THE FACTORY EMBODIES PRO WRESTLING SUCCESS
AEW POWER RANKINGS POST-4/14
The essence of building a character is to make people care. It doesn’t matter if they love or hate the character, what their connection to that character might be, as long as they feel something while watching that character, you’re doing something right. AEW is doing something right. Almost every wrestler they put on TV this week had some developed story and character trait you found yourself gravitating toward one way or the other. So how does that play into these rankings? Let’s find out…
1) KENNY OMEGA
I have mixed feelings about the Bullet Club promo on this week’s Dynamite, the only segment that Omega showed up in. While Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows are tremendous workers and some of the most interesting people in wrestling, their antics do often swerve into the “kayfabe breaking” territory. I could go without them saying “best promo in the business” after Don Callis finishes speaking. This, however, is not a problem Kenny Omega shares. Omega walks the line beautifully between “is this guy actually a massive jerk in real life” and breaking the fourth wall. I say it every week, as a character, wrestler and talker, Kenny Omega just gets it.
2) JON MOXLEY & EDDIE KINGSTON
In show business, always leave them wanting more. That’s how the mantra goes anyway, but in wrestling that can often give way to frustration that certain characters are not being used enough. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet. During the Bullet Club promo, I just wanted someone to come shut their smarmy arrogant mouths; that’s all you can ask for from a babyface.
3) DEATH TRIANGLE
I do a lot of talking in these rankings about character and story and the rest and that is an essential part of wrestling. But at the end of the day, you have to deliver great matches to be a great wrestler; no team on earth does that better than PAC and Fenix. They probably left out about 70% of the potential spots they could do with the Young Bucks and still put on one of the best TV matches of the year. Sometimes wrestling doesn’t have to be complicated: put on great matches, make people go nuts, go home. That’s all Death Triangle is about and I love it.
4) YOUNG BUCKS
Last week we reamed AEW on the PWM Podcast for destroying the heat of the tag title match by having the Best Friends confront Death Triangle. The Young Bucks brought that heat back in a big way. Without changing their in-ring style at all, the Bucks went from borderline-bland babyfaces to despicable disgusting heels and it’s all based on their character work. Ripping Fenix’s mask off while they were clearly behind in the match was a wonderful touch that just solidified how evil their characters are. It’s the best character work the Bucks have done since their Revolution 2020 match with Omega and Page.
5) INNER CIRCLE
It makes sense for the Inner Circle to get a win back upon their return. The Pinnacle were the big names for about a month as they established their characters, now it’s time for the Inner Circle to establish their new babyface characters. The timeless Chris Jericho put on another great match that featured either the best worked punch I’ve seen in AEW or a man getting his jaw broken when Mike Tyson hit Cash Wheeler. Adding Tyson to the Inner Circle makes sense now after another tremendous Jericho promo and the whole group is full of wrestlers who are top-level workers.
Their drop here is natural because, as I said, the last couple weeks have been about building the Inner Circle as babyfaces and the Pinnacle has played a huge part in doing that. MJF doesn’t need to do a 10-minute promo every week to be effective and that’s the genius about him. Now that we have less than a month until Blood and Guts, I expect this story to become a lot more even which means we should see both Pinnacle and Inner Circle in the top five very soon.
7) BRITT BAKER
Britt Baker can say more in a two minute promo than most wrestlers can say in 10. Britt went from bland, milquetoast babyface to unbelievably charismatic heel in almost record time. Her turnaround rivals the Rock’s and I’m not overexaggerating; Baker is on track to become the face of an AEW women’s division that now has more eyes on it than ever and she has earned it.
8) DARBY ALLIN
We discussed it on this week’s PWM Podcast: Darby Allin is a perfect TNT Champion. He exemplifies the underdog babyface, he has great matches with everyone and whoever takes that belt off of him will be a much bigger star for it. That’s all you want from a champion.
9) THE FACTORY
It’s probably starting to become a running joke how much I love Anthony Ogogo but I’ll own it. Everything he and the Factory do draws me in, I hang on every word of their promos and every second in their matches. Ogogo has been built to look like an absolute killer but in the best way possible. His one punch on Dynamite was more impactful than almost any move in any match and that’s a credit to his incredible character work. This group is everything I want from my factions, everything I want from AEW and everything I want from my wrestling.
10) TAY CONTI
She wasn’t on the show this week but Tay Conti is setting up to be a perfect foil to Britt Baker. Britt is arrogant, sleezy and condescending. Conti is kind, passionate and personable. Both women have boundless charisma combined with incredible in-ring skill. These two will fight for number one contendership soon but I hope their rivalry goes beyond that. Conti deserves to be showcased as a wrestler and as a character and, just like Jon Moxley, her absence this week just made me believe that more.