It’s The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm. This time, I’ll be listing the 20 Best Matches AEW ever, in my opinion. All Elite Wrestling has been around for a little over a year now but still feels like a fresh alternative in the wrestling world. It definitely is a show I look forward to every week considering all the wrestling we get these days.
AEW provides an entire buffet for wrestling styles, and their roster is only growing every week. They provide us with great matches regularly on their PPVs and on Dynamite, therefore making this list was pretty difficult. I also tried to consider the significance of the stories being told and the significance of the matches themselves instead of just the in-ring action so that this list could be more for everyone. Let me know what you think about my list and if I forgot any memorable matches.
Fight For The Fallen – 07/13/19
The Young Bucks vs. Dustin Rhodes and Cody Rhodes
All Out – 08/31/19
Kenny Omega vs. PAC
Full Gear – 11/09/19
AEW World Championship
Chris Jericho w/ Jake Hager vs. Cody Rhodes w/ MJF
Dynamite – 02/19/20
Steel Cage Match
Cody Rhodes vs Wardlow
Revolution – 02/29/20
Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara
Double or Nothing – 05/23/20
MJF vs Jungle Boy
Dark – 09/22/20
Benjamin Carter vs. Lee Johnson
Full Gear – 11/07/20
World Title Eliminator Finals
Kenny Omega vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
Full Gear – 11/07/20
AEW World Championship
Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston
Dynamite – 01/27/21
Dax Harwood vs. Jungle Boy
This match mainly holds historical significance because it was to crown the first-ever AEW Champion. The veteran Chris Jericho faced off against the young rising star “Hangman” Adam Page. It was a seasoned pro facing off against the future of wrestling inside of an All Elite Wrestling ring to find out who would represent the company in its inaugural year. The match was competitive, with Chris Jericho coming out on top in the end. I thought this was a great call to have a wrestling legend like Chris Jericho be the first champion since AEW was a new company premiering on network television. However, it also put a great spotlight on Adam Page, who remains a fan favorite moving forward. I think we’re all waiting for the day Adam Page does eventually become champion.
It was inevitable that the recently revealed Exalted One of the Dark Order would set his eyes on the AEW Championship to make the Dark Order the most dominant faction in AEW. Brodie Lee made sure we weren’t going to have to wait long as he made his presence felt attacking Moxley, stating his intentions. Jon Moxley was the champion and was not backing down from any challenges, and Brodie was a familiar foe from their days in the WWE, so both guys knew each other very well. The match felt like a fight from bell to bell. Br0die Lee really got to show us what he could do in a big match situation and that he belonged in the main event. Moxley had to get violent and vicious to defeat Lee. Brodie never lost but rather passed out in a submission. The only issue with this match was that the referee seemed to be too lenient with the rules since this regular match felt more like a street fight. Overall, it was a great match.
Jon Moxley had a long road before facing Chris Jericho for the AEW World Championship. Jericho tried to avoid having to have the match by inviting Moxley to join his Inner Circle faction, but Moxley wasn’t interested. Following that, Jericho stabbed Moxley in the eye with one of the spikes from his jacket. This still didn’t stop Moxley from showing up for a fight; instead, it ignited his ambitions even more. They told a great story wherein the end, the good guy Moxley outsmarted the bad guy Jericho when Moxley revealed that his eye had healed, catching Jericho off guard before hitting his finisher for the victory. This was great because Moxley even wore an eye patch the entire time he was on Jericho cruise weeks before the show and sell the angle. Moxley becoming the new and second-ever AEW Champion is another reason this match will always stand out.
It was Orange Cassidy’s singles in-ring debut, and it was against none other than “The Bastard” PAC. The contrast in styles really created the anticipation for this match as Orange Cassidy is the “King of Sloth Style.” It’s a style in which he does the bare minimum and even throws kicks with his hands in his pockets. PAC is a serious competitor who doesn’t have time for any shenanigans. The match was entertaining as hell, and the crowd was really behind Orange Cassidy. Cassidy even got some believable near falls after showcasing some of his bursts of athleticism throughout the match, but in the end, the right man went over in PAC. The Bastard made the Freshly Squeezed on tap out to the brutalizer. The Lucha Brothers and The Best Friends got involved too during the match. Overall this is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys the entertainment side of professional wrestling.
