With AEW’s first pay-per-view of the year, Revolution, just around the corner, 2021 looks set to be a monumental year for the company – and it’s time to look at the future for stars. While there is some talent that appears on Dynamite week after week, other wrestlers are nearing their ultimate launching point in their careers. Here’s a look at five AEW wrestlers to look out for this year following Revolution and for the remainder of 2021.
The best-kept secret in AEW is out. Jade Cargill is everything they are looking for in their future main event star of the women’s division. She has the look of a star to go along with incredible athleticism, an impressive background, and the game-changing charisma that is so hard to find in wrestlers. The only question was if she could perform in the ring or not. The answer was revealed on March 3 when she teamed with Shaquille O’Neal to face Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet. While Shaq and Cody went crashing down through a table in one of the biggest spots wrestling has seen in some time, it was Cargill who had the star-making performance in the ring.
She displayed the presence that she has shown in her promo spots and showing off with her mix of speed and power. With Revolution past, Cargill’s star is only going to rise with more and more time on Dynamite. She’s 1-0 to start her career in AEW and should be on her way to an impressive record and eventually the AEW Women’s World Championship. The sky may not even be able to limit what Cargill can be for AEW.
When it comes to AEW wrestlers, none may have a brighter future than Jungle Boy. There is no secret that Jungle Boy will be a future world champion. The commentators say it every single week it feels like and he shows how good he is on a consistent basis in the ring. Jungle Boy’s part in Jurassic Express is clear – the budding star. After Revolution, that may simply be seen as the star now. He’s got this likeability that wrestlers dream to have and that sets him up for greatness.
Every time the crowd sings “Tarzan Boy” almost as it’s like Chris Jericho’s “Judas,” you understand how big Jungle Boy can be with the fans behind him. He continuously gets massive wins and following Revolution, his singles career seems destined to take off once and for all.
When Pres10 Vance got screwed by Jack Evans per Matt Hardy, it was rather shocking. Vance is clearly someone AEW sees as a future star for their company and the breakout star of The Dark Order. Following Revolution, there is still a story to be told between Hardy and Vance who saw his opportunity at the TNT Championship taken away. That’s what makes Vance one to watch.
The Dark Order has a lot of talent from John Silver to the one women’s member, Anna Jay. But when you see Pres10 Vance show up, you see that greatness that could be developed in time. The opportunity against Max Caster to head to Revolution is the step in the right direction for Vance who is only getting started. It took a screwy ending that saw him hit in the head with a boom box to lose, showing full protection of the one they call 10. In due time, Vance is special and the higher-ups in AEW certainly can see that much like the late Brodie Lee did when he brought him into The Dark Order.
“Absolute” Ricky Starks is the one wrestler on this list who is already in a major spot. A key member of Team Taz, Starks has been a stud since his first appearance in AEW when he faced Cody Rhodes for the TNT Championship. And since joining Team Taz, Starks has been a major member of Dynamite week after week. Aside from the title matches on the Revolution card, there may be no bigger match than facing “The Icon” Sting in the WCW legend’s first match since having to retire in 2015. There’s a reason Starks has been trusted to be in such a match – and that’s because of his further potential.
On the March 3 edition of Dynamite, Starks went toe-to-toe on the microphone with Sting because he is the member of Team Taz who has the wits to cut such a promo. “Absolute” may be a nickname, but there’s a reason it fits Starks. He is already the complete package while the others on this list still have time to go. If AEW wants to push him to the main event spot, no one would question it. He rarely loses and even when he does, he looks good doing it. By the end of 2021, gold should be around the waist of Starks one way or the other.
As fans have learned in AEW’s first two years, many superstars who leave WWE can go on to become assets to AEW with the change of scenery. Tay Conti is another case of exactly that, with Taynara leaving WWE in 2020 after three years with the company. When the Brazilian starlet signed with AEW, it became clear that she was a diamond in the rough. Her judo and jiu-jitsu backgrounds give her a leg up on many when it comes to overall talent in the ring, as she nails some of the best tosses and strikes in the entire game. Fans have been catching on as her match with Serena Deeb for the NWA Women’s Championship at New Year’s Smash was a true eye-opener.
Conti is someone that AEW can give time to still develop, but it’s clear they have high hopes considering her entry into the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament. Conti had a solid showing against former AEW Women’s World Champion and United States bracket finalist Nyla Rose, coming mere seconds from pulling off the ultimate upset. Conti has the tools to be a star and AEW is pulling all of those tools out when WWE failed to do the same. Her remainder of the year should be major with a chance to have her first AEW Women’s World Championship match down the line.