It’s crazy to think that AEW Dynamite is a year old already. AEW’s flagship show managed to give wrestling fans something fresh and new to watch, regardless of the ups and downs it faced. They already accomplished more in a year than most promotions do in several.
So, to celebrate, we wanted to look back at some of Dynamite’s most memorable moments. Now let’s get this party started!
The Show That Started It All (October 2, 2019)
Kicking things off is naturally the first episode of AEW Dynamite. Things started coming to fruition on May 15, 2019, when WarnerMedia and AEW announced a deal for a weekly TV show on TNT.
Dynamite made its debut less than five months later, airing live from the Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. It was the first wrestling show to air on TNT since WCW Monday Nitro last aired on March 26, 2001.
The show was jam-packed with action, including the crowning of the inaugural AEW Women’s Champion. In a clear David vs. Goliath matchup, Riho overcame the odds and defeated Nyla Rose to capture the title.
We also saw Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega renew hostilities. At Double or Nothing, Moxley made his AEW debut by attacking Omega and Chris Jericho after their match. After Omega returned the favor, the two were set to collide at All Out. However, Moxley re-injured his elbow and the match was postponed.
He made his return during Omega and The Young Bucks’ match with Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz. A brawl ensued that took both men through the crowd and to the outskirts of the arena. Things ended only after Moxley put Omega through a glass table.
But perhaps the biggest development that came out of that first show was the formation of The Inner Circle. After Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz picked up the win, they continued to beat down The Young Bucks until Cody came down to help.
Then Sammy Guevara showed up and hit Cody with a low blow. Dustin Rhodes followed to help his brother and cleaned house, but Jake Hager appeared and quickly dropped him. The rest, as they say, was history.
The premiere averaged about 1.409 million viewers, making it the largest debut for TNT in five years. AEW also defeated NXT in the Wednesday Night War, with the latter averaging only 891,000 viewers.
This began a wave of change in the wrestling world and proved AEW’s legitimacy right out the gate.
AEW Tag Team Champions Crowned (October 30, 2019)
When AEW first started, The Young Bucks vowed to give fans the best tag team division in the world. In June 2019, Tony Khan announced a tournament to crown the inaugural AEW Tag Team Champions.
At Fyter Fest, Best Friends defeated SCU and Private Party to move on to All Out for a chance to earn a first-round bye in the tournament.
The following month at Fight for the Fallen, The Dark Order defeated Jurassic Express and The Hybrid 2 to also advance to All Out. They ended up beating Best Friends to earn a first-round bye.
The quarterfinals of the tournament took place on the October 6 and 9 episodes of Dynamite. During the round, Private Party upset The Young Bucks, while SCU defeated Best Friends and Lucha Brothers beat Jurassic Express.
The semifinals occurred on October 23, where Lucha Brothers defeated Private Party and SCU advanced over The Dark Order. This set up the finals for the following week, with SCU defeating Lucha Brothers to become the inaugural champions. Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky held the titles until January 21, 2020, losing them to ‘Hangman’ Adam Page and Kenny Omega.
AEW has certainly kept their promise of providing high-quality tag team wrestling. Without a doubt, they have one of the most stacked divisions in the world. A veteran team like SCU helped immediately legitimize the titles and were a sign of the good things to come.
Cody’s Passionate Promo (November 6, 2019)
The connection between Cody and the fans is something seldom seen in wrestling today. That could not have been truer when he delivered a stellar promo in front of the fans in Charlotte, NC.
At the time, Cody was embroiled in a feud with then-AEW World Champion, Chris Jericho. Just days away from his championship match at Full Gear, The American Nightmare made a shocking announcement. If he lost to Jericho, he would never challenge for the title ever again.
But before that, he brought up names like Eddie Graham, ‘Cowboy’ Bill Watts, and his father, Dusty Rhodes. He talked about how they were titans of the industry and those who saw them live had fond memories of them. He went on to state how proud he was of AEW, claiming it to be the Ellis Island for wrestlers.
Then, after making his announcement, Cody grabbed the microphone and went after Jericho. He took umbrage to the champion calling his fans “entitled millennials” and him a “entitled, millennial bitch”. He referenced Jericho’s upper-class upbringing, even going so far as to say that they both shared the same silver spoon.
After that, he stated that Jericho needed the “entitled millennials” more than they needed him. He said that it wasn’t about the dead, but rather about the living and going from being undesirable to undeniable.
Was it a picture-perfect promo? No, but Cody’s passion and emotion made it work so well. The fans hung on every word he said and gave the same energy back that he gave to them. It not only built up his title match with Jericho, but also showed what made AEW so unique in the process.
FTR’s Debut (May 27, 2020)
Once Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler left WWE, fans prayed that they would land in AEW.
