The 20 Best AEW Matches of 2020
Part One: Dynamite
It’s Wednesday; You Know What That Means
The glory of Monday Night Wars may be long and gone but Wednesday Night Wars is alive and well. It’s an amazing time to be a wrestling fan as AEW looks to bring back many of the fans who stopped watching wrestling over the past 18 years. Make no mistake about it, AEW is changing the landscape of the wrestling world and Wednesday Night Dynamite is an electrifyingly kinetic and insanely frenetic spectacle stacked with a level of athleticism at which the WWE stars of yesteryear would marvel. In its second year of existence, the promotion continues to make waves, consistently beating WWE’s NXT show in the ratings each week and frequently becoming the topic of trending debates. It is just that damn good. What follows is a list of the 14 best AEW Dynamite matches of 2020. If you missed any of these gems, we strongly recommend setting aside some time and checking them out. Enjoy!
15. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Kenny Omega & “Broken” Matt Hardy
AEW Dynamite, May 6, 2020
The street fight between Matt Hardy and Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara wasn’t so much a great wrestling match as it was an absolute fun brawl, filled with ridiculous plunder, a crazy cart chase, plenty of table spots and weird theatrics such as Hardy changing outfits at least three times in between the action. No, it didn’t feature much wrestling, but it did help advance the feud between Inner Circle and the Elite and set up the Stadium Stampede at Double or Nothing. And believe it or not, this was Matt Hardy’s first match with AEW as he vacillated between Hardy and his alter ego Damascus. That and the fact that it helped inspire arguably the best AEW meme of 2020, is enough reason to include it on my list of best matches of 2020.
14. Young Bucks VS Hybrid2
AEW Dynamite, December 9, 2020
If you weren’t aware that Angelico and Jack Evans were extremely talented wrestlers, you weren’t watching AEW Dark this year where they’ve been kicking ass for months before earning a shot at the World Tag Team Titles.
Hybrid2 proved why they are one of the few teams that can truly match The Young Bucks, move for move in double team action and high-flying assaults. But this wasn’t just about flipping and flopping around the ring; the four men also battled hard outside the ring and in my favourite spot, Matt and Nick Jackson put both of their opponents in a sharpshooter at the same time. All in all, this match was a great way to open Dynamite.
13. Jeff Cobb vs. Jon Moxley
The Hired Gun vs. The One-Eyed Champ
AEW Dynamite, February 19, 2020
Jon Moxley might not be my favourite wrestler in the AEW locker room but every storyline and every match surrounding the superstar in 2020 had been nothing short of excellent. AEW’s then undefeated “Stone Cold” brawler continued his winning streak against the hired assassin Jeff Cobb— which to be fair, wasn’t the best match on Dynamite— but it was a memorable and important one.
What made this match worth including in this list was trying to guess the outcome. It didn’t make sense at the time to have Moxley lose a match just ten days prior to the PPV main event where he would face and most likely defeat Chris Jericho. It also didn’t make sense to introduce someone like Jeff Cobb and have him lose his first match in AEW— even if he wasn’t part of the main roster.
And yet, despite this dilemma, AEW found the perfect way to end a great match by having Moxley pull a Bret Hart-style small package and get the three count. I realize this might not satisfy some fans but in doing so, AEW managed to keep Cobb a physical threat since he pretty much man-handled Jon Moxley throughout the match and I honestly can’t think of a better ending that would have done justice to both superstars. As Bruce Prichard says often on the Something to Wrestle With podcast, it’s not always important who wins but the story you are telling.
12. John Silver, Alex Reynolds, and Hangman Adam Page
vs. MJF, Santana, and Ortiz
Brodie Lee Tribute Match
The last episode of AEW Dynamite that aired in 2020 is also the best episode of the year. Originally intended to be part of AEW’s two-week New Year’s celebration, Tony Kahn opted to change plans last minute and turn it into a loving tribute for Mr. Brodie Lee, real name Jon Huber, who tragically died on December 26, 2020.
Huber’s death brought with it an outpouring of grief and a celebration of his life throughout the wrestling industry and this episode honored his legacy with matches featuring his friends and contemporaries. Not only did the card honor Huber himself, but also his wife, Amanda, and two children, Brodie and Nolan, as well as members of Huber’s Dark Order stable up.
