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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Aug. 26, 2023): CM Punk & Sting in All-Star pandemonium

AEW Collision (Aug. 26, 2023) emanated from Gas South Arena in Duluth, GA. The Fyter Fest special featured CM Punk and Sting participating in an all-star match, Samoa Joe causing chaos, and more on the go-home to All In.

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

Saturday night is alright for fighting.

All-Star main event

The final match to send AEW toward All In was an all-star 8-man tag. CM Punk, Sting, and Darby Allin were joined by mystery partner Hook. Their opponents were Jay White, Swerve Strickland, Brian Cage, and Luchasaurus. Samoa Joe sat in on commentary. He was warned not to interfere or else that could risk his match against Punk. Joe was content to keep the peace during the contest, since he already received what he wanted in the bout with Punk.

Punk entered looking like a kid wearing an oversized replica title around his waist. Tell me when I’m telling lies. Am I throwing shade at the Real World Championship? You bet I am until AEW actually makes that story worth its weight in gold.

The match played out setting up various hot tags to different babyfaces. Action erupted in the end with moves all around. Punk landed a head kick on Cage to stun him for a GTS. Punk made a statement by choking Cage out while eyeing Joe.

As soon as the match concluded, Joe stormed into the ring. Pandemonium ensued with various rivalries duking it out across the area. Joe stood tall in the end by cracking Punk with the Real World Championship.

Three cheers for the donnybrook. I do enjoy that AEW staple for go-home shows. It might be predictable at this point, but I don’t care. Give me all the chaos. As for the main event match itself, it did nothing to grab my attention. The work was fluff without substance. It was mostly taking turns for spurts of offense, so the stars could shine and pop the crowd. There wasn’t much drama for the finish. Samoa Joe was the savior. His trash-talking and rude attitude were amusing.

Hook has FTW running through his veins

Speaking of All In, there was only one segment on Collision that was important for the PPV. That would be Hook ruining Jack Perry’s FTW funeral. That’s not to say there was no other story development on this evening. There were a few promo scenes laying groundwork for the near future. If you haven’t watched Collision yet and are short on time before All In, then the FTW story is the only segment to catch up before the PPV.

Perry planned to retire the FTW championship. The ring was set up with funeral decorations. Jungle Man dressed in black to pay his respects. He remembered the good times with the title in a funny photo montage taking the belt for a ride on his bicycle, the tanning bed, and the shower.

As Perry was about to put the FTW title out of its misery with a sledgehammer, the lights went out. Hook did pull-ups on a traffic light post with a message that the FTW championship can’t be destroyed, because Hook is the FTW championship. It is his bloodline. Lights on, and Hook suplexed Perry around the ring. The final blow was a t-bone through a table. Perry wants the rematch at Wembley. AEW made it official for the PPV pre-show.

That was a fun segment mixed with visual comedy and explosive action. The photo montage drove home how Perry is the complete opposite of the FTW vibe. I imagine Hook made his pappy proud with the back arch on his t-bone suplex. All in all, this scene nailed its objective to build the desire of seeing Perry get his ass kicked by Hook at All In.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

Eddie Kingston, Orange Cassidy, & Pentagon defeated Butcher, Blade, & Kip Sabian. The fan favorites rallied in the end to unleash the pain train on ole Kippy. Kingston hit an exploder suplex, Cassidy nailed a superman punch as part of a combo with Penta’s pumphandle driver, then the Mad King clobbered a sliding lariat for victory. Sabian’s soul may not make it to London after that beating.

Butcher, Blade, and Sabian had better chemistry as a team, whereas their opponents wrestled more like three singles. Kingston’s crew came through in the end to win. Star power trumped cohesion. If there is one thing that comes out of this match, I hope it is Kingston versus Butcher next week. They had some hard hoss collisions worthy of more.

Kingston blows a gasket. After the trios match, the Best Friends joined their Stadium Stampede teammates for a promo. Trent was angry at the disrespect toward Sue and her van. They are coming to hurt the Blackpool Combat Club. Cassidy snatched the mic from Kingston to illustrate that he cares about hurting the BCC. Before Cassidy could speak, BCC interrupted on the big screen.

Jon Moxley pointed out how it was Kingston who made this challenge with the idea that BCC could choose anyone as partners. Santana chimed in that a year of pain and struggle made him realize who is real and who is not. Claudio Castagnoli added how Kingston turned his back on each and every one of them. It’s never Kingston’s fault. Kingston is always blaming others for his mistakes. Ortiz closed with a warning that Kingston will reap what he sows.

Kingston waddled with speed backstage trying to find BCC to start the fight early, but he couldn’t locate them. Kingston bullied a production dude, then he responded to these BCC developments. He understands Santana and Ortiz aligning with BCC for Stadium Stampede. He even respects it, but that won’t save them. Kingston talked tough about gutting Santana, Ortiz, and Wheeler Yuta. He warned Moxley to stay out of his way or else suffer the same fate. Kingston wants to save Claudio for last to scar him forever. Kingston sealed it with a kiss into the camera.

