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AEW Collison - June 24, 2023
by Doc Allen
Live from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario. WrestleTix estimates attendance at 6,028. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
Tony Shiavone tries to host Sting and Darby Allin in the ring, but instead gets Chris Jericho and Minoru Suzuki. Jericho refuses to pander to the Toronto fans, because he's from Winnipeg, YOU IDIOTS! He isn't scared of Sting and Darby's mystery partner, because no one is scarier or sexier than Suzuki. Jericho decides to beat Shiavone up until he gets an answer, but Sting and Darby Allin arrive on cue. They reveal that their mystery guy once kicked Jericho's @ss at the Tokyo Dome, and bring out Tetsuya Naito. Jericho and Naito have a cool face to face confrontation, though the crowd is disappointingly subdued. Jericho backs away from a potential fight, the stage is set for their six man tag at Forbidden Door.
Video promo with Miro. He was in exile for almost a year. He kneels before no cowards or gods, so he's renouncing everything he previously believed in.
Swerve Strickland (with Prince Nana) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
This is Tanahashi's tune-up match before facing MJF for the AEW title at Forbidden Door. The live fans like Tanahashi much more than Naito from moments ago. Tanahashi scores first with a springboard crossbody. Swerve mocks Tanahashi's air guitar taunt, and the Ace makes him pay with a shotgun dropkick. Swerve gains the upper hand and kicks the bottom rope into Tanahashi's groin. Tanahashi skins the cat for a head scissors to outside. Swerve traps Tanahashi in the ring skirt for a penalty kick to the face. Back from commercials, they're trading forearm shots. They both grab the hair, Swerve goes for the throat, but Tanahashi answers with a lariat. Scoop slam by Tanahashi sets up a somersault senton for 2. Strickland comes back, so Tanahashi looks for rapid pin attempts. Dragon Screw by Tanahashi sets up Sling Blade for only 2. Swerve blocks the High Fly Flow but misses his diving double stomp. Second Sling Blade by Tanahasi, but he slips on the ropes, giving Swerve an opening. Tanahashi knocks Swerve down and barely hits the High Fly Flow to win at 10:57. Solid, yet average match, Tanahashi seemed off his game down the stretch, **½.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
AEW World Champion MJF's music plays, but the champ merely appears on the big screen. MJF refuses to appear in person because he doesn't think Tanahashi is on his level. He told Tony Khan he'd only appear at Forbidden Door if he could be in the opening match because he doesn't want to waste time in Canada and watch a bunch of indie jabronis from Japan wrestle. With all due respect, Tanahashi is not on the level as the devil.
Brody King (with Julia Hart) vs. Andrade El Idolo
Andrade is feuding with the House of Black because he managed to beat Buddy Matthews in a singles match. They lock up, Andrade's shoulder tackle has little effect, so he hits a shotgun dropkick to the knee. Andrade hits a head scissors from behind and taunts by lounging in the ropes. Andrade lets Julia distract him, but blocks Brody's DVD by shoving him into the ring post. Andrade nails a standing moonsault to outside! Brody recovers and chops Andrade off the ropes to ringside. Back from commercials, King is getting his heat with Methodical Heel Offense. Andrade snaps King's neck on the ropes and mounts a gutsy comeback. The Toronto fans aren't behind Andrade the same way Chicago was, so this feels a bit hollow. They do pop for Andrade's running knees to the face for a decent nearfall. King tries a DVD, but his knee buckles. He still manages a tumbling DVD into the buckles. Brody destroys Andrade with a cannonball into the buckles, but Andrade blocks the Ganso bomb and tackles the bad knee. Andrade looks for the Figure Four, but lets Hart distract him. He ducks King's lariat and hits a back elbow and is poised to finish with the Figure 8 when Buddy Matthews attacks for the DQ at 12:57. Lame. AEW doesn't do DQ finishes often, so this might just be an exception to the rule, but with Collision seemingly being set up as a more traditional show, I'm afraid this could turn into a norm here. Otherwise, this was a good match that had some compelling moments when King's knee injury became a factor, ***.
Winner via DQ: Andrade El Idolo
Malakai Black appears on the big screen and the lights go out. Looks like the House of Black has stolen Andrade's black mask.
Tony Shiavone hosts Christian Cage (with TNT Champion Luchasaurus) in the ring. Christian is acting as if he's the TNT Champion, with the belt hanging over his shoulder. The fans don't care that Christian is a heel and chant his name. Christian is in a bad mood because Toronto breeds losers. The Maple Leafs suck, and Kawaii Leonard got away as fast as possible despite winning the NBA Championship. Cage announces that open challenges for the TNT title are finished, challengers have to scratch and claw just like he did. Luchasaurus doesn't seem to mind that Christian is stealing his spotlight, but the stage is set for this to become an issue down the road. Christian is like the greatest cheap heat performer ever.
