Ever since AEW came into being in 2019, many wrestling fans began thinking about which stars in the WWE would be a good fit for the new promotion. Since then, we've seen several former WWE Superstars show up in All Elite Wrestling. Some have been in AEW since the beginning, like Chris Jericho, while others have only appeared in a couple of shows, like Matt Cardona.
When you look at the AEW Roster on their website, a total of 11 wrestlers have left WWE to join the new fledgling company. So we're going to rank all 11 former WWE Superstars in their time in AEW. Now, this won't be just based on skill; it will be solely based on how they have been booked in since joining. Also, wrestlers like Lance Archer, Trent, and others, who only spent a small amount of time in WWE, will not be included.
11. Shawn Spears (AEW career record: 21-13)
One of wrestling fans' biggest gripes with the WWE was how they handled and booked Shawn Spears (then Tye Dillinger). He gained a huge following on NXT, but his transition to the main roster was a dud. Following his request for release in 2019, Spears showed up at AEW Double or Nothing, and wrestling fans were excited at the prospect of Spears finally being booked correctly.
After his feud with Cody, where wrestling fans witnessed the chair shot heard around the world, AEW paired Spears up with Tully Blanchard as a manager.
Since then, we've seen Spears turn somewhat into a comedy act, and we've seen him wrestler more on AEW Dark. Spears did wrestle on AEW Dynamite in a winning effort against Scorpio Sky. Maybe his stock in AEW is on the rise, but up until this point, it's been somewhat disappointing.
10. Miro (AEW career record: 2-0)
The only reason Miro is so low on this list is obvious. Miro only joined AEW in early September when he made his shock appearance on Dynamite. Miro was introduced to AEW fans by Kip Sabian as "The Best Man" in Kip's upcoming wedding to real-life fiancé Penelope Ford. Miro has taken "The Best Man" as his new gimmick in AEW, and the jury is still out on how well he will do. But if you're a fan of Miro, you know he can succeed in a company like AEW.
In WWE, Rusev Day was extremely over, but WWE didn't seem to have any faith in the gimmick, so they scrapped it against Rusev's best wishes. AEW seems to be the place for Miro, as he now will have control over his character, which is something many wrestlers out there love to have.
It will be very interesting (and exciting) to see just how well Miro does in AEW. He's not only a fantastic in-ring competitor, but he has a great personality that he never really was able to show in the WWE.
9. Jake Hager (AEW career record: 10-5)
Jake Hager debuted in AEW in October of 2019 when he helped Chris Jericho, Santana and Ortiz, and Sammy Guevara attack The Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, and Dustin Rhodes. The following week, Jericho announced the formation of The Inner Circle, and Hager was established as the muscle of the group.
Hager's AEW in-ring debut came when he defeated Dustin Rhodes at Revolution. After the Rhodes win at Revolution, Hager entered into a feud with AEW Champion Jon Moxley. The rivalry ended with an Empty Arena No Holds Barred match on an episode of Dynamite, where Hager lost his first match in AEW.
Hager is in a good spot for what he is. He's the muscle for one of the biggest factions in AEW and has a very intimidating stature. But the fact is, besides the AEW Championship match, Hager's time in the company has only been to be there for The Inner Circle, so there's really no telling as to where his career in AEW will go.
8. Dustin Rhodes (AEW career record: 18-10)
The former Goldust and Rhodes family member Dustin Rhodes has had an incredible career and at age 51, he's still going in AEW. Following an incredible match against his brother at Double or Nothing, Cody and Dustin teamed up to take on The Young Bucks at Fight for the Fallen.
Dustin officially signed with AEW in August of 2019 as a wrestler and a coach. Rhodes has an intense feud with Jake Hager before being apart of the AEW TNT Championship Tournament, where he lost to Lance Archer in the semifinals. Rhodes would challenge Mr. Brodie Lee for the AEW TNT Championship in September of 2020, but again would lose.
