What a summer of developments we've had! Recruitments, betrayals, inter-company mega-shows, corporate synergy cross overs! Let's get right to it.
Groups out of Contention
Team Taz: This one is a disappointment as Team Taz was a personal favorite. I thought that with the announcement that the AEW Trios Championship was on the way that Team Taz would surely be a contender. Ricky Starks lost the FTW belt to Hook and while this is a loss for Starks, it's fine for Team Taz since the attainment point stays within the faction. Then Hobbs turned on Starks and everything fell apart. With one fewer member in the group they can't be called a faction, they simply don't have the number of workers needed. Time for a new recruit if ever there was one.
Groups to Watch
AFO: I say that the Andrade family office is a group to watch, not because I expect great things from them, rather I hope the group will dissolve and allow it's members to move on to better things. Andrade and Rush can work within the tag ranks (same for Private Party), Butcher/Blade/Bunny can be their own faction, and Angelico can pursue a solo career. AFO (like the Hardy Family Office before it) became an island of misfit toys. Workers who didn't quite fit in anywhere else and while it provided some exposure it's time for everyone to go their separate ways and sink or swim on their own merits.
Best Friends: After the detour of Forbidden Door focused on Rocky Romero and Trent Baretta as a team (I love the team name of Roppongi Vice) it was great to see the original trio of Best Friends back together. Clad in tie-dye track suits they threatened assault via chainsaw against Wardlow, and not much else. Still, this team could rise in the ranks in the coming months.
Undisputed Elite: You can feel that things are in flux for this group. As of this writing the group consists of the Young Bucks, Cole, Fish, and OReilly. Yet we know that Hangman is going to get involved in the future (perhaps pulling the Bucks away) and that Omega is most likely soon to return (perhaps pulling Cole away). While there's no overt lack of cohesion, things are percolating beneath the surface and it feels like something is about to shift.
How Rankings are Determined:
Strength: The combined win % of team members. The numbers were taken from a combination of the AEW roster page and my own win/loss tracking (for talent not signed with AEW). Involvement in a mulit-person match carries large risk/reward. For instance, if the Wingmen (Drake, Nemeth, Avalon) lose a trios match that counts as -3 in the overall faction W/L as each member has that loss added to their record. If Avalon losses a singles match that only counts as a -1 to the Wingmen, and while not ideal it's not as big a black mark as a team loss.
Cohesion: Ability of a group to work together. If they can avoid tripping over each other or hitting each other with moves they will score higher. Points will be lost if cracks are starting to form such as a heel turn for a member being foreshadowed. This category is fairly subjective.
Purpose: Even if not expressly stated, most groups have some form of a "mission statement". This could range from winning championships to simply the love of violence.
Attainment: The ability to win championships. Currently there are championships from AEW, ROH, and AAA in play although titles from Impact and NJPW have also been featured in the past. I will only count belts that have been featured on camera on AEW programing (sorry Defy World Champ Christopher Daniels!).
#5 Death Triangle:
Strength- Mid (73%)
Cohesion- Mid, To be honest the group has felt a little disjointed for some time. I'm always surprised when they show up together on the entrance.
Purpose- Mid, There certainly is three of them (just like a triangle!).
Attainment- High, If it wasn't for the All-Atlantic Championship I doubt that Death Triangle would even make it into the top five. If you're not watching Dark, you're missing out on some fun defenses from PAC. Added bonus for featuring cool indie venues that have an underground feel to them.
Members of Death Triangle and their real world Pirate equivalent.
PAC - Blackbeard
Penta El Zero M - Calico Jack
Rey Fenix - William Kidd
#4 Jericho Appreciation Society:
Strength- Mid (79%): Anna Jay is a fantastic pickup for the JAS as her strong 24-3 record nearly pushed the group's strength score into the upper echelon (she raised the group's win percentage over 3%).
Cohesion- High Despite a roster that is quickly approaching NWA circa-1998 levels, the group is still able to get behind their namesake with no debate.
Purpose- High Keep up the ego of Chris Jericho.
Attainment- Mid I honestly can't remember if Sammy and Tay have acknowledged that they are the AAA Mixed Tag Team Champions on AEW programing or not. They certainly haven't gotten the spotlight like FTR and the AAA tag belts have.
Members of the JAS and their My Little Pony equivalent.
Chris Jericho - Twilight Sparkle
Jake Hager - Applejack
Sammy Guevara - Shining Armor
Tay Conti - Rainbow Dash
Daddy Magic - Derpy Hooves
Angelo Parker - Sunset Shimmer
Daniel Garcia - Cranky Doodle Donkey
Anna Jay - Princess Luna
#3 House of Black:
Strength- High (84%) One of the most physically dominate factions in all of AEW.
Cohesion- High The House of Black is a house at peace with its self.
Purpose- High Boy they sure do love being dark and spooky!
Attainment- N/I, I'm still pushing for House of Black to be the inaugural Trios Champions. Until then, they get a needs improvement in this category. Hopefully Buddy Matthews gets healthy.
House of Black and their Catholic Pope equivalent.
Malakai Black - Pope Stephen VI (put the corpse of the previous pope on trial!)
Brody King - Alexander VI (came from an Italian crime family)
Buddy Matthews - Leo X (came up with the idea that one could buy their way into heaven)
Julia Hart - John XII (took the papacy at only 18 years old)
#2 The Baddies:
Strength- Mid (74%), the addition of Leila Grey as an "interim baddie" dropped the group's score as she hasn't won in AEW (0-3).
Cohesion- High No dissention in these ranks. When Red Velvet returns and/if Jade losses the belt we'll see if that changes.
Purpose- High Help people discover their inner "Baddie" which is genius.
Attainment- High, As long as Jade has the TBS championship this team will continue to rank highly. The title is the lynchpin for this group's success.
Baddies and their Disney Princess equivalent.
Jade Cargill - Aurora (the prototype)
Red Velvet - Tiana (an under-rated character)
Kiera Hogan - Rapunzel (that hair!)
Leila Grey - Ariel (doesn't quite belong)
#1 Blackpool Combat Club:
Strength- High (82%) The group's win record lives up to the name.
Cohesion- High A group bound in blood.
Purpose- High This is what a pro-wrestling faction should be. Tough winners that are diverse in their backgrounds. I hope this group is around for a long time.
Attainment- High, It doesn't get much higher than this. ROH Pure, ROH World, AEW World. Over the last month the BCC has decorated themselves with championships and every champion looks strong.
BCC and their philosopher equivalent.
Jon Moxley - John Locke “No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience”
Bryan Danielson - Heraclitus "One cannot step twice in the same river”
Wheeler Yuta - Aristotle “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”
Claudio Castagnoli - Bertrand Russell “This is patently absurd; but whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities”
` So that's how things stack up as of the first week of August, 2022. The next installment of this series will be posted after All Out weekend and I imagine that with the inaugural crowning of the Trios Championships that there will be plenty of shakeups in the next few weeks. I am debating how much prestige I should give the Trios belts. As of now the attainment score is very uniform, one title equals one "point" if you will. Should a Trios championship, one that focuses on factions, be valued more than a solo championship? On this point I'm still undecided.