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AEW Collision Preview for August 5, 2023

All Elite Wrestling is coming to Greenville, SC this Saturday for the very first time, and that means COLLISION will be LIVE from the Bon Secours Wellness Arena with 3 huge championship matches! CM Punk defends his “Real” World Championship against 2023 Owen Hart Tournament Winner Ricky Starks, while FTR face Big Bill and Brian Cage with their AEW World Tag Team Championship on the line, plus TBS Champion Kris Statlander faces the challenge of “The OG Badass” Mercedes Martinez! The Acclaimed will also be in the house to talk about their future following Daddy Ass' apparent retirement from professional wrestling; the night begins at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT, as well as at for AEW's international fans, just make sure to drop by the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from this week's episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest edition of CONTROL CENTER, and so much more!


CM Punk(c) vs. 2023 Owen Hart Foundation Winner “Absolute” Ricky Starks

It's a fact; CM Punk was never beaten for the AEW World Championship following his ALL OUT 2022 victory over Jon Moxley, but it's also a fact that in his absence, a new World Champion needed to be crowned, and it was Jon Moxley who defeated Bryan Danielson on September 21st to become that champion. Not in an interim fashion, not as a placeholder until Punk returned, but as the All Elite Wrestling World Champion. Now this was not the only time this situation unfolded, it wasn't even the first time it was a situation involving Punk, as Moxley became Interim Champion in lieu of an injury to Punk when he defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi at FORBIDDEN DOOR 2022. It was also a situation with the AEW Women's World Championship when Thunder Rosa was injured while holding the championship, it was an issue with Cody Rhodes as TNT Champion, and of course it was a situation with The Elite following ALL OUT 2022 when they were stripped of the AEW World Trios Championship.

Cody came back, lost to Interim TNT Champion Sammy Guevara, and “The Spanish God” moved forward as champion. The Elite returned to action to face down Death Triangle at FULL GEAR 2022 and lost, leaving PAC, Penta, and Fenix as reigning champions for the time being. Thunder Rosa has not been cleared to return to action since her injury, and has watched both Jamie Hayter and Hikaru Shida lay claim to that championship, as well as Toni Storm twice. If and when Thunder returns to competition, will she immediately pursue that which she never lost? That's a story still to be told...

As for Punk, he has watched Jon Moxley and MJF become the World Champion of AEW in his absence, knowing he was never beaten for the title, and after being back in the fold for two months, he's done watching others lay claim to that which was taken from him but for which he was never defeated. Enter: Ricky Starks...

Having become something of an ally to Punk since the inception of COLLISION, Starks did what he felt he had to do in order to beat Punk in the finals of the 2023 Owen Hart Foundation Tournament. That victory over the “Real” World Champion has reignited the arrogance not seen in Starks since his Team Taz days, and now he wants what Punk has been keeping in that red bag, what he feels he is owed for winning The Owen.

So now it's time for both men to put up or shut up, it is time for Punk to back up his claim of being the real AEW World Champion, just as it is time for “Absolute” to justify the arrogance that has been reborn since winning The Owen. There will be a great many eyes upon this match, those of every one gunning for CM Punk, likely those of the AEW World Champion MJF given someone else is laying claim to the championship he holds, the question is how long can Punk walk around making that claim before it grows into something bigger? And if he loses the “Real” World Title, will “Absolute” Ricky Starks walk around making the same claims as the man he beat?

This is a bout with a whole lot of intrigue involved, and a great deal of ramifications stemming from the outcome. Who will walk out of Greenville, SC holding that championship belt?


FTR(Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood)(c) vs. Big Bill & Brian Cage

Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler have seen their AEW World Tag Team Championship reign kick into overdrive since the launch of COLLISION. In the last seven weeks, they've defended their belt on two occasions, the first in that nearly hour long match against BULLET CLUB GOLD in Calgary, and the second just last week against Adam Cole and AEW World Champion MJF. As impressive as those two situations are, add in the fact that FTR has also competed on three other weeks in the seven week existence of COLLISION, and it shows just how much work they've put in as of late.

