AEW Collision (Oct. 21, 2023) emanated from FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN. The show featured the House of Black running amok, a dream match for Bryan Danielson, Ricky Starks & Big Bill Morrissey defending the tag titles in the main event, and more.
Saturday night is alright for fighting. So much so that AEW also ran Battle of the Belts VIII for three hours of live televised wrestling. This recap will cover the Collision episode. For the Battle of the Belts recap, click here. Catch up on all the Collision details with play-by-play from Geno Mrosko, and let’s get cooking.
Dream match, enter Sandman
Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream. Make it a dream match that I’ve never seen.
Tony Khan booked Bryan Danielson versus Andrade with the billing of a dream match. They’ve met a few times before in WWE, but this was a first-time affair in AEW. It was a very good contest in a technical sense for a competitive evenly-matched duel. They worked with a variety of chain wrestling and stalemates. Danielson had the slight edge on the ground due to wizardry mat skills, and Andrade had the slight edge in striking due to the power advantage.
The story unfolded with Danielson ramming Andrade’s shoulder into the ring post. The American Dragon focused on damaging the shoulder. Andrade caught a Yes kick to counter for a dragon screw. El Idolo focused on weakening the knee. Neither man could close with their submission finishers. Despite the pain, both went for signature spots. Andrade was slick for a flying flurry of a dropkick, moonsault, and split-legged moonsault.
In the end, Danielson went for the Busaiku Knee. Andrade countered with a takedown. Roll-ups were exchanged in a tumbling sequence. Danielson was able to trap Andrade in a crucifix pin for victory.
The dream match was over, but the dreaming wasn’t done. After the match, exit light, enter night. Malakai Black sent Danielson off to never-never land with a head kick. Danielson was out cold.
Andrade and Danielson put on a quality fight. It felt like round one of what could become a series over time. Neither man flipped the switch into that higher gear of intensity. It felt like a sparring chess match, and Danielson had the right trick at the right moment. The action was presented in a way that either man could win on any given day. That head kick from Black was the sizzle of the segment. House of Black rumbling with Blackpool Combat Club should be worthy of several dreams.
Lo and behold, the House of Black came back for more violence throughout the show.
House of Black, part 2
FTR was scheduled for a tune-up match against the unformidable duo of Bad Thad Brown & Darian Bengston. The idea was for FTR to work their way back up to a title shot starting from the bottom. The match barely began when the House of Black rushed the ring to attack FTR. The contest was thrown out.
House of Black ruins the main event
The main event for the show was Ricky Starks & Big Bill Morrissey defending the AEW World Tag Team Championship against Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta. The House of Black showed up again to ruin the finish.
Starks and Bill isolated Yuta for a pounding. Hot tag to Claudio comically mocking Starks’ rope-walking strut. Starks escaped the big swing, and the match progressed. Fate dictated that Starks would eventually be taking a ride on Claudio’s swing. Down the stretch, Claudio executed the move with a dropkick combo from Yuta. Bill made the save on the pinfall.
The Blackpool Combat Club sent Bill packing from the ring. They set up a rocket launcher splash, and that’s when the House of Black intruded. Black distracted the referee, so Brody King and Buddy Matthews could thump Claudio. That left Yuta alone. Starks hit a spear and finished with the Roshambo for victory.
After the match, House of Black stomped Yuta. Danielson then FTR ran out, but the numbers got them. Enter Jon Moxley to a hero’s ovation to turn the tide. Claudio took Starks for one more swing to close the show. Absolute went for over 20 rotations.
There’s a lot to digest from the House of Black on this evening. The most important aspect is that they injected a jolt of electricity in the story. It would be one thing to pick on the Blackpool Combat Club for a feud. Jumping FTR expands the picture of intrigue to find out Malakai Black’s motivation in these actions. The return of Jon Moxley spiced the scene even harder. I’m curious how AEW handles the numbers with House of Black down one man three-to-four.
