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AEW Dynamite Grand Slam recap & reactions (Sep. 21, 2022): Three-time World Champ

AEW Dynamite (Sep. 21, 2022) emanated from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, NY. The Grand Slam special featured Jon Moxley defeating Bryan Danielson to become a three-time AEW world champion, a surprise appearance from Paige, Chris Jericho winning gold, new tag team champs, and much more.

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

King of AEW

Jon Moxley is officially the king of AEW once more. Moxley outlasted Blackpool Combat Club associate Bryan Danielson in a war of attrition for the Grand Slam tournament of champions final. The prize on the line was the AEW World Championship.

MJF watched the bout from the box seats while holding his comically large poker chip as a reminder that he has a future world title shot. The only criticism I have about the main event segment was production going overboard with reaction shots from MJF. Dude, we get it. He’s an important observer with stakes on the winner. That doesn’t mean we need to see him 100 times. It overshadowed the action on occasion. On the bright side, the constant eye in the sky on MJF did tell us that he wouldn’t be crashing the party for a cheap cash-in.

Let’s get to the good stuff. Ring the bell!

Moxley and Danielson battled for close to twenty minutes. Danielson had the early advantage in rowdiness, so he slapped Moxley across the face to wake him up. Moxley responded by firing up to throw blows. A tactical striking affair followed. They even traded shots upside down.

Danielson’s injured ankle from last week barely played a role in the story. It was referenced as a target at times, but that was not a reason why Danielson lost. Pain radiated on a head kick about three-quarters into the match that Danielson grimaced at the discomfort. Moxley took notice and softened up the weak spot. Conspiracy theorists may wonder if that was a shot at CM Punk. Punk wilted under pressure on a similar spot, while Danielson pushed through with fighting spirit.

Dramatic close pinfalls included Danielson countering a Death Rider with a back body drop then blasting his running knee finisher and Moxley with a curb stomp followed by a Death Rider.

At one point, Moxley administered the LeBell Lock on Danielson. Later, Danielson showed him how it’s done. Mox was close to tapping, but he regrouped mentally to reach the ropes for the break. That was a high drama moment.

The action spilled outside onto the entrance ramp. Danielson tried to damage Moxley’s arm, but Mox picked an opening for a Death Rider on stage. The slant angle sent Danielson rolling back into the ring. Moxley gave chase for a desperate cover. 1, 2, Danielson kicked out.

Moxley applied a rear choke. Danielson rose to use the turnbuckles as a reversal, but Moxley adjusted appropriately to flatten Danielson on the mat and cinch tighter. There was no escaping for Danielson. The referee checked for awareness. Danielson was out. Fight over. Moxley became a three-time AEW world champion.

Afterward, William Regal entered to strap Moxley with the belt. Danielson seemed upset as the screen went to black. Thanks to a minor overrun on Fite TV, I can inform you that it appears Danielson wanted the honor of coronating Moxley himself. Danielson wrapped the title around Mox’s waist.

Great match. Moxley and Danielson brought out the warrior in each other. I couldn’t have asked for anything better from those two. The aggression was fiery, the hits were hard, and the mat work was dramatic. Best of all, they managed to maintain suspense throughout. There were strong reasons in believing either man could win, and they never showed their hand until the end. Since it was a submission that finished, I like that Danielson passed out. That played true to his character and the Blackpool Combat Club story thus far in AEW.

Three cheers for Moxley. He definitely deserves this honor after the hard work put in during Punk’s injury absence. Mox has carried the ball so well lately that I wouldn’t be upset at all if MJF failed at taking the world title. Line up the challengers, and let Moxley mow them down for a good long time.

Paige is All Elite

Saraya (formerly known as Paige in WWE) is All Elite. Context isn’t really necessarily to soak in the spectacular surprise. To paint the picture though, Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter squashed beef to attack Toni Storm after the champ retained the title. Boom! Saraya on stage for the save.