From the opening minutes with the ten-bell salute to the video package that ended the broadcast, AEW produced an episode of Dynamite that will never be forgotten. It was the most emotional two hours of wrestling I’ve ever seen and a phenomenal show with superb three-way matches from start to finish. Of the many matches, however, the three-way battle between John Silver, Alex Reynolds, and Hangman Adam Page vs. MJF, Santana, and Ortiz, was by far my favourite. It was not only perfectly paced but gave fans some of the best spots including Brodie Jr. knocking out MJF with a kendo stick and featured a surprise cameo by Brodie Lee’s former tag team partner, Erick Rowan, who showed up to even the odds against the Inner Circle. Other highlights included Silver and Reynolds flinging paper at their opponents (a nod to Being the Elite), MJF staying in character so he could put Brodie Jr. over, and watching Rowan return to the ring post-match with a sign paying tribute to his fallen friend. With this match, AEW just gave Brodie Jr. (and fans) something they will never forget. It was everything it needed to be and more. The Exalted One will be deeply missed. Rest in peace, Big Rig.
AEW Dynamite, December 30, 2020
11. Jon Moxley vs. Darby Allin
AEW World Championship
AEW Dynamite, August 5, 2020
Anyone who listens to Talk AEW knows we named Darby Allin, the breakout star of 2020. While fans have supported him since his AEW debut— am unforgettable match when he went to the time limit with Cody Rhodes— it was only in 2020 that he elevated himself to superstar status wrestling guys like Sammy Guevara at Revolution and beating The American Nightmare for the TNT championship at Full Gear. Allin has been one of the busiest stars in the AEW roster and with so many matches, it seems many fans have forgotten about his fight with Jon Moxley on Dynamite for the World Title— which is a shame since it’s one hell of a great match.
On this occasion, Darby Allin went to war with Jon Moxley in a match full of unbelievable highlights and a scary moment when Moxley shoved the challenger into a body bag. At one point, Allin nearly pulled off a massive upset, landing a coffin drop but it just wasn’t enough. The match ended with Moxley hitting the paradigm shift on Darby Allin from the top rope and nearly breaking Allin’s neck.
10. MJF vs. Jungle Boy
First Time Booking
AEW Dynamite, February 12, 2020
It had been six months since Dynamite premiered on October 2nd, 2019 and while the first 18 episodes of Dynamite featured plenty of highlights and killer promos, it was only with this 19th episode that AEW was by far, the clear winner of the Wednesday Night Wars.
AEW delivered one of its best episodes of Dynamite which featured a stacked card; a cameo appearance by Jeff Cobb; a brilliant interview by the one and only Jim Ross, and four incredible matches that are of PPV-quality. The best of the four, however, was the match between MJF and Jungle Boy, which marked the first time these two young stars went toe to toe.
It was also great to see Jungle Boy give MJF a run for his money and had it not been for Wardlow handing MJF his Dynamite Diamond ring, Jungle Boy might have just snuck away with the victory. With this match, MJF continued to prove why he might be the best heel working in any wrestling program today and arguably the most-hated person on AEW Dynamite at the time. Meanwhile, Jungle Boy continued to prove why he has the potential to one day be the face of the company. In my eyes, this match seems to be a precursor to a future main event. Hopefully, AEW will start affording Jungle Boy with some more victories in singles matches and maybe— just maybe—Jungle Boy can one day hoist a championship belt over their shoulders.
9. Riho vs. Nyla Rose
Women’s Championship Match
AEW Dynamite, February 12, 2020
The biggest surprise of any women’s match this year was by perhaps the quality of the Championship match between Nyla Rose and Riho. It was by far the best women’s match I’ve seen yet on Dynamite, featuring several near falls as both women found themselves almost winning the match numerous times. Despite the difference in size, Riho somehow was able to kick out of a pin after receiving the Sit-out Powerbomb and if that wasn’t enough, she also somehow pulled off three snap dragon suplexes (shades of Kenny Omega)!
Riho’s determination was amazing, to say the least, and while she couldn’t retain her championship title, she walked away with even more admiration from her rabid fanbase.
It’s also worth noting that this is the first time a title had changed hands since Dynamite debuted in 2019. It was due time we had a new champion and Rose was a good choice at the time since she’s arguably the biggest and strongest female competitor in the AEW roster.
