If you’re reading these words right now, you’re an internet wrestling fan. That term has gotten a lot of negative reviews through the years, but we’re all a part of the community.
As internet wrestling fans, there’s a lot of things we’re expected to do and say. The easiest of those things is to talk about who we feel is being pushed too much or isn’t being pushed enough. It’s one of the first classes we take when we sign up to become internet wrestling fans. I still carry my laminated expert card in my wallet to this day.
If we’re going to do this, I might as well get some column content out of it. Instead of keeping my thoughts to myself, I figured it was time to share them with all of you. I want to go up and down the rosters of WWE, AEW, and NXT to talk about everybody and their pushes. Who is getting pushed too much? What about those not being pushed enough? How about people being pushed just the right amount? Opinions blah blah subjective blah blah. I know. These are certainly my opinions, and they might not match up with yours. That’s perfectly fine. You’ll have your chance to give me whatever opinions you want when you’ve finished reading.
To prevent a 100,000-word column, I have to split the companies up. AEW is up first this week, with NXT and WWE coming as soon as possible down the road. The only “rule” I’m using is that I’m only talking about currently active talents. If someone is on the shelf with an injury, I’m removing them from the mix. The same goes for someone who is currently out of action because their tag partner is out with an injury. Also for those who aren’t injured, but simply haven’t had a match in months. It’s as simple as that. Let’s get this underway, shall we?
Aaron Solow: Solow has been working with AEW for almost ten months now. Until very recently, his work was strictly on episodes of AEW Dark, where calling him a “jobber” or “enhancement talent” would be an exaggeration. He lost his first 21 matches for the company, and had a 4-24 overall record heading into his first televised match. As a member of QT Marshall’s stable, The Factory, he is getting a big focus as they feud with Cody Rhodes and the entire Nightmare Family. That means plenty of television time, even though it may not necessarily mean plenty of wins. To go from what he was doing to what he’s doing now? I’m going to say he’s overpushed. It’s a weird situation.
Alan Angels: “5” of The Dark Order has had a bit of a roller coaster ride with AEW. He’ll lose a handful of matches in a row, only to go on a bit of a winning streak out of nowhere, followed by losing a few matches in a row, and then the process is repeated all over again. Currently, he is one of the lesser-used members of The Dark Order, not competing in a match on Dynamite yet in 2021. In fact, he has only wrestled on Dynamite six times in his 13 months with the company, and never in back-to-back episodes. I think you have to say underpushed here, simply based on the fact that he isn’t being used on television at all.
Alex Reynolds: Honestly, a lot of the things I said about Alan Angels can be said about Alex Reynolds. “3” of The Dark Order performs on Dynamite a little bit more, but not by much. Reynolds has wrestled on Dynamite three times in 2021, but none of those matches have happened in the last three months. He went 14 months from his AEW debut until the first time he won a match on television. That victory would take place on the Brodie Lee Tribute Show, and we all know what the cynics will say about that win. Here’s another case of someone being underpushed. The Dark Order has had a lot of members, but only a couple of them ever really get any sustained television time and/or pushes at a time.
Angélico: Back in the days of Lucha Underground, this man was one of the hottest acts in the business. It seemed like he was pulling off something that made the internet go nuts every episode. When he signed with AEW, I was fully expecting much of the same. For the most part, I’m still waiting. He was pretty much just… there… for a while. He didn’t come out on the victorious side of a televised match until his 26th match with the company. Of those previous 25 matches, only eight of them were on television or pay-per-view. What happened after that win? Well, he’s been on the losing end of his next six televised matches. That’s a lot of losing. He hasn’t quite had the opportunity to “wow” viewers like he did with Lucha Underground, and that’s a shame. He’s underpushed, for sure.
Anthony Bowens: I had to think about whether or not to even include him here. He missed a little more than two months with a knee injury, and although he has returned, he has yet to wrestle on television in that time. Bowens and Max Caster were winning a lot of matches before that knee injury put their team on hold. Before the injury, they were 11-5 as a team, even though only five of those matches were on Dynamite, where their record was 1-4. Obviously, that means they were dominating AEW Dark, which is fine and all, but where’s the translation of success on television? What saves The Acclaimed is that, even in losses, they were treated like a team who AEW has plans for in the future. For now, though, I have to say Bowens is being pushed just right. He just returned, and hasn’t even had a match on television yet. It’s too early to say if his push is back, or if any momentum he and Caster built up has gone away. We might find out on this week’s episode of Dynamite, when The Acclaimed are part of a four-way elimination match for a shot at the Tag Team Titles.
Anthony Ogogo: Oh, hey, another interesting case. On one hand, he’s only had one match for AEW. However, on the other hand, he’s already involved in that same high-profile feud against Cody and The Nightmare Family that I mentioned in Aaron Solow’s entry. As the first “developmental” talent for the company, there’s a lot riding on him and his future. If he goes out there and shits the bed, that doesn’t exactly look good for QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes, who are responsible for training him. Fair or unfair, that’s just the way it’s going to be. If he goes out and continues looking good, that makes AEW’s training system look attractive and helps them build for the future. I have to be fair right now. If I said Solow was overpushed, then I have to say Ogogo is also overpushed. It’s hard to say someone “deserves” this type of spot with as little experience as Ogogo has. I’d love to see him rise through the ranks, but it should’ve been in a more conventional way.
Austin Gunn: *looks at notes* Yeah… another interesting case. If you go by win/loss record, and nothing else, Austin Gunn is one of the most successful performers in AEW. He has a 25-3 record, and two of those losses came in Battle Royal situations. Sure, only one of those wins came on television, but that seems to be a bit of a theme here, doesn’t it? With AEW Dark and AEW Dark: Elevation combining to air for 73 hours every week, there’s going to be a ton of matches on those shows. It is what it is. All those wins for the young Gunn, but can anybody really say he’s on the receiving end of any sort of big push? I certainly can’t. In fact, what he’s most known for is his insane energy that he puts into sitting in the front row at all of the COVID-era shows the company has put on. He cheers louder and harder than anybody in attendance, and he does it for everything. Every match, every promo, every segment… everything. He has all of my respect for what he does to hype and build AEW, even in that fashion. I love it. I’m going to go with underpushed here, though. All those victories, and he can’t even get a little nibble of something on television? Come on.