Hot damn. Credit to AEW for keeping that a secret. I did not see that surprise coming at all, partly because I didn’t think Saraya would be wrestling again. All indications from commentary point towards her lacing up the boots in an AEW ring. That’s cool to see Saraya live her dream one more time.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

ROH World Championship: Chris Jericho defeated Claudio Castagnoli to win the title. Ian Riccaboni joined commentary and Bobby Cruise handled introductions for the ROH vibe. Cary Silkin was ringside as an observer. Jericho actually used Silkin as a human shield during the bout to gain an advantage. The announcers made sure to point out that this was the Wizard and not the Lionheart version of Le Champion. The story of this bout was Jericho doing anything he could to cheat and Claudio being one step ahead to foil those attempts. Jericho’s low blow kick was caught by Claudio for a Ricola Bomb. Jericho went for his baseball bat, but Claudio ducked the swing. Referee Aubrey Edwards removed the foreign object. Jericho finally outsmarted the Swiss Superman for a low blow kick as the ref’s back was turned. That set up a Judas Effect for victory. Jericho achieved the Ocho to become an eight-time world champion throughout his career. He truly is the BWE BSEE.

Good action all around even though this wasn’t Lionheart. They worked creative counters for nifty situations. Claudio’s variety of uppercut setups are outstanding, such as a Codebreaker counter into a pop-up uppercut. Not to mention the giant swing from Claudio. I love that move.

The finish came as a surprise, at least to me. Claudio has gained a lot of momentum as a prideful ROH champion, so I was not expecting Jericho to pull it out. Claudio was better than Jericho and had him well-scouted, but it only took one perfectly timed cheat to turn the tide. While I was a little bummed to see AEW run a cheap finish to end Claudio’s reign, it was executed with thought. It should be amusing to see Jericho be as dishonorable a champion as possible while representing Ring of Honor’s top prize.

Afterward, the Jericho Appreciation Society celebrated with their leader on stage. Daniel Garcia was a reluctant participant.

Man, this slow brew story for Garcia is making him look like a dweeb. Why is he even with JAS anymore? He’s been disrespectful to Jericho since feeling conflict between mentor and hero. Believe it or not, Jericho has actually been honest with his young protege. All this cheating comes as no surprise. I’m curious if this will lead to unifying the Pure and World titles. It could be a good way to position Garcia as the face of the developmental vision for the new ROH and give him valuable time to hone his weaknesses.

AEW World Tag Team Championship: The Acclaimed defeated Swerve in Our Glory to win the titles. Billy Gunn was ringside for his boys. Guest valets included Fabulous for the champs and DJ Whoo Kid for the challengers. Max Caster’s rap made references to Little Mermaid, Andrew Cuomo, Pepsi, and glory holes.

Papa Billy was the game-changer in the end. Swerve landed a flying attack on the outside to the Acclaimed. Gunn stepped to Swerve, and Swerve didn’t back down. Lee pulled away his partner. The referee got in the middle to corral Lee back to his home corner. Anthony Bowens seized the opportunity to blindside Swerve with a discus elbow strike. Billy pounced for a Fameasser on the floor. The Acclaimed finished the job on the Mic Drop combo for Caster to make the winning pin. New champs! Everybody loves the Acclaimed.

Overall, the match had riveting action. One odd thing was Caster hurting his knee on a flying elbow drop. Cameras didn’t quite catch it. Caster landed far away from his target to clutch his joint. I can’t say if that was a botch, real injury, or sell job. I’d lean toward real pain, because Caster’s instability sort of prevented of big teamwork pounce maneuver from his opponents. That could have been poor timing and execution though. Let’s hope Caster has no damage. We don’t need another set of interim titles if he needs recovery time.

Two items on the agenda that were equal parts awesome and equal parts frustrating for the match. First, Keith Lee was a stud. I loved his work as a certified hoss. It was giant level domination at times. His strength was on full display for cool slams, and his agility was there as well for a hurricanrana. Lee’s performance was so much fun to watch. Where I have an issue is the character work. Lee was an active detriment to his team. When Swerve ruined a scissor party by dropkicking the Acclaimed, Lee gave his partner an earful. Lee also butt in on Swerve’s staredown with Billy, which directly lead to the loss. Swerve was slick was skills all match long trying to win while Lee was busy being high and mighty. After the way Lee treated him in this bout, I fully support Swerve in the eventual divorce.

