BACK TO THE GRIND
AEW POWER RANKINGS POST-3/17
We are well and truly back into the grind again in AEW as new stories, characters and factions are built with months to go before the next pay per view event. We all know AEW excels at this build, but the real question is do I excel at making rankings during this build…? The jury is still very much out on that one but I’ll try to make the rankings anyway!
1) KENNY OMEGA
It seems that Kenny Omega will actually be somewhat of a minor character, at least in terms of his involvement, on AEW programming for the next month or two. With so much going on in the company, Omega’s impending match with Rich Swann for the IMPACT World Title and the small matter of the invisible door opening, Omega has a lot on his plate. So it falls on the men around him to make things interesting and they are certainly doing that. The Bucks are seemingly turning on Bullet Club, Gallows and Anderson look like they will be spending more time in AEW and Christian cut a fantastic promo. The promise of Omega’s incredible charisma and wrestling ability makes any potential feud tantalizing and that’s exactly what a world champion should be.
2) JON MOXLEY
I was tempted to put Moxley and Kingston together as a team in the rankings but I’ll let that wait. The point still stands though: Mox and King are absolute money together, the two best baby face promos in the world and I don’t think it’s close. Their match with the Good Brothers was terrific and will continue the story with Mox’s selling looking as convincing as ever. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see more of Mox vs. Bullet Club after the exploding barbed wire death match; but now, I’m clamoring to see more of this feud every week.
3) DEATH TRIANGLE
Penta put together a great match with Cody Rhodes- even though the wrong man won in the end in my opinion. Penta is a great wrestler, everyone knows this. Meanwhile, Fenix put on a shocker, easily his worst match of the last two months. I mean… this is Rey Fenix we’re talking about and that match was still one of the best things on the show, but after everything Fenix has done you almost feel like it’s a disappointment if he doesn’t make you audibly scream at least four times every match. My point is Death Triangle is the best trio of pure wrestlers in the world and I don’t think it’s close so they’ll be in these rankings- probably in the top five- for the foreseeable future.
Why is MJF so good? It’s a question with a million answers but the reason that most stands out to me is what was on display all episode this week: he is an encyclopedia of wrestling. Is it any wonder Jim Cornette likes him so much when he openly detests literally every single other thing about AEW? MJF has one of the best minds for the business in the world, it’s like he watches ten hours of wrestling a day every day. His segments this week were packed with references to the Four Horsemen, the Brainbusters, nWo, Bullet Club and Evolution. MJF is so good because he distills the best parts of wrestling history into a single person. With the Pinnacle, we’ll get to see the Four Hoursemen without their late 90s incarnations, Evolution without the Orton face turn. MJF has gone from a funny comedy guy that I love to laugh at to a dirty scoundrel I love to hate. He is a perfect heel.
I questioned what this new faction would be like last week but what we got was not at all what I expected. As for FTR’s part in it, it’s tailor-made for them. They are living proof you don’t have to be giant to be intimidating. Hell, Wardlow is in the group but somehow FTR are the most intimidating parts of the Pinnacle. Long, long gone are the days of them being laughed at for shaving each other’s backs. They are being treated as the single most deadly team in AEW and they should be; this group is what FTR has needed and I fully believe they will thrive.
6) YOUNG BUCKS
I’ve been opining for weeks about the Young Bucks’ lack of character without a great heel team like FTR or MJF & Jericho to play off of. Well this week, they finally found some character. I’ve believed for awhile it would be hard to make the Bucks heels when we know how involved they’ve been in building AEW and bringing in new teams that are now starting to become bigger and bigger deals in the company. It’s clear TK wanted the Bucks to be heels when they spent a few weeks superkicking anything that moved backstage but it was never going to work. Positioning them as the foils to the Good Brothers as Bullet Club continues to gain steam, however, is going to work and I hope that continues.
7) THUNDER ROSA
How good was that lights out match? Honestly, we went from not seeing any women on Dynamite just a couple months ago to women now main eventing the show with one of the most violent, dramatic matches you will ever see. Rosa came out on top and showed everything you want to see from a great babyface. We said on the Pro Wrestling Musings podcast last week that AEW has no more excuses anymore for not having a great women’s division and they apparently know it. This is the most I’ve cared about that division in AEW’s history.
8) BRITT BAKER
In traditional sports, very often the athlete who works the hardest and bleeds the most gets the glory. In wrestling, it’s pretty much the opposite. Britt took a DVD onto a ladder, a powerbomb onto thumbtacks and a Fire Thunder Driver through a table onto the floor AND SHE LOST. I think it’s clear the women in AEW are tired of how they’ve been booked since Dynamite began and they’re willing to shorten their own careers to send that message. Message received.
9) INNER CIRCLE
With everything the Pinnacle has done in just their first week of existence, the Inner Circle now almost feels like an afterthought. Thanks for all you’ve done boys but now there’s new stars on the block. I believe- although I haven’t verified- this was the first Dynamite in history that didn’t feature a single member of the Inner Circle ever. That’s how important they’ve been to AEW programming. How will they come back and make themselves relevant again? I trust Jericho to figure it out.
10) DARBY ALLIN
The most interesting thing that came out of Darby Allin’s segment this week was potential dissention within Team Taz’s ranks. Then came the Archer-Sting feud that’s building. The only thing we got to learn about Darby’s actual feud was a pre-taped video package featuring Scorpio Sky. Now that was well done and it made me more excited to see the feud, but this week was a classic case of a coach (or in this case, a booker) overthinking themselves. Just give us Darby Allin fighting valiantly against the heel with no morals who’s willing to do anything to beat him. It’s simple and Darby can excel in it- which is why he’s still in these rankings.
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