By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Collision (Episode 6)
Newark, New Jersey at Prudential Center
Aired live July 22, 2023 on TNT
[Hour One] Collision opened with brief promos from The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn, Darius Martin and Action Andretti, and Bullet Club Gold. Ricky Starks was shown driving his car up to the building. He pulled out his Owen Hart Cup title belt and said he would celebrate in style… The Collision opening aired… Ian Riccaboni and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary…
Tony Schiavone stood in the ring and introduced Ricky Starks as the Owen Hart Cup tournament winner. Footage aired of Starks holding the ropes while pinning CM Punk in the tournament final and then blowing off Jushin Liger afterward.
Starks stood on the middle rope and a bunch of pyro shot off on the stage. Schiavone brought up Starks holding the ropes while he pinned Punk. A “you deserve it” chant broke out. Starks said he’d never agreed more with a city than he did now.
Starks assumed people were wondering what was in the bag that he brought to the ring with him. He said nothing and added that he just wanted to show off his Louis bag. Starks said the way he won won’t matter years from now. He said he did things the way he always does by winning via any means necessary.
Schiavone asked about Starks disrespecting Liger. He said no disrespect and then said people say he should be one of the company’s Four Pillars. Starks asked how many Owens the pillars won.
CM Punk walked out in non-wrestling attire without entrance music. Punk was booed by most of the fans. Punk entered the ring and told Starks that he’s almost proud of him. He said that the New Jersey people couldn’t say that they’d never cheated at anything in their life. Punk mocked the New Jersey Devils hockey team by saying that they might have gone past the first round had they cheated.
“I’m not mad at you,” Punk said. “I can live with the L. But think about this. Can you live with the win knowing how you did it, knowing deep down that you can’t beat CM Punk without cheating?” Punk patted Starks on the arm and then left the ring.
Starks called for Punk to stop and told him that his bag is as empty as that little red bag that Punk has been carrying around. Punk returned to the ring while some fans chanted for him. Punk went face to face with Starks. “You want a shot at what’s in the bag, Ricky?” Punk asked. “Or are you like Little Max and you just don’t want me to have it. I am the real World Champion.”
Christian Cage called out from the stage as he walked out with Luchasaurus. Cage said that they were contractually obligated to appear in front of the live crowd, but this was taking too long for his liking. Cage said he didn’t want to spend any more time in New Jersey than he had to.
Cage, who had the TNT Title belt draped over his shoulder, asked Punk what kind of a man carries around a title belt that he didn’t win. Cage declared that he and Luchasaurus are the faces of TNT forever.
Darby Allin walked out behind Cage and took the mic from him before heading to the ring. Allin told Starks that he hates the pillar description and said that anyone who is ride or die with the company is a pillar in his eyes. “Like my good friend CM Punk,” Allin said while putting his arm around a laughing Punk.
Allin told Cage and Luchasaurus that he’ll become the new face of TNT. Allin said Luchasaurus seems to be a guy who took too many psychedelics and thinks he’s a dinosaur. Allin called for a tag match with him and Punk against Starks and either Cage or Luchasaurus. Schiavone said Tony Khan just told him that the match would be Punk and Allin vs. Starks and Cage…
Riccaboni and McGuinness spoke at ringside and set up footage of Andrade El Idolo arriving at the building and being told by security that management didn’t want him in the building after what he did last week. Andrade tried to blow them off, but the main security guard was persistent…
The broadcast team read through the list of Collision matches… [C]
Powell’s POV: A lot of pyro, a lot of talking, and not much entrance music. Oh, and it was a fine segment in terms of generating more friction between Punk and Starks, while also building up Allin’s issues with Luchasaurus and Cage now that Allin earned a TNT Title shot by winning the Royal Rampage match.
Ring announcer Dasha introduced the teams for the opening match…
1. Jay White and Juice Robinson (Austin Gunn, Colten Gunn) vs. Darius Martin and Action Andretti. The heels were in offensive control heading into a picture-in-picture break a few minutes into the match. [C]
Andretti put White down with an enzuigiri and then went to the ropes, but Robinson cut him off and tied him up in the tree of woe. Robinson tagged himself in and hit a cannonball on Andretti. White tagged in again and held up Andretti while Robinson hit him with the Left Hand of God. They hit a couple more moves on Andretti and then White hit the Bladerunner on him and scored the pin.
