DAR Wrestling: 20 of AEW's Best Pay Per View Matches

 By True God

For those of you who know, AEW has become a true force in professional wrestling in just a three year window of time. It's been exactly three years since AEW first entered the scene with the inaugural Pay Per View Double or Nothing in Las Vegas in May 2019. The show started an amazing journey that has seen its fair share of highs and lows on PPV and today we wanted to take a quick look at the highs of these PPVs. With Double or Nothing 2022 just a few days away at the time of this writing, what better way to celebrate it than to revisit 20 of the best AEW PPV Matches so far. Let's get into it. 

*Lucha Bros vs Young Bucks

AAA Tag Team Titles

Double Or Nothing 2019

-It is quite fitting that the first match on this list shows up multiple times. The pairing of the Young Bucks and the Lucha Bros is unlike anything we've ever seen in tag team wrestling. I'd go as far to say that this rivalry is one of the best tag team rivalries, if not THE best tag team rivalry in AEW's short history. While most people remember this show for Moxley's arrival and the Cody vs Dustin match (more on that one in a second), I found this match to be just as important and damn near just as good. 

*Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes

Double Or Nothing 2019

-So, yes, there is a Cody match on this list. The only Cody match that would make any list of mine, but it is here. As much ss I am not a big Rhodes fan, to deny this match would be denying professional wrestling at its finest. Both Cody and Dustin worked their roles to perfection, utilizing every bit of the epic storytelling and psychology that makes wrestling such an amazing artform. The blood, the tears, the emotion, the moments. Cody vs Dustin is not only one of the best PPV matches in AEW, it's one of the best matches in AEW history, period. 

*Lucha Bros vs Young Bucks

Ladder Match for AEW Tag Team Titles

All Out 2019

-There is magic that exists between the Lucha Bros and Young Bucks. While their Double or Nothing 2019 match was excellent, this Ladder Match was honestly even better. It's rare that you see two teams with amazing chemistry that only gets better with each match, but the Lucha Bros and Bucks never disappoint together. You'll see these two teams on this list a third time, which is a testament to the power this pairing has in the ring together. 

*PAC vs Kenny Omega 

All Out 2019

-During the early AEW days, it felt almost as if Kenny Omega was purposely putting himself on the back burner a bit, while still having great matches. While that assumption could be off, it feels as though his early AEW run is a bit forgotten, as his series of matches with PAC never seem to get mentioned enough. The Ironman match would my be favorite between these two competitors, but this match is an excellent contest and it stands out heavily on this card. 

*Kenny Omega vs Jon Moxley

Full Gear 2019

-I watched this match live. Being there for it was special and it made me appreciate the match a lot more than the people who watched it on PPV. This is one of those matches were you either love it or hate it. I love it. For nearly 40 minutes, this unsanctioned Lights Out match went back and forth, with Omega and Mox giving each other everything they had. Mox walks away with the victory, but both men left battered and bruised. 

*Hangman Page and Kenny Omega vs The Young Bucks

AEW Tag Team Titles

Revolution 2020

-This is the greatest tag team match I've ever watched. The only match that comes super close to this one is The Briscoes vs FTR at ROH's Supercard of Honor this year. I have always loved tag team wrestling, but admittedly lost a bit of that love before AEW arrived due to the lack of enticing matchups in other promotions. AEW has restored my love for wrestling in general, but the way they revitalized my appreciation for tag team wrestling can be attributed in part to one team overall: The Young Bucks. I've never seen a bad Young Bucks match in all of the years I've seen them. They always performed well in the indies when I worked in the business, they performed amazing in New Japan and Ring of Honor and now they are consistently stealing the show in AEW. The Hangman and Omega tag team reign is honestly one of the most entertaining tag title reigns in recent wrestling history, as every single tag match they had was top notch. This match is like watching cinema. This match is like watching an artist paint their masterpiece. The Young Bucks vs Omega and Hangman is the greatest tag team match ever. There was no way it wouldn't be included on this list. 

