SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW COLLLISION REPORT
FEBRUARY 3, 2024
EDINBURG, TEX. AT OGDEN ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Kevin Kelly, Nigel McGuinness
Ring Announcer: Dasha Fuentes
-The opening theme aired to Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”
-They cut to the stage where pyro blasted as the graphic hyped Revolution on March 3. Tony Schiavone introduced the show, noting it was their debut in the Rio Grand Valley.
(1) EDDIE KINGSTON vs. “THE BOUNTY HUNTER” BRYAN KEITH – Proving Ground match
Kingston’s ring entrance took place with all three of his singles titles. Keith was already in the ring. Kelly said if Keith wins, he earns a future shot at the Continental Crown Champion. The bell rang three minutes into the hour. A “Let’s go Eddie!” chant broke out. They chopped each other several times, did some moves, chopped each other several times, did more moves, etc. At 5:00 they fought at ringside where Keith whipped Kingston into the ringside barricade. He landed a knee drop back in the ring and scored a two count. They cut to a double-box break. [c/db]
Keith headbutted Kingston, knocking him over the top rope to the ringside. Keith landed a sitout powerbomb back in the ring for a near fall at 12:00. Kingston came back with a backlist for a two count. Kingston eventually put Keith in a sleeper and then landed a DDT for a two count. Kingston then finished Keith with another spinning backlist for the win. Kelly touted Keith’s effort and how he almost beat Kingston.
WINNER: Kingston in 15:00.
-Schiavone interviewed Kingston and Keith in the ring afterward. Keith was still leaning on the bottom rope trying to recover. Kingston was kneeling in another corner. Schiavone said he’s been through quite a battle. Kingston called him Captain Obvious. Kingston told Schiavone to go interview Keith. Schiavone said starting tonight, Bryan Keith is All Elite. A graphic appeared on the screen and Keith got wide-eyed and excited. Fans chanted “Keith! Keith!” Kelly said he’ll be a challenge for so many guys in AEW. Kelly said all of those years of hard work will pay off. Bryan Danielson’s music interrupted. He walked out to the ring. Nigel said Danielson is trying to steal somebody else’s thunder. Kelly said he’s trying to provoke Kingston. Danielson entered the ring and raised Keith’s arm. They cut to Hechicero backstage.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s quite a scene giving a wrestler a contract right after a loss, but it was still a cool moment that fans seemed to appreciate, It’s not clear what merits someone getting signed and it’d be nice if that parameter was clearly stated. I’d like to get more consistent background on the Bounty Hunter nickname for Keith and just more of a sense of who he is. This match didn’t seem to have the content to justify 15 minutes. Wrestlers standing around letting the other wrestler chop them over and is a nice occasional spot, but they leaned too heavily on that and Kingston in general is leaning too heavily into that.) [c]
-Clips aired of Jon Moxley and Danielson getting into it with the CMLL Luchadors on Dynamite earlier in the week. Then a promo aired with Mox backstage after Dynamite talking about the arrival of “the greatest Luchadors in the world” to AEW. He said the BCC study the history of pro wrestling all over the world and have a deep respect for the craft, so they have no reason not to show respect to the CMLL Luchadors and the heritage of Lucha Libre. He said their behavior doesn’t make him bad, but it just be paid for. He said they’re not like wrestlers on the other channel, whom he called “easy lazy American wrestlers.” He said they are All Elite Wrestling and the Blackpool Combat Club is the elite of the elite. He said they showed up in their back yard, and they better hope and pray they never show up in their backyard.
(Keller’s Analysis: Great effort here to try to set up a sense of the CMLL wrestlers invading AEW, but there’s just not a tangible sense of what their threat to BCC or AEW in general is. That was quite a line aimed at WWE wrestlers for being “easy lazy American wrestlers.” I’m not sure the fans AEW is chasing will agree with that, but I get Mox wanting to try to differentiate AEW from WWE in some way given WWE’s momentum over the last couple of years.)