Jay White and Juice Robinson defeated Darius Martin and Action Andretti in 10:20.
After the match, the Gunns entered the ring and took some cheap shots at Andretti and Martin… The broadcast team hyped the main event tag match and said Miro was up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: The production team actually cut to a ringside shot while White was hitting his finisher, but they did replay it afterward. The match was fine and it was a predictable bounce back win for White and Robinson after they lost to FTR last week. The post match beatdown by the Gunns was pretty basic, so I’m not sure if it was meant to set them up with a match against Andretti and Martin. As much as I’ve enjoyed the FTR vs. White and Robinson feud, it does seem strange that the Gunns joined the faction and have sat back while White and Robinson go after the tag team titles.
Highlights aired of Willow Nightingale beating Ruby Soho to win the Owen Hart Cup tournament last week, and then losing to Athena in an ROH Women’s Championship match in the main event of last night’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view (my full ROH DBD review is available via the main page)…
Miro made his entrance and was hit from behind by his opponent Nick Comorto on the stage. Comoroto roughed up Miro at ringside and ran him into the steps before rolling him inside the ring…
2. Miro vs. Nick Comoroto. The referee rewarded Comoroto for the pre-match attack by calling for the bell as soon as both wrestlers were inside the ring. Comoroto went for an early cover, but Miro kicked out at one. Miro eventually avoided a corner splash and then suplexed Comoroto. Miro followed up with a big kick and then fired up and got a strong reaction from the crowd. Miro applied his Game Over submission finisher for the win…
Miro beat Nick Comoroto in 1:30.
Powell’s POV: Comoroto attacking Miro on the stage was unexpected and nicely done, but I can’t stand the way the AEW referees constantly reward the heels for cheating by calling for the opening bell without even checking on the attacked babyface. Putting that aside, this was a solid comeback win for Miro, who got the best pop of the night when he fired up.
A good video package chronicled FTR’s time in AEW. Riccaboni reminded viewers that FTR would appear later in the show…
The House of Black made their entrance. It was a pretty basic entrance compared to what they were doing on AEW Dynamite… [C] The Acclaimed made their entrance, which included a Max Caster rap. The lines included drugs at the White House and how HOB’s response is lukewarm. Buddy Matthews ran out and hit Caster to end his rap…
3. “House of Black” Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews (w/Julia Hart) vs. Billy Gunn and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens for the AEW Trios Titles. It looked like House of Black was also rewarded for the pre-match attack, as Matthews and Caster started the match while Black and King dominated Gunn and Bowens at ringside.
The House of Black worked over Caster while his partners stayed down at ringside. Caster made it to the apron nearly two minutes into the match. Caster nearly tagged out, but King pulled Bowens off the apron. Gunn ran King into the barricade and climbed onto the apron while the broadcast team spoke about how he was trying to redeem himself for their past loss to House of Black.
Gunn took a hot tag and worked over Black and Matthews for a moment, but King cut him off with a clothesline. Black followed up with his knockout kick and then pinned Gunn.
“House of Black” Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews defeated Billy Gunn and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens in 4:35 to retain the AEW Trios Titles.
After the match, Black knelt down and spoke into the ear of Gunn before exiting the ring. House of Black headed to the back. Gunn started unlacing his boots while Caster and Bowens watched from ringside. The crowd chanted “You’ve still got it.”
Gunn stood up and left his boots in the middle of the ring. Caster and Bowens tried to talk to him, but he blew past them and headed to the stage while the crowd sang the “Scissor me, daddy” song. Bowens entered the ring and grabbed the boots while the broadcast team wondered if this would be the last time we’d see Gunn wrestle in AEW…
Powell’s POV: They set this up with Gunn taking the loss and expressing a lot of remorse the last time he and The Acclaimed lost to House of Black. I’m not buying that this is the way Gunn goes out, but I am curious to see what the retirement angle leads to.
A highlight package recapped Darby Allin winning the Royal Rampage match on Friday’s AEW Rampage…
Tony Schiavone stood in the ring and introduced AEW Tag Team Champions “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, who made their entrance wearing non-wrestling attire.
