The SmarK Rant for AEW Collision – 06.17.23
By Scott Keith on 17th June 2023
The SmarK Rant for AEW Collision – 06.17.23
TSN finally relented to the nerds and put it on TSN2 on a four hour delay tonight, but I wanted to avoid spoilers and just decided to watch it on FITE because I’m paying for it anyway.
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness
CM Punk indeed joins us to start, likely with the legal team hovering over their phones at gorilla. So he clarifies that he’s tired of being nice because it’s a business and not a popularity contest. Apparently he sold out Madison Square Garden, which is not something I recall actually happening, but we’ll go with it. He admits that “the sheer magnitude of me makes people uncomfortable” because he’s still humble as ever, and the crowd chants “Fuck the Elite”. So he calls himself “One Bill Phil”, which is apparently David Zaslav’s name for him, and he notes that he’s a genuine article “in a world of counterfeit Bucks”.
And the only thing he’s sorry about is that the only people softer than the fans are the wrestlers they like. And he’s got a bag with his AEW World title in it, since he never lost it, and he’ll be carrying it around until someone can pin him for it. Well this was certainly a thing. The real test will be how crowds react to him outside of his Chicagoland bubble.
TNT title: Wardlow v. Luchasaurus
I feel like we need a title change to kick off the show with a bang and this belt is a pinball title anyway. Wardlow puts him on the floor with a dropkick and Christian talks trash and runs under the ring to escape. This allows the dinosaur to boot Wardlow off the apron and do some slow beatings in the ring to take over. Much of this involves choking while we learn that Arn Anderson is unable to be here tonight. Seems like an important show to miss. Luchasaurus with a chinlock, but Wardlow powers out with an electric chair and makes a comeback. Spinebuster as both guys look really lethargic here tonight. Wardlow goes up and gets crotched, and Luchasaurus chokeslams him down for two. Wardlow blocks another one and comes back with a clothesline, but Christian interrupts the powerbomb, allowing Luchasaurus to pop with a chokeslam for two. They try to do a tombstone reversal spot and that goes sideways in a hurry, but Wardlow manages to hit a swanton without fucking it up, so that’s good. And then Christian gets involved again, hitting Wardlow with a camera, and Luchasaurus gets the pin and the title at 10:48. This was REALLY bad and a terrible way to kick off the new show. Like the crowd not booing it out of the building was a miracle. 1/4*.
Meanwhile, Powerhouse Hobbs announces his intention to win the Owen Hart tournament this year.
Buddy Matthews v. Andrade El Idolo
They note that this is Andrade’s 2023 debut in AEW, which means that the referee actually has the best record for the year. In a pretty big OOF moment, Dasha introduces him as “Buddy Murphy”. Well I guess everyone is nervous tonight. Andrade is lacking in the usual entourage, so I guess Rush has permanent custody of Jose the Assistant. Somehow I’m not betting on them beating the match that their significant others had at Wrestlemania but we need something way more energetic than that opener. They trade headlocks to start and Andrade is tranquilo, prompting Buddy to charge and land on the floor. Andrade with a cartwheel on the apron, into a moonsault on the floor, and they brawl out there. Andrade with a rana off the railing to send Buddy into the table, but Andrade hurts his own shoulder on the landing. Back in the ring, Buddy goes to work on it, as Andrade bumps into the railing, and Buddy gets the meteora for two. Kevin has some trouble finding the right cue to throw it to commercial, but I’m watching on Fite anyway. So medics check on both guys, as the crowd chants “Let’s go doctors”.
So they’re both good to go and they slug it out, but Andrade kicks him in the knee and I guess they go to commercial again? We lose commentary on Fite at that point as Buddy recovers and goes after Andrade’s bad shoulder again, running him into the railing. I think we need a drinking game for how many ways Kevin Kelly can attempt to say “Andrade el Idolo” without ever getting it right. Back in the ring, Buddy works on the arm and puts the boots to him, but Andrade comes back with legwhips and they’re both down. Andrade with the double moonsault for two and they’re both down again. Buddy blocks a spear from the apron and counters it into a draping DDT, which gets two. They fight to the top and Buddy tries a powerbomb, but his knee gives out. So he tries it again and it gives way again, and Andrade puts him down with a back elbow. Andrade charges and walks into a kick from Buddy for two, and they trade suspiciously familiar submission holds in a cute wink-wink spot. And Andrade actually does the figure-eight bridge to finish at 13:12. Hey, the bad knee figured into the finish, so good on them. This was a complete car wreck but they leaned into it and it was pretty good from that perspective. ***1/4. Afterwards, Andrade offers the handshake of respect, but the lights go out and the House of Black shows up, although the camera angle missed that completely and they had to go to a wide shot to correct it. This show has some problems.
Meanwhile, Scorpio Sky is returning soon.
