Emanating from Arthur Ashe Stadium, in front of an AEW record of 20,177 paying customers, last night’s installment of AEW Dynamite was something special. Aptly named AEW Dynamite Grand Slam, the card for the night was set up to thrill those watching at home and in attendance. The docket was filled with a Dream Match, a Title opportunity, and other intense action. Here’s my review and takeaways from yesterday’s action.
Kenny Omega vs Bryan Danielson
Set to a thirty-minute time limit, the most anticipated match in recent memory kicked off the historic night at Arthur Ashe Stadium. After an exchanging of words and a middle of the ring stare down, the match kicked off. Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega locked up, trading chops and kicks. These two men mirrored each other for the entirety of the match. Omega and Danielson took turns applying various grapples and locks during this beautiful display of technical prowess. Both men were very aggressive, leaving every ounce of what they had in the ring.
Eventually, The Champion and Danielson ended up on the ramp where Omega promptly delivered a snap dragon suplex to the American Dragon. To take things to the next level, Omega moved to the top of the ramp, putting about 25 feet between himself and Danielson. This bold attempt resulted in a V Trigger directly into the temple of Danielson.
Following a return from a much needed commercial break, the two masters of their craft returned to an ebb and flow of reversals and counters. With 45 seconds left in the match, Omega and Danielson dug deep down for whatever they had left. The bell rung, signaling the match had met it’s time limit. Fittingly, the result was a draw.
Thoughts: Holy. Shit. To say this first matchup between Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson lived up to expectations is an understatement. From Danielson's first appearance at All Out, to their multiple in-ring confrontations leading to this match at Grand Slam, it was apparent Omega and Danielson were meant to mirror each other. And that they did. Blow for blow, lock up for lock up, all the way to the end result of the match, the goal was accomplished. It was the only way to go about introducing Danielson into AEW and I was not disappointed. My only worry is how these guys top this performance, whenever that time comes. It was an experience from bell to bell.
CM Punk Promo
Ahead of his matchup with Powerhouse Hobbs this Friday at AEW Rampage, CM Punk addressed the crowd in New York City, giving kudos to the match beforehand. Punk relayed to the audience and to Team Taz that if they wanted to end CM Punk, they should have killed him because what comes next will not be fun.
MJF vs Brian Pillman Jr.
Pillman Jr. was fast and furious right out of the gate. After a few quick roll up attempts on MJF, Pillman seemed to have the upper hand. MJF would not be put down easily and soon stopped Pillman Jr. from gaining any serious momentum.
Following a spill to the outside, MJF proceeded to use Julia Hart, Brian Pillman's liaison, as a meat shield between himself and Pillman Jr. MJF, in classic heel fashion, then asked Hart for a kiss where she promptly slapped him. This gave Pillman Jr. the upper hand, but only for a moment. MJF locked in The Salt of The Earth armbar for a win by submission.
Thoughts: This match between MJF and Brian Pillman Jr. was perfect for what it was: a much needed cigarette after the opening match. MJF was allowed to get a decisive victory, but not to the detriment of Brian Pillman Jr. Still a growing star in AEW, he showcased his physicality and natural ability for the wrestling business.
Jake Hager and Jericho Promo
During a backstage interview, Chris Jericho and Jake Hager addressed Dan Lambert and Men of The Year ahead their matchup on the Two Hour Episode of AEW Rampage Grand Slam this Friday. Jericho told Lambert to bring whatever UFC cronies that he wants as backup because Jericho and Hager aren’t afraid and they are ready to kick some ass.
Malakai Black vs Cody
A matchup based around revenge for the nefarious actions of Malakai Black, this one started with a stalemate. After a quick dust up, Brandi Rhodes rolled into the ring flipping off Malakai Black. Black laughed in her face and continued his brutal onslaught of Cody, even landing an early Fade to Black. This caused Cody to roll out of the ring however, derailing any advantage Black had.
Cody soon after swung the odds in his own favor by focusing his attacks on the knee of Malakai. After interference by Arn Anderson, Cody was shoved into Arn causing the old timer to fall to the outside. Amidst the chaos, Black snuck in one more Fade to Black, a spray of black mist into the eyes of Cody and used a roll up pin for the victory.
Thoughts: Coming into this match I was nervous as a fan. I was fearful that AEW would give Cody the win over Black. In a back and forth physical battle, Malakai Black reigning victorious over Cody let’s the new and very over leader of The House of Black look like a domineering force, but not at the expense of Cody.
In a vignette, a TNT Championship match was announced for next week's Dynamite. TNT Champion Miro will be going up against “The Spanish God” Sammy Guevarra for the TNT Championship.
FTR vs Sting and Darby Allin
Physicality and classic tag team action is a staple in any contest featuring FTR and that was no different in this match. FTR attempted to isolate Darby to start things off, but Sting had none of it. The Icon promptly tagged himself in and took on Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler himself, planting them both with stiff clotheslines. This worked only momentarily, as FTR was successful in beating down the veteran Sting.
After a couple stiff hits by Sting, the icon was able to get the hot tag with Darby. From there on, it was a brutal back and forth until Tully Blanchard tried to interfere. Blanchard soon met a bitter end after receiving a wallop to the face, courtesy of Sting. This opened the door for a swift end to the match. Sting wrapped Harwood up in a Scorpion Leg Lock, while Darby Allin delivered a Coffin Drop to Cash Wheeler on the apron. Following a tap out by Harwood, Sting and Darby Allin were declared the winners.
Thoughts: FTR is undoubtedly one of the best tag teams wrestling today. This match itself was very consistent and on brand with what they bring to the table. It was nothing pretty, but always damn food tag team wrestling. They are so damn good. In fact, they made Sting look as though he can still bring it and bring it well in the ring. While I feel FTR should have won this match, Darby Allin is on a meteoric rise in AEW and he should be capitalized on as much as possible.
AEW Women’s World Championship Match: Britt Baker D.M.D. vs Ruby Soho
The main event started as violent as the two ladies could make it. With a shared history between the Champion Britt Baker and ‘The Runaway’ Ruby Soho, you knew neither woman would be pulling punches. Back and forth from the jump, the match was very technically sound until Britt gained the upper hand thanks in part to distractions by her faithful compatriots Rebel and Jamie Hayter.
Through the entire match, Britt Baker was relentless with how brutal she was with Ruby Soho. Again and again, Baker smothered any of Soho’s attempts to get back into the contest. This was true up until Soho was able to find an opening. After a few slick counters, she was able to hit Baker with a No Future Kick to the head. Soho fended off Rebel, but was put out by Jamie Hayter. This final distraction enabled the champion to place her gloved hand in the mouth of Soho and win the match with her vicious submission move the Lock Jaw.
Thoughts: I thought this match was a solid way to end the historic night at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Britt Baker and Ruby Soho brought the violence and aggression they are both known for. As for this being Soho’s first singles competition in AEW, it showed the viewers exactly why AEW decided to bring her into the fold and make her All Elite. Her talent is off the charts. However, Britt Baker shined bright once again as the star she is. Baker has been the perfect champion for the Women’s division in this new age of wrestling and AEW. I don’t see her getting dethroned anytime soon. I am looking forward to a rematch between these talented women once Ruby Soho has become established in AEW down the road.
I could not believe how fast the two hours of Dynamite flew by. With so much action to start the night and a championship match to close it out, the red hot intensity of all the matches kept my eyes locked on the screen. I could not believe this show itself was not a pay-per-view, because each match was worth paying for. With one more night of action from Arthur Ashe Stadium this Friday on Rampage, I’m sure there will be more surprises and great matches to come.