Tonight, AEW Dynamite celebrates their second anniversary. Over the last two years, they have had 104 shows, 3 World Champions, 12 pay per view events and one exploding barbed wire deathmatch. The ending to that match may not have been one of the best moments in AEW Dynamite history, but they have man more to cover for it.
AEW have managed to become the most must-watch promotion is wrestling right now. AEW Dynamite is the best weekly wrestling television show in the world at the moment.
With stars like Kenny Omega, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk and Jon Moxley, among many others, AEW have one of the best rosters in wrestling history. There are untold dream matches in AEW that fans are looking forward to, and based on Tony Khan’s record, they will get them eventually.
AEW Dynamite has had some incredible moments over it’s two years since it first aired, but here are just 10 of the best moments so far.
AEW Dynamite Best Moments
Jon Moxley makes his AEW Debut
The first big jump in the war between WWE and AEW was former WWE Champion Jon Moxley. He wrestled as Dean Ambrose in WWE, as part of the legendary stable “the Shield”. However, he became disillusion by WWE’s booking, and instead jumped ship to AEW at Double or Nothing 2019.
However, injury would derail the start of his AEW run. He would return to the company for the debut episode of AEW. attacking former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega.
The pair brawled around the arena, before Moxley hit his signature move, the Paradigm Shift, on Omega through a glass coffee table.
Moxley’s debut sent shockwaves across the world of wrestling. It showed the world that WWE was no longer the only game in town. It showed WWE than AEW was an alternative, and competition to their tired and boring programming. If Moxley, who seemed to be a WWE-lifer would leave, then who else would be next to join AEW?
The uncertainty and the idea that anything could happen made it one of the best moments in AEW Dynamite’s early history
Chris Jericho forms the Inner Circle
The main event of the first AEW Dynamite helped form one of the greatest factions in AEW history.
In the final match of AEW Dynamite episode one, Chris Jericho and Santana & Ortiz took on the Elite, comprised of Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks. As previously mentioned, Moxley attacked Omega during the match, leaving it a two-on-one against the Young Bucks.
Jericho picked up the win with a Judas Effect on Matt Jackson, and pinned him for the win. The trio beat down the Young Bucks, before Cody Rhodes came out to save them. He was followed by Sammy Guevara, who aligned himself with Jericho and co. Dustin Rhodes, formerly Goldust in WWE, ran in next to help even the odds.
However, he was joined by Jake Hager, who helped Jericho, Santana & Ortiz and Guevara to beat down the Elite.
Jake Hager is the former Jack Swagger in WWE. He held the World Heavyweight Championship one time in WWE, as well as the ECW Championship. The five men all stood together , triumphant in the ring as the show went off the air.
The next week, the AEW Champion Chris Jericho announcement the men as being a team called “The Inner Circle”. The team would be the backbone of AEW TV for the next year, being constantly in the main events and putting in incredible performances.
The First Pandemic Episode
In March 2019, the Covid pandemic put a hold to life as we know it. This extended to AEW too, who had to run shows at Daily’s Place with no fans in attendance.
The show was meant to take place in Rochester, the home of Brodie Lee. However, he still made his debut on this episode of Dynamite, being revealed as the leader of the Dark Order, and known as “The Exalted One”. Brodie Lee had been long rumoured to sign with AEW, and his debut was unfortunately not in front of any fans.
The other debut on this show was the first AEW appearance of Matt Hardy. In his “Broken” persona. He utilised his supernatural powers that he had used in TNA prior to WWE, teleporting around the arena and attacking Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle.
It was the first example of AEW’s creativity during the pandemic era. However, Broken Matt Hardy would struggle to get over with the Broken character. He would move on to a new character, “Big Money” Matt Hardy, an agent for younger wrestlers struggling for championship glory.
Brodie Lee, on the other hand, would challenge for the AEW World Championship, and win the TNT Championship in his AEW run. However, his time in AEW would be cut short, as he passed away on December 26th, 2020.
Brodie Lee squashes Cody
Cody Rhodes, who was known as just Cody, was the first ever TNT Champion. He beat Lance Archer for the vacant championship at AEW Double or Nothing 2020, and had a great title run thereafter.
He used his championship to give opportunities to wrestlers outside of AEW. His “TNT Championship open challenge” introduced AEW fans to the likes of Ricky Stars and Eddie Kingston, who would be signed based upon their matches with Cody.
However, that reign would come to an abrupt end when Mr Brodie Lee would challenge for the title. On the 22nd of August, on a special Saturday Night Dynamite, Mr Brodie Lee would face off against Cody for the TNT Championship.
Fans expected a long, drawn out and emotional match, as Cody matches have always been. However, when Brodie Lee completely dominated the American Nightmare, and pinned him after a brutal powerbomb, fans were shook. It was one of the first shock squash matches in AEW, and seeing a huge star like Cody completely destroyed was a sight to behold.
Cody would alter win the TNT championship back, however. On the Chris Jericho 30th Anniversary episode of AEW, Cody defeated Brodie Lee in a brutal dog collar match. This would be Brodie’s last ever match, as he went out with injury after the match, and shockingly passed away on Boxing Day later that year. Despite his sad passing, the shock of him squashing Cody made this one of the best AEW moments in Dynamite history. It was also one of Brodie Lee’s best matches in AEW.
Sting makes his AEW Debut
At AEW Winter is Coming, a special Dynamite episode, Kenny Omega beat Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship. While that really should be on this list, it just misses out on the top 10 of AEW Dynamite best moments, because of one man.
