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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Oct. 7, 2023): Ricky Starks wins championship

AEW Collision (Oct. 7, 2023) emanated from Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, UT. The show featured Ricky Starks winning gold, Adam Copeland requesting answers from Christian Cage, Eddie Kingston defending the ROH world title, and more.

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

Saturday night is alright for fighting. FTR were bruised up heading into the AEW World Tag Team Championship bout. Cash Wheeler had a fractured rib. That’s the life they choose in this business. FTR never backs down from a fight. Ricky Starks and Big Bill were motivated to win the titles.

New champions!

Ricky Starks and Big Bill pulled off a shocker to dethrone FTR. This match opened the show blazing hot. Well, FTR wasn’t too hot. They got their asses kicked in defeat. The moment was hot though.

Starks and Bill came prepared with smart strategy. They preyed on the injuries of FTR with a sneak attack to start. As FTR were hugging before the bell, Starks rammed into them. The contact knocked Cash Wheeler off the apron crashing down to the floor in pain. Starks smashed Dax Harwood’s shoulder into the ring post. Bill entered the match to bulldoze a beating. Harwood showed fighting spirit. He was able to create separation for a tag, but Wheeler was still down on the floor clutching his ribs.

The action spilled outside. Starks led a divide and conquer plan. Instead of continuing to tenderize Harwood, he urged Bill to focus on Wheeler instead. The 7-footer obliged by chokeslamming Wheeler through the commentary table. Harwood was alone for the rest of the match.

Bill had his way with Harwood for a chokeslam. Starks called for a second chokeslam. Bill did the deed. Starks had one more attack in mind. Bill held up Harwood, so Starks could run the ropes for a spear to win. Domination.

Starks and Bill shared the jubilation of glory in winning the AEW World Tag Team Championship. That’s the kind of celebration that makes the titles feel important.

That result was an awesome surprise. Starks and Bill looked like stars in victory. It wasn’t just a cheap win to crown new champions. They used intelligence executing a game plan to perfection. Both men maximized their minutes playing to their strengths. Bill was the powerhouse of destruction. Starks was the brains of the operation, and he also flashed charisma on the apron when giving direction to Bill. Starks and Bill looked like badasses winning gold to back up their bravado. Starks’ braggadocio is no longer empty words. He truly is establishing himself as the face of Collision.

FTR were protected with the injuries. They lost no luster in defeat. FTR should still be viewed as top guys. The rematch will be hot once FTR is healthy, but the fire goes deeper with how Starks and Bill chose to embarrass them with the final salvo. That should add a personal edge for revenge. I can’t wait for round two.

Starks and Bill cherished the glory backstage. They whooped FTR’s ass and are the new top dogs. They talk like stars, walk like stars, and act like stars. Starks made sure to deny any claims of a rematch from FTR.

Adam Copeland speaks, again

The segment to close the show involved Adam Copeland addressing Christian Cage’s wicked treachery. Copeland was genuine when he said he came to AEW to reform the tag team with Christian. That didn’t go to plan, and he wanted to know why. Copeland still loves his best friend, even though, Christian is in a villain phase.

Christian answered the call from the big screen. He’ll give his answers on Dynamite. Christian sent his goons to handle Copeland, but the Rated R Superstar had the edge on Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne. Copeland speared the dino and hit an implant DDT on Wayne.

The numbers got Copeland, and he was set up in a conchairto. Hit the pause button.

Earlier in the show, Wayne explained his motivation to betray Darby Allin at WrestleDream. Allin abandoned him in 2015. Wayne never forgot that, so he made sure to join Allin’s biggest enemy as payback. Wayne also didn’t want to be stuck in Allin’s shadow.

Back to the conchairto. Naturally, only one man would be there for the save. Enter Allin. His music blared as a trick to attack the ring from the backside. Allin whacked Luchasaurus with a chair. Wayne cowered like a coward. Allin was hesitant to pull the trigger, and that bought time for Luchasaurus to return. When Allin focused on the monster, Wayne sprang up to dropkick him in the back. Wayne had zero hesitation to crack the arm of Allin with a chair.

The Copeland drama continues. The content of his promo wasn’t worthy of being hyped all night to close the show, but I understand the advertising appeal of milking it.

The real takeaway was between Allin and Wayne. I have to call bullshit on Wayne’s promo explaining his actions. There’s no way he was playing a long con. It didn’t even look like he was playing the game at all during WrestleDream until the sudden swerve. That was a poor cover as some kind of gotcha moment. On the positive side, Wayne’s character motivation is clearly established moving forward. Smashing Allin’s arm was a smarmy move to successfully build him as a heel. It certainly filled me with desire to see Allin kick his ass, so mission accomplished.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

Bryan Danielson defeated Kyle Fletcher. The Aussie opened with aggressive offense. That forced Danielson to increase his own viciousness. Fletcher didn’t wilt under increased pressure. He was picking up steam down the stretch. Fletcher countered Danielson for a Michinoku driver then slapped on a dragon sleeper. Danielson was trapped and worked hard to reach the ropes. That moment showed how close Danielson was to losing. The Blackpool Combat Club prides themselves on natural escapes, not using the rope-break.

