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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Sept. 30, 2023): Ricky Starks proves All-Star status

AEW Collision (Sept. 30, 2023) emanated from Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA. The show featured Ricky Starks standing tall in the All-Star main event, Kenny Omega teaming with Chris Jericho for the first time, and more in the go-home to WrestleDream.

Get caught up on all the Collision details with efficient play-by-play from Cain A. Knight.

Saturday night is alright for fighting. Asses will be kicked.

All-Star main event

Nobody was more Absolute than Ricky Starks in the All-Star 8-man tag main event. He rebounded from the losses to Bryan Danielson in a big way.

Danielson led Wheeler Yuta & FTR into action against Starks, Big Bill Morrissey, & Aussie Open. This match served as a WrestleDream preview with the intermingling of PPV opponents. Zack Sabre Jr. was on commentary to offer his assessment of Danielson.

The pace of the match set up to deliver a hot tag moment for Danielson in front of his home Seattle crowd. The action escalated into moves all around, and the babyfaces took control for teamwork Yes kicks.

Starks and Bill were able to isolate Dax Harwood in the end. Bill lifted Harwood into the air for a spear chokeslam combo with Ricky. Starks picked up the winning pin.

The fighting didn’t stop there. After the match, Aussie Open tried to send a message to FTR to picking the bones of Harwood. The babyfaces engaged in combat once more, and the ring was cleared when Danielson blasted a Busaiku Knee to Morrissey.

Enter Sabre for a showdown with Danielson. The two technical assassins played mind games. A staredown led to Sabre slapping Danielson. When Sabre taunted Danielson to slap back, the American Dragon gave him five across the jaw. Sabre grabbed Danielson’s throat, so Danielson softly worked for a submission. Sabre retreated to close the show.

The All-Star main event hit the right notes for the PPV in an otherwise meaningless contest. Harwood taking the pin made FTR look vulnerable to a possible title change at the hands of Aussie Open. The tit-for-tat from Danielson and Sabre was an exciting taste of what’s to come. I like that Starks was given the win. It gets him some shine to boost his star power back up after failing in his feud with Danielson.

Golden Gods

Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho teamed together for the first time ever in anticipation of joining Kota Ibushi against the Callis Family at WrestleDream. Make no mistake. Omega and Jericho had no delusion about chasing tag team gold together. This partnership was about revenge on Don Callis.

Meanwhile in the bowels of the venue, Alex Marvez snooped the scoop of Callis offering money to Prince Nana if the Gates of Agony can take out the Golden Gods in their match on Collision.

The big question was if the Golden Gods could coexist as a unit. The answer was affirmative. The Golden Gods bonded when Jericho saved Omega from a suplex, then they worked together to execute a double suplex on Toa Liona. This reaction from Jericho and Omega says it all.

The Golden Gods even survived potential turmoil when Liona tackled Omega into hitting Jericho. That accidental contact never festered into dissension.

The Gates of Agony put Omega through the grinder with double-team power attacks.

That led to a hot tag rally from Jericho. The Golden Gods found their groove. Jericho popped a Codebreaker to Bishop Kaun, and Omega added a V-Trigger. Omega took flight to the outside onto Liona. That cleared the path for the Walls of Jericho on Kaun to earn the win.

After the match, Omega and Jericho vocalized fighting words for the Callis Family. Omega threatened the beginning of the end for Callis. Jericho relished in the villain label from Sammy Guevara. He is going to ruin Sammy’s life.

That was an entertaining showcase for Omega and Jericho as a unit. I could get used to them as a dream team in the tag division. Perhaps next time AEW does a blind tag team tournament, they can be in the mix. For now, the focus is clear on tearing down the Callis Family.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

Andrade defeated Juice Robinson. The Gunns were ejected from ringside after trying to cheat. Andrade seized the moment for a spinning back elbow and won on a hammerlock DDT.

Andrade and Juice put in work for a solid match. Andrade received a modicum of revenge after Juice blindsided him last week, but the bigger prey remains in getting his win back on Jay White. Bullet Club Gold is gold with extra servings of attitude to steal scenes. You always have to keep an eye on them for a chuckle at their silly behavior.

The Kingdom defeated Best Friends. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett proved their hearts are pure by promoting Neck Health Awareness with wiener punches and piledrivers. Taven distracted the referee long enough for Bennett to strike below the belt on Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor. The Kingdom finished Chuck with a spike piledriver to win.

