MJF, Joe meet for AEW World Championship at Grand Slam on TSN2
MJF puts the AEW World Championship on the line against Samoa Joe. Plus, Saraya defends the AEW Women's World Championship against Toni Storm and it's title-versus-title as ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli takes on New Japan Strong Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston. You can catch AEW Grand Slam LIVE from Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NY at 8pm et/5pm pt on TSN2, streaming on the TSN App and on TSN.ca.
AEW World Championship match: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (c) vs. ROH World TV Champion Samoa Joe - After weeks of enmity, MJF and Samoa Joe will finally meet inside the ring with the AEW World Championship on the line. Joe, a former ROH and TNA World Champion, earned his shot at MJF by plowing through the Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament. Joe defeated three former world champions in the tournament, knocking off Jeff Hardy, Penta El Zero Miedo and Roderick Strong last week in the final to book his place in the championship match. No stranger to double gold, Joe will once again look to hold two titles at the same time just as he did when he held both the TNT Championship and the title he holds now, the ROH World TV Championship. For MJF, this match is personal. As he made clear several weeks ago, he hasn't forgotten the disrespect Joe showed to him years ago in NXT and it's stuck with him for a very long time. Friedman isn't the same young competitor he was back then and believes he merits the kind of respect as a champion that Joe has been refusing to show to him. Joe is well aware that he's gotten under Friedman's skin and continued to do so last week when he choked out MJF's close friend Adam Cole to send a message to him. But that will only fuel MJF, as will the crowd support at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NY. In recent weeks, MJF has found himself in unfamiliar territory as a massive crowd favourite. Working on Wednesday night not far from where he grew up on Long Island, thousands of hometown fans will look to rally Friedman to a fourth successful defence of the title he defeated Jon Moxley for back at Full Gear last November in Newark. Will Joe lay claim to another world title or will MJF send the fans home happy?
AEW Women's World Championship match: Saraya (c) (w/ Ruby Soho) vs. Toni Storm - The Outcasts explode on Wednesday night when Saraya makes the first defence of her AEW Women's World Championship against former two-time champion and stablemate Toni Storm. It was Storm who Saraya pinned to win the title at All In in London last month in a four-way match that also included Britt Baker and then-champion Hikaru Shida, Of course, this isn't exactly the same Toni Storm with whom Saraya formed the Outcasts. Since losing her title to Shida in early August, Storm has become different and growing increasingly untethered from reality. Losing her title seems to have broken the 27-year-old Aussie and maybe getting it back might be the only thing that can fix her. Storm earned another shot at the title by winning a four-way match on last week's Dynamite that only featured former champions, defeating Baker, Shida and Nyla Rose. But what of the Outcasts? At All In, Storm got into a physical altercation with Saraya's mother that set the champion off and the third member of the group, Ruby Soho, blames Storm for costing her the TBS Championship against Kris Statlander at All Out and has clearly sided with Saraya. The three were able to put aside their problems well enough to win a trios match on the Sept. 2 edition of Collision, but the cohesion of the group seems tenuous at best and Wednesday night's match could be what splinters the three women for good. Can Saraya maker her first title defence a successful one or will Storm recover her title...and maybe her sanity?
