AEW Collision: December 30, 2023: AEW World's End (+ Rampage, December 29)
December 31, 2023 1:16 PM - Season 1, Episode 29 - Subscribe

All Elite Wrestling's last show of 2023 had some last minute injury changes to the card, but still managed to find some high-melodrama closings to the chapters of certain stories. Watching it, perhaps we can divine what the next year will bring for he entire roster?

I'm not sure if "World's End" is going to be a recurring yearly thing for AEW or if this is a one-off, so for now if the PPV is gonna run in Collision's time-slot then I'll record it as an extra-long Collision episode. Quoted parts from the Wrestling Observer.

RAMPAGE -- December 29

Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara confront each other in the ring, exchange earnest apologies, and agree to reform Le Sex Gods and cash in Jericho's opportunity for the tag team titles. But not at World's End, at a later date.

Ruby Soho (w/Saraya & Harley Cameron) defeated Marina Shafir (w/Nyla Rose)

"Rene Paquette interviewed Willow Nightingale and Kris Statlander at Willow’s request to clear the air between them. Willow wants to team with Statlander at World’s End, but Stokley Hathaway returns to stir up trouble between them (again) and suggests a match between Statlander and Nightingale for World’s End. Nightingale was unsure about it but Statlander was more than happy to except."

ROH Pure Championship Match: Wheeler Yuta (c) defeated Matt Sydal
"After the match, self-proclaimed ROH Legend Danhausen (2019-2021, you can google it) came out, declared himself the fourth judge and disqualified Wheeler Yuta. Yuta nailed Danhausen and beat him with the elbows until Hook came out to chase Yuta away."
Action Andretti & Top Flight (Darius Martin & Dante Martin) defeated Orange Cassidy, Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta

WORLD'S END -- December 30

Zero Hour -- Free pre-show on Youtube

Willow Nightingale defeated Kris Statlander
"The late arriving crowd got into the match in the second half and the only downfall was the ending, which took a few tries to get to work correctly. These two ladies had a hard hitting match and this is the first time Statlander has lost back to back singles matches in her AEW run. [...] Nightingale turned Statlander inside out with a lariat and tried a Doctor Bomb, but couldn’t hit it all the way after two attempts. The camera cut to Hathaway on commentary as Nightingale tried and successfully hit the Doctor Bomb on the third try to get the win. Hathaway said he hasn’t been this disappointed since they cancelled Martin."

Unfortunate for Willow to mess up the finish, but the fact that she's being booked strong hints to me that Tony Khan is secretly playing her up in case Mercedes Moné does in actuality arrive in AEW in 2024, as the two of them have unfinished business around the NJPW women's title.
Killswitch (f/k/a Luchasaurus) won the 20 Man Battle Royale for a shot at the TNT Title Anytime, Anywhere
"Pretty much your standard battle royale, as some of the local guys got hometown pops before getting eliminated, resulting in boos from the crowd. The two giants being trapped under tables to start just meant they got to rest for half the match, as the winner made the most sense out of everyone involved...
Other participants included Danhausen, Lance Archer, Rocky Romero, The Butcher, The Blade, Action Andretti, Darius Martin, Christopher Daniels, Matt Menard, Bryan Keith, Kip Sabian, John Silver, Alex Reynolds, Angelo Parker, Lee Johnson, Johnny TV, Dalton Castle & Serpentico"

AEW generally does smart things with battle royales (battles royale?), as this one also advances Dalton Castle's current beef with Johnny TV in Ring of Honor and gives The Dark Order some fun business.
FTW Championship Match: HOOK (c) defeated Wheeler Yuta
"These two had a fun match, with the weapons being kept to trash cans, lids and then the finish with the hockey stick. It’s probably for the best, as we have a No DQ on tap tonight. The crowd popped big for HOOK’s victory here."

Wheeler Yuta has got to be AEW's highest profile guy who loses a lot. This match he bled after getting thrown around. Fun Fact: At pro-wrestling shows in NY State, performers aren't allowed to gig themselves (i.e. use a hidden razorblade to make small cuts), so when you see blood at this show -- and this won't be the only time -- it means they got busted open the hard way. This is also why GCW shows are better in Jersey.

Eight-Man Tag Match: Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, Daniel Garcia & Mark Briscoe defeated Switchblade Jay White, Brody King, Rush & Jay Lethal
"A hell of a party match opener, with Garcia gaining respect from the Blackpool Combat Club and getting the big win for his team. The crowd just wanted Garcia to do his dance and they were rewarded as a result."

