The John Report: AEW Dynamite (Grand Slam) 09/22/21 Review

Welcome to the AEW Dynamite review here on TJRWrestling. It’s the big one from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City with over 20,000 fans in attendance.

This is AEW Dynamite #103 from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Here’s my AEW Dynamite TV review archive. Let’s get to it.

The “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson got a huge pop from the crowd. It’s good that American Dragon name again. There was a ramp on the way from the entrance area to the ring. The AEW World Champion Kenny Omega was up next. The announcers were Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur. They said there’s a 30-minute time limit for this match.

Analysis: It is interesting that this would go on first since it was the perceived main event. The good thing for the wrestlers is they won’t have to worry about time restraints like you would at the end of the show. That’s also good for us fans too.

Kenny Omega (w/Don Callis) vs. Bryan Danielson

This is not for Kenny Omega’s AEW World Title. There was a huge ovation from the crowd as the wrestlers paused to start the match. They know how big it is so they were letting the moment sink in. After an initial lock up, Omega hit Bryan with a chop to the chest. When they locked up again, Bryan hit Omega with a kick to the chest. Omega got to the ropes after another lock up and Bryan kicked him in the ribs to knock Omega out of the ring. Omega did a spot with a cartwheel leading to a hard chop to the chest. Bryan got a wrist lock takedown to the mat and a stomp on the arm. Bryan worked over Omega with chops and kicks with fans chanting “yes” for the kicks and “woo” for the chops. Omega came back with chops of his own. Omega with a kick to the chest, Omega charged and Bryan hit a back body drop over the top to the floor. Bryan hit a suicide dive that sent Omega into the barricade. Bryan drove Omega shoulder first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Bryan hit a knee drop onto the left arm of Omega. Bryan stomped on Omega’s left arm, then an arm wringer and Omega did an eye gouge. Omega put his boot against Bryan’s throat while up against the turnbuckle. Omega worked on Bryan with repeated chops, then Bryan fired up with chops and Omega came back with a knee to the ribs. Omega wasn’t selling the left arm anymore as he kicked Bryan in the back repeatedly. Bryan got his knees up to block an Omega move. Bryan came back with the chops and kicks to the chest. Bryan did a backflip off the ropes leading to a running clothesline. Bryan with a running dropkick in the corner followed by more kicks to the chest. Danielson hit a hurricanrana off the top for a two count. Bryan went back for the left arm, but then Omega hit a hurricanrana with Bryan landing on his head and then Bryan went to the floor. Omega ran the ropes leading to a somersault dive over the top onto Bryan on the floor. Omega remembered to sell the arm again, so that’s good. Bryan avoided a move, then a rollup and Omega got a rollup. Bryan applied his Cattle Mutilation finisher from his pre-WWE days and Omega got his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Omega left the ring, he was on the ramp and Bryan jumped off the top with a knee to the face. Bryan worked over Omega with kicks to the chest and then Omega hit a Snapdragon Suplex. The referee Paul Turner was not counting them out of the ring even though they were out of the ring for way more than ten or twenty seconds. Omega ran down the ramp with a V-Trigger knee to the face. They went to break 22 minutes into the show as they went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial – They show picture in picture action on TSN here in Canada too, but I like to take a break during commercials. I don’t need to review it.)

The match continued with Omega delivering a Buckle Bomb except it missed the turnbuckle and Bryan bumped over the top to the apron. Omega went up top with a missile dropkick to the back for a two count. Omega got a spin kick to the back of Bryan followed by another running knee against the turnbuckle. The fans chanted “fight forever” as they reached past the 20-minute mark in the match. They went up top for a spot, Bryan slipped out and Omega was caught against the turnbuckle. Bryan gave Omega a belly to back suplex off the top rope. Bryan was grabbing his right arm a bit. The referee was counting them down until they got up, so I guess there’s the countout in the ring, but not out of the ring at all. Bryan with a kick, Omega blocked a kick, then Bryan with punches, a kick to the leg and Omega hit a V-Trigger knee. Bryan hit a rolling elbow to the face. Bryan hooked up Omega into a bridging suplex for a two count. The fans were going crazy and applauding both men. Bryan went up top, Omega stopped him there so they were both standing on the top rope and Omega hit a Dragon Suplex off the top with Bryan doing a flip bump like a moonsault for a two count. Omega with a V-Trigger knee against the ropes. Omega went for the One Winged Angel, but Bryan countered it with a reverse rana sending Omega face first into the mat! That was great. Bryan avoided a knee, Omega hit the turnbuckle and Bryan hit a roundhouse kick to the head. Bryan went for the running knee, Omega caught him into a Powerbomb and a V-Trigger knee got a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” as they approached 30 minutes. Omega went for a Phoenix Splash off the top, Bryan moved and Omega hit the mat. Danielson worked over with kicks to the leg, Omega with strikes, Bryan with kicks that knocked Omega down and another roundhouse kick to the head. Bryan held the arms leading to repeated stomps to the head. Bryan went for the LeBell Lock submission, Omega fought out of it and got his right foot on the bottom rope to break it. They were under one minute. Bryan with a running dropkick, Omega with a V-Trigger. Omega with another knee to the head. They were down selling for a bit. Both men got up exchanging strikes and the bell rang because the 30-minute time limit expired. The fans booed that! They loved the match, but hated the finish.

