Ranking Jon Moxley and the Final 4 Wrestlers For AEW's Vacant World Championship
All Elite Wrestling needs a world champion. After vacating the title last held by CM Punk, president Tony Khan announced a six-man tournament of champions. The participants were all former titleholders.
Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho and "Hangman" Adam Page are all former AEW world champions, while Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara are two of the defining TNT titleholders.
And Bryan Danielson may be the most decorated performer in AEW given his history in WWE and Ring of Honor as a world champion (even if he has yet to hold AEW gold).
The first round saw Page and Allin eliminated, leaving just four men in line to be the next AEW world champion.
The following is a ranking of the participants in the tournament, discussing who would make for the best champion at a time when the company needs stability above all else after a tumultuous period.
5. Hangman Adam Page
Page remains one of AEW's pillars. His title victory was a defining moment in the company, and he is one of the best wrestlers and talkers it has. He did not quite get the reign that his victory earned, but that does open up the possibility of a second chance.
Ignoring any drama between The Cowboy and the former champion CM Punk, he has been largely one of AEW's most reliable and likable performers. It just would have been too bold a statement to push him after the recent issues involving Punk and The Elite.
6. Darby Allin
AEW would have made an interesting statement in crowning Allin. No one has made such an indelible mark on the business as the 29-year-old. He is the future of the company as long as he stays healthy.
However, the question remains: Can he be the flag-bearer AEW needs? The Daredevil is a unique star who can be polarizing. He is often overshadowed by his mentor, Sting, and he may need to step out of from that to succeed.
4. Sammy Guevara
Sammy Guevara is not ready to be AEW world champion, and AEW is not ready to have Guevara as world champion.
However, that doesn't mean it's not an interesting idea to ponder.
Alongside the man he beat to advance, Darby Allin, Guevara is one of the young pillars of AEW. He is 29 years old and has already won the TNT Championship three times, a feat matched only by Cody Rhodes.
However, he has been under heavy scrutiny outside of the ring multiple times in his career. Guevara was suspended for a month in 2020 due to past inappropriate comments made about Sasha Banks.
Sammy's marriage to Tay Melo caused so much fan backlash that The Spanish God and his wife were pushed to turn heel. His behavior backstage led to an argument with Eddie Kingston that led to a suspension for The Mad King.
Guevara does not stand out as a pillar of stability, but there is no denying his talent. He has lasting heat as a heel that would make him a great champion to be overcome by a fan favorite. It may not happen for a few years yet, though.
3. Chris Jericho
When Chris Jericho retires, he will go down as one of the best of all time. He is the only nine-time WWE intercontinental champion. He is a seven-time world champion, including the title of the inaugural AEW world titleholder.
While he may not be as exciting as many of AEW's recent big acquisitions, The Wizard was the first big name to join the company. In many ways, he helped legitimize the fledgling promotion.
Jericho has remained a regular part of the program over the last three years. He is a stable veteran presence and has produced some of AEW's best moments from singing with MJF to competing in the first Blood & Guts and Stadium Stampede matches.
This year, the 51-year-old has had matches with Eddie Kingston at Revolution and Jon Moxley at Quake in the Lake that might be the best solo performances of his entire run in the company.
He would be a reliable man to work at the top, as he has been before. However, he suffers from the simple fact that he is a known quantity. Everyone knows what they will get from Jericho. He doesn't add much more to the product than he already has.
2. Jon Moxley
Jon Moxley was the spark that fueled the fire in AEW's rise to prominence. He is the company's first two-time world champion and its heart and soul after carrying the promotion through its toughest times.
If anyone represents the stability AEW needs, it's Moxley. Especially given the issues after All Out, the company would be in a better spot if the former champion had kept his title.
No one is on a hotter streak in the company than the 36-year-old. His work as interim AEW world champion was short but impactful, but he never truly got time to run with the gold once he won it officially.
It is hard to justify giving anyone a third run as AEW world champion while many top names are waiting for their first, notably MJF.
However, if anyone should, it's Mox. He has plenty more stories to tell as champion. He has history to explore with MJF that can make up for not getting the final CM Punk vs. MJF match many fans wanted.
It's an easy story to tell, but there may be one man who can do even more.
1. Bryan Danielson
No man still wrestling today has been labeled as "the best wrestler in the world" more often than Bryan Danielson.
The American Dragon was the best in 2009 when he signed with WWE. He was the best in 2014 when he main-evented WrestleMania XXX. He was the best in 2019 after building himself back up following his return from injury-forced retirement.
Danielson may well still be the best in the world in 2022. He has had some of his absolute greatest matches since arriving in AEW, and he is ready for more.
Of everyone in this tournament, the 41-year-old is the only man to never hold AEW gold. He has waited his turn, and it would make sense for this time to be this moment.
Danielson is a fresh name who has never backed down from responsibility. He is a five-time WWE world champion and has also held the United States and intercontinental titles. He is a former ROH world champion.
The AEW World Championship may be his last big title, the one he uses to define himself for a final time. The idea of his final world title reign is the most exciting thing the company can promise right now.