From the onset of this article series on October, a key if sometimes overlooked part of this article series was to chart the specific progress in the final three months of 2021. The primary motivation in doing so would be to gain insight that may not be readily apparent at a quick glance or, in other words, get ahead of the trends.
One primer before we look any deeper. As mentioned elsewhere, the institution of two sets of official rankings each week beginning with the launch of Rampage has meant that the value of the consequential Ranking Points has increased. Jungle Boy was the single largest beneficiary of this as he was routinely in the Top 5 of both Singles and Tag divisional rankings to close out the year. Nevertheless, I wanted to provide two sets of listings, one for each of the Top 5 and Bottom 5 performances by each roster. In order to establish meaningful results, I used two criteria to help filter out and limit the scope to what I hope to be a unique cross-section of competitors:
◦ s/he needs be on the official AEW Roster Page (ie. the wrestler is considered “All Elite”) ◦ the wrestler must have competed in at least 3 matches during Q4 (October 1 – December, 2021)
If you’re a frequent reader of my weekly update, or even just a casual AEW fan, there’s probably very little in the way of surprise to learn that the last quarter of 2021 was first about Adam Page winning the World Championship and thereafter firmly about establishing Bryan Danielson as a strong and viable first contender. The data backs then up but also helps emphasize the disparity of how many more matches certain wrestlers compete in over others. This is the one main detractor that takes away from the “sports-like feel” that AEW strives for. In a given 90-day period, the champion wrestlers three times and the challenger fifteen; it hardly seems fair on a certain level. In turn, Sammy’s run as TNT Champion is now behind us and, while I enjoyed his individual matches, I ultimately don’t think he passed the test in terms of advancing his character to a point where I can confidently say he greatly elevated his stock. When he won the belt after defending his friend Fuego Del Sol, things were personal; being sidetracked with Jericho and Inner Circle and the feud with American Top Team seemed like a net negative in my view. I hope his 2022 finds him on a more upward trajectory.
Dropping further down the table were mostly the expected fare with the only one that surprised me being Comoroto. Upon review, after losing to Jungle Boy in the very first match of 2021 on Elevation, he later went on a 12-match winning streak and even had a 1-on-1 Main Event on Dynamite against Dustin Rhodes in a Bullrope Match. Unfortunately, with so many more prominent names ahead of him, I would predict that the Freakbeast may have peaked and needs re-tool in order to find his way back onto television.
This list of names likely yields little to no surprise for even the casual fan but serves to confirm that being Women’s World Champion keeps you in the spotlight if used well. The distribution of matches is a little less varied here and should remain so in the new year with the advent of the TBS Championship.
It is in fact the Bottom 5 where perhaps we can glean the most in a predictive sense. Before delving further, recall the criteria listed above before giving your full head a shake. Unlike the Men’s Roster, with only two dozen women to choose from, most with winning records, it stands to reason that Q4 Records include a mix of winning, even and losing results. Deeb’s name jumped off the screen to me but then I realized all three of her matches were against Hikaru Shida. Defeating the longest-reigning the company history in addition to earning Quality Points from past victories (having people you defeated improved their records) allowed her to still improve her Total Metrics. In a counterintuitive way, despite being in the Bottom 5, I think Deeb’s future is looking up. So what does it all mean? Of course I can’t know for sure but that’s never stopped anyone from making uninformed predictions. I’ve made a few here but I’d like to like to hear more from you if you’re reading this.
Anyone with questions or comments is encouraged to respond here or on Twitter @AEWmetrics.