Well, that was an extraordinary year for AEW and the world.
AEW fans were looking forward to the first full year of All Elite Wrestling in 2020. 2019 was an impressive debut year with an amazing AEW Double or Nothing to start the company.
AEW built on that initial success with two more wonderful pay-per-views and the start of AEW Dynamite in October 2019. We were all sure that AEW had an amazing year planned in front of rowdy crowds worldwide, but 2020 had other plans for us all.
AEW got the year off to a great start with Bash at the Beach, the Jericho Cruise, and a wonderful AEW Revolution pay-per-view in front of a rowdy Chicago crowd.
Fans seemed poised for a big year on that night, with huge debuts and a Blood and Guts match. The COVID-19 virus had other plans though, as AEW spent the rest of the year at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
Despite this setback, they still were able to have surprising debuts, great matches, and even brought fans back into pro-wrestling arenas. Amazingly, the company had such success in 2020.
As we look at the first full year for All Elite Wrestling, let’s rank the five major shows in 2020:
#5 AEW Winter is Coming
This will be the only show on this list that isn’t an AEW pay-per-view. But, for a show that was billed as the “biggest AEW Dynamite in history,” it deserves a place on any list of major shows in 2020.
It was not the best pure wrestling show of the year in AEW, but you cannot deny it impacted the company. The fallout of that night will be felt well into 2021.
The first hour of the show is what likely kept it at the bottom of the list. The Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal wasn’t the best. A lot of the talent seemed randomly thrown out of the Battle Royal.
Miro was built as a monster in the match but was then quickly eliminated by the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle's problems continued in this match, which allowed an ignored Orange Cassidy to pick up the win. The rest of the first hour with Jericho-Kazarian and Baker-Hirsch were quite brief with average matches at best.
The second hour of the show provided some of the best AEW moments of the year. After a solid tag team match between Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin and Team Taz, a post-match assault occurred.
The lights went black, and after a cool looking winter montage, Sting arrived on the scene. You cannot deny the crowd's reaction to his arrival; it was the best of the Pandemic Era. The effect Sting will have on AEW is yet to be known.
The AEW World Championship match was the best of the show. It is a shame it ended with cheating as it was one of the stronger Dynamite matches of the year. But, the goal seemed to be making Kenny Omega the World Champion in nefarious fashion and begin an intriguing partnership with IMPACT Wrestling.
It wasn’t the best show for match quality, but its impact will surely be felt for a long time to come.