8. The Exalted One, Mr. Brodie Lee vs. Cody
Dog Collar Match
AEW Dynamite, October 7, 2020
If you’re going to invite Greg “The Hammer” Valentine to stand in attendance and watch a dog collar match, you better make sure you don’t disappoint considering he’s most famous for his legendary dog collar match with the great “Rowdy” Roddy Piper! Thankfully, The Exalted One Brodie Lee and The American Nightmare Cody Rhodes more than exceeded our expectations. This was one of the most physically demanding matches in the history of Dynamite as both men had to fight while connected by a steel chain and a dog collar. It really is a grueling spectacle that left both men beaten, bruised and covered in blood. Sadly, it is also the last match that the late Brodie Lee wrestled before his passing on December 26, 2020.
7. Young Bucks & FTR Vs. The Lucha Bros. & The Butcher and The Blade
AEW Fyter Fest
AEW Dynamite, July 9, 2020
Before fans were treated to the highly anticipated (and much-requested) match between The Young Bucks and FTR, the two tag teams formed a temporary partnership and faced off against The Butcher & The Blade and the Lucha Brothers in what was one of the most exciting tag team matches in the history of Dynamite.
With so many competitors in the ring and so much going on, you’d be forgiven if you can’t remember any specifics to the match but trust me when I say this was the best thing to come out of Fyter Fest. The eight-man bout featured plenty of engaging story points, tons of high flying action, plenty of clever spots, and non-stop action from start to finish.
6. Jon Moxley VS. Kenny Omega
Winter is ComingHeavy Weight Championship Match
AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming, December 2, 2020
“Winter is Coming” might be the biggest night in Dynamite history with a main event that featured Kenny Omega challenging for the AEW World Championship for the first time as he faced Jon Moxley. The match was everything fans could hope for with both combatants teasing several finishers and each escaping the other’s trademark moves. It was almost a perfect match if not for the overbooked finish, which saw Don Callis hand Kenny Omega a foreign object which he would use to knock out the champ and steal the win. Still, I shouldn’t really complain considering it gave reason for Callis to be at ringside and pushed Omega back into full-heel status— not to mention it kicked off unexpected cross-promotional storytelling between AEW and Impact wrestling. In the end, Moxley needed to lose the belt after holding on to it for so long, and who better than to take it from him.
5. Kenny Omega & Adam Page vs. The Lucha Brothers
Tag Team Championship Match
AEW Dynamite, February 19, 2020
The Tag Team Title match between Kenny Omega & Adam Page and The Lucha Brothers is maybe the second-best tag team match on Dynamite this year. The ending wasn’t anywhere near as surprising and exciting as the Moxley and Cobb fight that same night, but the match was a non-stop, action-packed, high-flying and hard-hitting fight that had me believing for a moment that Omega and Page would lose the championship belts. There were plenty of highlights such as when Kenny was left to fight for his life against both challengers and later watching Fenix run along the top rope and deliver a swift kick to Kenny Omega’s head. Needless to say, it was a breathtaking event with jaw-dropping finishers and an ending that once again had Page walking into the crowd in search of beer while leaving his teammate behind.
4. Cody vs. Wardlow
AEW’s First Steel Cage Mage
AEW Dynamite, February 19, 2020
After weeks of being taunted, tortured and ridiculed, Cody was ready to take on Wardlow in a steel cage overcoming the final MJF stipulation so that he could get a shot at his former best friend at the upcoming pay-per-view.
The match had plenty of highlights but before I get to that, I should first mention how enormous the steel cage was. When compared to the steel cages we’ve seen in other wrestling promotions in the past (including the WWE), the structured looked almost twice the size. The second thing that stood out was having MJF encourage Arn Anderson to double-cross Cody— a clever callback to Anderson’s WCW days when he turned heel. Finally, it was also refreshing to have the AEW go back to the old-school days of wrestling by not having the match end by simply stepping out of the cage. Personally, I like this format better since it meant both men couldn’t find an easy way out and were forced to pretty much beat the living crap out of one another— and that they did.
