Since its launch in 2019, AEW has become a true alternative to WWE, offering excellent pay for wrestlers and a new destination for those who want to be seen on a global platform. As the company looks ahead to the biggest show in its history, with AEW All In, now is a good time to take stock of events within AEW.
While some wrestling fans claim that AEW lacks storytelling or good characters, for fans of the All Elite Wrestling product, that’s simply not true. However, just because the company features some great stories and on-screen characters doesn’t mean they’re all good. For these fighters, character changes or gimmicks are needed to help them further their careers.
10 archer spear
Coming to AEW in early 2020 after a proper career resurgence as a singles star in NJPW, Lance Archer seemed destined for great things from the start. He would be joined by Jake Roberts in a fight against Cody Rhodes, which would be delayed a bit due to COVID-19 causing lockdowns. Upon his return, during the TNT Championship Tournament, many fans saw him as a launching pad for Archer within AEW. Would not be.
After losing the tournament, Archer would feel directionless for a while, which was the case for most of his AEW career. Currently wrestling more in AEW Dark, Archer is used sparingly within AEW, although he may tour with New Japan. The big man could be a very convincing babyface or heel, as he has shown in the past, he just needs something to sink his teeth into.
9 The butcher and the sword
For those who weren’t watching AEW during its release, some may have forgotten that The Butcher & The Blade made their AEW debut against Cody Rhodes, as they were bought by MJF as mercenaries. Right now, they don’t have much character other than looking imposing and having The Bunny as their valet. Since these two are one of the most underrated units in AEW, they feel like they deserve some more depth. It might not be ideal for some, but moving The Butcher & The Blade to ROH’s tag team division could give them a chance to find their footing with some proper character work.
8 Andretti Action
Joining AEW in late 2022, Action Andretti would be the Cinderella story of the year as he would make his television debut against Chris Jericho, with him picking up the win against the living legend during an episode of AEW Dynamite before it was announced that he he had signed with AEW. This was one of the biggest upsets in AEW history and established Andretti as a legitimate threat. Since then, he has worked on both TV shows and Dark as he continues to grow as an actor. While he is a hard worker in the ring, Andretti desperately needs a proper character if he is going to be a standout roster player.
7 nyla rose
One of AEW’s originals, Nyla Rose is one of the first female signings AEW made when the company was formed in 2019. In turn, she was also the second AEW World Women’s Champion, defeating Riho for the championship before finally losing the belt to Hikaru. Shida. Since then, Rose has found her place in AEW as someone the company can trust for solid in-ring action.
Throughout her career with the company, Rose has been a badass, and unfortunately she was saddled with Vickie Guerrero, who never really added much to Nyla’s act. Online, Rose has shown that she has a fun and bubbly personality and is one of the funniest wrestlers in AEW. Giving Nyla a babyface turn in AEW could do a lot for her career.
6 lee johnson
At one point, it looked like Lee Johnson was going to be the young star that AEW would fully endorse as the next big thing. That feels like a lifetime ago, as Lee rarely wrestles or even appears on TV at this point. Johnson was linked to Cody Rhodes for a long time, before finally turning around and joining The Factory after Rhodes’ departure from the company.
The young star lacks character, and with QT Marshall apparently leaving The Factory with Aaron Solo, he leaves Johnson hanging with nothing to do. For a young athlete as talented as Lee Johnson, he deserves another shot at being a babyface, though he may end up leaving AEW for a shot at NXT if Cody speaks well of him.
5 penelope ford
One of the most underrated female stars in all of professional wrestling, Penelope Ford has proven time and time again that she has what it takes to be a strong babyface within the AEW Women’s Division. Her style in the ring is much more suited to a babyface wrestler than the badass she currently is, with impressive agility and flexibility.
Ford has yet to get a chance to be a face within the company, and with her once again tied to Kip Sabian on screen, it remains to be seen if it will happen for her. Still, the signs are there for anyone who has looked.
4 daniel garcia
A truly baffling move on Tony Khan’s part was not signing Daniel Garcia to fire up at the Jericho Appreciation Society last summer. While there have been a few instances where the crowd chanted “you’re a fighter” back at him, Garcia has cooled to an insane point from where he was during his feud with Bryan Danielson.
However, one big aspect that has come out of his time with JAS has been the development of Garcia’s charisma as he now feels more like a complete package due to his personality being able to shine through. Still, a break from the group feels necessary for Garcia, as he gets the chance to shine as a wrestler once again instead of a sports entertainer.
3 antonio ogogo
AEW Double or Nothing 2021. That was where Anthony Ogogo’s AEW career died, as he would go on to face Cody Rhodes in a feud that was both lost from its original spot. Somehow it became a feud between the UK and the US, with Cody’s infamous patriotic promotion coming at a time when political tension in America was at breaking point, this dispute caused a incredible damage to Ogogo and it was what turned fans on Cody.
As AEW prepares for All In at Wembley Stadium, the company noted that it would be a homecoming for some stars, including Ogogo in their press release. On that note, it looks like the former Olympian will appear on the show in some capacity, though with The Factory faction dead, he’ll need a total reset within AEW when they head to their stadium show this August.
2 Tay Melo
Once seen as a young up-and-coming babyface star, Tay Melo is now one of the most hated women in AEW. Of course, it’s not real hate towards her person, just towards her and Sammy Guevara together on TV after coming out as a couple. Together, Tay and Sammy have become real heat magnets within All Elite Wrestling.
Unfortunately for Tay Melo, she feels much better suited to playing a babyface than a badass right now. Her moveset and bubbly personality are perfect for being a good girl within the AEW Women’s Division. 2023 should be a big year for the women of AEW, and for Tay, that should mean getting a chance to be a babyface once again.
1 power hobbs
Powerhouse Hobbs has been one of the great recent success stories within AEW. Arriving during the company’s crowd-free era, Hobbs would eventually impress enough to be signed, then joined Team Taz and became a huge star. 2022 would see Hobbs become a singles star after breaking up with Ricky Starks, and he would get his first title win in early 2023 when he would become TNT Champion.
While Hobbs winning gold has been great, being paired with QT Marshall and the QTV group hasn’t. Currently, Hobbs feels like a minor character to QT and the others. In the weeks and months ahead, Tony Khan needs to separate Hobbs from the comedy troupe and let him be the monster fans loved all along.