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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Aug. 19, 2023): CM Punk pulls a fast one

AEW Collision (Aug. 19, 2023) emanated from Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. The Fight For The Fallen special featured CM Punk incognito, Ricky Starks with a new partner, Darby Allin against TNT champions, and more.

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

Saturday night is alright for fighting. Christian Cage fights Darby Allin, who will fall in defeat. Jay White plans to snuff out the peacock, while Dalton Castle aims to suplex Switchblade into Hades. Samoa Joe will unleash violence until he gets the right answer from CM Punk.

CM Punk pulls a fast one

CM Punk is a crafty fellow. He used great trickery to pull a fast one on his nemesis. Samoa Joe wanted one more match to close their rivalry right, but Punk had yet to answer. Joe was tired of waiting and took matters into his own hands to choke out Punk last week. This week, Punk got payback.

Joe opened the show with a match against Golden Vampire. The masked man looked like he raided the closet of the Ding Dongs. Joe was expecting to make mincemeat of this sucker. Not so fast, my friend.

Golden Vampire went on the attack before the bell to stun Joe. This newcomer was extra aggressive and even shoved the referee down in order to continue his assault on Samoan Joseph. Something didn’t sit right about this mystery man. It became clearer when he started using Punk’s signature moves. Golden Vampire laid Joe out on a GTS. He pulled off his mask to reveal the face of Punk.

Punk grabbed a mic to shout, “I accept, bitch!” Commentary relayed that Tony Khan made it official for All In. Punk versus Joe will be for the poppycock Real World Championship.

That was a nifty little wrinkle to spice things up. I was lulled into thinking it would be business as usual for Joe, then Golden Vampire started kicking ass all of a sudden. It didn’t take long to realize Punk was under the mask, and the reveal earned a thunderous pop from the crowd. And yes, that GTS looked awful. It may have been the worst GTS in Punk’s history. Too bad it added a sour note to an otherwise fun segment. I wonder if FTR recommended their lucha libre tailor to Punk as the same man who sewed the Super Ranas outfits.

I wish AEW didn’t book the All In match for the Real World Championship. We all expect Punk to win anyway, but this pretty much seals the deal. There is no mystery anymore about the result. I highly doubt Punk will be losing the belt before the story merges to a ‘unification’ bout. That is the money match Punk’s path is heading toward. On top of that, Joe doesn’t even care about Punk’s dubious title. Sure, he’ll take it to make Punk miserable, but the Real World Championship is not the focus of this feud.

Absolute vignettes

One cool aspect of this particular episode were the interesting vignettes. Ricky Starks, Los Ingobernables, and the House of Black all had special videos adding intrigue to their futures.

Starks treated us to a taste of Stroke Daddy in a very stylish piece. Starks refocused his character as Absolute. Don’t mistake kindness for weakness. He has the ability to create chaos. Be sure to check out this vignette. Wrestling overall needs more of these.

As for the purpose of Starks’ appearance on Collision, he backed up his words about bringing war to AEW. Starks had Big Bill Morrissey by his side. Starks was still suspended from wrestling (30 days reduced to 4 weeks), so he showed his managerial side. Bill squashed some ham-and-egger named Derek Neal. That dude never stood a chance. A chokeslam put Neal out of his misery, only for Starks to add more misery by whipping him with Ricky Steamboat’s belt after the match.

Starks is a good pairing for Bill. The 7-footer has bounced around a lot in his short AEW career, so hopefully this partnership sticks. Bill has swagger that can be unleashed alongside Absolute. I believe it already started. My perception was that Bill classed up his style wearing sunglasses and wrestling in dress pants instead of jeans and street boots. I assume that’s part of the deal and not a backstage gear issue. Bill’s look meshed well with Starks’ fashion.

Next up is Los Ingobernables. Rush called Jose for a group meeting in Mexico City. Rush wasn’t pleased about their failures in his absence. He only wants badass killers in this faction. Cut to Dralistico picking up Preston Vance from the airport to cruise the streets and the bars. The duo drunkenly stumbled outside, and they were kidnapped by Jose’s goons. To be continued...

I love the concept of this vignette so much as a reboot for the group. Rush comes across like a kingpin, and Jose is the fixer. Add in the change in scenery while they were in Mexico for AAA. The cliffhanger produces suspense. Los Ingobernables are going to return tougher than ever, and I can’t wait to see the next installment. I don’t know how well this plays for the live crowd, but I hope AEW embraces this style of storytelling as often as is appropriate.

Closing out the list is the House of Black. They addressed their theft of Billy Gunn’s boots from the Acclaimed. Malakai Black spoke of funerals, the afterlife, and how Billy became a shadow of what he once was. Malakai had to illustrate that Billy’s career is dead. He tossed the boots into a trash compactor for destruction. Malakai didn’t sound like he respects Billy. He referred to Daddy Ass as the father of immorality and lies. Malakai closed his eulogy with, “Rest in pain.”

Damn, that was cold from Malakai. Poetic yet harsh. I’m still on the fence if this is an angle for Billy to return or not. On one hand, Acclaimed is outnumbered 3 to 2. On the other hand, this could be a way to hammer home the point that Billy’s retirement is real. Whatever the case, they have my attention moving forward to find out.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

Jay White defeated Dalton Castle. The full Bang Bang Gang, including Cardblade, was ringside for the bout.

This was a good, solid wrestling match. The action went back and forth with bursts of excitement. Check out the arch in Castle’s back for his German suplex. We need a Technique by Taz on this highlight.