Another solid match. Best Friends brought intensity to make this an interesting fight. They dished out double piledrivers of their own to set up a dramatic rope-break by Bennett on the cover. The persistence of the Kingdom to win via wiener punches and piledrivers should be an amusing hook for future matches.

Afterward, the Kingdom had a message for Adam Cole. They urged him to delay ankle surgery to be by the side of Roderick Strong in his moment of need with neck pain. Taven and Bennett were going to catch a flight from Seattle to Strong’s home. They wanted Cole to meet them there.

I’m not in the camp that believes Cole is masterminding as the devil, but let’s work through the possibilities for the nefarious purpose of that promo. In theory, this could give Cole plausible deniability with Taven, Bennett, and Strong as alibis for each other if the devil gang shows up at the PPV.

Julia Hart defeated Vertvixen. AEW aired a hype video for Hart challenging Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship at WrestleDream.

Hart handled business to beat her opponent via moonsault. Afterward, Hart called out Statlander. The champ wisely brought out the Best Friends and Rocky Romero as protection from Brody King. Hart waved the men aside to act tough, but she bailed from fisticuffs. Statlander warned that the clock is ticking and time will be up at the PPV.

Hart was impressive in this warm-up bout. She wrestled with a chip on her shoulder to show she’s ready for Statlander. Hart’s performance has me believing she could win at WrestleDream. This segment was effective in building a higher level of anticipation for the PPV match.

The Righteous defeated Travis Williams & Judas Icarus. A vignette aired with Vincent and Dutch explaining their final step toward the terrifying truth for MJF & Cole. The deadline on karma is coming due.

The Righteous squashed their opponents. Vincent was victorious off a step-up tornado cutter. Afterward, they sent an ominous message to MJF. The Righteous plans to break his foot like Cole. They demonstrated their violence with demented torture by using a wooden plank and a chair to break the ankle of Williams.

Man, that was straight misery from the Righteous. That ankle break was over-the-top in a good way to add bite to their bark. I fully expect MJF to win at the PPV, and that scene has me curious how AEW will book the match without pulling the rug from under Vincent and Dutch. The Righteous could have staying power in AEW, but they can’t look like chumps against MJF if they want to be taken as a serious threat moving forward.

Notes: Jay White was not present for Juice Robinson’s match. Switchblade was recovering after the devil attack on Dynamite. Nigel McGuinness had zero hesitation in blaming MJF as the culprit. Kevin Kelly erred on the side of caution not to assume the identity of the masked man.

CJ Perry (aka Lana) was shown backstage scouting Andrade versus Juice. The implication was interest in finding clients to manage.

Toni Storm discussed the her career. There is no peak, because all she does is peak. If the world has forgotten her star power, then she will have to remind them. Storm was amusing with her starlet double talk.

Claudio Castagnoli doesn’t need a championship to act like a champion. It is about looking inside to find what keeps him going. Claudio’s love of this sport caused him to issue an open challenge to anybody man enough. Josh Barnett is his huckleberry. The Warmaster is a prized pupil of Antonio Inoki, who is the inspiration for WrestleDream. War is ageless, and the ring is Barnett’s field of combat. Claudio versus Barnett was announced for the PPV pre-show.

Darby Allin has voices of doubt about whether he belongs on the big stage, but the TNT Championship validates him. That’s one reason it burns so bad to see Christian holding the gold.

Eddie Kingston and Katsuyori Shibata are fighting for titles and respect.

TMDK were interrupted by the Acclaimed & Billy Gunn. Shane Haste responded with a rap. Mikey Nicholls refused to give him a beat, and Bad Dude Tito thought Haste’s bland rhymes were making them look like nerds. Tony Schiavone’s reaction was money.

Stud of the Show: Ricky Starks

Starks will not be denied his rise to the top. In a match of All-Stars, he picked up the winning pin.

Match of the Night: Kenny Omega & Chris Jericho vs. Gates of Agony

Dream teams and hoss teams are right up my alley, so this was the best of both worlds.

Grade: B-

Entertaining action all night long, but the entire show is skippable if you are short on time to catch up before the WrestleDream PPV.

Share your thoughts about Collision. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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