September 20th, 2023
Arthur Ashe Stadium
New York City, NY
AEW presented Dynamite Grand Slam, which is a special mini PPV style version of the regular AEW Dynamite.
A four man commentary team of Tony Schiavone, Excalibur, Taz and Ian Riccaboni started the show with Claudio Castagnoli who is the current ROH World Champion taking on challenger Eddie Kingston who is the New Japan Strong openweight Champion in a title vs title match. We had a little backstory package of their last encounter which I liked. I know in the past AEW haven’t done a good job of explaining things for somebody who maybe doesn’t catch the show weekly, but this was helpful.
Title vs Title Singles Match
Eddie Kingston vs Claudio Castagnoli
This was a hard hitting physical affair, with some hard bumps and vicious strikes from Claudio early. Kingston took a hard suplex to the floor early on which set the tone for the match with Kingston taking a lot of Claudio’s offence in this match. The straight jacket powerbomb from Claudio is an awesome move and for me that could have been a finisher, this guy is amazingly strong and lifts and slams Kingston with ease.
The crowd were hot for this match with most of them behind Kingston. I have to say Kingston is no-where near as crisp and polished as Claudio as a wrestler and is essentially more of a brawler, sometimes his strikes come across kind of weak, whereas when he uses a punch he comes across more legitimate, regardless Kingston has a connection with the crowd and went over with the powerbomb finish as the crowd erupted for their hometown boy.
Featuring The Kingdom, Adam Cole, Renee Paquette, Christian Cage and Luchasaurus
Next it was a backstage segment that said labelled “Last Week” featuring the Kingdom with Roderick in a neck brace in hospital. Adam Cole visited and had a bit of back-and-forth tension with The Kingdom, saying that he had to leave because Max had a big match with Samoa Joe which is on the show tonight – I was a little confused with this? Was it meant to say “Earlier today”?
Christian and Luchasaurus were in a Backstage interview with Renee Paquette next, setting up their match at AEW Collision. Christian challenged Darby Allin to a triple threat match with him and Luchasaurus for the TNT title at Collision with Sting banned from ringside and he accidentally-on-purpose had a slip of the tongue and mentioned it being a Handicap match before correcting himself to say Triple threat. Classic Christian Cage. I have to say out of all the Ex-WWE talent that have joined AEW, Christian has been able to keep his character strong and important on the show, whereas others have been diminished.
THIS SATURDAY, September 23rd#AEWCollision@VanAndelArena | Grand Rapids, MI— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 21, 2023
Luchasaurus (c) vs. Christian Cage & Darby Allin@luchasaurus defends the TNT title against @Christian4Peeps and @DarbyAllin on #AEWCollision LIVE at 8pm ET/7pm CT on @tntdrama! pic.twitter.com/TGO0FYDjCm
Chris Jericho vs Sam Guevara
Chris Jericho was against Sami Guevara next, from what I gather Sami has stuck by Jericho even when everybody had left his previous factions The Inner Circle and Jericho Appreciation Society. I’m not sure what lead to this match but it was kind of like a Mentor vs Protege match, but they were still friendly, which is kind of different to what you would expect, usually it would be somebody turning on somebody else, leading to a match like this.
This was a good match with some high flying from Guevara and Jericho pulling out some old favorites. Jericho went over with a code breaker reversal from Guevara’s reverse front flip that looked devastating. After the match Guevara and Jericho hugged and Guevara took a page out Jericho’s book from his match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 19 and kicked Jericho in the balls after the hug, Don Callis made his way to the ring with Sami aligning himself with the Callis family.
Featuring MJF, Adam Cole, Renee Paquette, Dom Callis, Sami Guevara and Daniel Garcia
A Parking lot segment was next with MJF and Adam Cole, with MJF cutting a promo on Samoa Joe. Adam Cole was interrupted by a call from Roderick Strong in the hospital and left the scene.
Backstage it was Renee Paquette getting a word with Don Callis and Sami Guevara, and Daniel Garcia came into the scene and gave Sami a look, with them two nearly coming to blows, and Don Callis called Garcia “money”.
International Championship Match
Rey Fenix vs Jon Moxley
The AEW International Championship match was next with Rey Fenix Vs the Champion Jon Moxley. The match pace went up a few notches from the rest of the card with some crazy high flying from Fenix early on getting the crowd amped up.
Rey Fenix hit a modified piledriver that must have gave Moxley some neck trauma because he couldn’t kick out of the pin with the referee stopping before 3 – like he was supposed to kick out. The crowd reacted with thumbs down and boos, Rey then hit the SAME MOVE again to Moxley which surprised me. Wow, I hope that Moxley isn’t paralyzed after this match, him losing in this fashion to Rey Fenix was not good business in my opinion. Moxley didn’t show signs of getting up, which raised concerns.
Featuring Samoa Joe
Short backstage promo from Samoa Joe was next, and then it was a little hype package for Rampage on Friday Night.
Women’s World Champion Match
Saraya vs Toni Storm
Next was the AEW Women’s World Title match with Saraya, who was accompanied by Ruby Soho, defending her title against Toni Storm. It was friends turned enemies with both women laying it in for this match. Ruby Soho provided the distraction to get a spray can off Storm to pass to Saraya to spray it in Storms eyes and deliver the DDT, and somehow Storm kicked out. Storm went on to plant a kiss on Saraya and hit the Storm Zero with Saraya kicking out! Storm missed a corner butt attack and Saraya nailed her off the second rope with a DDT for the win – this was an entertaining, yet short match.
AEW World Championship Title Main Event
Samoa Joe vs MJF
It was now main event time for the AEW World Championship with Samoa Joe challenging the champion, MJF. AEW did a nice job hyping this match the entire show. They did a funny little skit before MJF came out, with a little kid with his Dad, cheering MJF. with MJF whispering in his ear, he then turned to his Dad and said “I’m adopted” Haha.
Justin Roberts introduced the competitors, notes Adam Cole was absence from ringside. This was another very physical match, Joe nailed MJF with a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron early which could have went bad like the Moxley match. MJF next went through the table, he actually took quite the beating before he made his comeback when he caught Joe with a low blow behind the referees back. MJF plays a loveable prick heel currently and the crowd ate it up.
Cole finally made his way to ringside to cheer MJF on. The referee dived out of the ring to avoid getting hit by the Wrestlers, which allowed Cole time to distract Joe for MJF to use tape to choke him, which by the time the referee came back in, he had disguised it as submission for the victory.
Then there was a handshake to finish the show between Joe and MJF…
What I liked – all the matches were hard hitting and action packed, Christian’s promo and MJF’s little skit were my two most memorable aspects of the show.
What I didn’t like – The Handshake thing at the end – in wrestling it has become so stock, I personally don’t want to see that.
The show ended with nothing from the main event to hook you to watch the next show, and in general I would like to see more actual storylines threaded in the show to build the matches. You also never really ever see the commentators the whole show which is strange to me.
This was still an overall enjoyable show from AEW!