Down the stretch, Bullet Club Gold surrounded Castle on the outside, so the Boys came to the rescue with dives onto the gunners. Inside the ring, White and Castle exchanged escapes from Blade Runner and Bang-a-rang accordingly. White gained the upper hand for a uranage. A sleeper suplex paved the way for Blade Runner to win.

Very enjoyable outing from both wrestlers. Castle showed his panache on the big stage, and White cemented his status as the real deal. It was an even affair all match long, then White maneuvered the situation into his favor and crushed Castle for victory. It was one of those contests with both participants increasing their stock. I appreciate the relatively clean finish. There was a little bit of tomfoolery, but it didn’t impact the outcome. As a result, White has genuine momentum.

Bullet Club Gold’s message for the Elite. After White’s match, the crew huddled with Tony Schiavone to address targeting Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks. The Bang Bang Gang stood by for too long, while the Elite deceived the world into thinking they were the peak of Bullet Club. White wants to set the record straight by exposing them. Bullet Club Gold will show that they are a cut above the Elite.

That was a necessary promo to explain White’s motivation. It connects the dots for all to comprehend. It even allows the fans to pick sides based on Bullet Club preferences. That promo was also visually amusing with Austin Gunn forcing an indignant Tony Schiavone to do the Guns Up hand signal.

The Gunns and Juice Robinson are scheduled to wrestle Omega and the Bucks on Dynamite, so they were itching for a trios warm-up. Iron Savages answered the call.

Bullet Club Gold defeated Iron Savages. Those savages were jacked up with juicy attitudes to start strong. The Bullet Club chipped away to gain control and finish with style. Boulder was too large for the 3:10 to Yuma, so the Austin adapted for a Fameasser. The Gunns took out Bronson for a trip to Yuma. That left Robinson alone with Jameson to let the juice loose for his finisher.

Bullet Club Gold handled business. The Gunns continue to evolve for the better. Even though I thought the Bear Country gimmick had potential, the Iron Savages change is making waves. Big men executing big man offense is a needed element for AEW. Plus, their personalities are getting noticed.

Willow Nightingale defeated Diamante. Mercedes Martinez lent a helping hand to Diamante, so Kris Statlander ran in to raise a ruckus. Statlander suplexed Martinez on the ramp, then Willow pounced Diamante into the barricade.

Straps down, doctor bomb initiated. Willow was victorious. Martinez shouted that this beef isn’t over.

Willow and Diamante brought aggression and physicality for their match. Sign me up for more. I’m curious how AEW proceeds to the next step in this story. Statlander already beat Martinez, and now Willow has a win over Diamante.

Will Hobbs defeated Kevin Ku; Miro answers. Hobbs dominated his opponent. He took his time dishing out pain and finished with a spinebuster. Hobbs also did Miro’s submission to send a message to the Redeemer. The real appeal of this segment was Miro with a promo on the big screen. The Redeemer spoke about walking alone without his god. Miro is godless, but he knows that Hobbs is not. Because, now, Hobbs prays to Miro.

I’m giddy for the showdown between Miro and Hobbs. This round went to Miro for taking Hobbs’ soul in that closing pray line. The hoss fight is booked for All Out.

Darby Allin defeated Christian Cage. Luchasaurus was ringside to support the TNT titleholder, but he was ejected when caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Christian capitalized on the distraction to clobber Allin in the head with the championship. Allin was able to place his foot on the ropes to break the pinfall. Allin still had life left for a dropkick in the corner. Christian countered on the turnbuckles for a sunset flip powerbomb and a spear. Allin kicked out on the cover.

When Christian went for the Killswitch, Allin countered for a jackknife pin to win. Afterward, Luchasaurus chokeslammed Allin and forced Tony Schiavone to count three on Christian’s pin.

That main event was a dandy. They were given 20 minutes to work and did not disappoint. Christian utilized wily veteran tricks, while Allin was pure scrappiness. Even though I enjoy Allin’s fighting spirit in the ring, his invincibility is getting a touch too much lately. That powerbomb to spear combo from Christian was awesome, and it should have been enough to win. That’s on top of being hit in the head with the title belt a few minutes prior. At least Allin won with a roll-up rather than a full rally.

Notes: AEW aired footage of Darby Allin and Sting attacking AR Fox at his wrestling school as payback for the assault on Nick Wayne. Allin & Wayne will team up against Swerve Strickland & Fox on Dynamite. Wayne is faced with sticking to his morals or lowering himself to get dirty like Swerve and Fox.

FTR explained the rivalry with the Young Bucks. The first match was for pride. The second match was for redemption. The rubber match will be for legacy. It is the most important match in FTR’s career. They are ready to make history in Wembley as the better tag team. If you’re curious, FTR did not mention Cash Wheeler’s legal situation.

Toni Storm is eager to be elevated to the spotlight she deserves as a three-time world champion. She was insulted at Lexy Nair questioning if she can trust Saraya in the four-way contest at All In. The Outcasts are a sisterhood. Also of note, Storm & Saraya versus Hikaru Shida & Dr. Britt Baker DMD was booked for next week. This is an amusing interview to observe Storm’s sass towards Lexy, and Storm threw a shoe again.


Stud of the Show: Miro

Miro’s promo was great with trash-talk adding a personal edge to this hoss fight.

Match of the Night: Jay White vs. Dalton Castle

This match felt like it could fit in with the workhorse days of the Intercontinental Championship.

Grade: B+

All the real matches (non-squashes) were packed with action, grit, and determination. The promos were zesty, and the vignettes added sizzle. I appreciate when it feels like genuine effort was involved in planning stories and plotting the next moves.

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

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