AEW Collision Review – September 9, 2023

aew collision september 9

This week on AEW Collision featured two Grand Slam Tournament Semifinals matches: Darby Allin facing Roderick Strong and Samoa Joe taking on Penta in the main event.

Greetings, Colliders! Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland Ohio hosts the 13th episode of AEW Collision.

AEW is coming off of two of their biggest weeks ever with All In two weeks ago and All Out last week. For positive and negative reasons. Things seemed to have calmed down a bit. At least as far as headlines on the internet. That is probably a good thing as it feels like we are entering a reboot type period for the company. There were a couple of new programs set up on Dynamite that could be very good. The roster should be rejuvenated. The card for Collision is solid as we get two matches in the World Title Eliminator tournament; Samoa Joe vs Penta El Zero Miedo and Darby Allin vs Roderick Strong. I’m looking forward to both matches. Let’s get to the action!

Samoa Joe, Penta, Roderick Strong and Darby Allin start the show with short video packages hyping up their matches in the eliminator tournament. The best line from it was Roddy Strong calling it the “March to Max”. It’s good to see the show opening video packages return after a couple weeks without them. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting! The International Title is on the line in our opening match.

AEW International Championship: (C) Jon Moxley def Action Andretti – There is a graphic saying Action’s 2023 record is 7-7. That’s seem incredibly unlikely. It must count ROH. It seems more like 0-7 to me yet here is in another title match. The match starts with a “Let’s go Moxley” chant. It sounds like a good crowd tonight. Andretti was in control most of the match. He hit a lot of great-looking moves including a cartwheel type kick, Tope Suicida, springboard spinning splash and a springboard Moonsault to the outside. Action did a good job working over Moxley’s knee. Jon sold it well the whole match.

After commercial Moxley hit a Tope Suicida of his own and reversed a top rope move into a Cutter. The crowd chanted for him. Andretti got the advantage back. The crowd booed. Action hit a Falcon Arrow. The match is starting to go a bit too long for me. Andretti sets Moxley up for the Blackpool Combat Club style stomps. The crowd did not like that at all. Action played to the crowd booing in a heelish way. Jon had a great looking counter to the stomps that landed action in the Bulldog Choke. Andretti tapped out. Rating ***

Gino’s take – Every Andretti match I write about how I’m tired of seeing him losing. I’ll take it easy on that this time even though I still would much prefer to see someone who isn’t used much like Keith Lee in this spot. This was a decent match and maybe there is finally some storyline development for him. We’re in Moxley’s home state but the crowd booing Action is interesting. He’s a face but AEW doesn’t really give us a reason to care about him with all the losing he does. Maybe we’ll get a heel turn from him soon. I doubt it would lead to a push but he couldn’t possibly be less interesting than he is. It looks like Moxley is going to defend the International Title as much as Orange Cassidy or more. That’s certainly not a bad thing.

There is a video package for Roderick Strong. The Kingdom is with him. He talks about his relationship with Adam Cole. He loves Cole, they are like brothers. It hurts Roddy for Adam to call MJF a brother. These video packages for Strong have been very effective to build a character for him. It’s probably setting up a match between him and Cole. After that we get a replay of Samoa Joe beating up MJF on Dynamite Wednesday.

TBS Championship: Kris Statlander def Robyn Renegade – My wife mentions it’s back-to-back Open Challenges to start the show. Renegade was in control early in the match. She was doing a good job working the crowd that was booing her. Her sister Charlette helped from the outside. Kris hit a nice Blue Thunder Bomb. Robyn hit a Flatliner. Both drew 2 counts. Statlander hit a Flapjack, knocked Charlette off the apron and won with a rollup. Rating **

The Renegade Twins continued the attack after the match. That led to the return of Jade Cargill! I was not expecting that. I knew she might be back soon. I didn’t think it would be here. I figured they would announce it. Jade destroyed the twins before turning her attention to Statlander hitting her finisher Jaded. Cargill picked up the TBS Title and said “I missed you so much”. Mark Sterling was with her.

Gino’s take – We saw Robyn recently on Collison in a loss to Willow Nightingale. I thought she looked good. It is kind of strange to start the show with two title matches where we haven’t seen the challenger win a match. Obviously, the big story here is the unexpected return of Jade Cargill. She definitely adds badly needed star power to the Women’s division. I thought she might return as a face and go after Saraya, the Outcasts and the AEW Women’s Championship. It doesn’t look like that is the case.

