Preview: AEW Collision (07/15/23) – CM Punk vs. Ricky Starks, Owen Hart Cup Finals

AEW Collision match graphic featuring CM Punk vs. Ricky Starks.

All Elite Wrestling concludes its near-month-long Canadian tour with this edition of AEW Collision. Live from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Without a doubt, the most fitting place possible to conclude the second annual Owen Hart Tournament. The home of the legendary Hart Family and of course, of Owen Hart himself. This venue was also the home of one of the WWE’s most memorable Pay-Per-View events: In Your House 16 – Calgary Stampede.

A night that saw a powerful battle between The Undertaker and Vader for the WWF Championship. It also saw Triple H and Mankind, an all-time personal favorite feud, brawl to a double count-out, a fantastic bout and a hell of a surprise between the legendary Great Sasuke and Taka Michinoku, and finally an extremely memorable main event. As The Hart Foundation, Owen and Bret Hart, The British Bulldog, Brian Pillman, and Jim Neidhart defeated The Legion Of Doom, Goldust, Ken Shamrock, and “The Texas Rattlesnake” himself, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in front of an absolutely thunderous, roaring Calgary crowd.

It won 1997’s best event of the year in the Wrestling Observer and it’s the closest thing in the 90’s that you will find that can be compared to a good old  WWE NXT “black and gold” era Takeover event. Now AEW steps in for the first time with AEW Collision.

The Owen Hart Tournament Finals

In the male segment for this episode of AEW Collision, we’ve known since last week that it will be CM Punk vs. Ricky Starks. Ricky Starks has an extremely tough mountain to climb here as he’s facing an undefeated CM Punk, that has also managed to end a 20-year rut as of last week when he finally defeated Samoa Joe in a one-on-one match.

Ricky Starks has been on a “start-stop” situation since All Out last year. Being MJF’s first challenger and coming off hot despite the loss. However, his feud with Jay White has not done him much favors. Meanwhile, we saw CM Punk constantly take shots at MJF, saying he’s not the real World Champion because he was never beaten when he was Champion last time.

Winning this tournament would likely seal the deal of him being the next big challenger to MJF. But, does he really need to win it in the first place? At the end of the night, we will know who will hold his head up high.

As for the women, Willow Nightingale was successful. Managing to defeat the Ring of Honor Women’s Champion Athena last night on AEW Rampage after the match had to be postponed. She now goes to the finals of the Owen Hart Tournament to face last year’s runner-up, Ruby Soho. These two already faced off this very year, with Soho defeating Nightingale thanks to the aid of the rest of The Outcasts in the March 29th edition of AEW Dynamite. Willow was able to redeem herself once this week.

Can she go for two? Or will Ruby not be denied this year?

Rematch Of An Instant Classic

Last week saw Bullet Club Gold end a curse. The first challengers to defeat Champions in an AEW Eliminator match. The company’s term for non-title matches. As such, we now get a title match. As the duo of “Switchblade” Jay White and “Rock Hard” Juice Robinson challenge FTR, Dax Harwood, and Cash Wheeler, for the AEW World Tag Team Championships. The match will be a Two Out of Three Falls Match.

Last week’s match, which saw rave reviews, went a full half hour. And now the match will have two more falls involved. Given only this and the two Owen Hart Tournament finals are the only matches scheduled for the show, it seems very likely that this match will go long. And with the immediately following AEW Battle of the Belts only having one match scheduled, it is not at all impossible to believe that this match could very well bleed into that third hour of AEW programming.

So set yourself up for another Saturday night that’s alright for fighting, as AEW has three hours of TV tonight.

More From 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.