Hello everyone! Today, I am bringing you a list of my personal top 10 AEW moments of 2020. This is subjective, so I am aware your views may greatly differ. With that said, I would like to add some honourable mentions which you know I would have included, but restricting this to a top 10 made it impossible to rank them. I’d enjoy reading your top 10s in the comments section to see how they line up with my own.
MJF Gives Cody 10 Lashes:
It was met with divided opinion among fans, but it’s one of those moments which won’t be forgotten. When does this ever happen? Aside from the time when Tommy Dreamer got caned for losing to The Sandman in ECW? No one has ever gone to this extreme to get a match before. I thought it was over the top, but they sold it way better than I expected.
Jake ‘the Snake’ Roberts Arrives and Debuts His Client Lance Archer:
This is a feel-good story because of Jake Roberts’ struggles with life. After decades of being sidelined with his diminished health and addiction, the world could finally enjoy the treat of one of the smoothest talkers and great minds of the business again. He has helped Lance Archer a long way, and while they have yet to make it to the top, their moments together set them along the path of forwarding their careers.
Damascus Matt Hardy & Dark Order Brodie Lee Arrive on Dynamite:
I included them together because they happened on the same episode. The Broken Hardy stuff fizzled out, and Brodie Lee is at home with an injury, but seeing these guys debut on Dynamite was big at the time.
FTR Debut & Mike Tyson Gets in Chris Jericho’s Face:
Again, I included them together because they were on the same episode. FTR got in to a stare down with The Young Bucks before attacking The Butcher & The Blade. And the Mike Tyson moment was big in the media. I should probably include it in the top 10 for that reason alone, but it didn’t lead anywhere. Jericho later stated they were meant to have a match together, but we know it didn’t happen.
Thunder Rosa Puts the Women’s Division on Notice:
This was a big moment because it was the first time a champion from another company threatened to come to AEW and take over their division. I know Thunder Rosa from watching her on NWA Powerrr and the hype was real, but it kinda undermined the work AEW put in to their division by admitting it needed help.
Jon Moxley & Inner Circle Feud:
There isn’t one single moment that stands out, but I will say the “eye for an eye” stuff, and more so the weigh-in, did a lot to help this feud leading in to the PPV. It surely made the title match between Jericho & Moxley even more exciting.
Jericho & MJF Sing-a-Long:
I was reminded of this after I had made my top 10… then I couldn’t figure out where to place it. I’ll say it is very subjective because I know some loved it, while others were indifferent. It came out of the blue and shocked many people because it was like anything we had seen before. I don’t think the moments which followed (Las Vegas) could match it, so there wasn’t much of a payoff. If you loved this, find a spot for it in your top 10 because it was unique and entertaining.
#10. Bloody Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida
During a title match between champion Hikaru Shida and Britt Baker, the latter had her nose bloodied; commentary said her nose was broken, but it isn’t confirmed. Dr. Britt had already been through a transformation with her back-and-forth’s with Tony Schiavone and knocking out one of Yuki Sakazaki’s teeth. As she wrestled the blood pour worsened, and all she could do was grin through it.
In my opinion, this was the biggest moment in the women’s division all year because her character was turned up a notch; especially during her time with the leg injury. Some fans were struggling to respect her, but working through the injury unfazed changed many people’s perspectives. While she hasn’t had the title, Baker is the most developed character in the women’s division, and so it is only a matter of time til she becomes champion.
#9. Parking Lot Brawl & Trent’s Mom
This might get overlooked, but there was a promising amount of build in the feud between the Inner Circle’s Ortiz & Santana, and Best Friend’s Trent & Chuck Taylor. And the subplot of Trent’s Mom added another personal layer which provided the Inner Circle something to chip away at. The Best Friend’s had been in the shadow of Orange Cassidy for much of the year, so it was refreshing to see them enjoy the spotlight against another team who were lost in the deeply crowded tag team division.
They may have been nowhere near the tag titles in 2020, but still lefte their mark in a Parking Lot Brawl brimming with Attitude Era vibes. And not in the way where they were trying to live off nostalgia, but in the way how they reminded us that different settings combined with brutality is what wrestling needs sometimes. And Trent’s Mom ending the proceeds by flipping the Inner Circle the bird was the icing on the cake.
#8. Miro Is The Best Man
When Rusev was let go by WWE, along with many others in the Spring, the decision not to retain the Bulgarian Brute flabbergasted fans. Even more so when it became apparent that Lana wasn’t leaving. Speculation continued for months on where he would go, or if he was done with the business entirely. Impact Wrestling teased his debut in their Bound For Glory buildup, but when it didn’t happen the fans were left wondering again. Would he return to WWE down the road? It seemed unlikely because of the way they had booked him for years.
So when Miro made his debut on AEW Dynamite it came as a real shock, because no one had spoiled the surprise. Promotions are doing a better job of keeping reveals away from prying eyes, and it’s welcome as it makes for better moments. And while Miro hasn’t done a lot since this, he is on the verge of leaving his mark in AEW. The company needed some time to ease him in to how things work, along with not handing everything to him right away… because it would be too much, too soon.
#7. Inner Circle Gets Juiced
Not much to explain here, but I will say that it reminded me of Gangrel’s old “bloodbaths”… only with a fruitful twist. I believe this was as far as they needed to go with the concept of using orange juice. Taking it to the next level of a “Mimosa Mayhem” match was a step too far, but maybe you think differently?
