With over 103 episodes and two years of exciting wrestling action under its belt, All Elite Wrestling’s flagship show has been bringing fans a brand of wrestling befitting of the company’s Elite moniker. From that fateful first episode in Washington D.C. to the COVID-19 era to its current hot streak, Dynamite has been thrilling, non-stop action every week.
The Ringcrashers team has compiled a list of their personal favorite moments & matches from Dynamite’s two-year history. So, without further ado, it’s time to light the fuse and bring the boom, as we look back on two years of AEW Dynamite.
Top Moment(s): The Road to Revolution 2020
It was honestly hard for me to pin down one singular moment in Dynamite’s history (aside from the beautiful and moving tribute to Mr. Brodie Lee) as my one true favorite, so I went with the stretch of Dynamite episodes starting from January 1st, 2020’s episode to the go-home show on February 26th.
That string of episodes turned Dynamite into must-see television as fans saw witness to the rise of “Hangman” Adam Page & Kenny Omega as the AEW Tag Team Champions, Jon Moxley going to war with Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle, as well as Cody Rhodes enduring MJF’s torturous challenges just to earn a shot at him at Revolution — culminating in the first-ever cage match in AEW history in front of a hot Atlanta crowd.
Revolution 2020 is widely regarded by AEW fans as one of the best PPV events in company history, and that’s thanks in no small part to the two-month build that unfolded on Dynamite.
Top Four Matches
The bitter war between the Best Friends and Proud ‘n Powerful culminated in this brutal slugfest that appropriately main evented the 50th episode of Dynamite.
If there’s one thing that AEW has succeeded in is making their gimmick matches feel important and not just treating them as window dressing. Having the intense rivalry between these two teams end with a parking lot just made sense. The thirteen-minute brawl saw both teams practically brutalize each other, ending with a satisfying win for the Best Friends. Trent’s mother Sue arriving in her van to take the Best Friends home — but not before giving Santana & Ortiz one final one-finger salute — provided a perfect capstone to this incredible feud-ending showdown. The match’s cathartic finish provided something that’s been a hallmark of AEW booking: giving the people what they want.
The first-ever Iron Man match in AEW history did not disappoint as The Cleaner and The Bastard laid it all on the line to see who would be superior in this 30-minute marathon. Coming on the go-home show for Revolution 2020 — which would see Omega defend the AEW Tag Title alongside then-partner Hangman Page against the Young Bucks and PAC looking to silence Orange Cassidy — this match provided a hot start to one of the most anticipated PPV go-home shows in recent memory.
Fans rejoiced as AEW gave Dr. Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa the chance to main event their special “St. Patrick’s Day Slam” to settle their blood feud. The two women certainly rose to the occasion and delivered a memorable encounter unlike any women’s match seen in AEW up to that point.
While Britt Baker came out on the losing end of this Lights Out match, she arguably looked strong in defeat, as her bloody visage provided an unforgettable image that helped raise her standing with the fans. Baker’s willingness to take brutal spots such as a table break and being slammed through thumbtacks has basically had the effect of making her more popular with fans — to the point where she receives cheers everywhere despite being a heel.
This match helped elevate Baker and Rosa’s rivalry to a point that the next time we see these two face off, it’ll for sure be one to remember.
When Bryan Danielson arrived in AEW at All Out 2021, he didn’t waste any time and hit the ground running by challenging the AEW World Champion to a match to see who was the best in the ring. Thus, the stage was set for AEW’s biggest Dynamite ever at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the American Dragon and the Best Bout Machine to lock horns in an instant classic.
What fans ended up seeing was a half-hour wrestling clinic as Danielson and Omega took each other to the limit in a bout that nobody will be forgetting any time soon. The two absolute best wrestlers in the world today left it all on the line with the biggest audience in AEW history watching. And though it ended in a time-limit draw, it didn’t feel like a disappointment and only left fans wanting more.
Wrestling, maybe more than any other storytelling medium, provides catharsis. Even for a feud that wasn’t too interesting (every Best Friends feud seems to last just a little too long) for me, the Arcade Anarchy was one of my first big blow-off matches I watched and it sticks for me in a way that I just love. The prize wall of weapons, Miro’s transformation into the unstoppable monster that three men couldn’t take down, and the return of Statlander and Trent(?).
It’s a fun main event match, and there are spots in it that are just great. Kris Statlander popping out of the alien claw machine and smacking Penelope Ford remains one of the funniest moments Dynamite has ever had in-match. Trent(?) coming out of Sue’s van, pecs bouncing as he came in to save Cassidy and Chuck, is just a remarkable site to behold. Finally, the end shot of the group hug, thumbs up to Sue as “Where is My Mind?” blasts is an iconic moment of the show, as is Excalibur gleefully shouting that “You have got to give the people what they want!”