The Icon himself, Sting, made his AEW debut at AEW Dynamite on the 3rd of December. He made a surprise entrance, saving the Nightmare Family and Darby Allin from a beatdown by Team Tazz.
Sting’s surprise was an exciting one, especially for Tony Schiavone. He got to announce Sting, live on TNT for the first since both men were in WCW.
Sting quickly aligned himself with Darby Allin, with the pair having competed in four tag team matches thus far. The real surprise came not just seeing Sting in AEW, but seeing Sting wrestling again.
The Brodie Lee Memorial Show
Tragically on the 26th December 2020, Brodie Lee passed away. His death came as a shock to many, as most people did not even know he was ill.
AEW completely reshuffled their plans, and on short notice put on the AEW “Brodie Lee Celebration of life” episode of Dynamite.
It featured matches of all of Brodie Lee’s son’s, Brodie Jr, favourite wrestlers. This included Hangman Adam Page finally tagging with the Dark Order, against Santana and Ortiz and MJF. The match was emotional, with the wrestlers visibly in tears prior to the match, and post match.
The entire show was a celebration of the life of Brodie Lee. It was an incredibly emotional affair, with a number of wrestlers tagging together that you’ve never seen before. Even the main event saw some of Brodie Jr’s favourite, like Cody Rhodes and Orange Cassidy tagging together.
The show ended with Tony Khan presenting Brodie Jr, now known as -1 in the Dark Order, with the TNT title which his father won from Cody Rhodes. The fact AEW would dedicate a whole show to Brodie was incredible. Presenting his son with his title was one of the best AEW Dynamite moments of all time.
Le Dinner Debonair
If there’s one thing you do not expect to see on AEW Dynamite, it’s a musical number. Well shut up, it’s what you get.
MJF wanted for himself and Wardlow to join Chris Jericho’s faction, the Inner Circle. We later learn that it was simply a nefarious plan to split up the team, and to take down the legend that is Chris Jericho.
However, at this point, MJF was simply trying to impress Jericho so he would let him into the team. MJF had shown he was one of the best young talents in wrestling, and would add something impressive to the Inner Circle ranks. They were already one of the best factions in AEW, so adding a future world champion would take them to the next level.
What transpired has to simply be seen to be believed. Really, watch it. Please. It was even nominated for a Tony award. It may be one of the strangest moments in AEW Dynamite history, it was also one of the best just just for the surprise factor.
Britt Baker vs Thunder Rosa
The first all women’s main event in AEW Dynamite history was not just significant. It was also one of the best matches in the promotions history.
Britt Baker was the biggest women’s star in AEW. Despite injury, she had become the most interesting character in AEW, entertaining fans with her villainous dentist character. Thunder Rosa was the former NWA Women’s champion, and one of the best female wrestlers in the world. She used her background as a Mexican to shape her character, as seen in her unique face paint she wears.
The match was a lights-out match, which meant that anything goes. The pair were absolutely brutal, pulling out chairs, tables, kendo sticks and thumb tacks to inflict absolute brutality on one another.
The image of Britt Baker with blood covering her face became iconic. It even became one of her best selling shirts, and one of the best selling shirts on ProWrestlingTees.
Thunder Rosa won the match which was rated 5 stars by Dave Meltzer. It showed the fans that both women were huge stars and some of the best wrestlers in AEW. When Thunder Rosa pinned Britt Baker and won the match, it made the whole thing one of the best moments in AEW Dynamite history.
Hangman Page teams with the Dark Order
The Adam Page story has been the longest running storyline in AEW. From the announcement of AEW onwards, the story of Hangman Page and the Elite has dominated AEW. From the early days of the Elite, to tag team title victory with Kenny Omega, to his eventual leaving the Elite and friendship with the Dark Order, Hangman Adam Page has been the main character of AEW.
After he lost the AEW tag team titles and was kicked out of the Elite, the Dark Order tried to recruit Page. However, he resisted, and they understood that he didn’t want to be in a team anymore. Just like them, he just wanted a friend. And they tried to show him that they wanted to just be his friends.
So, when the Dark Order and Page took on the Elite, to earn each of them a title shot against the members of the Elite, it seemed like it could be a turning point in the relationship.
And it was. The team came out together (leaving a space empty for the late Brodie Lee) with custom music combining the Dark Order’s and Hangman’s music. They also showed a video beforehand, about what it means to be a cowboy, featuring Page and the Dark Order.
The Dark Order would lose the match, but seeing Page finally accept his friendship with the Dark Order was the most heart-warming moment in AEW history.
Bryan Danielson vs Kenny Omega
When Bryan Danielson interrupted Adam Cole joining the Elite at All Out 2021, the wrestling would held it’s breathe.
The long awaited match between Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega would finally happen. The pair had faced earlier in their career, but since then Bryan had become the top star in WWE, while Omega had become one of the best wrestlers in the world in NJPW and AEW.
Luckily, it would not take long for the pair to lock horns in AEW. Just a few weeks later, at the AEW Dynamite Grand Slam event, the pair wrestled each other. And even better for the fans, Bryan Danielson vs Kenny Omega opened the show. The fans were hot, and ready to see them fight.
The atmosphere was electric. The crowd popped hard just for hearing the bell ring, signalling the start of the match. Why did they do this? Because they knew they were going to see one of the best matches in AEW history.
The match was everything everyone expected, and even more. It was, for my money, the best match in AEW history. I gave it a full five stars, and even Dave Meltzer gave it over 5 stars in his rankings. You can read my review of the match here, but I implore you to go and watch the match yourself.
The match was one of the best matches in AEW history, and one of the best moments in AEW Dynamite history. Just the pop from the bell ringing made the moment incredible.
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.