At the moment, All Elite Wrestling have a vast amount of quality talent around the upper mid-card with no clear direction. Their ranking system allows them to build up one challenger for their champion at a time but at times this can become at the expense of others being lost in the overcrowded shuffle of top-tier talent.
Looking exclusively at the men’s division, you can only have one as the face of the company and Kenny Omega currently stands as the AEW Champion. It seems that the long term goal is for Hangman Adam Page to eventually gain a championship shot and potentially his redemption story could be coming to a conclusion that will most likely see him dethrone Omega. Meanwhile, MJF and Chris Jericho will square off one on one at some point with the Inner Circle and Pinnacle feud still to reach its climax. But below these wrestlers and storylines, we have a bunch of wrestlers who are winning matches until they get high on the rankings and then lose a match to slip down.
For instance, let’s look at the AEW Championship match at Double or Nothing this year. It seemed Hangman Adam Page was all set to face Kenny Omega when he was winning week after week, that was until he met another competitor who was climbing the rankings in Brian Cage. Cage would defeat Page, which allowed both to have a rematch at Double or Nothing where Page was victorious. This style of booking is something WWE does often and is criticised by many for their method of booking one person to win only for a rematch to see the other person get their win back.
The Hangman loss allowed PAC and Orange Cassidy to become 1 and 2 on the rankings, thus allowing them to become the top two contenders. But after their loss to Omega last month, they are now back down the order, PAC is now working alongside Penta and Kingston in fighting The Elite whilst Cassidy is floundering slightly.
There are others in AEW who are just picking up wins in the rankings but not doing anything meaningful. Christian Cage debuted in AEW too much fanfare but has done nothing of note, he would have had more major attention and focus if he had signed with WWE. Instead, he is in a feud with long term rival Matt Hardy and while the feud ending match will make for a good Dynamite main event, it’s not quite the major match the Revolution hype promised.
Cage has made an alliance of sorts with Jungle Boy who has also just lost to Kenny Omega, but what happens next for Jungle Boy? The momentum he was riding will die down now he has lost his challenge, It seems that he and Luchasaurus will help Christian in his battles with The Hardy Family Office. But AEW need to continue to capitalise on his rising popularity by having him face a top of the card opponent. A feud against MJF and the Pinnacle would be great for Jungle Boy momentum which can continue into another championship match.
The TNT champion currently is Miro but he has yet to face a real credible challenge. At Double or Nothing, he faced Lance Archer but sadly, Miro had only been champion for a couple of weeks and a title change was clearly not on the cards. A Lance Archer/Miro programme would have been brilliant further down the line if there was doubt about whether he could retain the championship. At the moment Archer is clearly lost in the mid-card of AEW picking up wins against nobodies but losing when matches have something at stake.
The previous TNT champion Darby Allin still hasn’t had his rematch, there is an obvious clear story for Allin in the future, Is he able to beat Miro? He’s already in a storyline against Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky about whether he is able to defeat them. Once he has proved himself, moving straight into a rematch with build against Miro could potentially be a big match at All Out. But what next? There is no clear move for Allin to move past the point he is in at the moment.
With regards to Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky, where do they sit? Are they a tag team? There are plenty more tag teams equipped to be in the tag title hunt. It will be interesting to see if Page and Sky continue to be a tag team for the long term and if not, what the plans are for them? Another foil for Jungle Boy or Christian Cage perhaps.
By not being able to challenge for the AEW Championship, Cody Rhodes is continuously lost in the shuffle of the mid-card, moving from one mini-feud to another. Once his feud with QT Marshall and the Factory are over, where does he go from here? A feud against the Icon Sting would be interesting or maybe Cody could join forces with Moxley, Kingston and co against The Elite.
A special long term feud could be Cody joining his friends in the Elite. Turning heel and teaming with his former friends Omega and the Bucks. It would breathe fresh air into the Cody Rhodes character at this point. The friends reunited only to turn bitter rivals programme could eventually turn into a championship shot against Omega in the future as the teammates fall out and tensions build. The Rhodes/Omega match wouldn’t need the championship on the line to feel special either and could headline without it.
Good or bad, All Elite Wrestling has a vast amount of talent on its roster but some have no clear direction or purpose. There are a group of male wrestlers that have recently signed or have been at AEW for a while but are still floundering in the middle of the pack. With more accomplished wrestlers joining, looking to be more than what they were in previous companies such as Andrade, who not let’s forget, will have waited 4 weeks before he has his first match for AEW. It’s going to be even more difficult for Tony Khan to make everyone feel meaningful. Here’s hoping that with an extra hour on Friday nights with Rampage, there will be more time for these wrestlers to have a more prominent role on shows to move forward and become more engaging.
All pictures courtesy of AEW and Fite TV