The Best AEW Men Wrestlers
The recent addition of the All-Atlantic Championship makes for AEW’s third singles title for the men’s division in 4 years. While some may (understandably) cry “one title too many” for just 1 division, this move also reflects an incredible depth in the roster following a massive 2021 for the promotion. Some of these inclusions are signings from the 2021 boom, others from Day 1 at Double or Nothing 2019; which is to say that this division has been stacked for a long time. Let’s take a look at which wrestlers rule over AEW’s biggest division as of July 2022.
Bryan Danielson has missed a month of action in June due to injury, but the run he was having prior (Matt Sydal on Rampage, Anarchy in the Arena, etc), as well as the matches he had since missed (Zack Sabre Jr at Forbidden Door, teaming with Claudio Castagnoli, etc), have done a lot to shift attention not towards his absence, but towards anticipation for his return.
Pac puts on some of the most impressive performances in the overall men’s division, most evidenced by his standout trios matches against House of Black. But outside of a match against Buddy Matthews, Pac is not really put in positions to steal the show in singles action. Here’s to hoping his great accomplishment as the first-ever All-Atlantic Champion (which he won in a four-way) allows him more of those opportunities onscreen.
(5) Malakai Black
As the leader of the House of Black, embroiled in a feud against Death Triangle, Malakai Black often found himself opposite Pac in trios matches. And just like Pac, Black has lacked in singles opportunities all year. And where Pac had the match against Buddy Matthews, Black had his match against Penta Oscuro.
Similar as their situations—not to mention strike game and fluid movement in the ring—might be, what elevates Black is simply his constant presence in AEW. Whether on Dynamite, Rampage, or Elevation, Black has had numerous matches and victories with HOB that help him climb the rankings. It’s this constancy that makes it easy for one to get the feeling that with enough of a streak, Black can quickly rebound from the loss in the All-Atlantic Championship four-way and set his eyes on a title again.
(3, 4) Orange Cassidy, Eddie Kingston
Tied with Eddie Kingston at #3 and #4 is the returning Orange Cassidy. Cassidy had one of the strongest return months in AEW, with a great return trios match with Roppongi Vice against United Empire on Dynamite; followed by an outstanding IWGP United States Championship match against Ospreay at Forbidden Door. Time will tell whether or not this new OC will be kept fresh, and go on a steady ascent up the rankings with a proper journey this time around; or if he’s made to languish in random matches despite having one of the best win-loss records in the company.
It’s hesitation like this that causes OC to tie with Eddie Kingston, who has also had some inconsistency with how AEW positions him.
From great singles encounters against Jake Hager and Konosuke Takeshita on Rampage, to a show-stealing trios opener at Forbidden Door, to a classic 5-on-5 brawl at Anarchy in the Arena—Eddie Kingston has had a terrific few months, and he has proven without a doubt that he can do it all. He’s also had a more balanced win-loss record this year, which we can speculate will lead to bigger opportunities sooner or later. And we’re not even touching promos; you can probably count on one hand the number of people who can touch Kingston on promos and can set themselves up for a main event slot off the back of one verbal spat.
(2) Dax Harwood
It’s an easy statement to make that FTR are having the run of their lives in early-mid 2022. The AAA and ROH World Tag Team Champions have added a third set of belts to their collection, winning the IWGP Tag Team titles in a high-stakes three-way match against top teams Roppongi Vice and United Empire at Forbidden Door. The lead-up to Forbidden Door also featured a lot of FTR, including defending the ROH belts against Roppongi Vice and even later teaming with Trent Beretta to take on UE members in trios action.
But Dax Harwood in particular has been on a hot streak with singles matches to boot, including most recently a show-stealer against Will Ospreay on Dynamite. It’s matches like these that cause people to have Harwood penciled in as one of their early wrestlers of the year, which is great not only for Harwood but for FTR and the tag division in general. As if being triple World Champions wasn’t enough, this Harwood hot streak only serves to prove that FTR’s success hasn’t even peaked.
(1) Jon Moxley
There may be no other wrestler with a stronger claim to being the best in the men’s division right now than interim World Champion Jon Moxley. From captivating gang warfare in Anarchy in the Arena and Blood and Guts; to exciting, bloody affairs against a younger talent like Daniel Garcia and main eventing a PPV against a legend like Hiroshi Tanahashi; Moxley is the man that has done it all, and that’s prior to winning the interim World title.
Moxley’s presence alone lends so much star power and importance to any match he’s in, which is why in a period of widespread injury, there may be no better name to be interim World Champion than him. He has constantly proven himself to be among the toughest, most durable and popular wrestlers for many months, and not only is he the current best, but he may also be the most important wrestler in AEW’s stacked men’s division right now.