10 Best AEW Matches Ever (According To The Internet)

9. Stadium Stampede - Double Or Nothing 2020 (9.29)

MJF goat
AEW/Lee South

AEW is still capable of greatness in 2023, but it is difficult to shake the troubling notion that Tony Khan hit his creative peak when nobody was allowed to attend his shows in person.

Khan looked at the bleak, empty space of Daily's Place and used it as blank canvas. He didn't see what wasn't there, but what could be there. The pandemic era was uneven, and even at its very best bittersweet. Only the worst engagement accounts would put over something like the Tooth & Nail match.

But when Tony Khan nailed it, he almost made his product better for the limitations. Consider something like the Parking Lot Fight between the Best Friends and Santana and Ortiz, which somehow isn't included in the Cagematch top 10. Almost every other match in the no fans era was an emulation of what wrestling used to be, even if the emulation was great on its own, bizarre terms. The Parking Lot Fight couldn't have happened at any other time.

AEW's cinematic output was vastly superior to WWE's because the thread of pro wrestling action was never dropped. This was the case throughout the incredibly creative, much-needed levity that was the first Stadium Stampede match.

Consider the awesome sequence between Hangman Page and Jake Hager. An amusing western bar brawl scene, it folded in slapstick elements but was a dynamic mini-match in parallel. Page executing a perfect backflip off the bar - with a very low ceiling - was a massively impressive physical feat, and there was no bullsh*t camera trickery. Even in quasi-canon, with a heavy emphasis on escapist fun, this was still an AEW main event. Page bumped on a shoot pool table to maintain the balls-to-the-wall standard.

A daft odyssey of brutality and entertainment, this was what AEW talked about when they talked about creative freedom.

Contributor
Contributor

Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, present AEW World Champion MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!