By Don Murphy, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@DonThePredictor)
AEW Collision (Episode 19)
Memphis, Tennessee at FedEx Forum
Aired live October 21, 2023 on TNT
[Hour One] The Collision opening aired and pyro shot off from the stage… Tony Schiavone checked in on commentary and was joined by Nigel McGuinness and Kevin Kelly…
1. Bryan Danielson vs. Andrade El Idolo. Fans started chanting “This is Awesome” prior to the opening lockup. Both men started with a long lockup followed by a series of chain wrestling. El Idolo locked in an arm bar which Danielson eventually rolled out of and took down Andrade. Andrade locked Danielson in the “Gory Especial” and attempted a quick cover. The two exchanged a series of near falls and resumed some excellent chain wrestling with a series of takedowns and counters.
Danielson locked in a modified “bow and arrow” which Andrade converted into a two count. Andrade attempted a figure four leglock which was blocked by Danielson. The two exchanged chops and eventually took the action to the floor. Danielson rammed El Idolo shoulder first into the ring post followed by a high knee off the apron. The show went to its first picture-in-picture break.
Coming out of the break, Danielson was stomping El Idolo and concentrating on the arm and shoulder. The two resumed chopping each other. Danielson went down but countered with a series of kicks.
El Idolo hit Danielson with a flying forearm and knocked him to the floor with a springboard dropkick. El Idolo moonsaulted onto Danielson on the floor. In the ring, El Idolo hit a split legged moonsault for a two count. Kelly pointed out a bruise on El Idolo’s left bicep and noted that this was “not a good sign.”
Danielson blocked a superplex attempt and countered with a flying dropkick. He proceeded to hit El Idolo with a series of kicks. El Idolo countered with two “dragon screw” leg whips. Bryan blocked a third attempt and locked in an armbar but El Idolo reached the ropes.
El Idolo hit the “Tree of Woe” double stomp followed by running knees in the corner for a near fall. Danielson blocked a moonsault and began stomping El Idolo’s head followed by the “LeBell Lock.” El Idolo broke out of the hold.
El Idolo locked on the figure four but Danielson reached the ropes. The two went back to deuling chops before colliding. El Idolo attempted running knees in the corner but Danielson met with him with a crescent kick. The two exchanged a series of near falls with Danielson eventually trapping El Idolo for the three count.
Bryan Danielson defeated Andrade El Idolo in about 19:00.
The two shook hands after the match. The lights went out and when they came back on Malakai Black was in the ring and hit Danielson with his “Fade to Black” finishing kick. The lights went out again and when they came back on, Wheeler Yuta and Claudio Castagnoli were tending to Danielson.
Don’s Take: While I question calling this a “Dream Match” this was an excellent opener for fans of simple old school wrestling. I particularly enjoyed how they would execute certain parts of the match only to ground themselves with a series of chops which essentially restarted the match. It was good to see Black return and I assume will get some Trios matches between the Blackpool Combat Club and the House of Black before pivoting to the one-on-one showdown between Black and Danielson. That match should be awesome.
A video recapped the history between Darby Allin and Nick Wayne. Darby told Wayne that if he had something to say to him that he can show up on Wednesday when Tony Khan has a gift for Sting.
2. Skye Blue vs. Hollyhood Haley. Haley is making her Collision debut. The two locked up and exchanged blows before Blue took Haley down with a clothesline. Blue mounted Haley and began punching her rapid fire. Haley countered with two open hand backfists and a takedown. Haley missed a charge in the corner and Blue countered with a running powerbomb. Blue then rolled Haley up for the three count.
Skye Blue defeated Hollyhood Haley in about 2:00 minutes.
Don’s Take: After losing back-to-back matches to Kris Statlander and Ruby Soho, it was nice to see Blue have a showcase performance. AEW clearly sees something in her and with the women’s division in need of strong heels, it’s important to build talent back up after taking a couple of losses.
3. “The Gunn Club” Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn (w/Jay White) vs. “The Outrunners” Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd. The Outrunners are also making their Collison debut. Truth Magnum got a couple of initial moves in on Colten Gunn who countered and stomped Magnum in the corner. McGuinness noted that Magnum won the “Jesse the Body” award in 1984. A nice old school reference. Austin tagged in stomped both opponents. The Gunns threw Magnum out of the ring and hit their “3:10 to Yuma” finisher on Floyd for the win.
“The Gunn Club” Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn defeated The Outrunners” Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd in about 2:00.
After the match, while “Bullet Club Gold” celebrated in the ring, the lights went out again and this time “The Devil” appeared on the screen for a few sections before switching off. The heels left the ring frazzled.
