10 Essential AEW Matches For New Fans

The matches that made AEW the "home of professional wrestling"

CM Punk Darby Allin
AEW

For a company not yet three calendar years old, AEW made it extremely difficult to try and narrow the field of genuine classics and era-defining outings down to just 10.

Though not existing simply to put on awesome matches, All Elite Wrestling's modus operandi has been to bring the buzz of one back. One thing begats another, and the company's subsequently begat a sh*tload of classics.

It's been the goal of the pay-per-views to feel prestigious, and despite persistent formatting issues until All Out 2021, the line graph charting rising buyrates suggests they've managed it. On television, Dynamite was an almost-immediate proof of concept for the organisation, earning a rights fee extension just months into its run before seeing off NXT in a ratings war amidst ensuring that people on the hook one week stay right there the week after. At one slick and shiny hour, Rampage looks set to go the same way.

But because it's all still so new, it's an opportune time to go right back through the last couple of years and find all the really good stuff. It's not just bangers, but learning of all the ties that bind - all the roads travelled en route to this current exhilarating run.

Compiled chronologically (not least because the characters are so well drawn that the booking and match construction actually reflects the changes they go through over the years), here are the matches best served as a primer for helping those that have only just joined pro wrestling's latest revolution.

10. Cody Rhodes Vs Darby Allin - Fyter Fest 2019

CM Punk Darby Allin
AEW

Remembered more for the conclusion and the aftermath than the match itself, Darby Allin's first high profile effort in All Elite Wrestling offered a captivating glimpse into one of the organisation's obvious future stars while also telling the audience that the promotion was all about ideas.

None of this was wrestling for wrestling's sake - Cody relished the opportunity to play the cocky veteran in his own playground, but underestimated Allin to the point that he needed to get a little introspective after the fact as to why couldn't get it done in their allotted 20:00.

Not only were his pr*ckish instincts not really what the people wanted at AEW's inception, but they were actively failing him against some red hot newcomers he'd scouted. More on that later in the list.

And about that result.

Here, AEW used an early exhibition to establish that a time limit draw was a valid finish, adding a wrinkle of drama to every single contest ever since. Cody getting waffled by a Shawn Spears chair shot in the post-match was a reckless over-reach, but it too had character and storyline implications that built another pay-per-view match and was for a some a sign that this promotion was prepared to go many places the opposition no longer wished to tread.

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We Need To Talk About Kevin (Nash). Michael can be found in articles or on podcasts extolling the virtues of New Generation WWF, new AEW storylines or the new WWE push they definitely definitely won’t ruin this time.