“You’re the best around; Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down”- You’re the Best – Joe Esposito (1984)
Welcome back to The Steamy Files, your #1 resource for Tween Wave-related opinions here on NoDQ. Last episode, we discussed why I believe the WWE Performance Center has been a failure. If you missed it, catch it right here. One name I didn’t bring up in the column due to the fact he isn’t currently sports entertaining on either RAW or SmackDown was Baron Corbin. My good friend and fellow bird aficionado Joe Cirillo (shoutout to Bobby and Monsoon) brought up that BC won the US title and the KOTR.
This is true. With that being said, I still stand by my point. I did mention title wins in my column, but it doesn’t mean that winning a title is the only metric for being an attraction. The Great Khali was World Champion for TK’s sake. I’m willing to be proved wrong and maybe the need for stars that will come once the current FCW generation retires will force someone to step up.
I’ve been a little stuck lately about what topic I want to cover. There’s been so much news, both good and extremely bad, but I always try to cover subjects that are different. I had been scratching my head about what I wanted to talk about in this edition of the Steamy Files, then it came to me.
We have collectively been under a dark cloud for the past week, so let’s try to entertain ourselves and have a little fun. I’ve really been into tier lists for a while, so I thought, let’s rate the entire AEW roster.
I will be using the roster as it currently stands on https://www.allelitewrestling.com. I will only be rating wrestlers who are either active, injured or who are on the roster but not on TV. Only the people listed on the roster page will be considered. I will be diving them into 6 tiers: S, A, B, C, D and F. S is the highest tier and F the lowest. I will explain what those letters mean in the introduction of each section and will explain my reasoning for each ranking.
Given that there are a lot of contracted wrestlers and that I’ll be commenting on each one, if you just want to see the list, you can find it here. You can read the entries you’re interested in below, or not. I won’t judge you; this is a beast of a column.
If you would like to participate and make your own tier list. Feel free to use the template I created on Tiermaker and share your lists with me on Twitter or in a comment under this column. I will also be linking both the graphic and the template again at the end for convenience.
Let’s get started
1- S Tier
S tier stands for superstar. These are the people who I feel are doing the best work on AEW TV right now. This is an elite (no pun intended) tier and so it’s rarified air to breathe.
Honourable mention: MJF isn’t on the roster page at this time so I can’t include him officially in the rankings. Safe to say if he was on the roster, he’d be in the S tier. Get well soon MJF, you’re already missed.
Eddie is perhaps the most genuine pro wrestler there is. Whenever the man grabs a mic, you feel like you’re peering into his soul and getting a look at the human being behind the gimmick. His style is also unique in that he’s a wild brawler but not a hardcore wrestler per se. The winner of the Continental Classic, I think Eddie is often overlooked because he doesn’t fit the typical “body builder” look that some have long been associated with pro wrestling. To those critics I say, go back and see how wrestlers used to look before the widespread use of steroids. Eddie Kingston is that dude in the bar who is sitting on his stool, drinking his domestic draft beer and eating some wings, minding his own business. If you mess with him, he’ll kick your ass and come back in time to play the next round of pool.
An AEW original, member of The Elite, former World Champion, there’s a lot to love about Hangman. His character arc between 2020 and 2022 was remarkable. From his team with Kenny Omega, to losing his first World title shot against the Best Bout Machine and finally finishing the story by winning the belt one year later, Hangman is a testament to hard work paying off. He’s had classics with Bryan Danielson, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Swerve Strickland. The ultimate babyface who keeps pushing on no matter what obstacles come his way. His first World Championship reign was marred with controversy due to You Know Who, but I believe he will reach the top of the mountain again. He deserves it.
Samoa Joe is a great AEW World champion already. He’s menacing, he’s a fantastic worker and an even better promo. Despite being in his forties, Joe hasn’t slowed down one bit. He’s proof you don’t need to be 6′ 10 and 400 pounds to be a monster heel. It’s great to finally see Joe get his flowers on a major platform. I know he was in TNA for a long time but I don’t think they ever truly tagged him as the one in the same way that he is currently. Joe is giving that mob boss energy and I’m here for it.
I’m putting both Dax and Cash here as they’re both incredible wrestlers and the best tag team in pro wrestling right now. Anytime FTR is on the screen, you can’t afford to miss it. These men are incapable of having a bad match. I think the feud with the House of Black has been great, but I’d like to see them move on and start working with younger teams in long programs such as Top Flight or Private Party.
Was there any doubt that Timeless Toni Storm was going to be on this tier? We always knew Toni had the in-ring talent but the knock on her was character and promo work. She’s proving to us that we were wrong to ever doubt her. There’s the old saying that funny doesn’t equal money. I disagree. I think the important thing is to not be a joke. If you’re doing comedy but still delivering high-impact matches and believable promos, you’re more than fine. Everything about her presentation is on point. The black and white, the innuendos, Luther as her butler and Mariah May as her apprentice, it all works.
