There’s no denying that AEW has already made main event stars of some lesser-known talent in the wrestling world. In Just over a year’s worth of programming, the likes of MJF, Eddie Kingston, and Hangman Page are already performing alongside major players like Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, and Kenny Omega.
Elevating talent is an area where AEW excels, so we can guarantee that we’ll continue to see the rise of future main eventers throughout 2021. Here are our picks for the stars to watch out for in 2021.
Ricky Starks is obviously the first name that comes to mind when we talk about future superstars. Starks already steals the show with every segment he’s in, whether it’s through his suave presence, his slick promo skills or his incredible in-ring abilities.
Starks oozes star quality from every angle and is no doubt being built up for big things given his alliance with Team Taz. While his peak is quite a few years off yet, it’s a foregone conclusion that Starks will play a pivotal role in AEW’s mid-card scene throughout 2021.
Will ‘Powerhouse’ Hobbs
While we’re on the subject of Team Taz, here’s another faction member who has big things in his future. Unlike Taz, Starks and Brian Cage, Powerhouse Hobbs originally began his AEW run as a babyface before transitioning into his heel role.
Amazingly, Hobbs slid into both characters with ease and was believable as both the beloved good guy and monster villain. His imposing presence, bulky physique and even his facial expressions have made Hobbs one hell of force to be reckoned with. Once Hobbs works out the kinks in his in-ring style, he’ll be as impressive as any other AEW big man.
Going above and beyond even Brodie Lee’s popularity, John Silver is currently the internet wrestling community’s favorite wrestler. His transition from relative nobody to dorky cult member to online sensation happened almost overnight, all thanks to Silver’s quirky, Scrappy Doo-esque character.
But despite Silver being on the small side, he steals the show every time he’s in the ring, and has pulled off some insane feats of strength over the past few months. It’s highly likely that Silver will break away from the Dark Order in 2021 and become perhaps the most over babyface on the mid-card scene.
While Jungle Boy has already skirted around the upper mid-card for a while, his biggest days are yet to come. Alongside Luchasaurus, the Jurassic Express have proved one of the most enjoyable, energetic tag teams in AEW.
However, while Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt have their pitfalls, Jungle Boy is a potential main event star in the making. He’s a resilient underdog who flaunts amazing athleticism and combines an aerial style with impressive mat wrestling and psychology. While both Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus will evolve from the tag team scene at some point, it’s JB who’s going straight into the main event picture.
The AEW women’s division has been up and down since day one, sporting great matches and duds in equal measures. Despite an incredibly talented number of women on the roster, there’s no real spearhead since Dr. Britt Baker has been sidelined.
However, that’s where Anna Jay comes in. Since joining the Dark Order and beating down the Nightmare Family, Anna Jay’s been an impressive addition to the faction and has been racking up the wins on AEW Dark. At only 22 years of age and very new to the wrestling world, Jay is naturally gifted inside the ring. Anna could easily push the women’s division to new heights in 2021.
A good looking big man, jacked to the gills, with a dominating moveset. Wardlow is absolutely one of AEW’s secret weapons and is destined for big things once his solo run comes around. He’s played MJF’s enforcer role to perfection, and despite being a bodyguard to the biggest prick in the industry, the dynamic between MJF and Wardlow has awarded Wardlow an ounce of sympathy from the fans.
It’s the classic trope; beefy henchman overthrows the weedy boss. We’re all just waiting for it to happen, and when it does, it will be glorious. Also, it’s quite revealing that Wardlow’s finisher implies a direct comparison between him and Brock Lesnar.
Coming from a forgettable run in NXT, Tay Conti was immediately snatched up by AEW once she was a free agent – and for good reason. Conti began a brief feud with the aforementioned Anna Jay but was soon sidelined for reasons unknown.
However, Conti has had some impressive matches on Dark since the summer, showcasing her martial arts abilities and her explosive in-ring style. At only 25 years of age, Conti’s future is bright and she could bring a much needed, hard-hitting approach to the AEW women’s division if she was given more screen time on Dynamite.
We haven’t seen a whole lot of Austin Gunn on Dynamite (unless you count the front row), but he’s been on a winning streak on Dark since September. Sure, Austin might have an advantage in the industry since he’s the son of a legend, but Austin has absolutely earned his spot on the AEW roster.
He’s been working in the indies since 2017 and worked in ROH throughout 2019. He looks like a lite version of his dad, which is definitely a compliment, and once Austin finds his own aesthetic he’ll make a fantastic singles star. He looks the part and he acts the part. Once he finds his footing in the ring he’ll make an excellent addition to the AEW mid-card.