Welcome to the 2023 Dynamite Dozen!
The Dynamite Dozen is a concept I came up with two years ago after the first anniversary of AEW Dynamite on October 2nd, 2020: rank the twelve best television matches of AEW’s first year. Why the best TV matches? Because in its short history, AEW has put on some of the best wrestling matches ever to take place on free TV, and I wanted to keep a listing of the best of the best. Why twelve? Because twelve is a dozen, and alliteration is fun! The ranking was done by combining the user ratings of both the GRAPPL match rating app with user ratings from the online wrestling database Cagematch.net. I’m back with the fourth edition of the list, with a notable, if only slight, change in format.
Due to the sunsetting of the GRAPPL app back in June, the list will now strictly be going by the listed ratings at Cagematch. The matches will still be rated on a 10-point decimal scale, but the GRAPPL ratings will no longer play a role in the rankings. Something that hasn’t changed is the fact that this list only includes matches from AEW television, meaning Dynamite, Rampage, Battle of the Belts, Collision, and any non-PPV YouTube specials. No PPV matches. If you ask where the Danielson/MJF Ironman match is, I’ll know you skipped this introduction! I put “TV Matches” in the title and everything!
This year, over 50 matches were considered for the list, totaling nearly 18,000 individual match ratings! Before we get to the top twelve, let’s look at the matches that just missed the cut. It’s the Honorable Half-Dozen!
(Note: Any ties will be broken by total votes received. The match with the most votes will be ranked higher.)
CHRIS JERICHO VS. TOMOHIRO ISHII
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
NOVEMBER 23, 2022
TOTAL VOTES: 314
Look at those names: Chris Jericho and Tomohiro Ishii, two all-time great professional wrestlers. Look at Jericho’s chest, dripping with blood after Ishii chopped his chest raw. And this is the last match on the honorable mention section. This is why I do the Dynamite Dozen. It’s insane how much great wrestling we get on AEW television.
DEATH TRIANGLE VS. THE ELITE
ESCALERA DE LA MUERTE – GAME 7 OF BEST OF 7 SERIES FOR AEW WORLD TRIOS CHAMPIONSHIP
JANUARY 11, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 461
The finale of the Best of Seven for the Trios Titles was the main event of one of the best Dynamites of all time. The Best of Seven was pivotal to getting AEW some positive momentum and excitement post-Brawl Out and finished with a wild ladder match that saw the Elite get back the Trios titles that they never lost.
“HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE VS. JON MOXLEY III
FEBRUARY 1, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 363
Hangman Page and Jon Moxley’s feud at the start of the year was one of the most physically intense rivalries in AEW history. Both men knocked the other out of action with concussions before this rubber match in Cincinnati, where Mox would steal the win away with a small package. Neither man was satisfied with this ending, leading to their disgustingly violent Texas Deathmatch at Revolution.
BRYAN DANIELSON VS. KONOSUKE TAKESHITA
JANUARY 11, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 461
Bryan Danielson’s Road to Revolution and the 60-minute Ironman match against MJF started here, as MJF picked Konosuke Takeshita as Danielson’s first roadblock. Takeshita and Danielson matched each other’s fighting spirit fantastically well, with Danielson eventually putting Takeshita to sleep with the Regal Stretch.
ADAM COLE VS. MJF
AEW WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR MATCH
JUNE 14, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 442
Cast your mind back to June. A simpler time. A time before goofy pretapes. A time before the AEW World Title meant less than friendship. A time before the Brochachos took over the main event scene in AEW. It was here where Adam Cole and MJF went one-on-one, with a title match for Cole on the line. It was a PPV-level affair, a match that rated almost as high as their actual PPV effort at All In Wembley (8.63). I did a live Instant Reaction to this show alongside Rich Kraetsch for the Flagship Patreon, where we raved about this match and how beneficial this was for both men after a messy Double or Nothing season. The match went to a thirty-minute draw, and while the story went in a different direction, this was a look at a world where these two weren’t such best buddies.
BRYAN DANIELSON VS. RICKY STARKS
SEPTEMBER 23, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 273
An addition so late to the party that I legitimately almost forgot to add it to the list in its proper position. But a worthy addition, as Bryan Danielson and Ricky Starks followed up their incredible strap match from All Out with an equally violent Texas Deathmatch. These two matched up so well with each other that you’d be forgiven if you thought that these were the two men feuding on Collision all summer. Danielson choked Starks out with a chain to win, putting this feud to rest for the time being.
