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AEW Collision recap & reactions (Jan. 27, 2024): Epic cage match

AEW Collision (Jan. 27, 2024) emanated from Brookshire Grocery Arena in Bossier City, LA. The show featured a fantastic cage match main event between FTR & Daniel Garcia against the House of Black, Bryan Danielson wrestling a Japanese legend, Serena Deeb returning to action, and more.

Catch up on all the Collision details with top-notch play-by-play from Cain A. Knight.

Saturday night is alright for fighting.

Epic cage match

FTR and Daniel Garcia competed against the House of Black in a cage match for the main event, and it was 100% badass. They put on an epic performance. Go watch this match, if you haven’t already.

Before we get into the story of the bout, there is one thing to address. The rules for this cage match are stupid on paper. It is escape style until the full team is out of the cage, so that means a partner has to willingly abandon his team. In theory, the finish would come down to a 2-on-1 disadvantage. Thankfully, this is the scripted world of professional wrestling, so they can juice the excitement level for maximum drama. And boy oh boy did AEW excel at that. They laid out the path, so that the numbers game never played a role. Rest assured that this match can be viewed without second guessing the logic. Well, for the most part. I mean this is still professional wrestling that we’re talking about.

On to the goods.

Early in the show, cameras found Daniel Garcia battered and bloodied from a mysterious attack.

Garcia’s status was in doubt for the main event, so Mark Briscoe volunteered as a replacement if Garcia was not medically cleared. FTR appreciated the gesture, and they left the decision up to Garcia.

When the time came, Briscoe was called for duty, or so we thought. The House of Black ambushed Briscoe on stage and threw him through a table.

A brawl broke out with House of Black and FTR rumbling around the ring. FTR were in dire straits, and nobody was even in the cage yet. That’s when Garcia wobbled out on stage with his head bandaged. He went to work whacking the House of Black with a steel chair.

Eventually, the House of Black, Garcia, and Dax Harwood were inside the cage. But where oh where was Cash Wheeler? He came in flying from the top of the cage onto the pile below. Cue the holy shit chants. That level of excitement was maintained throughout.

The first man to exit was Harwood, but he had to take his lumps on the way out. Dax the Axe walked through the door. As he stood on the ring steps, Brody King barreled through for a suicide dive. Both men crashed to the floor as official escapees.

The next pair to attempt escape were Wheeler and Buddy Matthews. Both men climbed over the top together and threw jabs on the way down. Matthews knocked Wheeler off the side to crash through a table.

Instead of dropping down on his own accord, Matthews decided to climb back into the cage for the 2-on-1 advantage. Before Matthews could ascend, Garcia rammed into the fence to knock Matthews down to the floor. The finish was now between Garcia and Malakai Black.

Things never appear as they seem when dealing with the House of Black. They still found a way to tilt the scale in their favor. Black mist! Julia Hart appeared as a surprise to spit black mist in Garcia’s face.

Black went to work pounding Garcia. The HoB leader took a leisurely stroll toward the cage door and victory, however, Garcia lured him back with defiant trash talking. Garcia was on wobbly legs, so Black sized up a spinning head kick. Swing and a miss! Garcia suckered Black into a piledriver on a steel chair.

Garcia wearily climbed up the cage to escape. When Black came to, he slowly crawled toward the door. Payback! Briscoe returned to slam the door in Black’s face. Garcia successfully dropped to the floor for team victory.

That cage match was a fantastic piece of sports entertainment. Physicality? Check. Daredevil spot? Check. Mystery? Check. Creativity? Check. Drama? Check. Unpredictability? Check. Awesome finish? Check. The viewing experience was so much fun. I was on the edge of my seat for the race to escape between Black and Garcia. That Briscoe return came out of nowhere in the best possible way. The match was a perfect blow-off to the feud. Not only was the action kick-ass, it showed FTR has friends in Garcia and Briscoe to disprove the House of Black’s talking points that started the rivalry. This bout also continued the push into making Garcia a legit commodity. Applause all around.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli defeated Shane Taylor & Lee Moriarty. Blackpool Combat Club relied on teamwork to get the job done. They hit a Hart Attack on Taylor, then Claudio kept his head on a swivel to intercept Moriarty midair with a European uppercut. That cleared the path for Moxley to apply a rear naked choke on Taylor. Shane T rose up to fall backward with intent of slamming his weight in top of Moxley to force the break. No such luck. Moxley didn’t let go. In fact, the gamble allowed Mox to cinch his grip even tighter. Taylor passed out in defeat.

This match was a donnybrook from the get-go. Intensity was high from both teams. Moxley and Claudio are so good at imposing their will. The result was never in doubt, but Taylor and Moriarty once again turned heads with tough effort. I believe they are knocking on the door to bigger things. With more exposure, Shane Taylor Promotions could develop into a steady presence on television.

Two parting notes for this match. First, giant swing. Whee!