[Hour Two] Schiavone praised their win last week in the best of three falls match, then noted that they will put their titles on the line next week against blind eliminator tournament winners MJF and Adam Cole. Wheeler listed Aussie Open, The Acclaimed, and the Young Bucks as “real tag teams” they have unfinished business with.
Wheeler noted that the fans seemed to enjoy MJF and Cole right now. Wheeler told Cole that he shouldn’t trust MJF. He recalled being part of The Pinnacle with MJF. Wheeler spoke about the devil convincing people that he doesn’t exit and said he’s doing it again. He warned Cole to listen when MJF says what he is. “Listen to him, do not trust him,” Wheeler said.
Harwood recalled his father telling him back in the day that he had to get a job. Harwood said other school kids picked on him because he had to get a job. Harwood said he wanted to punch those kids and never got a chance to, but he said it reminds him of what’s happening now. Harwood said MJF and Cole act like the AEW Tag Team Titles are a joke.
Harwood pointed to the comedy skits. A “double clothesline” chant broke out briefly. Harwood mentioned the dance routine. Harwood spoke about the injuries he’s suffered and said he did it to make FTR the greatest team in pro wrestling. Harwood said there won’t be any dance breaks or comedy when they face MJF and Cole next week and vowed to give them the ass kicking he wanted to give the school kids…
Powell’s POV: FTR ran into some issues with the promo just in terms of the fans liking MJF and Cole, and also booing loudly when Harwood mentioned that next week’s tag title match will be held in Hartford. Even so, I liked the promo with the warning that Wheeler gave Cole regarding MJF, as well as Harwood establishing that they won’t tolerate any silliness in the match.
The broadcast team hyped upcoming matches, including the women’s match that they said was up next… [C] A video package recapped the Blood & Guts match from AEW Dynamite… Entrances for the women’s match took place…
4. Taya Valkyrie vs. Skye Blue. Valkyrie patted Blue on the head and then shot a dismissive look to the crowd before pushing her down. There was an awkward early spot where they came together for a shoulder block and just sort of stopped, but they quickly recovered. A chant broke out in support of Blue.
Valkyrie knocked Blue off the apron and then followed her to ringside and speared her. Valkyrie rolled Blue back inside the ring. Valkyrie put Blue down with a Blue Thunder Bomb and got a two count heading into a PIP break. [C] Blue performed a crossbody block from the ropes for a two count.
Blue set up for Skyfall, but Valkyrie escaped and then Blue ran the ropes. Valkyrie followed and placed her on the middle rope and executed a sliding German suplex. Moments later, Valkyrie put Blue down with a clothesline and then tied her up from behind and stomped her face on the mat before pinning her.
Taya Valkyrie beat Skye Blue in 8:55.
After the match, Valkyrie got the mic and told the New Jersey fans that they are worse than she thought. She said she was kidding, but not really. She said things haven’t been going her way lately, but she beat one of their homegrown sweethearts. Valkyrie mocked Britt Baker for beating “an extra” on Dynamite and challenged her to a match on Dynamite. “Come play with me, Britt,” Valkyrie said…
A video package recapped AR Fox beating Shane Taylor on the ROH Death Before Dishonor pre-show. Riccaboni hyped Fox challenging Orange Cassidy for the AEW International Championship. He also listed Allin vs. Swerve Strickland, Baker vs. Valkyrie, and Pac vs. Gravity, Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Penta and Rey Fenix vs. Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor, and MJF and Adam Cole speak on Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite…
The broadcast team listed the following matches for next week’s AEW Collision: FTR vs. MJF and Adam Cole for the AEW Tag Team Titles, Andrade El Idolo vs. Buddy Matthews, and El Hijo del Vikingo, Action Andretti, and Darius Martin vs. Juice Robinson, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn…
Riccaboni hyped the main event as coming up after a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: There were some clunky moments in the Valkyrie vs. Blue match, but there was more good than bad. I like the more laid back approach to pushing upcoming television matches that we get on Collision as opposed to the speed reading on Dynamite. That said, Riccaboni laid it on thick by labeling the Vikingo, Andretti, and Martin vs. Robinson and The Gunns as a “dream” six-man tag match.
