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AEW Collision Preview for July 1, 2023



The Owen Hart Foundation Tournament is in full swing and after this Saturday night's edition of COLLISION, the Semi-Finals will be set for the Men's brackets! We witnessed CM Punk advance to the Semi's with his defeat of the legendary Satoshi Kojima at FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023 this past Sunday night, and by the end of business on Saturday night, three other men will join him! Plus Kris Statlander will defend her TBS Championship against Lady Frost, and AEW World Champion MJF will actually get into the ring and wrestle!



COLLISION begins at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT this Saturday on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for AEW's international fans, and don't forget to check in on the official AEW YouTube channel before the show for highlights from this week's episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest edition of THE CONTROL CENTER, and much, much more!


TBS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...

Kris Statlander(c) vs. Lady Frost


After beating Taya Valkyrie in their TBS Championship bout, and hopefully quieting her mouth for the time being, it's time for Kris Statlander to move forward with her title reign as she aims to surpass the historic precedent set by Jade Cargill's run as the first champion. With that in mind, Statlander has laid out another Open Challenge for this Saturday night on TNT, and it looks like Lady Frost has answered the challenge!


No strangers to one another after their HOUSE RULES: HUNTSVILLE title fight a month ago, these two women now have some familiarity with one another, and that is going to go a long way towards Frost being able to hang with Stat in this title fight. As for the defending champion, this will mark her sixth championship fight since besting Jade at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023, as well as her sixth bout since returning from that nasty injury that shelved Statlander for nine months. This is a competitor who has not taken it easy on herself, who has continuously tested herself against the best competition, and looks to be better than ever before!


It would be a major upset if Lady Frost, coming off a recent loss to Taya, found the key to stopping Statlander's triumphant return to action, but if she does, it will skyrocket the AEW career of Lady Frost right to the top of the heap! Her stock will grow exponentially faster than she can blink, and everyone will come looking to take their shot at the newly crowned champ. If Statlander retains, the question is who will be the next woman to step up to the plate? We witnessed Hikaru Shida pick up a victory over Taya on Friday night's edition of RAMPAGE, perhaps it is she who's got eyes on adding a TBS Championship reign to her record-setting AEW Women's World Championship one. Should Statlander emerge as champ, we will have to wait and see who answers the next Open Challenge!


OWEN HART FOUNDATION TOURNAMENT MEN'S QUARTER-FINAL...

ROH World Television Champion Samoa Joe vs. Roderick Strong


GLORY BY HONOR V, NIGHT 1; that was the site of the last one-on-one bout between Roderick Strong and ROH World Television Champion. That September 2006 night in East Windsor, CT, before the ROH faithful and under a tent in the middle of a rainstorm, Samoa Joe beat the tar out of Roderick for nearly 20 minutes. There were no championships at stake, though they had battled in several ROH World Tag Team Championship bouts prior to this, just pride and bragging rights, and that night Joe took the measure of young Roddy only to find him wanting. Though he was one-half of the reigning ROH World Tag Champions at that point in 2006, Roderick Strong was only just beginning to really find himself as a singles competitor after epic bouts with Bryan Danielson earlier in the year, as well as fights with Pure Champion Nigel McGuinness, KENTA, and The Briscoes. But Samoa Joe, well for Ring of Honor he was the litmus test, and that night a test that Roddy failed.

That was then, this is now, and there is a reason Roderick Strong is one of the most respected competitors in professional wrestling today, there's a reason he grew to be called “Mr. ROH” as well as a Triple Crown Champion after holding the Tag, Television, and World Titles in Ring of Honor. He's proven to have a bottomless gas tank once the bell rings, he chops harder than pretty much anyone in the history of professional wrestling, and his Stronghold submission is just one of the reasons he was dubbed “Messiah of the Backbreaker” many years ago. Strong has developed into a paragon of professional wrestling in the 17 years since their last encounter, and Samoa Joe better not come into this fight looking at Roddy like he's the same 23 year old kid he was in 2006.