Billy Gunn: As one of AEW’s Coaches, and coming up on 58 years of age, I don’t think many people are expecting some major push for the artist-formerly-known-as The One. It’s just not what he’s there for. Like his son, he has a fantastic record on Dark and Dark: Elevation, but he just doesn’t have a lot of matches on Dynamite. When he does wrestle, he continues to prove that he can still “go” in the ring. That alone makes him underpushed, if you ask me. I don’t think he should be feuding over the AEW World Title or anything. Being part of The Nightmare Family in their feud with The Factory is something, but even then, he can be given more. He’s still really over with live crowds, and when you combine that with his in-ring skills that are still there, I’d like to see him get some more to do.
The Blade: Remember when The Butcher & The Blade made their AEW debuts? Even hardcore AEW supporters thought it was weird, because they showed up out of nowhere and commentary made it out to be a big deal, even though most people had no idea who they were. They’ve gone on to have some pretty decent success, picking up victories over pretty much all of the top tag teams in the company, either in regular tag or larger tag matches. With all of that success, I find it strange that they haven’t even competed for the Tag Team Titles. It has been almost two months now since Blade has even wrestled on Dynamite. The problem with these types of columns is that not everybody can receive a push at the same time. If everyone is underpushed or overpushed, what the hell are you supposed to do? There are a few tag teams getting something right now, which leaves this entry as being just right.
Brandon Cutler: What is there to say about Brandon Cutler that hasn’t already been said? A lot, probably. He’s another person that wins a lot of matches on Dark, but doesn’t see it translate to a lot of appearances on Dynamite. His last match on Dynamite was a month-and-a-half ago, and his last victory of any kind of Dynamite was over nine months ago. That victory came in a 12-man tag match when he was “9” of The Dark Order, and it wasn’t supposed to be known that it was him. That role didn’t last long, though. This kind of goes back to what I just said about The Blade. Not everyone can be pushed at the same time. Cutler is currently doing just fine for himself on Dark, so I’m going to say he’s just right for the time being.
Brian Cage: When Brian Cage first arrived in AEW, I, like many others, assumed he would be in the World Title picture sooner than later. Less than two months after debuting, he did, indeed, get a shot at Jon Moxley’s AEW World Title, but was unsuccessful. He was also unsuccessful in taking the TNT Title from Darby Allin on the first Dynamite of 2021. That’s been the extent of his earned title shots so far. Yeah, yeah… the FTW World Title… but that was given to him. You know how it is. Cage continues winning, title shot or no title shot. He has only lost two matches thus far in 2021… the aforementioned Darby Allin match, and the cinematic Street Fight at Revolution where he teamed with Ricky Starks and lost to Sting and Allin. I’m still saying underpushed. He can be a true blue main event player in AEW, but he’s only wrestled twice on Dynamite this year, while wrestling ten times on Dark and Dark: Elevation. He’s winning a lot, but doing so away from television. I’m thinking he should be doing a lot more.
The Butcher: Might as well just go back and read my entry for The Blade again. The same applies here, of course. Let’s call Butcher’s push just right and move on.
Cash Wheeler: I have a feeling that this entry is one that half of you will agree with, while the other half will feel is wrong. Looking at Wheeler’s win/loss record, it’s difficult to say that he isn’t receiving a mega push of some kind. Wheeler is 20-3 in AEW, and hasn’t been on the losing end of a match since November 7th of last year, when FTR lost the AEW Tag Team Titles to The Young Bucks at Full Gear. He’s winning matches on Dynamite, as well as on Dark and Dark: Elevation. He is now involved in one of AEW’s biggest storylines at the moment, as a member of The Pinnacle as they feud with The Inner Circle. There is a lot working in his favor, and yet, I still think I’m going to say that he is underpushed right now. I know that FTR’s in-ring work isn’t for everybody, but I really dig it. They’re able to get in the ring with teams of all types and styles, not change what they want to do, and put on some very entertaining matches. I like and appreciate that very much. They’ve been away from the Tag Team Title scene for too long. When this column gets posted, we still won’t know the results of Blood & Guts, which could go a long way in showing where everyone will go after this feud is done. For all we know, FTR will be competing for the titles next week. Until then, I stand by what I said here.
Chris Jericho: One of the rare AEW performers that doesn’t wrestle on Dark or Dark: Elevation, Jericho is always doing something major, even when he isn’t involved in a title picture. He dropped the AEW World Title to Jon Moxley over 14 months ago, but any feud he’s been in since has been at a main event level. That’s just the level of star power that he brings to the game right now. A weird quirk about his win/loss record over the last eight months is that he’s 14-3 in that span, with those losses all coming on pay-per-view and all the wins coming on Dynamite. Again, we’ll see if that streak continues at Blood & Guts, but it was an interesting stat for me to look at when I was doing research for this column. I think Jericho is in a really good spot right now. He’s at the stage that the true stars of the business reach where they can remain relevant and in a “top” spot without competing for titles. People that team with him are elevated for doing so, and people that he feuds with are also elevated for doing so. There’s no need to screw with that formula right now. It’s working. His push is just right.
Christian Cage: The man has had two whole matches in his time with AEW. Two matches, two wins, and a tease for a future contest against Kenny Omega. I’ve seen a lot of people already say AEW has “wasted” him because he’s had two random matches and isn’t higher up the card yet. There’s still time for all that. I have no doubt that he’ll be going after the World Title before too long, but for now, he’s doing just fine. He has had two entertaining matches, showing that he’s still got “it” at 47 years old. Call it a cop out if you want to, but his push is just right.
