AEW Grand Slam 2022:Too Much of a Good Thing

September 26, 2022
Ashe Stadium

Fans line up to pass through security, to enter Arthur Ashe Stadium

Last September, upstart wrestling promotion All Elite Wrestling (AEW) shocked fans, by announcing that their first show from New York City wouldn’t emanate from a normal wrestling venue. Not Madison Square Garden, Barclay’s Center or the Hammerstein Ballroom would host AEW’s first NYC event; it would be held inside of the US Tennis Association complex, the home of The US Open. The biggest stadium in the complex is Arthur Ashe Stadium, which seats over 23,000 for tennis. Last year was a spectacle, which is pretty hard to accomplish in an industry build on spectacle. But, considering the recent backstage drama that AEW is desperate to move past, does this Grand Slam, live up to the hype, set by the inaugural show?

Chris Jericho challenges Claudio Castagnoli for the Ring of Honor World Championship.

Its around 530 pm and the doors have finally opened to Arthur Ashe Stadium. Fans pass through the ticket turnstiles and enter the Promenade of the USTA complex. A welcomed change from last year is the expansion of merchandise and merch stands. Venue specific, exclusive merchandise were on sale and the lines spewed out of the converted pro shop. There seemed to be an expanded area for pre show meet and greets. A separate ticket was required but, fans happily filled the ever-growing lines, in order to meet their favorite AEW talent. 

But, something was certainly different that last time. Kenny Omega, The  Young Bucks and CM Punk were going to be missing from tonight’s show, as they’re still serving their seemingly indefinite suspensions, part of the ripple effect of the post show fracas at All Out, earlier in the month; which saw the newly crowned World Champion and Trios Champion stripped of their titles. 

AEW co-founder and CEO Tony Khan hyping up the crowd before Dynamite went live

It  was a smaller crowd of around 13, 000, but certainly just as lively. After a 2 match card for AEW Dark: Elevation, Dynamite was to begin, followed by a special 2 hour Rampage. Which is where I find my only complaint about the show. The storylines involving the on-screen product, will be debated until next Wednesday’s show, you’ll either like it, or you wont. But, the Grand Slam event ballooned to over 5 1/2 hours, with the show ending somewhere after 1230am. Even for the “city that never sleeps”, a mid week event that ends that late sent most of the crowd home, just after 11pm. Which is a shame, because Rampage was pretty good. Just, not getting home from the show at 2am good. But that’s the sacrifice hearty fans made, by sticking around to the end. 

in the end, the only question that matters is: Should you go to the presumed Grand Slam 3 next year. Though it’s easy for me to say yes, do understand that the event is hideously long. My ticket said that the doors opened at 530. There were thousands ahead of me in security and merch lines. Assuming those folks got to the venue by 4pm, they wouldn’t have left until 1230am (the next day) some 7.5 hours later. But, I feel foolish for leaving an event I paid to attend well before it finished. So, if you remain unfazed by the length of the event, I highly recommend AEW’s Grand Slam. It’s the biggest non-PPV event the company does. Everything about the event feels bigger, louder, more important than a regular Dynamite. Event the special themed episodes of Dynamite such as, Quake By The Lake or Road Rager, pale in comparison to the magnitude of Grand Slam. 

Rey Fenix and Jungle Boy worked a compelling 20 minute long match on Rampage: Grand Slam

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