AEW Collision Review – September 2, 2023

aew collision september 2

It’s AEW Collision with Dax Harwood facing Jay White plus The Acclaimed in tag team action just one night before AEW All Out.

The 12th episode of AEW Collision is live from United Center in Chicago. It should be an interesting crowd, to say the least. AEW had their biggest show ever last Sunday at All In. I thought it was an amazing show. A wonderful night for AEW. Only, it wasn’t. CM Punk made it all about him again. AEW really got almost no positive buzz coming out of All In. CM Punk has now been fired and that will surely have a big effect on his hometown crowd tonight. I don’t need to recap what happened with Punk. All I will say about him and his AEW run is I’m glad it’s over. Hopefully the drama we constantly read about backstage in AEW is gone with him and we can get back to the action!

Check out the AEW All Out preview by the TJRWrestling team here. I got to be a part of it and we did our best to break it down as usual.

Tony Khan explains CM Punk’s firing

Tony Khan starts the show. He explains what happened with CM Punk at All In and confirms he’s been fired. There was a disciplinarian team involved that unanimously recommended he be terminated. Tony said Punk put people in danger and he feared for his life. It sounds like the incident was even worse than what has been reported. There is also a video online of the Chicago crowd booing Khan loudly before the show.

Gino’s take – I’m glad he’s gone. I like writing about wrestling not high school level drama. I applaud TK for addressing it upfront. He was good here. Hopefully the AEW locker room can come back together now that Punk is gone. Collision was Punk’s show. Now AEW can use the whole roster. I don’t think Collision will be hurt that bad from losing him.

There is a new video package to open the show minus CM Punk. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting as we open the show with Tony Schiavone is in the ring. Ricky Starks has challenged Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat to a strap match at All Out. Tony calls Starks out to the ring.

Ricky Starks challenges “The Dragon” to a strap match at All Out

Big Bill is with Ricky but didn’t get in the ring for some reason. I like the pairing and hope it is going somewhere. Ricky cut a babyface type promo saying he believes in Big Bill and himself. He is frustrated with all the obstacles AEW has put in his way. Starks probably truly is frustrated as he was rumored to be facing Punk in the main event at All Out. Starks blames Steamboat for his suspension and not being allowed at All In. That’s the reason for the challenge.

Ricky Steamboat comes out with a contract. The contract says Ricky Starks vs “The Dragon”. It’s obvious it’s not going to be him and I think I know who it is. Ricky signs the contact and out comes The American Dragon Bryan Danielson. The crowd popped for this chanting “YES” and “You fucked up”. Danielson signed the contract giving us another big-ticket match for All Out. The crowd was hot for this but it’s not that loud. You can tell the building in nowhere near capacity.

Gino’s take – I was truly happy to see Danielson back. All Out needs this match badly. I thought he’d be out another month or 2 but plans clearly had to change. This is a good way help save what is a mess of a PPV card. I think AEW should have done something similar to this on Dynamite to set up a title defense for MJF. That would be a lot better than Cole and MJF against John Silver and Alex Reynolds. If AEW had set up something like MJF vs Hangman Page All Out would have a somewhat passable card. The whole card is thrown together and Hangman is doing nothing so it’s not like it would have hurt him or the card to do that match with no storyline.

John Moxley is backstage under some stairs. He talks about his match against Orange Cassidy that will main event All Out. He really put over Cassidy talking about his 31-match win steak saying he is not a cosplay wrestler like people on the internet say.

Gino’s take – This was an intense promo that put over Orange in a big way. It did give the match a bit more of a big fight feel. Great start to the post-Punk era of Collision.

Daniel Garcia, Matt Menard and Angelo Parker come out for their match with a new non-Jericho Appreciation Society entrance. Acclaimed is out next with Daddy Ass Billy Gunn. Max Caster cuts a decent rap about Tim Anderson getting knocked out, Daniel Garcia putting us to sleep, Menard and Parker getting kicked out of the JAS and something about his ball sack.

(C) The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn def Daniel Garcia, Matt Menard & Angelo Parker – Garcia did his silly dance twice but ended up with his face in Billy Gunn’s crotch. It was awkward. The crowd seemed to enjoy it. Garcia had Bowens in the Dragon Tamer for a long time. It actually looked like the heel team might win. We go to a picture-in-picture commercial. Anthony Bowens was isolated after the break. Caster cleaned house when he got the tag. I guess Jake Hager is there too. His distraction of Billy Gunn didn’t work as Gunn hit a Famouser followed by a Mic Check elbow drop from Caster for the pin on Parker. Acclaimed scissored with their new pink scissor titles after the match. Rating **¾

Gino’s take – The match was just a little above average. It actually would have been a good feud if they built up to this match instead of just throwing it together. I would have liked to see the former JAS guys win a bit after leaving Jericho. Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. The scissoring titles are actually pretty clever. The AEW crowd will eat it up. I wouldn’t be surprised if they can sell a lot of those belts as well.

Tony Schiavone tracked down Ricky Starks who was leaving the building. Starks says Danielson is just another obstacle and he is Absolute.