Christopher Daniels: We’re currently in the middle of a story where Daniels and Frankie Kazarian must split up as a team if they lose another tag match. The fact that we’re still in the middle of said story should tell you how well Daniels is doing right now. Outside of not winning the Casino Tag Team Royale at Revolution two months ago, Daniels hasn’t been on the losing end of a match since December 16th. He and Kazarian have won 13 consecutive tag matches, even though all but one of them have taken place on Dark. Daniels is a few months away from his 50th birthday, but he is still a very good worker. His in-ring chemistry with Kazarian is still top notch. I’m going to go with him being underpushed, because I want to see more of him on Dynamite.
Chuck Taylor: I’m not quite sure what this says, but Taylor is the first entry of this column, out of 17 so far, to have wrestled more than 50 matches for AEW. The Best Friends act is always one of the more over ones on the AEW roster, no matter what Taylor, Trent, Orange Cassidy, and now, Kris Statlander are doing. Of the 59 matches Taylor has done for AEW, only five of them have been of the singles variety, and of those singles matches, he has lost four of them. He is a far more successful tag wrestler, going 29-12 in normal tag or multi-team tag matches. 29-12 is impressive enough, but their record was 5-6 at one point, meaning that they’re 24-6 since mid-February 2020. They’ve earned two Tag Team Title shots in that span, losing both, bringing questions forth about their “ceiling” in AEW. I’m going to go with underpushed because of those questions. Far too many people still see Taylor as nothing more than a comedy character, and they don’t see how well he can wrestle. I’m not saying he needs a heel turn or a notable vicious side to take over. I just don’t think people, and perhaps those in charge of AEW fall into that category, are giving him the credit he deserves.
Cody Rhodes: Welp. Here we go. If you were to poll 100 wrestling fans and ask them to name the first AEW wrestler that comes to their mind, how many do you think would say Cody? 50? 60? 75? He’s not the company’s biggest star, but he’s the company’s biggest star, if that makes any sense. He’s never going to be the AEW World Champion, as per the storyline leading up to Full Gear 2019, but that clearly doesn’t matter much. He’s still shining as bright as anyone in the company, World Title or no World Title. Along with that shine comes a lot of wins. He has only lost four singles matches in AEW… dropping the TNT Title to Brodie Lee, dropping the TNT Title to Darby Allin, to MJF at Revolution 2020, and to Chris Jericho at the aforementioned Full Gear 2019. In all of his other singles matches, his record is 31-0-3. His record in any other match beyond those singles matches is 8-7, so… maybe he should stick to singles matches. I don’t know, folks. It’s easy to say that Cody is overpushed because of that record, but it’s also kind of easy to say he’s underpushed because he isn’t able to be the World Champion, no matter what. I’m leaning in the direction of overpushed. He’s doing a lot better for himself than he was in WWE, but he’s almost bigger than the AEW product itself, and that doesn’t make any sense to me.
Colt Cabana: Let’s get this out of the way right here and now… underpushed. When AEW ran their Brodie Lee Tribute on Dynamite after Brodie’s passing, Colt had a star-affirming performance. That was the Colt Cabana I became a fan of years ago when he was in Ring Of Honor. I thought the company had a great opportunity to make Cabana the new “leader” of The Dark Order. Not only did it make sense in kayfabe with Brodie personally recruiting Cabana into the group, but you just knew you were watching something special in that Celebration Of Life episode. It just never really happened. Colt got a push after Brodie’s death, yes, but what really came of it? AEW should’ve struck while the proverbial iron was hot, but they didn’t, for whatever reason. That’s a shame. Maybe it’s because he, like Billy Gunn and others, is also a Coach for the company. If opportunities present themselves, that shouldn’t count a Coach out from receiving a push, but I’m not in charge. I don’t get a say in anything.
Colten Gunn: Go back and read his brother’s entry earlier in this column. You can say the same thing for him, almost word-for-word. Underpushed.
Darby Allin: He’s the current TNT Champion, fresh off of nine consecutive title defenses in the last four months. It has been almost six months since he was on the losing end of a match… over nine months if you’re only looking at singles matches. He’s on an incredible roll right now. I think he’s being pushed just right, if I’m being honest. He’s too unique on the AEW roster, and too over with crowds, to be lower on the card. At the same time, he’s still on his ascension up the ranks, and I don’t think he’s “ready” to be any higher on the card. Having him as the red-hot midcard champion is perfect for the time being.
Dax Harwood: This is another instance where you can refer to someone else’s entry for my thoughts about this particular person. Underpushed.
Dustin Rhodes: He’s another one of AEW’s Coaches, so you have to immediately take that into consideration. He ended 2020 and started 2021 super hot, winning eight straight matches from September 2020 to March 2021. The new feud between The Nightmare Family and The Factory is a new chance for him to possibly get some more television time, but as I’ve said, I don’t think that’s really the point with AEW’s Coaches. He’s in the just right column, as someone who can still help make his opponents look good in the ring, but that can also get some good reactions from the crowds at Daily’s Place.
Eddie Kingston: Still one of the best talkers in the business, Kingston hasn’t been winning at a clip to match that. I know a few people that didn’t even think he would last with the company beyond coming in for the initial open challenge match against Cody when Cody was giving out TNT Title shots to anyone on the internet, basically. Here we are, almost ten months later, and he’s still kicking, so I guess anything else is just a bonus. Personally, I still feel he’s underpushed. He was primed and ready to take the TNT Title from Cody, but it didn’t happen. Then, he was more than ready to take the World Title from Jon Moxley, but that didn’t happen, either. His decent record of 11-8 in AEW looks a lot better when you say he’s 11-5 outside of title matches. It’s the little things, you know? I don’t know if the World Title ship has sailed for him, but he can definitely be a midcard contributor. It would be nice to see him representing the company as the TNT Champion, or even as one-half of the Tag Team Champions, one day.
