Well, 2021 was just slightly better than 2020 I guess. In the world of AEW we did get fans back into the arenas plus many a new signing including CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole. We also had many standout 2021's from members of the AEW roster so in a slight twist to our Historical Top Ten series, we look back at the year that was and rank the top ten wrestlers in All Elite Wrestling from the past 12 months.
As per usual, we have criteria to separate the Kenny Omegas from the Luthers.
Win/Loss Records ranging from overall W-L to W-L on Dynamite/Rampage/PPVs
Consistency over the year from our PW Musings Power Rankings (including a retrospective rank from the early months of the year before it became a regular feature on this site)
Performances in quarter hours in television viewership from Dynamite and Rampage
Star ratings from Dave Meltzer and Cagematch ratings
#1- Kenny Omega
The AEW Men's World Champion for 317 of the 365 days of 2021, Kenny Omega's year saw him lead the men's rankings for 10 months with a reign that has already earnt 2nd position in the Top Ten Title Reigns of All Time that is on our website.
While his overall win-loss record of 17-6-1 (.729) doesn't put him in the top ten of that category, it can be argued that his inactivity in the ring due to resting injuries between title matches and losses in tag matches and multi-man matches is a reason for his winning average being less than .800.
When in the ring though, Omega was deserving of his Elite status with 10 matches with a rating of over 8.00 from readers of Cagematch and second position in the Meltzer Star Ratings rank.
The most impressive stat from Omega's 2021 it could be argued is the stat that Kenny had the joint most Highest Increase in Viewership Quarters in the 18-49 demo with Omega being part of nine segments that saw the highest increase in the key demo.
Most Highest Increases in Viewership in an Episode in the 18-49 demo
1- Kenny Omega 9
1- Chris Jericho 9
3- Hangman Page 6
4- Darby Allin 5
4- MJF 5
4-Young Bucks 5
7- Penelope Ford 4
7-Bryan Danielson 4
9-Sammy Guevara 3
How Omega's 2021 compares to others in the history of pro wrestling will be a subject for a future Top Ten but compared to his peers in AEW he is the definitive No.1 in 2021.
#2- The Young Bucks
With a AEW World Tag Title reign that earnt them the No.4 spot in the Top Ten Title Reigns article which ended with their loss to the Lucha Brothers in a Steel Cage which was one of six matches from Matt and Nick that got a +8.00 rating on Cagematch and received a *****3/4 rating which helped elevate the Bucks to first in the Star Ratings list, The Bucks' 2021 was a standout year .
Wrestlers with Most points in correlation to Dave Meltzer's Star Ratings
(***** or more= 10pts, ****3/4= 8pts, ****1/2= 6pts, **** 1/4= 4pts, ****= 2pts)
1- Young Bucks 112pts
2- Kenny Omega 98pts
3- Lucha Brothers 94pts (Accumulation of Penta and Fenix matches)
4- Bryan Danielson 66pts
5- Jurassic Express 56pts (Jungle Boy's 16pts from singles added to the tally)
6- Pac- 52pts
7-Eddie Kingston 36pts
7-Jon Moxley 36pts
9-Hangman Page 34pts
The Bucks also had top ten finishes in the list of acts that had the highest viewership number in a episode ( joint 4th with five) and Top 3 viewer numbers (joint 3rd with fourteen) mainly in conjunction with their Elite teammate Kenny Omega.
Their 11-2 record in tag matches (.846) put them seventh in the tag Win-Loss records and they would be the only team to place in the Top 5 in each of the first 10 months in the Musings Power Rankings with a non-placing due to inactivity in the month of November.
The premiere team in not just AEW but in all of wrestling in 2021, Matt and Nick Jackson's 2021 will be under consideration as an all-timer year along with Kenny Omega.
An overall win-loss record of 18-2-1 that puts him seventh in the men's overall ranking with a 11-1-1 record in singles action on Dynamite/Rampage, Page's 2021 was more than just about win and losses and his biggest win at Full Gear which put him top of the AEW mountain. His story of his quest to win the AEW World Title which won Story of the Year award in the PW Musings Awards was a massive success in the ratings with Page getting into the Top 3 highest quarters on 13 occasions, earning him fifth in that category with Hangman having the highest quarter four times putting him in the Top Ten there.
Most Top Three Quarters in an Episode in 18-49
1- Kenny Omega 16
2-Chris Jericho 15
3- Young Bucks 14
3- Darby Allin 14
5-Hangman Page 13
7-Jon Moxley 12
8- Cody Rhodes 11
9- CM Punk 9
9- Sammy Guevara 9
9- FTR 9
His in-ring work would see him with four matches with a +8.00 on Cagematch and two five star+ rated matches from Meltzer catapulting Hangman into the Top Ten in the Star Rating List.
