Updated: Sep 30, 2021
There have been a few AEW Power Rankings on Pro Wrestling Musings, but welcome to the REAL Power Rankings. Because we all know that the real power in AEW lay in the factions!
(If you note that it is NOT August 29, I assure you, it's a time zone thing!)
These rankings are done within storyline, in terms of the faction's proven ability to deliver and protect gold for the star player(s) whom the faction revolves around, give satisfactory alternate rewards to the peripheral members, maintain a power balance with clear roles for each member, and dominate or at least hold their own in conflict with other groups.
#1 - The Elite
There's no denying that the Elite are by far the most successful and dominant faction in All Elite Wrestling. They revolve around and exist for the the benefit of their star player, Kenny Omega. And Omega holds—and the Elite has been able to protect—the AEW (Men's, Singles) World Championship and the Mega Campeonato AAA. On top of which, their tag team holds the AEW World Tag Championship, (The Good Brothers have also held gold off and on, but that's irrelevant, since the Good Brothers are only convenient warm bodies to the Elite.) While it's true that the Impact World Championship recently slipped through their fingers, that is still an amazing track record.
The Elite have an unusual structure, in that they are essentially a power trio plus a mentor and... mooks. Lots of mooks. But the mooks have the motivation of the prestige of simply being associated with the Elite. There seems to be no danger of stooge revolt, unlike, for example, in the HFO. There's a lot of redundancy of roles, but not where it counts: with the central four of the team.
They are such a dominant force that they create their own opposition through sheer predator pressure. But their biggest threats are from within—either from Omega's paranoia or Callis's ingrained habit of treachery.
Kenny Omega - Captain, Star
Matt Jackson - Lieutenant, Tag guy
Nick Jackson - Tag guy
Don Callis - Mentor, mastermind, buffoon
Doc Gallows - Heater, mook
Karl Anderson - Mook
Brandon Cutler - Stooge, mascot, mook
MT Nakazawa - Stooge, mascot, mook
#2 - Allied Forces
"It was MY thing first, man"
When there is a great, powerful evil those who might otherwise be rivals band together in opposition and mutual protection, and we call the not-evil side "the Allies." This mishmash of enemies of the Elite has the disadvantages inherent in that, specifically the confusion of Jungle Boy's role. The obvious star in his own Jurassic world, who is he while in Cage's orbit? Tag guy? Little buddy? Loyal lieutenant? Groomed heir? The tensions in that seem unlikely to survive the stress of being on top. But you can't take away that they were the first group to give the Elite a real L by taking the Impact World Championship from them, and they are poised to take their crown jewel from them too at All Out.
Christian Cage - Captain, Star
Jungle Boy - Lieutenant? Protégé? Star?
Frankie Kazarian - Loose Cannon
Luchasaurus - Heater
Marko Stunt - Mascot
#3 - Death Triangle
A Brotherhood of Violence
Successful factions require members who know who the star is and know their roles and are content with them. Triángulo de la Muerte are the exception that proves the rule. Each possible pairing of the three men has proven themselves to be a top flight tag team. And while each is very different, each man individually is in their own unique way an absolute star. But they never seem to get in each other's way.
The only knock on them is that they haven't succeeded in collecting any gold. But this is also true of every faction not named the Elite. And the Lucha Brothers have an opportunity at tag gold with a steel cage eliminating the Elite's typical games at All Out.
PAC - Brother
Penta EZM - Brother
Rey Fenix - Brother
Alex Abrahantes - Buffoon
#4 - The Pinnacle
We're supposed to be impressed
"When you're in the Pinnacle you're always on top!" Fine speech, but eventually it's no longer enough to just say you're on top. Maxwell Jacob Friedman has gathered a perfect team on paper and has been occupied with ensuring that they won't need to watch out for the Inner Circle over their shoulders. But after All Out there won't be any more excuses for not being focused on gathering the gold that is the only purpose warranting such a group to exist.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman - Captain, Star, mastermind
Shawn Spears - Loose Cannon
Wardlow - Heater
Tully Blanchard - Mentor
Cash Wheeler - Tag guy
Dax Harwood - Tag guy
#5 - Best Friends
GOT to give the people what they want
The Best Friends may sometimes seem hapless or ragtag, but although they do not yet have any titles to their name, they have come out on top in major heated feuds, over Santana & Ortiz, over Chris Jericho, and even over Miro and his former allies. They've been unfortunately dogged by injuries, but have brought in a rookie, seemingly in response to their manpower issue. They know exactly who the star of the team is, and their inherent easy-going good nature permits no resentment.
Orange Cassidy - Star
Kris Statlander - Captain? Heater? I dunno
Trent? - DL 4 life
Chuck Taylor - Weak Link, (but he's not heavy, he's my brother)
Wheeler Yuta - Protégé
#6 - Mutual Respect Society
Cool bros being dudes
This group seems formed by chance, with no real goals or intentions, and destined perhaps to fall apart again—only ranking due to the fantastic convergence of star power.
But maybe not. The four were pushed together by free agents trying to make their names at their expense. Moxley recently railed against outsiders who think they can just show up and eat at the table that they set. The iconic feud that led to Sting taking on the Crow look and stalking rafters was against a couple of Outsiders. Darby Allin has a match at All Out against the biggest free agent signing ever.
Could Team "Why Not?" become Team "Fuck Off Punk & Danielson, We Were Here First"? Maybe not, but only time will tell for certain. Gareth Ford-Elliot made a great case for why Moxley may be moving in a darker direction. But for a group of beloved fan favorites... Do any of the other three look like they might balk at a darker direction themselves?
Darby Allin - Star
Jon Moxley - Captain
Eddie Kingston - Lancer
Sting - Dad (by which I mean: a mentor AND an active competitor)