After the aforementioned match against Shawn Spears at Double or Nothing, Rhodes began teaming with QT Marshall, making them "The Natural Nightmares". Rhodes and Marshall did get an AEW Tag Team Championship match against then-champions Kenny Omega and Adam Page but were unsuccessful.
Despite two championship matches, Dustin has yet to hold gold in AEW, but that's not a horrible thing. Dustin has captured the hearts of the AEW fans and seems to get great reactions from the fans in attendance (as little as there is). Even though he's 51 years old, he's still giving his all in AEW, and it's a beautiful thing to see.
7. PAC (AEW career record: 9-6-1)
PAC, then known as Neville, was one of those WWE Superstars that many felt would benefit heavily from signing with AEW. PAC had tremendous in-ring ability and showed signs of greatness in the WWE with his Cruiserweight Championship run. But once WWE booked PAC to lose his title to Enzo Amore, it was pretty much all downhill from there.
Following his departure from WWE and a brief appearance in Dragon Gate, PAC was announced as one of AEW's first signees and was set to face Adam Page at the inaugural AEW Show Double or Nothing. However, citing "creative differences", PAC pulled out of the match.
At All Out 2019, PAC replaced Jon Moxley in a match against Kenny Omega, which he won. After a loss to Adam Page, PAC began a feud with Kenny Omega, which ended with a 30-minute Iron Man Match on Dynamite, which the former lost in sudden-death overtime.
After a fantastic match with Orange Cassidy at Revolution, Pac created a stable with Rey Fenix, and Penta El Zero M called The Death Triangle. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the stable was never really able to get off the ground. PAC returned on an episode of Dynamite, setting up a feud with Eddie Kingston, with Penta and Fenix seemingly being caught in the middle.
6. Matt Hardy (AEW career record: 6-2)
After being written off WWE TV in March of 2020, Matt Hardy made his AEW debut. Hardy was named the replacement for Nick Jackson (kayfabe injury) in a Blood and Guts match between The Elite and The Inner Circle. The match never happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the teams participated in a fantastic Stadium Stampede match at Double of Nothing 2020, and Broken Matt Hardy was back.
After that match, Hardy began cycling through all of his old gimmicks, and began calling himself the "Multifarious" Matt Hardy, and entered into a feud with Sammy Guevara. Hardy suffered a scary injury in his Broken Rules match against Sammy at All Out, which forced him to miss some time. But when he returned, AEW booked an "Elite Deletion" match at Full Gear, which Matt Hardy won.
Matt Hardy hasn't held championship gold in AEW yet. However, what he has been able to do with his character is exactly what Matt Hardy needs. Matt Hardy is one of the most creative people in all of wrestling, and when a company like AEW gives him creative control, it's great for everybody, including the fans.
5. FTR (AEW career record: 12-3)
When AEW signed FTR, wrestling fans all around the world knew they were in store for something special. FTR was considered by many fans to be the best tag team in all of wrestling during their time in WWE. So much so that it set up a feud back in 2017 between FTR and The Young Bucks over who is the best tag team in wrestling.
In their AEW debut, FTR saved The Young Bucks from an attack by The Butcher and The Blade. FTR and The Young Bucks teamed up for an 8-man tag team match against The Lucha Bros and The Butcher and The Blade at Fyter Fest.
FTR was then paired up with Tully Blanchard acting as their manager. After winning a tag team gauntlet match on an episode of Dynamite, FTR defeated Kenny Omega and Adam Page to become the new AEW World Tag Team Champions. However, the team would lose their titles to The Young Bucks at Full Gear 2020.
Despite only holding the AEW World Tag Team Championship for just 63 days, FTR has been booked as strong as almost any tag team in AEW since they debuted. As mentioned before, they have been widely regarded as the best tag team in all of wrestling, and signing with AEW allows them to prove that every week.