Entrances for the main event took place. Dasha said the time limit was the television time remaining…
5. CM Punk and Darby Allin vs. Ricky Starks and Christian Cage (w/Luchasaurus). Neither Starks nor Cage wanted to start the match against Punk, who received a mixed reaction from the crowd. Referee Paul Turner was going to count them out and his count reached nine before Starks ran in to start the match. Punk put Starks down and received a mix of fans chanting his name and other fans booing.
Starks tagged out. Cage wasn’t happy. Punk tossed Cage from the apron inside the ring and then ran him into the turnbuckles twice. Punk mounted Cage in a corner and threw punches at him. Punk and Allin worked the left arm of Cage while making quick tags.
Punk put Cage down with a leg lariat and then looked to Starks. Cage crawled to his corner to tag out, but Starks put his hands up. Punk hoisted up Cage for his finisher, but Cage slipped out and took Punk down. Starks tagged in and joined Cage in going after Punk. They shot Punk into the ropes and Cage dropped down, but Punk held onto the ropes and got the better of both men.
Punk and Allin cleared the heels from the ring. Punk dove onto them. Allin went up top and hit them with a Coffin Drop at ringside. Riccaboni said they had breaking news regarding next week’s Collision that they would address coming out of the break. [C]
Riccaboni announced that next week’s Andrade El Idolo vs. Buddy Matthews match will be a ladder match with Andrade’s mask as the prize that will be hanging above the ring. He also said that the heels had dominated the match throughout the break. Starks did his rope walk before dropping down and hitting Punk, who was being isolated by the heels.
Scorpio Sky was shown watching the match from a luxury box. Punk made the hot tag to Allin, who shoved the heels together and then hit a Stunner on Cage and a Code Red on Starks, which resulted in a two count. Allin followed up with a suicide dive on Starks. He went for the same move on Luchasaurus, who didn’t budge. Cage ran Allin into the bottom of the broadcast table, which appeared to break.
Back inside the ring, Starks turned Allin inside out with a clothesline and covered him for a two count heading into a PIP break. [C] Allin was isolated and made it to his corner for a tag, but Starks pulled Punk off the apron. Punk went after Starks and wasn’t there when Allin tried to tag him. Cage slapped Punk, who drew him into the ring.
Allin eventually escaped Starks and made a diving tag to Punk, who slammed and dropkicked both opponents. Punk did a cartwheel, which Riccaboni said was in tribute to Bam Bam Bigelow. Punk hit high knees in opposite corners and both heels, then hit a bulldog and clothesline combo.
Punk put Cage down with a hammerlock clothesline and got a near fall. Punk went up top and executed a crossbody block, but Cage rolled through and got a two count. Cage went up top and was cut off by a Punk punch. Punk backdropped Cage from the middle rope and then went up top and dropped an elbow on him, which led to a near fall.
Starks tagged in and avoided the GTS. Punk and Starks traded elbow strikes. Punk dropped Starks with a kick to the head. Allin tagged in while Starks was unable to tag out because Cage was down. Allin went for a springboard move, but Starks hit his in mid-air. Starks speared Allin and then hit him with the Roshambo for a good near fall.
Moments later, Allin hit a reverse DDT from the rope and had Starks pinned, but Cage returned to break it up. Punk took out Cage with a GTS on the floor. The referee was focussed on what happened at ringside for reasons that only make sense to him and then missed Luchasaurus low-blowing Allin on the ropes. Starks pulled Allin from the ropes, but Allin rolled him into a pin. Starks escaped and ended up on top of Allin and then held the ropes while getting the three count.
Ricky Starks and Christian Cage beat CM Punk and Darby Allin in 25:00.
The heels had an over the top celebration while broadcast team hyped next week’s matches. Riccaboni delivered his “happy wrestling” catchphrase to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Another enjoyable tag team match on Collision. Obviously, this wasn’t as great as the FTR vs. White and Robinson matches, but it was still very entertaining. Starks definitely needed the win after giving up so much offense throughout the match. I like that they doubled down on him holding the ropes while stealing another victory.
Overall, this was another good episode. The pacing continues to be a big plus and I’m enjoying most of the storylines we’re getting on the Saturday night show. I am filling in for Will Pruett this week, so I will have a lot more to say in my same night audio review of this episode for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.