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AEW Dynamite Grand Slam recap & reactions (Sept. 22, 2021): Dream match draw

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AEW Dynamite (Sep. 22, 2021) emanated from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. The Grand Slam special featured Kenny Omega competing against Bryan Danielson in a dream match, Sting being an icon, and Dr. Britt Baker DMD defending the AEW Women’s World Championship against Ruby Soho.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

Dream match draw

The moment was finally here for the dream match between Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson, and it rocked the house for the 30-minute allotment toward a draw.

Fans were rowdy pretty much the entire time, especially when the opening bell rang. Danielson soaked it in, while Omega tolerated the crowd’s exuberance. It was such a cool moment that I wondered how long they could keep up the noise before actually wrestling. That would have been an interesting experiment for live attendees, probably not so much for those viewing at home.

The first half was a slower pace with lockups, hard chops, and kicks on rope breaks. Despite that, they kept the audience in the palm of their hands. There were basically four big moves that stood out due to the simpler pace. Danielson hit a suicide dive, Omega hit a tope con hilo, Danielson locked in the Cattle Mutilation submission, and Danielson connected on a flying knee. Each of those moments popped hard as an example of less is more.

The action escalated when Omega hit a brutal snap dragon suplex on stage. He followed by running down the entire ramp to launch a V-Trigger.

The move was so badass that I wouldn’t have had any problem if the match stopped there with Danielson unable to continue. The contact was effective and believable within the context of the story.

Danielson eventually recovered, and the fight raged on with super moves aplenty. Omega landed several V-Triggers, and Danielson landed several head kicks. The clock ran out as both men were energized and trading heavy strikes in the center of the ring. They kept at it even after the draw was called. Danielson had the upper hand working toward the LeBell Lock. That’s when the Elite ran out to separate the two.

After consoling Omega, the Young Bucks and Adam Cole hit a triple superkick to the fatigued Danielson. I can’t say it was undeserved. Danielson did disobey referee orders trying for the LeBell Lock. That incident led to Christian Cage, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus running in for the save to hype the trios match on Rampage.

That dream match was certainly electrifying. Going 30 minutes is no easy feat, but they paced it perfectly for great drama throughout. I thought production could have done a better job cluing us in on time running out. I heard an announcement from the timekeeper that 1 minute remained. That was about it. As for how Omega and Danielson handled the finish, I like that there was no clear advantage as time ran out. That provides greater anticipation to see the debate settled over who is better rather than one of them being saved by the bell. Triple thumbs up to AEW for letting the fans witness a clean contest with no cheap tricks. Thank you for letting the dream match play out on its own.

Omega’s performance gives me a deeper appreciation for his skills as the Best Bout Machine. The first half vibe was very different than the typical AEW style. It was extremely physical with minimal flips, and Omega still thrived. He showed a different side of his game to match the intensity and seriousness of Danielson. It demonstrated Omega’s versatility for greatness as a god of pro wrestling.

It’s Sting!

Sting returned to the ring once again for tag team action alongside Darby Allin against FTR. Sting showed that his icon status is still in full effect.

FTR used tag team tactics, however, Sting was too powerful.

Sting was also too smart for FTR. Dax Harwood tried a sneaky ploy by placing a chair in the corner. He lured Sting in for a Stinger Splash, however, Sting stopped short of the trap. Sting smashed Harwood into the steel, then he punched Tully Blanchard on the apron. Scorpion Deathlock time. Allin connected on a Coffin Drop to dispose of Cash Wheeler, while Sting coerced the submission victory on Harwood.

Sting was great once again. His specialty appeal is still on high. Hitting Stinger splashes all over the place and running wild on FTR was a hoot. There is a reasonable debate to be had that FTR should not be losing to this duo. The counterpoint would be listening to the crowd. Their lively reaction to Sting tells you all you need to know. With this win, Sting and Allin could move up the rankings if they desired. I hope they do, because I really want to see them wrestle the Lucha Bros. That matchup has PPV show-stealing potential.

Aside from Sting, Allin and FTR did there fair share to carry the match. FTR worked their classic teamwork style bending rules to their advantage as they wore down an opponent. Allin provided sparks of excitement with his rabid offense.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

CM Punk promo. Some people want angry Punk. Eventually, we’ll see him, but be careful what you wish for. Punk was angry at Team Taz for last week’s attack, however, the anger melted away when his music hit and he felt the love from fans. Team Taz is trying to take that away. Punk won’t let it happen.

