AEW’s Best Gimmick Matches, Ranked
Five Best AEW Gimmick Matches!
AEW has never been shy about experimenting, pioneering and escalating the glorious violence of pro wrestling, whether on TV or PPV. From cluster countdown battle royales for a shot at the World Championship to star brawls that don’t even count, the promotion has curated a roster of ever-reliable specialty matches to push rivalries and top budding stars to the next level. . Which of these crazy matches and “stuff” was the most successful in creating instant classics and cementing careers?
(5) Parking fight
This category will be filled on the back of this single match: the Parking Lot Fight (2020) between Best Friends and Proud-n-Powerful on dynamite. It’s so unique and so good.
We’ve yet to see another parking fight in AEW, so it’s automatically refreshing and unique to see these two teams using dozens of parked cars as weapons. But in addition to this “newness”, the level of violence in this match was also unique, as we would see slams that smash the hoods, windshields and railings of cars. As if the resulting lacerations and bruises weren’t enough to tell you, it was all disgusting.
This match wasn’t good because it happened in 2020, but it’s still kinda “funny” that even though there were live crowds that year, this backstage brawl would still have been the game of the year. The Parking Lot Fight legitimized Best Friends in the eyes of many fans as a top team and gave longtime Santana and Ortiz fans an all-time classic. (Plus, we got to see Orange Cassidy and Trent’s mom, Sue.)
“It’s the most incredible street fight I can remember in my career.”– Jim Ross, Dynamite 9/16/20
— Mas Lucha (@mas_lucha) September 17, 2020
This stipulation should be much closer to number 1 (with the amount of good that came out of it), but the obvious thing that keeps it from being an AEW specialty is that it only happened once.
(4) Steel Cage
For this entry, we’ll merge the traditional Steel Cage and Blood and Guts (double ring-double cage) matches. Steel Cage matches were great precursors to classics and career performances in AEW.
Right off the bat, one can easily talk about Young Bucks (c) vs. Lucha Brothers at All out 2021; and Britt Baker (c) against Thunder Rosa at Dynamite: St. Patrick’s Day Massacre 2022. The two rivalries have reached a natural boiling point in the form of an old-fashioned cage, the result of long-running bloodlust and repeated, annoying outside involvement. The performances of the four parties elevated not only the winners, but also their respective championships and divisions (at least immediately after).
The Blood and Guts match that never happened, The Elite v The Inner Circle, was perhaps the biggest victim of bad timing in AEW. But what we have is the Blackpool Combat Club and their friends bloodying the members of the Jericho Appreciation Society inside and on top of the Double Cage (2022), which is an easy-to-grasp catharsis.
Other cage fights may not have been as memorable, but the overall mix of volume and quality of AEW cage fights far exceeds that of other feud-enders like Ladder matches, which we gave Cody Rhodes (c) against Sammy Guevara (Dynamite: break at the beach 2022), and Escalera de la Muerte (All out 2019)have most often led to card fillers like the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match (2021, 2022) and the Casino Ladder Match (2021).
(3)Casino Battle Royale
It’s safe to say that Casino Battle Royale is one of AEW’s staple gimmick matches. Combining the fun and flexible nature of a royal countdown with the winner’s prize of a world championship game (usually a month later) is a great way to ensure that this stipulation will always be there, and a game to watch.
It might be well known at this point that double or nothing (2019) was AEW’s 1st event; but it’s equally interesting that the promotion’s first ever match was a Casino Battle Royale (won by Adam Page). Since then, the match has mostly been kept a double or nothing special, with the first no Put on event being All out 2021, with the Women’s Casino Battle Royale (won by a rookie Ruby Soho). The stipulation captured the youthful promotion’s assortment of flavors and identities, from big “Joker” surprises to moments of levity, to the emphasis on battling for world singles titles.
While Casino Battle Royale isn’t immune to criticism for its clumsy way of handling multiple entries, the many layers of excitement the game has accumulated over the years largely overshadow any perception of a slow, traditional battle royale. and remains one of AEW’s best gadget fights.
(2) Lights off
The Lights Out match is responsible for elevating some of AEW’s main event matches today. Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega—for their glorious Full equipment The main event of 2019, and each of their own battles against Joey Janela and Minoru Suzuki, have somehow been recognized as the toughest and best wrestlers in the promotion who can make the main event any day. night, with their series of Lights Out matches.
Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa were the first women to compete in the main event dynamiteand did so with a star and division Lights Out match that immediately built two names that will always have a place at the top of the division.
While the Casino Battle Royale and Blood and Guts matches aren’t meant to be “classics” from the opening to the closing bell, there’s a feeling that these unauthorized fights (which, as far as official W records go /L, never even happened) have a reputation or standard to uphold, created by the aforementioned four wrestlers, which ultimately gives the mystique to this stipulation that separates it from our previous entries.
(1) Faction Brawl
AEW faction brawls (aka Alliteration Arena matches): Stadium Stampede (2020, 2021), Anarchy in the Arena (2022), and even Arcade Anarchy (2021); top of this list decisively. And the One thing that propels this stipulation further than the others is the sheer number of people it elevates with a single match.
The gang warfare nature of these matches meant that entire factions won: The Elite (+Broken Matt Hardy), and whatever group Chris Jericho currently has; came out stronger, more cohesive, and more individually believable. The Stadium Stampedes lasted over 30 minutes and featured some of the most gruesome crashes, and it’s hard not to take Kenny Omega and Sammy Guevara more seriously (and I don’t mean for the next month or so; I mean permanently) when they go through what they’ve been through.
Anarchy in the Arena had some of the best brawls you’ll find in AEW, and it’s performances like these that cement Eddie Kingston to top-tier status with A-grade visuals; as well as transforming Matt Menard and Angelo Parker from hype-men in the background into one of the most believable tag teams that can take the punishment and trade with the best of them.
Arcade Anarchy covered a lot less ground than the matches above (just the ringside area at Daily’s Place, littered with arcade machines), but it was just as much of a gem. It strongly showed the entire Best Friends gang to be dangerous in unique environments, and their teamwork is frankly unmatched by the fragile and unhealthy team of Miro and Kip Sabian. It also saw the huge returns of Trent Beretta and Kris Statlander (both of whom had previously been injured); and, along with Trent’s mother, Sue, gave us one of the most heartwarming endings to dynamite the story.
It should perhaps come as no surprise that these faction brawls are as fun as they come and are an integral part of the promotion named after the faction that housed its founding members.