After a week away, the AEW Power Rankings (only on Fightful) are back with a brand new look. Much like All Elite Wrestling, I heard the criticisms of my phantom rankings and have taken it to heart. You don't want sarcasm and cults. You want real sports. That's what the AEW Power Rankings were founded on, right?
Well, I will give you what you want this week. I will prove that I am elite and stand tall in the end.
It's a new season and everyone should be feeling good about their chances. Throw last season out the window. Changes were made in the offseason with coaches changing teams, free agents being signed, and systems being revamped. It's anyone's year. Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose.
AEW Power Rankings - Week 14
1. The Elite
Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks kicked off the New Year with a big win over Pac and the Lucha Bros. The Elite have supposedly been down on their luck since the start of AEW even though they are consistently in the main event. They just haven't won any titles, which is the problem with our sports society today. It's not all about RINGZ. A team or player can be considered successful if they are consistent and make the Conference Finals each year with a Finals appearance mixed in. We're so caught up in how many rings a person has that our judgment of success is blind. Kenny Omega is Chris Paul, Nick Jackson is Russell Westbrook, and Matt Jackson is James Harden. Maybe they've never won a ring. Maybe they never will. But are we going to say these guys are failures because of that? That they aren't Hall of Fame worthy? You'd be a fool to do that. Don't be a fool.
He solved the puzzle that is Darby Allin thanks to some great coaching. Do you see what having a great coach can do for you? Credit to Cody for realizing he needed to make a change. Things weren't working out for him, even though he was successful, but he knew he needed to shake things up. Think of the Toronto Raptors. Yeah, Dwane Casey was very good. He won Coach of the Year. But he had taken the Raptors as far as they could go. The Raptors let him go, hire Nick Nurse, and Championship. Having Kawhi Leonard helped as well. My point is, don't be afraid to make those tough decisions if you don't think your current coach can take you to where you want to go.
3. Arn Anderson
Which brings me to Arn Anderson, who is in the early lead for AEW Coach of the Year. I'm not sure who is competition is, but I would imagine more coaches will be hired in the coming weeks now that Black Friday is behind us. I hear Jason Garrett might be available soon. Or not.
This had potential to be a disaster for Riho. She took a match that she didn't need to take against three opponents that she had already defeated. She could have declined the bout and just faced Kris Statlander next week. But she wanted to work off any potential ring rust after missing a few weeks and she managed to survive. But I do wonder how much fatigue will effect her next week against Statlander.
5. Jon Moxley
This was a trap match for Moxley. He has his eyes on Jericho and the Inner Circle in his head. Trent is a tough customer and definitely had upset ability. But Moxley, like a true pro who knows nothing is given and everything must be earned, stayed focused and picked up the win.
6. Sammy Guevara
The new year was kind to Sammy Guevara. He got himself refocused and looked like a totally different wrestler on Wednesday. He clearly hit the gym and got into the lab to do some tape study and work on his game. He also acquired a top role player to have his back. That's the kind of improvement you love to see from a young prospect. He will have another chance to prove that he's a wrestler worth investing in when he faces another veteran in Christopher Daniels. Sources say the match could take place as soon as next week.
Excellent speech to get ready for the big matchup. He's setting the terms for his upcoming matchup and that's what you need to do when you are the perceived underdog. MJF is taking any advantage he can against his former friend and mentor. He knows what gets to Cody and he is going to exploit those tactical advantages. Game planning and tape study have never been an issue for MJF. That's what the scouts raved about when he was coming out of college. It was his ability once he got into the ring that has come into question. The showdown with Cody looms.
8. Jake Hager
Sometimes you need that guy who does the dirty work. Sets hard screens, fights for those rebounds, isn't afraid to mix it up a little bit. Guevara utilized Hager to perfection.
9. Darby Allin
The talent is there and the crowd absolutely loves him. He's getting the opportunity to play big minutes in high pressure situations, but like any young talent, he's making mistakes in clutch situations. Things could go two ways for Darby. Either he will learn how to win these close games, whether it's on his own or with a potential new coach. Or the organization will fail to properly build around him and he will be stuck on a losing team forever.
