In a blink of an eye, another year has passed, and what a year it has been for AEW. CM Punk ended his self-imposed wrestling hiatus and turned the wrestling world on his head when he debuted for the company in August and the hits just kept on coming. Less than a month later Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson revealed themselves as All Elite.
These big names were in addition to the likes of Andrade El Idolo, Ruby Soho, Malakai Black, and many others that all joined the company in 2021. Now with the ball about to drop and Hangman Adam Page leading the company into the new year as AEW World Champion, here at Inside The Ropes we look at, in no particular order, 10 Things We’d Love To See In AEW In 2022.
10. John Silver and Alex Reynolds – AEW Tag Team Champions
The Meat Man and The Hair of Dark Order might be AEW originals but their partnership predates the company with the two men first teaming in 2011 on the independent scene. Beginning their AEW careers as enhancement talent, the duo formerly known as The Beaver Boys found more luck once they had been recruited to the creepy Dark Order.
That group’s fortunes transformed under the leadership of The Exalted One Brodie Lee and the group gained massive popularity from their hysterical appearances on Being The Elite. With Lee’s sad passing in December 2020, Dark Order became firm fan favourites as the group looked to continue Lee’s wrestling legacy under the new leadership of Lee’s son, Negative One.
Silver and Reynolds are the cornerstones of Dark Order and despite both men having a stellar win/loss record in 2021, the team has not yet had the opportunity to wrestle for the AEW Tag Team Championship. In 2022, we hope that changes and if it does be warned Lucha Brothers, you might have “cero miedo” but Johnny is always Hungiee!
9. Heel Cody Rhodes
No smoke. No mirrors. Just a detestable, smug, blonde villain with management credentials – that’s not been done before in wrestling, right?
The crowd has turned on Cody Rhodes and that famous, emotional night at All In where there was not a dry eye in the house when Rhodes captured the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship seems like a distant memory.
Whether it’s the reality show, the game show, or just general fatigue and desire for a change of emphasis the fans are desperate to see Rhodes turn heel and after his challenge to Sammy Guevara for his TNT Championship, it looks like Rhodes is leaning into their wishes.
The first-ever TNT Champion has repeatedly said he’d sooner retire than be a heel in the wrestling ring once again but at AEW what the fans want seems to matter and Tony Khan may well decide that a heel Cody Rhodes, golden shovel and all, is what’s best for business.
8. Wardlow Topples The Pinnacle
Mr. Mayhem has lived up to his name as he has run roughshod over the AEW roster since debuting as the hired help for a certain Maxwell Jacob Friedman. Since then Wardlow has stood within arms reach of MJF, witnessing his biggest wins and helping him avoid some of his biggest defeats.
But not all is as it seems in The Pinnacle. MJF sometimes forgets he can’t fight with his wallet and lets his mouth run away with him when he’s addressing or dressing down Wardlow. The addition of Shawn Spears as The War Dog’s “accountabili-buddy” only seemed to undermine his position in The Pinnacle and at MJF’s side.
With The Pinnacle somewhat fractured by their individual pursuits, the group could be brought together once again against a common enemy but this time, it could be an enemy within.
Every time MJF barks orders at Wardlow, the AEW crowd grows a bit louder and in 2022, the sounds of war could only be outdone by the sound of a packed house cheering on Wardlow as he finally hears enough from MJF.
7. Thunder Rosa – La Golden Mera Mera
Someone is finally going to topple Dr. Britt Baker DMD for the AEW Women’s World Championship that she won at Double Or Nothing in 2021 and that someone should be Thunder Rosa.
The rivalry between Baker and Rosa will go down as one of the key programs in the first five years of All Elite Wrestling. The heated feud famously culminated in an Unsanctioned Lights Out match that Rosa actually won but this was the night Britt Baker became a bona fide star.
Following that bloody bout in March 2021 Baker went from strength to strength as she ruled the women’s division with an iron fist but Rosa’s AEW career faltered. Now, in 2022, fans want to see Thunder Rosa receive the one thing that she has alluded her so far and that is a shot at the AEW Women’s World Championship. Be warned Britt, La Mera Mera will see you now.
6. Bryan Danielson 2.0
We’ve already seen The New Bryan Danielson so what if this AEW version of The American Dragon that has kicked the head in of all that has stepped before him adopted a new moniker, and perhaps even a tag team and their son in a hell of a faction.
AEW is the land of factions with almost everyone having friends in low places whether officials or otherwise. Bryan Danielson has yet to make any lasting friends on screen after his initial affiliation with Christian Cage and Jurassic Express fell by the wayside.
