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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Nov. 11, 2023): Icon, iconoclast, and freak walk into a bar

AEW Collision (Nov. 11, 2023) emanated from Oakland Arena in Oakland, CA. The show featured Sting, Darby Allin, & Adam Copeland battling Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ army, the reveal of CJ Perry’s first client, a killer promo from Hangman Page, and more.

Catch up on all the Collision details with top-notch play-by-play from Geno Mrosko.

Saturday night is alright for fighting. What happens when an icon, an iconoclast, and a freak walk into a bar? They beat the crap out of you. Okay, technically, Adam Copeland said, “Walk into a wrestling ring,” but I can’t pass up the ‘walk into a bar’ joke format. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to see Sting, Darby Allin, and Copeland in a bar fight?

An icon, an iconoclast, and a freak

It’s Sting! Sting, Darby Allin, and Adam Copeland rumbled in the main event against Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ army of Lance Archer, Vincent, and Dutch.

Even though this feud was rushed into action, electricity was in the air for a big fight feel with so much star power. Sting tagged in, had a woo-off with Archer, then kicked ass.

The match progressed with the bad guys isolating Sting then isolating Allin. That set up for a hot tag to Copeland cleaning house on a flying double clothesline and a suicide dive.

The evildoers regrouped, then the heroes rallied for a teamwork flying elbow drop to Scorpion Death Drop combo from Copeland and Sting.

The finish arrived with a Stinger splash to Vincent in the corner and a spear from Copeland to win. Christian Cage interrupted the celebration to promote the trios grudge match for Full Gear. This short clip is worth watching just to hear Nigel McGuinness mocking Tony Schiavone with the call, “It’s Christian!”

The main event was a lot of fun. Sting’s farewell tour has an aura of mystique. Sting, Allin, and Copeland hit the right notes to bring entertainment and pop the crowd. It’s too bad Jake’s army is an afterthought, especially now that they lost. The whole purpose of banding together was to destroy Sting. They failed right out of the gate. Back to the drawing board. Maybe they can pick on the Hardy Party to earn a win.

CJ Perry’s first client

Andrade teased in the opening promo package about an answer for CJ Perry’s managerial services. He started the show walking to the ring for a match against Daniel Garcia. As Andrade entered, his answer was clear with Hot & Flexible on the big screen. CJ came out, and Andrade gave a nod of approval to signify that he is CJ’s first client.

Oh, were you wondering about Miro’s reaction? He did not look pleased.

Andrade and Garcia wrestled a dandy of a match. Andrade outclassed his opponent early, so Garcia responded with physicality to get back in the game. El Idolo didn’t back down and returned fire in machismo striking exchanges. Andrade focused his strategy on attacking the knee. That paid off in the end to soften Garcia for the figure-eight submission to win. Andrade celebrated with CJ, while Miro reacted from backstage.

The pairing of Andrade and CJ doesn’t inspire me as of yet. Part of the problem is wondering what CJ brings to the table for Andrade. He is an established star. It would be different if CJ managed someone like Action Andretti, because she is the bigger star in that scenario. CJ can’t offer wrestling advice to Andrade. She didn’t interfere at all. CJ just stood there clapping with a grin. AEW needs to make it clear how this relationship benefits El Idolo. There’s ways to do that with fake endorsements and such to put money in his pocket or increase his profile.

This arrangement for Andrade seems like more trouble than it’s worth with Miro looming large. Ric Flair better keep his head on a swivel or else he might have his back broken in retaliation. The idea of a match between Miro and Andrade should be good, so we have that to look forward to. I’m curious how AEW sets up the story for a payoff to the CJ angle.

Garcia looked good in defeat. He’s still working to find the perfect mix of professional wrestler and sports entertainer. Garcia danced his way to CJ, and she danced back. Dancing didn’t necessarily cost him the result in the match, but it did hinder him on a few occasions. Dancing wasn’t an excuse though. Andrade was just better. One thing is clear, the people love Garcia’s dancing. That is his hook to stardom.

AEW World Tag Team Championship picture

The tag team title picture was fleshed out for Full Gear, and it’s a crock of bullshit.

Ricky Starks & Big Bill Morrissey currently reign as AEW tag team champions. They have been mingling with FTR, La Faccion Ingobernable, and the House of Black in recent weeks. Those stories converged during Collision. Let’s lay out the scene as it played out on television, then I’ll explain why it is pure poppycock.

Rush & Dralistico handled business against the Workhorsemen. Rush was the star as a total badass. JD Drake missed on a moonsault, and that led to the finish. Drake needs a manager to advise him not to attempt that move any more. It feels like most of his losses come right after crash landing on a moonsault. LFI took advantage, and Rush closed with the Bull’s Horns dropkick in the corner.

House of Black cut a promo for FTR. Their message doesn’t appear to be getting through, so Malakai Black decided to go for the tag titles at Full Gear. Winning those belts will force FTR to chase them.

Starks and Bill declined the challenge from House of Black. They were too high on their horse to be bothered. When informed that the four-way was official, the champs lamented the disrespect.

FTR were last to speak. Their focus is taking the straps from Starks & Bill as payback.

AEW made the four-way official between Starks & Bill versus LFI versus House of Black versus FTR for the tag titles at Full Gear. This feels like such a rush job. So much so that it negates the stories in the tag team division. FTR was going to climb the ranks from the bottom. That didn’t last very long. FTR beat some chumps then prevailed over Hijo del Vikingo & Komander. Two matches. That’s it. House of Black is more concerned about flexing on FTR than the actual titles. Winning the belts would be a means to an end to demand FTR’s attention. That’s sounds cool as an idea, but now they are both competing in the same match. There is no chase there.