Their run in NXT as The Revival was fantastic; they were two-time NXT Tag Team Champions and won Tag Team of the Year and Match of the Year in 2016. But, like a lot of main roster call-ups, their success never really translated. Sure, they were two-time RAW Tag Team Champions and one-time SmackDown Tag Team Champions, but their booking was shoddy at best.
They moved on to greener pastures and stayed mum on where they would sign next. But on May 27, they answered everyone’s question.
Following a match, The Butcher and The Blade attacked The Young Bucks. That’s when FTR appeared and took Butcher and Blade out. Then they set their sights on The Young Bucks, a team whom they feuded with on social media for a while now.
Both teams claim they are the superior duo, but right now it looks like the edge goes to FTR. They won the AEW Tag Team Championships at All Out and are currently running the division. A showdown between them and The Young Bucks seems inevitable, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Big Swole Kidnaps Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. (June 17, 2020)
Yes, this one is a little biased, but you can’t deny that this feud was one of the most entertaining storylines of the summer. It also didn’t help that AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida’s appearances on Dynamite were sporadic to say the least.
Baker was on a roll for the beginning of 2020, flourishing as everyone’s favorite dentist and role model. But in May, she suffered a leg injury during her tag match with Nyla Rose, Shida, and Kris Statlander. Unfortunately, this landed her on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, she started a feud with Big Swole. Tempers reached a boiling point on the June 17 episode of Dynamite. While sitting atop her “Role’s Royce”, Baker abruptly ended an interview with Tony Schiavone and demanded her assistant,
Reba Rebel, get her out of there. But Swole revealed herself as the driver, taking The Good Doctor away into the depths of Daily’s Place. Reba Rebel finally found Baker in a dumpster in the back of the arena. Baker vowed vengeance on Swole, which led to the latter’s suspension the following month. The two finally came to blows in September at All Out in a Tooth and Nail match, where Swole defeated Baker at her dental office.
With Baker fully returning to action and Swole picking up more wins, both women look to keep their respective momentums going. Perhaps a rematch is in order down the line, where Baker could potentially exact some revenge. Either way, expect big things for these two soon.
Orange Cassidy Cements His Legacy (August 12, 2020)
While COVID-19 certainly took a toll on the world, AEW found a way to soldier on. Most of the shows took place inside an empty Daily’s Place, with fans only recently being able to return.
However, the empty-arena era of wrestling had several bright spots, with one being Orange Cassidy.
At first, it looked like he was just another comedy act. But things really started to change in February of this year. Despite losing to PAC at Revolution, we all caught a glimpse of what he can do inside the ring.
Then he turned his attention to Chris Jericho, irritating Le Champion with his laidback demeanor. The rivals first faced off during night two of Fyter Fest in July. While Jericho won, Cassidy proved he’s capable of shining under the bright lights.
The two continued to feud afterwards, with things seemingly coming to a head on the August 12 episode of Dynamite. If Cassidy lost, he owed Jericho $7,000 to replace a suit ruined by some orange juice. However, that never happened, as Cassidy defeated him and cemented his legacy as a main-event caliber star.
He cemented it even further last month at All Out, again defeating Jericho in a Mimosa Mayhem match. His next challenge awaits tonight, as he challenges Cody for the AEW TNT Championship.
Regardless of the outcome, he has already proven himself to be one of the breakout stars of 2020.
Best Friends Avenge Sue (September 16, 2020)
Rounding things out is a more recent moment from just last month.
As Orange Cassidy feuded with Chris Jericho, Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent) started feuding with Santana and Ortiz. It all started on the August 5 episode of Dynamite, where Santana and Ortiz destroyed Trent’s mom, Sue’s, van. They took it a step further, destroying Best Friends’ gear with bleach.
Tensions continued to rise for weeks, until Best Friends laid down a challenge for a parking lot brawl. The two teams met outside Daily’s Place, surrounded by a circle of cars and a crowd of people.
Things got violent quick, with both teams using the cars, sledgehammers, and steel batons to inflict as much damage as possible. It looked as if Santana and Ortiz were close to winning, until Cassidy popped out of a car’s trunk. He proceeded to smash Santana with an Orange Punch, aided by a chain wrapped around his hand.
Taylor then hit Santana with a piledriver on the hood of a car, while Trent slammed Ortiz through some plywood to pick up the win. Sue picked up the trio in her brand-new van and started to leave. But in an extremely satisfying moment, she stopped to flip Santana and Ortiz off before driving away.
It was the perfect ending to a great feud, and easily one of the best matches in AEW so far. It helped prove that, like their friend Orange Cassidy, Best Friends can rise to the occasion and are more than just a comedy act. Hopefully this leads to a title run for them somewhere down the line.