30 for 3000 - Part III

Updated: May 18

Note: When this article was originally published, two matches that took place at the Elevation #62 tapings but did not air due to a power failure had not been included in the records on the official AEW Roster Page. This changed the following week and Match #3000 was altered as a result. Primer: To date, AEW has now promoted over 3000 matches (3003 to be exact) in a little under three calendar years. This is the third and final installment of a three-part series sets out to highlight selected matches over this duration but with an added caveat: to ensure a complete overview, I have identified a single match from each group of 100 (1-100, 101-200, etc.) that is either the most significant to wrestlers' Career Metrics or simply a personal favourite of mine. In turn, I will note the actual match that has the distinction of falling precisely on each century mark whether it be a PPV Main Event or one of the numerous Dark matches that lasted less time than it took you to read this paragraph. The overall intention of this to celebrate the best (as well as acknowledge the rest) of AEW.


[2001-2100] Actual Match #2100: Orange Cassidy defeated Nick Comoroto on Dark #111 * Selection: Match #2042- Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson went to a Time Limit Draw on Dynamite #103: Grand Slam

The debut of the American Dragon in New York was something special that will remain in the hearts and minds of the AEW faithful for years to come. The setting, Arthur Ashe Stadium (and its retractable roof) at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York gave the match an almost magical vibe. Kenny, with his World Championship not on the line, seemingly held nothing back as the two combatants went back and forth for thirty legitimate minutes. A modern classic to be sure.


I will concede that this did not get Danielson off to the best Metric start as a draw yields precisely zero; even without the benefit of hindsight, I think all of still felt his future was well in hand. [2101-2200] Actual Match #2200: CM Punk defeated Bobby Fish on Dynamite #108 * Selection: Match #2105 Adam Page defeated PAC, Jon Moxley, Andrade El Ídolo, Lance Archer, Orange Cassidy and Matt Hardy on Dynamite #105 in a Casino Ladder Match


The righting of the ship as it were. While the Anxious Millennial Cowboy was not advertised for this bout in advance for the October 6, 2021 Dynamite, some prognosticators (including myself on October 4) were able to surmise what was to come.


Amazingly, this was Page's first Main Event Singles victory of any kind and, granted, it wasn't in a traditional 1-on-1 encounter, but it nevertheless got the desired response from the thousands in attendance in Philadelphia. The back and forth haymakers between Page and Moxley set up what should have been a first premier opponent for the soon-to-be World Champion but fate intervened and had other ideas.

[2201-2300] Actual Match #2300: Jade Cargill [with Mark Sterling] defeated Red Velvet on Rampage #16 * Selection: Match #2275 - Adam Page defeated Kenny Omega © at Full Gear 2021 for the World Championship


Call it the requisite rejoinder to the above if you must but this match truly marks the end of the beginning. Owner and GM Tony Khan has not been shy about telling the world that he had his first four World Champions planned prior to the first show he ever produced and that plan never deviated. Now firmly into the third year of the company, the prophecy was now realized.


Detail-oriented fans would be wise to recall the subtle nod that Matt Jackson gave to Adam Page as he lined up the Buckshot Lariat; this has only superficially been referenced on AEW programming with Omega saying on the subsequent episode of Dynamite that he hadn't watched the match back. I expect this will be revisited in time.

[2301-2400] Actual Match #2400: The Nightmare Family (Brock Anderson & Lee Johnson) [with Arn Anderson] defeated Faboo Andre & Tony Donati on Dark #121 * Selection: Match #2383 - Hook defeated Fuego del Sol on Rampage #19


For the time being, the debut sending of Hook remains in a class of its own. His dismantling of fan favourite and sympathetic figure Fuego Del Sol was an ideal first opponent for Taz' son. Hook represents something unique in that he exists outside of the pre-Covid independent scene; he didn't ply his trade in armories and beer halls. He didn't gain a following in ROH and then Impact before "graduating" to the mainstream. Hook is an anomaly. Whether he exceeds even the wildest expectations or crashes and burns, the moment of his debut showed AEW's ability to bottle something and then skillfully make us wait to uncork it.


