As 2020 starts to come to an end, I think it is time to look back on this year and reminisce on the parts of wrestling that were awesome! Welcome to Robby's end of the year awards! This is the last week of my end of the year awards, so it is time to take a look at who were the best performers of the year. This list is going to take into account the previous two week's awards as well as everything else that this year has had to offer to create a list of who really shined in 2020. This year has been hard for many people, but these wrestlers stepped up and killed it despite the state of the world.
AEW has an incredibly deep and talented roster featuring everyone from already established mainstream stars and indie darlings to relative unknowns and promising upstarts. However, everyone on this list found ways to introduce (or reintroduce) themselves to a new audience during AEW's first full year of weekly television. AEW doesn't always deliver on their hype, but these five wrestlers were all worth watching in 2020, and as AEW's roster continues to develop, 2021 could be a massive year for the promotion.
5. Darby Allin
Darby Allin has been a massive presence on the upper mid-card of AEW this year. Back in April, fans were already clamoring for Darby to win the inaugural TNT Championship tournament. While Allin was eliminated in the semi-finals, he returned the belt at Full Gear later in the year.
Even before he became TNT Champion, Allin has maintained a fantastic feud with Team Taz throughout the year, which has been one of the most consistent and entertaining storylines on Dynamite. Outside of the ring, Allin has produced numerous videos that have played and helped to advance his character that have been stellar.
Darby Allin is not just the future of AEW. He is the future of wrestling in general.
4. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.
Early in the year, AEW seemed primed to build their entire women's division around Britt Baker, and although an injury left her on the bench for several months, that did not stop her from making an impact. Her on-screen friendship with Tony Schiavone made it so that her messages could still be broadcast to AEW fans even though she was sidelined.
Since her return to the ring, Britt hasn't been given many opportunities to wrestle, but hopefully, that will change as AEW finds a way to fit Britt into their plans for their women's division in the future. That being said, Britt has continually been one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the AEW women's division this entire year.
3. Brodie Lee
The second TNT Champion ever and the second to appear on this list. The late Brodie Lee had one hell of a year to finish off his career. Fans were shocked over the weekend to find out that Brodie Lee, who had not performed in several weeks, had tragically passed away. The outpouring of love and grief from members of not just the AEW roster but from all over the wrestling community showed that Brodie was not just a great performer in the ring but also a locker room leader and a light in every life he touched.
In AEW this year, Lee brought cohesion to the then-struggling Dark Order, challenged for the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing, and shockingly won the TNT Championship in a squash match against Cody. His final match was the dog-collar rematch with Cody at the Chris Jericho anniversary episode for the TNT Championship.
It is a tragedy that Brodie Lee will not be returning to the ring, but he left a lasting impact on not just AEW but an entire generation of wrestlers and wrestling fans.
2. Jon Moxley
Mox was made to be the AEW World Champion. His reign this year made the title feel like the biggest deal in wrestling as a whole, and every defense had a big match feel. This isn't because the AEW Championship is inherently better than any other championship. It is because of the way that Jon Moxley made that title feel.
Moxley has helped to carry AEW throughout the pandemic era by providing main event bangers and work on the mic. The build to his match with MJF at All Out allowed us to see something different than we had seen from him even during his days as Dean Ambrose in the WWE, but I think that he did some of his best work opposite Eddie Kingston in the fall of this year.
The strangest thing going into 2021 will be seeing Jon Moxley without the title and his matches not being special events. Who knows what the future holds for Moxley, but I doubt that 2020 will be his only run with the AEW Championship.
1. Kenny Omega
Now for the man that beat Jon Moxley. While many fans have criticized Kenny Omega's AEW run for being lackluster compared to his previous work in NJPW, it is hard to say that Kenny hasn't killed it this year. Omega is one of the companies best in-ring storytellers and has spent the vast majority of the year as a champion. His work with Adam Page as the AEW tag-team champions yielded some fantastic matches against the various teams in the division and two instant classics against The Young Bucks and FTR at Revolution and All Out, respectively. Kenny then went on the win the number one contender for the AEW World Championship tournament by defeating his former partner in another fantastic match at Full Gear.
Kenny Omega has turned in some of the best performances in all of wrestling in 2020 and is now at the center of what could be an incredibly successful crossover between AEW and Impact Wrestling. 2021 already promises to be wild for Kenny Omega, but I am glad that I get to sit back and enjoy the ride.
So that is the list! Who did I miss? Who are your top 5 AEW performers of 2020? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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