One note of caution. AEW needs to be careful about these bullshit interference finishes for Collision main events. That’s two weeks in a row where the outside cheating made the match itself a waste of time. In this case, it harmed Starks and Bill from establishing their identity as tag champs. Their win over FTR was impressive as heck. The follow-up was a letdown, since they won via random circumstances. Their tag title reign won’t reach that next level of greatness for a huge rematch with FTR if Starks and Bill aren’t presented as top level studs in their own right.
On the positive, the various post-match reactions were money. It started with Starks flashing a shifty glance of worry once he realized the House of Black was milling around. Tension increased as the group backed Starks and Bill into a corner. I love that Bill showed no hesitation to engage. It was Starks that played it cautious. Another moment came after the babyfaces cleared the ring. Starks wanted to charge back in, and the House of Black left him hanging high and dry. That led to Claudio’s marathon swing with Cash Wheeler jumping rope over Starks’ body. Those little touches were good stuff to enrich the fuller picture.
Return of the Devil
The House of Black weren’t the only people playing with light switches. The masked devil made a return appearance. The secret person in question has been in the shadows ever since ambushing Jay White. Switchblade was ringside to support the Gunns dominating the Outrunners in tag team action. 3:10 to Yuma earned the win. The real interest came after the match when the lights went out again, and the devil appeared on screen. Make of it what you will.
Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.
Memphis Street Fight: Jeff Jarrett defeated Eddie Kingston. Yes, you read that result right. Jarrett was flanked by Karen, Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh, and Jay Lethal. The fight was basically one versus five. It was a wild donnybrook with weapons and a picnic table. Lethal hit a flying cutter off stage to Kingston through a table.
Kingston kicked everybody’s ass, but the numbers were too much. After Kingston clobbered Singh with a guitar, Jarrett struck with the Stroke. 1, 2, Kingston kicked out! The pummeling continued with a chokeslam from Singh, another Stroke from Jarrett, and a Lethal Injection from Lethal. Kingston did not kick out that time on Jarrett’s cover. Per the stipulation of the match, Jarrett’s win means Lethal will receive a shot at the ROH World Championship.
In the small picture, this match was a load of fun as a carny spectacle. I wanted to see Kingston smash Jarrett with the spinning backfist, and they delivered. It wasn’t just the simple move. They spiced up the moment with Kingston hitting the strike as Jarrett wound up with the guitar. Singh and Karen added to the entertainment with their involvement. I love seeing giants do giant stuff, like snapping a kendo stick in half. Seeing Karen slap Kingston was such a Karen move. Don’t forget Kingston breaking the guitar on Singh’s head.
In the big picture, this match actually made me less interested in seeing Lethal challenge Kingston. The Mad King was so dominant against the numbers that one-on-one should be no sweat. Lethal’s crew looked like a bunch of slapnuts. This doesn’t feel like a legit world title feud. Jarrett did a lot of damage to Kingston’s knee, so that could be the saving grace into thinking Lethal has any chance at all to win.
Kingston shared his thoughts on the situation backstage. He used to respect Lethal, but Lethal has changed since joining Jarrett. Kingston doesn’t view Lethal as a man anymore. Instead, Lethal is Jarrett’s bitch. Kingston is going to give Lethal a beating in front of his family.
A livid Eddie Kingston will now give Jay Lethal a shot at the #ROH World Championship, but the Champ also sends Lethal a warning!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 22, 2023
Watch #AEWCollision LIVE on TNT every Saturday Night pic.twitter.com/ex8fOV5680
Kingston’s passion is always engaging, but this was a terrible attempt trying to interject personal life into the storyline.
Miro defeated Action Andretti. CJ Perry was ringside to observe the match. Miro planned to make an example out of Andretti as a warning for any man considering seeking managerial guidance from his wife. Miro pounded Andretti, and CJ seemed to enjoy it. Miro was ready to finish, but Andretti had other plans. He showed heart to surprise Miro with a DDT. The action man hit a 450 springboard splash. Miro kicked out then kicked the taste out of Andretti’s mouth. Game Over! Andretti tapped out in defeat.
