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The Top 5 AEW Matches To Date

In its short history, AEW has put on some absolutely incredible matches that have captured the hearts and the imagination of the wrestling community, creating some real wrestling history in the process. But which of those matches stands head and shoulders above the rest? Which battles beat down their competitors to raise the titles?

Here, I humbly present to you my choices for the top 5 AEW matches to date!

1. Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes (Double or Nothing, May 25th, 2019)

Cody and Dustin Rhodes hug in the ring at AEW Double or Nothing 2019

It’s easy to forget now, with all the noise and controversy that surrounded his last six months or so in AEW, and the mystery as to his next destination now that he has left the company, just how important Cody was to AEW in the early days. Not only did he, out of all of The Elite, embody the rebel spirit of attack against WWE that appealed so strongly to fans looking desperately for a major alternative, but he provided the audience with gigantic moments, both in the ring and in terms of storytelling, making him the heart of the company and the center of this upstart promotion.

Both of these factors, the rebel spirit and the big moment, are present right from the start as Cody and his big brother Dustin Rhodes put on an emotional masterclass in AEW’s first-ever show, Double or Nothing 2019. Cody’s dramatic entrance, smashing a throne with a very familiar sledgehammer, was a statement of intent, while he and Dustin defied all the odds with a blood-drenched, highly fraught match that, after years of portraying Goldust in the lower ranks of WWE, provided the revelation that Dustin Rhodes still had a hell of a lot to offer to wrestling. Meanwhile, Cody’s teary speech to Dustin proclaiming how he needed his brother put a lump in the throat of every fan, and rightly so.

2. Adam Page & Kenny Omega vs. The Young Bucks (AEW Revolution, February 29th, 2020)

Adam Page and Kenny Omega celebrate after their hard-fought win at AEW Revolution 2020

Another match that shows how much has changed in the short history of AEW, and great evidence of how AEW can get its long-term storytelling right sometimes, the odd-couple pairing of Adam Page and Kenny Omega as AEW Tag Team Champions between January and September 2020 was one of the highlights of the early days of AEW for me and is probably one of the highlights of the company overall. Not only did they work exceptionally well as a team, putting on great match after great match, but the tension between the disillusioned, cynical Page and the then-good-natured Omega was excellent entertainment and was the fulcrum around the storyline events of 2021 revolved.

The cracks in The Elite began to show with this match at Revolution 2020, The Young Bucks’ despair and fury at Adam Page, only balanced by Hangman’s resentment of the successful pair. This left Kenny, for now, playing the peacemaker. Over 30 minutes of hot, furious, never-ending action, the foursome unleashed such a wealth of near falls, emotion, and heel teases that they completely rewarded every one of us who had trusted The Elite to bet on themselves. And in hindsight, Hangman getting the pinfall foretold us of his future as world champion more than we realized.

3. Thunder Rosa vs. Britt Baker (Lights Out Match, AEW Dynamite, March 17th, 2021)

Britt Baker empties a big of pins onto the mat as Thunder Rosa lies prone and the ref looks on

Not only was this brutal, vicious blast of hardcore wrestling one of AEW’s best women’s matches ever, but it was also perhaps one of the best matches held in any promotion in 2021! With the constant criticism (some fair, some not) that AEW’s Women’s Division gets, I really can’t remember the expectations fans had for this match going into it. But hell, Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker exceeded every last expectation with a cavalcade of chairs, tables, and drawing pins. Even Mick Foley gave it the hardcore seal of approval!

I still cringe now (in a good way!) thinking about the ladder spots, the pins in the flesh, the climatic Rosa driver off the apron through a table to obtain the win. There was nothing tentative or half-hearted about this match, and I believe it has further contributed to the mainstream wrestling audiences’ appreciation of how far women can take things in the ring. It also gave us one of the most iconic AEW images to date as well, with Britt Baker’s crimson mask becoming an emblem of and a doubling down on her superstardom.

4. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega (AEW Dynamite, September 22nd, 2021)

Bryan Danielson throws a massive kick at Kenny Omega on AEW Dynamite

This was such a big deal, and justifiably so. Two men considered to be the best in the business; who had only faced each other in a comedic style match in PWG years previously and a triple threat in ROH; which was a dream match for so many people, only to be given immediately to the fans, for free, on AEW Dynamite as Danielson’s first AEW match! No wonder it felt and still feels, like a moment that was instantly and forever will be a major moment in wrestling history.

All of this would be pointless to dwell on if the match itself wasn’t any good. But not only did the match live up to expectations, it possibly outdid them. From super-smooth chain wrestling to hard-and-heavy striking to brutal and unforgettable moments such as Omega running down the ramp and driving the V-Trigger like a dagger into Danielson’s skull, the match had a bit of everything for everyone. Not only that, but the story of Danielson constantly attempting to apply the LaBelle lock and failing, only to hurt Omega’s arm and prevent Omega from hitting the One-Winged Angel, made for a compelling and logical backbone to the match, ensuring it was more than just a collection of spots.

The draw result might have been a letdown for some, but it seems churlish to complain when the match was so damn good. And it also leaves the door open for a rematch, should AEW ever decide to go down that road.

5. Andrade El Idalo vs. PAC II (AEW Rampage, October 22nd, 2021)

Andrade and PAC exchange blows on the ring apron

Having already wrestled on Rampage a month earlier, both Andrade and PAC raised their games here to bring us an unexpectedly phenomenal encounter that nodded to classic athletic wrestlers and brilliant junior heavyweight battles between the likes of Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask while still being utterly contemporary.

The key ingredient was heat; having been cheated out of victory in their last match by a cheap iPad shot to the head, PAC was not going to be denied and he went after Andrade with a vengeance. Andrade was not going to make it easy for him and pulled out the Three Amigos to once more draw those Eddie comparisons. The Hammerlock DDT failed him this time, however, as PAC countered it into a small package to take the win. Before that were moments of aerial daring and brutality as the two displayed rare chemistry that had to that point had only been suspected. Kudos to everyone involved.

What do you think? Did I get it right? Or are there some classic AEW matches that I’ve missed out on? Let me know in the comments!

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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