Ethan Page: If you don’t count his debut six-way Ladder Match at Revolution and a 15-man Battle Royal at AEW’s first house show last month, Page is currently sitting on a 7-0 record. He’s one of the top tag team workers in all of wrestling over the last several years, which might bode well for his new pairing with Scorpio Sky. It’s still a tad too early to truly gauge how his push is going right now, but I’m going to list his push as being just right. It should be a big deal that he arrived from Impact, and so far, he’s getting that type of momentum built up.
Evil Uno: You probably wouldn’t know it if you aren’t a super hardcore fan of AEW and/or The Dark Order, but Evil Uno is a very successful member of the roster. If you don’t count Battle Royal appearances, he hasn’t been involved in the losing end of a match since the end of January. He’s yet another wrestler that isn’t exactly working on Dynamite every week, but the fact remains that he’s winning. Here’s where things differ in my opinions of this particular wrestler compared to the other Dark Order entries in this column thus far… I think he’s overpushed. That’s not me saying that he’s a bad wrestler, or anything even close to it. I’m just saying I like him better as almost more of a mouthpiece or something along those lines.
Frankie Kazarian: Outside of their ages being slightly different, and a singles loss to Christian Cage, you can pretty much take Christopher Daniels’ entry and copy it right here. He and Daniels are in the middle of a lengthy tag team winning streak, as their time together as a team depends on them avoiding another loss. They’re still too good together to be “stuck” on Dark and Dark: Elevation for months at a time. Underpushed.
“Hangman” Adam Page: Of everyone on the AEW roster, there might not be a more consistent performer from day one than Adam Page. No matter the story, no matter the opponent, and no matter the stakes, he puts on a great performance. His recent loss to Brian Cage ended a 13-match winning streak, going back to the Brodie Lee Celebration Of Life episode of Dynamite. It was his second ten-plus match win streak since he joined AEW. Sure, it’s been eight months since he’s been a champion of any sort, but he’s not exactly suffering at the moment. In fact, I’m of the thinking that, at some point down the road, Page is going to be built up as the man who finally brings Kenny Omega down. If Page isn’t already a “made man” at this point, he sure will be when he pulls that off. Right now, I’ll say his push is just right. That could change in the future if he keeps having random matches with the likes of Cezar Bononi, Bill Collier, and Spencer Slade instead of more meaningful work, but we’ll see how that goes.
Isiah Kassidy: When Private Party first signed with AEW, they were viewed (incorrectly, mind you) as nothing more than Street Profits ripoffs. They were given a big push right out of the gate, shocking the world by defeating The Young Bucks on the second episode of Dynamite. It looked like they were going to be taken to the top, but then they lost their next tag match, eliminating them from the tournament to crown the very first AEW Tag Team Champions. They would go on to lose far more matches than they would win, losing nine out of ten matches to end 2019 and start 2020. They pretty much faded into the background until a pairing with Matt Hardy, of all people, seemed to light a spark. The pairing hasn’t gained the results many had hoped for, but Kassidy and Mark Quen are on a bit of a winning streak right now. They’re 6-1 over the last two months, so there’s some hope that things are turning around for them. I think this is a clear case of being underpushed.
Jack Evans: When I first started watching Jack Evans in Ring Of Honor, he couldn’t have a match without blowing me away at least once. The things he was able to pull off in a wrestling ring were incredible. While he’s still entertaining, he’s also 39 years old now, so he isn’t quite the same high-flier that he used to be. I listed his tag partner as being underpushed, but I’m going to lean to Evans being pushed just right. He’s not exactly winning a ton, but he’s able to have his spotfests and do some of those wild things he has always done. That’s where he belongs, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Jake Hager: Remember when he was the big surprise debut “hook” at the end of the very first episode of Dynamite was Jake Hager? Yeah, he’s a former WWE World Heavyweight Champion, ECW Champion, Lucha Underground Champion, FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion, and so on, but… Jake “Jack Swagger” Hager? I think he was doomed from the start. He wasn’t a big enough “name” with the right buzz, and he was never truly accepted by AEW fans as a result. That’s not his fault, of course. It’s just how things go sometimes. With a 13-9 record in AEW, he hasn’t really done much of note. He has been more of a bodyguard-type than an actual wrestler. I think he’s capable of more than he has accomplished in AEW, but I’m also going to say his push is just right, because achieving more is only going to stand in the way of someone else getting that rub.
Joey Janela: Here’s a man that has wrestled in 17 matches on Dynamite. It’s also a man that has lost 17 matches on Dynamite. He’s not exactly doing a whole lot better wrestling off of television, either. His role with the company is pretty clear at this point, after two years. Somebody has to lose matches, and he appears to be one of those chosen names for AEW. Let’s say it’s just right.
Jon Moxley: His AEW record is 39-7-1. Five of those losses were in non-singles matches. He has yet to lose back-to-back matches. A company-defining nine-month AEW World Title reign made him look like the megastar that he never seemed to feel comfortable as when he was Dean Ambrose. He has been, arguably, the biggest reason that AEW has been the success that it has been so far. Since losing the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch at Revolution two months ago, Moxley has just been… there. He has had five matches since then, but three of them have been against bottom of the barrel talent, giving him some squash match victories. It’s not like he needed to be built back up. Yeah, he lost to Kenny Omega for the second straight time, but he’s still Jon Fucking Moxley. He’s in the just right category. One of the biggest acts in all of wrestling right now, and you can feel that when he’s out there, whether he’s facing Omega or someone like Cezar Bononi.
