We’re on the cusp of witnessing a legitimate dream match in professional wrestling. For many diehard fans, Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson are the absolute best wrestlers in the industry.
The two will lock horns on tonight’s episode of AEW Dynamite, ceremonially dubbed “Grand Slam.” New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium will host the largest crowd in AEW’s 2 ½ year history, along with millions watching at home on TNT.
Omega and Danielson squared off twice before.
ROH hosted their first encounter in November 2008 in Markham, Ontario, Canada. It was a Triple Threat Match featuring Bryan Danielson, Kenny Omega, and some guy who became Seth Rollins. Five months and 2,535 miles later, they met in a singles match for PWG in Reseda, California.
Danielson beat Omega in both encounters via submission.
However, that was a lifetime ago. Danielson was the king of the independent scene while a budding Omega hadn’t yet graced a New Japan ring.
Things have changed over a decade later. Danielson rose to prominence under the bright lights of WWE while Omega did the same in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Both headlined their respective promotions marque events on multiple occasions.
However, their ascension to the top share a commonality as both broke through glass ceilings. Danielson became a star despite being the antithesis of a leading man in WWE. Omega proved doubters wrong who believed he was a step down when assuming the leadership role of Bullet Club after AJ Styles’ departure.
Fast forward to today, and both men are at the top of their game in lead roles. Danielson headlined WrestleMania five months ago while Omega main evented AEW’s biggest and most successful show to date, All Out.
Omega vs. Danielson’s non-title bout headlines the most significant episode of AEW Dynamite. Odds are, this will be the first in a line of great matches between the two. While their superb technical skill is a sight to behold, it’s the artistry they exhibit that will be the difference-maker.
Knowing what to do, when to do it, prompting maximum audience reaction while maintaining the showmanship of their craft will make the match go from good to great, great to spectacular, spectacular to indeed something special.
The only concern one should have going into “Grand Slam” is how much of Omega/Danielson we’re going to get. Dynamite’s last two main events began with 15 minutes left in the show and included a commercial break.
Jox Moxley vs. Minoru Suzuki two weeks ago, and last week’s tag team match with 2point0 against Mox and Eddie Kingston was good but too short and not in a way that left fans wanting more.
There are only 120-minutes of television time to go around, and every name on tonight’s loaded card from Sting to Britt Baker deserves ample time to do their thing.
However, Omega vs. Danielson is the tipping point. The difference between what could be and what will be. If given enough time, Omega and Danielson will allow AEW to shine as wrestling’s North Star.