The SmarK Rant for AEW Collision – 07.29.23
By Scott Keith on 30th July 2023
The SmarK Rant for AEW Collision – 07.29.23
Live from Hartford, CT
Your hosts are Ian Riccaboni & Nigel McGuinness
Ladder match: Buddy Matthews v. Andrade El Idolo
They trade chops to start and Andrade puts Buddy on the floor and busts out a moonsault off a ladder already. Back in the ring with more ladders, but Andrade gets the triple suplexes without using them. Buddy cuts him off, so Andrade runs him into the ladder in the corner. And then Buddy tosses a ladder back at him and makes the first climb for the mask. Buddy stops for a consult with Doc Sampson and apparently pops his shoulder back into place, and then tests it out with a buckle bomb on Andrade back in the ring. Well that works. Another trip into the ladder as the crowd wants tables here in this ring full of ladders. Much like a great philosopher said, it’s like 100000 ladders when all you need is a table. Back to the floor as Buddy slingshots a ladder into Andrade’s jaw and runs him into the table, then sets up a ladder bridge on the table and drops him on that. They slug it out on the apron and Andrade tries the spear, but Buddy catches him and teases a draping DDT. So Andrade regroups with another spear attempt, but Buddy DDTs him on the ladder to counter and Buddy finally gives the crowd their damn table. Buddy makes the climb and Andrade pushes him off and onto another ladder bridge outside. So they slug it out on a ladder on the floor and Andrade powerbombs him onto the ladder bridge to bring them down. Jesus, he’ll be lucky if Doc can pop his shoulder back after that one. That looked inadvisable. Andrade makes the climb for the mask, but Buddy brings him down with a knee and Julia handcuffs Andrade to the post. But then she makes the mistake of taunting him with the key and he steals it (“Way to go, Julia!” notes a critic at ringside) and Andrade locks Buddy to the post and is smart enough to throw the key away this time. Luckily Julia also had bolt cutters in her purse but can’t get through the chain, so she tries jumping on Andrade’s back instead. And they all fight on top of the ladder, so Andrade shoves her off the ladder and into Buddy to get rid of her and reclaims his mask at 18:00. This felt a bit lethargic and the ending was pretty silly, but the sick bumps were all there. ***1/2. Obviously Buddy was struggling with some kind of arm injury but he sure gutted through whatever it was.
Meanwhile, Miro is interrupted by Aaron Solo, who quickly gets his ass kicked in response.
Darby Allin v. Minoru Suzuki
This was an open challenge from Darby because he wanted a fight, and this would certainly qualify. So Darby quickly hits him with a dive and beats him into the railing, then dropkicks him off a chair, and back in the ring for two. Darby beats on him and that goes badly for him, as Suzuki gets a hanging armbar in the ropes and boots Darby to the floor for more punishment out there. Back in, Suzuki with a PK for two. Next up, he beats on Darby’s injured ribs and twists him up with a half crab before choking him out with his own rib bandage from the apron. More blatant choking while he claims innocence to the referee. I’d listen to him if I was the ref. Darby comes back with a rollup in the ring for two, but now Suzuki is just even more angry and dishes out the chops. So Darby asks for more and Suzuki gives him what he wants and then offers him a free shot if he’s man enough. So Darby gets a sunset flip for two, but Suzuki catches him in the sleeper. Darby escapes the piledriver and knocks him down for the coffin drop, but Suzuki gets the sleeper on the mat, so Darby rolls over for the pin at 8:10. I love that Suzuki could do tours of the indies and never have to sell or do a job for the rest of his life and he’s out there putting over young guys on national TV. What a pro. This was kind of a mess but also kind of ruled. ***. And Christian pops up on the KhanTron and promises to send Darby back to Hot Topic or wherever he came from.
Samoa Joe v. Gravity
Scott Steiner would say that Joe is fighting Gravity every day of his life, because HE’S FAT. I wouldn’t ever say that to him, I have nothing but respect for the man. I’m just extrapolating what Scott Steiner would likely say. I’m like ChatGPT. Gravity does his slow walking to annoy Joe and then hits a rana and takes him down with armdrags. And then we get the spot we were all expecting, as Gravity tries his slow motion dive and Joe walks away, then finishes with the muscle buster at 2:07. Just a quick squash.
CM Punk joins us, still carrying his little red bag around. Punk finally mentions Wembley Stadium, noting he’s the first person to actually bring it up. So he finally reveals what’s in the bag, and of course it’s the AEW World title belt. So then Punk spraypaints a Twitter logo on it because he’s straight edge and thus is better than us, and this is such a bizarre promo. He’s bouncing between heel and babyface and apparently a big Elon Musk fan judging by the X he’s painting on his stuff. So then Ricky Starks interrupts and then goes back to the dressing room and comes out again with music and entrance and he also claims to be the real World champion and face of Collision. So Punk offers him a title match next on Collision, but he has a special referee from his past. Starks says go ahead and get someone from Stamford or whatever, but the answer is actually Ricky Steamboat. This was a weird, awkward segment and I have no idea what Punk is going for at the moment. Also I should note that after lampshading the lack of build for All In, we still didn’t get anything announced for it here.