[2401-2500] Actual Match #2500: Jay Lethal & Sonny Kiss defeated Chris Bueller & Jaden Valo on Dark: Elevation #45 * Selection: Match #2440 - Cody Rhodes [with Arn Anderson] defeated Sammy Guevara © on Rampage #19: Holiday Bash for the TNT Championship


Airing on December 25th, Rhodes played the part of The Grinch that Stole Christmas on this night to perfection. I'll contend that this, like so many moments in the months leading up, seemed like an ideal opportunity for Cody to fully embrace the dark side and let the fans boo and jeer him mercilessly. Unfortunately, the chance very soon passed us all by and subsequent events have left us all wondering if it ever will present itself again.


[2501-2600] Actual Match #2600: Tony Nese defeated Zack Clayton on Dark #128 * Selection: Match #2524 - CM Punk defeated Wardlow on Dynamite #119


The interlocking of puzzle pieces of long term storytelling were on full display here. Punk, like Jericho and Cody before him, was running through MJF's hoops as he faced down with Mr. Mayhem . The booking of this match, particularly the ending (see: Bret Hart vs Diesel at Survivor Series 1995) was elegant in its simplicity. In his pursuit of damaging the body and psyche of his chosen foe, the egomaniac that MJF is becomes overzealous and lost sight of what's really important. It was check and mate on this night to Mr. Punk.


[2601-2700] Actual Match #2700: Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) defeated Chaos Project (Luther & Serpentico) on Dark: Elevation #52 * Selection: Match #2667 - Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Dante Martin on Rampage #29: Slam Dunk in a Face of the Revolution Qualifier


This pick may come out of left field for some but hear me out. I genuinely think these two have such immense potential. Martin, due to the unfortunate long-term injury of his brother, was thrust into differing degrees of spotlight for most of the past year and has mostly landed on his feet. Hobbs, complete with his snarl, has gotten himself into impressive shape and now moves with even more speed and finesse. The combination of these two in the ring, whether or singles or tag matches, gives me hope for AEW's long term future. I'm also hopeful fact that these two also teamed up when Martin was briefly a part of Team Taz will be referenced if the two ever align once more.

[2701-2800] Actual Match #2800: Jay Lethal defeated JD Drake [with Cezar Bononi, Peter Avalon & Ryan Nemeth] on Dark #135 * Selection: Match #2789 - Thunder Rosa defeated Dr. Britt Baker, DMD © on Dynamite #128: St. Patrick's Day Slam for the Women's World Championship in a Steel Cage Match

This match was the culmination of the over year-long story that began at Dynamite #70: Beach Break in February 2021. Of course, this lead to their Lights Out match the following month and eventually the Main Event spotlight in Thunder Rosas's hometown earlier this year. There was a great deal of genuine emotion on display and, for the traditionalist, the cage did what it is supposed to do. Lest we forget extra points for referee Aubrey Edwards for making the thumbtack-ful three count.


[2801-2900] Actual Match #2900: Thunder Rosa © defeated Nyla Rose on Battle of the Belts II * Selection: Match #2870 - FTR ©© defeated The Young Bucks on Dynamite #131 for the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship and AAA World Tag Team Championship

The battle of the two arguably best teams of this generation staged their sequel for our viewing benefit and went toe to toe (to toe to toe) for just over twenty minutes. This was also the first time two titles were successfully defended in a single AEW match so Harwood and Wheeler received 10 Championship Points added to their Metrics totals. The false finish was done smoothly and effectively and I, for one, appreciated the bell not ringing to interrupt the action more than was necessary.

Dea

[2901-3000] Actual Match #3000: Death Triangle [PAC, Penta Ocuro & Rey Fénix] (w/ Alex Abrahantes] defeated Andrade Family Office [Marq Quen, The Butcher & The Blade] (w/ The Bunny] on Rampage #41 * Selection: Match #2917 - Kyle O'Reilly defeated Jungle Boy on Dynamite #133 in a Men's Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Qualifier


A sentimental, if biased, choice here as O'Reilly hails from my hometown. A likely future singles star in his own right, World Tag Team Champion Jungle Boy went back and forth in a competitive match that built on their previous encounters. Whether or note O'Reilly's AEW future trends in that way or not, it was important for the former Ring of Honor World Champion to establish himself as a credible wrestler in his solo debut.


And that's it! I'll be adding a companion piece to this series in the next day or two recapping the entirety of the promotion from a macro-perspective.

As always, anyone with questions or comments is encouraged to contact me on Twitter @AEWmetrics.

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