With a new year comes new beginnings for our faction rankings. As of January 1st the win loss records reset to zero and the factions of AEW all had claim to the top spots. Reality quickly showed that not all factions are meant for greatness however.
How Rankings are Determined:
Strength: For the win-loss records this year I am tracking all win losses on my own. For supplemental research I use cagematch.net. Win's and losses are a team effort, if the Elite win a trios match, that counts as 3 wins towards the team. If Kenny Omega wins a singles match, that counts as one. 100%-80% gets a "high", 79%-60% gets a "mid", while anything lower gets a "N/I" (needs improvement).
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 within the group. Cohesion will be lost if a member starts working outside the group. 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.
Most valuable free-agents
With the Dark Order in recruitment mode, I'm looking at the entire AEW roster and seeing who can offer the biggest boost to a faction. Recruiting someone with a high strength, or even better a title, can propel a faction up the rankings.
Darby Allin- It's too bad that Darby lost the TNT belt and with it when any attainment boost he had. Still, his win loss record is a solid 5-1 and would help any faction's strength score. It may be easier for Darby and Sting to recruit another member and start their own group though.
Athena- Despite being a champion her attitude may instantly drop a group's cohesion score.
Top Flight- But wait, aren't they already a faction with AR Fox? Well my answer to that is, maybe. I need to see just a little more from this trio to convince me they're a solid faction. A group name, sharing an entrance, or just more time together would do it.
Before we get to the rankings it should be noted that not all groups were eligible for consideration. A group is a faction if it has three or more members who have had a match featured within AEW (ROH doesn't factor into things). Therefore, the Acclaimed are just a tag team unless Billy Gunn records a match (until then, he's just a manager in my eyes). Similar groups are currently affected by this rule (Rebel for Team Dental, Bunny for Butcher/Blade, Parker Boudreaux and Granden "Trench" Goetzman for Mogul Enterprises, etc.). This also applies to the Baddies who, after dominating the rankings last year, start 2023 out of contention due to Red Velvet walking out on the group.
#11 (TIE) Death Triangle, Spanish Announce Project - When Death Triangle is sharing a rank with Serpentico's group, you know things are off to a rocky start. Both have a 0% win percentage, while Death Triangle has had no TV appearances since their title loss. Strength- 0% (Needs Improvement)
#10 Wingmen - I've removed JD Drake from the group's stats as he's more focused on teaming with Anthony Henry as the Workhorsemen. Drake is still featured in the Wingmen intro video as of now however. Strength- 27.3% NI
#9 Trustbusters - Not much has been happening with the Trustbusters lately. If Daivari continues to tag more frequently with Tony Nese than with Slim J and/or Sonny Kiss, this group may atrophy away. Strength- 42.9% NI
#8 TNA (Jarrett, Singh, Lethal) - This group needs a name, but they are synonymous with Total Non-Stop Action in my mind so team TNA they are. Their win/loss record could be better if it wasn't for that losing series with the Acclaimed. Strength- 45% NI
#7 The Firm - I do find it confusing sometimes about who is officially involved with this group. I get Big Bill and Lee Moriarty, but Ethan Page feels like he's franchising out with Matt Hardy and Isiah Kassidy. Then there's the Ass Boys who while entertaining in their own right, really should be more involved with Stokely Hathaway's group. Strength- 61.9% Mid
#6 Jericho Appreciation Society - Feuds with the JAS tend to go on just a bit too long for most fan's likings. I like the group dynamic almost as much as Jake Hager likes his hat. They've been serviceable but there needs to be some shaking up within the group this year. Strength- 66.7% Mid
#5 House of Black
Strength: 91.9% High- The only blemish on their 2023 record is a solo loss by Matthews when he challenged for the TNT title. When in trios action, there's few that can beat the House of Black.
Cohesion: High- No dissension within these ranks.
Purpose: High- Ooky and spooky, creepy and kooky. Just maybe not kooky.
Attainment: NI. I hope this changes this year.
#4 Dark Order
Strength: 94.7% High- They were so close to having a 100% win percentage but Hangman's loss to Mox prevented that.
Cohesion: High- Despite the tendency for Hangman Page to go solo, I've included him within the ranks of the Dark Order. When he was giving his heartfelt post-concussion promo, Evil Uno was there in support. That's what good team-mates do.
Purpose: Mid- Their purpose is to recruit new members. They just aren't very successful at it.
Attainment: NI- They've gained the same number of titles as they have new recruits. This is not a compliment.
#3 Blackpool Combat Club
Strength: 68.8% Mid- Every member of the BCC had a loss in January, something I would not have predicted four weeks ago.
Cohesion: Mid- Danielson is busy going through the labours of MJF and Moxley is feuding with the Hangman. The most cohesive members are the ROH title holders in Claudio and Yuta (although it was nice to see them come out to celebrate Mox's recent win).
Purpose: High- Still loving violence.
Attainment: High- ROH World (Claudio), ROH Pure (Yuta) These titles are the only thing keeping BCC in the top 3 right now. Should they lose one, this will drop the score a level as ROH can only be viewed as a secondary title while within AEW.
#2 Best Friends
Strength: 57% Mid- Keeping Cassidy a fighting champion is helping tremendously. The weak link is certainly Danhausen as he's the one that ate the pin and lost a trios match against TNA recently. A few more trios match wins would help to quickly raise this percentage.
Cohesion: High- They're best friends!
Purpose: High- Being friendly.
Attainment: High- All Atlantic (Cassidy)
#1 The Elite
Strength: 75% Mid- So close to a 'high' ranking. A single Trios win would push them into the upper category.
Cohesion: High- Things are looking good at the moment, but within the Elite I always have a feeling that things could change. Kenny never did learn about Matt's approval of Hangman's World Title win.
Purpose: High- Be elite. Be be elite.
Attainment: High- Trios Championships (The Elite), NJPW US Championship (Omega)
Later in the year it will be interesting to track how each factions' strength rankings ebb and flow. As it is here in January, we only have the 1 month of data to go with. It should be noted that of the top three teams for win % (Dark Order, House of Black, The Elite) only the Elite hold championship gold.
Win percentage doesn't paint the whole picture as some factions have had many more matches than others. Looking at the data as a sum of total wins and losses and we get this:
That's how things look for AEW's factions after the first month of 2023. With Revolution on March 5th our second installment will be posted shortly after that PPV.