AEW POWER RANKINGS Post-July 8
Folks thanks so much for reading the first official ProWrestlingMusings.com power rankings for AEW! And what better time to start? While Fyter Fest is aired on free TV, there’s no doubt it’s a pay-per-view quality card. And we all know we get our best indication of the lay of the land post-pay per view. Our power rankings will be the classic combination of eye-test and advanced statistics. The idea here is to present the clearest indication of where each division in AEW stands and who the next top contenders could be. So without further ado, let’s start with the top five in the men’s division…
MEN’S SINGLES | CHAMPION: JON MOXLEY (WORLD) & CODY (TNT)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman isn’t the man who will be challenging World Champion Jon Moxley come Fight for the Fallen, but he has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt he is the top singles competitor in AEW without a belt. Outside of all his nefarious means of winning matches, MJF is as talented an in-ring competitor as there is in the company. He’s cocky and brash, yet his 27% reversal rate shows terrific match control and he brings a very unique style to the squared circle. He ranks among the lowest in strikes per match and strikedown rate, and yet he’s piled up a 7-0 singles record. His traditional mat-wrestling style is difficult to deal with. Add in the less-than-legal tricks he’s used to beat men like Jungle Boy and his 300-pound insurance policy Wardlow and you’ve got a guy Jon Moxley is frankly lucky to not be seeing right now.
2) BRIAN CAGE
We have seen less from the machine than we have from anyone else in this list it must be said. But what he lacks in ring experience in AEW he makes up for with pure power. Across his four matches, Cage has spent about five minutes in the ring. He’s averaging just over a minute per match with an AEW-best 82% match offense rate. I can only go by what I see. And Brian Cage is as dangerous a man that exists in AEW. Will that translate to facing the World Champion? Cage’s placement in this list should tell you how I think of his chances against a stronger opponent.
3) LANCE ARCHER
Lance Archer has been almost superhuman in all his contests. He blends elite size with frightening speed and strength and it makes for a deadly combination. Archer’s third-best record among AEW men is mostly due to facing lower-ranked opponents, but he dominated the TNT Championship tournament and nearly ended Joey Janela. Archer relies heavily on his striking and his power grapples and not so much on his counters. The interesting thing about Archer is he’s about middle of the road when it comes to offensive percentage- generally a good indicator of a guy’s control of a match. At the end of the day, the Murderhawk’s only loss is to TNT champion Cody, a man who is known for dominating his matches. Archer put himself so high on this list because of his brilliant performance against Janela, and the eye test clearly shows this is a man to be feared.
4) DARBY ALLIN
Darby is a tough one to rank here. The man who’s famously indifferent to pain has been out injured for awhile now. He’s certainly kept us all entertained in his time out of the ring- appearances by Tony Hawk and Travis Pastrana come to mind. But Allin’s 6-4 Singles record and 6-3 1v1 records are still worth remembering. He would be a natural challenge to TNT Champion Cody. The American Nightmare has dominated his matches, logging an over 60% offense difference across his 11 wins. Cody is used to dominating matches. But Darby is used to playing from behind, as evidenced by his 44% match offense. His unique style of attack and new pinning combination move can get the three count even when Darby is getting dominated. Even in his TNT Championship Tournament match with Cody, it took what must be called a lucky break for Cody to roll up the inexperienced Allin. Darby is a natural matchup for Cody once he’s healed up and gained a little more experienced and he seems to be the darkhorse that could take that title off the Nightmare.
5) BRODIE LEE
From a young man with no championship experience to a veteran who just challenged for a belt, Brodie Lee still deserves to be talked about among the elites. Jon Moxley had to go to a different place to beat Lee- and used some pretty lenient officiating as well. At this point, Lee’s sole loss is to the World Champ in a back-and-forth match and Lee remains one of the deadliest strikers in the company. Lee’s issue with Moxley was his lack of ability to counter moves- he averages just five reversals per match, one of the worst in AEW. But he ranks 12th in strikedown rate and third in strong grapples per match. If he can get in the gym and improve his counter ability, Lee will retake his spot as the most feared man in AEW.
WOMEN’S SINGLES | CHAMPION: HIKARU SHIDA
1) NYLA ROSE
Yes unfortunately the woman Shida won her title from remains the top challenger to the champ. But it makes sense in a way. Shida needed the help of a kendo stick straight to the head to put down the Native Beast. Meanwhile, Rose remains the most dominant wrestler in the company outside the champ and has done that while only logging a 44% match offense rate. The Beast Bomb is nearly impossible to kick out of and has put away many lower competitors. And we can bet whoever Nyla’s eventual manager is will do more than just shout encouragement from the corner. The reality is clear: Shida will have to defend her belt against Rose before it’s all said and done.
