As has been proven with All Elite Wrestling’s monumental rise in under two years, time doesn’t define you. While experience can be invaluable, it can only account for so much. There’s a lot to be said for someone young, fresh and energetic and, a lot of the time, those other qualities can outshine just pure experience. The latter, of course, is much easier to gain than any natural or trained trait. If you’re good enough, you’re usually old enough in wrestling.
While AEW has many veteran wrestlers on their books, the company is filled with an abundance of younger talents, with over 30 under-30-year-olds under contract. Through the endeavour of AEW Dark, many, many young talents have forced themselves to the forefront of All Elite Wrestling – with many hot prospects making their name on Dynamite from the get-go! Looking at the list, though, no matter where the so-called “rookie” talents are on the card right now, AEW is rife with wrestlers who most definitely have the potential to become Elite in the truest sense of the world, and they have the best tag team partner possible – time!
So, who are All Elite Wrestling’s youngest stars? Here are the youngest talents under 25 – with one exception – by age in AEW right now.
(Note, while -1, AKA Brodie Lee Jr, is signed to an AEW contract of sorts, the eight-year-old is an honourary member of the list due to having not competed in a match thus far. On a similar note, as is 21-year-old Team Taz member Hook, who will be added to the list in third place – having been born on May 4th, 1999 – when he has an official in-ring debut)
Born: March 15, 1996
Having just turned 25 years old, MJF is the epitome of a talent performing well beyond his years. Although the now-former Inner Circle star hasn’t yet held a championship title in All Elite Wrestling, he’s been on the cusp many times – and it just seems like a matter of chronology as to when there is a gold – or silver – plated belt around his waist.
MJF was one of the first names signed to AEW, joining on a five-year deal in January 2019. Having debuted at Double or Nothing, Friedman has always looked destined for greatness from the get-go, making it to the final two of the Casino Battle Royale for an AEW World Championship opportunity before being ousted by Adam Page. Following that disappointment, MJF would go on an undefeated run, beginning at Fight For The Fallen. Ever since, the 25-year-old’s AEW career has been a whirlwind. From saving Cody Rhodes from a beatdown, then throwing in the towel for his ‘best friend’ in a World Championship match that meant The Nightmare would be unable to ever challenge for the World Championship again, MJF has made his presence felt in the most effective of ways.
The Dynamite Diamond Ring winner’s feud with Rhodes resulted in some of the most iconic and controversial moments in AEW thus far, from a Steel Cage Match between Cody and Wardlow to the former TNT Champion taking ten lashes on live TV before emerging victorious in the much-anticipated clash. MJF then went on to defeat Jungle Boy, before finally losing in a singles match after almost an entire year of dominance against then-AEW World Champion Jon Moxley.
MJF has since found further fame in taking on Chris Jericho, and participating in the iconic Le Dinner Debonair segment, before joining the Inner Circle. As part of the faction, MJF won his second Diamond Ring after pinning Orange Cassidy – but has since left Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara and Santana & Ortiz behind to form his own faction.
Heralded as Inside The Ropes’ Heel of the Year in 2020, MJF’s character-work is second to none, and his in-ring performances aren’t too far behind. While MJF has just hit the quarter of a century mark for life on this planet, many talents could perform for millennia and not reach his level on a microphone.
Born: July 30, 1996
Coming in next on the list is AEW’s smallest star – but they do say good things come in small packages! Marko Stunt defied all odds to take the wrestling world by storm in 2019, capping off an incredible run on the indies with a showdown at All In with WWE Hall of Famer Bully Ray in a Battle Royale where Stunt made a lot of wrestling fans eat their words.
Stunt would then rise to prominence in Being The Elite alongside Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, before the team was announced for the inaugural tournament for the AEW World Tag Team Championships. Marko Stunt replaced Luchasaurus but the team would lose to the Lucha Brothers. Since then, though, the trio have become one of the most-loved factions in All Elite Wrestling. Stunt has shared the ring with Ryan Nemeth and Max Caster among others, with Jurassic Express picking up the win over Dark Order in six-man tag team action recently.
