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2021 AEW Matches of the Year.


The Natural
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I started doing a WWE MOTY thread since 2013 here and AEW is due parity. You don't have to rank matches in order, feel free to bring bouts up. Here's mine with three months of 2021 still to come:

10. Serena Deeb vs. Riho. AEW The Buy In. AEW Double or Nothing.

9. Hikaru Shida vs. Tay Conti. AEW Dynamite, 21st April.

8. Kenny Omega vs. Fenix. AEW Dynamite, 6th January.

7. Miro vs. Eddie Kingston. AEW All Out.

6. Darby Allin/Sting vs. Dax Harwood/Cash Wheeler. AEW Dynamite, 22nd September.

5. Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer. AEW Dynamite, 21st July.

4. Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage. AEW Dynamite, 13th January.

3. Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson vs. Pentagon/Fenix. AEW All Out. *****.

2. Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker. AEW Dynamite, 17th March. *****.

1. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega. AEW Dynamite, 22nd September. *****.

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Darby Allin vs Miro Not the greatest match, but it got over Darby's heart and Miro's destuctiveness.

 

10 man tag, Dark Order vs Elite.

 

The Inner Circle vs Pinnacle blood and guts (despite it's ending)

 

Jeez, I've picked three matches where the bad guy went over.

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14 hours ago, SirFozzie said:

Darby Allin vs Miro Not the greatest match, but it got over Darby's heart and Miro's destuctiveness.

I love the ending to this match where Darby and Sting look at each other knowing Darby is 100% fucked and they just accept it and go out swinging.

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The Triple Threat AEW title match at Double or Nothing and Kenny Omega vs. Christian on the debut Rampage are somewhere on the list for me. Also, while it may not be on the list, the Lucha Brothers-Jurassic Express number one contenders match at the Milwaukee rampage is a strong honorable mention.

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2 minutes ago, John from Cincinnati said:

Surprised to see no play for the Page-Allin coffin match. I'd take it over a good deal of what's been mentioned. 

I caught that today. Liked it a lot. My only issue with it was that there needed to be something more after the Ego's Edge onto the stairs to justify Darby recovering enough to get the eyerake. It was just too soon after. I think if I was laying the thing out, he would have bumped and then skidded off the stairs to the other side of the ring so that Page would have had to negotiate him (completely dead weight/temporarily unconscious), around the stairs and through the ropes to the coffin. Add in some of Page's usual arrogance/taunting and it'd be a lot easier to justify. They knew they had to capture the big post-match spot so I wonder if the back told the ref to rush them through the last minute of the actual match so that they'd have time in a world without overrun margins.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sometimes, it's the little things. I'm watching Britt vs Rosa and while the opening bit with Rebel using the crutch followed immediately by the spear through the ropes to the ramp was all very good, I didn't like Britt going for the Air Raid Crash on the ramp. It felt like she didn't know to do anything else so she just went to such a high move early. She could have done a slam on the ramp and it would have still mattered in the grand scheme of things because it was ON THE RAMP. That would have allowed for more escalation later. It's especially true as it wasn't going to lead to any long sort of heat, but just an initial beat down with the chair before Rosa came back to throw it at her. Moreover, think about it. What's the big narrative spot of the first half of the match? The stomp onto the stairs. Why even introduce something like that Air Raid Crash for contrast when you're going to be going in such a different, more visceral direction? I feel like ten years down the line, Britt would have chosen to lead with something else. That's all.

I didn't like the continued "St. Patrick Day's Slam" imagery. It's unsanctioned. Just go black with that or some such. It felt a little gaudy given the violence. 

As for what worked, I really liked Britt's pacing once she was really in charge. She really knows how to milk a moment well past her experience level and that's probably even more important than move placement in the grand scheme of things. Likewise the bloody smile before she took the glove.

The blood obviously worked. Sorry, but it did. It took a few shots with the latter for Britt to really open up so you're waiting for it because you know it's coming and then you see it on the mat first before realizing that it's Britt's and not Rosa's, and then your brain catches up as you see her in crimson.

It's AEW so the house style has moves tried, failed, succeed. In this case, it was the flatliner which failed on the chair in the corner but succeeded on the ladder in the center. I would have rather Britt held the advantage a little longer after that. I definitely liked how they set things up earlier in the match to pay them off later, like the tables for Rebel to go through and to set up the finish. It meant things kept moving. Imagine having to set up those tables too in the last third? Likewise, the thumbtacks being there to help Rosa escape the lockjaw.

Real gutsy effort overall. Nothing that needs to happen more than once a year, but there's a place for it used sparingly.

