COLLISION returns to the airwaves this Saturday night with a collection of tremendous match-ups as we near the end of the road to REVOLUTION 2024! This week, the Great Southern Bank Arena in Springfield, MO hosts AEW’s Saturday night fights, and is going to be unforgettable, particularly when “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson steps into the ring with the legendary Jun Akiyama for their very first singles match! They’ve dance a handful of times in tag and trios in their Pro Wrestling NOAH days, but for the first time it’s one-on-one, and the eyes of Continental Crown Champion Eddie Kingston will no doubt be on this fight! Plus, coming off a heated time limit draw with The BCC on Wednesday, FTR gets right back in the saddle with a tag team fight against Shane Taylor Promotions, and we will see both Thunder Rosa and Serena Deeb in action as each tries to climb back to the top of the mountain!
The night starts at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TNT, and the AEW faithful can get prepared for the action-packed evening by visiting the official AEW YouTube channel, as well as AEW’s other social media platforms, for highlights from this week’s DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest CONTROL CENTER, and so much more!
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. Jun Akiyama
Four times over the course of his career “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson has stood across the ring from Jun Akiyama, a man many refer to as the 5th Pillar of Heaven, placing him alongside Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, Akira Taue, and Toshiaki Kawada in the grand tapestry of All Japan Pro Wrestling. All four of their meetings came together under the Pro Wrestling NOAH banner, but not a one saw the two combatants square off in a head-to-head match-up. The first, taking place on 11/29/06 during Danielson’s ROH World Championship reign, saw Bryan team up with the late, great Bison Smith to actually defeat Akiyama and Makoto Hashi, but their next two meetings would not follow suit.
4/23/07, as part of Bryan’s month long tour of NOAH, they would lock up again, this time in Trios competition, with Bison again siding with Bryan, and the pair joined by Joe Legend. This time out Akiyama had former GHC Heavyweight Champion Takeshi Rikio and junior heavyweight legend Yoshinobu Kanemaru at his side, and this time around it was Akiyama’s unit that picked up the win. They traded another victory on April 4, 2008 when Bryan returned to NOAH, this time alongside the team of D’Lo Brown and Buchanan, collectively known as RO&D, to defeat Akiyama, the late Atsushi Aoki, and once again, Takeshi Rikio.
The final encounter between these two men took place a month later, May 17th at Differ Ariake, this time with Bryan and Bison being joined by Akitoshi Saito, to defeated Jun Akiyama and the same partners as the April fight. So when it comes to the numbers of their history, somewhat surprisingly it is Bryan Danielson who holds the 3-1 advantage, but that’s without a singles encounter. This Saturday night on COLLISION that changes because Jun Akiyama is coming back to All Elite Wrestling to fight “The American Dragon” one-on-one!
Bryan has already had a strenuous 2024 in terms of his in-ring activities; he began the year by losing to Kazuchika Okada at WRESTLE KINGDOM 18, followed by an 8-Man loss to TMDK at NEW YEARS DASH!! 2024 before he returned to the United States. Since coming back to AEW, Bryan has been on a tear, scoring a tag team victory over Continental Champion Eddie Kingston and Ortiz, singles wins over Yuji Nagata and Hechicero, and a trios victory over the CMLL contingent. A speed bump came upon Bryan’s return to NJPW for THE NEW BEGINNING IN OSAKA 2024 when he fell to Zack Sabre Jr., but now he’s back home for the final leg leading to REVOLUTION 2024 where he will challenge Eddie Kingston for the Continental Crown.
Now there are already many ties that bind Kingston and Danielson, but Saturday will add one more as it was back in November 2021 that Eddie Kingston and Ortiz first welcomed Jun Akiyama to AEW. Akiyama won that tag team bout, but would fall to “The Mad King” in a singles bout at FULL GEAR 2021: ZERO HOUR the next night. The respect built between those two nights actually led Akiyama to bring Kingston to DDT Pro Wrestling, as his partner, for the March 2023 DDT GOES HOLLYWOOD! event in Los Angeles. What began as a relationship of Kingston looking up to Akiyama as an idol developed into that of one as peers, one whose respect is built upon the fight, and perhaps that is why Danielson chose to take this match so close to his International Championship challenge against Kingston.