I hesitated in putting Claudio either here or in A tier. I decided to go with the top tier because he’s such a valuable asset to the BCC stable. Claudio isn’t being used as a main event guy, but he’s putting on main event performances every time he’s out there. Whenever he has promo time, he nails it and he’s the kind of guy you need on your roster. If there’s a void to be filled at the top of the card, you can slide Claudio in with no issues. If you need someone to work with younger talent, Claudio is your guy. Claudio is championship material, and I think he would make a great World champion if he ever gets the opportunity (and not the ROH title doesn’t count in my book).
Brody was the standout of the CC to me. Intimidating, great promo and a great mix of power and agility in the ring, he has it all. Some big men want to show off their agility so much they wrestle a cruiserweight style, not Brody. He knows when and how to use big spots to get the moment over and so that it means more when he does it. His presence also helps Julia Hart whenever he’s at ringside with her. Although Malakai Black is technically the leader of the HOB, if the stable were to ever break up, Brody would be the guy I’d strap the metaphorical rocket to.
Christian was always the “other guy”. He was the Marty Jannetty to Adam Copeland’s Shawn Michaels. When he joined AEW, most people were underwhelmed. He had been out of action for years at that point and had only just returned for a spot in the Royal Rumble. While he had fantastic matches with Kenny Omega, most of us assumed that he’d be a veteran hand there to do the honours for the young guys. Little did anyone know; Christian was about to go on the best run of his career. He’s eclipsed Luchasaurus (sorry Killswitch) and he’s made Nick Wayne interesting as more than just a guy who gets beaten up when people want to piss off Darby Allin. Even his old tag team partner’s arrival in AEW didn’t dim the spotlight Christian has on himself at the moment. The TNT title was being treated more as a prop than a prestigious championship before he got it. Even when Luchasaurus was the champion, Christian pretending to have won the belt himself (before he actually did so) was so fun. He’s cutting amazing promos, having great matches and he’s possibly more over than he ever has been in his entire singles career.
Before she officially joined AEW, all I had seen of Deonna was the match she had on Dynamite to unify the ROH women’s titles with Mercedes Martinez. I haven’t really kept up with IMPACT/TNA as the brand has never really piqued my interest. I watched a few shows and PPVs in the early days but nothing much in the last decade. When Deonna debuted, I knew who she was by name but had no strong feelings either way to her signing. In just a few weeks, Deonna has come across as a major star. She’s a fantastic wrestler, she cuts great promos and most importantly, she carries herself like a star. She captures your attention and feels like a big deal. She’s going toe-to-toe on the mic with the best woman in AEW and unless she somehow falls off a cliff, I think she could be a cornerstone of the women’s division for years to come.
I understand that TK wants to promote the ROH brand and elevate it so that it eventually gathers enough interest to land a TV deal, but damn Athena needs to be featured on Dynamite and Collision more. Every segment and match I’ve seen of hers in ROH has been fantastic. Her Minion Overlord gimmick and her bossing around Lexi Nair and Billie Starks is hilarious and extremely entertaining. When this version of Athena is finally unleashed on the AEW women’s division, she will go on a tear. We already know she’s a fantastic wrestler, but now we know she’s the total package.
Ricky is a young man AEW clearly have high hopes for. He has tons of charisma; he’s a great wrestler and he makes everything and everyone around him better. It’s not a coincidence that Big Bill is shining the way he is now by being associated with Ricky. A great smarmy heel, he was the one good thing to come out of You Know Who’s Collision era.
When I first heard rumours of Sting joining AEW back in 2020, I didn’t understand why they’d want him. The man was supposedly retired, in his sixties and coming off a terrible WWE run where he got hurt in his second match. I didn’t see what he could possibly bring to AEW that would warrant him signing. I was very wrong. Sting is a guy I always liked. In his prime, he could have been a major player in WWE. Sting will retire in just a few weeks and he deserves all the praise in the world for his contributions to AEW. Teaming with Darby Allin was the best possible way to use him. He’s shown that he can still go and he will get to end his career on his terms. Darby Allin has been elevated tremendously thanks to Sting. There’s a reason they call him The Icon folks.
I don’t think I need to say anything about Swerve all of you don’t already know. He’s proved himself time and time again. It took a little while for him to finally find his niche in AEW, but now that he has, he’s cemented himself as one of the core members of the roster. The future is extremely bright for Swerve. Oh, and without Swerve, there wouldn’t be the Nana dance, so props for that.