Aussie Open def Nick Wayne & Komander – Wayne and Komander had some decent acrobatics to start the match. Aussie Open hit a couple of nice double team moves to take control before commercial. They have great double team offense. Nick Wayne hit a flurry of offensive moves on both opponents including an Asai DDT, Tope Con Hilo and Frog Splash. His offense is impressive. Kyle Fletcher hit a half and half suplex on Wayne. Mark Davis destroyed Komander with a powerbomb and piledriver. Aussie Open hit their finisher called Coriolis on Wayne to get the win. It’s sort of a double team Michinoku Driver. It’s a great finisher. Rating ***¼

Gino’s take – All four wrestlers have very bright futures. Especially Nick Wayne and Kyle Fletcher. This was a solid match to put over the team facing Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara at All Out. AEW set up the Aussie Open match on Rampage. It was a decent segment on Rampage to set it up but it’s yet another match with no story on what was once one of AEW’s top 2 shows of the year.

Let’s hear from Darby Allin and Christian Cage

After the match, Schiavone went to the ring to interview Nick Wayne. Kinda weird to interview someone on the losing team. Nick says he doesn’t know why Darby Allin forgave AR Fox for attacking him. That brings Darby out. Allin reveals that he had a falling out with Nick’s father and didn’t see him for 3 years before he died. He doesn’t want to carry that hate for Fox and advised Nick to do the same as soon as he can. He wants Wayne in his corner at All Out. That brought out father of the year Christian Cage and the evil dinosaur Luchasaurus who is actually Darby’s opponent Sunday. Christian did his normal jabs to get some cheap heat. He says he would never pretend to be something he’s not while holding a title that’s not his. He tells Nick to bring a towel to All Out because he’s going to need to throw it in to save his friend Darby.

Gino’s take – This was a very effective way to add suspense to the match between Luchasaurus and Darby Allin. I predicted Darby would win but I think we will likely see a heel turn from Nick Wayne based on how this went. It’s also possible Nick will throw in the towel causing Darby to lose. Good stuff here.

Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta had a backstage segment. Claudio congratulated Eddie Kingston for beating Yuta on Dynamite but said it’s not very hard to do as he leveled Wheeler with uppercuts. Yuta fell down at the end. That was funny and fitting for the Blackpool Combat Club. Eddie Kingston is with Shibata. He calls Claudio a coward. Eddie asks Shibata what he thinks of Claudio and Yuta. Shibata holds up his phone. The phone says “they suck”. That was also pretty funny.

Gino’s take – Another good segment to help build a match at All Out.

There is a replay from the women’s match at All In where Saraya won the title but also had issues with Outcasts stable member Toni Storm. Saraya and Ruby Soho are backstage with Lexy Nair. They cut her off when she asks about their relationship with Storm. Ruby said Toni was in the parking lot half naked throwing her shoe at a bird. Decent comedy in the last couple segments. Ruby says she is going to beat Kris Statlander and bring a second title to the Outcasts.

Dennis Rodman returns to professional wrestling

Tony Schiavone introduces Dennis Rodman who once upon a time was a member of the iconic nWo stable. Honestly, this reeks of desperation after having to fire CM Punk while in Chicago. Dennis looks nothing like the picture they used to advertise him which was probably from 20 years ago. He struggled to get into the ring. Before Rodman could say anything Jeff Jarret and his crew Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal, Karen Jarrett and Santam Singh come down for the interruption. The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn also came out. I’m not going to do play by play on this.

Gino’s take – This set up a match for All Out where Acclaimed and Billy Gunn will have Rodman in their corner and put their titles on the line against Jarrett, Lethal and Singh or Dutt. This wasn’t terrible but I could have done without it or the match at All Out. I would have preferred an angle on this show to set up a match at All Out between Acclaimed and the former JAS guys that happened tonight.

We get a video package hyping up the match between Shane Taylor and Samoa Joe at All Out. It was pretty good. Especially Joe’s part. I still have no interest in the match.

The Outcasts def Britt Baker, Shida & Kris Statlander – This is about as much star power as you can get in a women’s match in AEW. Toni Storm came out after her partners but they did go down to the ring together. Saraya and Soho tried to double team Shida but Baker broke that up. Shida almost hit Britt after Saraya moved out of the way. Neither team is working well together early. Kris Statlander hit a few moves on Saraya including a Blue Thunder Bomb. Soho broke up the pin. Toni Storm tried to break up another pin attempt but Kris moved and Toni nailed Saraya with a senton. More dissention. Saraya sprayed paint into Britt’s face. That allowed Ruby Soho to hit her finisher No Future kick for the win. Rating ***

Gino’s take – The match was just getting good when it ended abruptly with my least favorite finish in AEW. They need to can the spray paint. It wasn’t that cool or original in the first place and has been way overdone. It did make sense for Ruby to get the win since she will lose to Statlander on Sunday. This could have been so much better if they got a few more minutes and didn’t do the lame finish.

