By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Grand Slam Hits
Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson in the tournament final for the vacant AEW World Championship: A very good match with the right guy going over. Danielson has been and would be an excellent world champion, but AEW never bothered to tell a story with him during the tournament. Moxley gave the great promo coming out of AEW All Out about what the title means to him, whereas Danielson spent his limited mic time talking about Moxley being his only AEW loss that he hasn’t avenged. Meanwhile, it was a wise move to put MJF in the luxury box during the match. With Tony Khan clarifying that the AEW Casino Ladder Match chip can be cashed in at any time like the Money in the Bank contract, many fans would have spent the match waiting for MJF to make his entrance. It was unfortunate that they ran out of time, so the last image viewers saw was Danielson looking petulant when the idea seemed to be that he wanted to present Moxley with the title belt. That said, they can obviously show the footage on Rampage and/or next week’s Dynamite.
Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens for the AEW Tag Team Titles: This match was not as hot as their AEW All Out match. Even so, The Acclaimed were insanely over with the live crowd again and that helped make up for the dip in quality. AEW made their referees look incompetent in three straight matches. It was particularly baffling that it occurred in this match with the babyfaces winning the titles. There was just no need for Billy Gunn to perform a Fameasser on Strickland while the referee was distracted, as it needlessly tarnished the win for the babyface duo. It was frustrating and yet nowhere near enough to ruin the moment. It was really cool to see the homegrown tag team that started at the bottom of the company work their way up to win the tag titles in their home area.
Toni Storm vs. Athena vs. Britt Baker vs. Serena Deeb in a four-way for the Interim AEW Women’s Championship: The match was fine and Storm got the win that she needed. Even so, Storm has had a rough go of it creatively. She lost clean to AEW Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa, then started teaming with her, and then became No. 1 contender by default when Kris Statlander was injured. Rosa took time away to deal with a back injury, which led to Storm winning an interim version of the title in a match that didn’t really build to her winning as much as it felt like the finish happened out of nowhere. She followed that up by taking the pin in a tag team match on Dynamite. And then Storm went over in this match only to have it be immediately overshadowed by the debut of Saraya. Make no mistake about it, the Saraya debut was really well received and it was a good call to have it happen on the stadium show. It’s just bad timing for Storm, who is in dire need need of meaningful wins and character development.
Overall show: The big venue looked great on television and this felt like the major event that it was built up to be.
AEW Dynamite Grand Slam Misses
Pac vs. Orange Cassidy for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship: I just didn’t care. That had nothing to do with the wrestlers. It had everything to do with the AEW All-Atlantic Championship feeling like a needless addition to the company’s ridiculously long list of title belts. Putting that aside, both men worked hard and the match quality was Hit worthy. The finish of the match with Pac shielding the referee while he hit Cassidy with the timekeepers’ hammer would have been a solid finish had it not been the third straight match where the referees missed something that led to a pinfall.
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Chris Jericho for the ROH Championship: Call me crazy, but if you’re going to draw attention to the fact that this was the first time a female referee has worked an ROH Championship match, then it was not a good idea to make the female referee miss the low blow that led to the match finish. The spot that set up the low blow looked really bad. Castagnoli was backdropped and landed on his feet. The idea was that his momentum would send him toward Aubrey Edwards in the corner. But he landed flat footed and had to brace himself, so then it looked really bad when he ran toward her in the corner to set up the low blow spot. Is Tony Khan repeating the formula that worked so well in the early days of AEW? Did he put the ROH Championship on Jericho so that one of the company’s most recognizable wrestlers holds the title heading into the launch of an ROH television series? I guess only time will tell.
FTR and Gunn Club: How could AEW have four hours of television this week and not find room for an FTR match? Anyway, the verbal exchange between these teams consisted of the Gunn Club interrupting FTR and then obnoxiously taunting them. And then it just ended. FTR never fired back let alone challenged them to a match. Strange.