I could write pages upon pages of praise for The American Dragon. In my opinion, Danielson is the best free agent signing in AEW’s history. Ever since his debut at All Out 2021, he’s put on performances that will go down in the history books. Bryan doesn’t miss. The most special thing about the dragon is how he’s able to switch from babyface to heel in an instant. He can get the crowd to go along with whatever role he’s playing and then switch back without ever needing to do a full turn. He can wrestle Yuji Nagata as a face, right after acting like a heel to Eddie Kingston. His promos are amazing and he represents everything I love about AEW. As good as he was in WWE as Daniel Bryan, I’d argue he’s been even better in AEW. The man has wrestled hour-long matches three times, two of which ended in a draw and still left us wanting more. There will never be another Bryan Danielson.
Mox is the guy you call when you’re in a pinch. Mox got dealt a raw hand in his first World title reign, with the pandemic happening very soon after he beat Chris Jericho to become the second ever AEW champion. Despite everything, Mox was a great champion who represented the brand well during a difficult era. Mox’s style can be divisive, but I love it. I personally love seeing different styles, different move sets and different types of characters. When he was in The Shield, I think we all knew that Mox was special. Unfortunately, the limitations placed upon him by a PG rating watered down his more sadistic and violent tendencies and, in turn, had him relying on his comedic talents. There’s a line for me between garbage wrestling and hardcore wrestling. Garbage wrestling is using weapons, blood and sick bumps as a way to cover up for a lack of storytelling, lack of emotion and lack of talent. Good hardcore wrestling uses all these elements to make the story better, to build up suspense. Moxley isn’t taking light tubes to the head on a weekly basis. He’s not going through flaming barbed wire every match. In a way, I think his style might be one of the safest. Sure, he gets cuts, bruises and scars, but in 4 years, the man has suffered only one major injury which was the return of a staff infection he contracted while recovering from a triceps tear in WWE. He got a concussion against Fenix, but he’s stayed very healthy despite wrestling a very physical style.
Remember what I said about funny but not a joke? OC is the very definition of that. When you first see him, you think that the “Sloth Style” thing is dumb, that it makes everything look fake and that it’s just comedy, but then when he hits that second gear, everything clicks into place. The genius of the gimmick of Orange Cassidy is that he lures his opponents in with a false sense of security. His lazy kicks, hands in his pockets and general nonchalant attitude works because the opponents never sell it like it hurts. It’s always more about frustrating them into underestimating him. It’s a gimmick no one else could do and that wouldn’t work unless you give him the freedom he needs. He’s one of the most active wrestlers on the roster for a reason. This will maybe shock some of you, but if you were to ask me who should be the next AEW World champion, Orange Cassidy would be my choice. I think he and Joe would have a great storyline and great matches. The intensity and menacing aura of Samoan Joseph against the cool, calm and collected Orange Cassidy would make for a very good dynamic.
2- A tier:
A tier is the one below S (duh), these are the people who are great at what they do but are missing that little something extra to make them truly great. Some of the people on this list will eventually become great, some might slide down to a lower level and some will just stay here.
I’m putting Will here because, as of the writing of this column, he hasn’t officially been involved in a storyline in AEW. The matches he’s had while not officially under contract have been phenomenal. His matches with Orange Cassidy and Kenny Omega at Forbidden Door have been MOTY candidates two years in a row. When he joins the roster in a few weeks and starts being a regular part of the show, I have no doubt he will reach S tier.
2.2-The Young Bucks:
I like the Bucks, but sometimes I just get tired of them. I think they work best in small doses and while their matches are enjoyable, I don’t find them entertaining on the mic. They also tend to over rely on big spots sometimes. What I can’t deny is that they’re a great team bell-to-bell. When there’s a big match such as with FTR or Hangman/Omega; the Bucks deliver. There’s a reason Sting chose them for his last match. Nicholas and Matthew also deserve a lot of credit for helping found AEW.
I’m putting Mariah here because I feel like there’s more to her that we haven’t seen yet. She hasn’t been able to show as much of her charisma and mic skills on TV, but her online promos have been excellent. She’s hard-hitting and very talented in the ring. Again, like Will, I think she will be in the S tier sooner rather than later.
Streaks are tough. When you build someone up by having them win match after match, whomever is tasked to defeat them will have the eyes of the world on them to see what they do next. Kris has grown a ton since her debut. She’s overcome two knee injuries; she’s ditched the alien gimmick and has constantly improved on the mic and in the ring. The TBS title was seemingly just an extension of Jade Cargill from its inception, but Stat’s reign was better. She took the rub from Jade’s streak and went on to make the TBS belt seem more important. No shade to Jade, but let’s be honest, her in-ring skills were very limited and as such her matches were somewhat formulaic. We knew what to expect when she had a match. Stat had to step in and redefine the belt before passing it along to Julia Hart.
