It’s downright shocking to think that AEW Dynamite has only been on the air for two calendar years. AEW has the momentum of a runaway freight train, and there’s no question as to why it is so popular. They have big stars having great matches on television on a nearly weekly basis. Using ratings from the GRAPPL app, Dynamite has never gone more than two episodes without having a match rated 3.75 or higher. AEW is bringing great professional wrestling to the fans at a regular pace, and it has resulted in Dynamite earning its first ratings win over Monday Night Raw less than two years into its run. The twelve matches I’m about to talk about are a big reason as to why.
The Dynamite Dozen. The concept is simple: what are the twelve best matches of Dynamite since October 2, 2020. I did this same project last year, looking at the best matches of Dynamite’s first year of shows. This list has been curated through the users of the GRAPPL match rating app and the inmates of the online wrestling database Cagematch.net. Between both sites, the 50 matches I logged for this project accounted for just over 20,000 individual ratings! These rankings were made with the great scientific effort of adding the GRAPPL and Cagematch ratings together into one Overall Rating.
There is one change I’m making from last year’s list. Cagematch rates matches with a scale that goes up to 10, whereas GRAPPL’s scale only goes up to 5. To keep the Cagematch ratings from having too strong of weight, I’ll be dividing the Cagematch score in half. Now, the highest score one match can get is a 10. For example, the All Out classic between the Young Bucks and the Lucha Bros has a 4.81 average rating on GRAPPL and a 9.5 rating on Cagematch, which this time I would divide in half to get a 4.75. That would give it an overall score of 9.56. But that won’t be on the list, because it was not on an episode of Dynamite. To be clear, this is only looking at matches that have happened on Dynamite. No pay-per-views. No Youtube shows. No Rampage, I’ll figure out a way to work that in next time. Let’s take a look at some of the notable matches of the past year that missed out on the list.
#50 – Shaquille O’Neal & Jade Cargill vs. Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet
Dynamite #72 – Daily’s Place (The Crossroads) – March 3rd, 2021
Overall Rating: 6.43
#49 – Chris Jericho vs. Nick Gage (No Rules Match)
Dynamite #95 – Charlotte, NC (Fight For The Fallen) – July 28th, 2021
Overall Rating: 6.91
#44 – Jon Moxley vs. Yuji Nagata (IWGP United States Championship)
Dynamite #84 – Daily’s Place – May 12th, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.13
#33 – Matt Jackson vs. Rey Fenix
Dynamite #75 – Daily’s Place – March 10th, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.52
#26 – Inner Circle vs. The Pinnacle (Blood & Guts Match)
Dynamite #83 – Daily’s Place (Blood & Guts) – May 5th, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.69
#22 – Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page (Coffin Match)
Dynamite #93 – Austin, TX (Fyter Fest: Night One) – July 14th, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.77
#21 – Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Tay Conti (AEW World Women’s Championship)
Dynamite #81 – Daily’s Place – April 21st, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.78
#20 – Jon Moxley (c) vs. Kenny Omega (AEW World Championship)
Dynamite #61 – Daily’s Place (Winter Is Coming) – December 2nd, 2020
Overall Rating: 7.8
#19 – Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express (AEW World Tag Team Titles)
Dynamite #98 – Houston, TX – August 18th, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.81
#18 – Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Rey Fenix II
Dynamite #58 – Daily’s Place – November 11th, 2020
Overall Rating: 7.85
#17 – Dax Harwood vs. Jungle Boy
Dynamite #69 – Daily’s Place – January 27th, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.87
#16 – Jon Moxley (c) vs. Lance Archer (Texas Deathmatch for IWGP United States Championship)
Dynamite #94 – Dallas, TX (Fyter Fest: Night Two) – July 21st, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.96
#15 – The Young Bucks (c) vs. SCU (Tag Team Titles vs. Team)
Dynamite #84 – Daily’s Place – May 12th, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.986
#14 – Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy vs. Kip Sabian & Miro (Arcade Anarchy)
Dynamite #78 – Daily’s Place – March 31st, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.989
#13 – Hangman Page & The Dark Order vs. The Elite (Elimination Tag)
Dynamite #95 – Charlotte, NC (Fight For The Fallen) – July 28th, 2021
Overall Rating: 7.99
With the honorables having been mentioned, it is now time for the official 2021 Dynamite Dozen!