Next year will probably be Hangman's biggest year yet with his AEW reign continuing with challengers waiting for their shot but his 2021 will always be one to remember.
#4- Lucha Brothers
The Lucha Brothers have not only excelled in tag action with not just their tag title win at All Out, tagging with others to gain shots at the Young Bucks title in the first half of 2021 but also in singles action with Fenix getting a shot at Kenny Omega's AEW World Title at the start of 2021 which got the Dave Meltzer 5-star treatment.
Fenix's early 2021 saw him in the top 10 of the retrospective Men's Singles Power Rankings in the first 3 months of the year with Penta El Zero have an entry in June's edition. Fenix and his Death Triangle partner Pac would win the Tag Casino Battle Royale earning a shot the Bucks while Penta teamed with Eddie Kingston earning two entries in the Tag Power Rankings.
Fenix and Penta would have success in the quarter hours with the brothers having 10 Top 3 quarters in an episode between them. Also between them the pair have 6 matches between them with a 8.00 or more on Cagematch with the pair in third in Meltzer's Star Rating list.
With an active 2021, the Lucha Brothers have shined in AEW but a AEW Tag Title reign that did not live up to expectations would end at the hands of Jurassic Express with Rey Fenix getting a gruesome arm injury at the end of the match. When we next see Fenix is something that is unknown so it might up to to Penta to uphold the Lucha Bros name in 2022.
#5- Britt Baker
The class of the field in the women's division in 2022, holding the AEW World Women's Title for over half of the year, Baker's singles win-loss record of 19-2 (.904) is only second to Jade Cargill's perfect record of 21-0 but Baker's strength of schedule was superior with Britt beating 6 of the other 9 that make up the top ten in the Women's division in the AEW Metrics ranking which you can read on our website.
Britt's 8 months on top of the her division's Power Rankings is only bettered by Omega and The Bucks in their respective Men's and Tag rankings with her 10 Top 5 placings also only bettered by her partner's Elite stablemates.
PW Musings Power Ranking by Month NR Not Ranked - Not Signed
Men's Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Kenny Omega 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 NR
Hangman Page NR 10 2 2 7 4 4 7 NR 3 1 1
Fenix 4 N 9 8 NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
Penta El Zero NR NR NR NR NR 5 NR NR NR NR NR NR
Darby Allin 2 2 4 3 8 N/R NR 5 NR 10 NR NR
Bryan Danielson - - - - - - - - NR Jt-2 2 2
CM Punk - - - - - - - - NR 4 4 3
Jungle Boy NR 6 NR 7 NR 2 6 NR NR NR 8 NR
Jon Moxley 3 7 5 4 4 NR NR 10 6 7 5 NR
Young Bucks 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 5 NR 5
Lucha Bros NR NR NR NR NR NR NR 2 1 Jt-2 1 1
Jurassic Express NR 3 9 4 7 NR NR 3 3 NR 4 7
Britt Baker NR 4 8 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
One of Britt's losses would be to Thunder Rosa (which is officially not on her record as it was a non-sanctioned match) which would be the highest rated match in the women's division in 2021 according to Cagematch and Dave Meltzer with her All Out match against Kris Statlander also getting four stars making her of four women in AEW to get four stars plus from Meltzer (the other three being Riho, Serena Deeb and Hikaru Shida). But Britt distanced herself from the women's field with her title reign and her spectacular match against Rosa which has earned her her spot on this list.
#6- Darby Allin
When researching for this piece, the most remarkable stat that came from it was the stat that Darby Allin had the most highest quarters in the key demo in 2021
Most Highest Quarters in 18-49 demo
1- Darby Allin 9
2- MJF 6
3- Jon Moxley 5
3- Young Bucks 5
3- Kenny Omega 5
6- Hangman Page 4
6- Cody Rhodes 4
6- Adam Cole 4
One of the main reasons for this would be his defences of his TNT Title with 5 of those high quarters being championship defences in the main event.
Allin's overall win-loss record of 32-4 (.889) puts him in the Men's Top Ten with his partnership with Sting accumulating a 5-0 (.1000) record in tag matches putting them top in that list alongside the team of Shawn Spears and Wardlow but with Sting and Allin having the strength of schedule advantage having 4 of their 5 victories coming against teams with a winning percentage of over .750 and 2 with a percentage over .900.
Quality wise the readers of Cagematch gave Allin three matches a mark of +8.00 on three occasions with Allin getting a a solitary ****1/2 rating from Meltzer, one of just five to get 4 plus stars. However Allin's contribution to AEW in 2021 would be as CM Punk's first opponent in All Elite Wrestling with that match being seen as the main reason for All Out's 200,000 plus PPV buy rate.
