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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Dec. 2, 2023): Slobberknockers and slugfests

AEW Collision (Dec. 2, 2023) emanated from Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, PA. The show featured slobberknocking slugfests in the Continental Classic tournament, Bryan Danielson wearing an eye patch to wrestle, a spooky girl confronting a zombie, and more.

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

Saturday night is alright for fighting. Three Blue League matches were on tap for the Continental Classic. Trash talk ensued from the competitors.

Continental Classic slobberknockers and slugfests

Brody King versus Claudio Castagnoli opened the show. Man oh man, that was a slugfest supreme. King wanted to prove his victory over Eddie Kingston was not a fluke. He did just that by stopping Claudio cold.

King and Claudio threw thunderous blows from the start. When it wasn’t a stalemate of clotheslines, it was a tit for tat on the attack. For example, King had the edge in momentum, then Claudio shot into screen for a furious flurry of uppercuts.

As always when discussing Claudio matches, we can’t leave out the clip of the giant swing. Taking King for a ride was no easy feat.

In the end, Claudio sprang up for a springboard uppercut. King met him with a stiff blow. King pounced for a piledriver, but it wasn’t enough to keep Claudio down. King added a crushing lariat to finish the job.

Next up was Andrade versus Daniel Garcia. The dancing man actually used his particular set of skills to catch Andrade off guard for a sleeper.

This match wasn’t as hard-hitting as the other two bouts, but it was certainly on the same level of aggression. Garcia brought the fight, and Andrade outclassed him at times. That was evident on the finish when Garcia made the same boneheaded mistake he often does. No, I’m not talking about dancing. Garcia had the sharpshooter tight, then he leaned back too far cranking the submission. Andrade grabbed Garcia’s neck to escape. Andrade was quicker on the rotation to their feet to execute a hammerlock DDT for victory. Garcia lost the bout, but he earned Andrade’s respect. Too bad no points are awarded for respect.

The main event slot went to Bryan Danielson versus Eddie Kingston. The American Dragon wrestled with a jockstrap on his head molded into the shape of a protective eye patch for his healing orbital bone. Danielson wanted Kingston at his best. Kingston has respect for Danielson, but that’s not going to stop him from busting up Danielson’s eye. Kingston only cares about winning.

This bout was a slobberknocker. Despite the injury, Danielson didn’t let that affect any part of his game. He threw headbutts, for crying out loud. Danielson and Kingston stood toe to toe several times exchanging hard strikes. On one sequence, Kingston pummeled from mount, but Danielson fired back vicious strikes from the bottom. The fisticuffs were electric.

Kingston rocked Danielson with a spinning backfist. After a kick-out, Kingston added a suplex. Danielson was down but not out. Kingston’s gas tank was empty after that surge. Victory was so close, but he couldn’t maintain momentum to capitalize.

When Kingston found his second wind to go back on the attack, Danielson blocked the spinning backfist to counter for a suplex. Danielson kicked Kingston’s head in. Both men was gassed with exhaustion. Kingston rolled over to scream and flash the middle finger. Danielson rose to deliver the Busaiku Knee for victory.

After the match, Danielson retrieved a sign, “Eddie is a bum,” and dropped it on Kingston’s face. Rubbing salt in the wound.

This evening was the best series of Continental Classic matches so far. All three were rugged battles. King and Claudio tore the house down with physicality. It wasn’t just cheap excitement either. They added style to the mix with creative sequences. That is my top pick if you’re only choosing one to watch. Much like Swerve Strickland in the Gold League, King is establishing himself as the breakout star of the Blue League.

Andrade and Garcia had the most athletic match of this batch. As much potential Garcia possesses, he’s blowing it with the Sharpshooter shtick. How many times is Garcia going to lean back too far before he learns and adapts? It’s just handing the escape to his opponent on a silver platter.

Danielson and Kingston went to war in Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. This match was built more on emotion than technical striking acumen. There was a game of wits at times when baiting each other into attacks. Really though, this was about who was tougher. The answer was Danielson on this evening. The passion down the stretch was riveting. Danielson’s eye injury presented an element of unpredictability for the finish. It’s certainly a valid reason to book Kingston for victory and also protecting Danielson. That’s not how it played out, and Danielson remains the favorite to win the Blue League. Go watch this match too.

Kingston is in a rough spot with zero points so far. That has to sting the most for him out of everyone in the tournament, because he put up both his championships. Even if Kingston wins the last three matches, he’ll need a lot of help with King or Danielson eating losses. I’m curious what Kingston’s emotional state will be moving forward in this tournament. Some will view his act of defiance as going out on his shield. I view it as his way of quitting. That energy could have been used more productively. It was still a badass moment though to cap off a great performance.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

Abadon defeated Kiera Hogan. The Hottest Flame was in control, then the zombie stunned her with a bevvy of kicks. Abadon finished with a DDT variation. Afterward, the lights went out. Julia Hart was in the ring eyeing Abadon.

