This week’s AEW Dynamite was the Grand Slam show full of title defenses including MJF putting the AEW World Title on the line against Samoa Joe, Saraya defending the AEW Women’s Title against Toni Storm, Jon Moxley facing Rey Fenix with the International Title on the line and more.
It’s a big episode of AEW Dynamite for the annual Grand Slam show taking place in New York City. There are some major championship matches on the card along with other huge matches that have been set up well.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz.
The building was set up with a ramp connected from the entrance to the side of the ring.
Title vs. Title: ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli (w/Wheeler Yuta) vs. NJPW Strong Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston
Claudio has a 284-day reign as ROH World Champion. Eddie was the hometown favorite in New York City. The ROH announcer Ian Riccaboni was on commentary for this match.
Eddie and Claudio exchanged chops. They left the ring quickly leading to Eddie sending Claudio into the barricade. Claudio came back with a clothesline on the floor. Back in the ring, Eddie hit a German Suplex. Eddie tried doing a backfist, but Claudio used his head to block the backfist. Claudio was on the apron leading to a belly-to-back suplex on the ramp. Ouch. The referee Bryce Remsburg was checking on Eddie instead of counting. Back in the ring, Claudio hit a double foot stomp off the ropes. Claudio tried a diving headbutt, Eddie moved and Claudio hit an uppercut for two. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Claudio was in control with uppercuts followed by the TKO slam/neckbreaker for a two count. Claudio was delivering strikes leading to Eddie no selling it and getting a backslide pin for two. Eddie with an enziguri kick, then an Exploder Suplex and a Saito Suplex for two. Eddie with a corner clothesline followed by chops that were not sold by Claudio, but then a punch to the jaw led to Claudio dropping to his knees. Claudio with a punch to the eye. They did the “stand and throw strikes” spot that happens way too often in AEW matches. Claudio hit a headbutt followed by a clothesline for two. Claudio delivered repeated elbows. Claudio wanted a Powerbomb, but Eddie countered with a hurricanrana somehow for two. Claudio hit an uppercut for two. Claudio hit a Ricola Bomb for the one…two…and no! Kingston kicked out to huge cheers. That is usually Claudio’s finisher in AEW/ROH these days. Kingston with two spinning back fists, then a half n half suplex and another spinning back fist. Kingston hit a Northern Lights Bomb for one…two…and no! Claudio kicked out as the fans chanted “Eddie” for Kingston. Claudio tried a lift, Eddie with a back fist and Eddie hit a Powerbomb for the one…two…and three! Eddie Kingston is the new ROH World Champion. It went about 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW ROH World Champion: Eddie Kingston
Analysis: **** Excellent match. They got plenty of time. Both guys had a lot of nearfalls that were believable and it felt like a personal grudge match instead of a traditional wrestling match. I figured Kingston would win and when he kicked out of the Ricola Bomb that made it pretty obvious. Having Eddie win in this building in front of this crowd was the right call. I thought it was a smart choice for the opening match too.
There was a pre-match handshake agreed to. Eddie extended his hand, Claudio shook his hand and left the ring right after. It’s the end of this rivalry.
Eddie Kingston was in the ring with the ROH World Title and NJPW Strong Openweight Title. Eddie was seen mouthing “thank you” with the NYC crowd popping huge for him. You could tell it was an emotional moment for Kingston.
Analysis: Cool moment. I’m happy for Kingston.
A video aired from Roderick Strong’s “hospital” room with his neck brace. The Kingdom’s Matt Taven & Mike Bennett were there along with a fake nurse. Adam Cole showed up with Strong smiling because Cole was there. The Kingdom said they had to leave to go to the Grand Slam show. Adam Cole said that he has to make sure that MJF is okay for his match against Samoa Joe. Strong wasn’t happy about it and told Cole to just go.
Analysis: It’s a silly storyline, but I don’t mind it because Roddy screaming “Adam” makes me laugh.
The Chris Jericho-Sammy Guevara match is up next.
Christian Cage was interviewed by Renee Paquette with TNT Champion Luchasaurus standing by. Christian had the title as usual. Christian talked about him & Luchasaurus facing Sting & Darby Allin on Rampage. Christian also said he wants to have a triple threat TNT Title match on Collision with Luchasaurus, Christian & Allin in the match, but Sting isn’t allowed at ringside. Christian took a shot at the NY Yankees & NY Mets not being playoff teams, so the fans booed. I enjoyed that.
Chris Jericho entered first with the fans singing “Judas” as usual. Sammy Guevara made his entrance with a singer named Monteasy performing his music.
