It is AEW All Out week, which means AEW will be having their third traditional pay-per-view of the year. AEW has four PPVs per year with Revolution in late February/March, Double or Nothing taking place during Memorial Day weekend in May, All Out is Labor Day weekend in late August/September and then Full Gear wraps up the year in November. What I’m here to do today is rank the nine AEW PPVs that have taken place so far.
By pay-per-view I mean the shows you had to pay for, so I’m not including free shows like Fyter Fest 2019 and Fight for the Fallen 2019. I’m going with PPVs starting with Double or Nothing in May 2019 going up until this year’s Double or Nothing. For each PPV, I’ll list some of the best matches, include some of my thoughts at the time of the show and then add more thoughts after that. Sounds good? Let’s get to it.
9. All Out 2020
Date/Location: September 5, 2020 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida
Show Rating: 7.25 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: AEW Tag Team Championships: FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) w/Tully Blanchard vs. “Hangman” Adam Page and Kenny Omega – ****1/4
AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman (w/Wardlow) – ***3/4
The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy (w/Marko Stunt) – ***1/2
What I wrote back then: “This was a good show overall that felt too long by going nearly four hours. I understand going that long since they only have four PPVs, but it felt like it dragged on too much. I think the two best matches were for the Tag Team Titles with FTR getting the win along with the main event for the World Title with Moxley retaining against MJF. Even though those matches were good, I was disappointed by Jericho/Cassidy, which ended as a comedy match (due the final visual) instead of a grudge match.”
“I also feel like what people are going to remember from the show is Matt Hardy landing on his head and AEW letting him continue even though he looked like he was seriously hurt.”
“It had some of the same issues as a lot of AEW shows where some matches get too much time and drag on. I realize AEW wants to give wrestlers a chance to have long matches, but sometimes you need to have a more exciting 12-minute match instead of going over 20 minutes (or nearly 30 in a tag team match) just because you can.”
Current Thoughts: What I touched on there is true because I think this show went way too long at 3 hours, 51 minutes. It didn’t need to be that long. I understand AEW wanting to get more people on the show and they don’t have short matches very often, but it hurts the show when it drags on so much. The Matt Hardy injury was memorable because the guy hit his head hard on cement, it should have been stopped right there, and then they tried continuing the match. They got some criticism, but the usual AEW apologists don’t criticize them enough.
When looking back at the card now, there really wasn’t a lot of intrigue in terms of matches. The Tag Team Title match was outstanding and the match of the night for sure. I liked the Moxley/MJF match too, but it’s not like anybody thought Moxley was losing that match.
8. AEW Revolution 2021
Date/Location: March 7, 2021 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
Show Rating: 7.25 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match for the AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega (w/Don Callis) vs. Jon Moxley – ****
AEW World Tag Team Championships: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. Chris Jericho and Maxwell Jacob Friedman (w/Wardlow) – ****
Street Fight: Sting and Darby Allin vs. Ricky Starks and Brian Cage – ***1/2
What I wrote back then: “Even though the match was great and Omega/Moxley deserve a lot of credit, I can already see that all people want to do is mock the lame explosion instead of praising the match. That’s a lesson for AEW. If you’re going to promote something like an exploding ring, you need to get people talking in a positive way, not a negative way. At least make it look better than what happened here. They should have had the ring explode or do something to feel like a big deal. Even if you had some pyro go off that made it look like a big deal, that would have worked too. I know Tony Khan on the media conference call said that the idea was that Kenny did a poor job of rigging the explosions, so the story is that Kenny is bad at rigging explosions. The problem is that Eddie Kingston, Jon Moxley and the announcers were treating this as a big deal. It made them all look foolish. It’s a laughable ending instead of an ending where people are going to talk about it as if it was really cool. Basically, this post match explosion sucked and they deserve to be criticized for it.”
“I found myself thinking “this match went too long” for a lot of the show because they want to give the wrestlers time to get their stuff in, but that can be something that hurts the matches. The ladder match is a good example because if they went 15 minutes instead of 23 minutes then it would have been way more exciting. The women’s match felt like it went on too long and they seemed to be lost towards the end of it.”