Match Result: Time-Limit Draw After 30 Minutes

Analysis: ***** That was awesome. It’s five stars and I think it’s not easy to get to that level, but they were building it so well. They didn’t really do a lot of nearfall or near submission spots like they could have done, so that’s probably coming more whenever they wrestle again. My initial thought is five stars for it and I don’t think the result hurts the rating. I think they worked tremendously well together, they hit hard, they countered everything that the other guy was doing and it was a very even match most of the way. I would have liked to see Omega sell the left arm more after Bryan worked over the arm for several minutes, but then after went back to working on the arm, Omega went back to selling again, so it ended up okay. There was also the questionable refereeing with no enforcement of countout rules. I don’t want a countout finish. I just want rules enforced. Anyway, Bryan looked like hasn’t missed a beat for somebody that hasn’t had a match in about five months. Their styles meshed really well. It should lead to a rematch, perhaps with the title on the line and they can do that at the Full Gear PPV in November although they have other plans. I’m just saying obviously a rematch is coming at some point. Do I love the draw finish? Not really, but I get why they did it and I understand it.

After the match, The Young Bucks and Adam Cole went into the ring to check on Omega. Bryan took a cheap shot in the form of a triple superkick, so then Christian Cage and Jurassic Express made the save.

Analysis: There is the six-man tag team match on Rampage this Friday, but they can also set up a big eight-man tag with Danielson teaming with Christian and Jurassic Express against Kenny Omega, Adam Cole and The Young Bucks.

CM Punk is up next.


Let’s Hear from CM Punk

CM Punk got a huge ovation from the crowd as usual. Punk was out there in a hat. The fans sang along with his theme song. It was a big pop for Punk.

Punk said he’s glad he’s not wrestling on Dynamite because how can you follow that? Punk said it’s been a long time since he’s been in New York City and a long time since professional wrestling has been in New York City. Punk said that people want him to be pissed off and said be careful what you wish for. Punk called out Hobbs and Team Taz. Punk said that he was trying to mean mug, but then he hears you and he cracks a smile while wondering what does he have to be mad about right now? Punk said that last week on Dynamite, they tried to put him through a table. Punk said it pissed him off, he’s mad about it and when his music hits that pissed off feeling goes away. Punk said he’s smiling and happy to see the fans. Punk said what they attempted to do was take all this away from him. Punk noted that they don’t want to hear “Cult of Personality” or see happy CM Punk enjoying professional wrestling fans. Punk said it’s been so long since he’s felt this, since he’s had this and so long since he needed this. CM Punk said that they should have hurt him, they should have broken his neck and should have made sure that these 20,000 people didn’t get to hear Cult of Personality. Punk said they woke him up and he’s going to tuck his ass in. Punk said at Rampage Grand Slam (taped after this show), Powerhouse Hobbs goes to sleep. Punk celebrated as his music played once more. Punk ran around the ring hugging actor Stephen Amell at ringside and Punk went to the back.

Analysis: Great promo from CM Punk as usual. I’m just shocked that we didn’t hear Taz and Powerhouse Hobbs offer up a retort saying that they didn’t take out Punk because Hobbs wants to finish him at Rampage. It would have got a lot of heat from this crowd if they did that. I don’t mind that it was just Punk talking because he’s such a great talker. I just thought there would be a response from the heels.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Brian Pillman Jr. is next.


Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance with his buddy Wardlow by his side. MJF was booed loudly by the crowd. MJF didn’t do a pre-match promo, which is a bit of a surprise, but that’s okay. Brian Pillman Jr. had Julia Hart with him, but no sign of Griff Garrison, who is Pillman’s tag team partner.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman (w/Wardlow) vs. Brian Pillman Jr. (w/Julia Hart)

Pillman got a couple of arm drags and a hiptoss. Pillman with a back body drop. Pillman with chops, MJF wanted a back body drop, Pillman with a kick to the gut and Pillman avoided a move so MJF hit the mat. When MJF got back up, he slapped Pillman in the face and Pillman came back with a harder slap. MJF sent Pillman into the middle turnbuckle. MJF did an arm wringer that sent Pillman into the turnbuckle. Pillman got a sunset flip for two, then a backslide pin for two and MJF did an arm wringer that sent Pillman shoulder first into the mat. That led to a picture in picture break.


MJF remained in control working on the arm as the announcers ripped on MJF for being a jerk. Pillman got some offense going with a cross body block off the top onto Pillman. Pillman with a running forearm, then a superkick and he sent MJF head first into the top turnbuckle repeatedly. MJF charged out of the corner into a powerslam by Pillman for a two count. MJF grabbed Julia Hart at ringside, so Pillman stopped and MJF clotheslined Pillman. Julia got in MJF’s face, she shoved him in the face, MJF got a hold of Julia and Pillman hit a dropkick on MJF. The fans were behind Pillman as Brian jumped off the top and MJF slapped on the Salt of the Earth armbar on the left arm. Pillman tapped out to give MJF the win after ten minutes.

Winner by submission: Maxwell Jacob Friedman

Analysis: *** It was a good match between two talented young guys with bright futures. Pillman sold the arm okay, went away from it for a bit and then it played a factor in the finish. I think Pillman’s offense looks good and he’s got a nice of mix aerial skills as well as power moves. MJF winning with the armbar made sense since he lost his last match to Chris Jericho, so MJF getting a win was obvious.

Chris Jericho and Jake Hager were interviewed by Alex Marvez backstage. Hager ripped on Men of the Year for challenging them. Jericho sucked up to the NYC fans saying it’s a tough city. Jericho said that they are ready to snack on some big MMA meatheads in the Big Apple on Rampage Grand Slam. That tag team match is on Friday night.

Malakai Black made his entrance with the lights off for most of it. I think it’s one of the cooler entrances in all of AEW.

Cody Rhodes was up next with the coach Arn Anderson and Cody’s wife Brandi was there too. This is Brandi’s return after she gave birth several months ago. Cody’s last match was in early August as we saw some highlights when Black beat him in that match.

Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes (w/Arn Anderson & Brandi Rhodes)

Cody had on some red, white and blue American gear with some gold boots. Cool outfit. Black had some of his face painted. Black with a legsweep to trip Cody, then Cody ducked a kick and Black did a backflip back into the ring. Black got in Brandi’s face, so she gave him a double bird and said “f*ck you” to him. I edit because I care. Black went for a submission on Cody’s back, Cody broke free and sent Black out of the ring onto the ramp. There were fans booing for some reason. Cody went up top, he jumped off and Black hit him with a knee lift. The fans were cheering Black there and booing Cody, so they are going for the heel. They went to a break.


The match returned as they fought over a pin attempt with Cody getting a pin for two. Black broke free and hit the Black Mass kick although AEW doesn’t have a name for it. Cody fell to the floor. Black tried to bring Cody back in and now the referee Paul Turner is administering a count whereas earlier in the Bryan/Omega match there was no count. Cody got some offense going as he wrenched the knee against the ropes and the fans booed Cody’s offense. Cody with a kneebreaker on his shoulder and the fans booed Cody even more. Black with a back elbow to the head, then a kick to the chest and Cody went for Cross Rhodes, but Black got out of it. Cody charged, Black caught him and tossed him across the ring. Brandi encouraged her husband to keep fighting. Black teased a kick, Cody fought out of it, Black with a knee to the face and Cody hit a Cody Cutter off the ropes. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes for the pin attempt that only got a two count. Arn Anderson was on the apron for some reason. Cody pointed to the other side of the ring (basically telling Arn what the next spot was so he had to go on that side of the apron), then poor Arn fell off the apron and the referee was looking at Arn. Poor Arn had to get back up again, Black threw Cody into Arn and Cody hit a pump kick on Black to knock him out of the ring. Cody checked on Arn at ringside and Arn told Cody to go back into the ring. When Cody went back to Black on the other side of the ring, he sent Black into the ring and the fans booed as Cody punched Black. The referee Paul Turner got close to Cody, so Cody hit him with a back elbow by accident and Black sprayed something into Cody’s eyes leading to an inside cradle for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Malakai Black

Analysis: **3/4 This was okay. The psychology was off since the crowd decided they wanted to boo Cody and they cheered when Black cheated to win. The spot with Arn on the apron was silly because why was Arn on the apron in the first place. Then Cody had to point to Arn to go to the other side so they can do the next spot. I thought it fell apart a bit at that point as we had to wait for poor Arn to try to get on the apron again. Black winning with the dreaded black mist isn’t something I expected, but I guess it fits him as a heel.