(2) BRYAN DANIELSON vs. HECHICERO
Nigel said Hechicero is the greatest technical wrestler to come out of Mexico in the last 20 years and he’s going to show it tonight. The bell rang 29 minutes into the hour. They mat wrestled and exchanged chops and strikes in between for six minutes and then cut to a partial double-box break. [c/pdb]
Hecicero landed a jumping knee strike after the break and then mounted Bryan in the corner and punched away at him. Danielson headbutted Hecicero to the mat. He followed with a diving headbutt attempt, but Hechicero caught him in a leg lock and then twisted him with his arms captured into a pin attempt for a two count at 10:00. Danielson rallied a minute later and applied a LeBell Lock mid-ring.
Schiavone said Hook showed up at the arena and said he’ll fight anyone or any two people. He said Hook is very unpredictable. Danielson threw a series of round kicks to the chest of a kneeling Hechicero. Hechicero gave him a spinning hammerlock into a backbreaker. “Holy Moses!” exclaimed Schiavone. Danielson eventually scored a leverage three count after rolling around on the mat with some reversals and submission attempts. Schiavone said Danielson has had “many great wins since arriving in AEW, but I don’t know if any was bigger than that one.” Kelly said the headlines will read “Danielson escapes with victory!”
WINNER: Danieklson in 15:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was fun action, but I just don’t think 98 percent of AEW’s audience cares and I don’t trust AEW to make them care. That said, the announcers tried hard to build Hechicero up as a legend. Having more context as to why they’re in AEW and what their goals are would be nice. The ambiguous Danielson character continues to be self-indulgent and limiting Danielson’s impact on AEW in terms of selling tickets and getting crowd pops. I hope they get around to really telling the story that this is the final year of Danielson’s career and give him something to do that fans have a chance to really truly be invested in.)
-Afterward, Hechicero attacked Danielson. Claudio Castagnoli ran out for the save.
-Lexy Nair interviewed FTR and Daniel Garcia about the TV main event. She talked about last week’s cage match victory and asked if they’re going to keep the team going in the Trios Division. Garcia said this is unexpected and they don’t even have matching gear, but he’s really glad he’s got Cash and Dax by his side. Cash said he likes having one of the best rising young stars in wrestling by his side. He said they closed the chapter with House of Black last week. Dax said they didn’t make the tag team rankings, “which is fine because the division is chock full of talent.” He said they did make the trios rankings. He said they’re going to go through Christian “and your sons” tonight.
(Keller’s Analysis: Garcia continues to show that had they not derailed his momentum by having turn face and then quickly back heel with the Jericho Appreciation Society, he could be much further along and less damaged.)
(3) HOOK vs. THE OUTRUNNERS (Turbo Floyd & Truth Magnum)
As Hook made his entrance, they showed clips of Hook beating up Brian Cage on Dynamite. The Outrunners were already in the ring. Dasha got their names wrong at first. The bell rang 48 minutes into the hour. Nigel said Hook took Samoa Joe to the limit and is keeping the momentum going in the title picture. Hook knocked Floyd over the top rope with a clothesline and finished Magnum with the Red Rum.
WINNER: Hook in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hook beating two wrestlers felt needlessly gimmicky. Just have him go out there and do his thing against one wrestler. I don’t see the point in having two opponents here. It’s time for him to grow a bit as a character too.) [c]
-Schiavone interviewed Mark Briscoe mid-ring. Briscoe said it feels great to be in Texas. He said as a child he spent his Saturday nights with his older brother watching Schiavone interview some of the best to ever talk including Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. He said last week he came to the aid of FTR and Garcia. He said House of Black attacked him and threw him off the stage and left him for dead, but at the of the show he was standing hall as HOB walked to the back licking their wounds. He said it’s been the toughest year of his life after being one half of the baddest tag team on the planet, he’s suddenly flying solo. He said if you knock him down, he’ll get up and keep fighting.