The cameras stupidly missed Brody King getting into post match punches with guest commentator Daddy Magic, to set up their next beef with House of Black. The ascendance of Danny Garcia has been a real slow-burn win for AEW, and as Mox eventually (maybe?) takes his vacation and Danielson shifts into a non-combat role, turning their group into a team that coaches young technical killers would be a smart choice.
Miro defeated Andrade El Idolo (w/CJ Perry)
"With the rumors of Andrade finishing up tonight with AEW and expected back in WWE as soon as a few days, it made the most sense for Miro to get the win here and also end the partnership of Andrade & Perry. I assume this story could’ve gone longer, but if Andrade is leaving, there’s no reason to keep Perry & Miro apart any longer. They should’ve been together from the start."

This side trip of CJ being another wrestler's manager would have made a better digression if she hadn't chosen a guy who'd been very vocal about going back to WWE (no surprise, as his own hot flexible blonde wife Charlotte Flair is still working there). Back in the Attitude Era of WWE, Vince allegedly had a real insistence on booking wrestlers and their IRL wives into cuckoldry spots. This is (so far) as close as AEW's approached that sort of thing, though it seems more of a weird dance of CJ knowing how to push Miro's buttons and beng in love with his violence.
AEW Women's Championship Match: Timeless Toni Storm (w/Luther) (c) defeated Riho
"Storm controlled so much of this match I thought it was going to be a complete squash, but once Luther got ejected, Riho was able to make a comeback. Despite getting a few near falls and taking the fight to the champion, Storm was able to avoid the offense and retain the title. The crowd was loudly behind Storm and her character."

Storm stayed in character in the post-show media scrum, and deliciously teased the press by saying that she had her eye on a serious "mo-nay" opponent -- Wendi Richter. Her persona is not for everyone, but I love how completely and totally she embraces it, and Tony Khan clearly does too.
Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) defeated Dustin Rhodes
"Take nothing away from Rhodes, who is as tough as they come, but with Strickland being a potential World Title contender in 2024, I’m not sure this match needed to go as long as it did. Especially with how this match started with the use of the cinderblock, which still baffles me the medical staff allowed this match to just happen. Strickland got a dominating win and I assume when Keith Lee is cleared, we’ll finally get the match, now over a year in the making."

Yeah, bad storytelling logic here. If Keith Lee is injured bad enough that he can't make the match, and Dustin comes out to fill-in, that's fine. But if he gets clearly and obviously hobbled in the opening minutes and then is allowed to stagger back to the ring and demand the match anyway, and then he lasts 10 minutes (kinda forgetting to sell the leg partway through), then doesn't that make Lee look like a wuss for not attempting the same?
Chris Jericho, Sting, Darby Allin & Sammy Guevara defeated Ricky Starks, Big Bill, Powerhouse Hobbs & Konosuke Takeshita (w/Don Callis)
"Another party match that took longer than the opener to kick into gear, but once it did, it was good stuff. With Jericho & Guevara getting the next Tag Title shot, it made sense for him to pin either Starks or Bill."
TBS Women's Championship Match: Julia Hart (c) defeated Abadon
"The crowd didn’t know what to make of the spookyness of this one early on, but Abadon put up a solid fight. The numbers were too much to overcome, as Hart retained with help from her new running buddy [Skye Blue]."
TNT Championship Match: Adam Copeland defeated Christian Cage (c) (w/Nick & Shayna Wayne) in a No Disqualifications stipulation
"This was an absolute war and the story here was Copeland needs help if he wants to have any chance against Cage & The Patriarchy. He enjoyed his win for a few seconds before it all came crashing down. The spell that Cage has still over Killswitch set the stage for Cage to regain his title within minutes."
TNT Championship Match: Christian Cage defeated Adam Copeland (c) to regain the TNT Title
"Copeland was celebrating with the TNT Title when Killswitch appeared from behind and leveled Copeland with a lariat, chokeslam and another through a chair. Killswitch was going to give his TNT Title contract he won from the Battle Royale to referee Paul Turner when Cage demanded the contract instead. Cage whispered something to Killswitch, who gave away the contract, which Cage signed and gave to the referee. The bell rang; Cage hit a Spear and regained the title. Cage, The Waynes & Killswitch celebrated up the ramp, as Copeland was left recovering in the ring with Excalibur saying this is the shortest TNT Title reign ever, questioning where Copeland goes from here"?