Jungle Boy: I’ve talked about this in previous columns, but there are a ton of people out there who feel Jungle Boy is a future AEW World Champion. He has made some tremendous strides with his in-ring work since arriving in AEW. Time will tell if he ever reaches those levels, but for now, I think he’s underpushed. He and Jurassic Express have been very over from the start, but it hasn’t really led to much. A few wins here, a few losses there, and not a lot of movement. Jungle Boy is ready for some sort of championship in AEW. A Tag Title reign is fine, as is a TNT Title reign. Something. Anything.
Kenny Omega: Let’s get this out of the way, because I know it’s going to make some folks mad… overpushed. Before some of you get your panties completely bunched up, I’m a huge fan of Kenny Omega. He may not be in his “prime” anymore, but he’s easily one of the best wrestlers in the world today. I just think this “Belt Collector” stuff would’ve been better done in the past. He looked more “unbeatable” in the past than he does now, but there he is, as the top champion for three different promotions at the same time, with more rumored to be on the way. It’s not necessary. Honestly, the heel turn wasn’t necessary, either, but that’s a different debate for a different day. We’re five months into his AEW World Title reign, with no end in sight. If we’re going to keep it real, there shouldn’t be an end in sight with the way he’s been built up. He still has the shortest reign of the three AEW World Champions, and he’s four months away from passing Jon Moxley for the title’s longest reign. If he’s going to be made to look this unstoppable, he has to keep steamrolling people. Again, it’s not necessary, but it’s the corner that AEW has painted themselves into. I love watching him work, and I don’t mind him having the title for a while. It’s just strange to make the 2021 version of Kenny Omega look like Thanos.
Lance Archer: What a strange AEW career. He debuted and looked like nobody could stop him, only to lose to Cody in a TNT Title match. Then, he looked even more unstoppable, destroying everyone left and right, only to lose to Jon Moxley in a World Title match. After the Moxley loss, he’s been in the middle of the road, winning some and losing some, but he has never quite looked like the same monster he once was. It has been two-and-a-half months since he’s wrestled on Dynamite. I don’t know if he’ll ever get back to the level he was at before, but he’s certainly more than qualified and more than capable of it. Underpushed.
Lee Johnson: Well… umm… he’s a member of The Nightmare Family, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice. He started his AEW career off with 31 consecutive losses, which is pretty wild to think about. Then, out of nowhere, he has gone on to go 7-2 since. He’s now in the middle of the Nightmare Family’s feud with The Factory, even though I don’t think many people could pick him out of a lineup. That’s not the knock on him that it seems like. It’s more saying that his booking has been nonsensical. You can’t go from losing 31 straight matches to, all of a sudden, being on a winning streak and being placed in a relatively high-profile spot. Overpushed.
Luchasaurus: Sometimes, I wonder if Luchasaurus is holding Jungle Boy back. There’s only so much you can do with the Luchasaurus gimmick, and I fear that Jungle Boy gets caught up in that and doesn’t get the proper elevation because he’s stuck in neutral. I still say Luchasaurus is underpushed, though. As over as Jurassic Express has been, I’m still pretty surprised we haven’t seen a Tag Team Title reign for them at some point.
Luther: He’s an in-ring performer, but also a Producer for the company. At damn near 53 years old, and clearly not the same wrestler he was in the 90’s, I don’t know if anyone is really expecting a ton out of him. I’m still going to say overpushed. Fight me. He doesn’t need to be wrestling anymore. Any match he wins… which, to be fair, isn’t happening a ton… is a victory that someone else could use more.
Marko Stunt: People are really split down the middle when it comes to this guy. You have the people who enjoy his matches and view him as a “special attraction” on a certain level, and you have the people who feel it’s killing the business when someone listed as 5’2″ and 117 pounds gets any offense on “normal” sized wrestlers. I lean more to the latter, but I do feel he’s got a spot in today’s product. He bumps his ass off and makes anybody he faces look like a killer, but that’s the end of it. I don’t want to see him winning titles or pulling off shocking upsets. Having him win matches teaming with Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, or both, is fine. He shouldn’t have success as a singles wrestler. Thus far in AEW, he hasn’t, only winning twice in singles action out of 12 attempts. Those two wins were against Michael Nakazawa and Jason Cade, so… whatever. He’s fine where he is, so let’s say his push is just right.
Marq Quen: Damn near a copy and paste from Isiah Kassidy’s entry. Underpushed.
Matt Hardy: Is it fair to say that Matt Hardy’s AEW run hasn’t quite gone the way he would’ve hoped? He signs with the company, and then the whole world shuts down because of COVID, forcing him to debut in front of zero fans. His feud with Sammy Guevara was marred by him splitting his head open and then almost REALLY splitting his head open. With each passing month, his body is crawling closer and closer to the finish line, and you can almost hear his knees and hips screaming for help when you watch him on television. There’s nothing left for him to prove to anybody. He’s almost 47 years old. I think he would be much better off either working behind the scenes, as he continues to have a wildly creative mind for the business, or on-screen in the role he’s been trying to play with Private Party. A mentor role would be good for him. It just seems like he’s taking up space, and that someone else could more benefit from his time and his wins. Overpushed.
Matt Jackson: He has been one-half of the AEW Tag Team Champions for six months now. From day one, he and his brother were going to be viewed as really big deals, and for good reason. They’ve proven themselves to be one of the greatest tag teams of all-time, and they both have Executive Vice President roles with AEW, so it’s going to be that way whether you want it to or not. They have earned this, and I won’t take that away from them at all. Just right is where I have them listed. Just… please, for the love of all that is holy… stop letting them try to “act” in whatever storyline they’re a part of. It’s awful. Accentuate the positives and hide the negatives. That’s one of their biggest negatives, and yet, middle school-level overacting continues to make its way onto Dynamite on a near-weekly basis. Cut it out.
