NEW YEAR, NEW BULLET CLUB
AEW POWER RANKINGS POST-1/6
We took a week off from the rankings because it seemed wrong to judge wrestlers’ standing in AEW based on a tribute show to one of the industry’s most beloved members. And as beautiful as the Brodie Lee tribute show was, it’s time to get back to business and boy did we. This week we saw more absolutely brilliant commentary from Chris Jericho, one of the best TV matches in the last two years and the small matter of the Bullet Club reuniting. So where does that leave the rankings?? Let’s discuss…
1) KENNY OMEGA
Omega’s promo game has always been debated and that will never change. But this past episode proved you don’t need to talk to tell a great story. Without saying a word, Omega became part of the biggest story on the globe by bringing the Impact Tag Champions to the ring and seemingly reuniting the Bullet Club. It’s a story that has everyone talking but also one that feels earned with literally years of build behind it. And oh by the way, Kenny Omega is one of the greatest in-ring talents in the world. His main event match with Rey Fenix was absolutely incredible, go watch it right now whether you’ve seen it or not, it’s still worth your time.
2) YOUNG BUCKS
I was absolutely convinced Jon Moxley would take this spot after his return. But then the Bucks just went and turned heel to reform Bullet Club, the most famous faction since the nWo. I’m sure Mox is crushed. But the Bucks’ fantastic showing in their eight man tag combined with subtle storytelling in the show’s final segment show why they’re not just a place holder at this number 2 spot, they’re here to stay.
3) JON MOXLEY
I did say last rankings FTR’s number 3 spot was probably temporary, but it has nothing to do with FTR as a team. Rather, Jon Moxley’s passionate promo and brutal attack at the end of the show proves why Mox is so highly respected by me and so many others. He is possible the best promo in wrestling and he somehow manages to be both a badass and a sympathetic baby face all at once. He seems to be the focal point of the biggest story in America right now, and even though there’s almost no chance he beats Omega for the title, there’s no one more capable of convincing you he might do the unthinkable than Mox.
I’ve made it a pretty hard and fast rule that anyone in a faction with a current storyline doesn’t get their own entry. But I have to make an exception for MJF. He. Just. Gets. It. The man is 24 years old but has an understanding of the business, his character and generating heat that rivals men in their 50s. His role in the Brodie Lee tribute show was incredible and gave us one of the best moments of the event when -1 cracked him over the head with a kendo stick. Every segment, every promo, every match is must watch TV is Max is in it. While he’s part of the hottest faction in the company, he manages to stand out as an individual and that needs to be recognized.
5) INNER CIRCLE
This is your weekly reminder the Inner Circle has mastered faction storytelling. Chris Jericho should be made the highest paid commentator in the world as soon as he hangs up the boots and even while he wasn’t involved in proceedings he still was able to add to every angle. Wardlow-Hager is quashed (for now) but tensions are still there and there seems to be clear fractures forming within the faction. Everything they do is compelling television and that’s the goal of any faction.
FTR slides three spots here but I promise that has nothing to do with them as a team. On the contrary; in the midst of a crazy over-the-top storyline involving Bullet Club and freestyle rappers et al, FTR seems to have the most grounded story arc in the main event. Their desire to put away the team they view as pretenders and a mere comedy act feels real and is such a great way to generate heat. Don’t expect FTR to go anywhere anytime soon.
7) DARBY ALLIN
While Allin’s “I’ve been dealing with this shit my whole life” promo is a bit paint by numbers, there’s no denying he pulls it off beautifully. I’ve said before he’s the quintessential “face of the network” and there’s no doubt he fits that billing. While we’ve seen the underdog baby face story before but Allin stands alone in AEW in that regard and it’s very possible he moves up these rankings when he faces Brian Cage this coming episode.
8) DEATH TRIANGLE
Rey Fenix put on maybe the best match in the history of Dynamite with Kenny Omega in the main event… And he’s not even the known singles wrestler of the group. It just goes to show how tremendous this whole group is in the ring. And yet they add on some character work as sympathetic baby faces getting beaten down by Eddie Kingston and co. While Kingston’s group is nowhere near the storytelling and match quality of Death Triangle, the prospect of Pac, Penta and Fenix teaming together is a wonderful one.
9) ORANGE CASSIDY
Much like MJF, Cassidy understands his character inside and out. While he doesn’t steal the show like MJF does- and he’s about 14 years older- Cassidy clearly understands why people connect with him. And this is a rare skill for anyone to have in wrestling regardless of age. Expect him to steal the show when Chuck’s dignity is on the line against Miro.
10) TEAM TAZ
Very few things in story telling annoy me more than repetition for no reason. Unfortunately, Taz promo- attempted beatdown- Sting save- repeat is exactly the kind of repetition that gets straight on my nerves. Maybe it works for you in which case you’d have Team Taz much higher on this list. That’s totally understandable. But for me, Taz and friends have been made to look like complete morons for not catching onto what is clearly happening every week for the last month and that diminishes the story for me.
OUT OF THE RANKINGS
BEST FRIENDS: MJF is so good he defies my rules and must be placed into his own entry. That’s it. Otherwise Best Friends would still be in. Sorry Best Friends. Chuck’s match with Miro will probably be really good though.