Who is the best technical wrestler in AEW?
Whereas the last decade saw the prevalence of the high-flying, tornado rules, marathon-style pro wrestling; the ‘20s are looking to be the technical era. The resurgence of the technical wrestler in AEW can be traced back (in part) to one major storyline. The battle between Blackpool Combat Club and the Jericho Appreciation Society is a battle of pro wrestling philosophies — that of the traditional pro wrestler and the sports entertainer.
Between these two factions, along with other elite individuals, the technical style is poised for greatness in AEW. Now, let’s take a look at which names sit atop a growing list.
MJF – MJF is a must-watch wrestler. But his wrestling schedule is meant to make him the most money doing the least work, not top our fan lists.
Wheeler Yuta – It’s almost like the first half of the year belonged to Wheeler Yuta, and the latter half to Daniel Garcia. This is part recency bias, but the sports entertainment vortex hasn’t been kind to Yuta.
(5) Emi Sakura
Emi Sakura has been silently building up the women’s division particularly on Dark: Elevation. This year, frequent opposition to “The Queen” include Skye Blue, Anna Jay, and Ruby Soho. All of whom would have some of their most polished AEW matches on these Youtube shows against Sakura.
Perhaps the person who best benefitted from sharing the ring with Sakura is her regular Elevation partner, Nyla Rose. The difference in Rose’s work from when she wrestled as World Champion in 2020 — an agile giant style — compared to when she teamed on-and-off with Sakura beginning 2021 is night and day. Rose has emphasized the “calculated” in calculated risks, and her efficient movement in the ring nowadays shows that.
Great wrestlers create great wrestlers. Queens create Lulu Pencil.
(4) Daniel Garcia
Daniel Garcia’s involvement as the muse in the BCC/JAS story is the best thing to have happened to him in AEW. Specifically, Danielson’s public endorsement of Garcia, versus William Regal’s perspective about Garcia being a better opponent than member of BCC.
It is constant back-and-forth’s like these that make up for long periods of Garcia being in the background for a JAS ticker tape parade. The in-between moments, when he’s not having classics alongside Matt Menard and Angelo Parker, or having gripping submission-based series against Wheeler Yuta or Bryan Danielson. All these have proven to live audiences that Garcia showed the most growth among the other technical prodigies in 2022.
(3) Bryan Danielson
Bryan Danielson has had a phenomenal year. Matches against Adam Page and Daniel Garcia, as well as the infamous Anarchy in the Arena, mark a great year for Danielson in the ring. Outside of matches, of course, his biggest highlight would be forming the highly-influential BCC.
Unfortunately, his ceiling in 2022 had been halted by injury, and by a sports-entertainment rivalry that dragged on too long. The series with Garcia was great; and the battle of wrestling philosophies is a rich concept. But Bryan Danielson and Chris Jericho for 3 months straight in the year 2022 is not it. When the ceiling is Danielson’s strike-friendly chemistry with Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki, and Eddie Kingston in 2021? This JAS tug-of-war loses its shine quick.
“The American Dragon” has still elevated every young star he’s faced in bigger rivalries. But his reach hasn’t been as widespread as our next entry.
(2) Serena Deeb
Serena Deeb has been the unsung MVP of the entire women’s division for months now. She’s been the thread that ties the World Championship scenes of both AEW and ROH. From smooth singles against Thunder Rosa, Mercedes Martinez, and Toni Storm. To standout performances in tags involving Jame Hayter, Britt Baker, and Athena.
Some criticize Deeb for not being the go-to for spitting fire onto a live mic (people get 1 Baker reign and expect everyone else to be closet sports entertainers from now on?). But match after match, win or lose, Deeb remains a threat in the title scene. Not for lack of venom on the mic, but for being their most consistent technical wrestler so far.
(1) Jon Moxley
Is there any list Jon Moxley fits in that he can’t top? Call him Ace, call him heart and soul, but he is also AEW’s top technician. (And not just because you call him when your house needs rewiring.)
Blackpool Combat Club’s entire M.O. has been about building and recruiting AEW’s next great technical wrestlers. The names they brought up were Wheeler Yuta, Daniel Garcia, and Lee Moriarty. This year, Moxley and BCC’s 1st survivor Yuta put on arguably the best Rampage match in history.
Apart from being Mr. Dirty Technical Wrestling, Moxley is a strong candidate for being blanket wrestler of the year. From 3-minute squabbles, to Anarchy in the Arena. The best one to do it was a bloody technical wrestler.