Matt Sydal: His role in AEW seems crystal clear at this point. When he’s in a match against anybody lower on the ladder, he’s going to win. If he’s in a match with anybody that is higher up on the ladder, he’s going to lose. However you feel about Matt Sydal, that’s just something that cannot be argued. I think his push is just right, but if you wanted to say he’s slightly underpushed, I wouldn’t argue with you. He’s there to make people look good, and he does the job well.
Max Caster: I said his tag partner’s push was just right, so I’m going to say that his push is just right, too. He did well for himself while Anthony Bowens was out with an injury, having an 8-3 record in that span. Now that Bowens is back, it remains to be seen what happens to any sort of momentum that they had pre-injury. As I said, this week’s episode of Dynamite could shed a lot of light on that, as they will be in line for an AEW Tag Team Title shot if they win.
MT Nakazawa: Nobody really takes the man seriously, but that’s pretty much the point. He’s not there to compete for titles. He lost to Marko Stunt in a one-on-one bout, for fuck’s sake. Call it just right or call it overpushed, even though I lean to the former. I won’t argue with you, either way. He’s not hurting anybody.
Miro: Underpushed. Next.
MJF: Overpushed. I’ve made mention of it in the past, but I just don’t think MJF’s in-ring work is on par with the types of pushes that he receives. As a talker, he is absolutely one of the best that the company has to offer. When he gets in the ring, though, his matches range from “average” to “pretty decent” with the right opponent. That’s not enough for someone who is in his spot and getting the push that he’s getting.
Nick Comoroto: It would be nice if I could play favorites here. He’s one of my favorite “new” talents in AEW, but I can’t grade him differently than his stablemates because of that. I said that Aaron Solow and Anthony Ogogo are both overpushed, so I have to say Comoroto is also overpushed. They were all plucked from out of nowhere and placed into one of the company’s top feuds, and I don’t think they’re quite ready for it. I’d like to be proven wrong, especially with Comoroto, but I stand by what I said.
Nick Jackson: Just right. It would be pretty difficult to say what I said about Matt Jackson, and then turn around and say anything different for his brother.
Orange Cassidy: It wasn’t all that long ago that Orange Cassidy was viewed as one of the top breakout stars in all of wrestling. His gimmick was mega over with live crowds, and then he defeated Chris Jericho two times in a row. It looked like he was about to receive one of the most unexpected main event pushes in recent memory. Then, he was unsuccessful in becoming the TNT Champion three times (once against Brodie Lee and twice against Cody), followed by failing to take the Dynamite Diamond Ring from MJF. Don’t get me wrong… he’s still successful. Since losing that match to MJF, he has a 12-1 record, including wins in his last nine matches. He just doesn’t seem to have the same buzz surrounding him. Admittedly, that’s a tough gimmick to sell to casual fans when it comes to someone being a World Champion or even competing at that level. It’s one thing to have AEW fans cheer for him, but it’s another thing altogether to show his matches to someone who has never seen him before and try to convince them that he can win any match, let alone win a bunch of them. As long as he continues to be as popular with AEW crowds as he is, though, expect him to get some shine. I’ll say underpushed, mainly because he had the rug somewhat pulled out from beneath him a bit.
Ortiz: Ortiz and Santana formed one of the best tag teams in wrestling over the last several years, and big things were expected of them when they signed with AEW. It simply hasn’t happened yet. For example, it took over 16 months for them to even receive a shot at the AEW Tag Team Titles, and they lost the match. They’ve certainly been in some prime real estate, helping to form The Inner Circle on the very first episode of Dynamite, but it hasn’t led to the level of success that many were expecting. They started off hot, but they’ve mainly been in the “win some, then lose some, then win some” spot for a while. Underpushed, and one of the stronger cases of it.
Pac: This is another person that many tabbed as a future AEW World Champion when he signed. Obviously, it hasn’t happened yet, but some of that was way out of his hands. He has a singles victory over Kenny Omega, multiple singles wins over Adam Page, and a singles draw against Jon Moxley. That was all in his first few months with the company. Unfortunately, any momentum he could’ve been building was put to a halt by COVID, which prevented him from traveling to and from America. He was away from AEW for eight months because of those travel restrictions. Upon his return, he has been winning matches again, but his biggest singles victory since returning has been against Eddie Kingston. Not knocking Kingston, but that’s a far cry from beating the people he was beating before COVID. Let’s call him underpushed. He can absolutely, positively be a main event player for AEW. I think it’s only a matter of time before it happens, so there’s that, at least.
Penta El Zero Miedo: Underpushed. No doubt about it. Penta is another wrestler that got the wrestling world talking about him because of his work in Lucha Underground. His unique look and his in-ring performances had people going nuts, making him one of the hottest names in the business. Four of his first nine matches in AEW were for titles… two matches where he teamed with Rey Fenix and faced The Young Bucks for the AAA Tag Team Titles, and two matches where he teamed with Fenix to compete for the AEW Tag Team Titles. Three months later, he and Fenix had another shot at the AEW straps. That was almost 15 months ago, and it was also the last title of any kind that Penta has wrestled for. No more tag shots, no singles title shots… nothing. He’s gone from one of wrestling’s hottest acts to almost being just another guy in AEW. I don’t even know how that is possible, but apparently it is. He has become another in a long line of AEW wrestlers that win a couple matches in a row, then lose a couple in a row, only to then win a couple in a row, ultimately gaining nothing. That needs to change.
Powerhouse Hobbs: Whether he’s being called Will Hobbs or Powerhouse Hobbs, it sure seemed like AEW saw something special in him from the beginning. After a very impressive showing in the Casino Battle Royale at All Out 2020, Hobbs was signed to a contract less than two weeks later. He was then immediately aligned with Jon Moxley, who was the AEW World Champion at the time. Before long, he turned heel and became a new member of Team Taz, which looked like it would really propel him up the ranks. It hasn’t. Not yet, anyway. He has scored a bunch of wins over lower-level and independent talent on Dark and Dark: Elevation, but that’s about it. He has wrestled on Dynamite once in 2021, and that was a loss to Christian Cage two weeks ago. The last time he won a match on Dynamite was the first match after his heel turn. That was five-and-a-half months ago. He’s underpushed, and I’m not quite sure why. It’s like someone in charge lost faith in him somewhere along the way.