Rene Paquette is backstage interviewing Saraya and Ruby Soho. Soho is mad at Toni Storm for costing her the TBS Championship at All Out. Saraya says Storm is crazy and they need to knock her back into place. Perhaps Storm will remain in the Outcasts. Saraya is confident for her title defense at Grand Slam. There is a 4-way to determine her opponent on Dynamite. Toni is one of them. I see her winning.

Tony Schiavone is having a sit-down interview with Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston. Eddie says Claudio left the indies without doing business with him. They lived together. Claudio knows Eddie’s parents. It seems like Eddie has that same relationship with a lot of wrestlers. There is also something about Eddie denying a handshake 15 years ago. Claudio wants to get his handshake at Grand Slam. It sounds like both Kingston’s New Japan Strong Openweight and Claudio’s ROH Championships will be on the line.

Gino’s take – Very good way to announce a big match for Grand Slam. It’s been a long, bitter rivalry although some of it has happened on ROH that I don’t watch. I’m glad AEW finally explained the story and why these guys hate each other so much. It took them a very long time to do that. The story and both titles being on the line should add to their match at Grand Slam.

Bullet Club Gold (Juice Robinson & The Gunns) def Gravity/Aero Star/Dios Del Inframundo – I don’t know who Inframundo is. They didn’t explain it either. Juice Robinson got a good pop when he tagged in. The crowd gave him a “Juuuuuice” chant. Andrade is watching a monitor backstage as we go to a picture-in-picture commercial. The heels are in control after some good action early. Aero Star hit some good high-flying moves on all three of his opponents. There wasn’t much offense for the faces. The Gunns hit 3-10 to Yuma. Juice Robinson hit his finisher Pulp Fiction Facebuster type move. Rating ** ¼

Gino’s take – This was supposed to be a 4-way. Jay White couldn’t be at the show due to personal reasons. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious for one of Collision’s hottest wrestlers. BCG did have the Jay cutout for their entrance. Andrade showed up again watching a monitor backstage. They are likely setting up something with Andrade and BCG. Rush, Preston Vance and Dralistico could get involved. It should be interesting. It’s still disappointing Andrade didn’t get a spot at All In or All Out. We should have gotten Andrade vs Malakai Black at All Out. That said, there are rumblings Andrade might have some off-screen issues involving his marriage. This is another match where the action was fine but the result was so obvious that it meant nothing.

CJ Perry fka Lana had a video package. I’m not sure what AEW is going to call her. I’ll call her CJ for now. She explains why she showed up at All Out after the MEAT that was Miro against Powerhouse Hobbs. CJ explains that she lost Miro after he initially won the TNT Title. Miro is stubborn and has forsaken everything including his God and his hot flexible wife. CJ says she’s the best manager in wrestling.

Gino’s take – I liked this a lot. CJ seemed more comfortable here than at any time during her WWE run outside of when she was paired with Rusev as a Russian. She was very good. Her being a manager is very intriguing. Is she with Miro? Against him? I just hope AEW isn’t going to relive the terrible storyline WWE did with Rusev and Bobby Lashley. The seeds for that are definitely there. I am looking forward to seeing where this is going.

There is a Dark Order recruitment video. It was old school cult style like Dark Order was in their origin. Even before Brodie Lee. I liked it. AEW Trios Champions Acclaimed and Billy Gunn have a video package after that. They announce the Acclaimed World Tour. It was really just a way to tell us where upcoming AEW shows will be. It does sound like Acclaimed and Ass might defend the Trios Titles at Grand Slam. Maybe Dark Order will be their opponents.

Rey Fenix def Angelico – Fenix had a video package before the match where he called out Jon Moxley for an International Championship match. Sound good to me! Serpentico is with Angelico. He causes a distraction that leads to Angelico having the early advantage. There is a “Let’s go Fenix” chant. Rey hits a Frog Splash. Angelico has a lot of good mat wrestling in his repertoire. Fenix ran the ropes and punted Serpentico. Huge Cutter and Package Piledriver from Fenix to get the win. Rating ** ¼

Gino’s take – Another match with way too obvious of a result to be interesting. I will say at least this was a way to get Fenix a win ahead of a likely International Title match against Moxley.

FTR has a backstage interview with Schiavone. Dax Harwood says they are going to have an FTR World Tag Team Challenge. Any 2 young wrestlers that want a shot can have it. It sounds like another Open Challenge where we’ll see teams that never win get title shots. It seems AEW has run out of ideas for FTR. As good as FTR is, a title change would be good for the division. I’d like to see Lucha Brothers built up as challengers.