These were six stellar matches in their own right. Unfortunately, these six matches weren’t good enough to join the honored few. These twelve matches are the best matches AEW has given us, for free, in just the past twelve months.
These are the best of the best.
This is the Dynamite Dozen!
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The Dynamite Dozen 2023
The 12 Best TV Matches of AEW’s Fourth Year
BLACKPOOL COMBAT CLUB VS. BEST FRIENDS
PARKING LOT FIGHT
AUGUST 4, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 243
The first Parking Lot Fight saw the Best Friends & Santana & Ortiz have one of the best matches in Dynamite history, finishing second in the inaugural Dynamite Dozen back in 2020. The follow-up was one of the best matches in Rampage history, as the Blackpool Combat Club rolled up to Daily’s Place to put Chuck and Trent in their place. A violent brawl saw the BCC leave Chuck, Trent, and Sue’s van battered and bloody.
JON MOXLEY VS. KONOSUKE TAKESHITA
DECEMBER 9, 2022
TOTAL VOTES: 265
Konosuke Takeshita answered an open challenge from Mox, leading to this bloody battle on Rampage. Takeshita’s babyface fire was on full display in this match, with the fans booing Moxley as he fought to get the eventual win. If you want to be reminded of how great Takeshita is as a good guy, check out the match clip above.
FTR VS. BULLET CLUB GOLD
JULY 8, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 416
As the stalwarts of the early days of Collision, FTR had one of the first great matches in the show’s history as they went up against Jay White and Juice Robinson. A hard-hitting, old-school affair would follow, with the two teams going back and forth for nearly a half hour. The Bullet Club Gold members got a surprising win here, setting up a rematch for the titles that – spoiler alert – we’ll be talking about later on this list.
BANDIDO VS. BRYAN DANIELSON
JANUARY 18, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 426
Danielson’s second leg on the Road to Revolution saw him go one-on-one with Bandido. As always, Bandido used his agility and surprising strength to steal the show. However, Danielson would win and continue on his way to his World Title match.
JON MOXLEY VS. KENNY OMEGA
STEEL CAGE MATCH
MAY 10, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 473
The steel cage match between Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega marked an important point in one of AEW’s longest rivalries. Mox and Omega have been on opposite sides of the coin in AEW since day one when Mox threw Omega off of a stack of giant poker chips at Double or Nothing 2019. These two have been in Lights Out matches, World Title matches, and Barbed Wire matches featuring explosives of varying quality.
Much like in the past, Don Callis played a pivotal role in the result of this match. However, instead of jabbing Moxley in the head with a microphone, Callis figuratively stabbed Omega in the back by literally stabbing him in the face with a screwdriver. Moxley would win, but the war between these two would continue on to Anarchy in the Arena at Double or Nothing.
DARBY ALLIN VS. SAMOA JOE
NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH FOR TNT CHAMPIONSHIP
FEBRUARY 1, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 416
When a match gives you the same feeling that Samoa Joe vs. Necro Butcher does, it’s one of the best matches of the year. I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them. These two violent maniacs collided in this car crash rubber match for the TNT Title, with Joe finally putting Darby away with a top-rope Muscle Buster in one of the wildest Dynamite main events ever.
MARK BRISCOE VS. JAY LETHAL
JANUARY 25, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 361
I remember where I was when I got the news that Jay Briscoe had died. I was coming out of a shift at work, walking to my car. I saw a tweet confirming the news and literally dropped to my knees. The news rocked me, as it did for the entire wrestling world. Jay, alongside his brother Mark, had been staples in pro wrestling for almost 20 years. Whether he was teaming up with his brother or working solo, Jay Briscoe brought legitimacy and realism that made him a top independent star in the 2000s & 2010s. When AEW started and wrestlers of the Briscoes generation got the opportunity to get their flowers on the big stage, many fans believed the Briscoes would eventually get that chance. When Tony Khan bought Ring of Honor, it was only seen as a matter of time before Jay and Mark Briscoe got their chance to shine.