Darius Martin, Action Andretti & Vikingo v. ROCK HARD Juice Robinson & The Gunns
Colten beats on Darius in the corner, but the babyfaces regroup and chase the Gunns out of the ring. Over to Juice and he slugs it out with Vikingo, but Vikingo snaps off a rana to put him on the floor. So the Pew Pew Crew pull out a cardboard cutout of Jay White, who has about as much charisma as the real thing, and they triple-team Vikingo in their corner. Colten with a full nelson slam for two, but Vikingo makes the hot tag to Andretti. He runs wild with a double elbow on the Gunns and flips into a kick on Colten, and a Spanish Fly on Austin gets two. So the Club piles up on the floor and Vikingo launches off Andretti & Martin with an insane dive. Back in, Darius fires off a german suplex on Colten, but he knocks Andretti out with a forearm shot and they finish Darius with the 3:10 to Yuma at 7:12. They should keep the cardboard version of Jay White, the matches will probably be better. Another one where the babyfaces had no chance but did a bunch of cool shit to get over. **1/2.
Kiera Hogan v. Mercedes Martinez
Mercedes quickly lays out Hogan with a facebuster and follows with a suplex for two. Kiera fights back with an enzuigiri and goes to the top, but Mercedes brings her down with a DDT for two. Martinez yanks on the braids in the corner and beats her down, then hauls her out with a t-bone suplex. Hogan reverses a Razor’s Edge for two, but Mercedes puts her down with a clothesline and continues the beating. Kiera fights back using her ass for two and a rollup gets two. Mercedes puts her down again with a Saito suplex, however, and finishes with the dragon sleeper at 7:04. Kris Statlander makes the save for Hogan, but Mercedes lays her out with the TBS title so I guess there’s another program. Hey, it’s something. This was mostly nothing, just an extended squash for Mercedes. *
AEW World tag team title: FTR v. Better Than You, Bay Bay
FTR are the clear heels with the crowd, as Hartford wants the DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE and bad. Dax trades headlocks with Cole to start, but Cash slingshots in with a bodypress for two. Cash also works a headlock on Cole, but Adam fights back with an enzuigiri and calls in MJF for the DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE, but FTR somehow escapes that. So Max and Cash have a strut-off, but then Max promises to bash Dax’s nuts in and can’t quite get the crowd to chant for that. FTR goes after Max’s ankle, but he was only fooling and comes back with an attempt to bash in Dax’s nuts. This naturally triggers a fight and everyone slugs it out and brawls to the floor. Dax slugs away while Nigel tries to make a metaphor about potatoes but messes up the state. I don’t think Iowa is noted for their potato crops. Back in the ring, Dax takes over with a legdrop on MJF for two and goes to a camel clutch. Max escapes that and fights them off, but FTR cuts off the ring and prevents the tag. So Max turns it into a double DDT, and then ducks a double clothesline and makes the hot tag to Cole. Last Shot on Cash gets two. Rollup on Dax gets two. Dax gets his own crossbody for two, but another one is countered with a superkick for two. This sets up the DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE, but Dax escapes it again and rolls up MJF for two.
Cash and Max trade tombstone attempts, but Cole superkicks Cash into a rollup from MJF for two. MJF with another tombstone for two this time. This sets up the third try at the clothesline, but FTR escapes again and Wheeler rulls up Cole for two and then puts him down with a lariat. FTR tries the Powerplex and Cole fights out of that and tries the Panama Sunrise, but Dax blocks it using Cash’s body and they regroup with the Powerplex for two. So then Dax lets Cole make the tag to MJF and they slug it out, but Max goes to the eyes and flips into a sunset flip for two. Dax with the slingshot powerbomb for two. Dax gets cocky and teases a Panama Sunrise, but Cole trips him up and Max bashes him in the nuts, as promised, for two. Back to Cole, but FTR blocks the Boom. MJF breaks up the Shatter Machine and tries the Heatseeker, but Dax counters into a rollup for the pin to retain at 18:00, breaking the hearts of everyone around the world. ****1/2. Max is also understandably heartbroken, but Adam cheers him up with the AEW World title belt. And then MJF teases the turn while Cole turns his back and offers him the free shot, but Max decides to hug it out instead. This one must have been effective because that ending ripped my cold heart out, but the post-match made it grow three sizes again. Boy they should have pulled the trigger here because everyone was more than ready for it, but hopefully they have a destination in mind to cash in.
I think the crowd kind of hurt this one but the opener and main event made it an easy thumbs up this week. Also the contrast of the ladder match and crazy spots at the beginning with the tag title match and ancient heat spots at the end was…something.