That was a good promo exchange to hype Stadium Stampede with personal emotion, but the babyfaces were a bunch of weenies. I have no sympathy for Sue. She made the choice to drive into the Parking Lot Fight, so destroying her van was fair game. I’ve been harsh on the Kingston character at times. If you’re wondering why, Claudio’s words sum up my feelings. Not to mention his street persona can be a clown show. Ooh, look at the scary man with an erotic fetish for violence. Give him the Scott Hall spooky fingers. But that’s just my opinion. I’m sure plenty of fans were pumped by Kingston’s promo.

Alex Reynolds & John Silver defeated Darius Martin & Action Andretti. The high-flyers brought flash on offense. The Dark Order weathered the storm to blitz an attack for the finish. They ping-ponged Martin with strikes, a German suplex, and a jackknife pin to win.

Solid action in this bout. I was a little disappointed in the Dark Order’s performance. They cut a promo on Rampage about embracing violence and anger, then Silver was out there yucking it up within the first minute of the match. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. Maybe this is a work in progress to find the right mix of attitude. To the Dark Order’s credit, they did bend the rules to their advantage a few times. That’s not something that would have happened in their role as babyface stooges.

Nick Wayne does not forgive. AR Fox apologized to Wayne and Darby Allin. Fox worked so hard to get the opportunity in AEW. When he lost to Orange Cassidy, he panicked thinking everyone lost faith in him. Fox offered his word to Wayne. Nick shook his head and walked out. Allin believed Fox was genuine and forgave him.

These are the little details wrestling needs more of in character development. Fox spoke his piece, so he can all understand his position. It’s up to us whether or not to support Fox’s redemption. Compare that to how Ethan Page is hanging in the wind. Wayne is building some depth by not being so quick to let bygones be bygones. That is a relatable reaction after the brutal attack at his home.

Big Bill Morrissey defeated Vary Morales. Ricky Starks was ringside with Ricky Steamboat’s belt as manager for Bill. Morales started with speedy dropkicks. Bill was unfazed and caught Morales in the air for a press slam. Bill violently swung Morales around the ring and finished with a marching chokeslam.

Afterward, Starks whipped Morales. Absolute teased that he will be bringing a larger strap next week. Cue foreshadowing for a strap match challenge to CM Punk for All Out.

Willow Nightingale defeated Robyn Renegade. Charlette Renegade was ringside trifling, so Willow took her out on a double suplex to the Renegade twins. Willow finished Robyn with a gutwrench powerbomb.

Willow’s energetic routine never disappoints. Robyn had a good showing in her role. AEW gave her some spotlight, and she maximized her minutes. Mercedes Martinez and Diamante were scouting the match backstage. The Renegades would be a good fit with them. I’m pretty sure they all have a loose connection as members of Las Sicarias with Ivelisse over the years.

Enjoy Caprice Coleman freestyling to Willow’s entrance tune. This has become a staple of Willow’s appearances on ROH TV. Ian Riccaboni drops rhymes too on that show.

Keith Lee defeated Zicky Dice. Limitless squashed Outlandish with a pounce and a powerbomb.

This segment needed a promo from Lee to re-establish his focus in AEW.

Los Ingobernables bloody fight. Part two of the Los Ingobernables kidnapping vignette showed goons torturing Dralistico and Preston Vance. They broke free to rough up their assailants using bottles and chains as weapons. Those perros were ruthless.

The Ingobernables story is a cool experiment with cinematic vignettes. The focus is turning Dralistico and Vance into killers, so they should be a major force upon return.

Notes: Caprice Coleman filled in for Nigel McGuinness on commentary. The show didn’t have the usual opening promos. In hindsight, that should have been the tell that this episode didn’t matter.

Ruby Soho issued a challenge to Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship at All Out.

Statlander accepted the challenge. She is sick of the Outcasts.

The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn debuted a music video for the return of the gunslinger.

Collision aired several hype packages. First was MJF versus Adam Cole for the AEW World Championship.

Hype package on the background story between the Young Bucks and FTR.

Hype package for the women’s world championship four-way.

Hype package for Miro versus Will Hobbs at All Out.

Stud of the Show: Big Bill Morrissey

Not a lot of standout moments on the show, so I’m rolling with Bill swinging Vary Morales with malice. Whee!

Match of the Night: All-Star main event

There were no show-stealers on this evening. The 8-man tag had the most star power.

Grade: C

This episode of Collision did not cut the mustard. It could be argued that it cut the cheese. There was nothing riveting enough to ask viewers to stay home on a Saturday night. AEW gets somewhat of a pass due to the awkward travel schedule for All In in London, so I don’t think this show is any indication of a downward trend in quality. It is what it is given the circumstances.

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

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