THEY ACTUALLY FIXED THAT FINISH!
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
AEW POWER RANKINGS POST-3/10
Well folks… they’ve done it. AEW took the most infamously botched finish in recent memory and turned it into two feuds, a new team and a world class new championship contender. They took what was supposed to be the most obvious story of the year and swerved us all. And they took a lot of uncertainty after Revolution and turned it into some of the most exciting wrestling you’ll ever see. Let’s see how these rankings break down after a massive Dynamite!
1) KENNY OMEGA
Everyone and their dog knows how the finish to the exploding barbed wire deathmatch at Revolution played out so I won’t get into that here. But despite being reportedly furious at the way that went down (and I don’t blame him), Kenny Omega played the whole thing off like it was the plan for months. He was genuinely contemptible the way he made fun of Moxley and Kingston, a moment that was supposed to be an emotional catharsis after months of hatred between the two men. It’s a well known fact Omega is a better wrestler than he is a talker, but when he’s got material the guy can cut a top level promo and that’s what he did tonight. I cannot wait to see Christian Cage battle Kenny Omega for the World Title and that is not something I thought I was going to say.
2) JON MOXLEY
Moxley and Omega delivered one of the greatest deathmatches of all time that was all undone because of a botched ending. Coming into this Wednesday, there was talk about how Moxley and Kingston are the only two men who could save this but it was ultimately just a hypothetical. Many of us, myself included, believed this finish would live in infamy and we’d be done with it. But no. Moxley and Kingston cut the promo of their lives, explaining away everything we saw, making us laugh, making us feel emotional and making us care again about a feud that seemed so cold you could chill a Hangman Page beer on it. If you weren’t sure before, be sure now: Jon Moxley is the best babyface promo in the entire sport of wrestling and I’m not sure it’s close.
3) DEATH TRIANGLE
On our new podcast (which you can check out on the Pro Wrestling Musings YouTube channel and on PodBean right now), I said the Fenix & PAC vs. Young Bucks match would be about a million stars. I think I underestimated. Fenix has gone from a part of that cool lucha tag team to the babyface in a stop gap feud while PAC was away to now one of the best wrestlers in the world. I would be every dollar I have to see Fenix wrestle and tree stump. The crazy thing is, he might not even be the best wrestler in Death Triangle… PAC is every bit as good which leaves Penta- one of the best Mexican wrestlers of the last decade in his own right- as the third best wrestler in that group. It boggles the mind.
I do take booking into account when I make these rankings. I think I have to. I know how good some wrestlers ought to be but I can only go by what I see. And what I saw to close Dynamite this week was one of the most unexpected and welcome swerves in modern wrestling. And that’s not hyperbole. As soon as MJF started teasing he’d join the Inner Circle a year ago, everyone knew he’d join and eventually kick out Jericho to take over the group. I never heard a single person suggest he’d form his own group like this and absolutely decimate AEW’s oldest faction. But here we are. A faction vs. faction feud done right. And with MJF as the head of a group that features FTR, Wardlow and Shawn Spears, I cannot wait to see what the future holds for every man in this feud.
“Well the Four Horsemen might be back.” That’s what I said last week. I never could have expected what we ended up getting. Is this the new version of the Four Horsemen with some extra muscle and managers? Is this an nWo-style faction led by the detestable, unbeatable MJF? Is this a new kind of faction storytelling we’ve never seen before? Truthfully, I don’t know, but I would fully expect FTR to challenge the Young Bucks for the tag titles after Double or Nothing- which will conveniently be when AEW starts to pack stadiums with fans again.
6) INNER CIRCLE
A third straight entry where I just get to marvel at how incredible this angle to closet he show was. Everyone in the Inner Circle played their roll brilliantly. It felt smart, as Jericho derided MJF for not believing the group communicated and then was completely swerved by the reality none of us saw coming. I didn’t realize how naturally babyface the Inner Circle could be. But what I realized while watching the vicious beatdown was, after so much work put into the storytelling of this group, the payoff of realizing that these guys are all really great friends and they all have each other’s back was far more emotional than I expected it to be. I’m going to miss Jericho tearing down his opponents and being the dastardly heel we’ve all known for the last two years, but it’s time for a change and Jericho is as good a babyface as they come.
7) YOUNG BUCKS
What’s unfortunate for the Young Bucks is they’ve been left behind by all the stories I just spent the past six entries discussing. They’re not part of the Elite/Bullet Club story anymore, they’re not part of the Inner Circle vs. MJF’s group story anymore. They’re not really part of anything. I can’t even tell what their characters are. I think they’re babyfaces but so are Death Triangle and the Bucks are closer to heel than that group. So the Bucks are on an island right now, nowhere to go, not sure who they are. I hope this gets fixed soon.
8) DARBY ALLIN
Scorpio Sky’s heel turn was exactly what Darby needed. I really did enjoy the street fight at Revolution (again, listen to our podcast to hear our complete thoughts). But it was time for the TNT champion to get a proper singles feud as the belt began to feel like an afterthought. Boy did AEW deliver here. They are on track to give us a proper old school face vs. heel feud. A bloodthirsty heel who’d tear the babyface limb from limb and a plucky baby face who just won’t give up. Darby is perfect in this role. He’s a true underdog baby face and I can’t wait to see this feud get the time it deserved.
9) BRITT BAKER
I was confused but willing to go with the booking of the women’s tournament. On the one hand, AEW clearly knows how to tell stories (see the previous seven entries), on the other hand it must be said the women’s division hasn’t gotten the same level of thought the men have so far. Well, once again, AEW proved they do know what they’re doing. After delivering a classic between Shida and Mizunami at Revolution, they gave us a really fun six-women tag and what promises to be a brutal lights out match next week. This is storytelling done right and Britt Baker plays her character beautifully. This is the most excited I’ve been for the AEW women’s division in a long time.
10) THUNDER ROSA
Wrestling ability alone isn’t everything in the sport of professional wrestling. But for Thunder Rosa, all she needs to do is show even a glimpse of a character I care about to get into these rankings and she’s done that. She’s one of, if not the, best female wrestlers in the world and now she gets to sink her teeth into another old school storyline with Britt Baker. See my previous entry; I cannot wait for next week’s main event.
OUT OF THE RANKINGS THIS WEEK
CODY RHODES: I gave him the credit he deserved for pulling a damn good match out of three incredible inexperienced wrestlers last week, but Revolution and this week’s Dynamite just reminded me why Cody had been out of the rankings so much: his absolutely bizarre booking. The guy is a brilliant wrestler he doesn’t need to be booked like a monster. Kenny Omega was giving his jobbers more time when he was preparing to be world champion. Here Cody is squashing his jobber with three moves for no reason at all. I hate the way Cody is booked, but maybe a feud with afore-mentioned Penta will make me look more kindly on the American Nightmare.