AEW Dynamite Grand Slam tonight comes to us from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, NY. After last week drawing 888,000 & 0.31 in the 18-49 demo.
Ian Riccaboni joined Taz and Excalibur on comms as they showed Claudio warming up with Yuta ahead of his entrance. The crowd chanted for Eddie as he got some words of encouragement from Penta and Alex Abrahantes. Really like this, makes the match seem a big deal. Big pop for Kingston.
Eddie Kingston vs Claudio Castagnoli (ROH Title; NJPW Strong Title – Winner takes all)
Backstory: They’ve been feuding all year, going back to a dispute they had years ago, Eddie can’t quite beat him or earn the Swiss’ respect; Claudio claims Kingston owes him a handshake
Crowd continuing to chant for Eddie as the two stared each other down. And straightaway the cameras missed a shot – I assume Kingston ducked a big boot because he came up swinging on the other side – throwing chops, Claudio coming back with rights. Until CC bundled him through the ropes, Kingston flung him to the barricade – the ROH champ came up selling his knee – then fired machine gun chops. Another whip was countered, Claudio dropping him with a short-arm lariat.
Eddie caught Claudio coming back in with a dragon screw against the ropes then targeted the knee with low dropkicks, Claudio avoided another, deadlift gutwrench leaving the hometown boy down. Castagnoli seeking the Neutralizer, Kingston blocked it, exchange of slaps spinning Claudio round into a German. The Swiss ending up on the apron, Eddie threw a Uriken, Castagnoli headbutted it away – not massively believable.
Claudio snatched a choke then quickly dragged Kingston up and over via belly to back onto the elevated ramp. Clotheslining him back in, Claudio headed up top, Kingston rolled towards him to block a dive but took a diving stomp to the arm. Did avoid a splash seconds later but Castagnoli popped up to land an uppercut.
Back to the Swiss wailing on Eddie in the corner, TKO in the middle, count of two with the first pin of the match. Claudio fired boots with Kingston on his knees, the local shook them off, firing up, another big one left him woozy, he was faking, snatching Claudio into a backslide for two. Enziguri and a pair of suplexes bagged another close count.
Both struggling to their feet, lariat in the corner and more machine gun chops from Eddie, Claudio shook them off until a right to the windpipe. Kingston threw knees to the face, Claudio landed a big right to the cheek, both staggered away before coming back to talk trash.
Back to chops vs forearms – yay/boo – dead center. Kingston struggling, Castagnoli asking him to bring it then landing a headbutt and short arm lariat for two. Aggressively transitioning into H&A elbows, Kingston rana’d out of a Ricola Bomb, hooking the legs, Claudio countered through into a pin of his own – each getting two.
Castagnoli popping up angrily into a running uppercut for another two, then a Ricola Bomb – Kingston kicked out! Crowd went wild – loud ‘Eddie’ chants throughout the arena. The ROH champ removed his elbow sleeve to boos, dragged Kingston up, big uppercut, Kingston shook it off, pair of Urikens, half and half, third Uriken, northern lights bomb – still no winner. Crowd with Kingston as he stared in disbelief. Looking for a piledriver – he couldn’t lift the Swiss, who landed another uppercut, again spinning Kingston right round as he came back with another Uriken, powerbomb, stack, win.
Crowd very happy at the winner. Good opener – very physical with the nice easy story of Kingston finally beating Claudio in his hometown.
Yuta helped Claudio to his feet, the Swiss offered his hand, Kingston uneasily shook it, Claudio uneasily handed him the ROH title then left. There’s some respect but they still aren’t friends.
They left Eddie alone to bask in the moment in a way AEW rarely does. Taz said he had goosebumps. Riccaboni left to get a word with Eddie for ROH tv.
Winner: Eddie Kingston
Cut to Roderick Strong in hospital with the Kingdom at his bedside. They read ‘messages from fans’. Adam Cole arrived – they did the ‘Adaaaaaam’ thing. Strong was very happy to see him – big smile. The Kingdom left since they have a tag match. Cole then said he had to get going too – Max has a huge AEW title match. Strong first asked ‘what about me?’ then told him to ‘just go’.
Yeah Cole’s a total heel to me here – as is the storytelling – he turns up almost literally just to tell Strong he can’t stay.
