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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Sept. 9, 2023): Bryan Danielson’s future

AEW Collision (Sept. 9, 2023) emanated from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, OH. The show featured Bryan Danielson addressing his future, the Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament semifinals, two championship bouts, the return of Jade Cargill, and more on the fallout to All Out.

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

Saturday night is alright for fighting. The Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament was the main attraction. When hunting the devil, sometimes you have to pick a fight with a demon. Samoa Joe is coming for Pentagon. Roderick Strong planned to break Darby Allin’s back. Allin wasn’t concerned. He’ll always choose to leave his body in the ring for a championship opportunity.

Before we get to the tournament results, Bryan Danielson had something very interesting to say.

Bryan Danielson’s future

Bryan Danielson was fresh off his strap match victory over Ricky Starks at All Out. He addressed what’s next in a variety of ways. Danielson started by mentioning a promise to his daughter. When she turns seven, he will start winding down his career. She’s six right now. Danielson keeps his promises, so time is running out. Danielson flipped that news into a ferocious positive. He plans to have the most epic year of his career kicking everyone’s head in.

With limited time remaining, Danielson will be calling his shots. The first call-out was Zack Sabre Jr. at WrestleDream on October 1. He wants to challenge the best technical wrestler in the world.

Before Danielson could continue, Ricky Starks interrupted. He was flanked by Big Bill Morrissey. Starks pointed out how he had a huge showing at All Out, and yet he’s stuck back in catering for this show. Starks decided it’s time to graduate from hungry to greedy. Danielson cut him off. He was impressed with Starks’ heart in their match. Danielson referenced how Blackpool Combat Club members bleed together to earn respect. The American Dragon grabbed a t-shirt with the implication to offer BBC membership to Starks. Boom! Bill clobbered Danielson. Starks stopped the big man in a minor tease of thinking about the offer, then he went to work smashing Danielson himself. Jon Moxley ran out to jump on the giant’s back as a skirmish ensued with Starks and Bill standing tall.

Damn, that segment was fire. Danielson toyed with out emotions about future retirement only to rev us up with excitement for the year to come. It’s going to be a wild conclusion to his career, and I’m pumped to see what huge matches AEW has in mind. It should make every Danielson match must-see TV, because you can’t be sure when the end is here. Fans have to savor what

As for Starks, he established himself in the next phase of his growth. He needs to follow through by grabbing the bull by its horns on screen if he wants to reach that next level. Bill added an element of danger with his power and size. I loved seeing Moxley charge in to have Danielson’s back. Danielson has sort of been an associate on screen rather than always with BCC at all times. Moxley’s aid cemented the idea that their union is strong. Bill is going to get his shot at Mox for the International Championship, and that should be an interesting exercise to see how Mox chomps down the giant. All in all, this segment was open that delivers in the moment and produces a variety of directions for future excitement.

Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament semifinals

Roderick Strong and Darby Allin met on one half of the bracket. Strong continued milking the guilt trip on Adam Cole with a promo package. He has always been there when Cole needed him, but the same didn’t take place in return. It tears Strong apart hearing Cole call MJF his brother. Strong will go through the tournament to win the world title, but that won’t make him happy. He just wants his friend back. This video is rich.

Strong’s neck was still in pain, but Allin wasn’t without his own issues. His sore spine was exacerbated by a sneak attack from Luchasaurus backstage. Christian Cage vowed to make sure Allin never becomes a champion again on his watch. Luchasaurus launched Allin into the steel curtain.

Allin refused to abandon the match, so he arrived in bad shape. Allin showcased his vintage feral fighting style trying to survive Strong’s offense. Strong stayed focus on the back and executed a brutal backbreaker onto the top turnbuckle to send Allin tumbling to the floor. Strong wrestled a smart game overall, but I didn’t understand his decision to roll Allin back into the ring instead of a potential count-out victory.