Don’s Take: The Gunns are high on my list for most improved in 2023 and though they’ve already held the AEW Tag Team Championship, their next run has the potential to be even better as they’ve re-established their credibility through their affiliation with “Bullet Club Gold.” As for the post-match angle, I am intrigued to see where this is going. While there are a couple of obvious suspects such as Adam Cole and Max Caster, their current storylines don’t lend themselves to such a dark pivot. That leaves me wondering if a total swerve out of left field is planned.
Lexy Nair interviewed AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy backstage. Kris Statlander entered and began pressing Nair in a fireman’s carry to get pumped for her match with Willow Nightingale later tonight.
Don’s Take: Weird.
4. Jeff Jarrett (w/Karen Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh) vs. ROH World Champion Eddie Kingston in a Memphis Street Fight. Legendary Memphis wrestling announcer Dave Brown joined the commentary team. If you’re into wrestling history and have the time, classic Memphis wrestling featuring the announce team of Brown and Lance Russell would be a strong recommendation.
The two met in the aisle to start the match. Lethal and Singh were both unsuccessful in interfering early on. The two battled back to a concession stand that was set up near the back. Kingston squirted Jarrett with ketchup and mustard. The announce team talked about how these matches were common in the days of the territories.
Lethal drove Kingston through the concession stand table from the stage with a cutter. The show went to a picture-in-picture break.
Back from the break and the two battled back to the ring as Jarrett put Kingston through another table during the commercial and began to work on his knee with a lead pipe, a trash can and a bar chair.
Jarrett locks Kingston in a figure four leglock. As Kingston attempted to reverse the hold, Lethal attempted a flying elbow but missed. Kingston got in offense on both Lethal and Jarrett before Sonjay Dutt entered the ring.
Kingston took over on Dutt before Karen Jarrett entered. Kingston put Karen behind Dutt in the corner and chopped Dutt. Jeff attempted to hit Kingstong with the guitar but was met with a spinning back fist for a near fall that was broken up by Lethal.
Lethal went for the “Lethal Injection” but was blocked and hit with a half and half suplex. Kingston then smashed the guitar over Singh’s head. Jarrett hit his “stroke” finisher on Kingston for a near fall.
The heels entered the ring and beat down Kingston who took another “stroke,:” a “Lethal Injection” and a chokeslam from Singh. Jarrett finally covered Kingston for the win.
Jeff Jarrett defeated ROH World Champion Eddie Kingston in a Memphis Street Fight in about 13:00 minutes.
Don’s Take: Given that the logical goal was for the heels to earn an ROH title match for Jay Lethal while also paying homage to classic Memphis wrestling, I don’t mind how overbooked this match was. That said, Eddie Kingston joins the list of “dumb babyfaces” who accept no disqualification matches against someone in a faction without brining backup.
[Hour Two] Lexy Nair interviewed AEW Trios Champions the Acclaimed backstage. Nair noted that they would be defending their belts at “Battle of the Belts” against Matt Menard, Angelo Parker and Daniel Garcia. Caster suggested that Nair use a belt on him. Gunn and Bowens put Max in the corner while saying that they have been champions for 55 days. Bowens noted that their opponents are not on the same page and predicted victory.
CJ Perry made her way to the ring.
5. Miro vs. Action Andretti. Andretti got some brief offense in the opening minute but was flattened by Miro while Perry smiled at ringside. Miro hit a series of short arm clotheslines and threw Andretti to the outside as the show went to a picture-in-picture commercial.
After the break, Miro had Andretti in a chin lock. Andretti eventually rebounded with some hope spots. Andretti ducked a charging Miro who fell to the outside. Andretti met Miro with a running kick as he attempted to climb back into the ring before diving onto him on the floor.
Miro caught a flying body press and slammed Andretti down. Miro went for his “Game Over” finisher but Andretti rolled out and rolled up Miro for a near fall.
Andretti continued on the offense hitting a spinning DDT, a running dropkick and a 450 splash for several near falls. Andretti went to put Miro up in “Torture Rack” but couldn’t hold him. Miro knocked Andretti down with a kick and locked in “Game Over” for the submission.
Miro defeated Action Andretti in about 9:00.
Don’s Take: This was more competitive than I figured it would have been. And Perry is playing an interesting character here. In some cases, she looked like she was encouraging Miro while in others it looked like she was rooting against him. Could this recruiter gimmick all be a ruse?