2.5-Buddy Matthews and Malakai Black:
I put the rest of the House of Black one notch under Brody because while they’re both excellent wrestlers, I don’t get the same killer vibe from them that I get from Big Bad Brody. Malakai is the better talker of the two, but Buddy is a great worker. Perhaps Malakai’s previous back issues are preventing him from taking too many bumps? That would explain why he’s in tag or trios most of the time. When it’s just Buddy and Malakai and no Brody, it doesn’t feel as interesting for some reason.
Talk about a rag-to-riches story. Two unknowns who were teamed up for some Dark tapings during the pandemic era end up becoming one of the most popular teams in AEW. They’ve reached heights that no one could have predicted. Even more, they’ve helped Billy Gunn reach levels of popularity he hasn’t gotten since the Attitude Era. Scissor me timbers.
Big Bill is a success story any way you slice it. The man overcame serious problems with alcohol and got in the best shape of his life. After some time in Impact to get his feet under him and a few false starts in AEW, his pairing with Ricky Starks has worked out extremely well. He has charisma, a great look and he can wrestle a good match. It also helps that he’s seven feet tall, because you can’t teach that.
She’s a fantastic babyface. The right mix of happy-go-lucky but with that fire and intensity that makes her feel like a big deal. Future champion for sure.
Skye has grown leaps and bounds in recent months. Her alliance with Julia Hart is really interesting and allows her to showcase a new aspect of her character. No longer just the girl with the backward hat. I see big things in her future.
2.10-Vincent (from The Righteous):
This guy has something. I wouldn’t say he has blown me away as a worker, but his promos are mesmerizing and he has a great look and vibe. I’m ranking him higher than his partner because Dutch isn’t as interesting to me. I think Vincent would shine as a singles wrestler and he has tons of charisma.
There aren’t many women like Deeb around. A true veteran and a great technical wrestler. I was really happy to see her make her comeback after a long time off. She can still go and any young woman who gets in the ring with her will come out better for it.
Who would have thought the cheerleader for the Varsity Blonds would be the one to achieve stardom first? And so quickly too. Ever since she joined HOB, Julia has been red-hot. The girl is only 22! And she’s already grown leaps and bounds from her first matches on Dark. I have no doubt she will be in the S tier sooner rather than later.
A lot of people criticized AEW for signing Adam, citing his age and his injury history. Some felt it was just a “WCW” move of signing an older talent who had massive success in WWE just because of that history. Well, AC is proving the doubters wrong. The feud with Christian is great, but what really put him up to A tier is the Cope-open. There’s only been a few matches so far, but they’ve all been really good. What’s most important, is that he’s wrestling young talent in these open challenges and helping them get the spotlight. It’s not just about doing the job; sometimes a wrestler can look great even in defeat. If everyone starts pinning Adam left and right, then he isn’t special anymore. Adam is doing exactly what he’s meant to be doing and looks to be having the time of his life.
Dante is perhaps the smoothest high flyer I’ve ever seen. His movements are so fluid, he can just jump from rope to rope, get back on the ground and land on his feet like a damn cat. When Top Flight debuted in AEW, people expected them to be a great tag team. When Darius got injured, Dante was given a chance to shine as a singles wrestler and he took it. One thing I like about AEW is that wrestlers can be in a tag team but also still compete in singles. One doesn’t prevent the other. Dante’s ceiling is extremely high. Even a bad ankle injury didn’t slow him down. Watch that young man closely, he’s going places.
The “young boy” of the BCC has been helped a lot from hanging out with some of the GOATs of the wrestling industry. It’s clear that AEW, and especially Danielson, Claudio and Mox, see something special in him. He’s a very good technical wrestler and his promos are getting better. Iron sharpens iron, and Wheeler is getting sharper by the day.
Jay White has all the tools, but he needs to put them together in a solo run. I’m not really digging Bullet Club Gold as a faction. I like all the members individually, but together? Not so much. He doesn’t need to be aligned with anyone, he’s fantastic on his own. He proved as much in the CC.
I love Kenny Omega as a wrestler, but I have him down on A tier because, like the Bucks, his promos need work. As a heel with Don Callis, he was great, but now that he’s a babyface again, it doesn’t feel right. I especially hate his catchphrase, it’s too long and it’s not good. His last promo with Jericho before it was revealed how sick he was really stunk up the joint.
AAADDAMMM! Roddy really showed a different side after the “injury” angle with Samoa Joe. Who could have predicted that the guy who would shine the most in the Adam Cole-MJF feud would be Roderick Strong? Great veteran who is again showing that when you give someone the ball, they can surprise you. Put the International Championship on him at Revolution, the Undisputed Kingdom needs a big win in order to keep gaining steam.
Injuries have slowed PAC’s momentum. The Bastard is a fantastic pro wrestler with tons of charisma but he’s unable to gain enough steam to truly become a factor. He had a great run as the first All-Atlantic champion and the Lucha Bros have suffered without him around to lead Death Triangle.