Adam Cole is talking about his match against Dark Order at All Out. He is reading texts from MJF making fun of Silver and Reynolds. He had to stop reading the texts because they were too vulgar. This was good but as you know I’m not happy about wasting World Champion MJF at All Out.

Lexy Nair is interviewing Kris Statlander backstage. Kris isn’t feeling great about her match at All Out knowing Ruby will cheat. Ruby and Saraya interrupted. The ladies had an intense exchange with Saraya telling Statlander to “Shut up bitch”. This was good

Powerhouse Hobbs squashed someone named GPA. It wasn’t even long enough for me to list it as a match and put in bold font. Miro came out after the match. The two exchanged punches and brawled outside the ring.

Gino’s take – There really didn’t need to be a match. I’m sure they just wanted to give Hobbs a win since they keep track of records. It was all about setting up the brawl. The brawl was OK. The crowd isn’t hot tonight. It’s understandable because most people probably bought tickets expecting to see CM Punk. The quiet crowd that hurt this segment.

There were three matches announced for Zero Hour of All Out. I’m not interested in any of them but they did move the Acclaimed match that was set up tonight to the pre-show. That’s a good thing in my eyes. There was also a rundown of the All Out card along with a video package hyping up Kenny Omega and Takeshita. Our main event is up next.

Orange Cassidy has a backstage promo talking about his match against Moxley. He talks about his first AEW match against Pac that was in Chicago and how he stood toe to toe with Will Ospreay. Orange says Moxley put AEW on his back. That drew a pop from the crowd. He says he is going to take that load off of Jon and put it on his back. He ended it with his “no catchphrase” catchphrase. AEW has done a good job treating Moxley vs Cassidy as a main event level match tonight.

Jay White def Dax Harwood – I really like this match. The All Out match between Bullet Club Gold and Young Bucks & FTR has no build. It’s too late to build a compelling storyline but this is the kind of match you would do to accomplish that. Jim Ross joins Kevin Kelly and Niguel McGuinness on commentary. Bullet Club Gold is out with Jay. Cash Wheeler is out with Dax Harwood. No Young Bucks. Maybe they are still banned from Collision. There is 20 minutes to go so they will get plenty of time. There is an early PIP commercial. The Gunns and Juice Robinson tried to interfere but Cash Wheeler chased them off with a chair. Jay hit a Facebuster from the middle rope. Dax got a roll up and springboard splash for a couple near falls.

Huge Superplex from Harwood. Dax missed a diving headbutt. We got to a second PIP break. Brainbuster from Dax for a 2-count. White hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip on the rope and a Death Valley Driver for a 2-count. There were multiple counters before Dax hit a piledriver on Jay for an amazing near fall. That was really close. There is a faint “This is awesome” chant. There haven’t been many chants that could be made out tonight. Jay reversed a top rope suplex attempt for another 2-count. Ura nage from White, another near fall. Sleeper suplex from Jay followed by Dax blocking a Blade Runner attempt. Slingshot suplex from Harwood setting up a Sharpshooter. White got the ropes. White hit Blade Runner on the outside and rolled Dax into the ring. Dax got a rollup attempt before Jay hit Blade Runner again and got the win. Rating ***¾

Gino’s take – Excellent main event as you would expect from these two. I thought it could be better. I think the quiet crowd hurt this match too. The right guy won. Jay White has been booked incredibly well since Collision was formed. He will likely challenge for the World Title at some point. It would make sense to keep him undefeated in singles matches until then.

Bullet Club Gold jumped Cash Wheeler after the match. The Young Bucks actually are allowed on Collision now and made the save. They were heavily booed. They got the loudest reaction from the crowd all night. There was also a “CM Punk” chant. The Bucks offered a handshake to FTR. FTR turned it down this time.

Gino’s take – This really didn’t add a whole lot to the All Out match. I still think the match would have made a lot more sense if the Bucks shook hands with FTR after their outstanding match at All In. It doesn’t really matter. AEW obviously chose not to build good storylines for All Out and the match will still be great.

Overall Rating 7.5/10

Final Thoughts

This was a really good show and did help the poor buildup to All Out. I would say 7.5 is a pretty average rating for AEW so it really was more of an average show. Much better than last week though. I am really glad they added Bryan Danielson and Ricky Starks to the All Out card. I’m sure it was supposed to be CM Punk and Starks in the strap match for the Real “Fake” World Championship that is hopefully now defunct along with Punk. Even thought this was a good show and added to All Out, it wasn’t enough to overcome how terrible the build for the show has been and the shit-show that CM Punk turned what should have been AEW’s greatest week into.

Pretty much everything on the show was at least solid besides the segment with Dennis Rodman. That was a mess. AEW would have been better off booking the Trios Title match that happened tonight on All Out instead. I think TK overestimated how popular the unpopular Dennis Rodman is just because he played for the Bulls. That said I do give AEW credit for remembering All Out is happening and trying to add interest in the show even though it’s way too late for that. All Out will probably be very good but even with the addition of Danielson to the card, I’m probably not going to watch it.

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