That chance never came. It had been reported that neither Briscoe would be allowed on AEW programming, allegedly stemming from ugly and hurtful comments Jay Briscoe had made about gay people in 2013. This isn’t the place to debate the fairness of the punishment, although it’s worth noting that Briscoe had consistently shown contrition for his comments in the time since. The fact is that Jay Briscoe never appeared on an episode of AEW television.
After Jay’s death, the ban was lifted. In an ironic twist of fate, Mark Briscoe would make his AEW debut in tribute to his brother Jay on what would have been Jay’s 39th birthday. Mark would go up against his brother’s long-time rival and fellow ROH stalwart Jay Lethal in what was an excellent match and an emotional tribute to one of the best wrestlers of a generation. What impresses me most about this is seeing how at ease Mark looked throughout the match. Mark said that while it hurt that his brother was gone, Mark knew Jay was in a better place and that he would see him again.
My thoughts on religion are complicated. I haven’t been to church in years outside of baptisms or christenings. But it was hearing Mark Briscoe say what he said that made religion make sense to me. It’s comfort in times of chaos. It’s an explanation when nothing seems to make sense. I’m still not a religious person, but I can only hope that when my life gets rocked, I can find the level of peace that Mark Briscoe has.
RIP Jamin Pugh. There will never be another Jay Briscoe.
DEATH TRIANGLE VS. THE ELITE
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE – GAME SIX IN BEST OF SEVEN SERIES FOR AEW WORLD TRIOS CHAMPIONSHIP
DECEMBER 28, 2023
DYNAMITE #169 – NEW YEAR’S SMASH
TOTAL VOTES: 314
The peak of the Best of Seven Series between Death Triangle and the Elite took place on the New Year’s Smash edition of Dynamite, where the two teams brawled all over the arena in a wild Falls Count Anywhere match. The Elite got the win in a must-win Game Six after Kenny Omega hit Fenix with a One-Winged Angel off the stage through a table. Omega then got on a plane to Japan, had an incredible match with Will Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom, and then flew back to America for Game Seven, which landed at #17 on this list. That guy is great.
BRYAN DANIELSON VS. RUSH
FEBRUARY 8, 2023
DYNAMITE #175 – CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHT NIGHT
TOTAL VOTES: 437
Bryan Danielson’s final roadblock on his Road To Revolution came on the February 8, 2023 AEW Dynamite, where MJF hoped that Rush would take Danielson out for good. Unlike Danielson’s matches with Takeshita and Bandido, this was less an athletic sporting contest and more of a fight to the death. Rush tried to bleed Danielson dry in the hopes of keeping him down and out, but Danielson refused to quit. Danielson would put Rush away, secure his title match at Revolution, and go on to have one of the best matches in AEW history against MJF in the Ironman match.
JAMIE HAYTER VS. HIKARU SHIDA
AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
DECEMBER 21, 2022
DYNAMITE #168 – HOLIDAY BASH
TOTAL VOTES: 515
I was in the crowd at All Out 2022 when the crowd, seemingly at random, decided to get behind Jamie Hayter in a four-way Women’s Title match. That kicked off the rise of Hayter to the top of the Women’s division, as she would win the AEW Women’s World Title in an excellent match against Toni Storm at Full Gear in November. Hayter’s reign would continue here against Hikaru Shida in another one of the best women’s matches in company history. These two brought the crowd to their feet in a true slobberknocker. Hayter is out of action at the moment with injury, but her contributions to AEW won’t be forgotten any time soon.
KENNY OMEGA VS. EL HIJO DEL VIKINGO
MARCH 22, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 550
When this match was announced, certain pundits took umbrage with the idea of Omega vs. Vikingo being a dream match. Who was this Vikingo? What was his story? Did he like to have fun, or did he do what he did because of YOU PEOPLE?
Omega and Vikingo then had one of the best matches to ever air on free television. Vikingo’s insane athleticism and creativity popped off the screen, driving the Kansas City crowd into an absolute frenzy as Omega fought tooth-and-nail to counter it all. It also played a part in the Kenny Omega/Don Callis story that would drive the rest of Omega’s year. Nuts to those pundits.