The closing sequence saw Fletcher execute a reverse superplex. When he went for the dragon sleeper, Danielson countered for a fancy roll-up. Apparently, that pinning move is used fondly by Zack Sabre Jr. to keep that feud alive in the ether.

Great match. Fletcher shined for the second time this week. He took everything Danielson had to offer and came back even harder. The finish came across like Danielson barely escaped with the win. Fletcher’s performance left me wanting more. Give him the Darius Martin and Dax Harwood treatment of cool singles matchmaking until his partner returns from injury.

After the match, the Gates of Agony rushed the ring to pound Danielson. The idea was to inflict pain prior to Danielson’s match against Swerve Strickland on Dynamite. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta made the save. It was later announced that Claudio & Yuta will wrestle Gates of Agony on Rampage. Give me a hell yeah. That bout should rock.

Juice Robinson & Gunns defeated Angelico, Metalik, & Gravity. Jay White joined the Bang Bang Gang wearing MJF’s world title around his waist. Bullet Club Gold handled business. It wasn’t an easy win, but they were never in real trouble either. A 3:10 to Yuma cleared the path for Juice to pounce with an inverted DDT for victory.

Afterward, White had a message for MJF. He criticized the champ for not coming after his title belt, especially for a man who claims it is the most important thing in his life. White assumed the role as champion, but he deemed Hangman Page unworthy of a title shot in their bout on Dynamite.

Bullet Club Gold did their thing to entertain. White’s logic was equal parts provocative and backward. He’s right about raising questions on MJF’s urgency. Crowning himself as world champion was amusing heel vision.

AEW World Trios Championship: The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn retained against the Iron Savages. This was a tougher title defense than anticipated. The bears sipped that savage sauce to power through the champs. Max Caster was the game-changer with power moves of his own on the hot rally. The Acclaimed hit the Mic Drop combo to pin Jacked Jameson.

The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass did their job to keep the live crowd hot. The Iron Savages continue to entertain in their appearances.

Toni Storm defeated Kiera Hogan. Competitive bout. Storm resorted to biting Hogan’s booty to gain an edge for the finish. After the chomp, Storm executed a ragdoll German suplex. She followed with a hip attack and a piledriver to win.

Storm is really leaning into her Timeless character. She added several flourishes to her movement, such as getting ready for her closeup before the hip attack to piledriver finish. It’s always nice to see Hogan get time to work. She’s a good hand for these types of matches. Hogan made Storm earn the win, and Storm looks like a bigger star as a result.

ROH World Championship: Eddie Kingston retained against Komander. This was a clash of styles. Komander used his speed to frustrate Kingston. When Komander tried to match striking, Kingston pounded him hard. Komander had a lot of success overall. He wrenched an octopus submission tight. Kingston withstood the pain to reach the ropes. Komander added to his highlight reel with high-flying on a leap over the ring post for a cannonball, a springboard corkscrew plancha, and a 450 splash. In the end, Kingston’s spinning backfist hit the mark. Komander went for a magistral cradle, but he was too close to the ropes. That allowed Kingston to lean forward for position on a pin. Komander kicked out. Kingston was quicker to rise and walloped Komander with his signature strike.

This was an enjoyable title defense from Kingston. He really played into the idea that styles make fights. Kingston purposely plodded to chase Komander, and that added to the illusion that the luchador’s speed had great value. Kingston also showed his noodle. Fast Eddie may have moved slow at times, but he was on the ball when anticipating Komander’s moves. There were a few occasions in the match where Kingston had it well scouted to prevent Komander’s agenda. We all knew Komander had no chance to win, but they formulated a smart match to make it an entertaining little story in the ring.

Notes: Hype package for Keith Lee versus Shane Taylor. No match has been announced yet, but these promo exchanges are building anticipation for that hoss fight.

Ruby Soho was banned from ringside for Saraya’s title defense against Hikaru Shida on Dynamite. Soho was annoyed, but she was still confident Saraya will prove why she is a dominant force.

Studs of the Show: Ricky Starks & Big Bill Morrissey

Destroying FTR was a hell of a way to take command of Collision.

Match of the Night: Bryan Danielson vs. Kyle Fletcher

Danielson and Fletcher strut their stuff with style, athleticism, and intensity.

Grade: B

The show started hot to set the tone, and that energy carried through all evening. Fresh faces entertained, and the usual suspects delivered the goods as expected.

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

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