JR ending it by saying "And remember folks, up next, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor."  totally worked.

 

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On 9/27/2021 at 8:51 AM, Jimbo_Tsuruta said:

Aside from loads mentioned Omega v Jungle Boy might sneak my top ten if I was making a list.

This match was only built for about 3 weeks or so if i remember correctly but by the time it happened it had a really big match feel. Definitely felt like Jungle Jack's biggest moment so far. Until he posted that pic with Anna minutes later at least.

 

I'll add Punk vs. Garcia to this, loved everything about this one last week. 

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2 hours ago, eikerir said:

This match was only built for about 3 weeks or so if i remember correctly but by the time it happened it had a really big match feel. Definitely felt like Jungle Jack's biggest moment so far. Until he posted that pic with Anna minutes later at least.

 

I'll add Punk vs. Garcia to this, loved everything about this one last week. 

I preferred Jungle Boy vs. Dax Harwood on AEW Dynamite, 21st January 2021 to Jungle Boy vs. Kenny Omega.

Punk vs. Garcia would make my updated list.

There's a little match announced this week, BRYAN DANIELSON VS. MINORU SUZUKI. Can't wait for that!

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I really only started watching AEW regularly on Fyter Fest Night 2 episode of Dynamite so my choices are heavily weighted towards the past 3 months rather than the entire year. But there are some matches from earlier in the year, I really got into the Women's Tournament they had earlier in the year.

  1. 23/9 Danielson vs Omega
  2. 5/9 Bucks vs Lucha Bros
  3. 21/7 Moxley vs Archer
  4. 27/8 Jurassic Express vs Lucha Bros
  5. 22/2 Kong vs Mizunami
  6. 5/9 Omega vs Cage
  7. 6/10 Casino Ladder Match
  8. 6/1 Omega vs Fenix
  9. 22/2 Sakura vs Sakazaki
  10. 5/9 Miro vs Kingston

Feel like I was probably a bit too high on Aja Kong vs Ryo Mizunami but fuck it, it was cool.

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Even with the finish I'd probably find room for Andrade El Idolo vs. PAC from AEW Rampage, 10th September. Unlike Blood & Guts. Everything outside the cage tainted what came before it. Looking forward to Andrade/PAC 2 on this week's AEW Rampage.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update before AEW Full Gear 2021:

10. PAC vs. Andrade El Idolo. AEW Rampage, 23rd October.

9.  Kenny Omega vs. Christian Cage. AEW Rampage, 13th August.

8. Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer. AEW Dynamite, 21st July.

7. Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage. AEW Dynamite, 13th January.

6. Darby Allin/Sting vs. Dax Harwood/Cash Wheeler. AEW Dynamite, 22nd September.

5. Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston. AEW Rampage, 29th October.

4. Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson vs. Pentagon/Fenix. AEW All Out. *****.

3. Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki. AEW The Buy In: Rampage, 15th October 2021. *****.

2. Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker. AEW Dynamite, 17th March. *****.

1. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega. AEW Dynamite, 22nd September. *****. My 2021 MOTY.

Might knock Lucha Brothers vs. Young Bucks from AEW All Out down a *1/4.

Edited by The Natural
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23 hours ago, The Natural said:

Update before AEW Full Gear 2021:

10. PAC vs. Andrade El Idolo. AEW Rampage, 23rd October.

9.  Kenny Omega vs. Christian Cage. AEW Rampage, 13th August.

8. Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer. AEW Dynamite, 21st July.

7. Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage. AEW Dynamite, 13th January.

6. Darby Allin/Sting vs. Dax Harwood/Cash Wheeler. AEW Dynamite, 22nd September.

5. Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston. AEW Rampage, 29th October.

4. Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson vs. Pentagon/Fenix. AEW All Out. *****.

3. Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki. AEW The Buy In: Rampage, 15th October 2021. *****.

2. Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker. AEW Dynamite, 17th March. *****.

1. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega. AEW Dynamite, 22nd September. *****. My 2021 MOTY.

Might knock Lucha Brothers vs. Young Bucks from AEW All Out down a *1/4.

I still have Young Bucks-Lucha Brothers All Out match as the #1 match in 2021, and the one I would go beyond five stars for. I could easily argue that Danielson's three big matches (Omega, Suzuki, Kingston) are 2-4, but I think that the tag match is bit more memorable long-term.

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11 minutes ago, Greggulator said:

I know my tastes differ, but the FTR vs. Waves and Curls match on AEW Dark has one of the best endings to a match in memory.

No one around here is going to hate on that finish given the setting. Come on.

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