Kenny Omega defeated “Hangman” Adam Page in another awesome match at Full Gear, which was the World Title Eliminator Tournament’s finals to become the new number one contender for the AEW Championship. Omega spent most of the year as one-half of the tag team champions with Page, so it was exciting to see that he would finally be in the main championship picture. In the final months of their tag title reign and especially after they lost the tag team titles, Omega started to show some heel-like tendencies. He became more selfish, arrogant, frustrated, and unpredictable. Therefore, we were getting a more motivated Omega facing off against the reigning and defending confident champion Jon Moxley. It was a PPV-worthy competitive main event that ended with Impact Wrestling’s Don Callis helping Kenny Omega win the AEW Championship. Although the ending came with interference, Jon Moxley still looked strong. Kenny Omega confirmed his heel turn, and the finish really set the tone for 2021.
The TNT Championship was introduced to All Elite Wrestling as the secondary championship for the workhorses to great fanfare. As the first champion, Cody Rhodes built up the title’s prestige by defending it every week in open challenges allowing any comers to fight for the championship. He briefly lost it to Brodie Lee in dominating fashion but eventually won it back. After defeating Orange Cassidy a couple of times, it was Darby Allin’s turn to step up for the TNT Championship. Cody cut a promo on Darby the week before the match stating how he vouched for Darby when the company was looking for talent, and he wanted Darby to prove to him that he wasn’t wrong. This was a close match between the two which results in both wrestlers looking strong. Cody was even kicked out of a coffin drop when everyone thought the match was finished. The thing that really made this match significant was the aftermath, where Cody knelt down on one knee to present Allin with the TNT Championship passing the torch from one workhorse to another.
The Lucha Brothers are one of the most talented and popular tag teams in All Elite Wrestling. However, every time we have seen them face off against each other, it’s been something special. They don’t only know each other better than anyone else because they’re a team-team but also because they are real-life brothers. This was the first round of the world title eliminator tournament, and it took place on Dynamite. Eddie Kingston was on commentary f0r the match as he was friends with both competitors. These two put on an absolute banger for Dynamite, and I don’t think the fans expected anything less. Rey Fenix picked up the victory after a competitive match against his brother after catching Penta with a destroyer. It was nice to see a destroyer actually finish the match as it’s become a transitional move these days. This match further showcased that Fenix has a bright future ahead of him as a singles star one day and that Penta is still one of the best today with “cero miedo.”
The friendship between Cody Rhodes and MJF was questionable to everyone but Cody, who always saw MJF as the salt of the earth and his protege. No matter what MJF’s reputation was or if anyone tried to warn Cody about Max’s true intentions, Cody refused to believe that MJF didn’t have his back. MJF’s attitude around Cody was so different to the point where you really questioned if Max did have a different level of respect for Cody. There were times that we thought MJF was going to turn on Cody, but he never did. When Rhodes faced off against Jericho for the AEW Title at Full Gear 2019, where the stipulation was that if Rhodes lost, he wouldn’t be able to challenge for the championship ever again, it was MJF who threw in the towel to forfeit the match for Rhodes. Following the match, MJF finally showed his true colors and attacked Cody. For months Rhodes tried to get MJF to fight him, and when he eventually did, they had a banger of a match. In the end, a bloody MJF picked up the victory to stay undefeated when he used his Dynamite Diamond Ring to his advantage. This match stands out because of the anticipation the fans had to see these two finally go toe to toe, and they were able to tell a great story in the ring off the long build-up.
Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page were an unlikely tag team that showed cracks along the way during their championship run but continued to find ways to work together successfully to hold on to the tag team titles. However, when Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler made their presence known in All Elite Wrestling, you knew Omega and Page’s days as tag team champions were numbered. FTR is considered to be one of the best tag teams of the modern area, and them securing Tully Blanchard as their manager just made them even more dangerous. FTR became the number one contender after winning a tag team gauntlet in which Page assisted in getting the Young Bucks eliminated. This led to Page leaving “The Elite” and had everyone question his loyalty to Kenny Omega. This was a great match with multiple layers of storytelling happening. Omega was concerned about where Page’s head was at, but he ended up hitting Page with a V-trigger by accident which was the beginning of the end for their team. FTR picked up the victory, became tag team champions, and remained undefeated while Omega was the one who walked out.
Those who were fans of both teams before All Elite Wrestling took off all knew this match would be a spectacle. It was nothing less than that. It was an awesome match from two of the best teams in the world. It was brothers versus brothers for the Triple AAA Tag Team Championships. It was a match sparked from the Las Vegas Rally when the Lucha Brothers attacked The Young Bucks. They went back and forth for a few months until their first match at a Triple-A event where The Young Bucks defeated The Lucha Brothers for the Triple AAA tag titles. A rematch was booked for AEW’s inaugural Double or Nothing event with the tag titles on the line again. It was an extremely fast pace, balls to wall and competitive match between two great teams. In the end, The Young Bucks picked up the victory to retain the tag titles, but this wouldn’t be the final match of this feud. This match definitely was a prime preview of what tag team wrestling in AEW would be like.
When Jon Moxley made his surprising All Elite Wrestling debut at Double or Nothing, one of the first people he targeted was Kenny Omega. They had a match scheduled for All Out, but it was postponed due to Moxley having an elbow injury. Therefore, the match was moved to Full Gear when Moxley was cleared to compete. The road to Full Gear showed Kenny Omega trying to play Moxley’s game in getting extreme, even confronting Moxley with a barbwire broom. Their match at Full Gear was then booked to be a “Lights Out Match” which basically meant it was unsanctioned by AEW. This basically meant it could get as hardcore and violent as they wanted without AEW suffering any consequences from what happens by not officially recognizing the match. The match was violent and as hardcore, as it gets, a throwback to Moxley’s days in CZWand the independents prior to WWE. The match included several weapons, including glass, anchor chains, trash cans, a screwdriver, a barbed wire bat, a barbed-wire broom, and even a platform covered in barbed wire. These two beat the crap out of each other with many near falls, but in the end, Moxley reigned supreme with a Paradigm Shift.
If the last match on this list was an example of a modern-day violent match then the Dog Collar Match is an example of an old-school violent wrestling match. Cody Rhodes returned looking to get his TNT Championship back that he lost to Brodie Lee weeks before in a devastating fashion. Brodie Lee was on a reign of terror after beating Cody while Rhodes left for a brief period for television obligations outside of AEW. Cody returned with dark hair and looking more serious about attacking Brodie and the Dark Order. Cody Rhodes was not just returning to regain the championship but also redeem his pride. This was an old-school fight that was both professional and personal. It was reminiscent of the classic dog collar match between “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine from the 1983 Starrcade. Greg Valentine was also in the crowd for the match. The match finished with a Cross Rhodes onto Brodie for Cody to once again become the TNT Champion. This match will also always be memorable because it was Brodie Lee’s final match before he, unfortunately, passed away.
These two teams were feuding with each other for quite some time, but things really picked up when Ortiz and Santana destroyed Trent’s mom’s van. That was truly the final straw, and it led to a parking lot brawl match to be booked between the two teams. Regardless, how silly the build-up was, the match was really fun and memorable.
It initially reminded me of the parking lot brawl that Eddie Guerrero had with John Cena in 2004. They were outside in the parking lot as they fought on the concrete with cars and trucks surrounding them. There were also wrestlers standing around to cheer them on. It was enjoyable to watch and very hard-hitting the whole way. I give them a lot of credit for taking some big bumps throughout the match and making this fight feel personal. There were a ton of cars damaged during this match.
In the end, with the help of Orange Cassidy, the Best Friends picked up the win. Dynamite’s final moments ended with Trent’s mom Sue picking up the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy. As Sue drove the guys away in her white van, she stopped to give the middle finger to the opponents, who were quite amusing.
