Write Forever: An instant classic main event on AEW Collision
I love me a long main event and we got one here on Collision, along with a pretty fun show from top the bottom with a couple of exceptions. No huge complaints, just some nitpicks on things that either aren't my style or didn't interest me specifically.
Kevin Kelly stinks. Get him off of my TV and out of my ears!
You talk too much
The show opened with a big talking segment featuring Adam Copeland, Christian Cage, Bryan Danielson, Absolutely Big, and FTR. The big talking segment to open a show is never my favorite – it forces a slow start with folks milling around and chatting instead of having a kick-ass match.
To make matters worse, when Ricky Starks began delivering his comments he got cut off by Copeland a few times with what I'm sure Copeland thought were sick burns but were, in reality, pretty crummy attempts at sick burns. Sometimes it's best to just lay out and let the other person say their piece; it's not like you're never going to have a chance to speak for the rest of your life, so you don't need to respond to every remark immediately.
I don't really know what the point of this whole segment was, honestly? FTR complained that they lost the Tag Team Titles last week because they were hurt, but they don't want to make excuses for losing the titles because everyone is hurt all of the time. So... why say anything at all? They also suggested that they'd rather work their way back to the top of the tag division rather than asking for an immediate rematch. Okay then!
I suppose this served to continue the hype for Danielson/Cage in the main event, but the ending of Dynamite already did that! Plus, the cold open promos leading into the show intro are such a better vibe than this kind of thing and it's a bummer we didn't get them this week.
When a show is as fun as this one, it's sometimes hard to find something to complain about – so take these notes with a grain of salt. They're simply the things that didn't hit as hard for me on a show that was largely extremely good.
A little bit of floundering
There are a few things going on that just don't feel like much of anything. The CJ Perry Star Search will go somewhere eventually, I'm sure, but right now it all just feels like it's spinning its wheels. I don't think CJ is a bad performer at all, but her segments feel like an excuse for her to do ~acting~ every week and while her delivery is good, it also somehow doesn't feel natural in the scope of a wrestling show.
Action Andretti threw his hat into the ring as a potential client for CJ and next week Miro is going to throw him into the sixteenth row.
The Acclaimed will be defending the Trios Titles against 2point0 and Daniel Garcia in a match I wish I cared more about. I've cooled on The Acclaimed in recent weeks and while I love 2point0 and Garcia, I don't see them being more than a speed bump for the champs. I'd love to be wrong – I'm seeing AEW in Montreal in December and I'd love to see the boys walk into the Bell Centre with the Trios Titles.
What I do like is that they are trying to establish 2point0 & Garcia with some victories on TV in the lead-up to their match with The Acclaimed, which is a complaint I've had as recently as last week. It doesn't mean anything when champions beat challengers who are never on TV, so it's always more exciting when you can build some credible opponents.
There were a couple of squashy matches tonight as well with Keith Lee and Kyle Fletcher, neither of which did much of anything for me. We did get the good news that Kyle Fletcher will be facing Kenny Omega on Dynamite next week, so okay! Sure! Why the fuck not?!
Last week we were blessed with Ian Riccaboni replacing Kevin Kelly on commentary. This week, Kevin was back but we got an extra Tony Schiavone! It's honestly so obvious how much better the booth is when someone has either replaced Kevin Kelly or there's a third person in there.
Nigel McGuinness has upped his game since having a rocky start on commentary in AEW/ROH to begin with. It didn't feel like he gelled at all with the team of Ian & Caprice on ROH, but Nigel with Ian himself is a different story. Ian with Tony Schiavone and even Jim Ross? Also great!
I don't know why Kevin Kelly is in AEW at all. His commentary style doesn't help the product at all and at times he seems like hes' actively working against his commentating partners. It feels as though he rarely plays off someone else and just tries to get in whatever he wants to say. When Nigel is with a partner, or partners, who actually work off of him he absolutely shines.
Big meaty men, the sequel!
Samoa Joe and Willie Mack had a hell of a match for the ROH TV Title, which I think would have been even better if it was the first thing to happen in the ring on the show. Willie is just extraordinary and has been for quite some time. I've fallen off of ROH, but I know he was doing some stuff there with Ninja Mack before I stopped watching. Maybe we could trade Wardlow for Willie Mack on a permanent basis.
Mack looked like he might have tweaked his shoulder a bit on a plancha on Joe, smashing into the announcer's table in the aftermath. Could have just been selling it, though, as he recoiled his right arm a bit throughout the match either when delivering strikes to Joe or when on the brunt of Joe's offense.