And it’s true. Sometimes you don’t need subversion, you can just make people feel good and have your slacker loser hug it out with his friends.
It’s the match that everything had been building for – or so we thought. Months of the Dark Order having Hangman’s back, with Evil Uno pushing for the title shot, and Hangman facing down his former friends. It all starts with that introduction, “you don’t need a hat to be a cowboy.” Then, for the first time ever, it’s not Hangman and the Dark Order. It’s just the Dark Order. Adam Page is wearing the purple and black of the Dark Order. Shit.
I cried watching it. I cry easily at things like this. You don’t need to read lips to know Page is shouting “Let’s fucking go!” as they descend the ramp. It’s character work that’s been going on from the start of AEW, coming to its peak. It is triumphant, wonderful, and elated. It feels like a crowning moment. It makes what happens next even harder. Watching the Dark Order lose one by one to the Elite, with their goofy and corporate synergized outfits of the evening, killing joy and grinding it under their Jordans.
Just as we get to have our highs in storytelling, those lows can be just as memorable. Hangman, standing outside the ring, against Omega and the Young Bucks, losing in such a manner that he leaves for months to soul search. This story isn’t done yet, but this chapter will stick in my head forever just for that chilling introduction.
I love this match for two reasons; it called back to Allin and Page’s brutal feud in Evolve and I was at the live show. The crowd was super hot and ready for anything. watched Evolve around the time these two were having a very ugly feud and it was like a Coda to see them restart and end their rivalry in front of a hot ATX crowd.
Brodie Lee Trucks Cody Rhodes in 1:40 (8/22/20 AEW Saturday Night Dynamite)
Sometimes a heel has to roll over a face in dominating fashion (see also Eddie Guerrero out-wrestling RVD in his return to the WWF.) A wild beatdown and a redemptive moment for the overlooked Luke Harper.
Kenny Omega vs. PAC (Iron Man Match, 2/26/20 Dynamite)
A rivalry along the lines of Angle/Benoit. Truly two people who we could watch fight forever.
Dr. Britt Baker DMD vs. Thunder Rosa (Unsanctioned “Lights Out” Match, 3/17/21 Dynamite)
The match that solidified the AEW Women’s Division as must watch TV. One of the greatest under 20 minutes matches of all time. Thunder Rosa is a wrestling savant, legitimately should be in the discussion for best current US based women’s wrestler and in the discussion for top 50 best current wrestlers PERIOD. Britt Baker levelled up in this match, bleeding buckets and taking the L but coming out a wrestler that fans could buy as a winner and future champion.
Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega (9/22/21 Dynamite “Grand Slam”)
Literally two of my top five favorite wrestlers of all time. Comparable to seeing Salvador Dali’s Masterwork paintings in person, two artists at the top of their game telling a story usually takes years of build to arrive at. A perfect match that somehow has a chance to top itself.
Britt Baker v. Thunder Rosa (3/17/21 Dynamite)
There are two things I love more than anything: deathmatch wrestling and women’s wrestling. Having two of the best women’s wrestlers in the world in a lights out match main eventing Dynamite to cap off an explosive feud was my most eagerly anticipated post-Revolution match, and it did not disappoint. There is a reason why Britt Baker’s bloodied face has been immortalized in the wake of that match. It’s one of the top matches I cite when I say wrestling is storytelling.
Arcade Anarchy – Best Friends v. Miro & Kip Sabian (3/31/21 Dynamite)
The culmination of a brilliant feud between Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor, and Kip Sabian and Miro. There’s so much to love about this match, including Kris Statlander bursting out of a claw machine to take out Penelope Ford, Chuck Taylor dumping a bag of Legos into the ring, Orange Cassidy playing Whack-A-Mole with Kip Sabian’s head— what sticks out to me most is Trent’s mom Sue driving into the ring, which made me pop so hard before I even realized that meant Trent himself was coming back. (Miro’s turn on Kip and subsequent TNT championship run are consequences of this match also, and I cannot overlook that.)
Even with no knowledge of Sting prior to watching AEW, the meaning of Sting passing Darby his bat and leaving him to get the job done was an INCREDIBLE moment. Also, Darby Allin once again with a dare defying stunt— coffin drop off the truss onto Matt Hardy on the announcer’s table— you can’t get better than that.
The culmination of a really heartrending arc where the Dark Order couldn’t reconcile their differences after not helping their good friend Hangman in a title match some weeks ago, in Brodie Lee’s hometown no less. I’m one of the few who loves to see lots and lots of wrestlers in the ring cause you get some great moments in the chaos— and when the Dark Order comes together and gets the win by chaining move after move, like Preston “10” Vance throwing Alex Reynolds into The Blade and then spearing Isaiah Kassidy off the apron into Marq Quen. Having -1, Brodie’s son, throw a handful of papers at Uno and Stu Grayson, just as his father used to do, is one of those moments that tells an entire story without anyone having to say anything. (Shoutout also to CM Punk for this line right before the Dark Order starts going to work: “At this point I think Aubrey should just come up here and maybe do commentary with us.”)
