This Saturday's Double or Nothing pay-per-view will mark the one-year anniversary of All Elite Wrestling's first official event as a promotion. And with every anniversary comes a time for reflection. Whether it's strong style slappers, hilarious comedy matches or weapons-filled car wrecks, the company has produced a boat load of excellent matches covering a variety of styles. And before the anniversary show gets underway, we here at ComicBook decided it was a good time to look back at the previous year and name the top seven matches in AEW's freshman year as a promotion. You can see the full list below, along with a few honorable mentions.
Are there any matches we missed? Let us know down in the comments!
Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. The Young Bucks — AEW Revolution
Since AEW launched, one of its main missions was to prove the value of tag team wrestling. Thanks to a stacked tag division there were quite a number of possible entries on this list, but nothing quite comes close to the match The Young Bucks had with Kenny Omega and Hangman Page at AEW Revolution over the AEW World Tag Team Championships. The storyline between the four could be traced back years to their days in Ring of Honor and Bullet Club, and it perfectly encapsulated Page' meteroic rise as one of the brand's most interesting stars. From the moment the bell rings to Page and Omega's final trip up the ramp your never quite sure who is going to turn on who, and all the while the two teams beat the tar out of each other with one fantastic sequence after another.
There's a reason this match got a six-star rating. Seriously, if you don't watch anything else on this list watch this match.
Kenny Omega vs. PAC Iron Man Match — AEW Dynamite (Feb. 26)
Kenny Omega's first year in AEW was a mixed bag, and it's not quite clear how much of that was deliberate (or caused by injury). Between his debut loss against Chris Jericho, his disappointing first match with PAC at All Out, and his loss against Moxley it didn't feel like he was on the same level fans had seen from his recent years in New Japan. But by the time he faced PAC in a 30-minute Iron Man Match in Kansas City, that doubt seemed to be wiped away.
Omega is firing on all cylinders in this match, while PAC always brings a consistent level of quality. It's also worth noting this match has the first DQ in AEW history, and it didn't even end the match. Considering how often disqualifications happen in just about every other American promotion, that's quite a feat.
Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes — Double or Nothing
The lead-up promos, the in-ring action, the pools of blood, that final sequence, Cody's post-match promo, the hug — it's all perfect.
Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Bros. Escalera de la Muerte Match — All Out
By the time the Bucks were booked to face Pentagon and Fenix yet again at All Out, fans were worried that there wasn't anything left the two teams could do to one another. After seeing one of the most insane ladder matches in recent memory, the four men proved everybody wrong.
Cody Rhodes vs. Wardlow Steel Cage Match — AEW Dynamite (Feb. 19)
It's funny, for as great as the Cody vs. MJF rivalry was, the least-memorable thing about it was their match at AEW Revolution. The real drama came from Friedman's list of demands for the match to take place, which included Rhodes getting whipped with a leather belt live on television. Rhodes' journey to earning the match finally culminated in the company's first Steel Cage match, in which Rhodes had to beat the powerhouse Wardlow in his debut. The match itself (and the drama outside the cage) is all pretty great, but Rhodes' moonsault off the top of the cage at the end launched it to a higher level.
Kenny Omega vs. Sammy Guevara — AEW Dynamite (March 25)
By late March AEW had scrapped its touring schedule and moved its tapings to Daily's Place in Jacksonville. And yet, despite all of that, Kenny Omega and Sammy Guevara somehow managed to tear the house down with a 23-minute clash over Omega's AAA Mega Championship.
Chris Jericho vs. Darby Allin Philadelphia Street Fight — AEW Dynamite (Oct. 16)
Darby Allin made it clear in his debut against Cody Rhodes that he was something special. But once he got in the ring with "Le Champion," he proved he's a genuine rockstar. Allin pushed Jericho to his absolute limit in the veteran's first title defense, and still nearly pulled off a victory despite having his hands taped behind his back for the latter half of the match.
- Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Cobb (AEW Dynamite, Feb. 19) — Cobb's sudden arrival proved that the border lines between AEW and other companies might not be as strict as originally thought. Hopefully Cobb will do more with the company.
- SCU vs. The Lucha Brothers (AEW Dynamite, Oct. 30) — Scorpio Sky has been one of the biggest pleasant surprises for AEW since the company began, and he shined alongside Frankie Kazarian in route to their AEW World Tag Team Championship win
- SCU vs. Kenny Omega and Adam Page (AEW Dynamite, Jan. 21) — You knew at least one match from the cruise was making it on here!
- Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara (AEW Revolution) — Not higher only because it technically lasted just five minutes.
- Orange Cassidy vs. PAC (AEW Revolution) — When AEW became Freshly Squeezed.
- Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega Lights Out Match (AEW Full Gear) — It's not for everyone. But if you like ultraviolent matches it's outstanding.
- Matt Hardy & Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara (AEW Dynamite, May. 13)
- Darby Allin vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara (AEW Dynamite, March 4) — Darby gave a hot tag to himself... and it worked!