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Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)

Wrestling

Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)

2023 Matches of the Year: AEW PPVs

AEW PPVs in 2022 ranged from strong to fairly balanced on paper but always over-delivered come showtime. Double Or Nothing boasted Anarchy in the Arena, and what many hailed as their most unpredictable PPV main event to date. Forbidden Door was one of their most exciting shows top-to-bottom, despite all the limitations placed on the event. All Out will always be talked about for The Acclaimed, Jamie Hayter, the crowning of the first World Trios Champions, and definitely nothing else.

This AEW formula likely isn’t going away any time soon. So how will our favorite events in 2023 fair with it?

House of Black - Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)
Image: AEW

AEW Revolution
The Elite (c) v House of Black (World Trios Championship)

The build doesn’t do this match justice. The Elite’s sarcastic personas did little to mask the fact that they were just playing defense all bout. The Young Bucks threw their superkick parties, and Kenny Omega’s exchanges with every member of House of Black generated plenty of excitement. Both teams were neck and neck in terms of quick strikes, but the high-impact moves that ultimately mattered were landed by HOB.

The Elite were simply bested on this night. Strong combos, tenacity, momentum, and a banshee outside the ring — there was nothing HOB didn’t have, which made them dangerous aggressors. But now that the first match is over, can we please find out what this whole beef is about? Without ambiguities this time?

Adam Page, Jon Moxley - Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)
Image: AEW

AEW Revolution
Adam Page v Jon Moxley (Texas Deathmatch)

It’s back to peak form for bloody Jon Moxley against fellow Texas Deathmatch-enthusiast, “Hangman” Adam Page. This battle certainly unlocks a new side to Page, one that shows him capable of tapping into hate when necessary without being comfortable with it. Page’s darker entrance ahead of this set a stellar atmosphere for the depths he was willing to go with Moxley.

Texas Deathmatch

Every laceration from the coiled barbed wire was out of spite. Every bone-crushing stomp assisted by bricks was methodical. Nothing about this madness was an accident, and each succeeding choke was an escalation of therapeutic violence. Until finally, it was enough.

A fitting conclusion to this chapter of one of AEW’s greatest rivalries.

MJF, Bryan Danielson - Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)
Image: AEW

AEW Revolution
MJF (c) v Bryan Danielson (60-Minute Ironman, World Championship)

For much of these 60 minutes, the young prodigy with an 8-year career was outclassed by the 24-year veteran. Who’d have thunk it? Between MJF’s half-a-dozen water breaks, and both he and Bryan Danielson pacing themselves cautiously to start, one wondered how the challenger would drag the champion to the deep end. Then, the urgent pinfalls started to cascade, and the fight for the lead refused to let up.

MJF vs. Bryan Danielson

From the explosive piledrivers; to Danielson’s masterful display of leglocks; to MJF transforming into a genuinely scary person taunting Danielson’s daughter at around the 40-minute mark.

MJF

This epic match was as emotionally thrilling as it was important. Genuinely one of, if not the most ambitious and best match AEW has produced to date.

Matt Jackson, Jon Moxley - Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)
Image: AEW

AEW Double Or Nothing
Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler Yuta) v The Elite (Kenny Omega, Adam Page, Young Bucks) (Anarchy in the Arena)

From The Elite entering as one unit for maybe the first time in AEW, and Page and Omega singing their fucking entrance song to each other, my God — this would’ve hooked any long-time AEW fan from the beginning.

And even for those who aren’t, partsFUNknown’s Dan Layton described Anarchy in the Arena as “like watching a live montage.” Which might explain its overall comfort-watch vibes, despite all the blood. This rendition peaks with a literal exploding superkick, as well as insane shifts in momentum. Page and Omega being swarmed, to The Elite doing the swarming on Yuta, to the surprise end. Just a beautiful finishing sequence all around.

Katsuyori Shiata, Orange Cassidy, Daniel Garcia, Zack Sabre Jr - Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)
Image: AEW/NJPW

AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door
Orange Cassidy (c) v Katsuyori Shibata v Zack Sabre Jr v Daniel Garcia (AEW International Championship)

This was a high-energy 10-minute sprint.

All four displayed their greatest strengths currently. ZSJ’s confidence in his technical ability. Shibata’s confidence that no technical wrestler can faze him. Garcia’s commitment to his stupid sports-entertainment dance that seems to be growing on more people. And OC’s skill of squeaking out big match victories without landing big bombs of his own. OC retains, but everybody won here, in arguably the most fun match of the entire event.

Will Ospreay, Kenny Omega - Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)
Image: AEW

AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door
Kenny Omega (c) v Will Ospreay (IWGP US Heavyweight Championship)

As someone who didn’t fall in love whatsoever with Omega v Ospreay 1, as well as someone who soured and has since gotten back around on Ospreay: this was beyond beautiful. Much has been said about the Tiger Driver ’91, as well as whether Don Callis’ involvement took away from this or not. I strongly feel that blatant neck slams shouldn’t have a place in wrestling. But it did happen, Omega’s cleared to wrestle two weeks later, and we’re all talking about it.

Wrestling is caring, I guess. And I don’t really care what Don Callis does. He didn’t win the match, so I’m sure he added to it.

Kazuchika Okada, Bryan Danielson - Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)

AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door
Bryan Danielson v Kazuchika Okada

It’s unfair. From the moment this match was announced, it was always going to be great. Then, we hear Europe’s “Final Countdown.” And the coin drops. People are losing their damn marbles. Fans in attendance collect themselves and treat this match almost with reverence. The action ramps up with an Okada tombstone onto the entrance ramp. We would find out after the event that Danielson had fractured his forearm not long after that, which would explain the uncharacteristically conservative sequences that followed.

After surviving one sole Rainmaker, Danielson would have Okada trapped in a leg-assisted omoplata and armbar hybrid for a shocking submission victory. It was always going to be great. Wishing Danielson a speedy recovery.

Bryan Danielson, Kazuchika Okada - Best AEW PPV Matches of 2023 (So Far)
Image: AEW/NJPW

Honorable Mentions

  • Jack Perry v Christian Cage (The Final Burial, Revolution)
  • Blackjack Battle Royal (International Championship, Double Or Nothing)
  • MJF (c) v Jack Perry v Sammy Guevara v Darby Allin (World Championship, Double Or Nothing)
    CM Punk v Satoshi Kojima (Owen Hart Cup Quarterfinal, Forbidden Door)
  • Adam Page, Young Bucks, Eddie Kingston, Tomohiro Ishii v Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler Yuta, Konosuke Takeshita, Shota Umino (Forbidden Door)
Written By

Harvey Garcia is sometimes a poet and freelance writer from Manila; always going to pop for a butterfly suplex, and a good line cut.

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