Three big title matches adorn the AEW Collision set to run counter to WWE SummerSlam.
SummerSlam weekend is coming in hot. This is a big weekend for professional wrestling and 2023 does not disappoint. Fans of both WWE and AEW have a lot to look forward to and plenty of action that cannot be missed. While WWE focuses on what is one of the biggest showcases of the year, AEW has put together an interesting card of “counterprogramming” that will certainly attract some attention.
Before even jumping into what WWE has to offer, take a look at what is set for AEW Collision. The card set for Greenville, South Carolina has three big title matches booked. Women’s wrestling icon, Mercedes Martinez takes on Kris Statlander for her AEW TBS Championship. Surprise team, Big Bill, and Brian Cage challenge FTR for the AEW World Tag Team Championship, and CM Punk defends his “Real” AEW World Championship against Owen Hart Cup Tournament winner, Ricky Starks. The first two matches are predictable title booking – an AEW favorite but a staple. That third match is a major draw as it sets the tone for the future of the AEW main event scene.
FTR’s tag team title run hasn’t generated the type of buzz that fans wanted to see. This was the team that nearly carried all the major titles outside of WWE at the same time. But there was something that killed the buzz of their title victory and run, and that’s becoming more apparent. Big Bill and Brian Cage are a pairing from the blind eliminator tournament that caught a lot of people by surprise. FTR will come out of this match as champions, but this should be a fun affair that helps kickstart their current run with the belts.
Statlander surprised the world with her victory over Jade Cargill. But since then, her booking hasn’t been anything special. As she racks up wins, she hasn’t seen a true threat with a story behind it. Martinez brings in some aspects of that, especially with her legacy in wrestling. Hopefully, this isn’t a one-off match, but it already comes with more “build” than anything else in Statlander’s run to date.
And then there’s CM Punk versus Ricky Starks. Punk isn’t lying when he points out that he was never defeated for the AEW World Championship. Brawl Out and that injury suffered that night forced him to the sideline. MJF has since risen to the top and has put together a championship run that some love and others aren’t too fond of watching. But the story of Punk versus MJF will certainly draw in eyeballs. But to get there, there’s still an issue between Punk and Starks – especially coming out of the tournament finals. It’s another match that is fairly easy to predict the outcome, but there’s still intrigue in how the company will get to that finish and its impact on the immediate future.
Will this be a big enough show to counter-program WWE SummerSlam? Only final numbers will tell but this is a strong showing for the Saturday series and another representation that professional wrestling is experiencing a boom period.