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AEW Collision - June 17, 2023
by Doc Allen
Live from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Wrestletix estimates attendance at 9,203. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
CM Punk, making his first AEW appearance since the infamous "Brawl Out" incident, comes out to a hero's welcome. Punk is tired of being nice, he's still here, and this is a BUSINESS. He got to where he is by riding the backs of SMART fans like those in Chicago. Punk thinks the fans love him for his refusal to compromise, but that others hate him for it. He is the one true bill in an industry full of "counterfeit bucks." FIRST SHOT FIRED! To his detractors, Punk \is sorry that they are softer than the wrestlers they like. SECOND SHOT FIRED. He then teases that he's got an AEW title belt in a bag and symbolically hoists up his boots, because no one else can fill them. "Tell me when I'm telling lies." Well, promo should certainly send some shockwaves across the wrestling bubble. I think I need some time to unpack and process all of this.
Wardlow © vs. Luchasaurus (with Christian Cage)
Coach Arn is missing because Christian threw him down some stairs or something lame.They test each other with shoulder blocks and then Wardlow dropkicks the dinosaur out. Wardlow chases Christian under the ring, but anticipates Luchasaurus' ambush. Christian distracts again, this time Luchasaurus scores with a big boot and whip into the steps. Back from commercials, Wardlow hoists up the dinosaur for an electric chair slam. Wardlow slams Luchasaurus into position for a senton, but Christian's distraction allows the dinosaur to hit a messy top rope chokeslam. Wardlow blocks another chokeslam, and they trade tight head butts. Wardlow stares a dagger at Christian before starting the Powerbomb Symphony. Luchasaurus plants Wardlow for a nearfall, but Wardlow shakes it off for a power slam. Swanton Bomb by Wardlow, but more interference from Christian with some weapon shots. Luchasaurus drops Wardlow to win the title at 10:44, and you can kind of sense a groan across the arena. Starting a new show with a screwjob finish is certainly a choice, **¼.
Winner and new TNT Champion: Luchasaurus
Backstage interview with Powerhouse Hobbs and QT Marshall. QT explains that Hobbs won't be in action tonight, but predicts that he'll win the Owen Hart Tournament. Hobbs wants to take over TNT in this new chapter in the Book of Hobbs.
Buddy Matthews (with Julia Hart) vs. Andrade El Idolo
I find it kind of funny that so far Collision seems to the new home of all the AEW locker room malcontents who have been rumored to want to go back to WWE for the Triple H regime. Fans chant "welcome back" for Andrade. Lock up to start, soon followed by shoves and taunting. Andrade catches himself in the ropes and dropkicks Buddy into the rails. He warns Julia not to mess with his mask, but still manages to hit a hand spring crossbody from the apron. Andrade gets tossed into a production area, but answers with a rana from the guard rail. Buddy takes control with a Meteora. Back from commercials, Andrade is selling a wrist injury, Buddy might be working through a knee injury. Andrade mounts a comeback by relentlessly attacking the bad knee. Andrade hits a double moonsault for only 2. Buddy answers with a spike DDT for a quality nearfall. Buddy botches a sunset flip bomb, but sells his knee to save face. He hits some stuffed superkicks, his knee gives out, and Andrade hits a wild looking back elbow. The fans get behind Andrade as he runs into Buddy's flying knee for a red hot nearfall. Fans chant "This is awesome" while Andrade blocks a cloverleaf. Andrade applies a tight Figure Four to win at 13:04! This was a bruising, physical outing between two guys who certainly aspire to be more than what they currently are. This was ugly at times, but in a way that made it feel more like an authentic fight. I would have suggested this match opening before the TNT title, ***¾.
Winner: Andrade El Idolo
Buddy would like to keep fighting, but Andrade offers a handshake. Instead, the lights go out so the House of Black can surround Andrade. Brody King serves up a discus lariat and the lights go out again. I must say, Andrade as a tough babyface is a much more appealing role for him than a grinning, cartoonish crime boss.
Scorpio Sky video package. Looks like he's getting a renewed push on Collision. This really is the new Island of Misfit Toys.
Tony Nese (with Smart Mark Sterling) is in the ring. Nese is a personal trainer, so it disgusts him to see all the fat trash in the stands. He's going to shut the show down so he can lead the fans in a group training session. He's interrupted by Miro's music, which signals another babyface turn tonight.
Tony Nese (with Smart Mark Sterling) vs. Miro
This is the first time Miro has been seen in many months, since falling out of creative favor with Tony Khan and company. The live fans are jazzed to see him and give him the "welcome back" treatment. Nese flees the ring for some jump and jacks. Miro forces him back into the ring for mudhole stomps. Miro clubs the chest, but Nese hangs him up on the ropes. MIro catches Nese in a crossbody attempt and hits a fallaway slam. Miro punches Sterling in the face, which allows Nese some more token jobber offense. Miro shuts him down with a uranage. Thrust kick by Miro, and Game Over ends it at 3:19. One of the hottest squash matches I can ever recall, **.