Perhaps Bryan took this to spit in the face of someone Kingston respects, to use Jun Akiyama to send Eddie a message, perhaps even an opportunity for Bryan to show the current KO-D Six Man Champion the complete lack of respect he also shows Eddie Kingston. Bryan’s insistence that this is his last full-time year as an in-ring competitor has led to some fantastic matches, with certainly more to come, but it is also beginning to feel like it is Danielson’s way to bolster his ego, and prove beyond any doubt that “The American Draagon” is the best wrestler in the world whether he’s active or not. It feels like an ego trip concealed as a farewell tour, but Jun Akiyama is not the man to use for such purposes.
Not only does he hold that aforementioned KO-D championship, but he’s also a former 2-Time Triple Crown Champion, 3-Time GHC Heavyweight Champion, 7-Time AJPW World Tag Champion, and 4-Time All Asia Tag Team Champion, just to name a few. He’s wrestled, and beaten, legends like Stan Hansen, Misawa, Kobashi, Taue, as well as today’s greats in DDT Pro like Takeshita, MAO, and Rukiya. Akiyama is one of the last of his generation still competing, with only a few others like Satoshi Kojima and Yuji Nagata springing to mind as Akiyama’s contemporaries still fighting at the highest levels.
All this is to say that Danielson should not approach Akiyama with the same disrespect he shows Eddie Kingston, or perhaps that’s the game Bryan is playing, showing respect to everyone he fights except the Continental Crown Champion. However this fight with Akiyama plays out, Danielson is going to feel it, and for his sake, he best hope it doesn’t compromise him for that championship fight at REVOLUTION 2024.
TAG TEAM THROWDOWN…
FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) vs. Shane Taylor Promotions (Lee Moriarty & Shane Taylor)
Coming off a tremendous 20-minute draw with Moxley and Claudio on DYNAMITE, FTR are jumping right back into action this Saturday night with a fight against opponents not all that different from The BCC duo. Shane Taylor is a hard-hitting, smashmouth fighter from Ohio who has no problem calling it as he sees it, and letting the world know how he feels. Lee Moriarty is a supremely skilled grappler, capable of tying a man up in knots inside the squared circle, but has proven to be just at home throwing elbows as he is chaining together holds. Together, STP has a mission of ascending to the AEW and ROH mountain tops, and they’ve actively put out the call for others to join in their quest:
Well this Saturday night, when faced with the 2-Time former AEW World Tag Champions, the men who held AAA, ROH, and IWGP Tag Gold simultaneously for six months, Shane Taylor and Lee Moriarty will have their chance to rumble with the best, and show the rest of the locker room why they are the team to ride with. After that unsatisfying result on DYNAMITE, and the potential for a rematch down the line, FTR is going to bring the fight to STP but best believe that STP will return it in kind. This is going to be a slugfest, of that there is little doubt, the only question is if what Dax and Cash went through on Wednesday has left them ripe for the picking or queued them up for more violence?
The Bang Bang Scissor Gang (Colten Gunn, Daddy Ass, & Jay White) In Action!!!
Last week on RAMPAGE we witnessed The Bang Bang Scissor Gang compete in full force for the very first time, and they showed The Dark Order, Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, and Satnam Singh just what they are capable of when operating in the same page. After everything that’s gone down between The Gunns and their father, as well as The Gunns and The Acclaimed, it had to have been simultaneously strange and exhilarating to be working together, but magic was made, of that there is no question.
But this week on COLLISION, with the cowboys coming back to town, they’ve decided to do it Trios style once more, but rather coming in as one of the units they’ve become accustomed to, or even simply put The Gunn Club back together for the night, “Switchblade” Jay White has mashed it all up to put himself, Colten Gunn, and Daddy Ass together for some Trios competition! Will this blending of ROH World Six-Man and AEW World Trios Champions be as successful as all six fighting together? With fewer individuals in the mix to distract, will Billy and Colten Gunn be able to remain cohesive given their complicated history in AEW? And just who will step into the ring with these champions to try and upset The BBSG?
Malakai Black vs. “Bounty Hunter” Bryan Keith
It has been more than 610 days since Malakai Black competed in a one-on-one match in All Elite Wrestling, and 608 days since the last time he fought in a match that wasn’t some sort of tag, trio, or multi-man contest. Mind you, that focus on multi-man competition paid off, up until a week ago The House of Black were the longest reigning AEW World Trios Champions since the titles incarnation, and collectively they remain one of, if not the, most imposing units in All Elite Wrestling. The House may have lost the Escape the Cage match against FTR and Daniel Garcia, but it isn’t because Malakai Black tasted true defeat, in fact in the realm of singles competition only one man has put Black’s shoulders to the mat since his Summer 2021 debut, and that was back on October 23rd of that year.
