A Pro Wrestling Take
The last three AEW PPVs are clearly the top three North American pro wrestling PPVs of all time.
AEW figured out their PPVs in 2021. The only PPV they have done so far that I felt was not good was All Out 2020, but previous to All Out 2021 their yearly big four events mainly ranged from good to great. Starting at the 2021 edition of All Out AEW has been delivering on another level.
Just absolutely crushing any show the main roster of WWE has put out. WrestleMania 17? Yes that show did a great job accomplishing what it set out to do and was both the peak and the end of the Attitude Era. However, I don't think its wrestling holds up to the standards of today.
Now don't get me wrong there were some great NXT Takeovers in the past and if you really wanted to argue for one of those as placing quite high on the list of best PPVs that would be legitimate. Personally they would fall out of the top slots for my taste at least.
As an overview of each of the shows, I have made a list of each event's main strengths and weaknesses.
All Out 2021
Minoru Suzuki coming out to attack Jon Moxley after Mox's bout with Satoshi Kojima. Plus the preceding match itself was quite good!
Britt Baker versus Kris Statlander was the best match of Britt's title reign in my opinion. Orange Cassidy hyping up Statlander was also a great moment.
Lucha Brothers versus the Young Bucks was both one of the best tag team matches of all time and one of the best cage matches of all time. Even without the ability to use hot tags it was emotional and intense throughout.
CM Punk having his AEW debut match against Darby Allin was a great choice. I re-watched the match for this article and liked it even more than I did when seeing it the first time.
The aftermath of the main event with the debuts of Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson was amazing.
The main event wasn't quite as good as Kenny and Christian's first match that took place on the inaugural episode of Rampage.
It all came together for AEW in Chicago at All Out 2021. The most criticism I can muster is that the main event was a good match, but not a great one.
Full Gear 2021
MJF vs Darby Allin told a great story and started the night off hot!
Christian and Jungle Express vs The Superkliq was a fun brawl both in the ring and in the crowd.
CM Punk vs Eddie Kingston may have been the match of the night. It was super intense even before the bell rang!
Kenny Omega may not have been at full strength but the coronation of Hangman Adam Page was still great.
The ending of Lucha Bros versus FTR was a tad wonky and I hoped for a little more from Bryan Danielson versus Miro.
Full Gear 2021 showed that AEW's previous PPV was no fluke! Another classic show!
House of Black versus Death Triangle took place on the hour long Buy In along with Kris Statlander versus Leyla Hirsch and HOOK versus QT Marshall. I think they should stick with the hour long pre-show if they can keep up the quality this one had. With the roster AEW has acquired I'm sure it's possible!
Eddie Kingston versus Jericho started the show and may have been the match of the night. Big match Eddie!
Jurassic Express versus reDRagon versus the Young Bucks exceed my fairly high expectations. Really fun match that continued the story of the Young Bucks and reDRagon while giving Jurassic Express a big win.
Wardlow winning a ladder match that was full of big spots was cool to see. This match setup a lot of future stories as well.
The build. The entrances. The Wardlow turn. The match itself! CM Punk versus MJF in a dog collar match was fantastic.
Jon Moxley versus Bryan Danielson was the brawl that it needed to be and was followed by the AEW debut of William Regal!
The six man tornado tag team match blew away all of my expectations.
For the main event I was very happy Adam Page versus Adam Cole was not a 40 or 50 minute NXT-style "epic". Instead it was a very good main event match.
Britt Baker versus Thunder Rosa went for way too long and wasn't very good. I'm not entirely sure why this was given so much time when it was setup for Rosa's big title win two weeks later.
Amazing PPVs have now become a pattern with three in a row for AEW!
One could argue the shows would be better if they were 30 minutes shorter, but with the big roster AEW has it's understandable. Or maybe if the shows just started an hour earlier in my time zone. I get sleepy by the time one in the morning rolls around!
As for ranking the three events personally I would go:
3. Full Gear 2021
2. Revolution 2022
1. All Out 2021
I can only hope the trend of all time great PPVs continues with the upcoming Double or Nothing 2022!
This work by Thomas Lloyd is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
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