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31 Days of Wrestling (12/2/19): The Game Changes (Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega, AEW Double or Nothing)



Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

If you ever need proof that a lot can change over the course of 12 months, look no further than 2019.

At the very beginning of the year, the status quo was the status quo. Kenny Omega was still the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. The man we once knew as Dean Ambrose was still a member of the Shield, or of the WWE, whichever way you preferred seeing it. All Elite Wrestling was still a dream months away from being realized, and other than Cody and the Young Bucks, the wrestling world didn't really know what they had in store.

As the months passed, the company slowly built their roster and drove up interest, and soon enough they would have enough for their very first PPV event under the AEW brand, All or Nothing.

The matchup is textbook non-WWE booking. You can't really go wrong with an inaugural main event featuring Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega, both poached from NJPW and your two biggest stars, trying to recapture the magic they had at a previous WrestleKingdom. If anything, it proves that AEW has the pedigree to go toe-to-toe with the biggest in the game, and it's one bold flex to start with.

Here's the truth, though: the match was just fine. Under a different set of rules, away from Japan and its distinct style, it just didn't have that same energy from the first time. No, we all know why we're talking about this match—what happened after the bell rang completely changed the landscape of pro wrestling, maybe forever.



Up until he appeared in the MGM Grand from out of nowhere, all we knew about Jon Moxley's future after the WWE were hints. There were clues about where he would end up next, certainly hints that nudged toward the direction of AEW, but nothing solid until Moxley struck Omega.

This moment—and the revelation that Moxley would also work New Japan this year—solidified the idea that WWE isn't the be-all end-all for pro wrestlers around the world anymore. In one fell swoop, Moxley proved that just about anywhere else could and would accommodate him and his art; and the company that wasted his talent would pay dearly for misusing him. The Elite owe him big time for literally taking up arms on their side.

If there's anyone who pretty much owned 2019, it's one Jon fuckin' Moxley. Oh, and AEW too, I guess, by association. We can't wait to see what mayhem he cooks up next year, and how long it takes for him to become AEW World Champion.

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31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2019.

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