And in the aftermath of two of their most grueling matches, here comes Big Bill and Brian Cage to challenge for the titles. Having looked quite impressive in the Blind Eliminator Tag Tournament that first paired them up, the two men made a choice to stick together in the Tag Team Battle Royal that rewarded them with this championship opportunity, and clearly it was an intelligent decision on their part.

Already reigning as 1/3 of the ROH World Six-Man Champions with The Gates of Agony, Brian Cage is already one of the biggest monsters on either roster, but when paired up with a 7 foot beast like Big Bill, they create the most imposing duo All Elite Wrestling has possibly ever seen.

With FTR now doubt feeling it after the run they've had the last few weeks, particularly from the Eliminator Tag with BULLET CLUB GOLD through the MJF/Cole title defense, Cash and Dax have got to be feeling the pain. Conversely, Bill and Brian are relatively fresh all things considered, even though they did have a very brief tag team encounter prior to DYNAMITE on Wednesday night. There is no doubt FTR are the more experienced team, thus more able to fight with the pain they're feeling after their wars of the last seven weeks. But that being said, they haven't faced monstrous powerhouses like Big Bill and Brian Cage in their reigns as AEW World Tag Team Champions, and definitely not after going through everything they have as of late.

This may be the prime opportunity for Bill and Brian to topple the defending champions, and begin their reign atop the division! Should that be the case, who will measure up to what Cage and Big Bill bring to the table and be able to bring their run to an end? That being said, if FTR survive this fight as champions, will they be easy picking for the next challengers or even more battle-hardened and prepared for whoever steps up?


Kris Statlander(c) vs. Mercedes Martinez

Clearly Mercedes Martinez, a former ROH Women's World Champion, was not content with sitting back and waiting for a championship opportunity to be offered to her. All it took was one match on COLLISION, a victory over Kiera Hogan, for Mercedes to let her intentions for Kris Statlander's TBS Championship be known.

Mercedes, unrelenting even after submitting Kiera, got the attention of Statlander, leading the TBS Champion out to the ring to stop the post-match attack. Unfortunately for Stat, she made the mistake of leaving her belt laying in the ring and turning her back on “The OG Badass”, leaving herself open to be knocked unconscious with a belt shot courtesy of Mercedes. Clearly Martinez plan worked because this Saturday night, for the first time in four years, Kris Statlander and Mercedes will go one-on-one, but this time with the TBS Championship at stake!

Statlander has been exceptional since defeating Jade Cargill for the title at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023, making seven successful defenses in 70 days against the likes of Marina Shafir, Taya Valkyrie, and Nyla Rose, to name a few. With each fight, Statlander seems to be growing stronger, more confident, and in turn the fans more endeared to the woman. Can Mercedes, in just her third AEW match since returning from injury, put a dead stop to the momentum Kris Statlander has built since returning from hers? Will a new TBS Champion be crowned in Greenville, SC?


Following The Acclaimed's second AEW World Trios Championship loss to The House of Black, Daddy Ass did the unexpected when he removed his boots and left them laying in the center of the ring. In professional wrestling, it is an action symbolic of retiring from competition, and given that Billy Gunn has not been present since that moment on COLLISION, it seems his thirty-plus year career has indeed come to an end.

So what does that mean for Platinum Max and Anthony Bowens? This Saturday night on COLLISION, we will hear from the former AEW World Tag Team Champions about what their future entails, and perhaps an update on Billy's status as well. For The Acclaimed, there is still a lot of road to travel, and there is no doubt they'll continuing doing so with or without Daddy Ass, but where is that road heading now?

AEW comes to Greenville, SC and the Bon Secours Wellness Arena for the very first time with an all-new COLLISION featuring three championship matches! The AEW World Tag Team Champions are right back at it with a defense against Big Bill and Brian Cage stemming from the latter's Tag Team Battle Royale victory, plus CM Punk defends his “Real” World Championship against Ricky Starks, and Kris Statlander puts her TBS Championship on the line against former ROH Women's World Champion Mercedes Martinez! We will also hear from The Acclaimed about their future in the wake of Daddy Ass leaving his boots in the ring; the fights begins at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT, as well as at for AEW's international fans, so be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from this week's episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest edition of CONTROL CENTER, and so much more!


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