Renee with Christian and Luchasaurus, who’ll be taking on Sting and Darby on Rampage. Cage said he’s bored with Allin and ready to move on. So offered Allin a three-way against the two heels for Saturday since he knows Allin won’t leave him alone without another shot. With Sting banned from ringside. He at one point called it a ‘handicap match’ but caught himself. Finishing by telling Darby – ‘remember to bring the boy’.
Chris Jericho vs Sammy Guevara
Backstory: They might be friends, they might not; someone might turn, they might not; they might tag afterward, they might not
After Jericho’s entrance, the lights went down and Guevara came out in a light-up vest a la Jericho. Monteezy rapped him to the ring. Excalibur then explained Sammy’s ring gear was an homage to Jericho’s when he faced Shawn Michaels for the first time (would that be Mania 19?). Story being that he sees Jericho the way Jericho did HBK.
They shook hands, to a lockup, headlock, hammerlock, back to the headlock, shoulder block from Jericho, Sammy kipped right back up, pissing off the vet, exchange of slaps, then chops, Sammy getting the better before running through his series of flips into a dropkick, Jericho just about finishing the sequence after tripping.
Nice start and smart to pace it this way after the slower, more physical opener.
Sammy did his half of their pose, Jericho joined him but in a condescending way, staring down at Guevara. Who rolled away, got a roll up for one, cradle for one, standing up into a series of chops from the vet. Sammy got an elbow up in the corner, Jericho went old school via double underhook backbreaker, Guevara to the apron, avoiding Jericho’s springboard cross body as the vet crashed to ringside, the youngster followed via corkscrew tornijo. Before throwing Jericho back inside, cross body off the top for two.
GTH coming, Jericho slipped behind into a Codebreaker, Sammy rolled under the bottom rope to block a pin. Jericho pursued him to the apron, firing shots to the back, suplex attempt, Sammy blocked it at first until being taken off the apron to the ringside mats. Would not fancy taking that.
Ads. Crowd are dead for this. They don’t care a lick about Sammy.
Guevara on his knees being paintbrushed by the vet, more chops to the chest, Sammy fired back, chops and strikes, whip, Spanish Fly for two (crowd did react to that move). Jericho popped up to drop Sammy with a big lariat and a second for two. The commentators were telling the story of Sammy looking to win the match without inflicting too much pain on Jericho; not the case with the vet.
Sammy to the buckle, leapfrogging a rushing Jericho, Codebreaker – crowd ‘ooohed’ at that – for 2.5. Knocking the vet off the apron into the announce desk, Guevara headed to the top, did not do his stupid ‘loco’ thing for once, and landed a little short on a moonsault – Jericho had to rush to get under him but still Sammy’s knee hit really hard. Even Schiavone acknowledged Sammy took the worst of it.
He sent the vet back in but springboarded right into a Jericho dropkick. A very awkward mix-up happened – they were setting up some sort of aerial collision but it didn’t come off. Sammy landed a superkick from the apron, to the top, diving cutter, count of two. Crowd flat again after briefly coming alive.
GTH coming, Jericho landed on his feet into the Walls, right in the middle, Aubrey asking, Sammy’s hand hovering, nearly at the ropes he was dragged back center, he kicked free, leaping knee strike, Jericho sent him to the apron then dragged Sammy upstairs, both stood on the top rope, Sammy leapt off into a cutter for two.
Crowd still surprisingly quiet.
Now in the ropes, Sammy landed a chop, saw a dropkick coming, as did Jericho on a Sammy Lionsault – knees up – bulldog from Jericho, Lionsault next (Sammy had to roll under to make sure it landed), two only. This feels like it’s gone long now.
The vet fired knees to the face, Sammy popped up with a rising knee, GTH following, Guevara to the apron, to the top, shooting star right into a Codebreaker counter as the vet bagged the win. A popular outcome with those in attendance.
Started really well but had a few miscommunications and went a little long. Totally dead crowd didn’t help.
Jericho offered a handshake, Sammy took it, into a hug, Jericho looked genuinely emotional. A Sammy low blow surprised the fans who reacted big. The announcers acted like Sammy was some big heel after Jericho’s been a dick to him for weeks. This is why this story never made sense – if Sammy ‘turned’, it would be totally justified.
A smiling Don Callis then hit the ramp to more boos. He and Guevara left together. At least like him being added to the Callis Family – someone to talk for Guevara will help. And he and Takeshita as a team = tasty.
Winner: Chris Jericho
They showed MJF and Adam Cole arriving. A fired-up Max got out of the car cutting a promo on the guy he’d had a grudge against for eight years. Not only that but Joe took the two things most precious to him – his title and his ‘brother’ Adam Cole. He vowed to ‘choke you out’ in front of ‘my people’. The last thing Joe’ll hear as he passes out is the crowd chanting ‘M…J…F’.
