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AEW Collision - July 1, 2023
by Doc Allen
Taped from the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. WrestleTix estimates attendance at 3,835. Our hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.
Cold open with Owen Hart Tournament competitors making their mission statements to the camera.
AEW World Champion MJF vs. Kip Morst
MJF is rocking stars and stripes tights to represent “the only country that matters” in Canada. He blindsides the hometown jobber, hits a heatseeker, but voluntarily breaks the pin. He applies the LeBell Lock for an instant tapout at 0:40. Good squash for the champ.
MJF grabs the mic to have a talk with the stupid Canadians in attendance. He thinks so little of Hamilton that he offers to defend the AEW title against anyone from Hamilton. Another jobber tries to talk the challenge, but Ethan Page storms past him and knocks the mic from MJF's hands. Ethan cuts a blue collar promo about how his father came to Hamilton and worked his up from factory worker to president of various companies. Unlike MJF, Ethan is always there for AEW, doing whatever he's asked. MJF might be the AEW champion, but Page champions AEW.
AEW World Championship:
MJF © vs. Ethan Page
Page lures MJF in by turning his back and puts the boots to him. MJF blocks the Ego's Edge and goes to work on Ethan's knee. Jawbreaker by Ethan, but MJF shields himself with the referee and counters into an Alabama Slama. Half crab by MJF, Ethan scratches and claws but can't get a rope break until he changes directions. Back from commercials, Page is selling his knee injury like death but is still able to trade punches with the champ. Ethan manages a head scissors takedown and big boot while hobbling on one leg. Iconoclasm by Ethan and power slam gets 2. MJF blocks the Ego's Edge, but this time misses his spear to the knee. Cutter by Ethan, but his injury slows down his climb up the ropes. He blocks MJF's superplex and hits a flying power slam, but reinjures his knee in the process. Ethan tries another Ego's Edge, but collapses under his bad knee. MJF hits a dragon screw followed by a Heatseeker to win at 10:55. Solid match built around the most common injured body part story in all of wrestling, **¾.
Winner and still AEW World Champion: MJF
Owen Hart Foundation Tournament:
Dustin Rhodes vs. Powerhouse Hobbs (with QT Marshall and Harley Cameron)
Dustin takes exception to Hobbs' grappling and slaps his face. Shoulder block by Dustin gets 1. Hobbs takes over with body shots. Dustin slips out of a press slam, but QT grabs his boot. Hobbs knocks Dustin outside, QT drives Dustin into the ring post, busting him open. Back from commercials, a bloody Dustin makes a brave comeback with his greatest hits. Hobbs blocks the power slam, so Dustin hits Cross Rhodes! Piledriver by Dustin, but Hobbs kicks out! Dustin hits a Canadian Destroyer (in Canada!) for a hot nearfall. QT interferes again and earns himself an uppercut, but Hobbs takes advantage, hitting a spinebuster for only 1! Dustin finally hits his trademark power slam for another good 2 count. Hobbs blocks a Figure Four, QT helps with a superkick, and Hobbs finishes with a spinebuster at 11:05! Good match that got the sleepy crowd into it with Dustin teasing victory, ***.
Winner: Powerhouse Hobbs
Video package hyping up tonight's Roderick Strong/Samoa Joe main event, spliced with footage of them going to war in really old school ROH under a tent.
Miro vs. Anthony Henry
Miro has abandoned everything he ever believed in, and sends another message by stomping Henry into the buckles. Overhead suplex by Miro, followed by a vertical suplex. Gut wrench suplex by Miro sends Henry reeling to the apron, where he gets caught by Miro's clubbing blows to the chest. Miro suplexes Henry into the ring, but runs into the jobber's boot. Henry hits a flying double stomp to the head and dropkicks the knee to set up an enziguri. Body avalanche by Miro, followed by a swinging uranage. Superkick by Miro, and Game Over finishes it at 3:09. Entertaining little squash, with Henry's token offense adding a shred of intrigue.
Tony Shiavone hosts Bullet Club Gold in the ring. Jay White and Juice Robinson have added the Gunns to their ranks, which makes sense because Gunns fire bullets… right? White shushes the crowd and complains about the low energy in this place. This is the Golden Age of Bullet Club, and it's going to continue when Robinson beats Ricky Starks later. The Gunns brag about their resume to “@sshole” chants. Shiavone reveals that Bullet Club members will be barred from ringside during Juice's match. White is more preoccupied with whatever gold CM Punk is carrying around in his bag. Also, since they beat FTR already, why don't they get a shot at the tag gold. Productive promo here.
Backstage, CM Punk, FTR, and Ricky Starks are asked for a rebuttal. Punk thinks White should do what MJF did, and buy himself a replica AEW title. FTR welcome a fight with Juice and White anytime. Starks is feeling extra confident because he knows he'll get Juice one on one in the tournament. Top guys out.