Second, take a listen to Shane Taylor explaining his motivation for this fight. He views the Blackpool Combat Club as becoming the latest generation of stars to hold back the next generation. That man can cut a damn fine promo.

AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy defeated Komander to retain the title. Prior to the contest, Roderick Strong made a deal to help the luchador win, however, it was pretty clear that Komander wasn’t on board with the arrangement.

In the end, Strong distracted the referee, so the Kingdom could put hands on Cassidy. Komander executed a rope-walking dive to wipe out the bad guys. The luchador was clearly doing the right thing rather than accepting their cheating help. When Komander re-entered the ring, Cassidy popped him with a superman punch to win. Afterward, Strong teased violence on the champ, but he exited in peace after dropping the title belt on the mat.

This was a real nifty match. Cassidy and Komander put on a unique display of lucha libre magic with llaves and rolling. Their exchanges on the mat were creative and energizing. It’s not something you would see easily replicated in AEW. Komander even showed a lot of personality through his eyes and expressions reacting to Cassidy’s pockets routine. I knew Cassidy could execute lucha libre moves, but he went the extra mile with flair here. The finish was awkward, because the rope-walking spots take time to develop. The Kingdom were standing there so long that I wasn’t sure what they were trying to do exactly. The finish was also cheap for a babyface victor. Cassidy took advantage of Komander despite the luchador saving him. No good deed goes unpunished.

Mariah May defeated Lady Frost. Frost aimed to finish with a moonsault, but May snatched her off the turnbuckles for a fireman’s carry Samoan driver to win.

May looked good. She has solid fundamentals and works the crowd well with her character. The potential is clear. Frost won over the crowd with her acrobatics, and they were cheering her name prior to the finish.

Also of note, Toni Storm was absent from viewing May’s match. Timeless claimed that she was not welcome in Bossier City due to a horse incident.

Eddie Kingston defeated Willie Mack. Proving Ground rules in effect. If Mack can win or survive the time limit, then he earns a shot at the triple crown championships. Mack put in work knocking Kingston silly early. He kept on the pressure, but the champ turned the tide getting his knees up to block a frog splash. A spinning backfist sealed the deal. I love the way Mack sold that strike.

This match felt like a showcase for Mack to strut his stuff hitting cool moves, while Kingston was there to survive. Mack would have steamrolled Kingston on the scorecards if this went to a decision. The spinning backfist is Kingston’s great equalizer. If he hits it flush on the button, the game is over.

As Kingston exited up the ramp, Bryan Danielson entered on stage for the next match. The American Dragon purposely ignored Kingston, and that disrespect stuck in the Mad King’s craw. Kingston decided to stay around for commentary on Danielson’s bout.

Bryan Danielson defeated Yuji Nagata. The Japanese legend arrived through the Forbidden Door, figuratively. Nagata worked Danielson’s elbow, while Danielson targeted Nagata’s knee. Down the stretch, they exchanged hard kicks to the chest. Danielson faked out Nagata to catch him off guard for two straight head kicks. The American Dragon closed with the Busaiku Knee to win.

The formula for this bout was simple with strategic attacks on the specific body parts. The climax exploded into fireworks with Danielson slicker on the draw. That fake kick was a stroke of beauty to set up the head kicks. I’m not too familiar with Nagata’s glory days to compare performances. This came across like a satisfying special attraction from the 55-year-old legend. The crowd fed into his aura throughout.

After the match, Danielson shook Nagata’s hand out of respect. On Danielson’s way out, he flipped the bird to Kingston.

Serena Deeb defeated Robyn Renegade. This was Deeb’s first match back since October 2022, and she hasn’t lost a step. Deeb moved smoothly executing a variety of holds and escapes, such as channeling Houdini. The Professor won via Serenity Lock.

Deeb delivered a post-match promo about her return to AEW. She is back for three reasons. Deeb wants to elevate the women’s division, put wrestling back in All Elite Wresting, and become a champion.

Deeb was excellent in her return. She lived up to the Professor nickname. The promo was dynamite. Anybody looking at Deeb for the first time would leave with the feeling that she is the real deal. She carries herself with a sense of self-assured confidence. If AEW wants to give the Samoa Joe treatment to the women’s division, then Deeb is the person for the job. Her style in the ring radiates legitimacy. Deeb’s words have me real fired up to see her story unfold.

Notes: Swerve Strickland picked Toa Liona as his dealer’s choice opponent for Hangman Page on Dynamite. Hell yeah. That slobberknocker is going to rock.

Hangman responded by keeping his choice a secret, but it sure sounded like a tease for RVD.

Brian Cage called out Hook for the FTW title. Hook didn’t back down.


Stud of the Show: Daniel Garcia

Star-making moment.

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

Epic.

Grade: B+

The main event cage match was truly special. Deeb’s promo was a dandy, especially with the way the crowd reacted to her return. The rest of the show was solid for Saturday night fights.

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

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