*Stadium Stampede

Double Or Nothing 2020

-Well, I tried to leave this match off honestly. During the pandemic, it was truly tough to watch wrestling with little to no fans, because that's the part of wrestling that truly makes it exciting. The reactions, the cheers, the chants, the energy. This was the first AEW PPV without an actual crowd and it made the show a rough watch at times. There were still great moments on this show in general and this match was the peak of it. Anytime you have Kenny Omega, Matt Hardy, Adam Page, and The Young Bucks going against The Inner Circle, you're bound to have a lot of fun. The match was taped of course, which normally would weigh the spontaneity of it down, but this match never disappoints. It has everything you'd expect from a Stadium Stampede match and more. 

*Jon Moxley vs Eddie Kingston

AEW World Championship I Quit Match

Full Gear 2020

-The rise of Eddie Kingston in AEW has become something special. He makes this list a few times (and just misses the list actually a few times as well, sorry Double or Nothing 2021), showcasing his grit and toughness in this particular battle with Moxley. I'm usually not a fan of the "I Quit" stipulation in matches, but this was an extremely entertaining encounter that kept me on the edge of my seat hoping Tony Khan decided to shock the world. 

*Kenny Omega vs Hangman Page

AEW World Title Eliminator

Full Gear 2020

-You will see this pairing on the list quite a few times honestly. Whether as a tag team or opponents, the chemistry that exists with Omega and Hangman is amazing. This match took place at a time where the friendship between Omega and Hangman began falling apart and Hangman's journey of questioning himself began. This match is a great back and forth contest and it helps set the directions for both men going forward. 

*FTR vs Young Bucks

AEW Tag Team Titles

Full Gear 2020

-It's interesting. While Full Gear 2020 has three matches here that make the list, I wouldn't consider this to be a top 3 PPV in AEW's history oddly enough. It is definitely in the top 5-8 firmly, but the top 3 AEW PPVs just took place in succession. Regardless, when speaking of Full Gear 2020, there's no way you can leave off the essential tag team title match that started off a tag title reign for the ages. FTR and the Bucks gave it their all here, with the Bucks beginning their excellent tag title reign by taking the belts off FTR. Maybe we get a third encounter on PPV in the future?

*Hikaru Shida vs Ryo Mizunami

AEW Women's Championship 

Revolution 2021

-So, you may notice a lack of women's matches on this list and that's not deliberate. The truth is, despite having so many talented women on their roster, the matches on PPV have left us wanting a bit more. However, Shida and Ryo did not disappoint. Shida's reign is the best AEW Women's Title reign thus far in terms of in ring work and it's not even close honestly. Shida gave her all night in and night out and her reign saw no better peak than this. Shida retained, but not without one helluva fight from Ryo. 

*Serena Deeb vs Riho

NWA Women's Championship 

Double Or Nothing 2021 (The Buy In)

-Is this technically cheating? Yes? No? Well, there's no way I could do this list and not include this match. While the AEW women have shined quite well over the years on Dynamite and now Rampage, some of the matches have left us disappointed on PPV. This match was technically on The Buy In, but it is so good, we will just consider it a part of the actual PPV. Deeb stakes her claim as one of the best going in this match giving Riho fits throughout. Deeb retains, but Riho also stakes her claim here as well. 

*Kenny Omega vs PAC vs Orange Cassidy

AEW World Championship

Double or Nothing 2021

-Triple threat matches are fun in AEW and are usually can't miss. This match was no different and it was one of my favorite matches of the Omega title reign. While I didn't believe PAC or OC would win, I did enjoy the journey to get to an Omega title win. The ending was done well here and I actually would like to see more Omega vs PAC interactions in the future. 

*CM Punk vs Darby Allin

All Out 2021

-So, I know the verdict on this match is split. Some people love this match. Some people hate it. Some people think this match left more to be desired. Regardless, this match is a moment in time for a lot of fans. CM Punk's first match in almost 8 years is a great bout. The storytelling, the psychology, the vibe in the arena was magnetic. We knew Punk was going to win but he made Darby look good and elevated him some even in a loss. While this match isn't your typical classic, it signals the return of one of the best to ever do it and the making of a growing star who gets to wrestle one of his idols. This is professional wrestling at its finest. 