The 2021 Dynamite Dozen
#12 – Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Kenny Omega
Dynamite #56 – Daily’s Place – October 28th, 2020
Overall Rating: 8.02
We lead off with a match that wasn’t even meant to happen. Penta couldn’t keep his brother Fenix from advancing in the World Title Eliminator Tournament, but an injury would. With a second chance, Penta fought like hell to make it count. But he ran directly into the buzzsaw that was the refocused Kenny Omega. Kenny felt like he remembered just how good he was, and wanted to remind everyone else of that fact too. He had his brand new entrance, complete with “Cleaner Girls” dancing with brooms. He was fresh off of beating Sonny Kiss in seconds. He even wrestled the first few minutes of this important tournament match wearing the AAA Mega Title that he had beaten Fenix for months ago. Kenny got his groove back, and he proved it here in one hell of a Dynamite match.
#11 – Jon Moxley & Lance Archer vs. Kenny Omega & KENTA (Falls Count Anywhere)
Dynamite #71 – Daily’s Place – February 10th, 2021
Overall Rating: 8.03
The match that saw the official opening of the Forbidden Door. The possibility of a relationship between AEW and New Japan seemed far-fetched. New Japan had already had a somewhat healthy relationship with Ring of Honor, and they probably weren’t happy with the company that announced their debut show in the shadow of the Tokyo Dome days before Wrestle Kingdom 13. However, a year later, one mistranslated promo from Hiroshi Tanahashi to Chris Jericho would kickstart the speculation. When would the Forbidden Door be opened? Who would come through to big-league US television? That door got kicked down when KENTA made his AEW debut, teaming with Bullet Club alumni Kenny Omega against Lance Archer and Jon Moxley, who had the IWGP US Title that KENTA was after. This match was a wild brawl through Daily’s Place, featuring people being hit with literal potatoes and double stomps off of rolling counters. This match opened the door (pun intended) to a fruitful relationship between the two companies, even seeing the IWGP US Title being frequently featured on AEW programming.
#10 – Jon Moxley, Rey Fenix & PAC vs. Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers
Dynamite #70 – Daily’s Place (Beach Break) – February 3rd, 2021
Overall Rating: 8.11
The Good Brothers sneak their way onto this list like they seem to have snuck their way into every major league pro wrestling company in the world right now. Seriously, those guys are prominent parts of Impact, New Japan USA, and AEW. And they never drop falls either! If you are an aspiring pro wrestler, forget about following in the path of Kenny Omega, John Cena, or Roman Reigns. Doc Gallows is the perfect person to model your career after. Minimum effort, maximum results. Anyway, this was a very fun six-man tag that saw KENTA debut afterward.
#9 – Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Rey Fenix
Dynamite #55 – Daily’s Place – October 21st, 2020
Overall Rating: 8.17
From the undercards of AAA to main events in Lucha Underground, from PWG shots to Impact Wrestling pay-per-views. Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix have traveled the world together, and they always end up going face-to-face in some form. These two facing off in AEW was inevitable, and it came when they met in the first round of the World Title Eliminator Tournament. This was as fast-paced and as fun as any of their work teaming, and in the end Fenix would score the win over his brother.
#8 – MJF vs. Sammy Guevara
Dynamite #91 – Daily’s Place – June 30th, 2021
Overall Rating: 8.22
Two of AEW’s brightest stars faced off here in the final match of the Daily’s Place era of Dynamite. This match was months in the making, as Sammy was the only person in the Inner Circle who had MJF figured out before he double-crossed them. After scoring the fall in Stadium Stampede and saving the Inner Circle from dissolution, all that was left was to get his hands on MJF. These two went hell for leather in this match, wrestling it like it was the main event World Title match that it could be in a few years’ time. MJF would win with help from Shawn Spears, but it was one hell of a battle regardless.
