WRESTLING'S BUDDY COMEDY
AEW POWER RANKINGS POST-4/21
AEW broke with tradition this week when they delivered us an absolutely packed show off the back of a very match-focused effort last week. No one’s complaining about this of course, least of all me. AEW’s stories are moving along at a brisk pace and that’s exactly what I want to see as someone who meticulously follows and criticizes every week’s Dynamite. So let’s see what all this good stuff actually did to the rankings…
1) KENNY OMEGA
AEW has taken the “less is more” approach with Kenny Omega and this is a difficult thing to do with a world champion. Both Chris Jericho and Jox Moxley were featured very prominently in every single show while they held the strap; Omega is around much less than that. But this approach does actually work for Kenny Omega as it works for his character. Putting him and the Elite in a separate trailer just shows how much they despise the rest of AEW and that’s the entire story. You get that feeling that Kenny Omega believes he’s much better than everyone in the company and was kind of insulted to have to share so much space with them during his first two years in the company. Kenny is a master of long term storytelling and this is just more evidence of that.
2) JON MOXLEY & EDDIE KINGSTON
Did these two guys forget that wrestling is supposed to be fake? Mox and King are such a contrast to the sometimes over the top nature of AEW, a company that features a dinosaur, two bears and half human half skeleton hybrid in its weekly programming. From the brilliance of the trailer segment to the little things like Mox calling out “those Jackson boys” specifically, these two guys are such a breath of fresh air. Their personal interactions are so charming and witty they’re just a joy to watch every week. I want more of them on my TV screen and that’s what being a great babyface is about.
3) INNER CIRCLE
While watching Chris Jericho’s stellar promo live, I didn’t think the Inner Circle would shoot up the rankings like this. But looking back at that whole segment and what it means going forward, I have to recognize just how good the Inner Circle are. They somehow weave five men into a promo seamlessly. Santana’s comment about how forming the Pinnacle is “bitch moves” and Jericho’s “I hope God owns your soul because the Inner Circle owns your ass” line both got an audible pop out of me. It was a risk to have just a one month build to the most anticipated match of the year but the Inner Circle’s promo work is the single biggest reason that build has worked so well.
4) DEATH TRIANGLE
I’m happy to see Penta get some singles work in while Fenix and PAC presumably continue to chase the tag titles. For many of us who got introduced to the indie scene by AEW when it first started, it was a surprise to learn Penta is such a talented singles wrestler. But here he is playing the slimy heel which he does so well. Alex Abrahantes’ line about hating Trent’s mom was great as well, the two make such a great pair. I want to see more of Penta on his own. Oh yeah, PAC and Fenix are great too.
I would have put the Pinnacle above Death Triangle solely because of MJF’s incredible promo, but one thing just bothered me: the overuse of insider terms. Now I understand it’s not 1973 anymore and some insider terminology is acceptable in today’s wrestling; but between MJF and Wardlow, they used the word “promo” to describe Jericho’s speech two weeks ago about a dozen times. At times, this segment felt like MJF and Wardlow were critiquing Chris Jericho’s promo like some dirt sheet writer would and that just didn’t sit well with me. Don’t get me wrong, MJF is the best promo in the game and wrestling’s best heel and Wardlow needs to talk more, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel with the insider terminology.
6) YOUNG BUCKS
I feel bad for dropping the Young Bucks like this after what was a really good (albeit short) promo from Matt Jackson. But the Blood and Guts story has to take precedence moving closer to the event and, credit to the Bucks, they’re letting it do that.
7) DARBY ALLIN
Allin has quietly become one of the most consistent wrestlers in AEW after three straight weeks of A-level performances. And here’s what impresses me so much about Darby: all three matches were entirely different. He was the underdog babyface getting killed against JD Drake, he had a wild hardcore brawl with Matt Hardy and now had a mat classic with Jungle Boy. Allin’s consistency has stood out so much to me in the last month and, with a feud against Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page now seemingly on the cards, I can’t wait to watch Darby Allin every week.
8) THE FACTORY
I’m sorry, I just had to do it. Objectively, QT Marshall’s match against Billy Gunn was paint by numbers, average stuff. Not that that’s bad or anything. But my God the character work of this group blows me away. Obligatory Anthony Ogogo praise here: his anti-America promo had me laughing in the best possible way because I just love the oldest of old school heel tactics there. As a fan, I hate him because he’s insulting my country, and Jim Ross put that over on commentary. As a pundit- as much as I pretend to be one- I absolutely love the back to basics style of his promos. Also he punches with the strength of a thousand suns and Billy put him over so effectively. In addition to all of that, Dustin smashing a wooden chair over an unmoving Nick Comorato was such a great moment and had me smiling from ear to ear. I love this group so much.
9) BRITT BAKER
It seems evident now Britt will be the one to take the women’s championship off of Hikaru Shida and that is the right call. Britt is the strongest character in the women’s division and putting the title on her will only raise its stature. Dr. Britt is what the AEW women’s division needs right now.
10) TAY CONTI
I believe Tay Conti should be world champion right now. Yes it would have been a huge risk to take to put the belt on her now but Tay represents everything the women’s division is becoming. Shida is boring, barely talks and, frankly, puts on pretty average matches most of the time. Conti, along with the rest of the women in AEW who are elevating the division, is great talker even with English being a second language for her, her matches are phenomenal and she draws you in with her natural physical charisma. I still believe Tay and Britt are setting up to be the constant rivals that hold AEW’s women’s division together for some time and I think Tay showing how tremendous of an in-ring talent she is on this Dynamite proves that.