Ranking the Top 5 Babyfaces and Heels in WWE and AEW Right Now
A compelling protagonist and a convincing antagonist are integral to competent storytelling. Pro wrestling is no different because the best heels and babyfaces can strengthen an ongoing plot or bolster an intriguing matchup.
The in-ring action and theatrics are a large part of the appeal, but engaging characters keep many fans hooked. For example, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon's ongoing rivalry was the most memorable angle during The Attitude Era.
Viewers want to believe in the conflict between good vs. evil or something more relatable like a rebel taking on the establishment. You wanted to see McMahon get his comeuppance. So, it was cathartic to watch Austin humiliate his boss and give many of us a chance to live vicariously through him.
This dynamic is at the heart of so many iconic feuds, and it has helped create countless stars. These are the top five babyfaces and heels in WWE and All Elite Wrestling right now.
The inception of the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship has made it difficult for a new challenger to gain momentum and ascend to the top of the company.
As a result, many of the company's protagonists have struggled to remain consistent in the midcard. However, Bianca Belair has undeniably stood out as the top babyface champion on Raw.
The EST of WWE has had a stellar run since Elimination Chamber. Her yearlong feud with Becky Lynch led to an incredible match at WrestleMania 38 and concluded with a banger at SummerSlam.
For the past few months, her conflict with Damage CTRL has been a highlight of WWE's flagship brand. This defining stretch has solidified Belair as a consummate role model and the competitor to beat heading into 2023.
Jon Moxley is a definite candidate for wrestler of the year. The first three-time AEW world champion has delivered time and time again when the company needed him.
No one has been a better flagbearer for AEW in 2022 than Mox. In June, he stepped up to headline Forbidden Door with Hiroshi Tanahashi. He later passed on a well-earned vacation to lead the locker room out of a tumultuous period following All Out.
The 37-year-old also provided several top-notch matches and captivating promos. He even shocked the world, handing CM Punk the most devastating loss since his AEW debut.
Mox isn't a conventional good guy. That's what makes him so entertaining. He has an unmistakable swagger and the ability to convincingly blur the line between a heel and a babyface.
The Return of Pac
AEW struck gold with Pac in 2019. The Bastard went on a tear during the company's maiden year.
Unfortunately, the English high-flyer's appearances were sporadic for the next two years for various reasons, causing him to drift out of the title picture. Thankfully, it seems like Pac is finally on a positive trajectory again.
The 36-year-old had a fantastic showing at Forbidden Door, where he became the inaugural All-Atlantic champion. Then, he successfully defended the mantle all over the world before he and The Lucha Brothers secured the vacant trios titles on the Sept. 7 episode of Dynamite.
As a double champion, Pac turned heel and put on the performance of a lifetime, defending both titles in back-to-back matches on Oct. 7. Still, his longtime feud with Orange Cassidy eventually came to a head as the prevalent star defeated him to win his first singles gold with AEW.
Now, Death Triangle is enthralled in a best-of-seven series with The Elite following its upset victory over the returning team at Full Gear. Pac's influence on Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo has been a fascinating development that could lead to more in 2023.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman
There's some stiff competition, but Maxwell Jacob Friedman is possibly the best heel in pro wrestling.
It's hard to generate real hostility like MJF does because many hardcore fans want to cheer for heels. Nevertheless, the Burberry scarf-clad devil has remained creative and forced us to question everything we think we know.
The reigning AEW world champion has been a godsend in 2022 as the wrestler you love to hate. His promo and character work have vastly improved, and he showcased both in his acclaimed feud with CM Punk.
The Salt of the Earth was also instrumental in Wardlow's rise in popularity ahead of Double or Nothing. On the following episode of Dynamite, he erupted into a scathing tirade before he went on brief hiatus, leaving fans wondering what's next.
The fact that it wasn't his best promo this year is a testament to how exceptional he is with a mic in his hand. His segments with William Regal were brilliant. Like his exchanges with Punk, they were full of sly references and excellent callbacks for savvy fans.
Roman Reigns worked a noticeably shorter schedule this year, but he's still the brightest star in the industry.
The Tribal Chief resides atop WWE as the most dominant champion of the modern era. His historic reign, unparalleled star power and fearsome stable have SmackDown in a stranglehold.
Sometimes, it's hard to call the Samoan star a true heel because he's so popular. Even though he often receives cheers, his imposing presence and self-aggrandizing motives make him a clear-cut villain. Yes, he can be charming, but he's also a ruthless narcissist who will do anything to protect his position.
The Head of the Table has participated in highly touted matches with Brock Lesnar and Logan Paul. Nevertheless, his riveting character work with The Bloodline and Sami Zayn is currently the hottest act in pro wrestling.