Preview: AEW Collision (07/08/23) – CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe

An AEW Collision match graphic featuring CM Punk and Samoa Joe.

After four weeks, this may be the most notable episode of AEW Collision. As two major feuds are revisited as part of the Owen Hart Tournament, a peak rag team feud gets a major match of its own and more. AEW Collision returns to a live setting this week from the Brandt Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Formally known as the Agridome, it only has one major wrestling event to its name. A WWF house show from 1989 that saw The Hart Foundation wrestle The Rockers to a time-limit draw and Jim Duggan defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage in the main event via count out.

Joe vs Punk 7

A feud that defined the early days of Ring of Honor as well as established the careers of both CM Punk and Samoa Joe is renewed as the two face off for the first time in nearly 20 years.

In 2003, as Samoa Joe dominated as Ring of Honor World Champion, he met with CM Punk in a non-title match at the event “Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies” in Fairfield, Connecticut. There was not much to think about it, however, the two would have a rematch at Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’sAn Inch Longer Than Average”  that November. Samoa Joe yet again defeated CM Punk. However, their third match took place at the “World Title Classic” on June 2004 and the title of the event was appropriate for the match.

This set the stage for the rather misnamed ROH event, “Joe vs Punk II.” It was technically their fourth match. However, this was also a 60-minute time limit draw that played up on everything that happened in their previous encounter. So in that sense, it was a sequel.

They wound up having a 60-minute time limit that earned a Wrestling Observer 5 Star rating. The first North-American promotion and match to do such since Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker in Hell In A Cell at “In Your House 18: Badd Blood.”

Their feud culminated with Samoa Joe defeating CM Punk again at “All-Star Extravaganza II” on December 4th. A sixth match between the two did take place in 2005 for FWA’sInternational Showdown” event in England. It also saw Samoa Joe win. In short, CM Punk has never been able to defeat Samoa Joe despite this being the feud that very much set the foundation for his career to grow into what it’s become. The two will now meet in this semi-final match of the 2023 Owen Hart Tournament.

Gold Chasing The Gold

Without any doubt whatsoever, the biggest benefactors of the creation of AEW Collision are Bullet Club Gold. The tandem of Jay White and Juice Robinson felt lost since moving over from New Japan Pro Wrestling. But found their footing and to great effect come the debut of the show.

They now find themselves set to take on the AEW World Tag Team Champions FTR in a non-title match. Should they win, they get a shot at the titles. As of yet, nobody in AEW has won one of these Eliminator matches. Not even Adam Cole, instead having a time-limit draw against World Champion MJF.  Can Jay White and Juice Robinson be the first to do it? This is their chance to do it.

A Team Taz Reunion of Sorts

Another feud is revived in this show. As the former members of Team Taz clash yet again. The two had a notable feud in 2022 coming off Ricky Starks’ neck injury when he lost the FTW title to Hook and Powerhouse Hobbs. Feeling it was a sign of weakness. This set the stage for a feud that saw the two clash in a quick bout at All Out, however, their big match took place on AEW Rampage: Grand Slam, headlining in a Lights Out match where Ricky Starks won. They’re at one a piece. Time for the rubber match and we’ll see who goes to the finals on the men’s side of the Owen Hart Tournament.

It Was Almost Champion vs. Champion

ROH Women’s Champion Athena has been rocking it in ROH’s weekly HonorClub show. Being a noted standout of the weekly program. Her opponent was NJPW’s first STRONG Women’s Champion Willow Nightingale. She however lost the title on the July 4th NJPW STRONG event from Korakuen Hall. Losing the title to STARDOM star Giulia. Leader of STARDOM’s Donna Del Mondo faction.

Nightingale now has to make the flight back to Canada to continue in the Owen Hart Tournament. A tough task as jetlag will likely play a factor alongside the loss, while Athena comes into the match without the jetlag. She did have a match on HonorClub, defeating Selezia Sparkx in a Proving Ground (non-title) match. A local from Canada.

All that and more on what feels like a very stacked edition of AEW Collision on TNT.

More LWOS Pro Wrestling

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world. As well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TBS and AEW Dark: Elevation (Monday nights) and AEW: Dark (Tuesday nights) at 7 PM ET on YouTube. AEW Rampage airs on TNT at 10 PM EST every Friday night.