This was the type of match that made both wrestlers look good. Miro reaffirmed his badass status by smashing his opponent. Even though Andretti got his ass kicked, he showed fighting spirit and scored moments of exhilarating offense that left me wanting more. As for CJ’s manager storyline, I’m not buying it anymore. Her happy reaction to Miro crushing should cease all advances from anyone seeking her services. It looked like a sexual kink with Miro gently thrusting his hips after the match. Who wants to be a pawn in their weird power play? On the flip side, this could be CJ’s plan all along to align with her husband.
Notes: Darby Allin told Nick Wayne not to listen to the critics, and he thinks that’s why his little buddy turned to the dark side. Allin will be at Dynamite if Wayne wants revenge for the broken tooth.
"With a fractured shoulder, I took away a tooth of yours! But when this gets better, I'm going to take away a lot more!"— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 22, 2023
Darby Allin wants Nick Wayne to find him THIS WEDNESDAY at #AEWDynamite LIVE at 8/7c on TBS!
Watch #AEWCollision LIVE on TNT!@DarbyAllin | @TheNickWayne pic.twitter.com/TDBmXMFHQW
Skye Blue squashed Hollyhood Haley. Blue continued with the black mist story with stoic aggression to win via Code Blue.
Kris Statlander warmed up for her TBS title bout by squatting Lexy Nair during an interview. That side of Statlander’s personality brings me great joy.
#TBS Champion @callmekrisstat, with help from @LexyNair, gets her pump on before she defends the Title against @willowwrestles at #AEWBOTBVIII, immediately following #AEWCollision TONIGHT at 10/9c LIVE on TNT!@orangecassidy is also ready.— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 22, 2023
Watch #AEWCollision LIVE on TNT! pic.twitter.com/S6jeC29qwW
The Acclaimed are ready to light asses up defending the trios titles. Max Caster failed at his attempt in friendly small talk.
#TheAcclaimed have been #AEW World Trios Champs for 55 DAYS!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 22, 2023
Will they make it to 56 when they put the Titles on the line against Daniel Garcia, Daddy Magic, & Angelo Parker at #AEWBOTBVIII TONIGHT at 10/9c LIVE on TNT?@platinummax | @bowens_official | @realbillygunn pic.twitter.com/ZvgMxz3crL
Daddy Magic had a pleasant team breakfast with no dancing. Tensions resurfaced from Daniel Garcia, and Daddy Magic claimed it was a joke. That scene transitioned into Cool Hand Ang and Ruby Soho flirting. Soho demanded a championship match, and AEW granted her a shot at Hikaru Shida for the women’s title on Dynamite.
Ruby Soho and Angelo Parker commiserate over their intense family problems!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 22, 2023
Watch #AEWCollision LIVE on TNT!@theDaddyMagic | @TheAngeloParker | @GarciaWrestling | @annajay___ | @RealRubySoho pic.twitter.com/tRdArdciYI
Rush led an angry meeting with Los Ingobernables about their lack of success so far in AEW.
“I’m tired of not being on television just because a company says I’m ‘too dangerous.’”— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 22, 2023
Rush and #LaFaccionIngobernable are tired of waiting!
Watch #AEWCollision LIVE on TNT!@rushtoroblanco | @DRALISTICO_LFI | @Pres10Vance | @JoseAssistant pic.twitter.com/B8QZsCWyJi
Stud of the Show: Malakai Black
The House of Black leader injected himself into the broadcast to take over the conversation. The main talking point revolves around Black’s actions. Not too bad for a show he wasn’t even advertised for.
Match of the Night: Bryan Danielson vs. Andrade
The action ranged from high-quality wrestling to street fighting to squash city. There were too many lopsided matches to deserve a high grade. The House of Black provided moments of story potential to close the show making me curious to tune in next week.
Share your thoughts about Collision. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?