CM Punk video package, combining footage from earlier with pre taped footage of him training for his return. Looks like he has more work to do.
AEW Women's Champion Toni Storm and Ruby Soho vs. Willow Nightingale and Skye Blue
The heels attack the smiling babyfaces from behind while they play to the fans. They mess with Skye's mother, who fights back with slaps. Order is restored in the ring with Willow taking it to Ruby. Toni helps with a knee to Willow's spine, allowing them to take over just in time for commercials. They return with Willow trapping Ruby's arms for a short clothesline. Skye gets the hot tag and does the usual hot tag things. The match breaks down, Willow helps with a spinebuster on Ruby. Toni puts Skye into a deep Sharpshooter. Skye gets a dramatic rope break and sneakily hits a jackknife pin for 2. Willow returns for an Angle Slam on Storm. Ruby interferes with Sole Food on Willow. Blind tags are made, Storm hits a hip attack. Willow disrupts the green spray and hits Storm with a Death Valley Driver! Code Red by Skye finishes Storm for the upset pin at 8:53! The flavor of tonight's show had me expecting hometown girl Skye to eat a pin, but color me wrong. This was a hot, lively match, **¾.
Winners: Skye Blue and Willow Nightingale
Ricky Starks video package. He'll be a part of the Owen Hart Tournament and wants to win it all.
Video promo hyping up Jeff Jarrett vs. Mark Briscoe in a street fight of sorts. Jarrett is looking forward to kicking Mark's @ss. Jarrett's baffling late career revival continues to overdeliver.
Tony Shiavone hosts The Acclaimed and Daddy @ss Billy Gunn in the ring. This is such a special night that Gunn got himself a special new pink scissor outfit. They are back in the title hunt because now AEW stands for Acclaimed every Wednesday AND Acclaimed every weekend. They "make some history" with the first ever Collision scissoring party. Tony reluctantly but happily joins in with the scissoring and this was a lot of fun.
Bullet Club Gold (Jay White and Juice Robinson) and ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe vs. AEW Tag Team Champions FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) and CM Punk
Jim Ross, despite suffering a bad fall earlier today, has joined commentary. This show and match are giving Punk and FTR everything they've ever wanted, so let's see how they deliver. White and Dax start with a lockup. White escapes a pin predicament and throws some chops. Dax returns the chops and hits a vicious back body drop. White slips away from a sharpshooter and regroups with Juice. Dax foolishly finds himself stuck in the wrong corner, but fights through Juice for a tag to Cash. Juice fights back with a scoop slam. Cash answers with a press slam, and tags in Punk to hoist Juice for Dax's diving power slam. Juice flees the GTS and in comes Joe to rekindle a classic feud. Fans chant "Holy sh!t" while Punk and Joe aggressively lock up. Joe chops Punk as if it's 2004 again. Punk answers with a headlock to send us to commercials. They return with Dax getting picked apart in the Bullet Club corner. Cash gets a hot tag and lights Juice up with clubbing offense. Punk tags in for a combo elbow drop off of Cash's knee. Backbreaker by Punk, quick tag to Cash to continue punishing Juice through another commercial break. They return Cash in trouble but escaping White's half crab. Juice helps keep Cash at bay with attacks to the spine. Joe tags and hits an enziguri, but Punk interrupts the cover. Cash absorbs Joe's bag of tricks and makes the hot tag to Punk, who runs wild with scoop slams and neckbreakers. Punk hits Bullet Club with a clothesline/bulldog combo. Punk readies a flying elbow, but gets knocked off the top rope. White hits Punk with a uranage for only 2. Punk answers with a short arm lariat. FTR help with a superplex/diving crossbody/flying elbow sequence. Juice breaks the pin! Joe returns to slug it out with Punk. The match breaks down into a 3 on 3 brawl. Joe puts Punk into a sleeper, Bullet Club stop FTR from making the rescue. Cash escapes to spear White from Dax's back and break up Joe's sleeper! FTR give Juice the Big Rig, and Punk finishes with GTS at 25:10. This played out pretty much how I expected it to, with everyone busting their butts despite it feeling kind of house showy. This benefited greatly from being Punk's first match in 9 months, as well as the live crowd buying into the Punk vs. Joe nostalgia, ***¾.
Winners: CM Punk and FTR
Final Thoughts: This was a bold first Collision, setting the stage for some brand rivalry between Dynamite's modern take on wrestling vs. Collision's more traditional take. I'm certainly interested and eager to see where things go, especially since there's a huge Wembley Stadium PPV coming up in just about two months.
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