Allin rallied down the stretch, so the Kingdom tried to get cozy with him. Nick Wayne protested, and AR Fox ran down to even the odds. Fox’s presence ended up doing more harm than good. Allin nailed a Scorpion Death Drop, but the damage throughout the match had taken its toll. He slowly inched toward the turnbuckle for a Coffin Drop. Fisticuffs erupted between the outside parties, and Fox accidentally hit Wayne. Allin went for the Coffin Drop, but Strong got his knees up to block. Strong pounced to finish with a suplex backbreaker. The Kingdom immediately rushed into the ring to apply the neck brace on Strong. Afterward, Wayne was frustrated with Fox, and Fox appeared to feel guilty.

For as damaged as these characters were, Strong and Allin put on a heck of a match. It was a blend of fierce moves with a strong display of intestinal fortitude. They need to run this back in the future when both are healthy. The pre-match attack on Allin protects him in defeat to keep him hot to chase Christian for the TNT title. The story between Wayne and Fox felt injected into the match rather than a natural occurrence. The Christian malarkey was enough on its own. Allin didn’t need this petty beef anchoring him down as well in the tournament atmosphere. I’m not even sure it played much of a factor in the finish anyway. Fox’s move off the ring post did force Allin to wait an extra few seconds, and maybe that was all it took for Strong to recover. It’s tough to know for sure, because Allin took his sweet time crawling to the corner in the first place.

The other half of the bracket saw Samoa Joe versus Pentagon in the Collision main event. Joe set the tone with a headbutt when Penta was styling for Cero Miedo. Joe was a beast. Penta had his moments of success, but he was soundly smashed whenever his bravado outweighed his brain in going toe-to-toe with strikes against Joe. The closing sequence started when Joe did his walk-away spot on a dive from Penta. There had been a table previously set up, and the luchador crashed through the wood.

Back inside the ring, Penta went for a pumphandle grip, but Joe countered into the Coquina Clutch choke. Pentagon tapped out, and he doesn’t do that very often. Impressive win by Joe.

Joe is on roll. He is veering toward peak form from a competition perspective. Joe was never in trouble of losing to Pentagon, and that masked man is a dangerous foe. This dominance is effective in the perception that MJF’s world title is in serious trouble if he meets Joe at Grand Slam. It’s fitting that Joe and Strong meet in the tournament final in Dynamite. It was Joe who originally injured Strong’s neck. That story within itself should produce an intense match.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

AEW International Championship: Jon Moxley retained against Action Andretti. Open challenge. Moxley means what he says about the Blackpool Combat Club being ready to fight anytime. Moxley was too physical for Andretti, so the speedster juked and jived to avoid contact. That’s not to say Andretti backed down at all. He just adapted in a smart way, and it paid off by Moxley hurting himself more than Andretti’s offense did. Mox collided into ring posts smashing his shoulder and tweaked his knee landing on a flying attack when Andretti giddied up to avoid the hits. In the end, Andretti gave Moxley some of his own medicine by kicking his head in. The crowd booed loudly at Andretti’s tactic. That caught the youngster by surprise. He hesitated for a brief moment, and Moxley wrapped him up in a chokehold to win.

This match was an interesting style clash. It really felt like two unique sets of skills in competition. Andretti looked good despite defeat, and his loss seemed more like a rookie mistake to learn rather than Moxley being more dominant. Moxley continues to follow in the footsteps of Orange Cassidy as champion. First it was as a fighting champion. Now, Moxley’s body is getting worn down. This title reign is taking its tool quickly too. He might not make it to 31 title defenses in one piece. Big Bill is up next on Dynamite, and the damage Mox took in this match will mean he won’t be 100%.

TBS Championship: Kris Statlander retained against Robyn Renegade; surprise return of Jade Cargill. Statlander handled business over the Renegade twins. Charlette Renegade was ringside to help her sister. Statlander popped Charlette in the kisser before scoring a roll-up on Robyn to win.