Shida could honestly be considered borderline S tier. I chose to put her in A because her promos still need work. It can be hard for non-native English speakers to truly be comfortable cutting promos. Shida’s English is great but she isn’t yet able to convey emotions very well when speaking. Bell-to-bell though? Shida’s untouchable.
Another young lion on the prowl. DG is getting to show more personality with his dancing and it’s connecting with the audience. It was clear from day one that he could go in the ring and he had amazing bouts with Bryan Danielson, but the character work was the missing piece. Being in the JAS really helped him come out of his shell.
Darby is on A and not S because I think there’s still another level he will reach. I love Darby’s offensive style. He uses what should be a detriment (his size) and makes it work by using speed and momentum. Take a baseball and drop it on your foot from your hand. It may hurt a little but not much. Now take that same baseball and put it in a pitching machine. That’s Darby.
If you look up “mean mug” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Hobbs next to it. Hobbs is a star. His time will come for sure. I think using him as a heater at this stage of his career isn’t doing him any favours. He needs to be wrecking people on his own, not being the muscle to a larger stable.
3- B Tier
B tier is about the good hands. Those that are solid but not exceptional. They either are good veterans that can be relied on but not main-event stars, or green guys and gals who need to take that next step. I think some of them just haven’t had the chance to show what they can do and some are victims of bad timing.
If it weren’t for The Acclaimed, Daddy Ass would fall down to C or possibly D. He’s still in great shape for his age, and still has that charisma that helped him survive this long.
Abadon has a very interesting gimmick. They are being used more frequently but there’s a ceiling to what they are doing right now. There’s not much to say about them. They are getting better and have a very unique look. I like them but they are someone who would benefit from being paired with someone who can talk. If you haven’t seen their Hey (EW) episode yet, do yourself a favour and go see it after you’re done here.
On paper, Keith Lee should be a bigger deal. There’s just something that’s not clicking for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. He’s a very talented worker so that’s why I’m putting him at B.
I had bigger expectations for this man when he split up from JB. He hasn’t met them yet. His storyline with Christian is interesting and I think he will be better off as a singles face. He’s a big guy but not a giant. Adam Copeland, who is tall but never has been considered “big”, is about the same height. I think the silly Dinosaur works better than the scary dinosaur.
Vincent’s tag partner ranks just one notch below. He gels well with Vincent and has charisma. I just think Vincent is the star of that team.
Whoa there, put your pitchforks away. I’m ranking Ibushi based on what he’s done in AEW so far, which isn’t a lot. Honestly if he weren’t Kota Ibushi, he’d be ranked much lower, but I’ve seen what the man can do.
Hook is one of those green young guys I mentioned. Great potential, held his own against Samoa Joe but slow and steady wins the race.
Even though Mark Davis is injured and Kyle Fletcher is currently ROH TV champ, I’m ranking them together because I assume that’s the long-term plan. They are extremely talented and can steal the show. When they’re both healthy and together again, they will be a fantastic piece of the AEW tag team division (or even trios).
I like Jack Perry a lot. I don’t hold the “You Know Who” incident against him, but he definitely deserved his suspension. Before that, his heel run was underwhelming. He’s still very young and learning. I’m not worried about him.
2 years ago, The Gunns would have been D or F level. They’ve grown on me. While I’m not the biggest fan of Bullet Club Gold, I think having them with Jay White is only going to be beneficial to them once that stable goes their separate ways.
Speaking of 2 years ago, this is a case of someone going in the opposite direction. 2020–2021 was the year of the Doctor. As a heel, she was on fire and was cutting some of the best promos on Dynamite every week. Her association with Rebel and Jamie Hayter made for a fun dynamic. Britt isn’t the best bell-to-bell wrestler, but she’s good enough to get the job done. Unfortunately, turning face and going on her own revealed that she has major holes in her game. I don’t know if it’s a lack of drive or complacency, but I sometimes forget Britt is on the roster. She complained about not getting any promo time, but girl, you have a phone in your hands. Turn on that camera and cut a promo to remind people you’re the F’N DMD. Give her back an entourage. What about pairing her with Tony Schiavone? Hire Veda Scott to take his place on Dynamite commentary and have Tony be Britt’s manager. They are friends IRL and dumping on Tony is what got Britt over in the first place. It’s an idea. But yeah, Britt is sliding down to the bottom and she needs to pick herself back up.
They call him The Natural and he’s showing us why. At this point in his career, Dustin knows his role and he’s playing it to perfection. It’s hard to believe this man almost retired after DON 2019. His match with Cody put AEW on the map. Give the man one last title run before he hangs them up, he deserves it.