Some folks are understandably upset about this, but I love this kind of melodrama. Pure A to B to C storytelling, nothing fancy about it because it's unnecessary, to get to this emotional low point for the babyface Copeland. He's now 0-for-2 in his confrontations with Christian, what will he do next? Will Killswitch/Luchasaurus find a way to rebel? Good stuff to enter 2024.
Eddie Kingston defeated Jon Moxley in the Continental Classic Final to win the inaugural Triple Crown Title
"These two just love beating the crap out of one another and they delivered big time. Once it was clear this would be the Final, you knew both were going to leave it all out there and this was the Match of the Night. I hope we get a rematch sooner than later, as with this win, Kingston wins the Continental Classic, conquering the entire Blackpool Combat Club in the process, to lead to his biggest victory of his career. Excalibur told us that Kingston dedicated this match to the memory of wrestler Kurtis “Mad Kurt” Chapman."

What a match of crazy strikers with zero quit in their bones. The story of the match was whether Eddie could get in enough hits on Moxley before Mox's superior technique wore down Eddie's body? Danielson was going angry on commentary and I want to believe this is his resentment towards Kingston, but it could spill over into a match vs. Moxley first. If this booking had a flaw, it was that the end point seemed clear as soon as Eddie began his comeback run in the tournament matchs. I mean, if he loses the first two, then wins three straight, do I really believe he'll just get bumped out in front of a hometown crowd and all his titles go to someone else? Naaaaah. I wonder how "Eddie 3 Belts" will spend his 2024, he still needs to defend the ROH and NJPW titles, right?
AEW World Championship Match: Samoa Joe defeated MJF (c) (w/Adam Cole)
"I don’t think I’m doing it justice when I said you could hear a pin drop at the finish of this. Maybe some saw Joe winning the title, but absolutely no one saw this ending the way that it did. The crowd was so loudly behind MJF from the start that even with the bad arm, Max still had a shot. Unfortunately, MJF is hurt and needs to heal up, so Joe winning the title here is probably for the best overall. The post match, we finally got the reveal of The Devil and his Henchmen and can thankfully put this who is it story to an end. I’m interested in seeing where this crew goes from here, as we’re off to the races for AEW in 2024 with a new World Champ and new heel stable ready to roll.

The intro for MJF featured folks from Long Island painting MJF as the never say die babyface, saying that he is their scumbag. Before the official introductions, Adam Cole’s music hit and he came to the ring on crutches to corner his “best friend”. MJF was introduced as being from The Most Magical Place in the World: Long Island, New York.[...] MJF wanted Cole to give him the Dynamite Diamond Ring, but took too long to find it, as Joe got the Coquina Clutch, which MJF nearly got the Bret/Piper Mania 8 kick out of the corner spot for a two count. Joe reapplied the choke and MJF faded, the ref dropping the arm three times and Joe wins the title. The crowd was speechless, no one realized the match was over, as Joe got up and celebrated with the realization finally hitting the crowd. Joe went to the back with the AEW World Title and the crowd started loud Bullshit chants.

Cole checked on MJF post match before four of The Devil’s Henchmen appeared ringside and held back Cole, who screamed for them to hit him with the chair instead of Max. Right as the Henchmen turned to hit Cole, the lights went out and when they came back on, Cole was seated in the chair with the Henchmen by his side. All four Henchmen revealed themselves to be Wardlow, Roderick Strong, and new ROH Tag Team Champions Matt Taven & Mike Bennett as MJF pleaded for an explanation from Cole, who watched as Wardlow laid out MJF with a powerbomb. Cole brought out The Devil’s mask and stood over the fallen MJF with his buddies to end the show."

Haha, Tony Khan may let one hometown boy win at a PPV, but two of them? Not a chance. In contrast to the simpler Copeland storyline above, what intrigues me about this is the realization that on some level, MJF deserves this. Sure, 2023 may have been the year of his face turn, but how did he start at this company? Did he not betray Cody Rhodes to join Chris Jericho, then betray Jericho to form his own faction, and then treat his faction so badly they rebelled on him? Has he made (kayfabe) amends for any of this, or just breezed through ignoring everyone he's wronged, enjoying his 400+ days as champion. Now you are truly the salt of the earth, one of us, a loser.

Welcome to 2024, Max. Now go rebuild.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta (1 comment total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Forgot to include one link. The full write-up from the WON about World's End.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:25 PM on December 31, 2023

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