Lexy Nair interviewed Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Daniel Garcia and Anna Jay backstage. Lexy asked if the beef was still squashed and Menard spoke of a family breakfast with no dancing. Garcia looked annoyed while Jay ordered them to “come with her” as they were not doing this on camera again.
Ruby Soho then entered and ran into Parker who was leaving. He said his family was falling apart but after tonight he would be a champion. Soho ordered him to get out of her shot. She said everyone thinks they deserve to be champion but she’s the only one that really deserves it. It was announced that Soho will face Hikaru Shida for the AEW Women’s Title this coming Wednesday on Dynamite.
After the break, a La Faccion Ingobernable vignette aired with Rush talking about others getting their opportunities and him being deemed too dangerous. The vignette ended with a “To Be Continued” graphic.
Eddie Kingston was being attended to backstage. He said that the reason he was making Jay Lethal jump through hoops to get a title shot because he calls a man who’s not his blood “uncle.” He talked about how Lethal used to love wrestling before he associated himself with Jarrett and Dutt. He said Lethal is no longer a wrestler but is Jeff Jarrett’s “little bitch.” He referred to Lethal as Jamar (his real name) and told him not to bring his faction to their match. He also said not to bring his mother and father because his mother will cry. And it will be because deep down, she knows that he deserves beating he will be getting.
Don’s Take: A great promo marred by the actor playing the medic smirking awkwardly in the background.
6. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. Bad Thad Brown and Darian Bengston. The match never really got off to a start as the lights went out again and when they came back on, Malakai Black had returned. The lights again flickered off and when they came back on, he was joined by Brody King and Buddy Murphy. The trio attacked FTR and left them laying.
“FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler wrestled Bad Thad Brown and Darian Bengston to an apparent no-contest.
Don’s Take: The parlor tricks with the lights has been done enough for one night. I’m happy to see the House of Black back and I guess the goal is to have them feud with multiple teams at once.
Tony Schiavone ran down the Battle of the Belts card and also announced the following for Dynamite: MJF vs. Juice Robinson for the Dynamite Diamond Ring, the aforementioned Hikaru Shida vs. Ruby Soho for the AEW Women’s Championship, Tony Khan has a gift for Sting, the Young Bucks and Hangman Adam Page vs. Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy and Brother Zay for the ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championship, and a sitdown interview between Renee Paquette and Chris Jericho.
7. Ricky Starks and Big Bill vs. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta for the AEW Tag Team Championship. Yuta and Starks started off as Jim Ross joined the announce team. Chain and mat wrestling to start until Big Bill tagged in.
Bill took over on offense as the heels worked Yuta over through the picture-in picture break. Eventually, Yuta attempted the hot tag but Castagnoli was kicked off the apron by Bill after being distracted by Starks. Starks then rammed Castagnoli into the ring steps.
The heels resumed working over Yuta who was finally able to tag in Castagnoli. He cleaned house and hit Starks in the corner with a series of short clotheslines. He threw Starks to the outside and hit both Starks and Bill with running European uppercuts. The show went to its final picture-in-picture break.
After the break, Castagnoli is still on the offensive but Starks tagged out to Bill. Bill hits a big boot for a near fall. Yuta tags in and hits Bill with a flying dropkick while Bill is held by Castagnoli. Yuta attempts a German suplex on Bill but can’t get him up.
Yuta attempts to fight off both heels but is eventually overcome. Yuta hits an “Angle Slam” on Starks and tags out to Castagnoli. Bill attempts a double chokeslam but is thwarted.
The faces are about to hit their Swing and Splash finisher for the win but the House of Black re-emerged and attacked Castagnoli and Yuta while referee Rick Knox was distracted by Malakai Black. Starks hit the spear on Yuta for the win.
Ricky Starks and Big Bill defeated Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta to retain the AEW Tag Team Championship in about 20:00.
After the match, the House of Black stared down Starks and Bill but ultimately attacked Yuta. Bryan Danielson attempted to make the save but he was overwhelmed by all five heels. FTR also came out to try to help with the same result.
Jon Moxley returned to a nice pop who re-started the brawl between heels and faces After the faces cleared the heels from the ring, Starks came back in and took finishers from all the faces. The remaining heels watched on from the stage as the show transitioned to “Battle of the Belts.
Don’s Take: A little bit too much House of Black for my taste but the goal was to re-establish them as threats and I think that was accomplished. Nice to see Jon Moxley back and these upcoming matches with the House of Black should be fun.
Overall, a good episode. I thought maybe we’d get more talking segments since we’re getting a third hour but this had plenty of wrestling. And we’re not done! Off to watch “Battle of the Belts.”