Daddy Magic and Cool Hand Ang will always be 2.0 to me. As a Quebecer, it’s always great to see “des petits gars de chez nous” make it to the big stage. They’re still solid in the ring and have loads of charisma. However, I don’t think they’re a top tag team. I wouldn’t be opposed to see them have a reign with the belts, but I don’t think they need it.
That girl could be anything she wants. She could be an Instagram influencer, a model, an actress, but she chose to wrestle. On top of having the looks and the charisma, Anna has some of the best foot work I’ve ever seen for a woman her age. Look at her in the ring, not a step out of place, never late for a spot, fluid in between moves. She’s growing and getting better by the day but has yet to reach the levels of the other pillars (Statlander, Julia and Skye) just yet. I have no doubt she’ll get there.
Jamie’s long absence from injury has pushed her down this list. I have no doubt she’ll rise up the rankings once she returns.
Danhausen is one of my favourites. He has a great sense of humour and comedic timing and if you don’t follow him on social media, you’re missing out. However, he reminds me a bit of Santino Marella. Although Danhausen is a much better worker, his matches are secondary to his character work. Extremely creative guy but I think his ceiling is right where he is right now.
Rush really showed up in the CC. I’m putting him in B tier because, like others, he needs to work on promos. Being injured so soon after coming back is a damn shame. I’ll be on the lookout for him when he returns.
Fantastic in-ring worker, not a ton of personality that I can see. He hasn’t been in North America long and is only 28. Pairing him with Callis is a good move but he still needs to work on his facial expressions and body language.
4- C Tier:
This tier is basically good not great, midcard talent right now that have a place on the roster but just have zero momentum. They’re all decent and I think most are good, but they aren’t special right now.
The storyline with Saraya and Cool Hand Ang isn’t bad, but there’s a reason it’s mainly on Rampage. Ruby’s a fine professional wrestler and she can be helpful to the young talent but I see her as a gatekeeper.
4.2-Gates of Agony:
Really not much to say about those two. Great look, decent wrestlers, but they’re held back by their association with Brian Cage IMO.
Good wrestler, but she hasn’t really been given much of an opportunity to shine. She was at her best as one of Jade Cargill’s baddies along with Red Velvet.
I haven’t seen him enough to form a clear opinion of him. He seems to have the tools to succeed and working with Christian will help him greatly in the future.
Full disclosure, I’ve tried to write a column on Penta but haven’t been able to get past the first section. I loved Pentagon Jr. in Lucha Underground. I actually like Penta more than Fenix, but right now this isn’t the Penta I remember and loved. He’s a very watered-down version and seems directionless. Fenix is a very good high flyer but he’s never really been that interesting to me. Turn Penta heel and split them up.
I’m starting to think it was all MJF. Since splitting from Max, Wardlow has never been the same. They’ve tried to make him a face, a heel, tried to put him with Arn Anderson but he’s never really clicked. He reminds me very much of a CAW that you assign moves to and just mash buttons randomly. I’ve never been invested in seeing him wrestle.
Mike Bennett and Matt Taven are fine. I really haven’t noticed them much. I’m hoping to see more of them now that they’re in the Undisputed Kingdom.
With Marq Quen’s return, hopefully they can fulfill on that promise they showed when they beat The Young Bucks in the original tag team title tournament. Isiah was stuck with the Hardys for a long time and suffered for it. I’m intrigued on what the future will look like for them.
Good look; good promo, just never really connected with me. He’s Canadian though so I got to put him slightly higher. I miss Dan Lambert.
I’ve never bought into the hype for Sammy. He’s charismatic and he can pull off cool moves but I feel he’s bland. There’s a reason they keep putting him back with Jericho. Every time he breaks away from The Ocho, he gets worse. He’s also a terrible babyface.
4.11-Silver and Reynolds:
I hesitated putting Silver ahead of Reynolds but he hasn’t been doing much on TV by himself. They’re a fine tag team in a stable that’s run its course. I would honestly like to see John Silver have more singles opportunity. If he could bring that BTE energy to his TV work, the man could be a much bigger deal.
She’s never there so where do I put her? She’s the ultimate underdog, small but fiery and a skilled wrestler. However, seeing her on TV for a few weeks every year makes it impossible for her to get any momentum. I guess she’s comfortable in Japan, and that’s OK.
Her matches with Willow and Stat on Collision were very good, but I don’t find her very memorable or think that she does anything unique that makes me want to pay more attention to her.
Father time is catching up to Chris Jericho. I loved Jericho as the first World champion and he has done great things in AEW. His name helped draw viewers and attention in when AEW was in its infancy. Now though? I think his talents would be better used as TK’s side than in the ring. He’s not terrible by any means, but he’s clearly showing his age. My biggest issue with current day Jericho is that his storylines are repetitive, boring and are actively hurting all his rivals. Don Callis was super over after turning on Omega. The Don Callis family could work as a stable, but they are unfortunately stuck working with Jericho and it’s killing their heat.