Stat dropped an Area 451 on The Blade and I want more of that in AEW, please.
Dynamite has meant so, so much to us both, so although our descriptions are short & sweet, we wanted to get some recommendations of our favorite Dynamite moments in.
4. The Young Bucks “I’m sorry, I love you” Moment v. SCU (5/12/21 Dynamite)
Not only is this a great call-back to wrestling history with Shawn Michaels’ infamous WrestleMania spot, this also marked Matt & Nick Jackson turning on longtime friends Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian to become who they are now (and according to the Bucks, who they always were): EVPs. Extremely. Violent. People.
Never mind the bloodstained Air Jordan 1. Out, out damned spot!
3. Kenny Omega v. PAC (30 Minute Iron Man Match, 2/26/20 Dynamite)
It’s easy to forget about amidst his current gimmick of The Belt Collector and The Super Elite, but before all of that, Kenny was once trying to find his place in AEW. After the absolutely unhinged Lights Out match he put on with Jon Moxley at Full Gear 2019 and lost, he also lost his sense of purpose.
He came out of that with a challenge from an old rival, who is still to this day one of the only men to win against Kenny Omega in AEW: the singularly athletic and brutal PAC, who beat Kenny by referee decision at All Out 2019. This 30 Minute Iron Man match serves as both an incredible example of wrestling at its finest, but also a reminder of exactly how and why Kenny is called the “Best Bout Machine.”
2. Dr. Britt Baker, DMD v. Thunder Rosa (Unsanctioned “Lights Out” Match, 3/17/21 Dynamite)
Others have mentioned it, but the first time the women of Dynamite got to main event is so core to the evolution of AEW as a promotion and a product. The image of a determined, bloody Dr. Britt Baker, DMD became not only an integral part of her entrance and gear, but of AEW as a whole.
1. Kenny Omega’s Sans Undertale Entrance (10/30/19 Dynamite)
Please, please watch this if you haven’t. It’s absolutely incredible.
I started watching AEW after Charlie Davis and Mikey Zee finally got me to tune in. Charlie and I recorded an episode about it if you want to hear my initial thoughts. Picking favorite matches isn’t something I could ever do because that isn’t how I am wired. What I want to talk about is the moments. Those moments I have seen, experienced, and felt through AEW. See, I never thought I would be intro wrestling. Ever. I had watched a few matches here and there of other leagues but nothing connected with me. I never bought into it because I didn’t understand the feeling.
I needed those gates proverbially crashed for me with an energy and love for the world of wrestling which Mikey and Charlie did. I watched their joy and excitement for this thing that got me interested. I heard about Kenny Omega, Orange Cassidy, and all these new names. After recording our episode, I started to watch when I could. I tried to follow it as closely as I could but as anyone who knows me knows, I am very busy all of the time.
But then Charlie and Mikey started talking about the PPV event ALL OUT. You see, I have never met Charlie in the flesh despite all three of us being friends for years so I said “I am in, I will fly out because I want to experience this with you.”
Now I knew a few small things going in. That there was going to be a bunch of huge matches and the first match from CM Punk in a number of years, a wrestler I knew very little of. But as we stood outside the stadium in a massive crowd waiting to get into the stadium, I couldn’t help but examine the people around me. Every type of person was there. There was huge queer represent which I didn’t fully expect but there were lots of shirts expressing it. It was so diverse and everyone was excited to be there for one thing! The love of wrestling.
Now I was a little sad that my favorite wrestler, The Butcher, had been out of commission so I didn’t have the thing that connected me to the league. First match, the Butcher shows up after months of being out. I am washed over with pure excitement to see my dude wreck some people. Match after match, I could feel the energy of the crowd. Watching the absolute heels called the Young Bucks beaten by the bloodied Lucha Brothers was exhilarating. Now most people were most impressed by the signing of Adam Cole (I watched Mikey and Charlie lose their marbles which I loved) and Bryan Danielson which were both mesmerizing. But something else has stuck with me from that day.
Watching CM Punk wrestle after being gone for so long was cool to see but what has imprinted on me was how happy he was. He was in a place where every single person in the building was there for one reason, the love of wrestling. He was getting to do something that he loved, cherished, and missed so much. You could see it in his face as he sat down that he was where he was supposed to be. I could feel his love of his life throughout the room as he soaked it all in. In that moment, I understood why wrestling meant so much to so many people. The stories, the rivalries, and all of that just made perfect sense. After being locked away for so long, I got to be in a room so full of energy with so many people just so happy to be there.
I won’t ramble anymore though because it’s Wednesday and you know what that means.