Next week on AEW Dynamite in Rochester, NY it’s Miro defending the TNT Title against Sammy Guevara. Miro attacked Fuego del Sol after beating him, Sammy made the save and now Sammy gets a title shot. They showed promos from both guys with Sammy saying he’ll win the title and buy his buddy Fuego del Sol a new car.

Analysis: I like Sammy and am glad he’s getting a title shot. The problem with AEW is they try to tell us that the rankings matter, yet Sammy barely wrestles on Dynamite and you should set up title matches based on wins/loss record instead of saving a friend. That’s all. Don’t tell us wins/losses matter and then ignore it.


FTR made their entrance with Tully Blanchard. They are my favorite team in AEW. Sting got a huge ovation from the crowd. No worries about him being booed. Darby Allin was up next to a good pop, but Sting’s reaction was bigger.

Sting & Darby Allin vs. FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) w/Tully Blanchard

Allin started, nothing really happened and then Sting tagged in against Wheeler. Sting wrestled in a t-shirt, so Harwood pulled on the t-shirt and FTR double teamed Sting, who came back with clotheslines, a back fist and a body slam. Sting went for a Stinger Splash on Wheeler, but Harwood saved Wheeler and Sting hit the turnbuckle. The fans booed FTR double teaming Sting with punches. Harwood with a leg drop on the Stinger for two. Sting ran the ropes, shoulder tackle and a dazed fall where Sting headbutted Harwood in the groin. Allin tagged in with a dropkick that sent Wheeler into Harwood, then a corner splash and a springboard back attack. Allin went up top, he went for a Coffin Drop on the floor, but FTR caught Allin and whipped him into the ring apron. That led to a picture in picture break.


The heels were in control of Allin in their corner. Allin managed to fight back, then FTR caught him and Sting got the hot tag. Sting sent both guys into the mat followed by a clothesline. Sting with a spinebuster on Harwood for a two count. Tony called it an “unbelievable” tag team match only seven minutes into it. FTR set up Allin for a double team move, but Sting pushed Wheeler off the ropes and Sting hit a cross body block off the middle ropes onto Harwood for two. Wheeler sent Sting neck-first into the top rope and Harwood got a rollup for two. Harwood went for a Tombstone piledriver, Sting countered it and Wheeler tripped up Allin off the ropes. Everybody was involved now as Sting hit a Stinger Splash on both guys. Sting wit ha Stinger Splash on Wheeler. Harwood sent up a chair against the turnbuckle. Sting with a Scorpion Death Drop on Wheeler. Sting charged, Harwood moved, Sting sopped himself from hitting a chair and Sting sent Harwood into the chair. Sting with a rollup for two. Sting applied the Scorpion Death Lock submission, Wheeler tried to save his partner, but Allin hit a Coffin Drop on Wheeler to break that up and Harwood tapped out. Sting gets the win after 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sting & Darby Allin

Analysis: ***1/2 This was fun. I don’t think FTR is capable of having a bad match if they get enough time. Sting was on fire throughout the match and looked impressive for a guy that’s 62 years of age. You don’t see guys in the ring at that age moving like he can move, but Sting looked pretty good. I’m actually a bit shocked that Sting was in the ring for as long as he was. The finish was done well with Sting avoiding the chairshot, sending Harwood into the chair, then Allin hit a Coffin Drop to take out Wheeler and Sting made Harwood tap out.

Sting and Allin celebrated. The fans loved Sting. Huge ovation for him.

They showed some highlights from Rampage when Britt Baker and Ruby Soho delivered some verbal shots at eachother. It was a great promo exchange. Now they get to main event this show and that’s up next.


They did a rundown of the lineup for AEW Rampage on Friday. They have some big matches that night for a special two-hour edition of Rampage.

* Powerhouse Hobbs vs. CM Punk in Punk’s first TV match in seven years.

* Lights Out Match: Eddie Kingston & Jon Moxley vs. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer

* Lucha Brothers, Santana & Ortiz vs. Private Party, The Butcher & The Blade

* Anna Jay vs. Penelope Ford

* Adam Cole & Young Bucks vs. Christian Cage & Jurassic Express

* Men of the Year – Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky vs. The Inner Circle – Chris Jericho & Jake Hager

Next week on Dynamite: Miro defends the TNT Title against Sammy Guevara.