O Miro where art thou? Seriously, dude where’s Miro? I know right now he’s with his wife CJ as she recovered from a serious infection, but even before that, Miro has barely been seen on AEW TV for a long time. He was red-hot as The Redeemer before he ran into Sammy Guevara which cut his legs off. It seems all we get is some short backstage promo every now and then. Hopefully when CJ is recovered, they both come back to TV and help reenergize Miro.
Thank God that man broke away from Dark Order. Unfortunately, since then, he’s not done much. He did well in limited showings when Dynamite returned to Daily’s Place and then against Orange Cassidy at BOTB, but we haven’t seen him since. I like the kid, but he needs more TV time to get over. Rush being injured doesn’t help.
I like his energy and his promos, haven’t been impressed by his in-ring work yet. The jury is still out.
I think Darius is good but his brother is the star. I like Top Flight as a team but it became clear that he isn’t nearly as over as his brother when Dante got injured and Darius was stuck in limbo.
Thunder Rosa ranks lower because of her long road back from injury. I like her but apart from her feud with Britt Baker, she’s never really wowed me. Happy to see her back, hopefully now that the division has a lot more experienced workers, she can show us more of what she can do.
The few matches he wrestled before getting injured were great, but he didn’t get a chance to really make an impact. I look forward to seeing him back at 100%.
I have no bad words to say against Mark. The fact that he’s able to continue on and try to be a singles wrestler after the tragic loss of his brother and tag partner show amazing strength and resilience. He’s not a young kid anymore though so at this point, I think he’s a good guy to have around but not someone for whom I would devote tons of TV time.
See Ethan Page.
It seems that Nyla’s finally letting her personality shine on ROH. It’s about time. The woman is a riot on social media but her “native beast” gimmick is clichéd and played out at this point. Just because she’s a larger woman than most of the roster shouldn’t automatically make her a heel. Let her be herself. In-ring? She’s never really had a memorable match but I can’t recall a truly terrible one either.
A work in progress; did well against AC.
He’s perfect where he’s at. He’s still in great shape and knows how to work a simple, good match. You need guys like that on your roster. No complaints; keep as-is.
Injuries have cost him a lot of momentum so we’ll see if he can finally show something as The Devil in the Undisputed Kingdom. He needs to get rid of the Panama Sunrise stat, that move looks bad. The flat-footed Canadian Destroyer is bad enough; jumping off the second, stopping and then flipping is even worse.
Being here is already huge for a woman who no one really thought much about prior to her signing with AEW. Tay has grown leaps and bounds already. She’s off on maternity leave right now, but I look forward to seeing what she can do in the future.
5- D Tier:
I’ll make D tier brief; these are mostly the people who could be on the roster or not on the roster and it wouldn’t really make much of a difference to me. Some of them are better than others and while I think they don’t hurt the product; their contributions are minimal.
See Kiera Hogan
She has charisma, I’ll give her that. What I’ve seen of her in the ring hasn’t impressed me.
He’s a guy on the roster? I often get him confused with other luchadores.
John Morrison, Johnny Impact, Johnny Mundo, whatever you want to call him, he’s still the same guy with a different name. Give me something new please.
I think Red Velvet has potential to be a strong C or a B. She has charisma, she’s a good enough worker but she hasn’t made much of an impact overall. All the momentum she’s had in the past was derailed by injuries. I hope she can stay healthy.
I love Saraya, and I totally understand that AEW is trying to keep her safe by not working too many matches, but at this point she’s not really doing anything interesting. I know going heel was her call, but it was the wrong move. She’s a very likeable person who has fought through so much adversity, fans would love to cheer for her. I’d like to see her do more as an active wrestler. Tags and trios are fine, just have her wrestle a bit more.
They got overshadowed by Orange Cassidy and the other new teams that joined AEW. Both men have been injured and that hasn’t helped, but I’m just not that interested in them anymore.
I like the little bit I’ve seen from him but he hasn’t been around enough for me to rank him higher.
5.9-Butcher and The Blade:
Pretty much the same as Best Friends, but they were just never going to be more than a set of decent hands that be used to put other teams over.
Good veteran and he can have a good match. He’s past his prime but not so much that he’s unwatchable.
He recently married Julia Hart, so good for him.
I don’t really get it. Is the water thing supposed to be cool? Eh.
Ivelisse really hurt Diamante’s momentum after the Thunder Rosa incident. She’s decent enough from what I’ve seen, but nothing stands out.
Victim #1 of the Codyverse. Please get Jake Roberts away from him; it’s such a waste of a legend.
I’ve always liked Matt better than Jeff and I feel hiring Jeff was a mistake on TK’s part. The only reason Matt ranks higher is because of his creativity as all the bumps he took in those ladder matches are catching up to him.