Sammy Guevara vs. Chris Jericho
They shook hands, but then it turned into a regular match. Sammy chopped Jericho repeatedly, Jericho tripped running the ropes and Sammy hit a dropkick. Sammy posed on the mat, so Jericho posed with him and Sammy rolled away. Jericho got a double underhook backbreaker. Jericho went for the dropkick on the apron, but Sammy avoided it. Sammy hit a corkscrew dive over the top onto a standing Jericho on the floor. Back in the ring, Sammy went up top and hit a cross body block for two. Jericho slipped his way out of a move leading to a Codebreaker, so Sammy rolled to the apron. They battled on the apron with Jericho delivering a suplex onto the floor. Good move leading to a break.
Sammy got a nearfall when the show returned, but Jericho came back with two clothesline for a two count. Sammy avoided a strike from Jericho leading to Sammy hitting a Codebreaker for two. That was probably Jericho’s idea. Sammy knocked Jericho off the apron to the floor. Sammy went up top, Jericho had to wait for him and Sammy hit a moonsault knocking a standing Jericho down. Back in the ring, Sammy tried a springboard attack, but Jericho hit a dropkick. They messed a up a springboard dropkick by Jericho with Sammy going for a superkick, so Sammy hit Jericho with a superkick. They were talking to eachother to try to figure out what to do next. Sammy jumped off the top with a Cutter for two. Sammy went for GTH, but Jericho blocked it and Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho submission. Sammy teased tapping out, then he turned it around and twisted Jericho over to get out of it. Sammy hit a rising knee strike. Jericho with a forearm on the apron. They each stood up on the top rope leading to Sammy hitting a Cutter off the top rope for two. Jericho sent Sammy into the ropes, Sammy held onto the ropes and Sammy tried a Lionsault off the top, but Jericho blocked it with the knees. Jericho hit the running bulldog that he has been doing for 30 years. Jericho hit a Lionsault with Sammy moving into it because he was too far away originally. It didn’t look as good as usual since Sammy moved into it. Jericho with some light knees to the face. Jericho charged, Sammy hit a rising knee and Sammy hit a GTH knee to the face. Sammy didn’t cover. Instead, Sammy slowly went to the top rope very slow. Sammy jumped off the top with a SSP, but Jericho countered with a Codebreaker for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho
Analysis: ***1/2 A great match with the veteran Jericho winning because the younger guy Sammy went for the risky move off the top that cost him the win. Sammy didn’t go for the pinfall after the GTH connected, which the announcers pointed out as a potential mistake. Sammy winning would have been my preference, but based on what happened after the match, it made sense for Jericho to win.
After the match, Jericho extended his hand for a handshake. Sammy shook his hand and they hugged. Jericho was saying something in Sammy’s ear. Sammy followed up with a kick to the groin. Sammy shoved Jericho to the mat. The crowd booed. After Jericho was down clutching his groin, Don Callis walked to the mat and the fans were booing loudly. Callis put his arm on Sammy’s shoulder. Sammy walked away with Callis while the fans were booing.
Analysis: That post match scene was reminiscent of the Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho match at WrestleMania 19 when Jericho kicked Shawn in the groin after losing and Jericho shoved him down. It’s time for Chris Jericho to become a babyface legend in AEW. I figured one of them was going to turn on the other rather than having them continue to be friends. Sammy with Callis will give Sammy more heat. I just thought Sammy was ready for a babyface run, but I guess it’s not coming yet.
A video aired from earlier in the day when AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman arrived with his best friend Adam Cole. MJF said that he’s going to choke Joe out in front of Max’s people and the last thing you will hear is “MJF, MJF” because they are better than you and Cole answered his phone saying it was Roddy. Cole said it was an emergency. Cole: “Roddy, you’re not going to die, dude.” MJF to camera: “Your ass is mine, Joe.” That match is later.
Sammy Guevara and Don Callis were interviewed by Renee Paquette, who tried to ask if this meant Sammy has joined the Don Callis Family. Don said all will be revealed at Rampage on Friday. Daniel Garcia walked up to Sammy, Sammy got in Garcia’s face, Garcia said nothing and Callis held Sammy back while saying that Garcia was “money.” Callis and Sammy left.
Rey Fenix made his entrance with Alex Abrahantes. Jon Moxley entered as the International Champion from the back part of the arena. Moxley posed on the ramp with his title as well. They fought on the ramp before the bell rang. Fenix kicked Moxley and hit a somersault dive off the ramp onto Moxley on the floor. It looked like Moxley was a bit staggered after that and not moving well. I think Fenix’s knee hit him in the head.
