Collision recap & reactions: No respect

AEW Collision (Feb. 24, 2024) emanated from Great Southern Bank Arena in Springfield, MO. The show featured Bryan Danielson wrestling the legendary Jun Akiyama while showing no respect for Eddie Kingston, Sammy Guevara brawling with Will Hobbs to steal the show, and more.

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

Saturday night is alright for fighting. Collision was back after a week off.

No respect for Eddie Kingston

Bryan Danielson has made it clear that he doesn’t respect Eddie Kingston. That is basis for their Continental Crown contest at Revolution on March 3. In the meantime, Danielson has been needling the Mad King each week to get under his skin. The latest example was being disrespectful to Kingston in front of his hero, Jun Akiyama.

Danielson explained why he derides Kingston so much. The man is not a professional. Danielson claimed that Kingston wasted his potential throughout his career until this year. Wasted potential is something that pisses off Danielson.

AEW produced a quick hype package for the main event.

Kingston joined commentary to watch his rival face his hero. This was a knock-down, drag-out fight with strikes, suplexes, and submissions. Danielson was in trouble when Akiyama checked him in the air for a knee strike. Akiyama added a piledriver, but Danielson kicked out on the cover.

Danielson and Akiyama also had a stalemate collision of running knee strikes, like Rocky Balboa sparring with Apollo Creed at the end of Rocky III.

In the end, Danielson escaped an exploder suplex to deliver a stiff knee. Akiyama went down hard. Danielson crouched in the corner biding his time. Boom! Busaiku Knee for the win.

The rowdiness didn’t end there.

Akiyama was fully aware of Danielson’s disrespect toward Kingston. After the bout, Danielson wanted a handshake with the Japanese legend. Akiyama reluctantly accepted. Danielson eyed Kingston with a smirk, because he actually does respect Akiyama. Danielson then turned to flash the middle finger at the Mad King. Akiyama was not pleased about that. He slapped Danielson across the face. The American Dragon dramatically apologized to Akiyama. As Akiyama accepted the gesture, Danielson struck with a low blow. Kingston immediately rushed the ring to pummel Danielson. Claudio Castagnoli stormed in to help his teammate. FTR arrived for the save. AEW announced the Blackpool Combat Club versus FTR & Kingston on Dynamite.

That main event delivered entertainment. It would be easy for Danielson to have formulaic matches, but each of these contests feels unique so far in his final run. Akiyama wasn’t perfect in his performance (he misstepped on the apron falling to the floor), but the 54-year-old brought the thunder. This was a classic matchup we may never see again, and it felt special in the moment. Akiyama showed his fighting spirit to much approval from the crowd. They fought so hard that it felt like a true slugfest. Akiyama and Danielson also displayed skillful technique. It was a nice blend of action.

The post-match activity was a hoot. I was anticipating Danielson to do something underhanded to Kingston’s hero, but AEW did a good job molding the moment to fit the story. Danielson treated Akiyama with full respect, and it was only when Akiyama struck him that Danielson took his shot. It really hammered home how much Danielson views Kingston as trash. I’d like to think it was effective in lighting a fire in Kingston fans to yearn for him to beat some respect into Danielson.

Sammy Guevara and Will Hobbs steal the show

Sammy Guevara and Will Hobbs opened the broadcast with a no disqualification match. The Callis Family was banned from ringside to make this a fair fight. Sammy and Hobbs brought the ruckus to steal the show.

Sammy utilized a stick and move strategy to start, but Hobbs caught him for a strongman slam onto the ring steps. Hobbs added three more slams onto the apron then flung Sammy into the barricade. That popping sequence to kick off the action was the blueprint for much of the match. Sammy used his speed to create offense, then Hobbs would catch him to deliver the pain. Case in point, P-P-P-Powerhouse snatched Sammy out of the air for a spinebuster off the apron through tables.

That spot was the tip of the iceberg for what was to come. Down the stretch, Sammy blasted Hobbs with glass bottles twice.

With Hobbs laid out on the tables, Sammy climbed a tall ladder inside the ring for a swan dive senton through the wood.

If you guessed the finish would also involve tables, winner winner chicken dinner. Sammy was setting up for an aerial attack when Hobbs shoved the referee into the corner to knock the Spanish God off-balance. Hobbs seized the moment for an avalanche strongman slam through the table to earn the pin.

That was an awesome match. It wasn’t just the badass spots that made it interesting. The creativity, strategy, and clash in styles added to the overall roller coaster ride. Both men looked like stars with their performance. I like the call for Hobbs to prevail. Sometimes the bad guys win, and Hobbs wasn’t so egregious in this feud to feel robbed of a babyface triumph. Powerhouse is still in the process of being built, and this big victory helps cement his status in the pecking order.