He’s been injured so long I’ve forgotten about him, and now without Bobby Fish, I’m not sure how he will be used.
That insane dive from the top of Dario’s office in Lucha Underground was insane. As an AEW talent, he’s not very interesting.
I don’t know when’s the last time she was even on AEW TV. I remember her being talented in the ring but in this stacked women’s division she would have a hard time standing out.
She showed great potential on AEW TV before getting injured.
Great worker, not much personality
She isn’t bad from what I’ve seen, her MMA background makes her unique in AEW. She will mostly be remembered for her “You don’t know me” promo.
Very agile but not very good in the ring. Where is she anyways?
I’ve never really been that interested in her. I think at this point she’s more of an in-ring teacher than anything.
Cool moves, not much psychology and he doesn’t have any personality. If you’re going to give him a manager, then why do I know absolutely nothing about him?
He had a good run with SCU and he can still go in the very limited role he has right now.
Honestly Kip to me is a guy that’s just there. When he’s on TV I don’t mind, but I rarely think about him otherwise.
He needs to be with Jericho permanently; a tag team would be the best way to use both. The hat gimmick was funny.
6- F Tier:
We finally get to the end, the F tier. These are the people I honestly don’t think should be in AEW. Some of them are bad, some aren’t interesting and others are just wastes of money. I’m not advocating for all of them to be fired, but if they were, I don’t think AEW would suffer one bit.
This one’s going to be controversial. I don’t care for Brian Cage. He hasn’t changed anything about his presentation since Lucha Underground. At least in LU they could work around his flaws, but he’s a black hole of charisma. The man sucks all the energy out of the room whenever he speaks or appears on-screen. While at first, it’s impressive to see a big man doing so much high-flying, I think he overdoes it. He looks like an overstuff pillow with a mohawk. He’s a guy who is tailor-made for WWE but probably can’t pass a drug test. Of all the people on this list, he’s the one I would absolutely advise TK to cut ties with as he’s just not interesting. Who better than Cage? Anybody.
She’s never recovered from losing to Jade before Statlander showed up. She hasn’t done anything to catch my attention.
AEW isn’t the place to learn how to wrestle, especially when you’re a big uncoordinated guy like him. Even as a manager, he isn’t bringing anything to the table.
Be honest, can you even remember one of his matches?
Lexis King called, he said he needs a partner. I’m being harsh here, but I just don’t see anything in Griff.
Seriously Tony? You’re still paying this guy? He was signed way too quickly after his WWE release. I get that he has a fantastic look and an athletic background but he’s just not good. I don’t think he’s even wrestled a single match in a year or more. I can’t be bothered to check it out.
I don’t have much to say about Cabana, he just doesn’t feel like he belongs in the majors.
Matt is better. Jeff, you’re an old man now, start acting and dressing your age.
He’s still under contract?
If Nyla wasn’t roasting him constantly on Twitter, I would never remember he even existed.
6.11-Paige Van Zant:
Can TK sue her for breach of contract or something? I mean she’s had ONE match and hasn’t even been on TV since then. I thought she did well in her only match, but she’s making OnlyFans money and doesn’t seem to care about pro wrestling anymore. That’s too bad but such is life.
I had to look up his name to match his picture. I think he was in a team with Tony Nese?
He was good in the Continental Classic as the guy who lost every match, although that spot could have gone to someone more deserving. Not a big fan.
All I remember about Shawn Dean is Cody Rhodes saluting him on a BTE skit.
Dude, how did you lose Bayley? That girl is a smoke show and a fantastic worker. AJ Lee was right.
I thought the Librarian was funny and his feud with Brandon Cuttler on Dark about who could win their first match was entertaining. That was then, this is now.
6.17-Evil Uno & Stu Grayson:
Sorry to my fellow Quebecers but you guys haven’t been relevant in over 3 years. They aren’t bad workers by any means, but if they’re not even tagging anymore, what’s the point of keeping them?
6.18-Santana & Ortiz:
Just like the Dark Order OGs, I have no interest in these two as singles wrestlers. Their personal differences got in the way of what could have been a special run. Clearly, they’re never getting back together given the animosity between the two, so perhaps it’s best to cut bait.
I heard him say on AEW Unrestricted that he got signed to an extension. Why? What has he done to deserve a spot? It’s time to clean out some of the broken toys Cody Rhodes left behind when he went to WWE.
I know he’s the Young Bucks’ best friend, I’m fine with him having a job. Not one iota of interest in seeing him wrestle.
Talented wrestler but not much else going on. Him aligning and then being kicked out of Mogul Embassy didn’t help.
Until next time, this has been The Steamy Files, and he had it coming,
Follow me on Twitter @steamyrv