2023 has been one of the biggest years for AEW yet, with some of the best matches in company history.
From the long awaited return of CM Punk, the incredible title reign of MJF and the record-shattering All In show at Wembley Stadium, AEW had a blockbuster 2023 which can only get better moving into 2024.
The incredible years also brought many dream matches. Kazuchika Okada vs Bryan Danielson, MJF vs Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay. Fans never thought they’d see these bouts, and they rank among some of the best matches in AEW history.
In this article, we’ll take you through the best AEW matches of 2023, ranking them from the worst to the best (although they are all fantastic bouts).
15. CM Punk vs Samoa Joe (AEW All In London)
The opening match of AEW All In London was fraught with controversy behind the scenes, but a fantastic match in the ring.
Lifelong rivals CM Punk and Samoa reignited their feud in front of a rabid crowd of 81,035, putting on a classic that blurred the lines between reality and kayfabe.
Punk had some of the best selling he’s done yet in AEW, while he and Samoa Joe played to the crowd perfectly throughout the match.
CM Punk won the match with the Pepsi Plunge, in what turned out to be his last ever match in AEW.
14. Bandido vs Bryan Danielson (AEW Dynamite 18/1/23)
A singles match between Bryan Danielson and Bandido wowed fans in a way they’d never expect.
The pair worked together to put on one of the best AEW matches of 2023. It meshed Bandido’s high-flying style with the technical, ground-based style of The American Dragon.
The match felt like a vintage Ring of Honor main event, with a lot of innovative sequences and counters, some great displays of pure power by Bandido and some very good technical offense by both men.
This is also the match that introduced fans to Bandido, who soon after signed a full-time deal with All Elite Wrestling.
13. Jon Moxley vs Kenny Omega – Steel Cage Match (AEW Dynamite 10/5/22)
Over two years after their last encounter, the Blackpool Combat Club and Elite feud came to a head on AEW Dynamite, inside a steel cage.
Representing their respective factions, Kenny Omega stepped into the ring with Jon Moxley on the main event of Dynamite, with each man’s pride on the line.
In one of the best AEW matches of 2023, Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley traded big hits with chairs, barbed wire and even a bump through the cage, in one of the best matches from their impressive quadriology of matches.
It also had a big swerve for the finish, with Don Callis turning on Kenny Omega for the first time in many years.
12. The Elite vs The Blackpool Combat Club (AEW Double or Nothing 2023)
The main event of AEW Double or Nothing 2023 earned a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer, and added to the growing list of AEW’s top matches.
The bout saw eight men battle it out in an Anarchy in the Arena, a no holds barred match that saw both teams brawling throughout the arena, in a variety of different set pieces.
The bout pitted the Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danieslon, Claudio Castagnoli, Jon Moxley and Wheeler Yuta) up against the newly reformed The Elite (Kenny Omega, Adam Page, Nick and Matt Jackson).
Wheeler Yuta pinned Kenny Omega to win the match, after Don Callis and his new client, Konosuke Takeshita, interfered to turn heel and help the Blackpool Combat Club win the match.
11. Darby Allin vs Samoa Joe (AEW Dynamite 1/2/23)
This match was pure violence, and one of the best AEW matches this year.
This match was fantastic: the beginning was great, but then it slowed down, letting the action breath and giving fans a chance to catch their breath.
When it picked back up, all hell broke loose. Chairs and thumb tacks brought out the crazy side in both, as they tore the ring apart to expose the wood below.
This played into the end of the match, when Samoa Joe hit Darby Allin with a second rope Muscle Buster onto the exposed wood, in one of the most insane endings to a match you’ll ever see.
10. MJF vs Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara vs Jungle Boy (AEW Double or Nothing 2023)
The Four Pillars Four-way match had very little going for it in the build up to the match, but by the end of it had some fans calling it a “match of the year”.
As AEW’s multi-man matches usually go, this match was filled with nonstop action and some fantastic character moments for each man.
The four men each took queues from their respective mentors, and seemed to have each others numbers throughout the bout.
MJF own the match when he laid the AEW Championship onto Jungle Boy, causing Darby Allin to fall back-first onto it, before being pinned by MJF with a headlock takeover.
9. Mark Briscoe vs Jay Lethal
This match may seem a surprising one, but it is so good because of the story surrounding the match.
It came not long after the death of Jay Briscoe, a legend in Ring of Honor. To honor his legacy, Jay’s brother Mark Briscoe wrestled against longtime friend Jay Lethal in the main event of AEW Dynamite.
The match is one of the best in AEW in 2023. It had some incredibly smooth sequences and transitions – both men clearly knew each other so, so well.
Both Briscoe and Lethal put on a tear-filled, emotional display that will live long in the memory of wrestling fans.
8. Bryan Danielson vs Rush (AEW Dynamite 8/2/23)
The match between Rush and Bryan Danielson is AEW was pure, unadulterated violence.
A hard-hitting affair that saw Danielson unleash a side of him we had yet to see in AEW. He took on the always stiff Rush in a match that elevated both men to another level, due to their performances.