Title-versus-title match: ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli vs. New Japan Strong Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston - One of the most acrimonious and bitter feuds in modern wrestling history finally comes to a head at Arthur Ashe when Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston meet one more time, but this time, the stakes have never been higher. At Ring of Honor's Supercard of Honor pay-per-view last March, Castagnoli retained his ROH World Championship over Kingston, frustrating his old rival and seemingly closing the door on their decade-long rivalry. But things changed in the summer when Kingston couldn't hold his tongue any longer after seeing close friend Jon Moxley continue to associate himself with Castagnoli as a member of the Blackpool Combat Club, confronting both Moxley and Castagnoli. While Kingston and Mox have always had a complicated friendship, the latest episode refocused Kingston's ire on Castagnoli. At Forbidden Door in Toronto, Kingston teamed with Tomohiro Ishii and The Elite ("Hangman" Adam Page, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) to defeat the BCC (Castagnoli, Moxley and Wheeler YUTA), Konosuke Takeshita and Shota Umino. Then at All In, the team of Kingston, "Freshly Squeezed" Orange Cassidy, Penta El Zero Miedo and Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) defeated the BCC (Castagnoli, Mox and YUTA), Mike Santana and Ortiz in a Stadium Stampede match. Now after showing Castagnoli he's once again serious, "The Mad King" has himself another shot at the ROH World Championship, but it's on Castagnoli's terms and the cost is a significant one: The New Japan Strong Openweight Championship that Kingston defeated KENTA for in July will also be on the line on Wednesday night, proving Kingston is willing to risk it all to finally end things with Castagnoli once and for all. The match will actually be Kingston's first defence of the title since his last few months were booked up with the G1, where he took on the likes of Shingo Takagi, EVIL and Ishii, and several other shows in Japan. Castagnoli would like nothing more than to take away Kingston's title at the first opportunity, but the fiercely proud Yonkers native will do everything he can to make sure that doesn't happen in his hometown. Which of these two bitter rivals will walk out of Arthur Ashe as a double champion?
AEW International Championship match: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Rey Fenix (w/ Alex Abrahantes) - All In was the biggest event in AEW history last month at London's Wembley Stadium. For many, it was the opportunity of a lifetime to wrestle in front of over 70,000 fans, but for Rey Fenix, it served as a reminder of what was taken from him. Fenix was set to take part in the Stadium Stampede match alongside his brother, Penta El Zero Miedo, Eddie Kingston, Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta, but he was removed from the match due to injury thanks to a vicious attack from Jon Moxley on the Aug. 9 edition of Dynamite. Fenix was beaten and bloodied and stretchered out of the arena, making his participation at All In impossible. But after Moxley took something from him, Fenix will have the chance for payback on Wednesday night when he looks to take away his AEW International Championship. Since defeating Orange Cassidy for the title at All Out, Moxley has attempted to live up to his predecessor's impressive legacy by defending the International title as frequently as he can. He's already reeled off wins against AR Fox, Action Andretti and Big Bill, but Fenix will be his toughest test to date as he will be fueled not only by a desire to win the title, but also a thirst for revenge. Should Fenix manage to win the title on Wednesday night, he will join a select group of one. Only Kenny Omega has won all of a singles, tag and trios championship in AEW, something that Fenix can accomplish at Grand Slam. Will Moxley's reign continue on or will Fenix bring the International title back to the Lucha Bros.?
"The Ocho" Chris Jericho vs. "The Spanish God" Sammy Guevara - Le Sex Gods, the team of Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara, have their sights set on the AEW World Tag Team Championships, but before they can compete for those, they're going to have to get through each other. As a means to put to bed any issues between the longtime allies, Jericho and Guevara will go one-on-one for the first time on Wednesday night. Together in both the Inner Circle and Jericho Appreciation Society, the relationship between Jericho and Guevara became strained in recent months when Jericho gave serious thought to departing the JAS to join old friend Don Callis and his family. In doing so, Jericho alienated the remaining members of the JAS, except for Guevara who stuck by his mentor despite the distrust. Jericho appreciated the faith put in him by Guevara and the two have vowed to move on as a tag team, but Wednesday night will be about getting any and all bad blood out of their systems. On last week's Dynamite, Jericho made it very clear that as much as he loves and respects Guevara, he won't be going easy on him and he expects the same from the former three-time TNT Champion. But could this all be a mistake? It's easy to think that a match against one another will be just what Jericho and Guevara need to get back on the same page, but what if instead of closing old wounds, it just opens up fresh ones? Guevara and Jericho must tread carefully to ensure that irreparable damage to the duo's relationship doesn't occur in a match that was of their own choosing. Will Jericho and Guevara's gambit pay off?
- The team of FTW Champion Hook, TBS Champion Kris Statlander and "Freshly Squeezed" Orange Cassidy is in trios action