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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Jan. 13, 2024): House of Black vs. FTR, round two

AEW Collision (Jan. 13, 2024) emanated from Chartway Arena in Norfolk, VA. The show featured House of Black and FTR running it back even better than before, Deonna Purrazzo’s in-ring debut, several interesting challenges issued, and more.

Saturday night is alright for fighting. So much so that AEW booked a double-header with Battle of the Belts IX. For the Battle of the Belts IX recap, click here.

On to Collision...

House of Black vs. FTR, round two

House of Black and FTR wrestled last week in a barn burner. They rumbled one week later in round two with the addition of Brody King and Daniel Garcia to make it a trios contest. Last week’s match was fire, and this week’s bout was even hotter.

Despite being former adversaries, FTR and Garcia were confident that they could operate on the same page against a common enemy.

Mind games early. Garcia ducked a head kick to sit cross-legged. Malakai Black replied by shuffling his feet to dance then flashed the middle finger.

The sequence continued with FTR clearing the ring, then all three babyfaces sat cross-legged to mock the House of Black. FTR and Garcia were indeed on the same page.

This match lasted approximately 25 minutes, and there was never a dull moment. Everyone shined bright with Garcia shining the brightest. At one point, King went for his signature hanging choke over the ropes. Garcia snapped King’s arm to prevent a snug application, then Garcia used leverage over the ropes to flip King down to the mat. It was like a textbook judo toss from the movies. Later, Garcia blended his dancing seamlessly into the action to swivel his hips on the turnbuckles before leaping for a triple-team spike piledriver.

That example is exactly what I’m talking about when I’ve mentioned that Garcia needed to find a way to dance within the flow of combat. This wasn’t him stopping the middle of an attack to pop the crowd then suffering the consequences. This was giving the people a taste of what they crave before launching into a high impact move. It was like Garcia’s sports entertainment training meshed perfectly with his skills as a professional wrestler. I also enjoy how versatile Garcia has been when he does the dancing for maximum effectiveness. He went out on his shield in a hilarious manner against Katsuyori Shibata, he can do the easy dance break when wrestling chumps, and he can squeeze off a few thrusts in main event scenarios like this spike piledriver with FTR.

Just like last week, the finish came down to Buddy Matthews and Dax Harwood. Dax The Axe survived a pair of powerbombs. Matthews kicked out on a piledriver. Meanwhile, Black and King executed a divide and conquer strategy on the outside by battering Garcia and Cash Wheeler into the barricades. That allowed room for 3-on-1 manipulation. King caused a distraction, then Black unloaded a blindside head kick on Harwood. Matthews finished the job with a curb stomp. House of Black got their win back.

After the match, House of Black bullied Daddy Magic, who was present on commentary. Black delivered a head kick. Garcia and FTR made the save too late for Daddy Magic, but they did did manage to crack House of Black with chairs and hit a triple-team Shatter Machine on King.

That was a rocking main event. It will likely be a Match of the Year contender for Collision. The action was tight, the teamwork was slick, and creativity blossomed. This contest has me yearning for round three. I don’t know where they go from here, but I want it. There is no viewer fatigue on my part.

Daddy Magic is a wrinkle to keep an eye on. Could they expand this feud to fours? If so, then House of Black needs another member. Fresh free agents are on the market available for duty. They will need to be careful picking the right person to maintain the magnetic chemistry of their unit. Whatever happens, I need to see Daddy Magic demand a one-on-one challenge. He’s no patsy. Daddy Magic has that fighting spirit in his own right, even if he hasn’t shown success in the ring. I’m not asking for a long match. Just give me a taste for 8 minutes or so of hard effort. I believe the fans would rally behind Daddy Magic rooting for the underdog. In the larger picture, it could act as another step in the growth of Garcia as he gets revenge.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

Adam Copeland defeated Lee Moriarty. Taiga Style answered the Cope Open open challenge. Shane Taylor was ringside to lend a helping hand. When Copeland was poised to hit a spear, Taylor caused a distraction. Copeland took matters into his own hands to eliminate the trifling with a spear on the floor. Taylor thumped down hard.

Copeland turned up the heat on the finish. He mounted Moriarty to pound with punches. Moriarty rolled over giving up his back. Copeland kept clubbing away with shots to the back of the neck. Moriarty went limp, so the referee checked his condition. After a quick break, Copeland resumed his attack to finish with the Grindhouse submission. Copeland celebrated with a message that he is coming for the scrawny ass of Christian Cage.