Preston Vance: “10” might be the male member of The Dark Order with the brightest future. He has seen a fair amount of success in AEW, earning a 24-14 record. He’s 21-8 in his last 29 matches, though, so he has really picked up steam after a bit of a rough start. Last week, he participated in his first title shot of any kind in AEW, a losing effort against Darby Allin for the TNT Championship. I don’t know of anybody that expected he would win the match, but it still happened, and he looked good in the process. That’s a start. I’m going with underpushed here. As I said, he probably has the brightest future of any of male Dark Order members (none of them match up to the potential of Anna Jay), and he’s getting more of a chance to show that, but I still want more.
QT Marshall: No, thanks. Overpushed. Not a single person asked for him to turn heel on The Nightmare Family and start his own stable. He hadn’t done anything to really earn that type of push, but he got it, anyway. Pass. It’ll probably end up with Comoroto, Ogogo, and Solow turning on him at some point down the road, which will be fine, but I don’t need any of this stuff now.
Rey Fenix: You could use a lot of what I said in Penta’s entry here for his brother. This one might be even worse, though, because Fenix is regularly allowed to showcase that he’s, arguably, the closest thing we’ve seen to Rey Mysterio since Rey Mysterio himself, and it still hasn’t really led to anything. Underpushed. This is someone who has everything necessary to be the AEW World Champion, but the trigger hasn’t been pulled.
Ricky Starks: If you see his name on the upcoming card for an episode of Dark or Dark: Elevation, expect a win. He is currently sitting on a combined 26-0 record on those shows. Yes, you read that right. It’s those pesky pay-per-views and episodes of Dynamite that are tripping him up. When he’s not wrestling on YouTube, he has a record of 2-9. What the hell are you supposed to gather from that level of information? He has a world of potential, but he’s lost in the mix as a member of Team Taz. Through no fault of his own, mind you. He just doesn’t look like Brian Cage or Powerhouse Hobbs, and he isn’t Taz or a blood relation to Taz. Again, none of that is his fault. Right now, his push is just right. It’s bordering on underpushed, but I think he’s being built up for a future run outside of Team Taz, and it’s more of a slow burn than anything.
Santana: Copy and paste the Ortiz entry. Underpushed, without a doubt.
Scorpio Sky: Things started off hot for him in AEW, as he would go on to become one-half of the promotion’s first set of Tag Team Champions. He and Frankie Kazarian only held the belts for just under three months, but they were the champions nonetheless. He has been stuck in a pattern ever since. Either in a tag team or as a singles worker, he’ll win a handful of matches in a row to put him in title contention. Then, he’ll lose a title match, but put in an impressive performance in the loss. After that, he’ll go back to winning a bunch of matches in a row to earn another title shot, only to look impressive in a loss. We’re currently right back to that pattern again, as he has been on a roll teaming with Ethan Page. If things hold to plan, expect them to get a Tag Team Title shot in another month or two, only for Sky to look good in a losing effort. It’s weird. From day one, he’s been one of the company’s best workers. I think he deserves more. Underpushed.
Serpentico: He’s 0-5 on Dynamite, and 0-1 on pay-per-view. He also isn’t exactly setting the world on fire during the company’s YouTube shows. Not everybody can win all the time. He’s doing the job that he’s supposed to be doing, so call it just right.
Shawn Spears: For someone who spent a total of seven years across WWE’s various developmental territories, his career there never really went anywhere. When he signed with AEW, people felt that this was finally going to be his chance to show what he can do. His win/loss record looks pretty good, sitting at 26-16, but he’s 21-4 in his last 25 matches, so he has definitely turned the corner there. My problem with him right now is this… can any of you name a memorable match in that span? Can you name a memorable match in his time with WWE, for that matter? He’s still involved in a high-profile feud and getting plenty of time. Overpushed. I just don’t see it. The man is married to the woman formerly known as Peyton Royce, though, so he’s winning, no matter what.
Sonny Kiss: It has been six-and-a-half months since Sonny Kiss has wrestled on Dynamite. In eight matches on Dynamite, he has yet to pick up a victory. Dark and Dark: Elevation have been kinder, but not by much. This is not someone who is in AEW to be a World Champion right now, so I’ll say the push is just right, simply because someone’s gotta do it.
Sting: I’m breaking my own rule about only including active wrestlers, because fuck you, that’s why. He’s 1-0 in AEW, but you know he’s going to wrestle again, whether it’s one more time or 101 more times. I’ll say his push is just right. There was no reason for him to be on the losing side of his match, especially with it being a cinematic fight. The problem I do have with Sting in AEW is the same thing many of you have… there’s no motherfunking reason for him to be appearing on Dynamite damn near every single week. None. At all. His appearances get less and less special every time he shows up. Say whatever you want about Brock Lesnar, but his appearances were largely handled the right way. He wasn’t on 12 consecutive episodes of Raw in between his matches. That’s the way it should be with Sting. If he’s going to be in a match, put him out there in the build to said match. Have him make a save or two for Darby Allin or whichever roster member you want to pair him with. This current rate is ridiculous.
Stu Grayson: Outside of the Brodie Lee Tribute, where The Dark Order was victorious in every match, you have to go all the way back to the beginning of August last year to find the last time Stu Grayson has won a match on Dynamite. He’s pretty successful on the YouTube shows, though, which is why I’m calling him underpushed like some of his fellow Dark Order brothers earlier.
Trent: I called Chuck Taylor underpushed earlier, so I don’t have much of a choice but to call his Best Friends stablemate underpushed, as well. They’re winning at a really good clip, but why isn’t that leading to anything more? That’s the question.