Darby Allin is headed to the ring for his match when Luchasaurus attacks him. Christian Cage says Allin will never hold a Championship as long as he is in AEW. Luchasaurus lawn darts Darby into a rolling door. This was the only match on the card with somewhat of a result that isn’t obvious. The attack takes away from that. Announcers Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness doubt Darby can have the match. I didn’t. Nick Wayne helps him to the ring.

Roderick Strong def Darby Allin – Strong hit a couple of back breakers early. Allin nailed Strong with his awesome dive through the middle and bottom rope. It looks better and better every week. We get an early PIP commercial break. Roddy slammed Darby back first into the post and launched him against the barricade. Darby had a flurry of offense leading to a couple of nearfalls including hitting Code Red. Roderick hit a crazy looking backbreaker on top of the top ropes. Darby also had a nasty landing on the apron before hitting the floor. Brutal spot. It looked safe on replays. Safe for Darby anyway. Another PIP break.

Darby hit a stunner on the apron followed by a Coffin Drop on the outside. The Kingdom is with Strong and tried to gang up on Nick Wayne. AR Fox came out to even the odds much to the disapproval of Wayne. Back in the ring, Strong hit a huge kick on Allin. The guys on the outside got involved again. This time Fox inadvertently took out Wayne. That distracted Darby allowing Roddy to hit his finisher, a lifting backbreaker for the win. Rating *** ½

Gino’s take – This was better than I thought it would be considering the pre-match attack. There wasn’t really a time I thought Darby would win. It was still a competitive match. The storyline with Darby, Christian, Luchasaurus, AR Fox and Nick Wayne meant more than the match. It’s a good storyline so it’s not really a complaint in that sense. However, there still hasn’t been a meaningful match on the show because this match was really more of an angle to advance to story between Darby and Christian.

Powerhouse Hobbs has a video package where he talks about Miro and The Book of Hobbs. It sounds like their feud will continue. That’s a good thing considering how great their match at All Out was but I don’t know if I want CJ involved.

Lexy Nair interviews Keith Lee backstage. Lee mentions Colliders. Nice to see AEW hasn’t forgotten the term. Lee says he’s the one, he’s the Collision. He ends it with a nod to Bray Wyatt by saying “Run”. Decent little promo. I’m not sure I agree with Lee that he’s the “One” on Collision. He’s gotten about 3 minutes of TV time since arriving 3 weeks ago.

Let’s hear from Bryan Danielson

We are shown replays of the grueling strap match between Danielson and Ricky Starks at All Out. Uncle Dave Meltzer rated it *****. I agree that he often rates AEW matches too high. I don’t think he was too far off on this one. I might have rated it a notch below at ****¾ but it was probably one of my top 5 AEW matches of the year. I don’t recall two wrestlers whipping each other in the face and ears like that. The hatred seemed palpable even though there was no story. It was the best strap match I can remember seeing. A masterpiece. Danielson says he told his 6-year-old daughter his career would wind down when she turned 7. Time is running out. He says if it’s his last year he’s not going quietly. He’s going to kick everyone’s head in.

Bryan calls out Zack Sabre Jr. for a match at WrestleDream on October 1st. Ricky Starks and Big Bill came out. Ricky is still frustrated that his opponent from the strap match is getting all the attention. He has graduated from being hungry and is now greedy. Ricky wants the spotlight. Danielson says Starks didn’t let him finish. He knows what is in Ricky’s heart and he approves. He has a shirt. Bryan is offering Ricky a spot in Blackpool. Big Bill wasn’t having it. He attacked Danielson. Starks pulled him off teasing that he might accept Bryan’s offer to be in BCC. That wasn’t the case. Starks just wanted to beat down Danielson himself. Moxley hit the ring. He got his ass kicked by Bill as well. Ricky choked out Bryan with Steamboat’s belt. Starks mocked Danielson and the crowd from the ramp.

Gino’s take – Dominant showing from Ricky and Bill. Blackpool has lost a lot but they’ve never really been laid out so easily like that. It puts over Starks and Bill in a big way. This was a very newsworthy segment. Not only did we get the announcement of the first match for Wrestle Dream. We also got the tease that Danielson’s career is coming to an end. I wouldn’t be surprised and would wish him well if it was. I’m a huge AEW fan and not really into WWE. That said, I think he might and should go back to WWE. He could work there another 10 years wrestling 1 match a year or less, make tons of money and be a first ballot hall of famer. My wife got goosebumps when he announced the match against Sabre Jr. It was because she thought he was calling out her favorite wrestler Will Ospreay though. It’s an amazing match either way. Fair to call it a dream match.

