Let’s be honest: after two hours of AEW Dynamite I felt like I had been caught up in a dynamite explosion. It feels like we learned more this week about how the various championship scenes will shake out than over the last two weeks combined. But are there any significant changes to these power rankings? You know there’s only one way to find out! Let’s tale a look at the top 5 contenders in each division of AEW.
MEN’S SINGLES | CHAMPION: JON MOXLEY (WORLD) & CODY (TNT)
The arrogant showoff was not in action this week, but we won’t punish him for that here. On the contrary, while the number one contender’s manager threw in the towel, MJF watched on. Friedman is still undefeated, still rolls with his insurance policy Wardlow and is still the most dangerous non-champion in AEW as it stands. Could that all change in his match this coming Wednesday? I doubt it.
2) LANCE ARCHER
Archer is the lucky man to move up a spot in the rankings due to Brian Cage’s loss in the main event. Archer was also inactive last week, but you just have to look at his body of work to understand how dangerous he is. His one loss in nine matches came to the current TNT champion, he’s won four in a row since then and absolutely punked out Joey Janella in what almost seemed like a 2-on-1 at times. Archer will have to prove himself again to earn true number one contendership, but there’s no doubt he deserves at least that opportunity.
3) BRIAN CAGE
Cage only drops one spot despite losing to the world champ. Here’s the reality: Brian Cage made Jon Moxley- maybe the most confident and fearless man in AEW- completely change his gameplan. Mox came in prepared, but Cage forced him to think, which is more than you can say of any guy the champ has faced thus far. Is there a guarantee Cage would’ve escaped the submission had manager Taz not thrown in the signature towel? No. But Cage did not get pinned and did not submit and he remains the most physically intimidating man in AEW.
4) DARBY ALLIN
Allin made waves this past week despite the fact he wasn’t in action. His return to save champion Moxley from a rabid Brian Cage was one of the great moments in AEW in recent history. Allin is still 6-3 in traditional singles matches. Although I still believe Allin is a better matchup for TNT Champion Cody given the offensive styles of both men, it seems he could be due for a World Championship match as a thank you from Jon Moxley.
5) KENNY OMEGA
I’ll be honest… this is based almost entirely on the eye test. Omega is one of just five men who are undefeated in singles competition since the beginning of the year, but he’s been solely focused on his tag team wrestling as of late. However, it’s impossible not to recognize both Omega’s history as a singles wrestler and how good he’s been as a member of multiple tag teams. Omega is an astonishing 18-3 across all his matches, not to mention his recent attack of Marko Stunt after their tag match this past week shows Omega may not be satisfied with his position. This is all speculation of course, but there’s no doubt Omega is still one of the best wrestlers on planet Earth and it seems like he’s ready to earn some individual accolades.
WOMEN’S SINGLES | CHAMPION: HIKARU SHIDA
1) NYLA ROSE
EXCUSE ME! Was there any doubt? Rose was already the run-away number one contender in these rankings, now we know she has Vickie Guerrero by her side. There’s not telling what Guerrero could do for the woman who is already recognized as the most terrifying woman in the division. Rose vs. Shida II is not far away…
2) BIG SWOLE
The rest of the rankings in the women’s division will be quite unique. Since Nyla Rose is so far ahead as the number one contender, the rest of the women have to play the long game. Big Swole has been doing just that, quietly piling up a 5-3 record this year along with a 64% match offense rate. Swole tends to be dominant in her wins, and although that may not play to her strengths against Shida, it may very well against Rose.
3) PENELOPE FORD
There are several women hanging around the .500 mark right now that are all waiting for that big win to make their mark. Ford ranks at the top of that list simply because she’s healthy and she’s had a match against Shida. Ford is inexperienced and hasn’t quite found her identity, but there’s no doubt she’s athletic and willing to bend the rules for a win.
4) BRITT BAKER
Until more women step onto the scene, Baker will remain in these rankings. Baker is doing the right thing by keeping herself in the public consciousness, albeit in a rather… abrasive way. Regardless, Baker really seemed to be finding herself before her injury and there’s no reason for me to believe she won’t return to that same form when she’s healthy again.
5) KRIS STATLANDER
The Galaxy’s Greatest Alien falls in the same category as Baker: until more women prove themselves Statlander will remain in her position despite her long-term injury. Statlander seemed to be ascending to the top before her injury, and before we see more depth in the women’s division I’ll keep her in these rankings.
MEN’S TAG TEAM | CHAMPION: MEGA COWBOYS
Call me a liar, but I truly did not believe FTR would ascend these rankings so quickly. But after all we’ve seen from them on the biggest stages, how could they not sit here. Yes they’re only 3-0, but they’re almost the perfect team. They control more than 50% of their matches, reverse 25% of their opponents’ offense and already rank near the top of tags and double teams per hour in the ring (an important metric for tag team wrestling considering the top teams have all wrestled multiple hours and FTR sit at about 30 minutes). They are already the deadliest striking team in the company as well as potentially the greatest grapplers. Yes we’ve seen far less from them than any team on this list, but is there any doubt they’re the most dangerous team the Mega Cowboys could face both physically and mentally?
2) PRIVATE PARTY
It’s unfortunate that Private Party seemed to just be placeholders in that top spot until we saw more from FTR, yet here we are. But all is not lost for the Party. They remain exceptionally talented in the ring and continue to improve their mental game under mentor Matt Hardy. Their dive numbers are one par with some of the fastest teams in the company like the Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers which proves they can hang with the big boys. All that holds Private Party back is their experience in my opinion.
3) DARK ORDER
This is just more evidence why the AEW tag team division is so much fun. Because this is the first team we see where the record tells the story. The Order is 7-0 and have a wealth of competitors they can put in any given match. Their top combination seems to be Brodie Lee and Stu Greyson, and if that lineup gets consistent match time there’s no reason for me to believe they can’t beat any team in AEW.
4) BEST FRIENDS
Trent and Chuck are victims of circumstance unfortunately. While other teams in the company rise around them, all the attention is on the master of Sloth Style Orange Cassidy. Best Friends have the most wins and most time in ring in AEW right now, but after failing at the final hurdle several times, they have done nothing to change my opinion that something will have to change for them to climb back to the top.
5) YOUNG BUCKS
The Bucks seem to be making the climb back to the top of the pack. While I didn’t feel comfortable putting them above Best Friends right now given Best Friends’ overall record, there’s no denying the Jackson brothers are getting hot. The only question surrounding them now is not their in-ring ability which still remains the global standard, but whether dissension within the Elite and an impending mega-match with FTR will draw their focus away from the here and now.
Follow Griffin, @GriffFromGA