Suffice it to say “Bounty Hunter” Bryan Keith, a man who only officially became All Elite three weeks ago, has his work cut out for him on COLLISION this Saturday night. Though he is coming into this fight off a RAMPAGE victory, that was in Trios competition and prior to that win, in his limited AEW experience, Keith had yet to score any victories, let alone in the singles ranks.
Will this be the night “Bounty Hunter” shocks the world and puts down the master of The House? Or will this night serve as Malakai Black’s herald, declaring to the world that he is stepping back into the singles ranks with the cruelest of intentions?
NO DQ, DON CALLIS FAMILY & CHRIS JERICHO BANNED FROM THE BUILDING, THERE MUST BE A WINNER!!!
Sammy Guevara vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
Last night on RAMPAGE, Sammy Guevara called out Powerhouse Hobbs for a fight in response to being put through tables by the former TNT Champion. Unfortunately for “The Spanish God” the challenge did not go in his favor, as a devastating lariat, two spinebusters, and a World’s Most Dangerous Slam left Guevara a broken man at the feet of Hobbs and Don Callis. Yet he persists, despite the odds, despite the physical advantages Powerhouse Hobbs holds over Sammy, the young man persists in the fight. That should come as no surprise, after all this is the man who dethroned “The Redeemer” Miro to win the first of his three TNT Championship titles, Sammy clearly does not back down from a fight.
And a fight is what he will have this Saturday night on COLLISION when he faces Hobbs one-on-one, for the very first time, and in a No DQ match to boot! While this sounds like a situation just inviting the interference of the Don Callis Family, in an effort to level the playing field the entire Callis crew has been banned from the building, but so has Guevara’s main ally, Chris Jericho!
Will that ruling be enough for Sammy to knock down the mountain that is Powerhouse Hobbs? This No DQ situation may seem like the perfect playground for Guevara, especially looking at that fight with Jeff Hardy as a litmus test, but so too is it the perfect opportunity for Hobbs to become an untethered engine of destruction. This may be a situation of mutually assured destruction…
RETURNING TO FORM…
Serena Deeb vs. Kiera Hogan
Thunder Rosa In Action!
Both Serena Deeb and former AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa are on a mission, a mission to return to the top of the Women’s Division and claim (or reclaim in Thunder’s case) championship success. Both lost over a year of their careers fighting to get back into the ring, and both were able to return to the ring within a month of each other. For Rosa that moment came at the tail end of 2023 when COLLISION came to San Antonio right before Christmas while for Deeb it came in Bossier City, LA a month later, also on COLLISION, and for each it was cathartic. Imagine sitting on the sidelines for over year, watching others else be able to do the thing you love to do, while you are stuck struggling to be able to rejoin the fight.
Whether it’s professional wrestling, music, reading, writing, whatever; each of us has something we love to do so imagine if suddenly you weren’t able to do that thing, and even after you felt you could do that thing, you still weren’t allowed to do that thing. That is the space where both Thunder Rosa and Serena Deeb have lived for far too long, but that longing to return to the ring has made each moment spent in it since their returns that much sweeter. This Saturday night on COLLISION the joy of competing continues for each woman as they step back between the ropes, fully cognizant that not too long ago it seemed an impossibility, and they get ready to fight whoever is standing on the opposite side.
After almost losing these moments for good, each woman knows these are now ones to be cherished, but the sweetest moment, the one that makes the year-plus struggles worth it, will be the one when a championship belt is handed over and lofted high overhead in celebration. Who will get there first, and will their paths cross once more on the road to their shared goal?
We are just eight days away from REVOLUTION 2024 where “The Icon” Sting will have his final professional wrestling match, and COLLISION returns on Saturday night, emanating from the Great Southern Bank Arena in Springfield, MO with a loaded night of action! With a Continental Crown match-up on his future, “The American Dragon” welcomes Jun Akiyama back to All Elite Wrestling, The Bang Bang Scissor Gang mashes things up for Trios action, Serena Deeb and Thunder Rosa continue their efforts to climb back up the rankings, and Malakai Black returns to singles action for a fight with “Bounty Hunter” Bryan Keith!
All that, as well as FTR taking on Shane Taylor Promotions in a tag team fight, comes your way at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TNT, and the AEW faithful can get prepared for the action-packed evening by visiting the official AEW YouTube channel, as well as AEW’s other social media platforms, for highlights from this week’s DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest CONTROL CENTER, and so much more!