AEW International Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes)
This should be a chaotic match. Fenix is one of my favorites in AEW. Fenix was in control early on with a chop along with an armdrag. Fenix tried a flipping attack, but Moxley decked him with a forearm to the face. Moxley hit The Stomp for a two count. Fenix swung around the ropes to try to avoid a move, but Moxley kicked Fenix to knock him down. They were on the floor with Moxley chopping Fenix over the barricade. Fenix tried to walk the barricade, but Moxley knocked him down. Moxley hit a double underhook DDT on the floor. They were back in the ring with Moxley pounding on Fenix with punches. Fenix came back with a couple of kicks along with a spinning back fist. Fenix rolled forward leading to a Cutter for two. Fenix went up top and hit a Frog Splash for two. Moxley came back with the King Kong Lariat that is more devastating than a regular clothesline. Fenix kicked Moxley out of the ring. Fenix set up Moxley across the barricade, Fenix went up top and Fenix jumped off with a leg drop in theory, but I think it was more of a fist to the back. They were both down on the floor leading to a picture-in-picture break.
Moxley set up Fenix on the top turnbuckle, but Fenix headbutted Moxley to knock him down. Fenix jumped off the top with a double foot stomp for the two count. Moxley punched Fenix out of the ring. Moxley gave Fenix The Stomp on the edge of the stage. Some fans were signing the theme song of Seth Rollins after seeing The Stomp usage. Back in the ring, Moxley hit a piledriver for two. Moxley set up Fenix up top, Fenix knocked him down and Fenix hit a Senton Bomb. Fenix hit sitout (Rikishi) driver for the one…two…and the referee just stopped counting. I don’t know what happened. Fenix picked up Moxley and hit a sitout driver again for the one…two…and three. That was it. It went about 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW International Champion: Rey Fenix
Analysis: *** It was a good match as expected, but also looked like there was some sort of injury to Moxley as well. I think Moxley looked like he was concussed or knocked loopy early in the match and I don’t think he was his normal self for a lot of the match. The first time Fenix hit the sitout driver, Moxley didn’t get his shoulder up, but the referee stopped because the finish was likely a Moxley win. They had Fenix get the win likely because Moxley was out of it or Moxley called it. I don’t know what happened, but I’m sure we’ll learn more soon. I would have rated it higher, but the referee just stopping when Moxley was down after taking that first sitout driver just looked awkward.
Post match, Fenix celebrated with the International Title. Moxley was being checked on by Dr. Sampson in the ring. They didn’t show a close up on Moxley in the ring.
Analysis: I don’t know the exact health status of Jon Moxley. Maybe a concussion. Maybe just knocked loopy. However, if anybody in that company has ever deserved a break for 2-3 weeks it is that man. I’m sure he doesn’t want to, but it would be a good thing for him.
(Please Note: AEW did not post a video of this match on their YouTube channel. They posted videos of the four other matches.)
Samoa Joe, the ROH TV Champion, did a quick backstage promo about how he was going to take MJF’s championship from him. You could hear fans chanting “Moxley” for Jon after he was possibly hurt in the previous match.
When they came back from the break, Excalibur said that Moxley left on his power.
There were promos from tag teams competing to try to become number one contenders for the ROH Tag Team Titles. The winners get a title match at WrestleDream. That match is on Rampage, which is a two hour Rampage on Friday night.
Toni Storm has a new “Portrait of a Star” entrance in black & white as if she was a 1950s movie character. Saraya has a 5-1 record in singles as the AEW Women’s Champion that won the title last month at All In. Saraya debuted in AEW one year ago.
AEW Women’s Champion: Saraya (w/Ruby Soho) vs. Toni Storm
They used to be allies until Storm went crazy. Saraya slapped Storm three times saying “you need me” to Storm. Storm came back with chops, Ruby was on the apron and Storm knocked her down. Saraya superkicked Storm. They went to the apron with Saraya delivering knee strikes and Storm tripped up Saraya. Storm went under the ring, Ruby pulled her out and Storm beat on Ruby with a shoe since Storm throws shoes and uses them as weapons. The referee was dealing with a shoe, so Storm hit Saraya with a shoe (the director missed it) and Storm covered for a two count. That led to a break.
