5 Stars Who Will Be Elevated to Superstars in AEW's 1st Year on TNT
For as many world-renowned athletes as All Elite Wrestling has under contract, there is a group of up-and-comers who are ready to break out when the show debuts on TNT in October.
Since the launch of the promotion earlier this year, several stars on the AEW roster have gotten themselves over with the audience through their exceptional performances on the monthly pay-per-views. Regardless of whether they won or lost, they were able to stand out in the minds of viewers and leave them wanting more.
Once AEW begins airing weekly on Wednesday nights this fall, the talent of tomorrow will have more chances to maintain momentum and work their way toward championship contention. The additional exposure on TNT will also help fans get more familiar with them.
AEW should spend its first year on network television building up its fresh faces and not relying as much on those who are already established. AEW has done a tremendous job of wrestlers thus far, but the real work has only just begun as far as making them household names.
Thankfully, AEW has its core crop of competitors done and can claim to have one of the better rosters in all of wrestling. Keep an eye out for the following five stars as they emerge as bona fide superstars in the year to come.
There is little doubt that AEW boasts the strongest tag team division of any other company at the moment, and Private Party have played an important role in its rise in recent months.
As amazing as the likes of The Young Bucks, The Lucha Brothers and SoCal Uncensored are, all three teams had success elsewhere before signing with AEW. That wasn't the case with the ultra-charismatic Private Party, at least not on a national scale.
However, they did impress whenever they were in action on independent events across the northeast. Upon signing with AEW earlier this year, they made an immediate impact in a three-way tag team match on the Fyter Fest pre-show and looked excellent in defeat.
They went on to have an entertaining outing against Angelico and Jack Evans on the All Out pre-show two months later. That time, they emerged victorious, only to be attacked by the nefarious duo afterwards, seemingly planting the seeds for a future feud between the two tandems.
Before they clash with Angelico and Evans again, they'll first face off with Matt and Nick Jackson on the Oct. 9 episode of AEW on TNT in Boston, Massachusetts.
The chances of Private Party pulling out an upset victory over the multi-time tag team champs are fairly slim, but a strong showing can go a long way in boosting their stock in the company and getting them one step closer to the AEW World Tag Team Championship.
Darby Allin might have quite literally become an overnight sensation following his outstanding outing versus Cody at Fyter Fest back in June.
Prior to that point, he was a relative unknown on the national wrestling scene, and his signing didn't generate a ton of buzz—at least among those who weren't familiar with his work. That changed at Fyter Fest when he took Cody to the limit in a grueling 20-minute match.
Cody was the clear favorite heading into that contest, so Allin was the ultimate underdog and managed to win over the masses with his impressive performance. He was an easy-to-root-for adrenaline junkie who took plenty of risks and wasn't afraid to give it his all.
It would have been easy for AEW to have Cody win decisively, but the draw finish meant that they wanted to protect Allin in defeat, which was smart. Unfortunately, Allin went on to lose his next two matches at Fight for the Fallen and All Out, but he and Cody clashing again is only inevitable.
In the meantime, Allin should continue making a name for himself by going to the extreme when necessary and using his aerial abilities to his advantage. At only 26-years-old, he has his entire career ahead of him and has already made believers out of many fans.
WWE fans may remember Britt Baker from the few appearances she's made on Raw and NXT over the years against the likes of Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. She also competed in a four-way women's match at last year's All In pay-per-view, and, interestingly enough, she was the least relevant among them at the time.
A lot can change in one year, and it's been incredible to see the strides she has made since then.
Baker's original claim to fame was that (in addition to being the significant other of NXT's Adam Cole) she is a certified dentist, making her legitimately one of smartest women in wrestling. However, she's so much more than that and has had the chance to show off her skills over the past four months.
Her AEW debut at Double or Nothing couldn't have gone better, as she not only shined against Nyla Rose, Kylie Rae and Awesome Kong, but she also walked away the victor. She followed that up with another stellar showing on the Fyter Fest pre-show before narrowly falling short of winning the 21-woman Casino Battle Royale at All Out.
She would have been the perfect person to become the inaugural AEW Women's champion, but surely she'll be holding that title before long. Besides Brandi Rhodes, she's been the most prominently featured female in the entire organization, and for good reason: she is a star on the rise.
It's been refreshing to see a wrestler who barely had any exposure elsewhere be the focal point of an all-new company's women's division.
A few months ago, it would have been silly to suggest that someone with the name Luchasaurus would be a big star in wrestling. But here we are in September 2019, and it's difficult to deny that Luchasaurus is among AEW's most popular acts at the moment, obviously alongside Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt.
It's a gimmick that just works and one that fans have taken to since Luchasaurus signed with AEW in late May. Days earlier, he lasted until the end of the 21-man Casino Battle Royale before being eliminated by Adam Page.
At 34-years-old, Luchasaurus isn't exactly an up-and-comer, but he wasn't given the same opportunities to be successful in WWE developmental and Lucha Underground as he has been in AEW. In fact, Lucha Underground was actually where his dinosaur-esque character was born, but it wasn't until he made it his own on the independent scene that he started to really find his footing with it.
Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy are two of the few wrestlers who have appeared on every AEW event so far, and that hasn't been by accident. AEW is well aware that those two are money together and that they have the potential to go far both in the tag team and singles ranks.
Luchasaurus, in particular, has size on his side and, as seen on Being the Elite, can talk to boot. Equipped with a master's degree, there isn't anything this guy can't accomplish in AEW.
MJF has made it part of his shtick for a while now to call himself the fastest rising star in all of wrestling. While that may be a bit of a stretch, he is well on his way to super stardom if his last few months in AEW have been any indication.
The Salt of the Earth first gained notoriety during his time in MLW, where he won the World Middleweight Championship. He wasn't too well-known when he went one-on-one with Matt Cross at All In last year, but he obviously impressed all the right people that night, leading to his arrival in AEW at the onset of 2019.
As skilled as he is in the ring, MJF's real strong suit is his gift of gab. He can get under the skin of fans with ease and is entertaining while he does it; he's one of the last true heels in wrestling, especially on the mic.
Despite failing to win the 21-man Casino Battle Royale at All Out, MJF left his mark on the show by interrupting and disrespecting WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart. He finally won his first match in six-man tag team action at Fight for the Fallen and aided Cody to victory against Shawn Spears at All Out.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that MJF is turning on his "best friend" Cody eventually, and when it happens, it will be glorious. He's a phenomenal performer and will be holding championship gold sooner rather than later if AEW knows what's good for it.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.