. I loved Kenny Omega vs MJF. I think the boost in ticket sales probably led to a better crowd. The crowd was very loud most of the show. A smaller venue than last week helped too. The presentation was much better this week than last. I don’t think a future PPV main event between MJF and Kenny Omega was hurt by doing the match tonight if AEW ever wants to go back to it. Overall, this was the most I have enjoyed an episode of AEW Collision!
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