Joe is just weeks away from breaking the all-time record for longest ROH TV Title reign and I think we all knew Willie wasn't going to be the guy to end the reign tonight. Still, though, these two had a super fun match and got the crowd pumped enough to start a "MEAT! MEAT! MEAT!" chant again, which I don't think we've heard since Miro/Powerhouse Hobbs.
Joe walked away with the belt and still has his sights on another shot at the AEW World Heavyweight Title. Commentary was quick to point out that Joe said he wanted another shot at the title, but not necessarily MJF – an important and great distinction to make. This means Joe doesn't get shoehorned into everything else going on with MJF right now and can appear unexpectedly for a new champion down the road.
Nothing Bullet Club Gold Can Stay
Juice Robinson vs Christopher Daniels was fine; it wasn't anything to write home about, but obviously that doesn't mean it was bad. You're not going to get a bad match out of Daniels and Juice.
The real heft of the segment came in the post-match when Jay White dropped to a knee and presented a ring to Juice Robinson. Thankfully, this turned out better than Dark Order asking Hangman Page to join their group because Juice said yes!.
He placed his new diamond ring on his finger and proceeded to knock Daniels out before both Juice and Jay delivered remarks to MJF. Juice is coming for the Dynamite Diamond Ring and Jay is looking to become the official AEW World Heavyweight Champion at Full Gear. Juice also mentioned that they picked up their diamond ring for about $24.99 at TJ Maxx and that it was made of "pubic ziconium" which is maybe one of the best things I've heard shouted on any episode of any television show.
The Bang Bang Gang are a constant light in AEW, the specifics of the roll of quarters thing on Dynamite excepted, and we are all so much better for having them as a stable. Fingers crossed we get World Champ Jay White in November.
Statlander's roll continues, as does Skye Blue's
She's only the second-ever TBS Champion, but Kris Statlander is well on her way to becoming the best TBS Champion in the title's history. Jade Cargill obviously had an iconic run, but it got a little long in the tooth since Tony Khan seemingly only wanted Jade to drop the belt to a returning Statlander. This forced the reign to drag on past its Best By date.
In her run as champion so far, Stat has already racked up 13 defenses to Jade's 25 successful defenses in just about a quarter of the time and the matches have all been, in my opinion, better than the bulk of Jade's defenses.
In this one, Skye Blue continued to show her more aggressive side coming off of being misted by Julia Hart last month. This version of Skye feels a lot more like the total package. She's wrestling with more purpose and everything simply feels like it's coming together for her as she's added this new wrinkle to her character.
Skye hasn't gone full heel or anything, just ratcheting up the physicality and wrestling with a more dominant style. If she can keep this up, I think she's going to start coming into her own the rest of this year and in 2024 because her last handful of matches have been her best.
Statlander retained the belt here and before she could help Skye to her feet, Willow Nightingale rushed the ring to back Stat off. Stat exited the ring while sour-faced Willow helped sour-faced Skye to her feet, the pair staring down Stat as she made her way to the back.
Both Willow and Skye have been misted by Julia recently; are they both turning over a new leaf with new attitudes? Are we weeks away from getting a sludge version of Willow's entrance theme? Willow hasn't had a TBS Title shot at all in 2023, though she had two of them in 2022.
Willow may have Statlander in her sights before the year is over, and if Stat is going to drop the belt to anyone then I can't think of a better person on the roster than Willow Nightingale.
The Instant Classic
Christian Cage is easily on the run of his career, which is a thought I didn't think I was going to have when he first debuted in AEW. I also didn't think I'd be sitting here rooting for him to win a match over Bryan Danielson – but, here we are!
These two got a big fat chunk of time which hasn't happened quite so much lately with Collision main events. The finish had Danielson locking Christian in the LeBell Lock leading to a distraction from Big Bill and interference from Ricky Starks allowing Christian to sneak out a pin.
Post-match, the show ended very much the same way it began – Danielson, FTR, and Copeland squaring off with Christian, Luchasaurus, Nick Wayne, and Absolutely Big. Seems like we're a little lopsided if I'm counting correctly, so who might fill out the babyface side to keep even the odds?
So far, it hasn't mattered too much since the babyfaces continue to come out on top but the day's going to come when Christian & Company have the upperhand and someone needs to save the day. Could it be Sting? Or will he remain more closely aligned with Darby Allin? Could it be Darby himself? Time will tell!
An awesome main event with a great trio of commentators with Nigel, JR, and Tony. Take notes, Tony Khan – long main events and no Kevin Kelly!