From day one, we have been told that "wins and losses matter" in All-Elite Wrestling. In this series, I compare and discuss the recent results and the officially published rankings to the competitive standings based on my own patent-pending schedule-strength sensitive rankings system. An explanation of the inner workings of the W&LM Tier-based ranking system may be found here: W&LM Intro. Links to each divisions' spreadsheet are located at the bottom of the spreadsheet section of this website.
The official AEW rankings are (usually) published on Wednesday before Dynamite each week. This can cause confusion in retrospect, because it is easy to forget that the rankings from past Wednesdays do NOT take into account the matches that happened later that same evening. Point being that a lot of the wins and losses that matter are from a week or so ago at this point. Although we will also talk about how matches scheduled for Dynamite or Rampage may be expected to potentially affect standings, though in this case that effect would be very little:
For the third week in a row, there are no men's 2v2 matches to make an impact on the tag division standings. And while there are five 1v1 matches scheduled tonight, and they all have some level of intrigue, none has significant implications for singles standings, because each includes one competitor with no established singles record: two of them (Purrazzo and the 7'-tall mystery man) debuting in the promotion, one (Jeff Hardy) with their first singles bout, and two (Fenix and Santana) tag specialists who haven't had a singles match in AEW for over a year.
Last week, however, was another matter! There were major match-ups between competitors with established records in both the Women's and Men's divisions, (though the tag scene has been very quiet.) Updated rankings taking into account last week's match-ups were published this morning, let's look at how well they take into account these developments:
In the lovely new layout for the official AEW rankings that debuted last week, there are handy green triangles to indicate who has been gaining ground: in this week's case, Kazarian and Team Taz. Both have decent enough records: in the past 90 days Kaz is 6 & 0, and Starks & Hobbs are 2 & 0. However, Team Taz had their last 2-on-2 match on April 15th, and the new TNT champ's former tag partner got his most recent singles win way back in March! It appears that what matters for moving up the official rankings is making challenges more so than winning matches!
My version of the standings are far less susceptible to words, so let's take a look at those. Here are the Women's standings through last week:
We had a huge blow-off match-up last week between Serena Deeb and Hikaru Shida, two of the biggest stars of their division. Although Deeb came out ahead in their series, they still ended with some wins on each side, which limited the impact some. The official rankings for the Women's division were completely unchanged from last week, though I have to assume this would be different except that the big winner had already been at the #1 spot.
Scorpio Sky defeated Sammy Guevara in the ladder main event, another situation where both competitors already held wins over the other. But Sky won not only the TNT Championship but a big move up in singles standings. Ricky Starks made a move up as well, despite not competing in singles, because a loss from last April aged off, and he is now undefeated 10/0 for the running year.
The biggest mover was Max Caster, another statistical oddity of other competitors' matches aging off so that his losses hurt him less.
But the most significant match in terms of moving a competitor into the top tier, though, was Lance Archer v Wardlow. Wardlow has been on the up for some time, but he hadn't yet gotten a signature victory over an actual top talent. Beating Lance Archer (who had previously defeated tip-top Jon Moxley to take his IWGP US Championship) would completely change all of that. Below is a comparison of their wins and losses categorized by opponent tier before their match, and you can see that they were very similar but for Wardlow lacking that signature win,
How Wardlow's contractual status will be resolved to allow it remains to be seen, but it seems clear that, by hook or crook, Wardlow is on a collision course with the man who owns that contract. Friedman is tops in my standings with the exception of the World Champion and his anointed challenger, and, as usual, is ignored by the official ranks. Perhaps we'll get some clue how that will be playing out tonight.
Meanwhile, the #1 Contender, CM Punk, has topped the official rankings only for the past couple weeks, but has been perennially tops in my standings going back to his momentous (and bloody) victory over MJF. With the Champion cleared of COVID, we will likely hear what the two have to say to one another tonight.
Because of the unusual lack of matches with implications for competitive standing tonight, I'm not sure yet if an update will be warranted next week, but I will keep you posted with semi-regular updates regarding the competitive levels of AEW competitors. Please reach out to me with any questions or thoughts!