AEW Collision: January 13, 2024 (& Rampage, January 12): Battle of the Belts IX
January 13, 2024 8:21 PM - Season 1, Episode 31 - Subscribe

Quick maths: Rampage + Collision + Battle of the Belts = Five title defenses over four hours of AEW across two evenings! Also, Adam Page and Adam Copeland separately seek to continue their conquering streaks, Deonna Purrazzo has her AEW match debut, and Dustin Rhodes puts on a clinic.

(Quoted comments from The Wrestling Observer as usual)

RAMPAGE -- January 12

Rampage was taped in Jacksonville before and after this week's Dynamite, so it's still in Daily's Place.

Triple Crown Championship Match: Eddie Kingston (c) defeated Wheeler Yuta to retain the Continental Crown
"Excalibur stressed on commentary a few times that all three of Kingston’s championships (New Japan Strong, ROH World, and AEW Continental) were on the line in this match. Both these men made their AEW debut’s in Daily’s Place during the pandemic, so it really is a homecoming for them. Very good mat work from both men to start. What. A. Match. I’m disappointed the crowd wasn’t nearly as into as I was; but it was a late, cold night for them."
"Rene Paquette interviewed the Hardy Boys and Mark Briscoe. [...] Matt Hardy wants to win the Trios title with Mark, and Jeff made Mark an honorary Hardy with a Hardy boys chain. I’m not entirely sure Briscoe knows what to think of all this."

Swerve Strickland (w/ Prince Nana & The Mogul Embassy) defeated Matt Sydal
"Everything about Swerve exudes superstar. Sydal caught Strickland with a step-up rana, but Strickland did a handstand out of the move and landed on his feet. Strickland dominated Sydal. He hit a diving elbow into the back of Sydal’s shoulders, then picked him up in a torture rack and dropped down to his knees. Swerve caught him with an inverted backbreaker. Sydal blocked a kick and hit an air raid crash for a near fall. Strickland hit a rolling flatliner and vertical suplex. Sydal tried a casadora into a cradle, but Strickland overpowered him, then dropped him with the JML Driver for the pinfall. This was exactly what it needed to be."
Hikaru Shida defeated Queen Aminata
"These two matched up 13 months ago on Rampage. Aminata debuted in Daily’s Place, and Shida is another pandemic-era Daily’s Place star. Aminata hit a hip attack and a sliding boot in the corner. After the break, Shida and Aminata exchanged kicks to each other’s back. Shida hit a dragon screw legwhip. Aminata hit a headbutt and a german suplex, but Shida came back with a short arm lariat. Aminata escaped a suplex attempt and hit a sliding knee strike for another near fall. Aminata went for a double stomp off the top, but Shida rolled out of the way and hit a falcon arrow. Shida hit the Katana spinning kick and got the pinfall. Shida made Aminata look like a million bucks here. Shida and Aminata shared an embrace after the match."
Evil Uno, John Silver & Alex Reynolds (w/ -1) defeated Jake Hager, Matt Menard & Angelo Parker
"Saraya showed Ruby Soho footage of Harely Cameron kissing Angelo Parker. And on Ruby's birthday no less! When Angelo Parker showed up with a birthday cake, Soho shoved it in his face! Rene Paquette called Parker a naughty name, and once the ladies left the footage (that had been paused on the kiss) showed Parker pushing Cameron away and screaming in disgust. In one of the greatest continuity bits ever, Parker came out for the match with his face covered in icing.

The Dark Order and -1 were huge babyfaces here. Hager was wearing a giant gold chain. Reynolds tagged in a hit a pair of back elbows on Menard. Parker came in and Uno caught him with a german suplex. The Dark Order hit Menard with a series of avalanche clotheslines in the corner. During the break, Hager and his partners triple teamed Reynolds on the floor. But once the break was over, Reynolds got the hot tag and the Dark Order took over. Uno hit a top rope swanton bomb on Parker for a near fall. Silver caught Parker with kicks against the ropes. Silver hit Parker with a gamingiri and took out Hager and Menard. The Dark Order hit the pendulum powerbomb on Parker for a near fall.