#7 – Mr. Brodie Lee (c) vs. Cody Rhodes (Dog Collar Match for the TNT Championship)
Dynamite #53 – Daily’s Place (Chris Jericho’s 30th Anniversary) – October 7th, 2020
Overall Rating: 8.33
A match that would have been ranked fifth on last year’s list had it happened a week earlier. This was the last match Brodie Lee would ever have, and it ended up being an excellent return match for the TNT Championship. Lee destroyed Cody for the title on the first Saturday Night Dynamite two months before, in one of the most memorable moments in company history. This was an excellent display of old-school violence that showcased Cody’s best instincts and Brodie’s ability as the monster to fight off. It capped off a feud that established the TNT Championship and anchored Dynamite amid the COVID era.
#6 – Kenny Omega (c) vs. Jungle Boy (AEW World Championship)
Dynamite #90 – Daily’s Place (Saturday Night Dynamite) – June 26th, 2021
Overall Rating: 8.37
Jungle Boy has been earmarked for stardom since day one in this company, and this main event was his first real taste. After earning the respect of Christian Cage in the Casino Battle Royale, he would do his best to earn Kenny Omega’s respect by taking him to the limit in this World Title match. He gave the champion everything he could handle, but Omega would pull the win out in the end. Jungle Boy’s first shot at the title may not have gone his way, but performances like this will make sure that this won’t be his last.
#5 – The Young Bucks (c) vs. PAC & Rey Fenix (AEW World Tag Team Titles)
Dynamite #80 – Daily’s Place – April 14th, 2021
Overall Rating: 8.56
What happens when you take four of the best athletes in wrestling and put them in a tag team title match? You get the fifth-best match of the year, of course! PAC and Fenix had won a title shot at Revolution but had to wait a while due to PAC busting his ankle up. In the meantime, the Young Bucks decided to reunite with Kenny Omega and turned heel as a result. This was their first match as heels in AEW, and they didn’t miss a beat. PAC and Fenix made the perfect foils, as Death Triangle’s focus clashed with the Bucks general douchebaggery. An excellent match combined with great character work from the Bucks lands this tag title match on the list.
#4 – Hangman Page, Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. MJF, Santana & Ortiz
Dynamite #65 – Daily’s Place (A Celebration of Mr. Brodie Lee’s Life) – December 30th, 2020
Overall Rating: 8.77
On December 26th, 2020, Jon Huber, known professionally as Brodie Lee, passed away. This was a tragedy that caught the professional wrestling world completely off guard, as no news of Huber’s sickness had come out in the months before his death. In the days that followed, AEW would announce that the upcoming Dynamite, which was set to have the aforementioned Omega/Fenix World Title match, would now be an episode in tribute and celebration of Jon Huber’s life. What came was the best episode of professional wrestling television ever produced. It was a show full of love and light that came through the screen for every second. The peak was this trios match between the Dark Order and the Inner Circle. MJF played the over-the-top heel perfectly, while never stepping over the line. The babyfaces were running at a perfect pace. Brodie’s old partner Big Red Erick Rowan running in to chase off the interfering Wardlow added to the proceedings. But the highlight of this was Brodie Lee’s son hitting MJF with a kendo stick, with the camera panning over afterward to see him smiling from ear to ear. To have put a smile on the face of that little boy in the face of this unimaginable loss is a genuinely heartwarming, truly meaningful feat.
