Power Ranking the 8 Most Important People in AEW Ahead of All Out PPV

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistAugust 28, 2019

Power Ranking the 8 Most Important People in AEW Ahead of All Out PPV

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    Credit: Jeffrey Jones / AEW

    The biggest moment in the history of All Elite Wrestling is just on the horizon. August 31 will be the date of All Out, a night where the company will crown its first world champion and put on one final great show before debuting on TNT.

    Many have worked hard to help get AEW to this moment. Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and Chris Jericho came together to create a new movement that hoped to challenge the most prominent wrestling company in the world.

    AEW brought in some of the greatest stars in the world, including Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley. The company has built impressive divisions of talent, ready to prove their worth, and All Out will showcase them all.

    Some have been more important than others in the creation of a wrestling rival, and it is important to recognize which stars are most important to making sure AEW does not become an afterthought.

    As All Out approaches, these are the eight most important performers to All Out, the most vital competitors who have helped make this next event feel special.

Honorable Mentions

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    Credit: Lee South / AEW

    Lucha Brothers: Pentagon and Fenix individually are two of the best wrestlers in the business, and together they make up the most formidable team outside of The Young Bucks. However, it's still hard to gauge what role they play for AEW. They may be better served working solo sooner rather than later.

    Riho: No one in the women's division has made more of an impression in the ring up to this point than Riho. Her stellar performances have transcended even rocky matches around her. It still feels like AEW is uncertain about committing to her, though, as she's not in contention for the AEW Women's Championship.

    PAC: Controversy surrounding PAC has tempered the excitement about his inclusion in AEW, but his recent return for All Out may signal all of that is behind him. If he becomes a regular performer for the company, he will quickly rise up this list as one of the best and most talked-about stars.

    Brandi Rhodes: While Brandi may be an active competitor for AEW, her real importance is as an ambassador and voice for the brand. She is not great in the ring, but her ability to hype the product and the competitors makes her a vital asset to the company, even if her in-ring work tempers that importance.

8. Nyla Rose

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    Nyla Rose may not be the best performer in AEW, but she has quickly become the most recognizable. She stands out in a division that is still finding its footing and is being positioned as the face of it until such a time that other women step up.

    In her matches at both Double or Nothing and Fyter Fest, she shone while working as the central character. She has unique size and power while also being impressively agile, which allows her to be a unique partner for anyone.

    This status may evolve over time, hopefully with more of the women's division allowed to make their mark. This does not mean Rose will not continue to rise up the ranks, though.

    Awesome Kong was brought in for a similar role, but she is not going to be the regular figurehead for the brand given her age and other responsibilities outside the ring. Kong is likely to pass the torch to Rose at some point early in AEW's run.

    This will set up the monster heel to make a defining mark in AEW if she is ready to. It is easy to forget just how new she is to wrestling in comparison to many of her peers.

7. Adam Page

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    A lot of recognizable names follow higher on this list, but it is Hangman Adam Page who is competing in the main event for the AEW World Championship. While not a complete newcomer to the wrestling scene, he has flown under the radar for years.

    This makes him the perfect poster boy for the company to get behind. He's a great competitor and has the ability to work with anyone, and he can stand out among the pack without having been built by any other promotion.

    The real question with Page is if he is actually ready for the responsibility. He's good at everything, but it could be argued that he doesn't have star power. Despite being treated as a top guy from the start, Page has often struggled to get a reaction out of his fellow main event stars.

    All Out is a huge challenge for him to prove he is worthy of this responsibility. If he succeeds, he might soar straight to the top of the brand. He can be the face of the entire company, but if he fails, he falls straight off.

    A lot of young guys would love to be in The Hangman's position. Darby Allin, Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc are all trying to make their case at the same time at All Out. It will take a true statement performance for him to prove he should be higher than them all.

6 and 5. The Young Bucks

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    Tag team wrestling has rarely been treated well, but the influence of The Young Bucks has quickly helped shape AEW's tag team division into a dominant force. With a tournament for the AEW Tag Team Championships starting after All Out, a number of teams have been established.

    Matt and Nick Jackson have brought a degree of respect to the division, pulling others in. It's easy to see why WWE talent like The Revival might consider jumping ship when they know they'll be treated better by AEW.

    While The Young Bucks serve as a symbol of tag team excellence, they are also excellent performers. Their work can occasionally verge on self-indulgence, but they have come to a nice medium, showcasing the psychology that is needed for great tag team wrestling while still being outstanding athletes.