After the match, Charlette clipped Statlander’s knee. The Renegades stomped Statlander, then Cargill made her return to AEW. She pounded the Renegades. When Statlander offered a hand of thanks, Cargill slammed her with Jaded. The former TBS champ stood tall holding the belt.

Statlander put in work. It was a meat and potatoes defense. Nothing flashy. The Renegades did their thing, but there was never any doubt about who would win. The surprise of Jade brought an instant attraction to the TBS title. Statlander is putting on good matches, but she hasn’t owned the moment yet in her title run for a special reign. A rematch with Jade should be electric. A victory by Statlander in that matchup could become a memorable moment to cement her status as champion.

Bullet Club Gold defeated Gravity, Aerostar, and Dios del Inframundo. This was supposed to be an 8-man tag, but Jay White was absent for personal reasons. Cardblade was there ringside though. Also to note, Dios del Inframundo is the original Drago from AAA and Lucha Underground. The luchador changed his name as a free agent. Back to the action. The high-flyers had spurts of success, but the Gunns cleaned house on a 3:10to Yuma. Juice Robinson hit an inverted DDT to win. One more note. Andrade was scouting the match backstage. His motive was not clear.

Bullet Club Gold is actually making the Gunns into legitimate threats. Each week that passes, the Gunns look better and better. It was nice seeing Aerostar and Drago reunited for an appearance in AEW. I hope they can get more work in the Tony Khan multiverse, even if it lands them on ROH. They can be entertaining when given time to cook.

Fenix defeated Angelico. Fenix made his return from that beatdown by Moxley. His focus is to take the International title from Mox. Angelico was the first step toward that goal. Angelico grounded Fenix with nifty mat work, but Fenix would not be denied. A rolling cutter paved the way for a Fire Driver to win.

I like the idea of building toward Moxley versus Fenix to make it feel more special as opposed to just throwing it on TV with minimal announcement. Fenix was upset with Big Bill for cutting the line, and that established the Fenix’s desire as motivation.

Notes: The show has a lot of quick promos. First up is the Outcasts. Ruby Soho hasn’t forgotten how Toni Storm cost her the match in the TBS title bout at All Out. Saraya thinks they need to smack some sense into Toni.

Eddie Kingston proposed one more round with Claudio Castagnoli. NJPW title versus ROH title in New York at Grand Slam. Claudio accepted on one condition. When Claudio wins, Kingston must shake his hand and admit respect. Claudio closed with a stone cold line. He knows that he will eventually lose the ROH World Championship to a better man, but Kingston will never be that better man. It’s tough to know what’s going on inside Kingston’s head, but his confidence looked shaken.

CJ Perry (aka Lana) spoke about her relationship with Miro. She wanted to show that she can lead him to gold again, but his stubborn side scorned her. If Miro is going down his own path, then she decide to do the same to reach her potential as a manager. It sounds like Miro’s hot and flexible wife might be in business with new clients.

The Dark Order aired a commercial promoting their brand. They urged fans to support something (the Dark Order) of meaning and purpose.

The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn are on a world tour from London to Chicago to New York City for Grand Slam.

FTR needs more challengers, so they opened the books to any tag team that wants to make a name for themselves. It was later announced that the Iron Savages will challenge FTR for the AEW tag titles next week. This could be an intriguing concept to keep FTR on screen wrestling and to justify ‘unworthy’ opponents. With FTR in the top of the division, this should provide fresh matchups in the coming weeks.

Will Hobbs took the Redeemer to the limit. He claimed to be the real winner by standing tall over Miro after the match.

Keith Lee is rolling solo on Collision. His advice to future opponents is to run.

The Righteous are not afraid to use their power to hurt.

Stud of the Show: Samoa Joe

It is looking like Samoan Joseph can’t be stopped from a showdown with MJF. He has been a force of destruction lately.

Match of the Night: Roderick Strong vs. Darby Allin

Exciting match working around the limitations of selling injuries.

Grade: B+

This episode of Collision was jam-packed with content. Matches were enjoyable, and the promos set the course for characters.

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

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