This is personally my favorite Jon Moxley match in AEW for so many different reasons. MJF was on a roll and finally receiving an AEW Championship title opportunity. However, it was against someone who had a completely different personality and wrestling style than him in Jon Moxley. Both Moxley and MJF came into this match with undefeated streaks, so there was something else on the line other than just the championship. Leading up the match, MJF began a mock political campaign focused on taking down “Dictator John” and tried to gain the advantage by getting Moxley’s Paradigm Shift to finish banned for this match. MJF brought the fight to Moxley, but the champion would not stay down. This was more of a wrestling match compared to other Moxley matches, which is why I think I preferred it. The ending did come with shenanigans as MJF did try using a thumb to the eye and even a low-blow for near falls. In the end, while Wardlow had the referee distracted in an attempt to help Max, Moxley hit the banned Paradigm Shift to retain his championship. It was a great way for Moxley to show blatant disrespect to MJF, but it also allowed Max to stay arrogant about Moxley having to break the rules to defeat him. There needed to be justice for MJF.
When two of the most popular and creative high-flying tag teams have to out-do their last match at Double or Nothing to blow off their feud, there aren’t many better options than a ladder match or an “Escalera De La Muerte ”as they called it here. This was a feud that started back at the AEW Las Vegas Rally when the Lucha Brothers attacked The Young Bucks. Following that, the Young Bucks defeated The Lucha Bros for the Triple AAA tag team titles in Mexico and retained the titles again at Double or Nothing. The Lucha Brothers challenged The Young Bucks one more time, but this time under ladder match rules. The match was everything you expected and more but also didn’t overstay its welcome. It was fast-paced with creative spots, and both teams felt extremely competitive to out-do the other team. The destroyer from the ladder through the table will always be a memorable spot from All Elite Wrestling’s early years. This insane match came to a finish when the Lucha Brothers regained the Triple AAA tag team titles by climbing the ladder and retrieving the belts. This would be the last time we would see the Triple AAA tag team titles on AEW, as they would create their own tag team titles shortly after this event. This match was fantastic, though.
The fact that this match was given to us on live network television and not saved for a PPV was shocking. However, it let wrestling fans know not to miss out on the weekly Dynamite as there would be big-ticket matches on the show they could miss if they didn’t tune in. The feud between PAC and Omega began when The Bastard replaced Moxley at All Out 2019 only to defeat Omega in dominating fashion, making him pass out in the Brutalizer. Kenny Omega would pick up the win in their rematch in late November, which did not sit well with PAC. The Bastard continuously called out Kenny Omega for a rubber match until he actually got one. This match would be a 30 minute Iron Man Match. In case you don’t know, the rules for an Ironman Match are that the winner will be the man to get the most falls over the 30 minutes time limit. This was a personal and competitive match. PAC used a chair early on to give Omega the 1-0 lead. The second fall came after PAC hit a Black Arrow, thus tying up the match 1-1. There were referee bumps and more, but the time ran out. Justin Roberts announced that the match would go into Sudden Death overtime. One minute into overtime, Omega hit the One-Winged Angel for the victory at 2-1. There were several believable near-falls for both guys; the crowd was hot for all of it, both guys looked strong, and this match was outstanding from start to finish.
If this list is based on matches that are memorable, more so than them being five-star classics, then the Stadium Stampede match definitely left an impression on everyone, whether it was good or bad. As we were deep into the no live audience pandemic era of wrestling, both WWE and AEW took advantage of there being no fans by producing cinematic matches. The match between The Inner Circle and The Elite was originally supposed to take place in a “Blood and Guts” match, which many of us assumed would be something similar to the classic War Games matches.
Instead, the match continued to get postponed due to the pandemic until the Stadium Stampede was booked for Double or Nothing. It was Kenny Omega, “Hangman” Page, Matt Hardy, and The Young Bucks facing off against Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz. This match was extremely entertaining and special. It felt more like a fight scene from a movie than a wrestling show, but that was the entire point. There were so many memorable, hilarious and entertaining moments in this match that me listing them out wouldn’t do it justice. Please trust me when I say take your time to watch this if you’re one of those who doesn’t take everything so seriously and enjoys being entertained. The Elite went over in the end, but at the end of this match, both teams were over with me.
