“I want to see two big men with big chests and big muscles bumping meat. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I watched wrestling as a kid. You want your five star matches? You want your 30 minute classics? Not me. Big meaty men slapping meat. That’s what I want to see.”
-Big E Langston, January 2020
One element that is evergreen in professional wrestling is the love of heavyweights. Going back to the carnival days, crowds would marvel at the strongman and his feats of strength. Since AEW’s debut, they have steadily added to their roster a collection of super-sized talent. I’ll be looking at who is the best of the big men. For argument’s sake I’m considering a heavyweight to be any performer over 250 pounds. Since I’m focusing on singles competition, I do want to comment on a pair of performers from the tag division.
Luchasaurus (275 pounds)- A fan favorite and incredibly agile for his frame, Luchasaurus is a standout amongst the big men. He’s well paired with Jurassic Express and comfortable within the tag ranks.
The Butcher (273 pounds)- The Butcher of Buffalo has quickly become one of my personal favorites in the entire AEW roster. A great look, powerful moves, and a good complement to the Blade. Every time he has a stare down with any other heavyweight it feels like a big moment. My biggest hope for an AEW video game is that they include his entrance walk for my create-a-wrestler.
On to the list. For my rankings I focused on three main areas of data. First (and perhaps most important) is overall singles wins. Secondly, I looked at grapples/hour. Third category is strikedowns (both hourly and percentage of total strikes).
AEW's Top Heavyweights
7) Dr. Luther (251 pounds, 2 wins) – The “Original Death Dealer” was a complete unknown to me before he joined AEW. Every list has a basement and Luther seems like he’s lived in one or two. I feel that a move to the tag division might be best for Luther’s profile. I liked his pairing with Serpentico and would enjoy more of that.
6) Billy Gunn (260 pounds, 1 win) – Despite having one fewer singles win than Luther, the stat that propelled Gunn up the list is his surprising amount of strikedowns as a percentage of overall offense. He’s #1 in that regard! I have nothing but respect for Mr. Gunn as he has maintained tremendous physical conditioning over his long career.
5) Jake Hager (254 pounds, 4 wins) – I really expected Hager to rank higher but the stats don’t argue for anything other than average on my rankings. In all three categories of stats, Hager didn’t approach the top in any of them. He’s a tremendous athlete and scares me with how explosive his offense can be. He’s the one heavyweight that has what it takes to compete in legitimate MMA.
4) Mr. Brodie Lee (275 pounds, 5 wins) – I never watched his WWE matches but have loved his work in AEW. I feel that his character has turned a corner where now he is getting wins for the whole of Dark Order and not just berating them. Lee came in 3rd for overall grapples per hour.
3) Brian Cage (278 pounds, 5 wins) – The newest addition to the heavyweight division, Cage has quickly collected wins (along with an FTW belt). Despite the majority of his matches being quick affairs, he has more grapples per hour than anyone else on this list. Combine that with his mix of power and quickness and it has resulted in decisive victories.
2) Wardlow (249 pounds, 5 wins) – I cheated here as “Mr. Mayhem” is one pound short of my heavyweight threshold, but he has the stats to back up his high position. Second place for wins, second place for strikedown percentage, second place for grapples per hour, and first place for strikedowns per hour. The amazing thing is that I don’t feel we’ve seen him at full potential yet.
1) Lance Archer (276 pounds, 10 wins) – The most dominant heavyweight in AEW leaves no doubt. From his entrance (which consists of attacking random crew members), to his backstage assaults (he put a guy through the ceiling!), the “Murderhawk Monster” has cut a path of destruction through the AEW ranks. While most of his 10 wins have come on Dark, I feel that the next few months are going to be big for Archer. Which equals to a bad time for the rest of AEW.