This past Wednesday on DYNAMITE the stage for GRAND SLAM 2023 began to take shape as the Grand Slam World Championship Eliminator Tournament began! The winner of said tournament will advance to Arthur Ashe on September 20th to challenge MJF for the AEW World Championship, and on Wednesday night both Darby Allin and Roderick Strong took one step closer to the prize. In addition, we learned there will be a Women’s Four Way Eliminator Match to determine Saraya’s challengers that night involving former champions Toni Storm, Dr. Britt Baker, Hikaru Shida, and Nyla Rose.
This Friday night on RAMPAGE we will find out the other two men advancing to the Semi-Finals in the tournament as Samoa Joe takes on a familiar foe in Jeff Hardy, and Jay Lethal meets Penta El Zero Miedo! Plus, The Young Bucks will be in tag team action after two disappointing nights between ALL IN: LONDON and ALL OUT 2023, and a Women’s Trios battle goes down involving six of the best AEW has to offer! The matches begins at 10pm ET/9pm CT on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, so visit the official AEW YouTube channel ahead of time for highlights from this week’s DYNAMITE, as well as previous episodes of RAMPAGE and COLLISION, plus THE CONTROL CENTER, and much, much more!
GRAND SLAM WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINAL…
ROH World Television Champion Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy
From Universal Studios in Orlando to Abu Dhabi and Allentown, PA to Manchester, UK, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy have locked horns some 70+ times over the course of the last 18 years, even in Indianapolis, albeit a different venue that where RAMPAGE emanates from this Friday night. Thirty-two of those bouts have been one-on-one fights, and the balance of the victories tips heavily in favor of Hardy, though their last singles encounter that took place in March 2019 did swing Joe’s way.
This Friday night, as part of the Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament, this storied rivalry will add a new chapter to its story, the first said chapter taking place in All Elite Wrestling, and at stake is the AEW World Championship bout awaiting the winner of the whole field. We’ve already seen Roderick Strong and Darby Allin advance to the Semi-Finals taking place this Saturday on COLLISION in Cleveland, now it’s a question of who will be the other two men to advance. One of those bouts will take place between Joe and Hardy, and the question is whether or not the ROH World Television Champion can buck his history with Jeff and actually defeat the man, or if Jeff Hardy will continue to dominate this rivalry in yet another promotion.
GRAND SLAM WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINAL…
Jay Lethal vs. Penta El Zero Miedo
The other Quarter-Final match in this tournament runs quite contrary to that of Joe/Hardy; rather than a continuation of a rivalry that has crossed promotions for more than a decade, it is instead a first time singles match! While Jay Lethal and Penta El Zero Miedo have met previously in Battle Royales here in AEW, as well as in a non-AEW Three Way that included Matt Taven and took place one day shy of a year ago, they’ve never met in singles competition prior to this Friday night!
It’s a huge opportunity for both individuals, especially for Lethal given that he’s never challenged for the AEW World Championship, but to the victor of this comes the right to fight either Jay Lethal or Samoa Joe. Given the history between Joe and Lethal, one can imagine Lethal rooting for Hardy to win that bout, but he best stay focused on his own fight rather than worry about the outcome of the other.
Which of these warriors will move one step closer to that Grand Slam spotlight?
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, Hikaru Shida, & Skye Blue
Anna Jay, Taya Valkyrie, & The Bunny
Though they’ve managed to persevere through it, Dr. Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida have a history that primarily has them on opposite sides of a fight. Yet ever since the emergence of The Outcasts as a threat to the rest of the Women’s Division, these two AEW stalwarts have found common ground, even if if has occasionally resulted in some crucial miscommunications. Still, they persevere, and this Friday night on RAMPAGE they will do so once again, welcoming Skye Blue to the party for the first time, to form a trio for battle against another first-time unit of Anna Jay, Taya Valkyrie, and The Bunny!
With Britt and Shida both set for the Four Way Eliminator on Wednesday night’s DYNAMITE, and plenty of past issues swirling about between the women involved here, this one has the potential to be a powder keg between two brand-new trios!
TAG TEAM ACTION…
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Angelo Parker & Matt Menard
The Young Bucks have had a rather frustrating couple weeks: they lost to FTR at ALL IN: LONDON in front of the biggest crowd in AEW’s history, not only giving Cash and Dax the advantage in their trilogy of bouts, but failing to capture the AEW World Tag Team Championship for a third time. Then, a week later at ALL OUT 2023, they and FTR, working as a quartet, fell to BULLET CLUB GOLD; not the best week in Young Buck history, but a new one has dawned, meaning a new chance to make up for those losses and get back on track.
That begins with a fight against former J.A.S. members Angelo Parker and Matt Menard, two men the brothers Jackson haven’t clashed with in over ten years, and who are also looking to get their ship upright after the upheaval of the Jericho Appreciation Society. So will it be the former 2-Time AEW World Tag Champs who get back on track, or Parker and Menard who score a RAMPAGE victory? Tune in Friday night to see which team rises up!
On RAMPAGE this Friday night, we will see who else advances to the Semi-Finals in the Grand Slam World Title Eliminator tournament when Samoa Joe fights Jeff Hardy, and Jay Lethal battles Penta El Zero Miedo! Plus, The Young Bucks take on Matt Menard and Angelo Parker, while Dr. Britt Baker, Shida, and Skye Blue take on Taya Valkyrie, Anna Jay, and The Bunny in Trios action! The night begins at 10pm ET/9pm CT on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, so visit the official AEW YouTube channel ahead of time for highlights from this week’s DYNAMITE, as well as previous episodes of RAMPAGE and COLLISION, plus THE CONTROL CENTER, and much, much more!