It’s always special when a match that is considered a dream match becomes a reality. The Young Bucks were considered to be one of the greatest tag teams outside of the WWE for years, whereas many would consider The Revival to be one of the greatest tag teams in WWE even though they felt underappreciated at times. Regardless if wrestling fans felt like the Revival were misused in the WWE, they won every major tag team title in the company when it came to their American programs. The Young Bucks had won tag team gold from all around the world from various promotions. There was also a long period where it was a running joke on the “Being the Elite” series that the Elite would say “F the Revival,” getting fans more excited for the potential match. Both teams even tweeted out that one day they would wrestle each other and that everyone would rejoice.
Therefore, when the news broke that The Revival were finally leaving WWE, the wrestling world was ecstatic. The first night Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler appeared on Dynamite, they had a face-to-face with the Young Bucks to get things started. FTR aligned themselves with Tully Blanchard and won the tag team titles in the months leading to the match. The match between FTR and the Young Bucks lived up to expectations and was definitely one to remember. The only thing missing was the presence of a large audience, but that was out of their control. The Young Bucks defeated FTR to win the tag team titles when Cash Wheeler tried a 450 splash that didn’t connect, which is against their “no flips, just fists” style. It gave them a good reason why they lost instead of just losing clean to the Young Bucks. I am definitely looking forward to when they meet again, and hopefully, it’s soon.
The Young Bucks won a battle royal on Dynamite to secure a title shot against Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page. It was going to be a battle between The Elite for the tag team titles. There was already some tension between Page and the rest of The Elite, so The Young Bucks were the odds on favorites here. People were really curious to see if Omega and Page could stay on the same page as Hangman started questioning his place in the friend group. This match was incredible from start to finish. They kept a great pace by picking it up as the match went along, which made the final minutes fantastic. They had the confused Hangman story to play off of, but in the end, he played his role as a compromising tag team partner to Kenny Omega. Kenny Omega was also playing the weak link in this match since it followed his Iron Man Match against PAC. The live crowd also brought a lot of energy to this match since they were super invested. The fans were indecisive with where they stood with The Young Back as Hangman was really over at this point with the fans. The work was top-notch, there were great, believable near falls, and the Bucks had to fall into a heel role in desperation. They really had us on the edge of our seat, but in the end, it was a Buckshot Lariat from Hangman that allowed Omega and Page to retain their tag team titles. This was definitely a phenomenal showcase of modern-day tag team wrestling.
This one was for Dusty Rhodes. This one was for their dad. The story was simple yet significant. It was a generational clash between two brothers with a substantial age difference fighting to prove different things to each other. Cody wanted to beat Dustin to kill off the “Attitude Era” to allow wrestling to move forward from a beloved era his older brother was a big part of. He was done with past legends taking spots from current talent, the fans being obsessed with a specific era, and professional wrestling as a whole relying on its history to carry the business in the present. Dustin was wrestling to prove that he could still go, hang with his much younger brother and that he still had a lot to offer to professional wrestling. Dustin did, however, say he just wanted to prove himself and that this would be his final match. It was really believable that it could be his last match considering the match was against his brother. This match is the perfect example of why I call professional wrestling the greatest form of art and athleticism.
They were able to tell us a great emotional story through wrestling, and it was followed up with a memorable moment between brothers. The fans were into the match from the start, and it was an old-school fight where the blood pouring from Dustin’s head added so much to the story of the match. Dustin put on one of his greatest performances at the age of 50 and proved he could hang with his younger brother. Although Dustin got some near falls, Cody Rhodes picked up the victory after a Cross Rhodes. This match was beautiful and a reminder of how great professional wrestling can be. Following the match, Cody tells Dustin that he can’t retire because he needed a tag team partner for the upcoming “Fight for the Fallen” event. Cody told his bloody brother that he doesn’t need a partner or a friend, he needs his brother, and they shared a hug to a huge ovation. It was truly something special and added to the entire presentation. Check it out if you haven’t already.