The match continued with a replay hitting a sunset flip Powerbomb for a two count. They exchanged punches with Storm getting the advantage. Storm ripped off the turnbuckle pad off the bottom turnbuckle. Storm tried using the spraypaint so Ruby took it from Storm. Ruby tossed the spraypaint to Saraya, who used it with the referee not seeing and Saraya hit her jumping DDT for a two count. Good nearfall. Saraya stopped herself from sending Storm into the exposed steel turnbuckle due to her past friendship. Saraya went for a kick, Storm caught the boot and Storm kissed Saraya! The fans popped for that. Storm hit Storm Zero for just two! Awesome nearfall for that too. Storm set up Saraya for the hip attack by the exposed turnbuckle, but Saraya moved. Saraya put Storm on the turnbuckle and Saraya hit the Nightcap DDT for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Saraya
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very entertaining match for the time given. It was better than a lot of AEW women’s matches because of the heavy story going into the match for them as friends in the past while Storm’s unique character led to some fun moments. That spot with Storm kissing Saraya brought back some Mickie James flashbacks, so of course I liked that, and it led to a great nearfall as well.
There was a rundown of the two-hour Rampage on Friday as well as AEW Collision on Saturday night. Dynamite had zero tag team matches while Rampage promoted five tag team matches. Rampage was taped after Dynamite.
Next week on AEW Dynamite: “Hangman” Adam Page and Swerve Strickland have a contract signing for their match at WrestleDream.
A video package aired about the MJF-Samoa Joe match for the AEW World Title that was coming up next.
Samoa Joe was shown walking backstage with security on his way for his match.
It was main event time with Samoa Joe up first as the ROH TV Champion. That title was not on the line.
Prior to MJF’s entrance, there was a video featuring a little kid with his dad and the kid shouted for MJF. That led to MJF handing the kid his scarf. MJF told the kid something. The kid said to his dad: “Dad, I’m adopted?” The crowd laughed.
Analysis: That was funny. It was like a Bret Hart-WWF/E clip from 30 years ago, which was a parody of the Mean Joe Green commercial featuring the NFL legend and a kid.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance as the AEW World Champion and one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions. MJF had logos of New York sports teams on his jacket. Ring announcer Justin Roberts did a pre-match introduction while both guys were in the ring. Joe’s Dynamite singles record is 10-1. MJF has a 2023 singles record of 7-0-1. MJF was wearing colors of the NY Mets, which is MJF’s favorite sports team. They are one of biggest disappointments in MLB this season. Just saying.
AEW World Championship: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Samoa Joe
MJF had some kinesio tape around his neck. MJF jumped on Joe’s back, so Joe slammed him down and stomped on MJF’s back/neck area. Joe worked over MJF with punches along with a crotch chop for the crowd. Joe did a neck vice followed by a slam to the mat. Joe tried a kick, MJF avoided it and MJF did an eye gouge. Joe squashed MJF against the turnbuckle, Joe with an atomic drop, running kick and senton splash. MJF tried to get some momentum going with a charge, but Joe gave him a uranage slam.
Joe was in full control, but when he tried for a Muscle Buster, MJF got out of it and MJF hit a superkick. MJF delivered three clotheslines that didn’t knock Joe down. MJF ran the ropes leading to Joe delivering a stiff clothesline for a two count. Joe ripped off MJF’s shirt, so MJF was fired up. MJF sent Joe headfirst into the top turnbuckle ten times in a row. MJF worked on Joe with ten punches to the head along with some head biting, which the fans loved. MJF did a backflip off the turnbuckle. MJF did the Kangaroo Kick, which is a dropkick variation with a loud leg slap. The fans were chanting “MJF” for their scumbag. Joe was on the floor. MJF charged, Joe stopped that and hit a jumping kick to the head. Joe hit a Death Valley Driver on the corner of the apron. Joe was laughing about it and it led to a two count in the ring. Joe brought a table out and set it up against the barricade. Joe pulled MJF out of the ring. Joe gave MJF a uranage slam through the table that was against the barricade. The referee saw it and did nothing about it. Back in the ring, Joe did a cocky cover using his back for a two count. Joe pulled the mat up at ringside to expose the concrete on the floor by the commentary table. Joe went for a lifting move, MJF avoided it and bit Joe’s left leg. MJF tried a lift, but his neck injury prevented that. Joe gave MJF a piledriver on the floor. Joe did it very safely with his butt taking the bump, but it was all about the sell. MJF was getting checked on by trainers and security guys. Joe beat up the security guys. Joe sent MJF into the ring leading to a two count. Excalibur said it wasn’t concrete. It was glass panels covering the court.
