AEW Dynamite Grand Slam Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
This week's special episode of AEW Dynamite took place inside Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, which was also the first time the venue has hosted a wrestling event.
After a few weeks of back-and-forth trash-talking and fighting, Brian Pillman Jr. took on MJF in what could be described as a grudge match after the insults the heel hurled at Pillman's sister and aunt.
Speaking of grudges, Cody Rhodes finally got a chance for some retribution against Malakai Black when they met Wednesday for a rematch.
Ruby Soho wasted no time using her victory at All Out in the Casino Battle Royale to challenge Britt Baker for the AEW Women's World Championship, and FTR faced Sting and Darby Allin in a tag team bout.
We also saw the match everybody has been waiting for since All Out, when Bryan Danielson made his AEW in-ring debut against Kenny Omega in a non-title match.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on this week's Grand Slam episode of AEW Dynamite.
Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega
AEW wasted no time getting to the action for this Grand Slam episode of Dynamite. As soon as the announcers finished running through the card, Danielson made his way to the ring to battle Omega.
The bell rang and the crowd exploded with cheers. Danielson had a huge smile plastered across his face as he soaked it all in. They had a staredown before locking up for the first time in an AEW ring.
Omega backed him to the ropes and delivered a single chest chop. The American Dragon seemed unfazed. He answered back with a kick to the chest before applying a wristlock. Omega reversed but Danielson reversed him right back.
Omega used the ropes to force a break, so Danielson kicked him out of the ring. The Cleaner knocked him down with a shoulder tackle and hit a stiff chop that staggered his rival a bit. They locked fingers for a test of strength. Danielson managed to get the upper hand and stomped on his arm.
He alternated between chops and kicks to Omega's chest in the corner until the AEW champion hit some of his own chops. The American Dragon nailed a suicide dive and then sent him into the ring post. He continued to focus his offense on Omega's arm to soften him up for a submission.
When Omega turned things around, he went for Danielson's back and chest. The AEW newcomer already had welts forming from all of Omega's strikes and countered a moonsault with his knees as he began to recover. He began to build up a head of steam as he hit some of his signature moves.
Omega sent him out of the ring and hit a dive over the top rope. After Danielson hit a few kicks, Omega hit a snapdragon suplex on the ramp. He got a running start and hit a huge V-Trigger. Omega delivered a buckle bomb after a break that sent Danielson over the top rope to the apron.
"Fight forever" chants echoed in the arena as Danielson countered a superplex attempt and hit his own back superplex. They went back and forth with strikes and near-falls as the crowd began to applaud. Omega hit a dragon suplex from the top rope, but he couldn't get the pin.
The Cleaner hit another V-Trigger before Danielson countered the One-Winged Angel with a reverse hurricanrana. He leveled the AEW champ with a roundhouse to the head. Omega countered the flying knee with a powerbomb and a V-Trigger for another two-count.
Danielson avoided a phoenix splash and hit a flurry of kicks. He stomped Omega's face several times before rolling him into the LeBell Lock. Omega used the ropes to escape. They exchanged big strikes until the bell sounded to indicate a time limit draw.
Adam Cole and The Young Bucks came down and hit a triple superkick to Danielson before Christian and Jurassic Express cleared the ring.
The crowd was on its feet from start to finish here. This match was the definition of a big-fight feel despite not being for the AEW Championship. The fans definitely helped make it feel special.
The story of this bout was about two men who have often been called the best in the world trying to prove their claim to that title. It was a simple story that was almost driven more by the fans than the wrestlers themselves.
Danielson looked as good as he ever has, and Omega seemed to approach this contest like he would any big title defense. Both men left everything they had in the ring.
To say this match lived up to expectations might be an understatement. The finish might seem like a cop-out to some, but it might have been the smartest approach to this feud.
MJF vs. Brian Pillman Jr.
CM Punk came out after the break to deliver a promo. He said he was happy he didn't have to wrestle on the show because nobody could follow Omega vs. Danielson.
He spoke about how he should be angry due to the attack he suffered last week, but the crowd's reaction put a smile on his face. He said people like Team Taz don't want to see him having fun and enjoying the fans again. He promised to put Powerhouse Hobbs to sleep on Friday.
After a break, MJF and Pillman made their entrances for this match. Pillman went right after him with a double-leg takedown and started unloading with right hands. MJF got the upper hand with a thumb to the eye, but Pillman recovered quickly and began to build up some momentum.
MJF slapped the taste out of his mouth, so Pillman returned the shot. He got a few close two-counts on the heel before the Dynamite Diamond winner brought him down by wrenching his arm.
We returned after a break to see MJF still keeping Pillman on defense. The son of Flyin' Brian hit a snap powerslam for a quick two-count. MJF used Julia Hart as a human shield so he could regain the upper hand. She pie-faced him and he grabbed her by the arm. Pillman hit a dropkick through the ropes to take him down.