What had been a very good, very serious promo building a title match was interrupted by Cole getting a call from Roderick Strong. Cole told Max it was an emergency and left. MJF wasn’t pleased.
Get that they’re telling a story but couldn’t that have happened in a later segment? Because the serious, ass-kicking Max was very much needed after last week’s goofy ‘Math’ promo.
‘Your ass is mine Joe’, were the champ’s last words.
Backstage, Renee ran up on Sammy and Callis. Callis cut her off to say all will be revealed on Rampage. Daniel Garcia fronted up to Sammy, Callis told Guevara to leave him alone – ‘this kid’s money’.
Jon Moxley vs Rey Fenix (International Title)
Backstory: the BCC injured Fenix, stopping him performing at All In
Justin just can’t roll his Rs like Dasha. Crowd alive again as Moxley made his entrance through the people – one of whom had a ‘Moxley splash zone’ sign. He went to the top of the ramp, Fenix met him, fists got to flyin until Rey landed a springboard spin kick then a dive off the ramp onto the champ.
Finally the bell rang as Fenix threw Mox back in, Rey got one via sunset flip, Mox countered to get one of his own. Rey landed his springboard armdrag – a little slower than usual. But rolled through looking for his cutter and was met with a right fist. Curb stomp followed, count of two. Shots from the mount, double wristlock into a headlock, Fenix bit his way free, series of chops, Mox poked the eyes, Rey looked for his rebound thrust kick – Moxley ran in to boot him in the head while still between the ropes.
Fenix spilling to ringside, Mox following, he chopped Rey over into the fans. Fenix tried running the barricade but was snagged into a draping ddt by the champ (like this story so far – Moxley is ready for all of Rey’s big spots). Moxley got two back inside, asking Rey to bring it, boot to the face and shots from the mount, the champ well on top.
Crowd reacted big to what looked like Moxley spitting at – but not on – the cameraman? They’re otherwise silent again.
Lariat in the corner, Mox flipped off the crowd, looked for another, Fenix dodging, eniziguri, another, springboard spin kick, rolling cutter, just about two. Fenix right back up, frogsplash from the top. (Crowd liked that explosive sequence from Rey – dude’s awesome). Momentum with him until the champ smashed him via King Kong Lariat.
Finally Rey kipped up, thrust kick, both spilling outside, Fenix draped Mox across the barricade, to the top, leaping stomp to the head, both down.
Rey threw a chop, Mox snapped back with a right, sat Fenix atop the buckle, thinking superplex, Rey fought him off, diving springboard stomp for two. They fought to the ropes, out to the ramp, Mox landed another Curb Stomp (and the crowd presumably began singing Rollins’ theme – why do AEW do this?). Delayed piledriver back inside for two.
To the corner, stinging chops, Rey again sat atop the buckle, again fighting free, senton atomico right into a Fenix Driver for 2.9 (weird moment, Mox didn’t seem to budge, the ref stopped counting, the crowd weren’t happy – heavy booing). Rey hit the Driver again, Rick Knox this time counted the finish.
Poor Rey man, even when he wins he loses. Would’ve been a great finishing sequence and a hell of a surprise. Crowd did still react to him winning but took away from it. Rey’s facials afterward were great – looked genuinely shocked and delighted. About time they did something with the Bros.
(In retrospect this wasn’t the intended finish – the announcers did talk about Mox looking groggy after that first Fenix dive. There’ve been reports of a concussion. If so, concerning that the rest of the match took place. There’ve also been reports of his being hurt by the first driver – if so, concerning that a second happened.)
Winner: Rey Fenix
Backstage to Samoa Joe – ‘Maxxxxxxxxxx’. Tonight is a nice of consequences. Max has told the world about the chip he’s been carrying on his shoulder for eight years and it’s gonna stay there a little longer. ‘Tonight, I smash you from pillar to post… in front of your people… I beat you unmercifully.’ And tonight he’ll finish taking what he took all those years ago, ‘except it won’t be your future, it’ll be your championship’.
The usual excellent, very believable work from Joe.
Throughout this, the crowd could be heard chanting for Moxley, about whom the announcers expressed concern after those two piledrivers. Hope he’s ok.