Owen Hart Foundation Tournament:
Juice Robinson vs. Ricky Starks
They lock up, Starks hits a quick shoulder tackle. Hip toss by Starks, then a side headlock takedown. Shoulder block by Starks, but Juice trips him for an awkward fall into ropes. Robinson goes to work on Starks' knee. Back from commercials, Juice is still in control, hitting chops to the chest. Cannonball by Juice gets 2. Starks defiantly asks for more and lures Juice into a back body drop. Starks makes a comeback while the crowd goes mild. Juice blocks a tornado DDT, but Starks answers with a normal DDT. Ricky isn't too injured to do his trademark pose and throws Juice into the buckles with snake eyes. Tornado DDT by Starks gets 2. Juice comes back with an ax kick for 2. Texas Cloverleaf by Juice but Ricky bravely claws into a rope break. Juice tries an O'Connor roll by pulling the tights, but Ricky kicks out for a scoop slam. Juice tries to flee the ring, but manages to drive Starks into the buckles. Starks blocks a Super Rana, misses a high crossbody, and Juice nails a spear for 2. Starks counters into a spear, and reverses a jackknife pin to win at 15:34! Really good stuff here, with an impressive come-from-behind babyface performance by Starks, ***¼.
Winner: Ricky Starks
Now that the match is officially over, Bullet Club Gold are free to surround Starks. Luckily, CM Punk and FTR rush in to defend Starks from any attack.
Backstage interview with Christian Cage (with TNT Champion Luchasaurus). Christian is asked why he's the one holding the TNT title, and he dodges the question. They're interrupted by Shawn Spears, but Cage won't let him talk to the actual champion. Cage says that Spears will never be dangerous, so he'd better walk away. Spears says anyone can be dangerous, they just have to meet the right person. Luchasaurus looks like he'd like to take a bite out of Spears, but oh shucks, Cage deactivated the open challenge for the TNT title, so he'll have to wait.
Kris Statlander © vs. Lady Frost
Statlander is embracing the Open Challenge concept, so here we go. She backs Frost into the buckles for a clean break. They lock up and Kris hits a judo throw. Waistlock takedown by Statlander and an alligator roll. Statlander blocks a headlock with a back suplex and flexes. Kris watches Frost's back handspring and hits a shoulder block. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Statlander sends us to commercials. They return with Statlander hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb for 2. Frost answers with a German suplex, Statlander no-sells, but Frost hits a DDT and KO kick for 2. Frost is crafty, but Kris reverses into a Tombstone to win at 7:35. Glorified squash that wasn't terribly interesting after the break due to Statlander's constant no-selling, **.
Winner and still TBS Champion: Kris Statlander
Backstage interview with Andrade El Idolo, who seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the House of Black. Andrade is upset about his stolen mask, not all the ass-kickings he's received. He's interrupted by The House of Black on a monitor, who seems to be enjoying their possession of Andrade's mask. This feud has absolutely no meat to it yet.
Video package hyping up Wheeler Yuta vs. Kenny Omega on Dynamite. Yuta is looking to break Omega.
CM Punk comes out to a favorable reaction and joins commentary.
Owen Hart Foundation Tournament:
Roderick Strong vs. ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe
Joe is already looking past Strong and staring down Punk. Strong looks disrespected and aggressively goes after Joe's wrist. Strong starts throwing chops, Joe answers with a mean elbow. Dropkick by Strong, Joe can't hit a dive, and Strong hits a dropkick through the ropes. They exchange nasty chops right in front of Punk. Joe escapes a chinlock and goes on offense, hitting a nasty uranage. Back from commercials, Strong hits a knee to the face for 2. Atomic drop, big boot, and back senton by Joe gets 2. Meanwhile, Punk refers to Collision's viewers as “Colliders” and I think he might want to calm down just a tad. In the ring, Joe uses a neck vice, but misses another senton. There's a faint “CM Punk” chant while Strong mounts a comeback. Backbreaker by Strong, followed by a Sick Kick for only 2. Joe tries a Muscle Buster, but Strong counters into a missile dropkick for another 2. Olympic Slam by Roderick, but Joe kicks out! Joe reverses into the Rear Naked Choke and the ref stops the match at 13:35! Good match with a great effort, but the match felt like a formality on the road to Punk vs. Joe IV. ***¼.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Joe grabs a chair and turns his attention to CM Punk, but security arrive to prevent anything from happening. Instead, Joe power slams Strong on the chair and is satisfied enough to leave. Punk doesn't like this one bit. Adam Cole slips into the ring to check on Strong, and Punk isn't happy to see Cole either, but deals with it while Strong is stretchered out.
Final Thoughts: Collision continues to differentiate itself from Dynamite as a more traditional show that seems to respond to the criticisms that AEW has received since its inception. Despite there not being a hard roster split, this already feels like far more of a brand extension than the Raw/Smackdown has felt like in their lengthy histories. I wonder how far Tony Khan and company will let this go. This was a generally enjoyable show that gave me a lot to think about, recommended.
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