Collision – August 5, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 6th August 2023
Date: August 5, 2023
Location: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, South Carolina
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Nigel McGuinness
It’s another big title night as FTR defends the Tag Team Titles against Big Bill/Brian Cage and Ricky Starks challenges CM Punk for….whatever we’re calling Punk’s title. Ricky Steamboat will be the guest referee, which sounds like a way to boost things up for the local crowd. Let’s get to it.
CM Punk, Ricky Stark, Brian Cage, Big Bill, Prince Nana and FTR are all ready for tonight.
Tag Team Titles: Big Bill/Brian Cage vs. FTR
Bill and Cage, with Prince Nana, are challenging and Cash Wheeler’s mother is here for a bonus. Wheeler and Cage start things off with Cage being a bit too strong. Harwood comes in and gets clotheslined but reverses a gorilla press into a crossbody for two. Cage runs him over though and it’s Bill coming in (to quite the response) for a double shoulder. It’s already back to Wheeler, who is promptly slammed and elbowed for two.
Everything breaks down though and it’s a double clothesline to send Cage outside, but Bill blocks the Shatter Machine. Instead, Bill chokeslams Wheeler onto Harwood and then presses him out onto Harwood on the floor as we take a break. Back with Bill hammering on Wheeler in front of his mom, who is completely unfazed and even slaps Bill in the face. Cage plants Wheeler for two back inside but Wheeler slips out of Bill’s torture rack. That doesn’t work for Bill, who blasts him with a clothesline to cut off any comeback.
Bill misses a splash in the corner though and a German suplex drops Cage, allowing the big tag to Harwood. Right hands abound and Cage gets caught in a Steiner Bulldog for a rather near fall. Back up and Cage gets Harwood in a fireman’s carry before catching Wheeler in the air (geez) and dropping both of them.
A Jackhammer gives Cage two (as Bill chokeslams Harwood) and Bill sends both champs outside. Cage busts out his big no hands flip dive (because that’s something he can do), setting up a big boot to give Bill two on Wheeler. Back up and Wheeler sends Cage into Bill, who gets caught with a quick Shatter Machine to retain the titles at 15:03.
Rating: B. This was a heck of a match and Bill/Cage are a much better team than I was expecting. They did the power stuff well and looked impressive doing it while making FTR work to retain the titles here. I was getting into this one and it was a rather awesome match, especially given how new of a team the challengers are.
Post match FTR grabs the mic and says they’ve done a lot, but there is one more thing they need to do…..so how about they finish things with the Young Bucks at All In?
Video on CM Punk vs. Ricky Starks over the REAL World Title.
Juice Robinson, with Jay White cardboard cutout, says when you’re hot you’re hot. Cue the real White to chop the cutout (a distraught Robinson takes it away) and introduce the Gunns (now the TOP Gunns) to mock commentary in a bit of a weird bit.
TBS Title: Kris Statlander vs. Mercedes Martinez
Statlander is defending and they start fast, with Martinez slipping out of a suplex attempt. A running boot to the head misses for Martinez but Statlander misses a flipping splash. Martinez sends her into the corner and elbows her way out of another suplex as Statlander isn’t off to the best start. A chokebomb drops Statlander for two more and a hard forearm puts her down in the corner as we take a break.
Back with Statlander making a comeback and knocking Martinez to the floor. Statlander misses a crossbody off the apron but manages a backbreaker to slow Martinez down again. Martinez cages her on top though and a rather nasty looking release German superplex drops Statlander hard. A running knee gives Martinez two and a quick fisherman’s driver gives Martinez the same. Martinez drops her again but a running forearm to the back of the head is countered into a rollup to retain the title at 10:15 (Martinez’s shoulders looked to be up).
Rating: C+. This got better near the end but Martinez was dominating most of the match until the quick ending. Statlander working with a veteran like Martinez is a good thing and hopefully she got something out of it. Martinez is someone who has not gotten a ton of TV time in recent months and it would be nice for that to change.
Post match Martinez says her shoulders were up and jumps Statlander. Cue Diamante to help Martinez beat her down until Willow Nightingale makes the save.
Here’s the problem with that post match angle:
1. Diamante has not wrestled a match on AEW TV since last September (A loss to Jade Cargill which ran about two and a half minutes. Her most recent TV match before then was in 2020.).
2. This week on ROH TV, ROH Women’s Champion Athena told Diamante to find what she was missing and fix it.
3. The only thing mentioned about Diamante’s time on this week’s ROH TV was that she lost to Athena. No mention whatsoever of Athena’s comments to her.
Again: Tony Khan really needs to stop assuming that everyone is watching every show, because otherwise this was an unprovoked turn from someone who has had one match in AEW in about two and a half year. Show us a clip, tell us what happened or give us some reason why this is taking place.
Toni Storm seems to be on the verge of snapping over losing the Women’s Title last week. She goes into a rant about how she deserves better because she’s that good.
Samoa Joe vs. Serpentico
Non-title and the Koquina Clutch finishes Serpentico at 16 seconds (more than a fourth of which was spent in a staredown).
Post match Samoa Joe says we are coming up on All In and he has no one to face. He has had to deal with things over the years, while a certain REAL World Champion got to travel the world. Joe knows that man is nowhere near his level, but that REAL World Champion took something from him in the Owen Hart Foundation tournament. A rollup is not good enough for their legacy, so Joe wants to be given what he wants. One more time at Wembley Stadium. If Joe has to wait until next week, he’s coming for Punk (the only time Joe said the name).
Andrade El Idolo seems happy with getting his mask back last week over Buddy Matthews.
