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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Oct. 14, 2023): The thorn in Bryan Danielson’s side

AEW Collision (Oct. 14, 2023) emanated from Huntington Center in Toledo, OH. The show featured Christian Cage defending the TNT Championship against Bryan Danielson with nefarious forces altering the outcome, Samoa Joe and Kris Statlander in title defenses, Miro with a plan to protect CJ Perry, and more.

Get caught up on all the Collision details with play-by-play from Geno Mrosko.

The thorn in Bryan Danielson’s side

Saturday night is alright for fighting. Christian Cage was set to defend the TNT Championship against Bryan Danielson in the main event. No pre-show promos this week, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm thanks to opening with a huge gab session between Adam Copeland, Christian, and friends. This is relevant to the TNT title picture, because it planted seeds for the finish.

Copeland opened the show. Christian interrupted with his own security goon squad. I wish I could tell you what they said, but technical issues plagued the Fite TV broadcast in the early going. Danielson butt in to alert the champ that Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne were both banned from ringside to keep it a fair fight.

Ricky Starks entered the scene flanked by Big Bill Morrissey. The video feed suddenly tuned in to perfection without further issue. That was nature’s way of proclaiming Starks the face of Collision.

Starks talked trash, and Copeland mocked Starks’ silk pants with a reference to stealing The Rock’s style. I like that Starks no-sold that insult to show he is his own man. A fighting challenge was made by Starks, but Copeland and Danielson were outnumbered.

FTR joined the fun. They were banged up last week in losing the AEW tag titles to Starks and Bill, but that is no excuse. FTR believes they are still the best tag team in the world. They plan to work their way back up to a title shot.

The promo piece closed with Danielson suggesting the TNT title bout start now. Security intervened aggressively and paid the price in pain. The babyfaces cleared the ring of those jabrones, and Danielson slapped on a LeBell Lock to send a message to Christian.

There were a lot of moving parts to that opening segment, and I like how it all connected to set up a future 8-man clash. That match hasn’t been announced, but you know it is coming in time. All these promos added fuel to the fire to build the bout. It’s much better than those cold all-star matches Collision puts together. Now, there are reasons to care.

Fast forward to the main event of the evening. Dasha Gonzalez provided introductions with mood lighting for a big fight feel. The action went roughly 20 minutes, and the crowd was hot throughout.

Danielson and Christian put in work on the mat then increased intensity with methodical striking. Danielson pulled Christian’s turtle neck over his head to unload stiff chops to the bare chest. The match progressed with Christian targeting the right arm. This hammerlock slam on the apron was vicious.

Danielson rallied with energy from the fans. He unleashed a barrage of kicks to knock Christian out of the ring and followed for a suicide dive. Christian regrouped and regained control. As he charged for a spear, Danielson blocked it with a kick.

Danielson violently kicked Christian’s head in. The American Dragon charged forward for what I presume was a knee strike. Christian countered for a spear. Kill Switch! Danielson dramatically kicked out on the cover.

The climax came with Danielson dodging a spear to hit the Busaiku Knee. Christian kicked out to great suspense. Danielson slapped on the LeBell Lock, however, Christian was able to inch toward the ropes for the break. Danielson dragged his enemy back to center for the LeBell Lock again. Unfortunately, his arm was too damaged to cinch it tight. That didn’t matter though.

Reinforcements arrived for Christian when Big Bill distracted the referee for Starks to slide in and wallop Danielson with a title belt. Christian picked up the easy pin to win. Starks showed that he remains a thorn in Danielson’s side.

The show closed with a melee between Christian, Starks, Bill, Luchasaurus, and Wayne against Danielson, Copeland, and FTR. Copeland had the last laugh by spearing Wayne.

That main event was an old school dandy. The action and pace escalated throughout for a fever pitch of excitement in the end. The near falls in the closing sequences had me hook, line, and sinker with full attention. I assumed Christian was a lock to win, but Danielson really had me believing that AEW might pull the trigger on a title change. Applause to both men for that riveting drama. The cheating finish was kind of a letdown, however, I’ll grin and bear it as a means to hype up future fights. It was funny how Copeland was fashionably late for the post-match fisticuffs. They didn’t even play Edge’s music when he ran in for the save. I figured that was the whole reason he was tardy. Even without music, his arrival still created a thunderous pop from the crowd. Good times.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

ROH World Television Championship: Samoa Joe retained against Willie Mack. Hoss fight! Mack connected on a stunner, but Joe kicked out on the cover. When Mack climbed the corner for a frog splash, Joe swatted him on the turnbuckles to set up a Musclebuster for victory.

This was a fun match with Mack going blow for blow with Joe. Mack looked good in defeat and had the crowd rocking on his side. In my opinion, Mack is near the top of the list for journeymen that deserve to be in the big leagues. Hopefully he’ll get his chance sooner than later. The win from Joe was a strong showing to rebound from losing to MJF. I still want that rematch eventually.

Miro & hot flexible CJ. Action Andretti approached CJ Perry about becoming a client. She is in AEW to guide wrestlers into champions and stars.

Miro had a rebuttal later in the program. He believes that CJ’s lust for the spotlight will make her vicious until there is nothing left. Miro decided to protect her soul by destroying every man that wants to be managed by her. He dragged Andretti into view as an example.