*Young Bucks vs Lucha Bros

Steel Cage Match For The AEW Tag Team Titles

All Out 2021

-This was my pick for match of the year in 2021 and rightfully so. Steel Cage matches are hit or miss for me mostly these days, but this one was probably the most fun I've had watching a match in some years. I watched All Out in the theater with my DAR family and every moment was full of excitement. I expected the Lucha Bros to win of course, but there were moments when I thought maybe the Bucks pull it off. The thumbtacks on the Retros, the intensity, the overall feel of the match was top notch. The Bucks just don't miss. 

*MJF vs Darby Allin

Full Gear 2021

-In terms of in ring work, Full Gear 2021 is by far the best PPV in AEW history IMO. While Revolution 2022 was also very good and Double or Nothing could possibly surpass it, Full Gear was a special night and it began all with this classic match between two of the pillars of AEW. This was one of MJF's best matches in the company and one of Darby's most concise performances in a wrestling ring. While the ending was a little flat honestly, it didn't take away from the long hellacious battle between two superstars of the present and future who showcased that their time is now.

*CM Punk vs Eddie Kingston

Full Gear 2021

-A prime example of less is more. Punk and Eddie could have given us a vicious and bloody 25 minute epic with twists and turns, but instead they gave us a shorter, crisp and concise brutal contest that saw both men giving it their all. While many felt that Kingston should have won, the rightful winner was and should have been Punk. With Punk's momentum in AEW needing a bit of a boost due to a lack of official feud, the mini Kingston feud and match gave him a bit more of that edge we came to love from the Best In The World. While I wouldn't have been against these two adding another 3 to 4 minutes to this match, this bout was one you could watch over and over. 

*Kenny Omega vs Hangman Page 

AEW World Championship

Full Gear 2021

-If I had to pick a match that felt like AEW's biggest match on PPV, this was honestly the one. The story and saga of Hangman Page becoming a superstar and World Champion was so wonderfully built over the years that one had to be invested from start to finish. At All Out 2019, Hangman lost his shot at the AEW World Title against Chris Jericho and from there, he began spiraling ever so slowly. In 2019, I don't think Hangman was ready or over enough to be the champion, but as the months flew by, it was obvious that he found something. The entire story around the Elite fallout and Omega heel turn was leading us to this moment. When Hangman left to go be with his wife for the birth of their child, you knew when he came back that it was going to be full speed ahead. It took two months or so, but Hangman came back, won the right to become the new No. 1 Contender and completed his journey to finally be crowned champion. The drama of this match along with the Bucks showing up at the end was beautiful storytelling. This is probably my personal favorite singles match on this list. 

*CM Punk vs MJF

Dog Collar Match

Revolution 2022

-So, Revolution had a bunch of great matches. It was a top tier card in all honesty. However, the reality is, this list can't hold every match on it. Thus, if I had to pick one or two, this was absolutely the match to choose. Punk and MJF's feud was perfect from start to finish and this match was the right way to close that chapter (for now). The throwbacks to Punk's ROH days, the blood, the brutality, the Wardlow switch, the ending. This was professional wrestling at its most brutal and beautiful. 

*Jon Moxley vs Bryan Danielson

Revolution 2022

-It must be said. While the Blackpool Combat Club has now grown into the most interesting thing in wrestling right now, at first, I was a bit confused on where this was going. The idea of a Danielson and Moxley team was intriguing, but the idea of these two fighting each other resonated more with the audience at the time. These two men put it all on the line in this contest and despite an ending that left you wanting a slightly better finish, this was as close to a classic as you can get. The arrival of William Regal shortly after also added to the dramatic and elements, but I think I have to go back and watch this one more time to truly grasp just how good both of these legends are. 

Will there be any matches at Double or Nothing 2022 that make it onto the best PPV matches list? That remains to be seen. However, looking at such a stacked card, I like the chances of this happening. We could see a classic AEW World Title match between Hangman Page and CM Punk, the three way Tag Titles match is sure to be amazing and the Women's Title could steal the show as well with both Serena Deeb and Thunder Rosa being top tier competitors also. Not to mention, the Young Bucks have been on quite a roll lately, and with Jeff Hardy seemingly rounding into better ring shape over the last few weeks, can the Bucks give the Hardys one last classic under their belt? Anything is possible in AEW, so make sure to stay tuned and watch Double Or Nothing 2022. 



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