As for Joe, he's greatly surpassed one year as the ROH World Television Champion, marking nearly 450 days as champion, a feat only previously surpassed by Dragon Lee and Jay Lethal, and with eyes on matching (if not surpassing) the 645 days he reigned as ROH World Champion from March 2003- December 2004. In addition, Joe also has designs on making up for last year's loss to Adam Cole in the finals of the inaugural Owen Hart Foundation Men's Tournament, and that begins with putting down Roderick Strong in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


And to the winner awaits a foe quite familiar to both Roddy and Joe from their days in Ring of Honor: a former ROH World Champion, former 2-Time ROH Tag Team Champion, and former 2-Time AEW World Champion, none other than CM Punk, and he will be joining the booth for commentary during the main event!


OWEN HART FOUNDATION TOURNAMENT MEN'S QUARTER-FINAL...

“The Natural” Dustin Rhodes vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

Dustin Rhodes, even after all this time spent competing inside the squared circle, continues to fight like a young man with something to prove. Whether it's to himself, his co-workers, or if he thinks he's got to prove it to the fans, he wrestles every single time like it's his first and last. It's all heart, nothing held back, and given that this tournament he enters on Saturday is in honor of a man he called friend, “The Natural” has some extra motivation to push himself to be the best he's ever been.


And when you're heading into a fight with a mountain of a man named Powerhouse Hobbs, a man better bring every ounce of fight he has in his body. After losing the TNT Championship to Wardlow, Hobbs is now fixated on two goals;:1) dominating COLLISION and 2) winning The Owen, and the first step towards either of those goals is smashing through Dustin Rhodes. Now the experience difference is obvious, as are the physical attributes, but it's that mental game stemming from the experience where Dustin Rhodes is certainly stronger than Hobbs. He knows how to play this game better than anyone else in All Elite Wrestling, and he's going to have to dig deep to overcome the physical advantages Hobbs has over him.


And to the winner of this bout goes the spoils of fighting either “Rock Hard” Juice Robinson or “Absolute” Ricky Starks! Any combination is an intriguing match-up, but the history between Hobbs and Starks back in their Team Taz days certainly adds an extra bit of spice to that mixture.

OWEN HART FOUNDATION TOURNAMENT MEN'S QUARTER-FINAL...

“Absolute” Ricky Starks vs. BULLET CLUB GOLD's “Rock Hard” Juice Robinson

Life has been nothing but frustrating for “Absolute” Ricky Starks since he bested Chris Jericho at REVOLUTION 2023 almost four months ago. Nearly every week since that triumphant moment he's been pestered, assaulted, battered, and abused by the BULLET CLUB GOLD duo of Juice Robinson and “Switchblade” Jay White. The few moments of satisfaction he's had have almost always come at a price; he bested Juice Robinson in Baltimore nearly two months back, but Jay White assaulted him as soon as that match was over.


Starks stood tall over Jay White in Austin, TX two weeks after that, but it was only because he got himself disqualified swinging a chair at “King Switch” and “Rock Hard”. He may have felt victorious, but the record books show a DQ loss nonetheless, and just when he thought he had Jay White dead to rights in their rematch on June 7th in Colorado Springs, The Gunns stuck their nose into the situation and cost Starks that one too.


Then in last week's COLLISION 8-Man main event, as can be seen in the video embedded above, he once again fell victim to the distraction game, and after delivering multiple spears to his foes, got suckered by Juice's loaded punch from the outside. Frustration amplified...


Now when this tournament was first announced, Starks was the very first person to announce his entry into the field, and the fact that he's been positioned opposite Juice gives him opportunity for some retaliation for the seemingly ceaseless barrage from BULLET CLUB GOLD.


MJF HAS TO WORK...

He isn't happy about it whatsoever, but this Saturday evening, the AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman is going to have to lace up his boots for the second time in a week and compete on COLLISION! With the Blind Tag Team Eliminator Tournament getting started next week, he may even have to wrestle then too! Suffice to say, the champ isn't happy, but if he wants to actually prove “no one is on the level of the devil”, then it requires putting in more work than a pay-per-view every few months.


With FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023 in the books, the next red-hot edition of COLLISION comes to you from Hamilton, ON Saturday night at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for AEW's international fans! Three Quarter-Final matches in the Men's Owen Hart Foundation Tournament will see Roderick Strong versus Samoa Joe, Dustin Rhodes battling Powerhouse Hobbs, and a grudge match between Juice Robinson and Ricky Starks! Those three huge bouts, and plenty more are coming your way on TNT, so before the night gets started, visit the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from this week's episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMAPGE, as well as the latest edition of CONTROL CENTER, and much, much more!







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