MJF countered a springboard clothesline into the Salt of the Earth submission for the win.
This was a fun match that gave Pillman a chance to shine on a big stage against one of AEW's biggest stars. He might not have won but he likely earned a lot of fans.
The limited use of Wardlow and Hart was nice because it kept the fight competitive between the two wrestlers in the ring. MJF using Hart as a shield was a nice heel move.
This feels like the first of what could be several matches between these two. This feud is far from over and has plenty of room to improve.
Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes
As Rhodes made his entrance, he was joined by Arn Anderson and a returning Brandi Rhodes. He got a mixed reaction from the crowd in New York.
Rhodes picked his leg, but Black countered and did the same to him. They came to a bit of a stalemate before they started trading forearms. Black did his backflip into a sitting position. Brandi got into the ring, sat across from him and flipped him off.
Rhodes snuck in behind him, but Black saw him coming and locked in a modified octopus stretch. The American Nightmare hit a springboard kick after breaking out of the hold.
After a commercial, Black nailed Rhodes with a massive kick that sent him out of the ring. He rolled back in and kicked out when Black tried to pin him. Rhodes hit a dragon screw over the middle rope to injure Black's kicking leg, and he kept focusing on the limb with all of his offense.
Rhodes hit the Cody Cutter followed by Cross Rhodes for a close two-count. Rhodes accidentally hit the ref and Black spit something in his face. He rolled Rhodes up for the pin and the win.
Rhodes was supposed to be the babyface here but by the time he was in the ring, it was clear the crowd weren't going to cheer for him.
The match was good but what AEW has here is a chance to turn Rhodes heel in a very natural way. He can claim he took the high road and everyone booed him, so he is done taking the high road.
In the meantime, Black can move on to bigger and better things. He has been great in this feud, and it will be interesting to see if AEW decides to use the crowd's reaction to make him a fan favorite.
FTR vs. Sting and Darby Allin
Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler were wearing NWO-themed attire for their match against Sting and Allin, meaning everybody was in black and white.
Allin was going to start the match, but he decided to tag in Sting when the crowd chanted his name. The Icon was suckered into the corner by Harwood, allowing Wheeler to take control.
Sting quickly recovered and bodyslammed both opponents. Both men made the tag, and Allin came in hot with a flurry of offense for both men. He sent them out of the ring but when he went for a Coffin Drop on the floor, they caught him and slammed him into the apron.
We returned from a break just before Allin made the hot tag to Sting. He planted Harwood with a spinebuster for a quick two-count. He hit a crossbody from the top rope before Wheeler hung him up on the top rope.
Harwood attempted a tombstone piledriver but Sting countered. He hit both men with the Stinger Splash. Tully Blanchard set up a chair in the corner, but it was Harwood who was thrown into it. Sting applied the Scorpion Deathlock for the win.
This was another match that had a lot of fun moments, but it didn't feel like much was accomplished. FTR would have gained a lot more from a win than Sting and Allin, but maybe that is being saved for a rematch.
Sting looked great for the limited time he spent in the ring. He and Allin did a good job balancing their time in the ring so both guys had time to shine.
Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho (AEW Women's Championship)
Jamie Hayter and Rebel were at Baker's side for her entrance, but Soho was solo for this title bout. They locked up and the challenger had to fight to avoid going right into the Lockjaw.
She knocked Baker down with a running shoulder. The Doctor regrouped at ringside with her allies, but Soho took them out. The champion avoided the dive and hit a superkick followed by a swinging neckbreaker from the apron to the floor.
We returned from a break to see Soho drive Baker's face into the middle turnbuckle. She followed up with some running kicks to the face. She planted her with a side suplex before Baker drilled her with a superkick.
Soho escaped another Lockjaw attempt, but she was unable to capitalize. Rebel gave her a rubber glove, but Soho grabbed her leg in a submission. She catapulted the champ into the corner and hit another head kick. The Runaway climbed to the top rope and hit a big senton for a close two-count.
Baker hit a swinging neckbreaker and a stiff kick for a near-fall. She hit an air raid crash from the middle rope, but Soho still found a way to kick out. Baker stomped her face into the steel steps and then hit another stomp in the middle of the ring.
Soho hit her finisher on Baker but she was distracted by Rebel and Hayter. The champion used the opportunity to apply the Lockjaw for the win.
This was a great performance from two women who have known each other for several years but had little time in the ring together.
Baker winning was the right call, especially since she used a classic heel tactic to win. Soho is still protected by the loss and the titleholder gets to keep her reign going.
Putting this in the main event was a smart move. The crowd was into everything on this show, so highlighting the women's division in the top spot gave it a little boost.
As a whole, this episode of Dynamite might be the best one yet. Every match was either good or great, and the couple of non-wrestling segments didn't overstay their welcome.