2) PENELOPE FORD
So much of the story surrounding the women’s division as of late has revolved around Ford vs. Shida heading into Fyter Fest. The consequence of this is Ford has been given a lot of time to show her quality. Despite the fact she came up short to the champ, Ford remains the pound for pound best athlete in the women’s division. Her loss to Shida can be attributed to the vast experience difference; Ford still deserves praise for what she’s done in 2020.
3) BIG SWOLE
Big Swole has been mostly involved in trouble outside the ring, picking up a suspension in her last appearance. Her rivalry with an injured Britt Baker has been entertaining, but let it not distract us from the fact Swole is still a phenomenal performer inside the ropes. She leads all women in match offense rate and reversal rate. She is technically gifted and incredibly strong for her size. Once she turns her focus back to in-ring competition, watch for Swole to shoot up these rankings.
4) BRITT BAKER
Yes Baker is injured and is not due for an in-ring return until September. But the reality is what Baker did before her injury at the hands of a rogue Nyla Rose is still good enough to keep her in these rankings. Again, I can only go by what I see, and Baker still holds a 4-2 record in 1v1 matches with a 67% match offense rate. Baker is one of the dirtiest wrestlers in the division but she’s also one of the most fundamentally sound. She’s one of the only women in AEW to use her submission to finish matches and she is possibly the best submission wrestler in the women’s division. Once Baker returns, I expect her to go straight to the top, no matter who may hold the belt by then.
5) KRIS STATLANDER
Another wrestler who suffered a recent injury, and it came at the worst time for the galaxy’s greatest alien. Statlander was on a roll prior to her injury, and she is maybe the most balanced wrestler on this list. She uses her strikes and grapples to great effect, uses her finisher as much as champion Shida and controls more than 50% of her matches. It’s unfortunate we may not see her for the rest of the year because Statlander seemed prime to overtake several of the women on this list.
MEN’S TAG TEAM | CHAMPION: MEGA COWBOYS
1) PRIVATE PARTY
Private Party are coming off a Tag Team Title loss at Night 2 of Fyter Fest. But what they showed in that match more than proves they are as good as any tag team in the company. With Matt Hardy helping them- and their incredibly athletic style taking the tag division by storm- it seems Private Party may finally be beginning to reach the potential they showed when they beat the Young Bucks on the first episode of Dynamite.
2) DARK ORDER
Admittedly, the last entry is based almost entirely on the eye-test. Now we get to an entry based on the numbers. For as maligned as the Dark Order’s early run was, they have quietly turned into a feared and efficient tag team. Stu Greyson showed his shocking level of athleticism when the Order took down SCU when he went blow-for-blow with Scorpio Sky. Brodie Lee has shown his quality, Evil Uno is still kicking about and even Colt Cabana seems to be turning a corner. Dark Order is undefeated, ranked third in offense percentage and fourth in finishers used. Make no mistake. Dark Order is more dangerous now than ever and it’s only a matter of time before the Mega Cowboys have to deal with them too.
Let’s be honest: this has everything to do with who FTR are and their pedigree coming in. They’ve only had two official tag matches in AEW, but they were dominant in both and they seem to have their sights set directly on the title. Their performance in the brilliant 8-man tag at Fyter Fest was evidence of how great they are as a team. Their dream match with the Young Bucks may come along the way, but don’t be surprised to see FTR at the top of these rankings very soon.
4) BEST FRIENDS
Frankly speaking, the Best Friends have dropped because of their losses in big matches. They are still a phenomenal team, but after losses in the tag title tournament and a main-event title match, you have to ask if they have the ability to do the deal when the lights are brightest. There’s nothing wrong with them as a team, but they were exposed against the Mega Cowboys who showed more toughness and more synergy despite having far less experience. The Best Friends may have to go back to the drawing board to make another charge to the top.
5) YOUNG BUCKS
The Young Bucks will have to be disappointed with their position in these rankings. While the brothers remain some of the most popular stars in AEW, they have taken a backseat to some of the newer talent. But the Bucks have quietly amassed a 5-1 record with over an hour in the ring. They were also part of a phenomenal match at Fyter Fest, and you have to wonder if now is their time to take the titles it seems they were destined from the beginning to hold.