On his debut, Wardlow came across as a real threat, even if he lost. For most of the match, Wardlow was in full control, tossing Cody around the ring and at one-point busting Cody’s forehead wide open. Once the blood came spilling down Cody’s face, the intensity increased with Cody trying his best to overcome the sheer strength of his opponent. In the end, Cody built up enough courage to climb the steel structure and without any hesitation (nor looking down), the American Nightmare stunned the crowd by performing a moonsault flip and stealing the win.
3. Serena Deeb Vs. Thunder Rosa
NWA Women’s Championship
AEW Dynamite, November 18, 2020
The NWA Women’s Championship match between Serena Deeb and the former champion, Thunder Rosa on Dynamite is hands down the best women’s match of the year and one of the most fundamentally sound matches we’ve seen in a long time. Not only did it showcase the talents of both women in the ring, but it also served a purpose in setting the groundwork for a feud between Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa in the future. This was a good old fashion wrestling match featuring two of the top women in the business doing what they do best. Hopefully, we will see a rematch between both competitors, and hopefully next time, they will wrestle on a pay-per-view and have a bit more time to conclude the match without commercial breaks nor interference from Britt Baker.
2. Pac vs. Kenny Omega
30 Minute Iron Man Match
AEW Dynamite, February 26, 2020
Live from Kansas City, Dynamite opened with an incredible 30-minute iron man Match between Kenny Omega and Pac that is so good, it could have been the main event in a pay-per-view.
There are so many highlights in this match— from Pac delivering a killer DDT to Kenny Omega outside the ring on the hard-concrete floor— to PAC executing a brainbuster on Omega from the top rope, and so much more!
From the get-go, the Kansas City crowd was off the charts, cheering and chanting as loud as they could, further enhancing the excitement of it all. Fans watching from home were treated to twenty minutes of brutal, non-stop action before AEW cut to their first commercial break. It was all perfectly directed, unlike previous episodes in which the commercials would sometimes be inserted at the wrong time.
Other highlights included two near pinfalls courtesy of a tiger driver and a massive Bruce-Lee-style-kick that sent PAC flying toward the turnbuckle. From there Kenny Omega took a huge beating after PAC grabbed a chair from under the ring and slammed it against Omega’s skull, a decision that resulted in the first-ever disqualification in AEW history. The match was far from over, however, as PAC would proceed to take advantage of the beaten and exhausted Kenny Omega suplexing him out of the ring, and at one point, knocking out the referee. With the official out cold, PAC was able to place Kenny on a table and pull off a shooting star press from the top rope, sending them both through the table.
I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone that the match would end in a draw nor do I think it was a surprise that they would order the match to continue and proceed with a sudden death rule— shades of the Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels iron man match from WrestleMania XII. Overall, this match was almost perfect and a shiny example that when done right, the suspense of an iron man match is unmeasurable. Not only were both men able to show off their wrestling abilities but the story revolving around the match continued to add fuel to the already rocky relationship between Kenny Omega and his tag team partner Adam Page who did not come out to support his partner ringside.
1. Best Friends Vs. Santana & Ortiz
Parking Lot Brawl
AEW Dynamite, September 10, 2020
I’m not going to lie, when this match started, I was sure it was going to be a disaster. Thankfully, I was wrong. Not only is the parking lot brawl between Best Friends and Santana and Ortiz a first five-star match but it’s also a masterclass in both booking and storytelling.
We knew we should expect weapons— lots and lots of weapons— but nothing prepared me for the originality of how these four men would use the objects around them to inflict damage on their opponents. In-between the powerbombs through windshields and suplexes on the roof of cars was a singular bone-breaking vision that managed to have a satisfying plot and some fantastically well-crafted scenes of tension amidst the blood bath. It seemed all four men had at least one close encounter with death; Ortiz nearly killing Taylor with a sledgehammer is something I’ll never forget. Blood was spilled, bones were broken, and property was damaged but despite the horror, it remains a thrilling, fast-paced masterpiece with not a dull moment.
In the end, Orange Cassidy emerged from the trunk of a car to help his friends Chuckie T and Trent get the win. If that wasn’t enough, Trent’s mother Sue arrived on the scene with a repaired minivan to give the winners a ride home— but not before she rolled down her window and flipped the bird as they drove off. If you’re a fan of professional wrestling, this is a must-see! It hits hard due to its no-holds-barred coercion, unfaltering intensity, and desire to do what most matches don’t: surprise fans from the opening bell to the final bell.