This feels like a setup for a TBS title bout, and that is a good use of the unique presentation Abadon brings to the table. Pick up a solid win to refresh her presence then put over the champ. The chemistry will be interesting to observe given their characters. And maybe this leads to a partnership. Abadon doesn’t really fit in the men’s side of the House of Black, but she sure would be an interesting protector for Hart.

The Kingdom defeated Iron Savages. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett had a tough time early getting outmuscled. They utilized a divide and conquer strategy to prevail. Taven took out Boulder on a dive outside. A teamwork spike piledriver finished Bronson in the ring.

The Kingdom handled business racking up wins. The best part was Roderick Strong’s miracle to intrude after the match for a jumping knee to Jacked Jameson. Strong flopped back down and tipped over in his wheelchair. There are many things to enjoy from Strong’s character. My favorite is his wheelchair reliance. It is goofy in a fun way while retaining heel heat. Nigel McGuinness does his job building Strong’s legend by laying it on thick with commentary.

Malakai Black & Buddy Matthews defeated Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal. The veterans had their moments of flash, but the House of Black was too much to handle in the end. Black’s spinning head kick to Daniels sealed the deal.

Afterward, lights out, and FTR was on stage. They entered the ring in a mood to fight, but Black slowed them down with a speech. He was expecting FTR to join the House of Black. When Dax Harwood reached down to retrieve the microphone, the House of Black attacked. They forced Harwood to watch Cash Wheeler on the receiving end of a head kick. Proper villains they were.

Add another log on the fire building this feud. I don’t know when AEW will pull the trigger, but it is strong enough to be a Collision main event. The quality is guaranteed with that talent, and the emotional edge is blossoming into something fierce.

Hijo del Vikingo defeated Kip Sabian. The superbad sex idol wanted to prove Vikingo is the most overrated wrestler on the roster. Vikingo made him eat his words. The highlight reel included an outside-in phoenix splash.

Vikingo also executed a rope-walking tornillo to the outside, and he won on a 630 senton.

Vikingo’s lucha libre feats never disappoint. Sabian held his own with nifty moves as well. I was more impressed by Sabian developing his latest character. The arrogant attitude is coming along nicely as an amusing yet disagreeable persona.

Notes: Jon Moxley is going through rough times in pain. The only way out is to wrestle through it. He is putting every ounce of effort into winning the tournament. Good promo from Mox giving the Continental Classic a real sports feel dealing with the arduous toll on his body.

Roderick Strong warned Samoa Joe that MJF is the masked devil, but Joe laughed off that idea. Roddy is a gem once again with his twisting logic in this backstage scene.

Willie Mack is sticking up for AR Fox and wants a match against Wardlow. Yes, please.

Ethan Page is refocused, and he wants a challenge for when AEW travels to Canada next week. All Ego called out Kenny Omega. The match was granted.

Willow Nightingale was a fan of Mercedes Martinez, but she is disappointed with the OG’s behavior. Mercedes is tired of Willow butting in her business.

Toni Storm isn’t scared to defend the AEW Women’s World Championship against Skye Blue. She offered advice for Blue to walk backwards, because the only compliments Blue receives are about her bottom. Storm was barefoot, so she snatched the shoe of Renee Paquette. Blue responded that Storm’s personality crisis is pathetic. She will shove a shoe up Storm’s ass and take the title belt. Connoisseurs of the Timeless character will enjoy this promo.

Christian Cage blames Adam Copeland for holding him back throughout their career. Christian has always been better than Copeland, and he’ll prove it next week in the TNT title bout.

Shane Taylor interrupted Keith Lee and proposed a match for Final Battle on December 15. Lee accepted the challenge.

Miro had plans to teach Andrade a lesson to stay away from CJ Perry, however, his hot and flexible wife convinced him to promise not to attack her client.

Stud of the Show: Bryan Danielson

Eddie Kingston’s effort was on equal ground to Danielson, but I’m only picking one. The winner it is. Plus, Danielson wrestled wearing a freaking eye patch.

Match of the Night: Brody King vs. Claudio Castagnoli

King versus Claudio and Danielson versus Kingston were both badass fights. The nod goes to King and Claudio due to showcasing a wider variety of technique.

Grade: B-

The tournament bouts were great. The rest of the matchups felt random, however, there was adequate exploration for stories in the aftermath to make it worthwhile.

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

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