We get so lost in the minutia of moves and styles that we forget that pro wrestling is at its best when it makes you feel something, in the way only pro wrestling can make you feel. Professional wrestling may be a simulated sport, but the passion and the feelings that it can elicit are as real, as valid, and as legitimate as anything you’ll ever see. This match was professional wrestling at its peak, its absolute zenith, but I still wish it never had to happen. I wish Brodie Lee was still around, showing the wrestling world what he could offer, and realizing the potential he was just scratching the surface of. I wish Jon Huber was still around, being the father that he cherished being. But now I hope he can rest easy, knowing that his friends honored him in the best possible manner and that his family is taken care of by people who truly care. God bless Jon Huber, and may he rest in peace.
#3 – Kenny Omega (c) vs. Rey Fenix (AEW World Championship)
Dynamite #66 – Daily’s Place (New Year’s Smash: Night One) – January 6th, 2021
Overall Rating: 8.83
While this match certainly wasn’t the most newsworthy event to occur on January 6th, 2021, it sure as hell was the best one. Omega and Fenix have incredible chemistry, and it was on full display here as Omega made his first defense of the World Title. Fenix showed off his talents as one of the best and most innovative wrestlers around in this one, and although Omega retained, Fenix proved that he could shine in the spotlight of the main event.
#2 – Dr. Britt Baker, DMD vs. Thunder Rosa (Lights Out Match)
Dynamite #76 – Daily’s Place (St. Patrick’s Day Slam) – March 17th, 2021
Overall Rating: 8.87
Dr. Britt Baker was always the focus of the AEW women’s division. After a rocky start, her heel turn brought out the charisma that started to get crowds into her. After an injury sidelined her for most of 2020, she kicked off 2021 by getting into a feud with then-NWA Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa. After beating her in a screwy manor once before, they had a non-sanctioned rematch set as the first women’s main event in Dynamite history. They earned that spot with an excellent hardcore match. Thunder Rosa solidified her spot as one of the most talented women in North America, but this match will mostly be remembered as Britt Baker’s star turn. Her smiling into the camera, a la Mick Foley in Hell In A Cell, will go down as one of the most iconic images in AEW history. This was an important match, not only for the women in AEW but for AEW as a whole. A superstar was made on this night, and she happens to be a fucking dentist.
#1 – Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega
Dynamite #103 – Queens, NY (Grand Slam) – September 22nd, 2021
Overall Rating: 9.49
Hope is a dangerous thing to have as a wrestling fan. Things almost always find a way to go wrong in this world, whether it be due to bad timing, bad luck, or most commonly, complete executive incompetence. So when AEW announced that Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega would happen in front of the biggest crowd in company history on free television, the more pessimistic side of myself was trying to think of ways in which this could be ruined. Maybe Danielson has some ring rust still on? Maybe we get Elite shenanigans?
Nope. What we got was two of the best wrestlers of their respective generations having thirty minutes to do what they do best. No restrictions, nothing keeping them from putting on one of the finest matches to ever happen on US television. Omega left the Elite schtick aside and worked this match with the precision and viciousness he would show in a G1 block final. Danielson left the underdog act in his old locker room, showing the world the intensity and reckless abandon that characterized the American Dragon. It was a breathtaking affair that even left CM Punk at a loss for words in his promo that followed. The only thing this match lacked was a winner, as the time limit expired. The fact that these two have even more of a match in them is a testament to their status as two of the best professional wrestlers of all time. Believe it or not, the best Dynamite match of all time may only be an appetizer for their next encounter.
Kenny Omega and Rey Fenix both dominated this list. Omega was in SIX of the twelve best matches of Dynamite’s second year, giving credence to the nickname “Best Bout Machine.” Despite dealing with injuries for part of the year, Fenix saw himself in four matches on this list as well. The other names that got onto the list more than once include Jon Moxley, PAC, and MJF.