The announcers run down the matches for Dynamite and Collision. Big Bill is facing Jon Moxley for the International Title in Cincinnati, Jon’s hometown. I like it. It’s so easy to do simple segments to build a match like AEW did tonight with Big Bill and Moxley. It adds to the match and AEW should do a lot more of it. Iron Savages are facing FTR next week on Collision. I like Iron Savages as a young team with a lot of potential. The match still confirms my suspicion that FTR is now going to have random title matches against teams we’ve never seen win. AEW made Danielson and Sabre Jr official as the first match for Wrestle Dream. We’re 3 weeks away from that show. It’s not as last minute as All Out was after All In. The show is still in similar tough spot as AEW has to build Grand Slam at Arthur Ashe Stadium just a couple weeks before.

Big Bill is backstage with Tony Schiavone. He says he just kicked Jon Moxley’s ass and he’s going to do it again in Cincinnati. Rey Fenix, Penta and Alex Abrahantes show up. It looks like it could be another future rivalry. There has been really good storyline development on this show.

Samoa Joe def Penta El Zero Miedo – I like this matchup. It’s another solid main event of Collison that has something on the line. That said, the outcome is obvious. Joe was in control early using his power. Roderick Strong is scouting his opponent on a monitor backstage. There was a good spot early where Joe tried to walk away from a plancha attempt from Penta. Penta had it scouted and styled behind Joe’s back before hitting a Slingblade on the outside. Penta pulled out a table before a PIP break.

Joe dominated and ripped at Penta’s mask during commercial. There was a slow pace with Joe wearing out Penta. Penta hit a backstabber for a 2 count. Penta leaped into a huge Powerslam from Joe for a near fall. Joe was down, Penta hit a thrust kick for a 2 count. Tope Con Hilo from Penta. The crowd isn’t that loud. Penta tried to hit another Tope but Joe walking away was successful on his third attempt sending Penta crashing through the table that he set up earlier. That drew a “Holy Shit” chant. Joe tapped Penta out with the Coquina Clutch. Rating *** ¼

Gino’s take – Both men won their spot by winning matches on Rampage. Rampage was really good Friday. Having matches that meant something helped the show. Who would have thunk it? The main event itself was fine. It could have been a lot better. Even though the stakes were high in the last 2 matches, the outcomes were so obvious they lost the crowd a bit. Joe winning was the right call. I actually think they should have waited for MJF vs Samoa Joe until Full Gear. It’s a match that justifies a 2-month build. I’m still glad we’re getting it in two weeks. It should be excellent.

Overall Rating 7.25/10

Final Thoughts

My benchmark for an average AEW show is 7.5. This came in slightly under that so it was a below average show. If I was rating it on the in-ring action alone it would have been below 7. AEW has a lot of wrestlers. I understand they want to feature their stars as much as possible but they really need to find a better way to build challengers for championships. The formula of giving people who lose all their matches random title shots in Open Challenges is a very flawed. It looks like FTR is going down that road now so we’re going to see even more of them. The World Title Eliminator matches were fine. Even those had very predictable outcomes. I doubt anyone would have gotten any of the outcomes wrong if there were predictions about the winners of the matches.

It’s not like the action was bad. It was just too predictable which made nothing stand out as meaningful. That isn’t to say it wasn’t a meaningful show. The show was helped by strong storyline development all night long. The return of Jade Cargill was a big moment that should get people talking about the Women’s division. I’m not sure if she’ll win the TBS Title from Statlander when they have their match so that does give them a fresh, interesting challenger for one of their many titles. The biggest story to come out of this show was Bryan Danielson teasing that he’s in the last year of his career. If he really is and he’s going out with a bang, announcing a dream match against Zack Sabre Jr. is a good start. It’s an excellent first match for Wrestle Dream on October 1st. I hope AEW does better building that PPV than they did for All Out. With just 3 weeks remaining until the show, they are already a little behind the 8-ball.

Ricky Starks and Big Bill had the strongest showing of anyone on the show. You don’t see guys like Jon Moxley and Danielson destroyed and left laid out very often. I can see Ricky Starks challenging for Moxley’s International Championship in the near future. Starks and Bill would make a good tag-team as well. I think they need to find a way to get gold around Starks waist. It seems like AEW is out of opponents for FTR. I wouldn’t mind seeing Starks and Bill take the titles off of them. Bill has a shot at Moxley’s title on Dynamite Wednesday. I doubt anyone thinks he’s going to win but doing the beatdown segment on this show makes that match a hell of a lot more meaningful than Moxley’s defense against Andretti.

Please follow me on Twitter/X @GeenoEvel86. Thanks for reading!