Even worse is that AEW is taking three hot matches and skipping them all. Starks & Bill defending against each of these teams has its own appeal. Let’s say they retain at Full Gear. That’s three top challengers flushed. There’s no reason to run it back in standard matches. If Starks & Bill lose, it robs us of a moment. They are such rapscallions that a title change deserves a singular focus to get their comeuppance.

Compare this to what it could be in how MJF’s title story is playing out. Challengers are gunning for the top dog, and it is captivating. Starks & Bill are being robbed of the opportunity to carry the division and develop into bigger stars.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

Nick Wayne defeated Dalton Castle. The finish was sullied by outside chicanery. Luchasaurus chokeslammed The Boys on the floor as a distraction. Christian Cage also caused Castle to take his eyes off the prize. Wayne capitalized by ramming Castle into the ring post and closed with a flying cutter for victory.

The booking of this result is trash. Wayne should not have beaten Castle. The primary reason is that Castle is challenging Eddie Kingston for the ROH World Championship. The match already took place in real time, but it won’t air until Thursday on ROH TV. This Collision loss by Castle flushes interest in that title match. Odds were high that Castle wouldn’t be winning gold on a random episode of ROH TV, however, the illusion to believe was there. Not anymore.

Second, Castle should not be relegated to glorified jobber status. He is a former ROH world champion. Castle’s losses should matter by coming to top stars or rising talent needing the push for an immediate purpose. Wayne doesn’t fit the bill on either case. He’s in the story process of finding his way under the tutelage of father Christian. Wayne is not in line for any breakthrough moments right now.

On a positive note, Castle gave us what we crave. The peacock shined with charisma and panache. Castle was a true showman executing a variety of suplexes. Wayne did well being a punky kid worth booing by taunting Castle.

Roderick Strong defeated Darius Martin. Oh, man. Strong delivered comedy gold. The Kingdom wheeled him to the ring, and he rose out of his chair as if he was cured from a broken spine. This entrance is a sight to behold.

Strong controlled the flow, but it didn’t stop Darius Martin from running up the corner for a Pele kick as if he were Singin’ in the Rain. Strong triumphed with a backbreaker. Afterward, the Kingdom carefully put the neck brace back on Strong and aided him to his wheelchair. They abused Martin with a wiener punch from Mike Bennett and Matt Taven helping on a teamwork spike piledriver. Action Andretti ran out for the save. The Kingdom scurried up stage pushing Strong in his chariot of fire.

Strong is re-establishing himself with wrestling credentials alongside his comedic persona. The exaggeration of pain is so funny. He treated it like a miracle just to be able to rise from his seat.

Julia Hart defeated Willow Nightingale. The previously mentioned House of Black promo had Hart addressing her intention to challenge Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship. That matter of business was clarified as a three-way for Full Gear. Hart versus Willow and Skye Blue versus Red Velvet are qualifying matches.

Hart and Willow were given plenty of time to work. Hart was cunning, while Willow lived up to her moniker as the babe with the power. Hart wisely focused on damaging the arm. It paid off when Willow was unable to execute the doctor bomb. Later, Willow modified the move for a powerbomb toss, but Hart absorbed the impact on her bum like a Gummi Bear. Hart ducked a lariat and delivered one of her own to the back of the head. Hart won via moonsault.

Good match from Hart and Willow. They worked hard and added character elements from the story into the fold. Brody King was on the outside shouting at Willow for denying the gift of black mist into her soul. Willow shrugged it off with her bubbly personality. It was a complete picture of sports entertainment.

Will Hobbs taunted Paul Wight. Big Show was on commentary for Hobbs’ bout against an opponent whose name I didn’t catch. Powerhouse crushed meat with a spinebuster and a front slam. Don Callis grabbed the microphone afterward in an attempt to persuade Wight in changing his mind to drop out of the street fight. Tensions escalated, and Wight stood up with intensity. The Callis Family backed away.

This was effective in teasing a showdown between Hobbs and Wight in the street fight. Big Show has the hero nostalgia on his side, however, Hobbs has the chip on his shoulder to slay the giant. Callis was excellent as a conniving conman trying to push buttons.

Notes: Hangman Page declared that his fight with Swerve Strickland at Full Gear will be a Texas Death Match. Swerve opened the gates of hell when invading the cowboy’s home. Hangman will piss on Swerve’s grave. This is a promo definitely worth watching. It is great at setting the emotion and motivation for the match. This is a feud worthy of the stipulation.

Tony Khan announced the Continental Classic round robin tournament. 12 stars will compete starting on November 22. The final will be at the Worlds End PPV on December 30. Bryan Danielson announced his participation in the contest. It’s funny that this didn’t get the ‘announcement’ hype, because this one was actually pretty cool. I’m excited.

Stud of the Show: Hangman Page

This feud is kind of ludicrous with Swerve Strickland cursing Hangman’s baby. The cowboy’s passion in that promo was so hot that it makes me buy into believing it’s all real.

Match of the Night: Andrade vs. Daniel Garcia

Great blend of athleticism, strategy, and old-fashioned ass-kicking.

Grade: B-

Overall, the show was fun. The action always delivers in the ring. I found the episode faulty at times with questionable decision-making.

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

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