House of Black appeared on the big screen and the lights went out. Malakai Black said they are going to eradicate him from the history of pro wrestling and it’ll happen “just like this.” He snapped his fingers and the lights came back on. Black said they’re already in Briscoe’s head. Nigel said HOB are playing mind games.
(Keller’s Analysis: There remains a charm to Mark Briscoe’s presentation. House of Black are a bit of a broken record, and I’d like to hear from Brody King and Buddy Matthews more.)
-A video package aired recapping the Cope Open so far.
(4) SERENA DEEB vs. QUEEN AMINATA
The bell rang three minutes into the hour. The announcers talked about Aminata’s three tours of Japan and other places in the world she’s travelled and wrestled. They talked about Deeb putting the wrestling world on notice with her video last week. Aminata rubbed her ass in the face of Deeb a minute in. They cut to a double-box break at 3:00. [c/db]
Kelly said Deeb was getting tested in her second match back after a year away. Deeb and Aminata reversed each other’s backslide attempt over and over in a twisting turning sequence. Aminata came out it on offense with a headbutt, but Deeb avoided a sliding knee. Deeb then put Aminata in a figure-four leg lock wrapped around the ringpost. The ref ordered her to break. She did.
Back in the ring, Aminata blocked Deeb’s attempt at Detox. Deeb came back with a Serenity Lock for a submission win. Kelly said Deeb might crack the top five in the next rankings with this win.
WINNER: Deeb in 10:00.
-Schiavone interviewed Swerve Strickland, touting him as the no. 1 contender in the new AEW rankings in the Men’s Singles Division. Swerve said it’s Black History Month. He said he’d like to show appreciation and recognize those who paved the way for him including Ron Simmons, Kofi Kingston, and Athena. He said he’s going to accomplish something soon that the said he’d accomplish as soon as he arrived in AEW and that is becoming the AEW World Champion. He said he’s done some reprehensible things, but he had to do them to get to the point he can stand in the ring with Schiavone. He said he has no regrets.
Schiavone asked Swerve how he feels about Hangman Page’s assertion that he can’t beat him without help from the Mogul Embassy. Prince Nana tried to talk, but Swerve pulled the mic away from him. He said he’s defeated Hangman twice already and the third time will be the charm. He said he’ll beat Hangman and then beat Joe at Revolution to become AEW Champion. Nana started touting Swerve. Swerve put his arm around Nana’s shoulders. He said they’re family and he wants him at ringside, but “no interferences.” He said he’ll see Hangman on Wednesday and there will be no more excuses.
(Keller’s Analysis: Swerve giving shout-outs to several popular Black wrestlers along with telling Nana not to interfere seems to be moving him toward an official babyface role where there won’t be aspects of his personality or ring style that are meant to elicit boos anymore. I’m excited to get that stage.)
-A promo aired with “Timeless” Toni Storm with Mariah May and Luther the Butler. Mariah asked if she’s seen her match yet. Storm said if you’ve seen one women’s match, you’ve seen them all. Toni then said she’d see Deonna Purrazo and also hear her and sniff her and taste her on Wednesday. She said first she will see her. Toni asked Luther show book her a public workout so people can see how technical she is. She also asked for cranberry juice and gauze immediately.
(5) RED VELVET vs. VERTVIXEN
As Red Velvet walked out, Kelly and Schaivone were critical of Toni referring to her match next week on Dynamite as a public workout. The bell rang 26 minutes into the hour. The, by the way, was squeaking throughout the show. That’s a first, as far as I can remember. Velvet won with her Stir it Up finisher. Velvet leaned through the ropes and told the ringside camera that she’s coming for all the gold, “so let’s stir it up.”