We get a sitdown interview with the Acclaimed, who have Billy Gunn’s boots. They have talked to him and he is confirming that he is retiring. Gunn was the only one who believed in them and helped them become champions. For now though, they are going to bring Gunn’s boots to the ring with him. Well that’s morbid.
Trios Titles: House Of Black vs. Action Andretti/Lee Johnson/Darius Martin
The House, with Julia Hart, is defending. Actually hold on as the House Rules are back and the Dealer’s Choice rule is Hart being banned from ringside. King runs Martin over with a shoulder to start but Martin knees him in the face, only to have his high crossbody bounce off. Black comes in to strike away at Andretti, who knocks him outside but gets kicked in the face.
Matthews jumps off the top to stomp on Andretti’s arm before tossing him ribs first onto the top rope for a good looking visual. Andretti is knocked into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Johnson hitting a moonsault into something resembling a double reverse DDT. Black kicks him into the corner though and everything breaks down. Andretti dives onto Black and Murphy before Martin’s top rope splash to King’s back gets two. Matthews and Black knee Martin out of the air though and the titles are retained at 9:10.
Rating: C+. This is one of those matches where the ending wasn’t in doubt but you got some cool moments before the inevitable. There was no way a thrown together team was going to win the titles here, even with the return of the not quite necessary House Rules. It’s a perfectly nice title defense though and they let the guys have some fun.
Next week: CM Punk and FTR get a Trios Titles match. Ok.
QTV throw out Tony Schiavone to talk to Will Hobbs. They offer him a gold chain and suggest that Hobbs get in the ring at All Out. Hobbs doesn’t want or need their help, but he’ll take the chain.
Christian Cage, with his daughter, and Luchasaurus are here with Christian talking about how he wants to be a good father to everyone. She asks to hold his title, but Christian says she didn’t win it so go find your mom and get out of here. Christian: “Security, she’s not credentialed. Have her removed from the building.” Well that was awesome.
Metalik vs. Jay White
The Gunns and Juice Robinson, with the cardboard Jay White (Cardblade) and the former join commentary. White knees Metalik in the ribs to start but gets a headscissors into the corner. A springboard doesn’t work so well for Metalik but he gets knocked back to the apron. White snaps him throat first across the top but misses a baseball slide, allowing Metalik to springboard moonsault onto him. White has had it with this though and grabs a cobra clutch suplex, setting up the Blade Runner for the pin at 5:10.
Rating: C. It was a nice way to get White in the ring and keep him hot as the Bullet Club gets to do their wacky antics. It wasn’t meant to be some competitive back and forth match and while Metalik got in some offense, he isn’t anywhere close to White’s level and everyone knows that. They stuck to the point here and that is nice to see.
Video on Anna Jay vs. Hikaru Shida.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Jim Ross is back for the main event.
Real World Title: Ricky Starks vs. CM Punk
Punk is defending and Ricky Steamboat is the outside referee. They start fast with Punk knocking him out to the floor but pausing to let him back in. Punk runs him over with a shoulder and steals Starks’ pose a few times for a cute spot. Starks is right back with the armdrag (you knew that was coming) to send Punk outside and there’s the mocking the go to sleep motion. Back in and Starks hammers away in the corner, setting up a Cactus Clothesline.
We take a break and come back with thinking picking way up, including Starks unloading with right hands in the corner. Punk strikes away as well (nowhere near as fast but he was trying) until Starks is sent outside. Back in and Starks manages to knock him outside for a change, followed by an elbow to the face back inside. The Steamboat style chop to the head lets Starks glare at Steamboat before grabbing a waistlock. Punk fights up and hits a spinning middle rope crossbody but can’t get a sunset flip (Starks grabbing the rope didn’t help).
We take another break and come back again with Punk hitting a top rope superplex. Some right hands into a swinging neckbreaker keeps Starks in trouble and there’s the running knee into the bulldog for two. Starks rolls through a high crossbody (not exactly smoothly) for two before countering another running knee in the corner with a powerbomb.
The GTS is broken up but Starks misses a charge into the corner and hits the buckle. Punk kicks him in the head for two but Starks’ Alabama Slam gets the same. The ref gets bumped (of course) so Starks goes to yell, allowing Punk to roll him up, with Steamboat (very eventually) counting the pin to retain Punk’s title at 22:20.
Rating: B. They took some time to get warmed up here but it was rolling once they got into the rhythm of things. Punk continues to be able to shift from good to bad in the blink of an eye and he was full on fan favorite this week. Starks continues to be someone who feels like a star, though the loss after that long of a wait on the count didn’t help him. Steamboat looks to be about twenty years younger than he is (if not for the hair color, you wouldn’t think he aged) but he didn’t get to do much here.
Post match Punk pays homage to Steamboat but Starks shoves Steamboat into him. Starks whips out a belt and whips the heck out of Steamboat (he can still sell) until Punk (also very eventually) makes the save. Punk glares at Starks and then chases him off to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. As tends to be the case with a lot of shows, the opener and main event were the best parts, with the stuff in the middle being mostly ok. What mattered here was setting things up for the future, as Punk vs. Starks isn’t done but Punk also has the House of Black and Samoa Joe to deal with coming up. Collision has really started to figure out what it wants to be and is turning into one of the best shows of the week as a result.
FTR b. Big Bill/Brian Cage – Shatter Machine to Cage
Kris Statlander b. Mercedes Martinez – Rollup
Samoa Joe b. Serpentico – Koquina Clutch
House of Black b. Lee Johnson/Action Andretti/Darius Martin – Double knees to Martin
Jay White b. Metalik – Blade Runner
CM Punk b. Ricky Starks – Rollup
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