Miro v. Tony Nese
Nese wisely runs away and does some jumping jacks to warm up, so Miro beats him into jelly in the corner. Tony manages to neck him on the top rope to get a bit of offense, but Miro catches a bodypress attempt and goes to finish. Mark Sterling provides distraction and Nese gets another flurry, but Miro shrugs him off, hits the machka kick, and finishes with Game Over at 3:18. Usual stuff from Miro here. **
Ruby Soho & Toni Storm v. Skye Blue & Willow Nightingale
Kevin likens Skye to an “Italian beef sandwich” and Nigel thinks that’s a questionable choice of metaphor. So they have a big brawl to start on the floor, and back in for a big boot from Willow on Ruby for two. Willow puts her down with a series of clotheslines, but Toni provides distraction and Ruby gets an STO to take over. The Outcasts double-team Willow in the corner and choke her out. Willow fights back with a rollup on Ruby for two, but Ruby trips her up for two. More abuse in the corner as Kevin throws to another commercial break so I’m not entirely sure if there’s layers of commercial breaks based on which service you’re watching or what? Storm with more choking on the rope, but Willow comes back with a clothesline on Ruby and makes the hot tag to Skye. Skye runs wild on Toni with kicks and hits a crossbody for two, but Storm takes her down and puts her in the cloverleaf like on Dynamite. Skye makes the ropes this time, however. Skye with a cradle for two and she brings Willow back in for her comeback. Ruby breaks up the Doctorbomb, but Skye tags herself in and immediately gets destroyed by the Outcasts. However, Toni grabs the spray paint and Willow breaks that up, resulting in Ruby getting sprayed by mistake, and Code Blue finishes at 8:08. Glad to see Skye getting another big win. **1/2.
Meanwhile, Ricky Starks declares for the Owen Hart tournament.
Meanwhile, Jeff Jarrett announces that he’s facing Mark Briscoe in a concession stand brawl next week. Fitting, because they hit Jeff’s music and everyone goes to the conce…OH GOD I CAN’T EVEN FINISH THAT JOKE BECAUSE JEFF JARRETT IS GREAT AND WE ALL KNOW IT. What have I become? Someone who’s looking forward to matches from JJ? Next thing I’ll be praising Jay White.
Ha ha, yeah right. He wishes.
The Acclaimed joins us for a Father’s Day celebration with Daddy Ass. Also AEW now stands for “Acclaimed Every Weekend” according to Bowens. Huge if true. So they scissor and that’s the segment. Well that was nothing.
Thankfully Kevin gets to talk about Forbidden Door matches so he has people with names that he’s comfortable with reading.
CM Punk & FTR v. Samoa Joe, Jay White & Juice Robinson
If it really is just a business to Punk, he should turn on FTR and start using Bullet Club Gold as his backup. Dax gets a quick rollup on Jay for two and they exchange chops, but Dax clotheslines him down and tries for a Sharpshooter. Jay makes the ropes and the heels regroup. Over to Rock Hard Juice, as Cash gets a backslide for two on him and adds a gorilla press. Over to Punk for a triple team powerslam that gets two. Juice escapes the GTS and brings in Joe for a showdown. CMFTR tries to work him over in the corner and Joe won’t cooperate with that, firing away with chops on Dax to back him off. So they beat the leather off each other and Joe puts him down with a clothesline to win that battle, allowing Jay White to get two. Rock Hard Juice comes in and sends Dax into the turnbuckles for two before going to a chinlock, and they work Dax over in the corner. At this point something happens in the crowd and people are chanting “Fuck your sign” at someone, and kind of losing interest in the match, but Cash gets the hot tag and pulls them back in. He runs wild on ROCK HARD Juice and rolls him up for two before slugging away in the corner. Powerslam gets two and Punk comes in with an elbow for two. Cash with a springboard legdrop for two as we get some REALLY loud spot calling from the ref and Cash as they go to PIP on TNT. Juice rolls outside as instructed and Cash follows for a fight out there, which allows the Bullet Club to take over thanks to Jay White. Back in the ring, Jay gets a half crab on Cash until he makes the ropes, so ROCK HARD JUICE gets a senton for two. Back suplex gets two and Juice runs him into the corner. Over to Joe for the corner kick, but Punk makes the save, only for BCG to cut off Cash again. So he gives the big lunge and makes the hot tag to Punk on the second try, and he runs wild with neckbreakers. White escapes the GTS by raking the eyes repeatedly, but Punk puts him down with a high kick and then goes to the top and gets brought down by RRRRRRRRRRROCK HARD JUICE ROBINSON. Jay White with the uranage for two off that. Punk escapes the Blade Runner and puts him down with a Pepsi Plunge, and FTR hits him with a PowerPlex to set up Punk’s flying elbow. That finisher was the best thing Paul Roma ever contributed to the sport. Joe comes in for the slugfest with Punk and we get a PIER SIX BRAWL, but Joe escapes the GTS and gets the coquina clutch. FTR manages to fight off the Bullet Club, however, and makes the save. So Juice comes in to finish, but he walks into the Shatter Machine and Goes 2 Sleep at 25:17. A really good main event to cap off an uneven show. ***3/4
On the whole, it was an easy to watch and entertaining two hours. But Kevin Kelly seemed really anxious, messing up all kinds of names, and there were production errors that you don’t normally see from this crew. I guess everyone had nerves trying to make sure the first episode was a big hit. Really though, I think the biggest problem was that there was nothing particularly notable about what they offered here, and in fact it’s more that they should have done this for Rampage AGES ago instead of starting up another two hour TV show.
It’s a tentative thumbs up from me, but if Tony’s new toy syndrome and the series of bad crowds in Canada send it off track early on, it could get ugly in a hurry. As always, we will let it play out and see where it goes.