The Top Ten Dynamites.......... So Far

For the past two years, Wednesday nights on the most part (damn you, you pesky NBA) means Dynamite is on our screens and the wrestling world has changed since the 2nd of October 2019. We've seen things that were thought to be unachievable even five years ago, we've seen some of the best television wrestling ever and just two years since its debut, Dynamite is a regular holder of the most watched show on a Wednesday night in the 18-49 demo (the most important demo of course). So, to celebrate the second anniversary of the first AEW Dynamite on TNT, I'm going to rank the top ten episodes of Dynamite so far. To separate this from the normal Top Ten listings that you see on the web, I have used the following set of criteria:

  • Cagematch ratings for each episode of Dynamite

  • Dave Meltzer's star rating system, giving out points with each rating (10pts-*****, 8pts-****3/4, 6pts- ****1/2, 5pts- ****1/4, 4pts -****, 3pts-***3/4, 2pts ***1/2, 1pt- ***1/4

  • The 18-49 demo rating of an episode

  • Historic events that shaped the future of AEW in the kayfabe canon of All Elite Wrestling and also the business future of the company.

Also, we are dating the episode using the UK system (dd/mm/yyyy) to avoid any confusion.

So, Light the fuse. Bring the Boom. 4, 3, 2, 1.......

1- 30/12/2020- A Celebration of Mr. Brodie Lee's Life

Different from any normal wrestling show, different from any tribute show to a fallen member of the wrestling family, the December 30th episode of Dynamite was a show that will probably never be taken off the top spot of the greatest Dynamite show of all time. But it's not the 9.84 rating on Cagematch. making it not only the best rated Dynamite of all time, but also the best rated AEW show and also the second best rated show from any company of all time, with The Hana Kimura Memorial Show being number one, that sets it apart from any other show. It's the impact that it had on the company in the months after.

"I heard something over the past week or something that one of the things that really turned Punk was the Brodie Lee show. That was also one of the things that… I saw it. And so many of us loved him so much, and so we saw how special it was, and we saw, ‘Okay, we’re gonna stop what we’re normally doing and do that’. And I thought that was really special to me. So that was when I really started kind of thinking about it (joining AEW), knowing that my contract was coming up.”

Bryan Danielson talking at the All Out Media scrum- 5th September 2021

Each match included a member of The Dark Order teaming with a member of the AEW roster apart from TayJay who teamed to beat Britt Baker and Penelope Ford with the highlight being the team of Alex Reynolds, John Silver and Hangman Adam Page beating MJF/ Santana and Ortiz which included Brodie Lee's son, Brodie Jr, hitting MJF with a kendo stick and a cameo from Brodie's teammate from WWE, Erick Redbeard (not Rowan despite what Jericho slipped in on commentary) helping thwart the interference from Wardlow.

977,000 people watched The Celebration of Brodie Lee's Life with a 0.40 rating in the "key demo" putting it fourth on the day with only College Football Bowl Games placing higher. This would be the most amount of people to watch a Dynamite until NXT moved to Tuesday nights ending the "Wednesday Night Wars". Those people on the second to last night of a wretched 2020 saw that at the end love will always win out even when grief can be so overwhelming.

2- 22/9/21- Grand Slam

When AEW announced that the September 22nd episode of Dynamite would take place at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the home of the US Open, many heads were turned. AEW was going to New York and trying to sell out a 20,000+ arena. But they did sell out Arthur Ashe. But even with a sold out arena, an 20,000 arena in the biggest city in the US, the traditional market of the historic number one promotion in American wrestling needed a card that justified the arena and they got one.

A dream match between Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson opened the show, getting the 5-star treatment from Dave Meltzer. Brian Pillman. Jr and MJF would face off in a grudge match. Cody-Malakai II and Sting/Darby Allin vs FTR made up the second hour with a AEW Women's World Championship match in the main event between the champ Britt Baker and Ruby Soho.

Rated 8.80 on Cagematch, the matches on the card accumulated 17pts on the Meltzer rating system with Sting and Darby vs FTR getting ***3/4 to add to the 5 star classic between Danielson and Omega. Finishing first in the cable ratings, 1.27 million watched the show on TNT with 0.48 in 18-49, making it the third most watched show in Dynamite history with the 0.48 the joint second since the end of the Wednesday Night Wars. The show itself saw AEW break into the New York market in a way that WCW or JCP struggled to do when they tried to hit the Big Apple.

3- 02-12-2020- Winter Is Coming

Winter Is Coming was a gamechanger in the in-ring story of AEW with the shocking end of the show when Kenny Omega beat Jon Moxley to win the AEW World Title, turning heel and hinting at defecting to Impact Wrestling. But the biggest story coming out of Winter Is Coming was Sting's debut with the Stinger trending on twitter ahead of the main event.

The hype surrounding the main event led to a 18-49 rating of 0.42, its highest since the first month of Dynamite's existence.

Sixth in the Cagematch list with 8.76, Meltzer only gave one match a rating of four stars or above, giving Omega-Moxley four and a half stars but it was the Sting debut plus the show opening Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale continuing the MJF-Diamond ring storyline that gave this show so many plaudits.

Highest 18-49 demo number in 2020

1- 09/12- 0.45

2- 02/12- 0.42

3- 30/12- 0.40

4- 15/01- 0.38

5- 09/09- 0.37

6-18/11- 0.37

7-01/01- 0.37

4- 19-2-20- Cody vs Wardlow

The second-to-last show before Revolution, this show set the scene for what was an awesome PPV. The Young Bucks won a very fun battle royal while Hangman Page and Kenny Omega beat The Lucha Brothers to set up their classic on the PPV. Jeff Cobb wrestled his only AEW match against Jon Moxley and in the main event, Cody Rhodes beat Wardlow in AEW's first Steel Cage Match to earn the right to face MJF at Revolution.

With two 4-star matches and a ****3/4 match, 16 points were gained by Meltzer's ratings and a rating of 9.45 put this episode second on Cagematch's listing of Dynamite episodes.

Highest rated episodes of Dynamite on Cagematch (as of 5/10/21)

1- 30/12/2020- 9.84

2- 19/02/2020- 9.45

3- 12/02/2020- 9.00

4- 18/03/2020- 8.83

5- 22/09/2021- 8.80

6- 02/12/2020- 8.76

7- 26/02/2020- 8.68

7- 10/09/2020- 8.68

7- 21/10/2020- 8.68

10-05/08/2020- 8.47

The overall tv rating of 839,000 is 21st all time in Dynamite's history tying with NXT in the over 50's demo (old people like Cage matches I guess). To put this in perspective on how good this number was, Cody vs Wardlow went up against the Democratic Primary Debate on MSNBC, which drew nine million viewers.

5- Homecoming- 1-1-2020