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One Year of AEW: Ranking the Top 5 Babyfaces

Haris KruskicContributor IMay 4, 2020

AEW

It's been almost a year since Double or Nothing, the All Elite Wrestling pay-per-view debut that showed that the company is a major player. 

Since then, AEW has built new stars and showcased its established talent. These are the five who stand out as the promotion's most effective babyfaces in its first full year.

   

5. Luchasaurus

AEW

Who would've thought when we saw Luchasaurus for the first time in the Casino Battle Royale at Double or Nothing that the 6'7", 250-pound behemoth portraying a dinosaur would be one of the best babyfaces AEW had to offer?

Those who were familiar with his work at Lucha Underground as a former Trios Championship holder knew what Luchasaurus could bring the table, but those less familiar quickly grew to love his brute strength and sneaky quick offense. 

Since Double or Nothing, Luchasaurus has partnered himself with Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt to form the Jurassic Express, which has become one of the most popular stables at AEW. He's showcased himself as one of the best hot tags in wrestling when helping his much smaller partners.

It'll be exciting to see how AEW tries to elevate Luchasaurus in 2020, whether as part of a tag team or in singles competition.

   

4. Orange Cassidy

AEW

"Freshly Squeezed" also made his AEW debut at Double or Nothing's Casino Battle Royale when he delivered hilariously soft kicks to the shins of Tommy Dreamer, much to the crowd's delight. 

Orange Cassidy then made sporadic surprise appearances at pay-per-views and Dynamite episodes to help Best Friends, his newfound tag partners. More often than not, his cameos were highlights of the shows as AEW made a seemingly concerted effort not to overexpose him to fans by regularly featuring him. This made for particularly special moments whenever Cassidy did anything.

No moment was more special than his debut singles match at Revolution against Pac. When the match was first booked, there was plenty of curiosity in seeing how a lackadaisical Cassidy could work with Pac, one of the most technical wrestlers in the world. What transpired was a brilliant way of introducing fans to Cassidy's legitimate wrestling talent while still managing to offer the comedic relief he's known for.

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Their match at Revolution in February was one of the most well received and for good reason. No one can really tell what Cassidy's ceiling is yet, but it'll sure be fun to watch the road to it.

   

3. Darby Allin

AEW

No AEW roster member benefited more from the newfound spotlight than Darby Allin. 

Very little was known about Allin when he made his debut at Fyter Fest last June. However, AEW did feature promos from him leading up to his match against Cody that showed plenty of promise and showcased a character that we hadn't really seen in wrestling before.

Fast forward to present day and Allin has 20 matches under his belt, including an AEW Championship match against Chris Jericho in October. Despite only winning about half of those matches, Allin's style allows him to display lightning-quick offense while also managing to put over just about any big move an opponent has to offer. That will take him a long way, and if the dark side of his character can continue to blossom, he can eventually be one of the first megastars that AEW could largely take credit for.

   

2. Jon Moxley

AEW

Jon Moxley making his surprise debut at Double or Nothing should go down as one of the greatest and most important moments in AEW history. He became the first marquee name to defect from the WWE while still in the prime of his career—it was an industry-changing decision that made it clear AEW is a top promotion in the world.

Moxley went on to be part of two high-profile feuds with Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. His Lights Out match with Omega may be the most widely talked about one in AEW's existence considering its extreme violence. As a result of defeating Omega, Moxley went on to challenge and defeat Jericho for the AEW World Championship, solidifying himself as a babyface by rejecting The Inner Circle's offer to join them.

His ability to showcase extreme wrestling one week while also relying on his world-class technical ability and in-ring storytelling the next makes him a well-rounded and intriguing character that fans gravitate toward just to see what he does next.

Also, Moxley gets bonus points for receiving the biggest pop of AEW's short history during his debut.

   

1. Cody

AEW

Fans were fully behind Cody at nearly every turn in what was the most eventful year of his career.

The American Nightmare was a part of so many important moments that it becomes clear he's the focal point of AEW.

Putting on the match of the year with Dustin at Double or Nothing was just the beginning for Cody. He went on to help put over Allin in his debut at Fyter Fest before taking a brutal chair shot from Shawn Spears, which only further elevated Cody's position as the top face in the company. His feud with Spears was filled with in-depth storytelling that fans felt invested in, making it that much sweeter when Cody defeated The Chairman at All Out last August. 

After opening the first episode of Dynamite with a win over Sammy Guevara, Cody continued to make storytelling a trademark of his rivalries with feuds against Chris Jericho for the AEW World Championship and MJF when the Salt of the Earth turned on him at Full Gear in November.

The reaction to Cody in both feuds was red-hot considering his willingness to forego any future world championship title shots if he were to lose to Jericho and his acceptance of grueling stipulations to compete against MJF, one of which led to the craziest spot in AEW's short history.

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His willingness to go the extra mile to entertain fans while also giving them a reason to feel invested in just about everything he does is why Cody's the top face at AEW.