Owen Hart Tournament video package. Satoshi Kojima promises to kill CM Punk at Forbidden Door. CM Punk is thrilled and honored to be in the ring against Kojima, and doesn't seem aware of the death threat. Meanwhile, Roderick Strong and Samoa Joe will also meet in the first round. Powerhouse Hobbs isn't a stepping stone and will beat Dustin Rhodes. Juice Robinson and Ricky Starks also want to win.
Owen Hart Tournament:
Willow Nightingale vs. Nyla Rose (with Marina Shafir)
Willow enjoys a hot start, but Rose hits a drop toe hold to gain control. Willow cartwheels into position for a dropkick. Willow wins a knuckle lock, but Marina gets in her way, allowing Nyla to throw Willow into the post. Back from commercials, Nyla misses a leg drop, which gives Willow an opening to come back. Nyla answers with a suplex and floats over into a face slam for 2. Willow desperately blocks a Beast Bomb and nails the POUNCE! Willow finishes with a Gut Wrench Powerbomb at 8:55! I think these two have amazing chemistry and are capable of having rare “hoss fights” in the women's division, but this one lands at **½ for the time given.
Winner: Willow Nightingale
Toni Storm, Saraya, and Ruby Soho plot an attack on Willow, but Skye Blue runs in with a chair to prevent any shenanigans.
Backstage interview with Scorpio Sky. He struggled all his life for his big break and when he finally got it, he let it control him. He reminds us that he was one half of the first AEW Tag Team Champions and a two time TNT Champion. Sky is going to continue this success on the Collision stage.
Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Jeremy Prophet
Prophet is a nineteen year veteran of the Toronto indie scene, but tonight he's just dead meat. Powerhouse beats him up as if he caught him breaking into his house. Hobbs' spinebuster ends it at 1:37. Fine squash, nothing more.
Winner: Powerhouse Hobbs
Bullet Club Gold (Jay White and Juice Robinson) and The Gunn Club (Austin and Colten) vs. CM Punk, AEW Tag Team Champions FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler), and Ricky Starks
Based on Punk's ovation, you can add Toronto to the list of cities who still love Punk. White flexes right in Punk's face, but he backs off to tag in Juice. Punk hits a shoulder block, Dax tags in to lock up with a skittish Juice. They trade scoop slams and Dax grabs a headlock. Juice escapes with a back suplex and senton. Dax comes back against a Gunn and Cash gets an early hot tag. Starks tags and struts on the top rope on his way to hitting a shoulder smash. White tags himself in and complains about Starks using a closed fist. He asks for Punk and gets him in a grapple. They trade knife edge chops and tease finishers. White throws Punk outside where his teammates swarm him like lumberjacks. A standoff sends us to commercials. They return with Dax hitting Juice with a superplex and tagging in Cash for a seamless Doomsday Clothesline. Juice no-sells to hit a jaw breaker and tag in an @ss Boy to run wild. Cash recovers and stretches the Gunn over his knee for Punk's flying elbow. Yeah, I can't tell the Gunns apart, big whoop, wanna fight about it? The Gunns manage to fluster Punk and stomp a mudhole into him. Punk gets caught in enemy territory as the Bullet Club and Gunns make quick tags to keep him grounded. Back from more commercials, Punk blocks White's superplex by gouging his eyes and then hits a high crossbody. White blocks Punk's tag and they duke it out. Swinging neckbreaker by Punk, but the Gunns prevent another tag. Juice tries to steal the GTS, but Punk reverses into KO kick. Punk lunges into a hot tag to Starks, who runs wild to a polite crowd ovation. The match breaks down with FTR battling Bullet Club Gold at ringside. Starks hits White with a Blue Thunder Bomb for 2. Starks grabs the tights in a rollup for 2. Brainbuster by Starks, but Juice breaks the pin. Dax helps with a piledriver on Juice, but the Gunns catch him with 3:10 to Yuma. Cash throws out the Gunns and hits a while tope into the guard rails. Punk dives into White's uranage. Uranage on Starks only gets 2! Starks cleans house with a series of spears, but Juice clocks him in the head. White hits Blade Runner to win at 23:41. Just like last week, this was a house showy main event that was “good” in that it was well executed and held the crowd's interest, but also managed to feel an awful lot like filler. I also would have imagined Punk mixing with White to feel like a much bigger deal, but it feels like a diminished match up in this presentation, ***.
Winners: Bullet Club Gold and The Gunn Club
The would-be heroes look on in disgust while the villains celebrate. What does this mean for Forbidden Door? Nothing, actually. Punk is wrestling an uninvolved Kojima, and the rest of these guys are hanging out at catering.
Final Thoughts: Not really in love with the wrestling ideology on display here. Nothing here is "bad" except that it left me wishing I was watching Dynamite, and that's not a good thing. I'm torn on whether or not I'm getting Forbidden Door tomorrow, this episode did very little to shift my thinking.
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