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By Mike Johnson on 2023-06-18 01:25:00

After AEW Collision went off the air, both Dax Harwood and CM Punk gave impassioned speeches to the Chicago crowd.  Punk saw a fan with a sign in the second level of the United Center with a sign that read "Support LGBTQ+ Youth" and called for the fan to come to the ring.  Punk then gave a speech where he said he as a kid felt out of place and judged for how he dressed, how he wore his hair and the music he listened to and these were things he could choose to change, but he never felt like he had a place until he found professional wrestling.  He said that he couldn't imagine what it would be like to live feeling like you were trapped in a body you didn't want to be in and called for everyone to support trans teenagers, trans adults, gay men and women and anyone else who needs the support.  This got a huge reaction live from the crowd.

Chris Hero was backstage producing matches for Ring of Honor and was on headset for several matches, including The Chicago Street Fight that closed the taping.  He will be in for a few weeks after being suggested as a potential addition to the team by some of the other Producers, but is not in officially yet. actually reported before the taping that he was working behind the scenes at the taping.

Pat Buck and Sonjay Dutt were also at the taping working as Coaches/Producers.  Jeff Jarrett was backstage before the show handling behind the scenes duties and filming a promo that aired during the show.

Ace Steel was in attendance at the taping, watching the show from the Chicago Blackhawks family box.  He was not backstage before the show that I was aware of.  He is remotely producing and assisting on the creative side but still traveled to the show this week on his own accord.

Kevin Matthews was working behind the scenes assisting with logistics, such as making sure talents are where they need to be for different responsibilities prior to and during the taping.

Backstage after the show, we are told it was pretty much positive across the board to the first episode and that the feeling was that it hit the mark in trying to feel different from Dynamite.  I actually thought it was one of the best AEW TV presentations in a long time from a live perspective.  The main event six man tag was noteworthy in that it was the first time Samoa Joe and CM Punk wrestled since 2005 and it had as close to a 2023 feel for an All Japan or NOAH style six man tag as I can recall in recent memory.  It really was something special live.

Merchandise moved so well during the taping that by the time Collision went off the air, most of the merchandise had been sold out.  The CM Punk merchandise easily topped the sales last night.

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