Good job adding substance to the feud that had a rocky start. Punk found a way to make it personal beyond physical violence from Will Hobbs. In doing so, Punk also created a relatable rooting interest for fans. It is easy to connect on a deeper level to support Punk on his crusade against party-poopers.

MJF defeated Brian Pillman Jr. Pillman showed great fire by tackling MJF at the opening bell. It was exactly how he should have reacted after all of MJF’s insults toward his family. MJF worked the arm throughout. On Pillman’s rally, he took to the air for a flying attack, but MJF caught him for an armbar submission victory.

MJF is back on the winning track, and he reminded everyone how despicable he can be in the process with this mini feud. Case in point was how he used Julia Hart ringside to shield himself from a Pillman dropkick. What a cad.

Moving on for MJF, he needs to rack up the wins in these brief beefs. MJF is better than the mid-card, and we know it. However, these little successes stack up to back up his perception of being a winner until AEW is ready to insert him into a high-profile feud once again.

Malakai Black defeated Cody Rhodes. The American Nightmare returned with a glorious cape and Brandi by his side.

Black connected on a deadly head kick midway through. Luckily for Cody, the contact knocked him out of the ring, and Black was unable to pick up his limp body for a pin.

The match went a little overboard with shenanigans. Brandi sat in the ring to flip the bird to Black. Arn Anderson fell off the apron, then he was knocked off the apron by incidental contact from Cody. Those were minor beats that did not amount to much for the larger picture.

In the end, Cody picked up steam by attacking the leg and pounding Black with body punches in the corner. The referee demanded Cody chill out due to Black’s position of safety in the corner. Cody wasn’t having it and shoved the referee. That distraction allowed Black to spit BLACK MIST into Cody’s face for the roll-up win.

This match offered enjoyable strategy that left me wanting another chapter in the feud. Cody went down in defeat, however, he showed that he can solve the puzzle of Black’s unique skillset. Cody was in control and ready to take over before Black misted him. That part of the story was interesting for future exploration. Everything else was excess.

The finish also touched on one of my pet peeves with wrestling rules. I don’t like the corner break bullshit. It’s one thing to dip out between the ropes and actively force a break. It’s another thing just being present in the corner. It causes inconsistent rule enforcement.

AEW Women’s World Championship: Dr. Britt Baker DMD retained against Ruby Soho. The challenger started hot with a flying crossbody onto Reba and Jamie Hayter ringside. Those women would play a role in the finish. Baker was in control, but she disputed a close pinfall. That opened an opportunity with Soho to connect on the No Future kick. Reba hopped onto the apron and ate the same kick. Hayter was on the opposite side and managed to outsmart Soho by pulling down into the ropes. Soho was stunned for Baker to secure the Lockjaw submission to win.

Solid action and good effort from the women in the main event, but I thought the finish was unsatisfying. Soho’s finisher doesn’t look strong enough to be a devastating ‘out of nowhere’ killer. The cheating did a disservice to Baker and the rest of the women’s division. Soho isn’t coming in off any success from WWE, so there is no need for special protection of her status. Kicking out of the crazy avalanche Air Raid Crash was enough to make her look tough and keep her stock hot. Baker was denied a chance at legitimizing her title run with a hard-fought win. There is a lot of quality talent gunning for Baker, but Soho clogs up the rankings with a case for a rematch.

Notes: Chris Jericho and Jake Hager are feral, hungry, and ready to snack on meatheads. They are coming for Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page at Rampage.

Miro will defend the TNT Championship against Sammy Guevara next week on Dynamite. Miro finds it curious that Guevara feels brave after seeing Miro with his neck troubles. Miro isn’t worried. Miro’s god gave him a powerful body. His god demands pain. His wife demands pleasure, sometimes pain too.


Stud of the Show: Dream match

The dream match between Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson delivered the goods on lofty expectations.

Dud of the Show: Arn Anderson drama

Arn’s involvement felt awkward and forced. It ham-fisted the story drama instead of a subtle application. It also added a cheap element to protect Cody from defeat, as if BLACK MIST wasn’t enough.

Grade: A

Grand Slam was super stacked. It would have been a rocking PPV, and yet it was on TV. The dream match opener was excellent. Sting was awesome, Cody Rhodes did Cody Rhodes stuff (which I enjoy), Miro continued with his golden one-liners, and the main event was a title match. The show flew by with so much action in the ring.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?