Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth… no, I’m not counting him.
Vinny Mac has had more than a few clear-cut headliners over the years. The fellas who have given everything to the McMahons, building a company with an enduring legacy and an eternally loyal fanbase.
A wrestling company is always destined to have a top guy, a flag bearer wielding the top title or bringing down a tyrannical heel that’s holding the big belt hostage.
I believe AEW will be no exception. As much as they seem determined to be different, they won’t be in this manner. Even if there’s not a predetermined guy that’s been built by management for the role, the fans will elect one.
A couple of ground rules: No “Veterans”. Sorry, Y2J, but you need to be in it for the long run. Also, it cannot be someone destined to be a perennial baddie, no matter how good they are at it, sorry MJF. With the rules set, let’s begin.
5. Darby Allin
I’d potentially call Darby Allin the best seller in pro-wrestling today, he has it all. A fan favourite with an inability to feel pain (just look at that ever GIFable Coffin Drop against Cody), as well as a unique look, personality and wrestling style. Even with his smaller build, Darby Allin can somehow bring legitimacy through the lengths he’ll go to win- think Mick Foley or Jeff Hardy, guys who made it to the very top even though they don’t look like they should be there, and who doesn’t love Mick and Jeff?
The reason he isn’t higher on this list is because these Foley-esque fantasy runs at the top never last that long, unless you’re CM Punk. Though if AEW do truly want to be different, this could be a way to go.
4. Kenny Omega
‘Big Match Kenny’ has been at the pinnacle of a promotion before, with his epic NJPW battles with Kazuchika Okada over the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The quartet of matches solidified, in the eyes of many, that Omega is possibly the best professionally wrestler alive today. A worthy contender for the top spot then, yeah?
I’d agree as well, if it wasn’t for “The Cleaner” being an Executive Vice President of the company. By booking themselves as the top of the food chain, Cody, Kenny and The Young Bucks risk losing fan investment and the confidence of the talent; that they aren’t going to be treated the right way if they join AEW. At least “The Golden Shovel” Triple H always lost at Wrestlemania- mostly, sorry Booker T.
I’d personally say that Omega’s position in the company is the primary reason I’d not place him higher in this list and why Cody doesn’t make the cut.
3. Shawn Spears
During his hiatus from wrestling while working in WWE. The man formerly known as Tye Dillinger is in line for a potential career resurgence under the watchful eye of AEW. He’s already been put into the spotlight with a showcase match against Cody at the upcoming All Out pay-per-view, as well as being managed by Tully Blanchard.
With a great new look, Spears looks set to be a mainstay in AEW for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, his treatment in WWE hasn’t harmed his connection with the fans too much and his legitimacy as a top guy hasn’t taken too much of a blow. He is still a tremendous in-ring talent.
2. Jon Moxley
WWE released its grip of Moxley earlier this year on seemingly agreed terms. The former WWE champion has clearly expressed his displeasure in the companies managing of him and he looks to be a new man under the banner of AEW. The primary issue with Moxley is his association with WWE. How can AEW seem to be an alternative if they’re pushing a former WWE champion as the top guy?
A bit of fantasy booking now for you. Build Moxley as the “Stone Cold” of AEW, he’s an electric brawler with great mic skills and raw charisma to back it up. Have him refuse to side with a heelish authority of Cody, Kenny and The Bucks while simultaneous battering everyone on the roster in well crafted segments over a period of a few years. I can’t see it happening, but still, let me dream.
1.“Hangman” Adam Page
Ok, so it’s an obvious choice, but it’s this obvious for a reason. With Page seemingly destined for the AEW Championship in his upcoming clash with Chris Jericho at All Out, it seems that he’s been hand-picked for the role of top guy.
He’s got the support of the fans, the right look and no current stakes in AEW. Page seems a safe bet for the role and it’s starting to look like it might be the way it’s going, so long as he isn’t given too many big wins and is pushed the same route as Roman Reigns. From his time in New Japan you could easily call him one of the most improved wrestlers in recent memory and if he keeps going at this trajectory, the sky’s the limit.
If AEW plays its cards right they could have a main event talent with all the potential in the world… we’ll see how this plays out.
So, there are my predictions for AEW’s “Top Guy”. There is always the possibility of someone coming along and changing the landscape of the AEW men’s division for the better, maybe, Pac? Do you have any other predictions? Let us know in the comments below.