Jeff Parker and Matt Lee, known collectively as 2Point0 along with the Red Death that is Daniel Garcia could find a like-minded mentor in the form of the twisted Bryan Danielson. With Garcia’s technical ability reminiscent of a young Danielson and a numbers advantage through the trash-talking but tough 2Point0 brought together with the mind and experience of the former WWE Champion, the AEW roster might have a whole lot of trouble on their hands.
5. All Elite Across The Pond
Fans in the United Kingdom are chomping at the bit for AEW to make a trip across the Atlantic and set up shop on foreign shores for the first time – the confines of the Jericho Cruise notwithstanding.
AEW President Tony Khan has gone on record as saying that he wants to bring the company to the UK and has singled out the home of the Khan family-owned Fulham Football Club, Craven Cottage as a likely venue should that happen.
Khan has previously said that plans were in place in 2020 for AEW to come to the UK for the first time but the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to that. Suggestions were that show would have been Fyter Fest which was headlined by Jon Moxley defending his AEW World Championship against Brian Cage.
Should AEW make it to the UK, the fans there will have no shortage of countrymen and women to cheer on as currently PAC, Anthony Ogogo, Kip Sabian, and Jamie Hayter are plying their trade in the land of All Elite.
4. Eddie Kingston – AEW World Champion
With apologies to any purveyors of cowboy sh*t that might be reading this but with only Kenny Omega’s title reign so far knocking on the door of lasting one year, chances are that Hangman Adam Page loses the title in 2022. Now given that this list is about the things we’d love to see rather than things we think we’ll see, there is nobody better to topple Page than The Mad King.
Eddie Kingston encompasses the one thing that people crave above everything else in wrestling and that is authenticity. When Kingston speaks, people listen, and nowhere was that more evident than in his short but headline-making feud with CM Punk. Punk and Kingston stole the show on the microphone as they tore into each other with ill feelings that were decades old.
At Full Gear, the two men met one on one and the first signs of Punk’s honeymoon period back in the squared circle were evident as the Minneapolis crowd booed the Chicago native and were firmly behind Eddie Kingston.
Unfortunately for Kingston, he came up short in that bout and that has been somewhat the story of Kingston’s AEW career so far. Defeated by Moxley at Full Gear in 2020 for the AEW World Title, Kingston also lost twice in matches for the AEW Tag Team Championship against The Young Bucks, partnering both with Moxley and Penta El Zero M.
The journeyman’s journeyman, it would be more than apt if Kingston could capture the first major world championship of his twenty-year career in AEW. Besides, nobody really wants MJF to beat Hangman, do they?
3. Jon Moxley
The wrestling world rallied around the former AEW World Champion when Tony Khan announced that Jon Moxley was entering an inpatient alcohol treatment program.
CM Punk even discussed the situation on AEW Dynamite, encouraging fans to show their support for Moxley and also for anyone in need of help to reach out and get it as Moxley has done.
How long Jon Moxley will be away from the wrestling ring remains to be seen but simply put, fans will be delighted to see a healthy and happy Mox back in AEW when he is ready to come back and tear it up as only the Death Rider can.
2. The Elite vs. The Era
The Elite are so entwined with AEW that the company was named after the group. Kenny Omega has taken time off following his AEW World Title loss to Hangman Adam Page but should hopefully return in 2022 and when he does, something quite special could take place.
Adam Cole debuted for AEW at the end of All Out in September 2021, immediately reuniting with his former comrades in Bullet Club one more time. The four-man team of The Bucks, Cole, and Omega looked unstoppable until they were, well, stopped at Full Gear. Omega lost his title and Cole and The Young Bucks lost to Jurassic Express and Christian Cage.
Meanwhile, with less fanfare perhaps, Cole’s former partner in The Undisputed Era, Bobby Fish had debuted for the company. It wasn’t long until Cole turned to Fish for help in his battles with Jungle Boy and Fish seems now to have seamlessly slipped into Adam Cole’s version of The Elite.
The missing piece of the puzzle at the moment is Kyle O’Reilly whose NXT contract is believed to have expired. O’Reilly joining AEW and teaming up with his reDRagon partner Bobby Fish once again could lead to all sorts of dream matches but it could also displace The Young Bucks as the go-to tag team of the group.
Of course, fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling have seen a power struggle between Omega and Cole before over control of Bullet Club and now a new struggle for control of The Elite could lead to a six-man feud that dreams are made of – The Elite vs. The Era.
1. Send Hook
If this list was in any sort of order then this would obviously top it. In 2022, the one thing that fans all over the world want more of in AEW is Hook. Turn AEW Rampage into AEW Hook and the handsome devil can choke out whoever he likes with REDRUM. And whenever the second-generation star isn’t on screen, you best believe everyone else should be asking “Where’s Hook?!” You’d watch it, I’d watch it – even if just for the young assassin’s majestic hair. In conclusion, more Hook.