“With all of that said, there was still a lot of good in-ring action on this show, which you can usually expect on an AEW PPV. Most of the booking decisions made sense. They finally booked Miro right! I liked the Young Bucks vs. Jericho/MJF match the most although the refereeing sucked during most of it. That match and Omega/Moxley got my highest ratings. The Street Fight was shot in a creative way with Sting/Allin looking good in victory. I’m glad that Sting got through it okay. Everything else was solid.”
Current Thoughts: The point I made about the Omega/Moxley match is still what I feel today. They had a very good championship match, but what people are going to remember about it is the post match “explosion” that was comical rather than something that was supposed to look devastating. If you look at the overall match quality, it was not up to the same standards as the best AEW PPVs. The card wasn’t as strong as AEW usually delivers.
7. Double or Nothing 2020
Date/Location: May 23, 2020 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida
Show Rating: 7.5 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: Stadium Stampede Match: Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz) vs. The Elite (Kenny Omega, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson, “Broken” Matt Hardy and Adam Page) – No rating due to being a taped match. It was fun, though!
AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Brodie Lee – ****
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (w/Wardlow) vs. Jungle Boy – ***3/4
What I wrote back then: “This was a pretty good PPV with several interesting matches. The Stadium Stampede is likely what most people are going to talk about just because of how unique and fun it was. If you go into it with an open mind then you can enjoy stuff like that. It was entertaining to me because of the comedy bits as well as the huge spot to end it.”
“In terms of the regular matches, I liked Moxley vs. Lee the most with Shida vs. Rose and MJF vs. Jungle Boy also standing out as pretty good matches. Some of the other matches didn’t do much for me. The opening Ladder Match felt way too long and that hurt it.”
Current Thoughts: The Stadium Stampede match is what I’ll remember the most. It was a fun, unique match full of comedy bits and some memorable spots. I didn’t rate it since it was taped over several hours rather than being a regular match, so it’s tough to rate it. I can say it was the most enjoyable part of the show. Other than that, I really liked the Moxley/Brodie match. The death of Brodie later in 2020 is one of the saddest things in wrestling in a long time, so I’m glad that he had at least had a major match like this that I’m sure meant a lot to him.
This was a tough show because it was the first PPV that AEW did after the global health crisis took over the world, so they do deserve credit for putting on the best show possible.
6. All Out 2019
Date/Location: August 31, 2019 at the Sears Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Show Rating: 7.5 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: Escalera De La Muerte (Ladder Match) for the AAA World Tag Team Championship: Lucha Brothers (Pentagon and Fenix) vs. The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) – ****1/2
Pac vs. Kenny Omega – ****
Cody vs. Shawn Spears – ***1/2
What I wrote back then: “It was a very good show for the most part although Double or Nothing was better earlier this year. The Lucha Brothers/Young Bucks match stood out as the best match on the show with an incredible array of moves from both teams. I liked Omega/Pac a lot as well while the finish of that match was the most surprising result. The main event with Jericho winning the AEW Title felt like an average match. The lack of storylines hurt some of the matches. Once they get their TV show going on October 2, they will be able to do a better job of building to the next PPV in November.”
“The set looked cool, but they need to put the barricades back a few more feet. At other times, guys were doing dives over the top and crashing into the barricade because there was no room. It seemed like there was a suicide dive in nearly every match and about 500 superkicks. I’m joking about that part, but some of the matches feel the same with guys wrestling similar styles.”
Current Thoughts: The second paragraph there is a criticism that AEW has improved on. There is a lot more room around the ring now, so they got better in terms of improving the space around the ring. Also, the lack of a TV show at that point did hurt some of the storylines. Some things they did on the card were interesting for sure, but overall I think the show had some issues due to the lack of those interesting stories.
5. Double or Nothing 2021
Date/Location: May 30, 2021 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
Show Rating: 8 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: AEW Tag Team Championships: The Young Bucks – Matt & Nick Jackson (w/Don Callis) vs. Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston – ****1/4
AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega (w/Don Callis) vs. Pac vs. Orange Cassidy – ****
AEW Women’s Championship: Dr. Britt Baker (w/Rebel) vs. Hikaru Shida – ****
What I wrote back then: “I liked Double or Nothing a lot. It was a long show that ran four hours and by the end of it, I was getting tired watching that Stadium Stampede match. With that said, there were several matches around that four-star level or above that I have to call a terrific event overall.”