Stunt, of course, is unconventional in almost every way. Despite his stature, the AEW star’s favourite wrestling growing up was The Big Show, AKA new All Elite Wrestling signing Paul Wight. Performing alongside Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus as part of Jurassic Express, 24-year-old Stunt has become a staple of AEW Dynamite, and looks set to shine for many years to come.
Born: June 4, 1997
Probably the most surprising name on the list, Riho performers like a true veteran inside the ring despite being only 24 years old. All Elite Wrestling’s inaugural Women’s Champion will have her name etched in the history books no matter what, but Riho is far from just a statistic of a name on paper.
Having been with All Elite Wrestling since May, 2019, the Japanese star is by far one of AEW’s most established performers, and is one of the few women to claim a victory over current AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida and another former Women’s Champion in Nyla Rose. Riho can also claim a victory over NWA Women’s Champion Serena Deeb, and made it to the semi-finals of the American bracket of the recent AEW Women’s Eliminator Tournament.
While AEW’s women’s division is slowly building, the work of Riho until now can’t be underestimated, and you can bet the 24-year-old will continue to be an integral part of that progress.
Born: June 16, 1997
Very few have captured the hearts – and imaginations – of the AEW faithful like Jungle Boy. Heralded as the future of the company by many – including EVP Cody Rhodes following a classic encounter – Jungle Boy has become one of All Elite Wrestling’s true characters. Outside of his Tarzan-esque persona, Jack Perry – son of the late legendary actor Luke – has shone as one of the company’s most promising, yet polished, performers. So much so that AEW CEO Tony Khan purchased the rights to ‘Tarzan Boy’ for his entrance. Probably a smart move as the iconic tune booms across Daily’s Place no matter the attendance.
Perry is another star who has been with AEW since its inception. However, a victory would be very hard to find for Jungle Boy – with impressive performances never quite leading to a tick in the win column. Jungle Boy would find success in a unique match with Chris Jericho, where the then-AEW World Champion challenged the youngster to match him in the ring for ten minutes. While that match would turn many heads, Jungle Boy’s first victory didn’t come until January 2020 on AEW Dark, but the rising star has been winning over the audience every time he steps in the ring. Jungle Boy has since defeated Dax Harwood, Nick Comoroto and KDB among others.
At just 23 years old, success will undoubtedly be on the horizon for Jungle Boy in the future, but the smart money would be on championship gold being around Perry’s waist sooner rather than later.
Born: July 10, 1997
Isiah Kassidy’s tag team partner Marc Quen just missed out on the top ten, but the chemistry between the pair in the ring has made Private Party one of AEW’s most promising, and loved, teams. Full of energy, Private Party have found success under the tutelage of one of AEW’s veteran performers in Matt Hardy, and have pitched in with many a show-stealing performance since signing with the company in April 2019.
Private Party would pick up a pay-per-view win not long after debuting, defeating The Hybrid 2 on the preshow of All Out before defeating The Young Bucks in a tag team tournament. Private Party competed in a match for the AEW Tag Team titles at Full Gear, and again in January 2020. While Kassidy and Quen would be unsuccessful on both occasions and stumbled in the months following, momentum would pick back up at Fyter Fest with a win over Santana and Ortiz before another unsuccessful title opportunity.
While Private Party have yet to win gold, they’ve proven more than capable of earning the opportunity to fight for the titles – and Kassidy has been instrumental in the juxtaposition of stability and spontaneity that the team possesses. An exciting future awaits.
Born: September 27, 1997
A late addition to the list, AEW confirmed the signing of Leyla Hirsch on March 15th during the premiere episode of AEW Dark: Elevation. Hirsch, of course, has been impressing on Dark and Dynamite long before officially becoming All Elite.
Having first appeared on AEW Dark in October in a losing effort against AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida, Hirsch has impressed every step along the way, picking up wins over the likes of Tesha Price, Katalina Perez, Madi Wrenkowski, Miranda Alize and a debuting Brooke Havok in her first ever AEW match.
Hirsch has also impressed in matches against Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa, and even challenged for the NWA World Women’s Championship Match against Serena Deeb.
‘Big Shotty’ Lee Johnson
Born: December 23, 1997
Speaking of exciting futures, Lee Johnson is a name who firmly falls under the “prospect” category. Making a name for himself across AEW Dark, calls for the signing of Johnson would increase in volume and frequency before his official signing came just last month.