Let’s jam through the rest of Collision.

FTR defeated Shane Taylor & Lee Moriarty. Shane Taylor Promotions had the upper hand for much of the bout until a hot tag to Cash Wheeler. STP almost regained control, but Wheeler punched Taylor off the apron. A sunset flip to Moriarty put in motion a Doomsday Device for Dax Harwood to pick up the pin.

STP looked sharp against top guys. If it wasn’t obvious that FTR were going to win, this was the type of performance from Taylor and Moriarty to pull an upset special. Despite another loss, at least they are getting exposure to build support. Taylor and Moriarty may be on the heel side, but there is no denying that their wrestling skills capture attention. The closing sequence from FTR was pretty slick. Divide and conquer for a teamwork finisher. Harwood and Wheeler snatched victory from the claws of defeat, and they did it with style.

Earlier in the evening, Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli accepted FTR’s challenge for a rematch at Revolution. This promo is interesting to hear with Moxley’s tales of Claudio walking 20 miles to the wrestling gym from the airport.

After FTR’s match, the Top Guys were game for Revolution. Harwood viewed the Blackpool Combat Club as kings of the castle in AEW. To be a king, Dax the Axe will have to kill a king. AEW made the PPV bout official. FTR versus BCC in tag team wrestling. Tag team wrestling!

Thunder Rosa defeated Lady Bird Monroe. Domination win via Tijuana Bomb.

Thunder Rosa is working to regain peak form returning from injury. La Mera Mera is focused on climbing the rankings, so it would seem that the women’s world title is her goal.

Bang Bang Scissor Gang defeated Iron Savages. Jay White, Colten Gunn, and Billy Gunn competed, while Austin Gunn, Max Caster, and Anthony Bowens cheered ringside. Switchblade’s crew handled business with White closing on a Blade Runner to Jacked Jameson.

The idea was to test cohesion, and there were zero issues among the Gang. That part of the story seems settled, however, commentary did mention Juice Robinson’s name. Could Rock Hard be a combustible element in the mix upon return? Aside from that, I’m not sure what direction this partnership is heading in terms of story for their future. No challengers are stepping up for the AEW trios titles or the ROH six-man straps. As for the Iron Savages, they provided amusing antics as burly beefers.

Malakai Black defeated Bryan Keith. The Bounty Hunter took Black to his limits. Keith ducked a head kick to counter for a Liger bomb. That wasn’t enough to put Black away. Keith regrouped in the corner. When he charged forward, Black struck with a spinning heel kick for victory.

A damn fine mid-card bout. Keith rocked the ring. Pushing Black so hard helps legitimize Keith’s talent. The chemistry was interesting throughout the match. Even though Black doesn’t wrestle in singles that often, he still possesses a main event aura. Whenever AEW decides to green light a major push, Black will fit the role with ease.

After the bout, the lights went out. Mark Briscoe was in the ring with a kendo stick. He cleaned house of Black’s cronies. Briscoe pulled out the steel spike with intent of doing damage. Black juked, and Briscoe stabbed the turnbuckle with force. The brief moment of trying to pull the spike out of the pad was all the time House of Black needed to pummel Briscoe. Brody King spiked him on a Dante’s Inferno driver.

Damn, that was a fun surprise. Briscoe has tricks up his sleeve. I never would have expected him to borrow the lights out gimmick in his plot for payback. That skirmish added heat on this feud. The question remains who will help Dat Boy in this violent numbers game.

Serena Deeb defeated Lady Frost. Kiera Hogan was the advertised opponent, but she was pulled due to illness. Frost entered as a replacement. Deeb ducked a spinning kick to pound a hammerlock lariat. She did work throughout the match on Frost’s knee, and a single-leg crab sealed the deal. Afterward, Deeb put the women’s locker room on notice. Her mission is to elevate the division. The Professor is bringing back wrestling to All Elite Wrestling.

Nice little bout. The clash in styles was interesting with technical skills against gymnastics. The attitude became chippy with chops. Deeb played it smart by attacking the leg to stifle Frost’s abilities. Simple and entertaining.

Notes: Kris Statlander stepped up to challenge Skye Blue.

Stud of the Show: Jun Akiyama

The Japanese legend brought a special aura.

Match of the Night: Sammy Guevara vs. Will Hobbs

PPV worthy.

Grade: B

High grades for the opener and the closer. Everything in between was solid but lacked deeper reasons to care about the matches.

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

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