All Elite Wrestling’s most recent pay-per-view, All Out, is now in the history books. As the dust settles in Chicago, Illinois, the focus turns towards October when the company begin their TV tapings and look to build to the next PPV, Full Gear, in November.
Ahead of tapings, we know we’ll be treated to a tournament to crown the first-ever AEW Tag Team Champions, and that, eventually, Nyla Rose will be facing off against Riho to determine the brand’s first AEW Women’s Champion also.
What we don’t yet know, however, is who will be challenging the inaugural AEW Heavyweight Champion, Chris Jericho, as his first test looms.
Of course, in AEW all wins and losses matter, so the more wins you stack up, the higher up the pecking order you go. We’ve had four pay-per-views since Double or Nothing back in May and since then, there are a few names that are definitely standing out as possible contenders.
With this in mind, and in no particular order, let’s take a look at our list of 5 names who could challenge Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship in the near future.
1. Adam Page – 3 Wins / 1 Loss
Perhaps the most obvious person for a shot at ‘The Alpha’ is ‘Hangman’ Adam Page.
Page won the first Casino Battle Royale at Double or Nothing to earn a chance to become the company’s inaugural champion, before falling short to the Judas Effect at All Out. He also has a victory over Kip Sabian, along with scoring a win in a four-way match against Jimmy Havoc, Jungle Boy and MJF.
We don’t know what AEW’s stance on rematches are just yet, but prior to his loss, Page had three wins to his name, positioning him as one of the top singles stars within the brand.
Needless to say, after investing so much time and stock in ‘Hangman’, there is certainly money and intrigue in following Page’s chase for the title and back to the top of the mountain.
2. Cody Rhodes – 2 Wins / 1 Draw / 1 Loss
‘The American Nightmare’ Cody Rhodes is almost definitely in the race for an AEW Championship opportunity.
With a bloody win over his brother Dustin Rhodes, along with a time limit draw with Darby Allin, the younger sibling of the Rhodes brotherhood is surely closing in on Jericho. Now, after a definitive victory over friend-turned-foe Shawn Spears, Cody has no immediate storylines or rivalries, freeing up the ‘Son of a Plumber’ for a showdown with Y2J.
Though the two have faced off in WWE (although very sporadically), they’ve proven to have great chemistry in the ring together. Not to mention the promos and emotion these two could deliver would have all the makings of a marquee feud for AEW.
3. Christopher Daniels – 2 Wins / 1 Loss
I’ll be damned if there is anyone less deserving at a main event spot in AEW than ‘The Fallen Angel’, Christopher Daniels.
At almost 30 years in the wrestling business, Daniels not only serves as the Head of Talent Relations for AEW, but is indisputably one of the most decorated and respected performers in all professional wrestling. As part of So Cal Uncensored (SCU), he holds a victory over Strong Hearts and Jurassic Express, suffering only one loss to long time friend Cima.
Despite being 49 years old, you wouldn’t have any idea from his current in-ring work, with Daniels still putting on great, consistent matches. Heck, only last year, he became Ring of Honor’s first-ever Grand Slam Champion, proving to any doubters he can still compete with the best.
4. Pentagon Jr/Fenix – 2 Wins / 2 Losses
OK, now this one is more wishful thinking than anything, but both Lucha Bros are electric singles performers and two of the most popular stars in wrestling today.
The Lucha Bros have traded wins and losses against The Young Bucks in what is arguably 2019’s most heated and best rivalry. The feud between the brothers culminated with Pentagon Jr and Fenix retaining the AAA World Tag Team Championships in Escaler De La Muerte (a ladder match) at All Out.
Now the question that lingers is where do the Lucha Bros go from here? Do they pursue the AEW Tag Team Championships, or now look to establish themselves individually within the AEW roster?
I imagine it will be the former, but I have to admit, a Pentagon Jr/Jericho slugfest sounds mighty enticing.
5. PAC – 1 Win
Based on W/L ratio, you might argue that PAC shouldn’t be in contention. Not yet, at least.
PAC and Adam Page were originally set to face-off to determine the first-ever AEW Champion. That was before PAC’s loyalty to Dragon Gate meant he refused to take a loss outside of the company, ultimately leading to the match against ‘Hangman’ being cancelled.
Flash-forward to All Out, we had a dream match replacing a dream match – PAC now facing off against ‘The Best Bout Machine’, Kenny Omega, instead of the injured Jon Moxley. When all was said and done, PAC had his hand raised after choking out Omega, winning by referee stoppage in a genuinely shocking turn of events.
It does appear PAC and Page are set to rekindle their rivalry after PAC confronted him at a post-All Out media junket, citing his reason for return as ‘revenge’. Additionally, Tony Khan also commented of PAC: “I do expect PAC is going to keep wrestling here.”
It may take a while, but it is only a matter of time before ‘The Man That Gravity Forgot’ is in the main event picture.
In case any readers are wondering why the likes of Jon Moxley have been excluded from this list, don’t forget that his only match in AEW was an Unsanctioned bout against Joey Janela at Fyter Fest, and was not ‘officially’ part of the programme.
Honourable mentions also go to Kenny Omega (2 Wins / 2 Losses), Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky (2 Wins / 2 Losses each).
Who do you think should be the first to challenge Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship? Let us know in the comments down below.
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