Joe picked up MJF telling him to give up. MJF spit on him or said no, so Joe slapped him in the face. Joe charged, MJF caught him and MJF hit a Ligerbomb for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them as both guys were down selling. MJF and Joe exchanged strikes. MJF went for a sleeper, Joe got out of that and went for his own sleeper, so MJF pulled the referee in leading to a low blow kick. MJF pulled out his Dynamite Diamond Ring. MJF wanted to use it, but referee Paul Turner saw it. Joe kicked MJF in the groin with the referee missing it due to the ring. Joe hit the Muscle Buster for the one…two…and no! MJF got his left shoulder up. Loud “MJF” chants. Joe applied a sleeper while MJF looked like he would pass out. Adam Cole showed up at ringside to tell MJF to fight. MJF got a rollup sitting on Joe for a two count. Joe shoved MJF into the turnbuckle while the referee bumped to the floor. MJF choked out Joe with some tape and then MJF applied his own Coquina Clutch submission on Joe on the mat. The referee Paul Turner was selling a knee injury. MJF was choking Joe out so Turner called for the bell to give MJF the win. It went about 17 minutes.
Winner by submission: MJF
Analysis: ****1/4 That was an outstanding AEW World Championship match. It’s weird watching MJF as the babyface, but he is more than capable of putting on an excellent match like he did here. Joe beat on MJF for most of the match. I thought the piledriver on the floor was a nice touch just like the Muscle Buster spot for a two count. They built up Joe very well to be a viable challenger for the AEW World Title and there were a few times where it looked like he had a shot at winning, but MJF retaining was the outcome that most of us expected. I’m just saying they did a really nice job in terms of teasing the idea that Joe might win this. The finish was a bit cheap for MJF, but it’s also because even though he’s a babyface here, MJF is normally a heel, so having him cheat to win fits the character he has been in his AEW career.
When Turner raised MJF’s hand, the tape that MJF used hit the mat. MJF hugged the referee, so Cole hit the tape in his pants. Post match, Joe shoved Cole. MJF got in between them. Joe extended his hand for a shake, MJF shook the hand and Joe left.
MJF celebrated with his AEW World Title. Cole was limping around because Cole slipped at ringside. MJF was down selling the neck injury as a trainer checked on him. MJF held up the AEW World Title with the fans cheering him. MJF and Cole celebrated together with MJF kissing Cole on the cheek. MJF posed on the turnbuckle with the AEW World Title. The show ended there about five minutes past the top of the hour.
Analysis: There was no heel turn or surprise ending. They just showed MJF celebrating the win for a few minutes.
Three Stars of the Show
- MJF/Samoa Joe
- Eddie Kingston/Claudio Castagnoli
- Saraya/Toni Storm
This Week: 8.5 out of 10
Last Week: 7.25
2023 Average: 7.31
It was a great episode of Dynamite that felt like a two-hour PPV because it was match-heavy without an in-ring promo. There were five matches and all of them were singles matches. That’s rare on an AEW show considering how much this company loves tag team wrestling. Eddie Kingston beating Claudio Castagnoli to win the ROH World Title was a terrific match and a great moment. I liked the Saraya match with Toni Storm too. Toni’s character is different, but also very entertaining to watch. The Chris Jericho-Sammy Guevara match was solid followed by Sammy turning on Chris with the cheap attack like Jericho/Michaels at WM19 from 20 years ago. That was cool.
The worst part of the show was Rey Fenix and Jon Moxley. A good match sure, but you could tell Moxley was loopy from the early going after a dive by Fenix on the floor. The finish looked terrible. Fenix hit him with a sitout driver. Moxley was out of it, so he didn’t kick out, yet the referee stopped counting and acted like it was a kickout. Fenix then did the move again, which is not smart when a guy is obviously hurting, but that time Fenix won the International Title even though it was supposed to be a Moxley win just based on how the referee reacted the first time. There are far too many head/neck bumps in AEW. That’s what happens when everybody has to do some huge move to try to get reactions. I’m surprised they don’t have more concussions. I hope Moxley is okay. The guy needs a break anyway. Give him a few weeks off. He’s earned it.
I thought the MJF-Samoa Joe match was a classic babyface champion fighting back against a powerful heel kind of match. It showed just how talented MJF is because he can pull off the face thing just as well as his heel act and even in this case, he cheated to win by using tape to choke Joe. This was probably Joe’s best match in AEW/ROH because he’s been in a zone as this killer heel character. I really liked that match a lot and I’m glad they got a lot of time in the main event. A happy finish for the crowd since they loved MJF.
Here’s the lineup for AEW WrestleDream on October 1st.
* Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
* “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Swerve Strickland
* AEW Tag Team Championships: FTR (c) vs. Aussie Open
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