Second is the finish. It served its purpose well to give the people what they want. Scissor party! Billy had his moment to shine with his signature ass spot, and the Acclaimed earned the glory of victory. It was pure excitement. Where it falls short is the bigger picture of establishing the Acclaimed as a top team. They didn’t really deserve the original title shot in the first place, and they didn’t have to do anything to earn the rematch. The Acclaimed cheated with Billy’s physical interference to secure victory in the biggest win of their careers. If there is going to do a showdown with FTR, then the Acclaimed needs to rack up quality wins. As of now, I think FTR smokes them. It’s up to AEW to make me believe that the two teams are on equal footing for an epic clash of champions.

AEW All-Atlantic Championship: PAC defeated Orange Cassidy to retain. OC played his usual style of mind games for offensive flurries. A diving DDT and tornado DDT back-to-back was his closest chance at victory. OC also hit a Superman punch later, but PAC was close to the ropes to break on the cover. PAC wrestled with explosive aggression to stifle OC’s antics. In the end, PAC took a cheating shortcut. The action spilled outside. PAC grabbed the timekeeper’s hammer to ring Cassidy’s bell. The Bastard picked up an easy pin inside the ring.

Well, that match was the pits. The action played strong to the elements of Cassidy’s act that I do not enjoy, so take my opinion with a grain of salt on that one. I like the execution of the cheating finish, not so much that it had to occur. PAC was smart in blocking the referee’s path of vision to execute his dirty deed. That is the attention to small details that I appreciate. The idea that PAC had to cheat was a letdown. He’s always done a good job of backing up his gruff talk. On this occasion, PAC looked more like a weasel than a bastard. And it had to happen against Cassidy of all people. It seems likely that this feud will carry on in the near future.

AEW Interim Women’s World Championship: Toni Storm retained against Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Serena Deeb, and Athena. Four-way action. Baker thought she had the perfect moment for a crucifix pin on Storm, but the champ countered for a crucifix pin of her own to win.

After the match, Baker stomped on Storm. Baker was bloodied from the nose during the contest and didn’t miss an chance to pose for the cameras for her next t-shirt image. Jamie Hayter ran in to confront Baker again. This time, they happily joined forces to pummel Storm. That’s when Saraya arrived as a huge surprise. The bad girls bailed.

This bout had a true four-way flow between the competitors. Everyone had their moment to shine. I’d take Athena as the star of the match with a double fallaway slam to Deeb and Baker followed by a slingshot backbreaker to Storm. The reunion between Baker and Hayter was trash. Fans were pumped for that potential feud, and AEW pulled the rug out again. It makes the past storytelling feel like a waste of time. I thought it was odd that Baker took the clean pin, then she was the one standing tall afterward as the focal point of the division once again. That made more sense when Saraya showed up on screen to confront Baker. That’s going to be the money feud of the women’s division for the time being.

Notes: FTR applauded the tag title match. They feel like it is time to cash in on their #1 contender status. The Gunn sons interrupted to mock the Top Guys.

MJF interrupted Wheeler Yuta to basically let everyone know that he was in the building. Rude trash talk was exchanged, fisticuffs broke out, MJF shoved Tony Schiavone, and W. Morrissey choked Yuta from behind for a Dynamite Diamond Ring punch from MJF.

Diamante revealed that rapper Trina will be her secret weapon against Jade Cargill for the TBS Championship match on Rampage. Thumbs up to the Cagesiders who correctly guessed that one.

Darby Allin training montage? I don’t know if this qualifies as a training montage, but it did take muscle work to drag a heavy body bag through the streets of New York onto the subway and into a taxi. Either way, the vignette was amusing. Allin hyped the No DQ tag bout with Sting against the House of Black on Rampage.

Ricky Starks versus Will Hobbs was announced as a Lights Out match on Rampage. No reason given why. I believe that stipulation is fresh news.

Stud of the Show: Saraya

Pop of the night for the most memorable moment of the evening. Saraya’s AEW debut was a true ‘holy shit’ reaction.

Match of the Night: Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson

High-quality bout fitting of their star power and world title stakes.

Grade: B

Overall, the wrestling action was enjoyable. The problem was the cumulative effect of overbooking in important moments. On their own individually, the first three cheating finishes were acceptable. One after the other after the other wears thin. Not to mention flushing the drama between Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter as an unsatisfying swerve. The surprise of Saraya and the world title main event closed the night on a high note of enthusiasm.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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