Rush looked like an absolute lunatic with the huge hits he was giving out, showing everyone that he should be considered a bigger star in the company.
This adds another notch to Bryan Danielson’s tally, as he continues to dominate the list of the best AEW matches of 2023.
7. Kenny Omega vs Konosuke Takeshita (AEW All Out 2023)
People were expecting Kenny Omega vs Konosuke Takeshita to be a fantastic match, but it overdelivered for a fantastic 5-star experience.
Building on the grudge between Omega and Don Callis, it was a match where neither men held back, and truly convinced you that they hated each other’s guts.
Nobody in wrestling hits harder than Takeshita. Whether it is his forearms, his running clotheslines or his incredibly dangerous running knee strikers, every hit looked like death for Kenny Omega.
Omega seemed to kick out of everything, taking everything and giving back just as good as he got. However, Don Callis’ cheating and the incredible talent of Takeshita proved too much for him in the best match of the night.
6. El Hijo Del Vikingo vs Kenny Omega (AEW Dynamite 22/3/23)
In a match that was rated five-stars by Dave Meltzer, Kenny Omega battled El Hijo Del Vikingo in somewhat of a dream match on AEW Dynamite.
The match saw some incredible moves done by El Hijo Del Vikingo, bringing some of the incredible talent seen in AAA over to AEW. He hit moves nobody had ever seen before, bouncing off the ropes and spinning in the air, mesmirising the fans.
The highlight was when Vikingo hit Omega with a springboard 630 splash through a table on the outside, something never seen before in an AEW ring. This match deserved a five-star rating just for that.
5. Kenny Omega vs Konosuke Takeshita (AEW All Out 2023)
The first five-star match awarded at AEW All Out 2023 was the clash between Bryan Danielson and Ricky Starks, in a brutal and bloody strap match.
Danielson was a late addition to the match, which went through a number of opponents for Starks.
At first, it seemed CM Punk would be his opponent. However, his firing saw Ricky Starks challenge Ricky Steamboat for the match, who deferred to the American Dragon to take his place.
Danielson and Starks had one of the hardest-hitting matches in AEW history. Kicks, forearms and simply whipping each other with the strap, nothing was off limits for these two.
Ricky Steamboat even got involved, hitting punches and chips onto Big Bill after he tried to get involved in the finish of the match.
At the end of a bloody war, Bryan Danielson made Ricky Starks pass out by choking him with the strap in the LaBelle lock.
4. Adam Page vs Jon Moxley – Texas Death Match (AEW Revolution 2023)
AEW brought back the Texas Death Match for this clash between two of their top stars at AEW Revolution.
Adam Page, entering to a classic country tune for the first time, battled Jon Moxley in one of the best matches in AEW in 2023.
The match featured barbed-wire, chairs and chains, to name but a few of the weapons used in the match. Moxley even dug a fork into the skull of Adam Page, in a disgusting scene.
The ending of the match was by far the most disturbing part. After a big buckshot lariat, Page clotheslined Jon Moxley over the top rope, as he had a chain wrapped around his neck.
Adam Page then yanked the chain, as Hangman played up to his name and hanged Moxley by the neck until he finally gave up and handed the victory over.
3. Bryan Danielson vs Kazuchika Okada (Forbidden Door 2023)
The main event of Forbidden Door had to compete with one of the best matches of all time (more on that later in the article).
It did just that, putting on a fantastic match that will go down as one of the most shocking of all time.
Danielson did some of the best selling you’ll ever see in wrestling (or his right arm was just completely injured). He forced Kazuchika Okada to tap out to the LaBelle lock, but using his leg in place of his right arm.
The match in my view is a five-star match, and one of the best matches in 2023 in any promotion, not just AEW.
2. MJF vs Bryan Danielson – Iron Man Match (AEW Revolution 2023)
Fans weren’t certain what would happen when MJF took on Bryan Danielson at AEW Revolution 2023. It was a truly a star-making moment for the AEW Champion, with a chance to prove if he could hang with the best in the world.
The match offered him no chances to flake out, either. The 60-minute Iron Man match stipulation played into Danielson’s hand, as he is known for his incredible work ethic and cardio in the ring.
Well, as you can tell by its place on this list, this match was one of the best matches in 2023 by any company, not just AEW.
Both men wrestled flat out for over 60 minutes, trading falls in incredibly unique ways.
MJF proved he was up there with the best in the world, while Bryan Danielson solidified himself as perhaps the greatest wrestler of all time, with one of the best matches of all time.
1. Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay (Forbidden Door 2023)
This is the best match I’ve ever seen. What else could be the best match of 2023?
Will Ospreay avenged his loss at the Tokyo Dome earlier this year with one of the greatest performances wrestling has ever seen.
He and Omega had an innate chemistry that you cannot team. Every move was crisp, perfectly executed and fit exactly in the story where it needed to be.
Despite interference from Don Callis, the match was perfect. The interference even helped the match, even if the referee did not do his job correctly .
There will be no match that will come close to this bout – until the proposed rematch at All In at Wembley Stadium. Until then, Will Ospreay vs Kenny Omega at Forbidden Door is, to me, the greatest AEW match of all time.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.