“What’s weird about AEW right now is all four of their titles are held by heel wrestlers since Britt Baker won the AEW Women’s Title in a competitive match and now she joins the other heel champions. While I can understand The Young Bucks keeping their titles, I think a title win for Moxley/Kingston would have been the pop of the night. Speaking of pops, old man Sting did very well in his tag team match. I was impressed.”
“The crowd had a lot of energy and made the show more fun. I have missed full crowds like that.”
Current Thoughts: I had to mention the crowd because this was the first PPV in over a year where they had a regular crowd of fans in attendance. That made a big difference for some of the matches. As I wrote, they had a lot of heel champions at the time, so maybe they could have done a better job of putting over some faces. I really think Moxley/Kingston winning the titles would have been a huge moment that would have worked well. It’s nothing against The Young Bucks. I just think sometimes the babyfaces need to win titles to make the fans happy.
The Stadium Stampede match in 2021 was not as fun as the 2020 match. I don’t think they should do it again for a few years at least.
4. Double or Nothing 2019
Date/Location: May 25, 2019 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Show Rating: 8.5 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes – ****1/2
AAA Tag Team Championships: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix) – ****1/2
Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega – ****
What I wrote back then: “This was an awesome wrestling show from top to bottom. Big thumbs up from me. I’m happy AEW is here and I am pretty sure most fans liked it. They had five months to prepare for this show, so I’m not surprised that it was great. The Jon Moxley surprise debut is what people are going to talk about the most, which is how it should be because they ended on a strong note.”
“I don’t think it was the best ever PPV or anything like that, but it was still fun to watch and I enjoyed the matches a lot. I thought it was similar to All In in a lot of ways, but this time we are more sure about what the future holds since AEW has TV in October. The reason why it’s not a higher score (8.5 out of 10 is still excellent) is they didn’t do that much in terms of storylines or introductions for some of these characters, so that hurt a bit. Great match after great match is fine, but they could have furthered some angles a bit. I think they can top this show once they get TV and there are storylines that we can be invested in with more clearly defined heels and faces. The last three matches were the best part along with Moxley’s debut.”
“My favorite match was Cody vs. Dustin. It was emotional, well worked and they had the crowd wrapped around their fingers during the match and after it was over too. That’s an incredible feeling for the wrestlers, I’m sure.”
Current Thoughts: The big thing I remember the most about Double or Nothing 2019 is the debut of Jon Moxley at the end of the night. I think some of us expected it, but not all of us and hearing that thunderous ovation for his surprise debut was really cool. The Cody vs. Dustin might be considered by some to the best match in AEW history so far. I know Dave Meltzer rated it five stars while I did not, but I still liked it a lot. It was a very emotional match.
3. Revolution 2020
Date/Location: February 29, 2020 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
Show Rating: 8.5 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: AEW Tag Team Championships: “Hangman” Adam Page and Kenny Omega vs. The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) – *****
AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Chris Jericho – ****
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (w/Wardlow) vs. Cody (w/Arn Anderson and Brandi Rhodes) – ***3/4
What I wrote back then: “This was a very good show from top to bottom and I enjoyed it a lot. The highlight of the card was the Tag Team Title match with Omega and Page beating the Young Bucks in what I thought was a five-star match. They had a lot of time, they told an incredible story and it was fun to watch from the moment it began.”
“There were plenty of other people that impressed me like Adam Page, Darby Allin, Orange Cassidy and MJF to name a few. I think the main event with Jon Moxley winning the AEW Title was the right call even though I enjoyed Chris Jericho as the champion. It just felt like the right storyline with Moxley coming back after the eye injury to take the title from Jericho. Once again, I don’t mind spending money for a show as good as this. It was worth it to me.”
“I think they could have been more creative with the card because it was just seven matches without any stipulations or any gimmicks at all. If they would have made a match a Street Fight or something to make them stand out, then maybe that would have helped.”
Current Thoughts: That tag team match between Page/Omega vs. Young Bucks might be the greatest match in AEW history. I’d probably pick it if somebody asked me. With that said, there were still moments where they ignored the rules of tag team wrestling as they tend to do and to me, that hurts the match a bit. Still, the work was so amazing that I am going to consider it an all-time classic tag team match.