Menard and Parker hit a double DDT on Reynolds, and Hager came in with Hager Bomb for two. Hager locked in the ankle lock, but -1 pulled out Jake Hager’s hat for the distraction. “Tony, he loves that hat!” Uno took out Menard and Parker with a double clothesline on the floor while Hager got the hat back. But, Silver and Reynolds double-teamed Hager with the gamingiri into the rolling forearm into the enziguri into the stunner into the german suplex into the jackknife cover for the three count. This was the perfect comedy match and a great way to end a fun show!"
COLLISION -- January 13

“Cope Open” ChallengeAdam Copeland defeated Lee Moriarty (w/ Shane Taylor)
"Moriarty looked good here, as Copeland scores another fall with the Grindhouse submission on his road back to the TNT Title.[...] Copeland swung his way out, laying in forearms to the back of Moriarty’s head. Copeland hit a big boot and a backbreaker before locking on the crossface – now called the Grindhouse – for the submission win. After the match, Copeland reminded everyone that his target was the TNT Champion Christian Cage."
ROH World Six Man Tag Team Title MatchThe Mogul Embassy (Bishop Kaun, Brian Cage & Toa Liona) (c) defeated Lance Archer & The Righteous (Dutch & Vincent) (w/ Jake Roberts)
"The crowd was unsurprisingly cold on this match when it started, as the Righteous haven’t been highlighted on AEW TV in months. But the work got the crowd into it as these guys scrapped it out for the gold. [...]

Dutch dropped Kaun with a crossbody, but Kaun dropped Archer with a DDT reversal. Kaun fought out of the opponent’s corner, but Archer knocked his partners off the apron and hit a chokeslam. We got a move train that ended with Dutch hitting a dive to the Embassy on the floor. Archer set up Kaun for the Blackout, but Nana held onto Kaun’s foot in the corner. Roberts laid out Nana with a punch before the Righteous hit a tandem move for a nearfall. The Embassy cut off Autumn Sunshine from the floor before Kaun sent Vincent into a Pounce. Kaun and Liona hit Open the Gates on Vincent for a nearfall that Archer broke up. Vincent and Kaun were left in the ring, and after several reversals, Kaun scored the win with a Pedigree."
Dustin Rhodes defeated Willie Mack
"This one came out of nowhere, but it was good to see these two out there. Rhodes and Mack traded shots, with Rhodes getting a nearfall off of his kneeling punch. Mack came back with chops before hitting a running kick and a standing moonsault for a nearfall. Mack hit a big thrust kick, but Rhodes avoided a frog splash. Rhodes hit a Canadian Destroyer and a snap powerslam for a nearfall. After some back and forth, Rhodes hit the Cross Rhodes and the Final Cut for the win."
Hangman Adam Page defeated JD Drake (w/ Anthony Henry)
"An awesome TV match, as Hangman scores a hard-fought win on TV. I’ll note that Swerve Strickland got a win on Rampage last night as well, as their fortunes seem to be tied to one another at the moment. I sound like a broken record with this point, but the Workhorsemen continue to have these impressive performances on Collision."
Deonna Purrazzo defeated Red Velvet
"Purrazzo looked very impressive here. She has a real snap to her offense that stood out to me. Red Velvet was also quite good here, as she’s grown on me since her return from injury."
Hook defeated Kevin Matthews
"Hook felt like he cooled off, but the challenge to Samoa Joe has heated him right back up. The crowd was all the way with him for this squash match. Matthews went for a sneak attack on Hook, but Hook moved, sending Matthews into the FTW Title belt. Hook sent Matthews flying with a suplex before following him to the floor and suplexing him on the ropes. Hook hit the crossface strikes and locked on Redrum to score the quick win."
The House Of Black (Brody King, Buddy Matthews & Malakai Black) defeated Daniel Garcia & FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood)
"This was a hell of a main event. FTR have solidified themselves as the Collision marathon men, consistently in these high-level main event matches on TV. The established trio scoring the win here made sense, but the end segment made it clear that these teams aren’t done with each other yet."