4. Mr. Brodie Lee (AEW career record: 11-3)
Brodie Lee debuted in AEW as the Exalted One, the leader of The Dark Order. After Lee debuted, he was a part of several squash matches and eventually began recruiting various stars to The Dark Order. Lee even was able to recruit lifelong babyface Colt Cabana to join the stable.
After Lee remained undefeated for several weeks, he unsuccessfully challenged Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing 2020. Just three months later, Lee absolutely demolished Cody Rhodes to become the new AEW TNT Champion. The Dark Order then began targeting members of The Nightmare Collective, including QT Marshall, Dustin Rhodes, and even Brandi Rhodes.
Once Cody returned from his injury, he challenged Lee to a Dog Collar Match for the AEW TNT Championship, which Lee lost, ending his reign at 46 days. Brodie Lee has been protected since signing with AEW. Even though his title reign only lasted 46 days, he has been booked as a monster of a man, and at one point, The Dark Order was considered the hottest group in AEW. Compared to how Lee was used in the WWE, it's obvious to see that he is primed for big things in AEW.
3. Cody Rhodes (AEW career record: 29-8-2)
When you look at some of the biggest names in AEW, not many are bigger than the man that is Cody Rhodes. One of the company's Executive Vice Presidents is also an extremely accomplished wrestler, and his time in AEW has been nothing short of fantastic so far.
After feuds with Shawn Spears, and MJF, Cody entered the eight-man elimination tournament to crown the first AEW TNT Champion. In the finals of the tournament, Cody defeated Lance Archer to become the inaugural TNT Champion.
As mentioned earlier, Cody lost the AEW TNT Championship to Mr. Brodie Lee, but won it back on an October episode of Dynamite. Cody lost the title for a second time at Full Gear to the current champion Darby Allin.
Cody has been booked like a megastar since AEW has begun. Many fans were curious as to how they would book around Cody not being able to challenge for the AEW World Championship, then came the TNT title. You'd be hard-pressed to find many fans that hate Cody Rhodes. He's the ultimate babyface that people love to cheer and he has had momentum on his side since day one.
2. Jon Moxley (AEW career record: 26-2-1)
Jon Moxley is the top guy in AEW today, and for good reason. At Double or Nothing 2019 ,following the main event between Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega, Moxley shocked the world by showing up in AEW.
Moxley entered into a feud with Omega, which culminated at Full Gear 2019. Moxley defeated Omega in a Lights Out match at All Out, and it was very clear that Mox was going to be a big name in AEW.
Moxley then defeated PAC to become #1 contender, and faced off against Jericho at Revolution to become the new AEW World Champion. Moxley actually became the first person to hold titles in AEW and NJPW at the same time, as he was IWGP United States Champion at the time.
Moxley has been booked to look extremely strong in AEW, with his only two losses coming in tag team matches, and the one draw coming by way of a time limit draw to PAC.
Some fans believe we're coming to the end of the AEW World Championship reign for Moxley. Even though there have only been two AEW World Champions, it wouldn't be wrong to say that Moxley's reign has played a major role in making the title one of the most prestigious ones in pro wrestling today.
1. Chris Jericho (AEW career record: 20-8-1)
AEW probably would not be where it is today without Chris Jericho. When AEW first began, many people in the wrestling world felt it needed that one big star that people recognize, and Chris Jericho was that name. When you have the type of resume that Chris Jericho has, whatever company you go to is immediately going to have some credibility.
After defeating Kenny Omega, Jericho went on to defeat Adam Page to become the very first AEW World Champion. Many fans were upset, as Adam Page seemed to be a lock for the title, but when you look at it, it was the perfect decision. AEW was a new company, and while Adam Page is a big name to the die-hard wrestling fans, Chris Jericho is known by many people not only in wrestling but even outside of it.
Jericho's willingness to adapt and create new ways to get over has been incredible throughout his entire career, and he's continued to do it in AEW. It seems everything he does ends up getting over. If there was an MVP Award given for the first year of AEW, Chris Jericho would win hands down.