Ruby Soho got a good ovation for the main event. Dr. Britt Baker entered with the AEW Women’s Champion with Rebel and Jamie Hayter by her side.

AEW Women’s Championship: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. (w/Rebel & Jamie Hayter) vs. Ruby Soho

They exchanged some holds, Ruby ran the ropes with a shoulder tackle and a rising knee that led to Baker bailing to the floor. Hayter and Rebel went over towards Baker, so Ruby went up top and Ruby jumped onto Rebel and Hayter on the floor while Baker moved. Baker hit a superkick on the floor. Baker hit a swinging neckbreaker on the floor. Baker’s strategy of leaving the ring led to her taking control.


The heel champion Baker was still in control as she charged in, Ruby with a back elbow and a double knee drive into the turnbuckle. Ruby with three running kicks to the head. Ruby with a backdrop driver followed by a kick to the head. Ruby bounced off the ropes leading to Baker hitting a superkick. Both women were down selling for a bit. They got back up to exchange some strikes, Baker went for the Lockjaw and Ruby went for a waistlock. Baker ran the ropes leading to the Slingblade neckbreaker. Rebel put the glove on Baker’s right hand and Britt did a middle finger to the camera. Baker went for The Stomp, but Ruby avoided it and wrenched on the right knee. Baker with a catapult into the top turnbuckle followed a step-up enziguri kick to the head. Ruby went up top and jumped off with a back Senton splash for a two count. Baker got a boot to the face followed by a twisting neckbreaker in the ring. Baker hit a superkick for two. Baker went to the ropes for a move, Ruby stopped her there and Baker hit an Air Raid Crash (or White Noise) off the middle rope for an Avalanche Air Raid Crash for a two count. Ruby landed hard on her shoulder. Ruby left the ring, Baker used her feet to drive Ruby into the steel steps. Baker with a superkick on the floor. Back in the ring, Baker ran the ropes leading to The Stomp for a two count. Baker argued with the referee Aubrey Edwards and Ruby got a rollup for two. Riott with a jumping kick to the face. Ruby with a kick to the face of Rebel too. Hayter stunned Ruby throat first across the top rope (the referee didn’t see) and Baker applied the Lockjaw with fingers in her mouth. Ruby tapped out to give Baker the win after about 14 minutes.

Winner by submission: Britt Baker

Analysis: ***1/2 A really good match here that started a bit slow early on, but then the pace picked up with a lot of good spots and then the predictable finish with the girls outside the ring playing a factor in the finish. Baker got several nearfalls, Ruby kept on kicking out and just when Ruby got her jumping kick in, that’s when the distractions and interference happened. Baker winning by submission was the expected finish because I didn’t think she would drop the title to Ruby although I did like how the crowd got behind Ruby for the match. I think Baker feuding with Thunder Rosa in the near future is likely since they have a history together.

Britt Baker celebrated with the tile along with her friends Hayter and Rebel. The announcers plugged two-hour Rampage on Friday night. That was the end of the show.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Bryan Danielson
  2. Kenny Omega
  3. Sting/Darby Allin


The Scoreboard

This Week: 8.5 out of 10

Last Week: 7

2021 Average: 7.36


Final Thoughts

This was a great show overall thanks mainly to the opening match between Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson. They made the most of the 30 minutes they were given to deliver one of AEW’s best matches of the year. While the draw finish isn’t something the fans loved initially, it’s something that AEW can build off of and tell a story leading to a rematch in the near future. I understand why they put it first because if you put it on last and you want to go 30 minutes then maybe you have timing issues with the other matches. By putting it first, you can plan the rest of the show easier. It was a five star match to me.

Other than the first match, I most enjoyed Sting/Allin beating FTR because it was nonstop action from the start with a well-booked finish. Sting isn’t my favorite wrestler ever or anything like that, but I like him a lot and respect that he’s still doing it in the ring at 62 years old! The Britt Baker-Ruby Soho match was solid as a main event with Baker’s friends playing a factor in the finish of the match.

I was anticipating the Cody Rhodes/Malakai Black match, but the match felt off due to the crowd reactions and I thought the “dreaded black spray” finish was a bit cheesy. The crowd turned on Cody even though he was supposed to be the babyface fighting back. That spot with Arn didn’t work at all.

It felt like a PPV because it was mostly matches other than CM Punk promo (which was great), a few interviews and short videos. I liked this a lot. The venue was terrific. I’m sure AEW will want to make it an annual thing because it was a big success in my eyes and the fact that they have over 20,000 people there is pretty damn cool too! I’m happy for AEW.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter: @johnreport

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