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THE EVOLUTION OF WRESTLING

AEW POWER RANKINGS POST-2/17

Not every show is a hit. AEW put together two of the best wrestling programs in recent memory the past two weeks, so this week felt like a natural downbeat. But as is always the case with AEW, if the show isn’t consistently great then at least the best stuff is great. And it was on this week. But how great was it? And can the great stuff be quantified in a ten spot power rankings?? Let’s find out…


1) KENNY OMEGA

The best professional wrestling blends the line perfectly between shoot and work. They say the best characters are a wrestler’s personality turned up to 11. For Kenny Omega, his character is desperate to the point of betraying his own ideals to win the title and even more desperate to keep it. He’s desperate to the point of challenging JON MOXLEY to an exploding barbed wire death match… in the year 2021!! But I fully believe Tyson Smith, the man behind the character, is just as desperate to be considered the greatest wrestler that ever lived. And he’s got my vote. He cut maybe his best promo as champion while challenging Mox to a once in a lifetime match and he’s also a once in a lifetime talent in the ring.

2) JON MOXLEY

Moxley’s worst promo is better than 99% of wrestlers’ best promos. His promo on this episode of Dynamite was not his worst promo. I feel like Moxley could be announced in the main event of a pay per view 10 minutes before the show and if he cuts one promo before the match it’ll be the most exciting thing on the card. Mox has strung together some of his most exciting matches in the previous months and, combined with his generational promos, it makes for one of the best wrestlers in the world.

3) DEATH TRIANGLE

One day in the future, humanity will invent time travel. It will enable scientists to go back and study Darwinian evolution in real time. They will think that they are the first human beings to watch evolution play out before their eyes. They will be wrong. I get to watch it ever week that Rey Fenix is on TV. Watching Fenix will make you think you’re watching another species. He turns heads every second he’s on screen and he continues to redefine what we thought was possible from a professional wrestler. The man may be the best athlete on the planet in any sport; if he had played soccer he would be one of the most well known names on the planet. And oh yeah, PAC and Penta… they’re good too.

4) YOUNG BUCKS

The next few entries are fairly interchangeable. It wasn’t too long ago I had the Bucks at #2 and said they have a real chance to become #1. Unfortunately, since then, the Bucks’ characters have gone off the rails. Are they face? Are they heel? Are they actually Kenny Omega’s best friends? Do they even like the Good Brothers? The Bucks remain the most talented tag team in the world from an in-ring perspective but the confusing nature of their characters prevent them from going any higher.

5) FTR

What is with the Sydal brothers? How is it possible that both men can horrifically botch a top rope move from the same corner in their first attempt upon debuting? The match flow in general between the Sydals and FTR was not the best, FTR gave too much to the two brothers in my opinion, and they weren’t able to show off their incredible tag team chemistry. Now that they have a match coming up featuring Tully Blanchard I’m not particularly confident they’ll move up in the coming weeks but I could be wrong…

6) INNER CIRCLE

With the Sammy Guevara storyline in full swing, the Inner Circle is officially greater than the sum of its parts. As great as MJF is, all the things going on with the group as a whole keep me engaged every time I watch. And by the way, Santana and Ortiz showed once again why so many people believe they should be given a bigger push in AEW which I will not disagree with. Genuinely the Inner Circle have, for my money, two of the three best heel promos in the business in Chris Jericho and MJF and they know how to tell stories. What more do you need?

7) MJF

The only reason MJF drops below the rest of the group for the first time is because their first promo of the night involved a weird transition from Santana and Ortiz hyping their match to a discussion of Sammy Guevara. It’s not entirely MJF’s fault and it is in his character to only care about himself at any given time, but he’s better left in a situation where he can initiate a promo and talk on his own.

8) DARBY ALLIN

Allin didn’t feature this week- Team Taz did a good job of writing him off last week- but he features here basically as a proxy to Sting. The man who many were concerned was paralyzed in a match just a few years ago took a BRIAN CAGE power bomb- which I assume is the wrestling equivalent of being hit in the chest with jackhammer. Sting and Allin have much in common as I’ve said before but chief among the shared qualities is the ability to generate sympathy which is something Darby is a master at.

9) THUNDER ROSA

Rosa’s match with Leyla Hirsch last week didn’t entirely connect with me, they don’t seem to have the best chemistry, but Rosa is pound-for-pound one of the best female wrestlers in the world. She cuts an average promo but she’s an incredible wrestler and a real credit to the AEW women’s division.

10) BRITT BAKER

For the first time since I started these rankings I feel like there are multiple women who are missing out on the top 10 that could easily be here. Certainly the return of Riho showed that AEW actually does have depth in their women’s division if they choose to use it. But even though Britt Baker wasn’t on this week’s show, it may actually help her character to not be around every single week. Absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say and Dr. Britt remains the best female character in the company.


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