Back from break, Excalibur noted that Moxley had left the ring ‘under his own power’. So presumably that’s what led to the mix-up re: the finish r/t a refereeing error. Again, hope dude’s ok.
From serious to stupid, the Hardys are facing the Kingdom, the Righteous and the Best Friends on Rampage, the winner gets an ROH tag title shot at WrestleDream. Yes those Hardys, the ones that lose every week.
Bennett was actually really entertaining here, mimicking BtYBB by vowing to do three things to the other teams: ‘punch them in the wiener, hit them with piledrivers’ and go on to win – he was very graphic in showing how they’d do this. Fun stuff.
Toni Storm vs Saraya (Women’s Title)
Backstory: Storm won a 4-way last week to face her former stable mate who took the title from her at Wembley
Storm now has her own entrance theme – never actually seen Gone with the Wind but guessing that’s the vibe. The cameras go black and white and shoot a little slower. Good that they’re adding to the character.
Taz asked Schiavone if the 20s theme reminded him of high school. Schiavone corrected that he was actually in junior high back then. Damn man the difference a year makes in Saraya’s pop. She came with Ruby.
Toni immediately held her arms out for a hug, Saraya wasn’t keen. She slapped Storm to boos. Again. And again. Storm went from almost crying to smiling, blocking another slap, wailing away. Until Ruby Soho got up on the ropes, genuinely in the first minute of the match. FFS.
Storm dispatched her but took a kick to the head from Saraya. She kept yelling that Toni needer her. Then threw knees in the ropes, Storm spilled outside, Saraya headed to the apron. Toni swept the legs, Ruby came round the corner, Storm stared at her blankly then slipped under the ring. Ruby dragged her back out, Storm was clutching shoes and slippers and fired away on Ruby.
She blasted Saraya with the shoe, kickout at nearly three. Crowd were into the pinfall.
Back to Storm down in the middle after a sunset bomb. They fought from their knees – yay/boo – Storm getting far the better of it, a parade of rights, crowd with her, she removed the bottom pad, the ref snatched it and went to remove it, Storm grabbed the spraypaint, Soho snatched it, threw it into Saraya, Knightcap, Storm kicked out.
The announcers tried to defend the ref from looking too dumb, not easy during an Outcasts match.
Saraya threw Toni’s head into the buckle repeatedly but stopped short at the one with the pad removed, winding up a kick into it, Toni caught it, gently placed Saraya’s foot back down then kissed her on the lips – crowd went nuts for that because well, dudes will be dudes – Storm Zero, Saraya kicked out at nearly three.
It says an awful lot about stories and characters that the crowd are into these pinfalls like nothing since the ending of the opener. AEW would do well to take note.
Storm set Saraya in front of the exposed buckle, hip attack on the way (I think all this was a spoof on Flair/Shawn – Toni seemed to be saying ‘I’m sorry, I love you’ – which the announcers missed). Saraya avoided the hip attack, elevated Knightcap from the middle buckle for the win.
Saraya is the most annoying female since Stephanie McMahon. That’s not a compliment. Unfortunately seems she’s unable to have a match sans a ton of tricks too. The announcers wondered about Storm’s state of mind after losing.
A package played showing the Joe/MJF feud. Joe was seen walking the halls escorted by security.
Samoa Joe vs MJF (AEW Title)
Backstory: Joe won the Eliminator tournament and injured MJF’s neck ahead of the match
Well, no boos for the challenger here, the usual ‘Joe Joe Joe!’ chants instead. They played a deliberately corny video of a kid yelling ‘go get him’ to MJF, who paused, gave the kid his scarf then whispered something in his ear. As he left, the kid asked ‘Dad, I’m adopted?’
Pounded the table laughing at that.
Max got a nice pop – his entrance vid was in Mets’ colors. As was his gear, though he had badges for a lot of local teams on his jacket. Joe did get booed as Justin made the announcements, MJF was mega over.
Good amount of tv time left as this got started. Max’s neck was still taped as Joe fired a warning kick. The champ tentatively avoided a lockup as the crowd chanted that he was their scumbag. He poked the eye, grabbed a sleeper and was immediately shaken off by Joe, clutching his neck as Excalibur acknowledged that Adam Cole was not in Max’s corner despite promising.
Joe stomped the neck then jabbed Max to dust in the corner, he mimicked Max’s pose into a crotch chop then dragged the champ out the corner into a neck crank. MJF tried to fight free and was driven to the mat. Manhattan Drop following, the champ avoided the boot, poked the eye and bagged the sleeper again, Joe again shook him off with ease to complete the sequence via big boot and senton splash. Count of two.
