All Elite Wrestling presents its annual New York City showcase in just a matter of hours. AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam burst onto the scene this time last year and housed over 18,000 fans and generated one of the company's highest ratings to date. While this year's Grand Slam is without top names like Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, Adam Cole, and CM Punk, it once again promises to be a paradigm shift for the young promotion. The two-hour block of television will bring five matches to TBS including a world title bout that promises to crown a new champion.
Fans had long come to expect televised professional wrestling title matches to yield non-finishes, but that has not been the case with AEW. The world title has changed hands on AEW Dynamite twice, as Kenny Omega dethroned Jon Moxley in December 2020 and Moxley subsequently defeated CM Punk last month. Beyond that, the AEW Women's Title was first won on an episode of Dynamite and has changed hands on that same show twice since.
With five title matches in store for Grand Slam, there are numerous company-changing outcomes that could result from each individual bout.
ROH World Championship: Claudio Castagnoli (c) vs. Chris Jericho
The least likely of the potential title changes comes with the ROH World Title. Chris Jericho challenges Claudio Castagnoli, a man who has been all gas and no brakes since arriving in AEW. Debuting at AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door, Claudio defeated Zack Sabre Jr. and captured the ROH World Title from Jonathan Gresham within his first month with the company.
The story behind this match is that Ring of Honor's top prize is one of the few championships that has escaped Jericho throughout his career. The 7-time world champion has won titles in WWE, WCW, ECW, and NJPW but has yet to get his hands on anything from ROH.
Castagnoli and Jericho have been in faction warfare for months, and expect this match to be as hard-hitting as any of the past encounters between the Blackpool Combat Club and the Jericho Appreciation Society.prevnext
AEW All-Atlantic Championship: PAC (c) vs. Orange Cassidy
One of AEW's most famous rivalries gets run back at Grand Slam. In a rematch from AEW Revolution 2020, Orange Cassidy challenges PAC for his AEW All-Atlantic Championship in one of the few defenses of the title on North American soil.
Given that PAC's reign is still fairly in its infancy, many expect the Bastard to walk away still as champion. That said, an unlikely Freshly Squeezed victory would make Cassidy the first of upwards of three homegrown stars walking away with their first gold.prevnext
AEW World Tag Team Championship: Swerve in our Glory (c) vs. The Acclaimed
Yo. Listen. After coming up short at AEW All Out, Max Caster and Anthony Bowens have another chance at Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee's AEW World Tag Titles.
If The Acclaimed are able to leave Arthur Ashe with the gold, they would become one of the first "homegrown" teams to win the AEW World Tag Titles. Established duos like the Young Bucks and the Lucha Brothers have been champions in the past, while the only true original AEW team to have held the titles has been Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. Considering Caster and Bowens were singles wrestlers before joining AEW, an Acclaimed victory would really cement the duo as a homegrown success story.prevnext
AEW Interim Women's Championship: Toni Storm (c) vs. Serena Deeb vs. Britt Baker vs. Athena
Toni Storm gets her first real test as champion in this four-way dance with Serena Deeb, Britt Baker, and Athena. While the odds are not in her favor, its hard to imagine a world where Storm, just two weeks removed from her title victory, does not retain her title.
Storm appears to be set for a collision course with AEW Lineal Women's Champion Thunder Rosa whenever she recovers from injury. Similar to how Moxley retained his interim title throughout the summer en route to a unification bout with Punk, look for Storm to hold on to her gold until Rosa is healthy.prevnext
AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson
Arthur Ashe Stadium will crown a new AEW World Champion, but it's anyone's guess as to who it will be. Logic says Bryan Danielson will leave with the title, as it is one of the few championships that he has not one. Momentum argues for Moxley, as his impassioned promo three days removed from the infamous AEW All Out press conference has fans clamoring for the Purveyor of Violence to really cement himself as AEW's ace by capturing the title.
That said, all of those arguments are moot if MJF gets his way. AEW has played coy about the rules surrounding MJF's poker chip, which guarantees him a world title match in the future. Does he have to announce the date beforehand? Can he cash it in on a prone opponent like WWE's Money in the Bank briefcase?0comments
The lack of announced MJF segment tonight makes it seem like the Salt of the Earth will make his presence felt in the world title match one way or another. Whether it's a stare down, interference, or an impromptu insertion into the match itself remains to be seen.
If stars like MJF and The Acclaimed leave Arthur Ashe as champions, Grand Slam will go down as a significant turning point in AEW history. Just as Kenny Omega's AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming victory signaled the beginning of a forbidden door, top titles ending up in the hands of homegrown stars like MJF, Caster, and Bowens would usher in a new era for All Elite Wrestling.prev