#7- Bryan Danielson
With just 4 months under his belt so far in the AEW portion of his career, it has been said that Danielson's run in All Elite Wrestling has been his best so far. While the argument can be that his body of work so far is too limited to make that judgement, his matches with Kenny Omega and Hangman Page are in the pantheon of his best matches in his storied career.
An overall record of 13-1-2 with a singles record of 13-0-2 (that solitary loss came in a 8-man tag that also featured Christian Cage, Jurassic Express and The Super Elite) Danielson finished eighth and 10th in those rankings respectively.
The Omega and Page matches on Dynamite would earn a 5-star rating from Meltzer helping Bryan to 4th place in Star Rating List with his matches against Minoru Suzuki and Eddie Kingston putting him at four matches over 8.00 on Cagematch.
Starting with his exceptional rematch against Hangman Page on the TBS debut episode of Dynamite, expectations will be high for Danielson in 2022 but chances are they will be met and we'll see Danielson in the Top Ten of 2022.
#8- CM Punk
After seven years away from wrestling (or sixteen if you would take Punks opinion into consideration), CM Punk returned to our screens in an unforgettable moment at The First Dance. But when the bell rang, Punk needed to show that he still had it and he has shown that he still one of the best.
A flawless record so far in AEW, his .1000 record puts him first in the men's overall and singles list with his 8-0 record in singles with all eight being on Dynamite, Rampage and PPV putting Punk top of the list of male wrestlers records on the TNT shows and PPV
Win-Loss Singles Records on TNT shows and PPV (minimum of 5 matches)
1- CM Punk 8-0 .1000
2- Christian Cage 7-1 .875
3- MJF 6-1 .857
3- Chris Jericho 6-1 .857
5- Hangman Page 11-1-1 .846
5- Miro 11-2 .846
5- Bryan Danielson 11-0-2 .846
8- Jon Moxley 9-2 .818
9- Darby Allin 17-4 .809
10- Sammy Guevara 7-2 .777
Punk's nine Top 3 quarters in 18-49 puts him eighth in that list with the 842,000 that watched that CM Punk appearance in Chicago the highest quarter viewership in the key demo in all of 2021 on AEW. Also we should mention that his part in the promo in which he and Eddie Kingston verbally battled it out won the PW Musings Promo of the Year (with a tremendous write up of that promo if I say so myself)
Now CM Punk has settled back into the grind of professional wrestling, odds are his 2022 will be special and unforgettable.
#9- Jurassic Express
While Jungle Boy has had glimpses of success in the Men's Singles Division with a singles record of 17-3, its been teaming with Luchasaurus that has defined his 2021 with Jurassic Express' 14-3 and with their 7 placings in the Tag Team Power Rankings with only The Young Bucks with more placings.
Dave Meltzer would like him some Jurassic Express in 2021 with the team accumulating a total of 56 points to put them 5th in that particular list.
Jungle Boy's popularity would translate to the quarter hour viewership with 3 highest quarter hours putting him in a group of wrestlers under the Top Ten with Chris Jericho, Penta, Christian Cage and Sammy Guevara.
2022 has started fantastically for Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus with their AEW Title win on the debut episode on TBS but as many champions have said, being the champ is harder than being the challenger so expect Jurassic Express to have to fend off many a team in 2022 in their title reign.
#10- Jon Moxley
A year that would see Moxley end it away from the ring, Moxley would have an overall record of 26-7 and a 9-2 in singles. Mox would have twelve Top 3 quarters to his name with five Highest Viewership quarters placing him in the top ten of both lists.
Matches with a Cagematch rating of 8.00 or higher
1- Kenny Omega 10
2- PAC 6
2- Young Bucks 6
4- Jon Moxley 5
5- Hangman Page 4
5- Bryan Danielson 4
5- Eddie Kingston 4
5- Hikaru Shida 4
5- Lucha Brothers 4
9- Fenix* 3
*Matches away from his regular tag partner Penta El Zero Meido
Moxley's performances in the ring would earn him a Top Ten spot in the Star Rating List with 5 matches getting over the 8.00 mark on Cagematch.
Moxley would one of just three wrestlers to get shots at the AEW Men's Singles and Tag Titles along with Jungle Boy and Rey Fenix with Moxley's consistency throughout 2021 seeing him place in the Power Rankings nine times in 2021 with Omega and Page the only people with more placings in the Top Ten.
Expectations are that Moxley will be back on AEW television sooner rather than later. What we see from Moxley when he returns has been debated by AEW fans in the last week but with it being Moxley expect the former AEW Champ to be fired up on his return.