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.