I’m all aboard to see how this story develops. At first, I liked the idea of young wrestlers pairing with CJ. After Miro’s speech, I like the direction even better. Somebody is going to try to breakthrough, and Miro will be there to stop him. CJ won’t stand idly by. She’ll eventually find someone who is an equal match for Miro. There is a lot of potential for intrigue week to week, and it keeps Miro busy away from taking losses in title pictures.

Juice Robinson defeated Christopher Daniels. Juice was loose handling business. Daniels was not an easy layup. He rallied with veteran savvy. On an Angel’s Wings attempt, Juice rammed CD into the corner. He followed with a rock hard cannonball and finished with an inverted DDT.

Afterward, Jay White presented a ring to Juice to punch Daniels out cold. The message was that Juice is coming for MJF’s Dynamite Diamond Ring in the Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal next week. Juice stated that the difference between him and MJF is that he doesn’t need a ring to knock people out. White added that MJF has brought this trouble all on himself with that cowardly masked devil attack. Bullet Club Gold are coming to take everything away from him, including the AEW World Championship.

That was a productive and important win for Juice. The story direction seems like he is a sure bet to win the battle royal, so this victory adds momentum on his side for the potential fight with MJF. The masked devil storyline has dipped into the underground, so it was nice that White kept it in our memory. AEW better have a damn good payoff, because they have gone completely cold on that follow-up to that hot moment.

Speaking of MJF versus the Bang Bang Gang, Anthony Bowens and Billy Gunn decided to back Max Caster’s play to help his friend. They offered advice to Caster in an effort to tone down his aggressive advances. When Caster practiced by offering a compliment to Renee Paquette, it went horribly wrong in reference to Oral Sessions. Also of note, Daddy Magic, Cool Hand Ang, and Daniel Garcia challenged the Acclaimed and Daddy Ass for trios gold next week.

The baby steps continue for Caster to court MJF. The story is taking its time to feel like it is developing organically, and that will all add to the moment once MJF accepts the help. The scissoring will be sweet.

Kyle Fletcher defeated Boulder. The Aussie powerbombed the big man off the turnbuckles and used a dragon sleeper for victory. Later backstage, Fletcher called out one man in particular to make a name for himself. He wants a fight with Kenny Omega. That match was booked for Dynamite.

Damn, the hutzpah from Fletcher fires me up for his future. There’s something exciting about a star on the rise that calls out the best to challenge himself. There’s levels to it for maximum effect. Nobody would be buying that from a low-card talent. Fletcher has shown he has the skills to dance with main-eventers. I think this also shows improvement in how AEW is developing talent. Compare it to Konosuke Takeshita where he would be shoved into big bouts without any build. Fletcher earned a win here, then he was given a quick promo to provide his motivation. It’s a journey we can all follow along to build a connection.

TBS Championship: Kris Statlander retained against Skye Blue. Statlander had the overwhelming power advantage, but Blue put up a damn good fight.

Blue strung together a streak of offense that had the crowd in the palm of her hand when Statlander kicked out on pinfalls. In the end, Statlander countered Blue into the Saturday Night Fever piledriver.

Afterward, Statlander offered a handshake of respect. Blue was still feeling the effects of black mist, and she was slightly on the evil side. Willow Nightingale ran out to shoo Statlander away and care for Blue. Willow gave the stink eye to the champ.

That match was more engaging than I was expecting. Blue truly had me wondering if there would be a shocking upset here. Both women put on a good show to cause that reaction. The Willow bit was a bit weird. Since she also suffered from black mist, I suppose AEW is using it to create temporary challengers under the spell to keep the TBS title chase fresh. Credit for consistency on the black mist. The evilness should wear off soon enough for Blue and Willow to return to their babyface nature.

Notes: Danhausen is returning soon. It is almost time.

Keith Lee squashed Turbo Floyd via powerbomb. Shane Taylor had his eye on the monitor scouting the match.

Dustin Rhodes will be in the Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal. He’s the best he has ever been and is eager to earn the win. I like how the emotion from Rhodes sells the importance of this match.

Nick Wayne was booked for a sitdown interview with his mom and Jim Ross next week.

Rush was at the wheel of a sports vehicle explaining what it means to be part of Los Ingobernables. Uncontrollable, unruly, ungovernable. They are coming back to AEW to kick ass.

Rocky Romero narrated a hype package for his match against Mistico next week on Rampage. It will be a battle of CMLL champions.

MJF attended a Stand Up To Jewish Hate event.

Komander suffered an injury, so his match against Brian Cage was postponed.

Stud of the Show: Nigel McGuinness

McGuinness is thriving with his dry humor as a bullshit heel announcer. He brings the chuckles with blatant double standards. It’s getting to the point that we have to pay attention to his words or else we might miss a golden zinger.

Match of the Night: Christian Cage vs. Bryan Danielson

Christian and Danielson worked to a crescendo of excitement.

Grade: B

Solid action and functional storytelling building to the future. Even though the matches entertained, the results were fairly obvious to predict. AEW did a good job to make me second-guess with a handful of dramatic near falls.

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

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