WINNER: Velvet in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Smart to give Velvet a win before she likely loses on Wednesday to Toni Storm.) [c]
(6) CHRISTIAN CAGE & KILLSWITCH & NICK WAYNE (w/Shayna Wayne) vs. DANIEL GARCIA & FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler)
Nigel said Christian’s Patriarchy is a perfect example of the new American blended family with an exemplary father, a devoted son, a compassionate hot mom, and an obedient pet. “Daddy Magic” Matt Menard joined in on commentary. The bell rang 35 minutes into the hour. Dax landed a hard chop to Wayne’s chest, so Wayne tagged out to Christian. Wayne tagged back in and slapped Dax. He dared Dax to hit him, but instead Dax tagged out to Garcia. Wayne mocked Garcia’s hip gyrations. Garcia knocked him out of the ring. As Garcia set up his hip gyrations, Killswitch entered. FTR entered to stop him. They cut to a partial double-box break at 3:30. [c/db]
During the break, FTR joined Garcia in doing the hip gyrations. Back from the break, Christian had control of Garcia. Garcia avoided a top rope headbutt dive at 9:00. Wayne and Cash both tagged in. Cash got the better of Wayne. Kelly noted that Killswitch hadn’t been tagged in all match. Killswitch blocked a double-team move by FTR on Wayne and slammed them both down hard. Wayne rolled up Dax and scored a two count. Wayne climbed to the top rope, but Dax got up and shoved him off balance. Dax then gave Wayne a top rope back superplex. Christian interfered against Dax from the ring apron. Killswitch landed a Killswitch. Wayne made the cover and scored a near fall. They cut to another double-box break. [c/db]
Back from the break, Wayne tagged in against Dax. He suplexed Dax, scored a two count, and then locked on a chin lock. Schiavone touted how loaded the AEW roster is. Wayne tagged Christian in, who took over against Dax and threw him to the floor. The camera missed whatever happened between Killswitch and Dax at ringside, but Killswitch hit the ringside steps hard. Back in the ring, Dax and Christian crashed heads and went down.
Christian tagged in Wayne first. Dax backdropped Wayne and then tagged in Garcia. He attacked Wayne with a flurry of offense. Menard got excited. Christian illegally interfered. Garcia punched away at him. Cash then went after Christian as Garcia turned back to Wayne. The each punched their opponent in opposite corners ten times as the crowd counted along. Fans chanted “This is awesome!”
Wayne raked Garcia’s eyes to block a sharpshooter, then scored a near fall on Garcia with a fisherman’s suplex into a bridge. Wayne acted cocky as he stood over Garcia and hip gyrated. Garcia surprised him with a small package. Garcia blocked a Kill Switch attempt by Wayne and landed a stinging neckbreaker for a two count. Kelly noted that Killswitch was still down after Dax dove at him at ringside.
Christian yanked Garcia off the top turnbuckle into a Wayne’s World cutter by Wayne. Christian then took Dax down at ringside as Wayne scored a near fall in the ring. Cash caught Wayne mid-air and powereslammed him. Killswitch returned to the ring and chokeslammed Cash. Garcia then threw Killswitch shoulder-first into the ringpost. Christian then caught Garcia with a spear. Dax then put Christian in a sharpshooter mid-ring. Wayne broke it up with a cutter off the middle rope. Wayne then charged at Garcia, but Garcia moved. Garcia then jackknife pinned Wayne for the win.
Garcia did his hip gyrations to his music in celebration as Christian glared at him from ringside. Garcia stared down at Christian who looked concerned with his TNT Title belt over his shoulder.
WINNERS: FTR & Garcia in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: As pretty much always with FTR matches, it’s a demonstration of how to effectively use the art of wrestling moves to tell a story that is meant to elicit emotions from fans at different points in the match. Unfortunately, the hot tag Garcia didn’t get much of a crowd pop, although that could be because the fans in Texas just aren’t into a guy doing those hip gyrations as his central expression of his personality. Christian and Wayne excluding Killswitch is a curious strategy for them if their goal is to win, but perhaps their goal is to play mindgames with Killswitch and reduce his self-esteem so he doesn’t turn on them because he feels he isn’t worthy of standing up for himself. Wayne is really good, by the way, without qualification for age. He doesn’t look out of place and he plays his character really well in all the key areas – athleticism, body language, facial expressions, pacing.)