That is your Dynamite Dozen for Dynamite’s second year in business. If this is the output AEW plans on giving us for free, long may they reign. But before I leave you, I thought it would be cool to keep up with the top Dynamite matches of all time as a way of remembering and honoring these matches as time goes on. So below is a table of the top 25 rated Dynamite matches to date. Some matches that missed this year’s Dozen found their way on here, so keep reading if you want to know how those stacked up. See you next year!
|Top 25 Rated Dynamite Matches Of All Time||Date||Episode Number||Overall Rating||Total Ratings|
|#1||Kenny Omega vs. Bryan Danielson||September 22nd, 2021||Dynamite #103 – Grand Slam||9.49||993|
|#2||Kenny Omega vs. PAC (30 Minute Ironman Match)||February 26th, 2020||Dynamite #21||9.02||662|
|#3||Dr. Britt Baker, DMD vs. Thunder Rosa (Lights Out Match)||March 17th, 2021||Dynamite #76 – St. Patrick’s Day Slam||8.87||811|
|#4||Kenny Omega vs. Rey Fenix (AEW World Championship)||January 6th, 2021||Dynamite #66 – New Year’s Smash 1||8.83||738|
|#5||Santana & Ortiz vs. Best Friends (Parking Lot Fight)||September 16th, 2020||Dynamite #50||8.78||415|
|#6||Adam Page, Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. MJF, Ortiz & Santana||December 30th, 2020||Dynamite #65 – Brodie Lee Memorial||8.77||350|
|#7||Hangman Page & Kenny Omega vs. The Lucha Bros (Tag Team Title)||February 19th, 2020||Dynamite #20||8.65||497|
|#8||The Young Bucks vs. PAC & Rey Fenix (AEW World Tag Team Titles)||April 14th, 2021||Dynamite #80||8.56||548|
|#9||FTR & Young Bucks vs. Lucha Bros & Butcher & Blade||July 8th, 2020||Dynamite #40 – Fyter Fest Week 2||8.38||458|
|#10||Kenny Omega vs. Jungle Boy (AEW World Championship)||June 26th, 2021||Dynamite #90 – Saturday Night Dynamite||8.37||449|
|#11||Cody vs. Mr. Brodie Lee (Dog Collar Match for the TNT Championship)||October 7th, 2020||Dynamite #53 – Jericho 30th Anniversary||8.33||395|
|#12||MJF vs. Sammy Guevara||June 30th, 2021||Dynamite #91||8.22||431|
|#13||Penta El Zero M vs. Rey Fenix||October 21st, 2020||Dynamite #55||8.17||357|
|#14||Private Party vs. The Young Bucks||October 9th, 2019||Dynamite #2 (Boston)||8.13||548|
|#15||Jon Moxley, PAC & Rey Fenix vs. Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers||February 3rd, 2021||Dynamite #70 – Beach Break||8.11||427|
|#16||Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Kenny Omega & “Broken” Matt Hardy (Street Fight)||May 6th, 2020||Dynamite #31||8.04||294|
|#17||Jon Moxley & Lance Archer vs. Kenny Omega & KENTA||February 10th, 2021||Dynamite #71||8.03||474|
|#18||Penta El Zero M vs. Kenny Omega||October 28th, 2020||Dynamite #56||8.02||329|
|#19||Hangman Page & The Dark Order vs. The Elite (Elimination Tag)||July 28th, 2021||Dynamite #95 – Fight For The Fallen||7.99||475|
|#20||Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy vs. Kip Sabian & Miro (Arcade Anarchy)||March 31st, 2021||Dynamite #78||7.989||428|
|#21||SCU vs. The Young Bucks (Tag Team Titles vs. Team)||May 12th, 2021||Dynamite #84||7.986||466|
|#22||Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer (Texas Deathmatch for IWGP United States Championship)||July 21st, 2021||Dynamite #94 – Fyter Fest Night 2||7.96||455|
|#23||Dax Harwood vs. Jungle Boy||January 27th, 2021||Dynamite #69||7.87||397|
|#24||Penta El Zero M vs. Rey Fenix||November 11th, 2020||Dynamite #58||7.85||281|
|#25||Jon Moxley vs. Darby Allin (AEW World Title)||August 5th, 2020||Dynamite #44||7.83||273|