Johnson is part of the Nightmare Family, working under the mentorship of Cody Rhodes. Big Shotty, though, would pick up a long-awaited win by scoring a pinfall on Peter Avalon while teaming with Rhodes against Avalon and Cezar Bononi.
Lee Johnson has been a staple of AEW Dark since April 2020, and the 23-year-old has undoubtedly been making waves off-screen as well as on it, showing that determination and hard work are qualities which are much-desired in AEW. Although, it’s a certainty his likeability, athleticism and smoothness in the ring most definitely won’t hurt either.
Alan ‘V’ Angels
Born: February 16, 1998
Not many men kick out of AEW World Champion Kenny Omega’s V-Trigger, but Alan Angels did just that in April 2020. While the world may not have recognised the potential of Dark Order’s V just yet, there’s no doubt it’s known within All Elite Wrestling.
Dark Order are a team with many strings to their bow and Angels may not even be the most prominent member of the faction right now, but he may just be the most promising. A solid performer with bags of potential, Angels shared the ring with Fenix and Sammy Guevara early on in his AEW career, and would spend a considerable amount of time in the ring with both of those and the Best Bout Machine. A recent rivalry with Serpentico showcased more of Angels’ ability both inside and outside the ring.
Since joining Dark Order, Angels has undergone a shift in character, showing his adaptability and range of character – without compromising his in-ring prowess. 2021 may just be a big year for the 23-year-old dark horse of Dark Order.
Born: July 15, 1998
One of the breakout stars of AEW in 2020, you’d be hard-pushed to find a star who has improved more inside the ropes than Anna Jay. The Queen Slayer recently revealed how she was originally supposed to be masked alongside the rest of Dark Order, having been “shamed” for being pretty. Thankfully, a masquerade mask would replace that idea and Jay has become one of the true rising stars of All Elite Wrestling.
Making waves alongside another rising star in AEW who just missed out on the list in Tay Conti, Anna Jay has definitely taken the wrestling world by storm – perhaps to the surprise of some. Having wrestled on AEW Dark in several losing efforts in singles action, Jay and Conti would only fall to the eventual winners, Ivelisse and Diamante, in the Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament. Since then, the 22-year-old has wrestled nine times – losing only once. That loss, of course, came in an AEW Women’s Championship match to Hikaru Shida, in the middle of victories over Brandi Rhodes, Alex Gracia, Red Velvet, Skyler Moore, Katalina Perez, Dani Jordyn and Jazmin Allure in singles action, while a tag team match saw Conti and Jay defeat Dr Britt Baker DMD and Penelope Ford.
The meteoric rise of Dark Order’s #99 was halted recently, though, as Anna Jay sadly suffered a shoulder injury recently, ahead of the AEW Women’s Championship Eliminator Tournament, which looks set to sideline her for almost the entirety of 2021 but, with time on her side, you can bet the Dark Order’s #99 will come back stronger than ever and ready to make a tilt at the AEW Women’s Championship.
The late Brodie Lee would dub Anna Jay #99 after the great Wayne Gretzky, and if The Queen Slayer has anywhere near the longevity of the hockey legend, the potential for stardom may just be limitless.
Top Flight (Darius Martin & Dante Martin)
Born: September 12th, 1999 (Darius) and March 3, 2001 (Dante)
And the youngest wrestlers in AEW are actually both in the same tag team! Darius and Dante Martin, AKA Top Flight are in the top spot at 20 and 21 years old respectively.
Having only signed with AEW in November, the youngsters have definitely made the most of their minutes by pushing AEW Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks to the limit and earning a contract as a result.
Before their clash with The Young Bucks, Darius and Dante – who were trained by Ken Anderson and soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer Molly Holly – appeared on AEW Dark, losing to Dark Order’s Evil Uno and Stu Grayson on October 21st. The pair would win shortly thereafter in a bout against Baron Black and Frankie Thomas.
Top Flight have recently scored victories over Fuego Del Sol & Jon Cruz and Chaos Project among others, while shining in action against Chris Jericho & MJF, Private Party and others. While Top Flight are peppering in Dynamite appearances while plying their trade on AEW Dark, one thing is for sure, the future is bright for these two rising stars.