(Writer’s Note: Initially, I planned to include the women of AEW in this column, as well. However, due to time constraints in getting this column out, as well as the fact that I’m currently at around 9,000 words for this column already, I’m forced to remove them for now. I will definitely get to them, but it won’t be this week. Honestly, I’m a little upset about it, but I’ve been pretty busy over the last few days.)
Your turn, as always, ReaderLand. Obviously, you don’t need to go through the entire roster and list your choices, but I want to hear from you. Which of my picks are you the most in agreement with? What about my picks that you are on the opposite end of the scale for? Hit me up in the comments section below, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know what’s on your mind.
Weekly Power Rankings
- Roman Reigns vs Daniel Bryan: A definite Match Of The Year candidate, and a very likely winner of televised Match Of The Year. There’s not much else that can really be said. Just fantastic drama. Now, we have word that Bryan’s WWE contract has legitimately expired. You know how the internet works… now everybody is speculating on Bryan Danielson’s future. Will he just fade away into retirement? Return to WWE after a bit of a vacation? Go back to Ring Of Honor? New Japan? Be a game-changing addition to AEW? We’ll have to wait and see.
- Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell: The new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions. That alone would put them on this list, but their match against Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart was an entertaining brawl, as well. A good night for The Way, who have earned it, as they’ve all been playing their roles to near perfection.
- Leon Ruff vs Isaiah “Swerve” Scott: Another very entertaining brawl on NXT. Ruff has really been stepping his game up recently, and Swerve has really found some solid footing since turning heel. Now that Swerve has a bit of a stable working with him, it will be interesting how things go for him moving forward.
- Kenny Omega vs Andrade Coming Soon: A first-time-ever dream match is coming to AAA at some point in the future. That type of thing is always exciting. These two are going to blow people away. I have no doubt about that.
- Roman Reigns’ New Entrance Music: It’s a bit jarring to hear Reigns come to the ring to anything other than old Shield music, but I really liked the new song. A lot of the initial tweets I saw about it were right on the money. It really does sound like the final boss music for a video game, which is pretty fitting if you really stop and think about it.
- Darby Allin vs Preston Vance: Darby has been putting the TNT Title up against new and fresh opponents, and has been having good matches with all of them. “10” was the latest to get a shot. As I said earlier in this column, there’s a ton of potential in his future, and I’m glad he got to show some of that off here.
- Jerry Lawler’s Ability To Rewrite History: If you didn’t watch the A&E Documentary episode for “Macho Man” Randy Savage, you missed a master class in rewriting history by Jerry Lawler. Talking about Savage’s WWF departure, Lawler’s story was that Savage no-showed a taping of Monday Night Raw, and that Vince McMahon spent all day looking for him before eventually being told to turn the television on, where Savage was on Monday Nitro instead. There were so many historical inaccuracies there that it will make your head spin. First of all, Vince McMahon broke character on the November 7th, 1994 episode of Raw to announce Savage’s departure from the company, and publicly thanked him for his contributions to the WWF. Guess who was sitting next to Vince at the announce table when this happened? Jerry Lawler. Also, Nitro wasn’t even a thing until ten months after Savage’s WCW debut. Lawler has been telling this story for a long time, and amazingly enough, nobody has bothered to tell him that he’s confusing Savage’s departure with Lex Luger jumping to WCW. For all the detail and the research that A&E’s crew is doing for these shows, it amazes me that nobody fact-checked this, and they aired it in the episode, anyway.
- Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa vs GYV: A fun, old-school match, as expected. Thatcher and Ciampa can really do some damage in NXT’s tag division. Whether or not they will remains to be seen, but the potential for it is there.
- Ted DiBiase: I’m just glad his last appearance wasn’t a one-off. He and Cameron Grimes are playing off of each other perfectly. Also, as always, I am contractually obligated to mention the fact that Grimes nearly broke my leg at an independent wrestling show a few years ago.
- Eva Marie Trolls: The last time we saw Eva Marie in WWE, online trolls had the times of their lives, talking about how she was the greatest women’s wrestler ever and that she was the future champion of whatever. That never happened, of course, but now, she’s back, and the trolls have started up again. Hooray.
This Week’s Playlist: “Blind” by KoRn… “Twist” by KoRn… “Good God” by KoRn… “[email protected]#*%!” by KoRn… “Wicked” by KoRn… “A.D.I.D.A.S.” by KoRn… “Freak On A Leash” by KoRn… “Got The Life” by KoRn… “Children Of The KoRn” by KoRn & Ice Cube… “Falling Away From Me” by KoRn… “Y’all Want A Single” by KoRn… “Coming Undone” by KoRn… “Oildale (Leave Me Alone)” by KoRn… “Money On The Floor” by Big KRIT, 2 Chainz, 8Ball & MJG… “Hold You Down” by The Alchemist, Prodigy, Illa Ghee & Nina Sky… “I Mean It” by G-Eazy & Remo… “Int’l Players Anthem” by UGK & Outkast… “Roc The Mic” by Beanie Sigel & Freeway… “Box Chevy 3” by Yelawolf & Rittz… “Go Out On The Town” by Killer Mike & Jeezy… “Breathe” by Fabolous… “Hustle Blood” by Big Boi & Jamie Foxx… “Move That Dope” by Future, Pusha T, Pharrell Williams & Casino… “Sh!t” by Future… “New York, New York” by Tha Dogg Pound & Snoop Doggy Dogg… “Love Sosa” by Chief Keef… “Sinister Mob” by E-40 & Nate Dogg… “This Is Why I’m Hot (Blackout Remix)” by Mims, Junior Reid & Cham… “Hard White (Up In The Club) (Remix)” by Yelawolf, T.I. & Slaughterhouse… “Insane In The Brain” by Cypress Hill