Like these early pin attempts, too many matches go too long without them.
Max hit a couple shots to the gut, backing Joe to the corner, but ran into an STJoe as the ads arrived.
Crowd chanting ‘MJF’ as he fired up out of the corner, only to be put back in his place. Muscle Buster coming, he rolled through to bag two, popping up to hit a superkick, Joe wobbling, series of short arm lariats, another off the ropes, Joe still on his feet, he smashed Max as the champ attempted another.
Then ripped his shirt off, wiped his crotch with it and threw it back at the champ. Such a great heel. Before dismissively toeing Max with his boot, the local firing up, to his feet, crowd behind him as he avoided a charge in the corner, raked the back then introduced Joe’s face to the buckle. Repeatedly. Before landing ten of the best in the corner and biting the forehead.
Flipping backwards right into the Kangaroo Kick pose, crowd up for it, he hit it, Joe sent outside, MJF shaking the ropes like the Warrior, holding his neck, beckoning the crowd for their cheers to help him through the pain – superb babyface work. He readied a dive, Joe was ready, gamengiri followed by a DVD on the apron.
Joe cackled maniacally. These two are great.
Then dragged the champ back inside, pin attempt, MJF kicked out at two. Leading Joe to grab him some table, stacking the thing against the barricade then dragging Max back outside by the foot. Uranage through the table, the challenger again cackling, champ sent back in again, pin attempt again, Max kicked out at two again.
Joe now removed the ringside mats, readying a piledriver, MJF blocked it by biting the leg, but couldn’t hit a piledriver of his own due to his neck, allowing Joe to drive him neck-first to the unprotected floor. A flood of doctors came to check on the champ, Joe backed them all off, sent the champ back inside where MJF kicked out again.
Joe now beginning to doubt himself. He dragged Max to his feet, yelled at him to give up then slapped him back down. Before readying a lariat, MJF flipped through it, hitting a Liger Bomb for two. Crowd went nuts for that. Both guys down as the first TiA chant of the night played.
Joe stronger as they stood – big chop, Max fired back with a superkick, Joe stayed on his feet until being snatched into a sleeper, Joe countered right away into his own, MJF hit a mule kick to cheers then grabbed the ring to another. The ref caught him, Joe punted him in the crotch, Muscle Buster, Excalibur ruined it by yelling ‘New Champ!’. Max of course kicked out.
Joe couldn’t believe it.
Crowd chanting loudly for the hometown boy as Joe grabbed a sleeper, both on the mat, Max on his way out, hand dropping twice as Adam Cole ran to ringside, leaping off the ramp and coming up legitimately hobbling, might’ve turned an ankle.
He begged Max to stay alive, Max raised his hand to avoid it dropping a third time, biting his way free into a rollup for two then snatching his own sleeper. Joe charged him to the corner, the ref dived outside to avoid being crushed, Cole hit the apron, Joe took a swing, allowing Max to choke him with something illegal (the announcers weren’t sure what and it wasn’t visible), covering it with his arm as the ref returned (looked like he legit hurt his leg too).
The ref called for the bell. And could barely place weight on his knee, hope he’s okay too. Max hugged the ref so Cole could hide the illegal object. Joe shoved Cole, Max threw himself between Joe and Cole, Joe offered a handshake. After being leery, Max accepted. Excalibur said Joe was classy in defeat.
Really fun match, hot crowd and two guys who really know how to work a crowd and play their roles. Obviously a little weird Max still basically being a heel while being a babyface. Don’t know what to do with that. Crowd enjoyed it but a static viewership suggests it might not be for everyone. Joe was well protected here too so a rematch should be on the cards.
Strong end to a largely good show.
- Jay White vs Andrade El Idolo
- RVD returns in his home state
- FTR vs Workhorsemen (Tag Titles)
- Bryan Danielson vs Ricky Starks (Texas Death Match)
- Christian Cage ‘vs’ Luchasaurus vs Darby Allin (TNT Title)
- Swerve Strickland & Hangman Page contract signing, Elite & Embassy banned from ringside (they’re getting as reliant as WWE on these)
Added to WrestleDream:
- Better than You Bay Bay vs Winners of Rampage 4-way
- Claudio vs Kingston
- Joe vs MJF
- The Jericho/Guevara storyline – badly told and doesn’t make sense as a result
Appreciate you reading. Have a good week.