The league has indicated to me that they were very happy with Taz' performance in place of Tony Schiavone. He had good chemistry with Jim Ross, who sounded refreshed after the break, and Excalibur. While there are no current plans for Taz to replace Schiavone, the league will keep him in mind for future roles.
A tough loss, but no shame in losing to the top ranked wrestler like Moxley. Trent showed that he can hang with the best of them and is a wrestler with a lot of upside. He just needs to make a couple of tweeks to his game and he'll be back in no time.
12. Orange Cassidy
Excellent role player. Got in, did his job, got out. His presence was almost enough to cost Jon Moxley the bout, but as mentioned, Moxley is a true pro. Superstars are able to defeat stars and role players, even if they are outmatched. As long as teammates remember the score.
The league gathered the referees during the bye week, pointed out areas of improvement, and held them accountable for their actions. That's why you saw stricter enforcement of the rules this week. No groin kicks allowed in the corner, pinfalls counted as instructed, breaks when the ropes are reached. The incident with Hager interfering and hitting a low blow will show up in the Last 2 Minute report on Thursday.
14. Pac & The Lucha Bros
This was an All-Star team, but I question how much practice time they had together. The Elite have been together for years. Traveled the world together. Have unmatched chemistry. Pac has teamed with multiple people in his AEW career and I wonder how much he threw off the timing of the Lucha Bros. There's a lot of potential on this team but they need more time to gel. However, sources indicate to me that Pac is unhappy with how many partners he's had during his time in AEW and may seek time on his own.
15. Hikaru Shida
She's on the cusp. She's got all the talent in the world, but needs the right team and coach around her.
16. Dustin Rhodes
Guevara had been in a big slump, but he seemingly left that in 2019. Rhodes proved he still has something left in the tank, but coming off a broken forearm, did he try to return too soon just to get some revenge? Rhodes might need to utilize some load management throughout the year if he wants to be ready for the stretch run. Don't be surprised if he lets Cody do the heavy lifting next week.
17. Nyla Rose
Not a fan of the poor sportsmanship shown by Rose. You lost. Shake hands or simply walk away. Attacking your opponent after losing is not going to look good to the league office. She's already been suspended once in her career. I've heard from multiple sources that the league will consider suspending her again after they review the footage. She will have a meeting with the department of wrestler discipline over her actions.
18. Britt Baker
She needs a complete change. New coach, new team, new environment. Something. Anything. She's stuck in a big slump right now and is pressing too much. She mentioned that she's a dentist. Is it good that she does that on the side? I'm skeptical. She needs to put more attention on her wrestling career if she wants to be a champion and worry less about cleaning teeth.
19. Chris Jericho
This was a rough night for the AEW World Champion as he has brought a lot of attention on himself from league offices. First, there are potential recruiting violations in how he is handling his chase of Jon Moxley. 49% equity and a Ford GT are not within the laws of proper recruiting tactics. Second, he's not even violating the laws to his advantage. Had he scouted Moxley, he would know that he is not a man that cares about money or even wants control. He wants freedom. Jericho not only could have stayed within the recruiting parameters, but also could have made a much stronger pitch. Finally, sources have indicated to me that both Jericho and Moxley will be in Japan this weekend on what is being described as a business trip. The league will monitor this process closely as it relates to potential tampering. Also of note, Jericho could be putting himself in a dangerous position with the rest of the Inner Circle by offering Moxley equity that the other members seemingly don't have. Is he willing to pay the luxury tax when Sammy Guevara's contract is up?
20. Hangman Page
Jacksonville Night Life and New Year's Eve got the better of Hangman Page. Not a good start to the year for him. He's young and these young prospects have got to learn how to win. He has the right team around him in The Elite. He can't go out there looking for his own stats. He needs to figure it out before next week when he teams with Omega to take on Private Party.