I know I haven't inserted a lot of personal observations into this week's Collision, and it's not because I wasn't entertained but rather that I was consistently impressed. But regarding this match specifically I enjoyed how much Garcia seemed to rattle and disrupt the House of Black. I say that as long as HoB are keeping their spooky-ooky gimmick, go full force with it and say that Daniel Garcia has some sort of special destiny to defeat them. Maybe he was born under a magical star sign, or he finds an enchanted blade or something. Find a way to take Garcia's continuing journey from "sports entertainer" to "professional wrestler" and mix it with a hero's quest to defeat the evil wizard and his monster men.

"As Collision came to an end, we saw Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara brawling with Ricky Starks & Big Bill outside of the building."

AEW World Tag Team Title Street FightBig Bill & Ricky Starks (c) defeated Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara
"This was a wild brawl, mirroring more WWF Hardcore than the usual AEW brawls. It was a fun piece of business though, and the Callis Family continues to be thorns in Jericho’s side. Maybe the most memorable Battle of the Belts match yet, although that’s not clearing the highest of bars. [...] After a commercial, Guevara did a wall walk into a superkick onto Bill before spraying both champions with a fire extinguisher. Jericho drilled Bill with a fire extinguisher as Starks and Guevara brawled down the hall. They finally fought out in front of the crowd as Jericho whipped Bill with a kendo stick. Jericho and Bill fought up a speaker box as Starks and Guevara fought to the back.

Jericho set up Bill on top of the speaker box, but Konosuke Takeshita drilled Jericho with a kendo stick. That allowed Bill to powerbomb Jericho through a table near the time keeper area. Guevara and Starks brawled toward the stage, where Guevara laid out Starks on the stage. Guevara climbed up a lighting truss, but when he went for his dive, Powerhouse Hobbs pulled Starks out of the way. Guevara broke through the stage, and Starks crawled over him to score the pin and the win."
TBS Championship MatchJulia Hart (c) defeated Anna Jay
"Jay took the early advantage with a neckbreaker, but Hart turned things around with a back elbow in the corner. Hart went for a cartwheel into the corner, but Jay reversed it and sent her into the top turnbuckle. Jay hit a leg lariat, but Hart ducked a second one and pulled Jay into the post shoulder-first. Hart targeted the shoulder as we went to a commercial. Jay made a one-armed comeback as we came back from the break, hitting the Dangerous Jay kick for a nearfall. Jay hit a backstabber for another nearfall. Hart countered a corner charge but ran into…something from Jay for a nearfall. Jay locked on the Queenslayer, but Hart quickly countered it into a choke of her own. Jay pulled her off and hit a flatliner for a nearfall. Hart countered another Dangerous Jay kick into the Hartless submission for the win."
AEW International Championship MatchOrange Cassidy (c) defeated Preston Vance
"This was the best Vance showing I’ve ever seen, as Cassidy gave him a ton of offense here. Cassidy gets another quality title defense as Roderick Strong and the Undisputed Kingdom loom large."
posted by The Pluto Gangsta (2 comments total)
Someone on a wrestling Discord I frequent finally explained it to me -- "Battle of the Belts" is what happens when the network wants to fill an extra hour, so they give it to Tony Khan and AEW. Since it only happens unpredictably and intermittently, that probably explains why a title hasn't changed hands on BOTB since the second one back in 2022, and today was no exception.

I do like that they acknowledged that Sammy's the only challenger ever to win (on BOTB 1 and 2), and they also shouted out when tonight he reversed his history vis-a-vis golf carts in no-DQ matches.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:26 PM on January 13

For anyone wondering what's happening in New Japan-land, Jack Perry just debuted at NJPW's "Battle in the Valley". He laid out Shota Umino and then tore up an AEW contract and put on a black armband that read, "SCAPEGOAT".
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:30 PM on January 13

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