MJF did what he said he would at AEW Dynamite Grand Slam.
MJF had not forgotten what Samoa Joe did to him years ago in NXT when he shoved the young star who was acting as security into the wall during a backstage segment. It turned out Joe hadn’t forgotten what happened either when he passed the AEW World Champion while making his entrance at All Out. Joe pushed him once again leading to a huge brawl between the two stars.
Samoa Joe then entered the Grand Slam Eliminator Tournament to determine a new world title challenger in New York City and he dispatched Jeff Hardy, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Roderick Strong to book his place on the show.
Joe had attempted to rile up the champion in the lead-up to the match by choking out his best friend and tag team partner Adam Cole and so promised to choke Joe out to retain his title.
MJF retains his gold
MJF had the added worry going into the match about the focus of Cole given that he was concerned about the neck health of Roderick Strong, even tearing himself away to go and visit Strong in hospital.
However, Cole returned during MJF’s bout with Samoa Joe and it was a distraction from him that allowed The Salt of the Earth to undo his wrist tape and choke out Joe while disguising the move from the referee. Joe was out and the official called for the bell declaring MJF the winner.
After the match, in an uncharacteristic display of sportsmanship, Joe showed that the champion had finally won his respect by shaking his hand.