Either way, I loved how this came out of nowhere and the selling from Jericho & Ortiz was especially great. Ortiz flopping around is reminiscent of Vince McMahon “swimming” when he drowned The Corporation in beer. I bet Jericho never got around to washing his shirt.
#6. Super Wednesday Debate w/ Eric Bischoff
The Super Wednesday Debate between Chris Jericho & Orange Cassidy was a plan by “Le Champion” to embarrass his rival with something he would struggle with (because he doesn’t talk). And adding Eric Bischoff to the mix was a nice touch, considering he had been off TV for ears and his bond to the TNT network of the 90’s is well known.
I have to admit though, at the beginning it didn’t feel like it was going to be anything special. That was til Orange Cassidy gave Bischoff a detailed answer to a question on the environment, therefore saving the segment from being incredibly one-sided. Cassidy had already gotten himself over with his amusing ring antics, but on the mic he was still a relative unknown to many. How would he handle himself against a legend like Chris Jericho? The Super Wednesday Debate gave him the platform to prove he can talk as well as anybody… it’s just that he doesn’t care.
#5. Cody’s Steel Cage Moonsault
How do you make AEW’s first-ever steel cage match memorable? Throw yourself off the top of course. It’s really that simple. Who would have thought Cody would ever go to that extreme? And he didn’t even bother to look. He was placing his complete trust in Wardlow to catch him. It’s one for the highlight reel… what more can I say? It was sick.
#4. Hardy & Omega Run Down Sammy Guevara
This was more funny than dangerous, but I’m sure when AEW fans look back at the moments of 2020, the image of Sammy Guevara being stalked by Matt Hardy & Kenny Omega in a caddy is up there among the best of ’em.
Has a definite “Christine” feel to it. Sammy could’ve simply walked off to the side, but then it wouldn’t have been funny. It was cartoony… but the show needs it sometimes. Life can be pretty boring if we’re too serious and overly critical of everything all the time. If Guevara had to retire from the business tomorrow, this would be one thing people remember him for. “I want you to document these events”
#3. Stadium Stampede
In one of the craziest, most unpredictable cinematic matches of the calendar year, Stadium Stampede lived up to its hype. From horses, to barroom brawls, to jumping off football goals, to being reincarnated in a pool, this insane encounter had a bit of everything. The fact they dared to be different is what’s admirable about this.
I’m sure when fans look back years from now, they will chuckle at how it was “so bad it was good”. I can’t even begin to describe it because it’s so unique and we’ll probably never see it again. How do you try this again? It’s never going to match it or be any better. Forgive me… but they essentially swung at the ball and knocked it out of the park. Stadium Stampede is one of those moments in time that should probably never be allowed to happen again, just because it would do the original a disservice.
#2. Orange Cassidy vs. Pac
Do you know which YouTube video is the most popular on AEW’s account from this year? It’s a five-minute highlight of Orange Cassidy vs. Pac from AEW Revolution. It has over 12 million views. But why is that? Well, it’s because the match was one of the most entertaining affairs of 2020. It feels like it happened ages ago… but it actually went down not long before the pandemic took full affect. It was the first time Orange Cassidy had worked a singles match on PPV, and the ‘Bastard’ Pac was understandably confident he would be victorious.
Part of the reason it worked so well is that Pac acted as the yang to Cassidy’s ying; like a mirror image of his cool persona. I think some of the ways Orange got in to Pac’s head turned out better than his interactions with Jericho. Partly because it was new, but also because fans love to hate Pac. Fans like Jericho too much, so that’s why it never clicked in the same way… although it was hard to gauge with no audience. The pops for this match is absolutely insane, you probably have to go back to the Attitude Era to find a crowd this invested. Technically, the encounter was one big glorified moment in time.
Please don’t confuse what I consider an excellent match from a memorable moment. AEW had so many awesome matches that are not included here, but I don’t consider them moments.
#1. ‘Winter Is Coming’ Ft. Sting
2020 is the year AEW enticed Sting. And whether or not he wrestles doesn’t matter, the important thing is he’s there and remains a draw. It’s not just his star power, but his generosity in supporting the next generation. Now when an unsigned wrestler is looking at their options to join one of the biggest promotions in the world, they will know that by getting an AEW contract, there’s a huge chance they might with Sting.
Many of the wrestlers of today grew up watching, or have at least heard of him through reputation. Therefore, this makes him a draw in the regard of bringing in talent. When he finally hangs up the boots and locks away the face paint, his expertise will do wonders for AEW. All he can do is give back to the business which has treated him so well. As fans, we should be happy he gets to be happy doing what he loves. It won’t be forever, so I know I will cherish the time he has left. And if it doesn’t work out? Well, at least he got one last run on TV.
I loved how random his debut was! And how AEW kept it under wraps. He has to work a match at some point, otherwise he would have already announced his retirement. It will most likely be in tag team action though, but it’s better than nothing? Just being in the ring with The Stinger is better than not at all. Let me know what you think about Sting’s future. Should he not be in the ring at all? Don’t you think they would disappoint many of his fans if he doesn’t wrestle while not claiming to be retired? They can’t have it both ways, either he wrestles or he retires? And to conclude, how close was my top 10 to yours? Please share your own in the comments section below. Thank you! And hope to see you again soon. “It’s Showtime!”