Damn, that was an impressive finish by Copeland. It was a competitive match until Copeland increased his aggression to destroy Moriarty. That was the kind of definitive ass-kicking that excites me for the rematch with Christian. While I loved the finish for Copeland, not so much for Moriarty. He went out like a sucker. AEW did a good job hyping his arrival with a video package and short promo to build quick interest in the match. Moriarty showed well until the end. No long-term damage was done, but they made it an uphill battle if there are any immediate plans to push Moriarty.

ROH World Six-Man Championship: Brian Cage & Gates of Agony defeated Lance Archer & The Righteous to retain the titles. Prince Nana saved Bishop Kaun from Archer’s Blackout, so Jake “The Snake” Roberts punched him in the kisser. The finish came down to Vincent and Kaun. The champion seized the win with a Pedigree. Afterward, the Mogul Embassy called out Bullet Club Gold for a fight on Dynamite due to previous comments about acquiring the ROH six-man straps.

Backstage, the Bang Bang Gang accepted the challenge.

That six-man clash was a hoss fight delight. Vincent isn’t a hoss, but the rest were throwing meat. The encounters between Archer and Cage did enough to progress toward a singles showdown. Dutch and Toa Liona was another interesting smash session. I want that one too as a singles battle. Dutch was the star of the match. He cooked with force and even popped the crowd on a dive. Dutch has potential to break into the big man upper circle that AEW feeds to stars for good matches. The challenge and answer with Bullet Club Gold was a nice touch. The champs have been on such a roll that I really don’t know who will win that bout despite the Bang Bang Gang being bigger stars.

Dustin Rhodes defeated Willie Mack. The Natural turned back the hands of time for a Canadian Destroyer, Cross Rhodes, and Final Reckoning to win. Commentary put over Rhodes building momentum. Backstage, Christian Cage interrupted to stir the pot with lines about Dustin’s dead father. Rhodes wanted a shot at the TNT title for Dynamite.

Decent match. It was fun to see Rhodes hitting his highlight reel. Wins like these are valuable to show he’s still a threat in the ring, and following that logic means wins over him still have value. The trash-talk session was very good to stoke up the heat in an instant. I appreciate the variety in descriptive words. They painted a nice picture with their verbal skills.

Hangman Page defeated JD Drake. The cowboy rode into his hometown. Drake was no pushover. He took the fight to Hangman. Anthony Henry added cheap shots along the way. Hangman prevailed in the end. Henry tried to interfere as Hangman set up a buckshot lariat, so the cowboy leaped for a moonsault off the apron. The path was clear for a buckshot to Drake.

That fight was a slugger. Drake brought his A-game on this evening to be a convincing bruiser in control. Hangman took the beating and showed heart to deliver the win. I wouldn’t say the victory made enough of a statement to skip the line to wrestle Samoa Joe, but it sure was entertaining. Hangman will need more notches on his belt to move ahead of Swerve Strickland as they jockey for position.

Deonna Purrazzo defeated Red Velvet. Lil Cupcake was scrappy, but the Virtuosa was laser focused on an armbar. When Purrazzo locked in the submission, Velvet shifted position to pin Purrazzo’s shoulders on the mat. Purrazzo readjusted her grip for the Venus De Milo double armbar.

Effective in-ring debut from Purrazzo. Velvet was tough enough to put legitimacy on Purrazzo’s name in her AEW in-ring debut. The double armbar showed her ability to adapt, and it also showed her ruthless side when cranking the submission. I’d like to think that Purrazzo looked like the real deal for those that haven’t seen the Virtuosa work.

Hook defeated Kevin Matthews. Two suplexes in the ring, one on the ramp, then the Redrum submission.

That was how to do a squash. Hook dished out an intense ass-kicking to dominate his much larger opponent in preparation of Samoa Joe on Dynamite. If you were already on board for that bout, then this should amp up the juices plenty. If you were on the fence, then this should entice you enough to see if Hook can throw Joe around the ring in the same manner.

Notes: Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara were eager to fulfill their destiny by winning the AEW tag titles in a street fight on Battle of the Belts.

Roderick Strong interrupted Preston Vance to wish him luck against Orange Cassidy for the AEW International Championship at Battle of the Belts. Vance wanted nothing to do with the Undisputed Kingdom. Perro Peligroso barked about winning the title then kicking Strong’s ass.

Stud of the Show: Hook

The cold-hearted handsome devil made a thunderous statement to Samoa Joe.

Match of the Night: House of Black vs. FTR & Daniel Garcia

PPV worthy once again.

Grade: A-

There was something about this episode that really hit right with me. There was an aura of intensity in the air all night long. The matchmaking presented unique and interesting pairings. There was heavy-duty hammering throughout the evening with the big boys at play. All the matches had purpose. A lot of wins resulted in immediate progression into different story directions to get hyped for Dynamite. The main event was a certified banger. This particular show is a winning formula for Collision.

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

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