BULLET CLUB GOLD VS. FTR
BEST OF THREE FALLS FOR AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
JULY 15, 2023
TOTAL VOTES: 555
In one of the best matches ever aired on free television, Jay White and Juice Robinson challenged FTR for the AEW World Tag Team Championship in a best-of-three falls match. This match took up an entire hour of Collision, with these two teams going to war. This was an incredible effort from these teams, peaking all three falls fantastically throughout the hour. White scored the first fall with the Blade Runner, forcing FTR to get two straight falls on a team they hadn’t been able to beat up to that point.
FTR came back with a Shatter Machine to get the second fall. The third fall was a war of attrition and a fight against the clock, as the 60-minute time limit crept closer and closer. However, FTR would score the win in Canada after Harwood locked Robinson in the Sharpshooter for the submission. An absolute belter of a match, a career-defining match for FTR, and the first AEW classic to take place on Collision.
This past year has been a turbulent one for All Elite Wrestling, but the talent was still able to shine through and make AEW’s fourth year one to remember.
As always, here is the updated list of the Top 25 Matches in AEW TV History to close things out. Any match listed before this year will have its old rating, which was an average of the match’s GRAPPL and Cagematch ratings.
See you next year!
The Top 25 Matches in AEW Television History
|Match||Date||Episode Number||Overall Rating||Total Ratings|
|Kenny Omega vs. Bryan Danielson||September 22nd, 2021||Dynamite #103 - Grand Slam||9.55||1518|
|Hangman Page vs. Bryan Danielson - AEW World Championship||December 15th, 2021||Dynamite #115 - Winter Is Coming||9.47||1089|
|FTR vs. Bullet Club Gold - AEW World Tag Team Championship||July 15th, 2023||Collision #5||9.45||555|
|Hangman Page vs. Bryan Danielson - AEW World Championship||January 5th, 2022||Dynamite #118||9.41||1048|
|Kenny Omega vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo||March 22nd, 2023||Dynamite #181||9.13||550|
|Hikaru Shida vs. Jamie Hayter - AEW Women's World Championship||December 21st, 2022||Dynamite #168 - Holiday Bash||9.12||515|
|Kenny Omega vs. PAC - 30 Minute Ironman Match||February 26th, 2020||Dynamite #21||9.08||840|
|Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki||October 15th, 2021||Rampage #10 - The Buy-In||9.06||947|
|Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler Yuta||April 8th, 2022||Rampage #35||9.06||824|
|FTR vs. The Young Bucks - AAA & ROH World Tag Team Championship||April 6th, 2022||Dynamite #131||9.02||813|
|Bryan Danielson vs. Rush||February 8th, 2023||Dynamite #175 - Championship Fight Night||9.02||437|
|Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia - Best of Three Falls||August 17th, 2022||Dynamite #150||8.95||603|
|Death Triangle vs. The Elite - Falls Count Anywhere - Match Six in Best of Seven||December 28th, 2022||Dynamite #169 - New Year's Smash||8.95||314|
|Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal - Jay Briscoe Tribute Match||January 25th, 2023||Dynamite #173||8.94||361|
|Dr. Britt Baker, DMD vs. Thunder Rosa - Lights Out Match||March 17th, 2021||Dynamite #76 - St. Patrick's Day Slam||8.87||902|
|Kenny Omega vs. Rey Fenix - AEW World Championship||January 6th, 2021||Dynamite #66 - New Year's Smash Night 1||8.87||808|
|Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston||October 29th, 2021||Rampage #12||8.87||707|
|Darby Allin vs. Samoa Joe III - No Holds Barred - TNT Championship||February 1st, 2023||Dynamite #174||8.87||416|
|Claudio Castagnoli vs. Konosuke Takeshita||August 6th, 2022||Battle of the Belts III||8.84||481|
|Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega - Steel Cage||May 10th, 2023||Dynamite #188||8.80||473|
|Bandido vs. Bryan Danielson||January 18th, 2023||Dynamite #172||8.79||426|
|Santana & Ortiz vs. Best Friends - Parking Lot Fight||September 16th, 2020||Dynamite #50||8.78||587|
|Hangman Page, Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. MJF, Ortiz & Santana||December 30th, 2020||Dynamite #65 - Brodie Lee Memorial||8.76||382|
|Hangman Page & Kenny Omega vs. The Lucha Bros - AEW World Tag Team Championship||February 19th, 2020||Dynamite #20||8.70||615|
|United Empire vs. The Elite||August 31st, 2022||Dynamite #152||8.70||456|