    Matt and Nick may not be the best talkers, but they are reliable and driven by undeniable charisma. Everyone wants to wrestle them, and it feels unlikely they will ever not be seen as the top wrestlers in their division.

    They have established a standard that is so much higher than the competition that it's easy to declare them the finest tag team in the world. Everyone near the top of AEW has to fight for that label, but no one will likely argue about The Young Bucks' rank.

4. Jon Moxley

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    The first resounding shot was fired between WWE and AEW when Jon Moxley walked out on the former to join the latter despite WWE still wanting him as a top star. His debut at Double or Nothing is the biggest moment in AEW's history to date.

    No one is hotter right now than Moxley. He is a star everywhere he wrestles, and he is wrestling everywhere. Even if AEW had not formed, he would likely be making good money in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He has already proved his worth through his G1 Climax performance.

    A symbol is important to a company, but Mox can also back it up. He's a fantastic promo worker when he's free to speak his mind, and his in-ring style is unique and works with just about anyone. He has a star power that right now feels unmatched.

    His elbow injury, which has taken him off the All Out card, is an issue, but he should be able to resolve that before the TNT debut. After that point, it is full steam ahead.

    The only real concern is AEW wants to stand out as more than a company made to bring in WWE castaways. However, WWE didn't let him go. The company absolutely wanted Moxley, and he chose to leave, setting up what he has called a "paradigm shift".

    He is a symbol for AEW to rally around, and, if it does so, he could be the face of the entire promotion soon enough.

3. Kenny Omega

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    There is no single better in-ring performer in AEW than Kenny Omega. When he was brought on officially to the company, snatched away from NJPW, it was a massive coup, almost as important as getting Jon Moxley from WWE.

    Where The Cleaner stands above his fellow main event acquisition is his natural ability. He can work with anyone and put on a show. Every time he competes, it feels like the biggest match on the card. While he has not hit his peak in AEW, his contest with Cima at Fight for the Fallen was a surprise hit.

    If anyone has been pegged as the face of the brand so far, it is Omega. He is so highly renowned he doesn't need to be in the AEW World Championship picture to stand out. Before Moxley's injury, Omega had built his match with Death Rider to feel just as important.

    The main problem for Omega is that he doesn't have the natural charisma and mic skills necessary for a true number one. He puts in the work, and everyone pays attention when he performs. However, he's not going to translate well to a mainstream audience.

    You could not do much better than one of the best wrestlers in the world as the number two for the company, but he's still leaving a hole at the top that no one is quite poised to fill just yet.

2. Chris Jericho

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    When starting a new wrestling company, familiar names are important. Few names are more familiar to the wrestling world than Chris Jericho. Y2J has changed himself and the wrestling world around him countless times and always stays relevant.

    The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla has always been a great spokesperson to put in front of a brand, and he has delivered so far. He is the most direct line casual fans have to investing in AEW as he competes for the AEW World Championship.

    It would be easy to assume AEW will put the title on Jericho first, especially given how unfamiliar Adam Page will be to most viewers in comparison. As the primary heel for the company, he feels completely unchallenged at the top right now since it's hard to tell what role Jon Moxley is playing.

    As AEW evolves, Y2J will become less and less necessary, but, at this point, he is essential. Even though he gloats as a villain about how important he is to the company's success, right now, he might actually be the most important focal point going into All Out.

    Everyone will be talking for weeks and months to come if Jericho walks out champion. Even if he loses, it will mean something to have him lose to a much less well known talent.

1. Cody Rhodes

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    Cody Rhodes' name has become synonymous with AEW. He is this company and not just because of his status as executive vice president. It feels like the essence of what makes AEW special is The American Nightmare.

    He has had the best match at every AEW show to date. His contest with Dustin Rhodes was the best match in the company's history, and it may stay at that position for a long time. His physical contest with Darby Allin helped define the newcomer at Fyter Fest.

    Finally, he main-evented in spectacular fashion with his brother against The Young Bucks at Fight for the Fallen. Each time, Cody has delivered. He is wrestling at a higher level now than he ever has in his career. He's clearly motivated to make a statement.

    His promo work has also been stellar, and no one has ever doubted his charisma. As long as he keeps overdelivering in the ring, which is where he has often been weakest, he will be the most complete star the company has.

    The executive vice president can lead AEW to the future by simply avoiding overstepping his bounds. Many can leave the company, and more will take their place. However, Cody feels inseparable from this grand experiment.

    If it succeeds, he will get the credit. If it fails, he may never recover. Many will attempt to step up to the role of AEW's top star, but no one will ever quite feel as indelibly linked to the company like The American Nightmare.