I also thought the Moxley/Jericho feud was built up well and it had the satisfying finish with Moxley beating Jericho clean to become the second AEW World Champion ever.
The final point that I made in 2020 is very true because they didn’t do anything on the card to make a match or story stand out. I think when you only have four PPVs in a year, you need to try to do specialty matches on PPVs. I was a bit surprised that they weren’t more creative with this card. Still, it was a very good show overall.
2. Full Gear 2019
Date/Location: November 9, 2019 at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
Show Rating: 8.75 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: Lights Out Match: Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega – ****1/2
AEW World Championship: Chris Jericho (w/Jake Hager) vs. Cody (w/Maxwell Jacob Friedman) – ****1/4
Proud & Powerful (Santana and Ortiz) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) – ****
What I wrote back then: “When you watch a major PPV like this you want the big matches to deliver and that’s what we got here. There were incredible performances by Moxley and Omega in a unique match that was as violent as any wrestling main event I have seen in a long time. The Jericho/Cody match had an interesting story with Cody not giving up, but MJF cost him the match and then turned on him. When the big matches live up to expectations, that means you are telling the audience they are getting their money’s worth.”
“What I found interesting is that the Executive VPs in the company (Cody, Kenny Omega and Young Bucks) all lost. They all put over others, which shows that Tony Khan has the final say in all AEW decisions, but also when your leaders in the company are doing the job, it sends the message to the rest of the roster that they’re willing to put people over as much as anybody. It’s a good message to send to the locker room. I think this show was booked very well from top to bottom. It also didn’t feel too long like some of their past shows.”
Current Thoughts: The point I made back then holds true today as well. The two big drawing matches on the card were the Moxley/Omega Lights Out Match and the Jericho/Cody AEW World Title match. Both of them absolutely delivered while also providing a memorable moment with MJF turning heel. Putting The Young Bucks match on first is always a good idea because they always put on entertaining matches and having Santana/Ortiz win was big for them at the time.
This was the best PPV of AEW in 2019, which was their first year.
1. Full Gear 2020
Date/Location: November 7, 2020 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida
Show Rating: 9 (out of 10) – Link for Review
Best Matches: AEW Tag Team Championships: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) – ****1/2
Kenny Omega vs. “Hangman” Adam Page – ****1/4
AEW World Championship – I Quit Match: Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston – ****
What I wrote back then: “This was an excellent show overall. A lot of great matches from top to bottom starting with Omega/Page and then the Tag Team Title match was my favorite on the show with Young Bucks finally getting the AEW Tag Team Titles by beating FTR. The main event was very good as a bloody brawl. I liked seeing Darby Allin beat Cody to win the TNT as well. I don’t think the MJF/Jericho match was anything special, but it furthers that story. Some of the finishes were a little flat, but they did make sense at least.”
“I did really well on my predictions for the show. That doesn’t make the show bad by any means because I enjoyed it a lot. This was one of the best AEW PPVs ever and I rated it as the highest of 2020.”
Current Thoughts: There were three matches at the four-star level and above on this show (with Cody/Allin coming very close too), which makes it one of the best AEW PPVs ever. Dave Meltzer actually has four matches over four stars while also going 5.25* for the Young Bucks/FTR match, but I think Dave tends to overrate Young Bucks matches (they have moves named after the guy). I like the Young Bucks/FTR match a lot too and maybe if I watched it again I might rate it higher. I just didn’t think it should be where Dave rated it.
I thought the Moxley/Kingston main event match was a lot of fun even though Kingston wasn’t built up that well as a title contender. Wins and losses are supposed to matter, but he barely had any matches in AEW at that point. The Omega/Page opener was a big one because it was for a World Title shot, which led to Kenny eventually becoming the AEW World Champion. It was a tremendous match too. When looking over the show again, there wasn’t a bad match on the show. It truly is AEW’s best PPVs ever right now.
It’s interesting that the two highest-rated shows ever are the first two Full Gear PPVs. Both of them were held in November. Maybe it’s a case of AEW wanting to save the best PPV for the last one of the year, but I don’t know if that’s true. It just turned out that way.
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