5 upcoming AEW and WWE stars under 30 years old

AEW's Hook and WWE's Austin Theory are only in their 20s
AEW's Hook and WWE's Austin Theory are only in their 20s
Muhammad Farhan

AEW and WWE are both gearing up for the future by pushing young rising stars to the forefront on television. Talent is the lifeblood of the pro-wrestling industry. Beyond pageantry, production, and billion-dollar TV deals, it’s the men and women who step into the squared circle that keeps us hooked each week.

While the bulk of the main eventers in WWE are currently in their mid to early 40s, the company is also investing in its future with NXT 2.0 and the Next In Line talent program.

Meanwhile, AEW has propelled multiple wrestlers from obscurity to mainstream recognition, like Darby Allin, Britt Baker, and 'Hangman' Adam Page. The best part is they're only in their late 20s to early 30s, with their entire career ahead of them.

With each era comes the dawning of a new generation. Several wrestlers from both companies in their early 20s are chomping at the bit to make an impact. As 2022 rolls around, who will break the proverbial glass ceiling as the next big thing?

Here are the best AEW and WWE wrestlers under the age of 25.

#5. AEW: Hook, 22 years old

AEW Rampage apparently gained viewers with a steady demo Thank HOOK

AEW may have stumbled upon a future superstar in Hook. Fuelled by a meme-inspired groundswell of support, the rookie member of Team Taz is already one of the most over wrestlers in the company. He was recently the #1 merchandise seller in AEW, surpassing CM Punk. No one expected the son of AEW commentator and ECW legend Taz to look so good in his debut match against Fuego Del Sol, but the 22-year-old has all the intangibles to be a future star.

With his cocky attitude, cool move set, Action Bronson theme song, and anime hair, he oozes charisma. I mean, if you’re not a Hooker yet, 2022 will be the year you jump on the Hook Hype Train. Mark our words.

#4. AEW vs. WWE: Austin Theory, 24 years old

AEW has a lot of potential wrestlers waiting to burst through the proverbial glass ceiling, but no one has a full superstar package like WWE's Austin Theory.

It says a lot about your standing in the company when you’re sharing segments with Vince freakin’ McMahon. But the hype for Austin Theory is justified, and he looks more like the type of prototypical WWE wrestler that Vince covets.

His chiseled good looks, impressive physique, and polished in-ring work are miles ahead of his AEW compatriots under 25 years old, and he's certainly benefited from his time working with Johnny Gargano in NXT, adding charisma and personality to his presentation.

BEST. SELFIE. EVER. Can’t wait to get another with Mr. @VinceMcMahon and the @WWE championship!!! #WWERaw

The Chairman of the company is positioning Theory as his protege of sorts, and it will be interesting to see how his standing skyrockets in 2022. If you can borrow a phrase from WWE Hall of Famer JBL, Theory is what you get when you build a sports entertainer from the ground up. Speaking of Randy Orton comparisons, Austin is only 24 years old, the same age Randy won his first World Championship. Can you see where we are going with this?

#3. AEW: Dante Martin, 20 years old

AEW has such a wealth of young talent. It’s difficult to pinpoint one, but we have to go with Dante Martin. The high-flyer joined AEW alongside his brother Darius as part of Top Flight, and had well-received matches with members of the tag team division. Unfortunately, Darius got injured earlier in the year, leaving Dante having to fend for himself.

Darius Martin is currently on the shelf, but in the meantime he’s happy to see his brother Dante succeeding as a solo star in AEW. #DariusMartin #DanteMartin #TopFlight #AEW…

2021 saw the 20-year-old rising star bounce from potential purgatory and put on impressive performances in singles action against Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Malakai Black. He also engaged in a mini-feud with Team Taz and allied with Lio Rush.

His move-set is insane, and the crowd is definitely behind him. At this rate, Dante is destined to be the Rey Mysterio of his generation. Sorry, Dominik!

#2. AEW vs. WWE: Bron Breakker, 24 years old

AEW lacks heavyweights, and even those that are in the company struggle to make a huge impact, namely Brian Cage, Lance Archer, and Powerhouse Hobbs. WWE has no such problem, judging by NXT 2.0's crown jewel, Bron Breakker.

The second-generation superstar is a stud. You don’t have to be well versed in Steiner maths to see that Rick Steiner's son has superstar potential written all over him.

That ridiculous name aside, the former NFL player has been one of the few bright sparks of NXT 2.0. With the physical traits of his dad and the innate charisma of his uncle Scott, the young Steiner has all the tools to become a WWE Champion of the future. AEW would benefit from an All-American prospect like the 24-year-old powerhouse.

Wrestling veteran Jim Cornette believes that the NXT star displays the most promise and potential in wrestling today, even to anyone in AEW. Speaking on the Jim Cornette Experience, the former Midnight Express manager said it would be hard for WWE to screw up a talent like Breakker because of his charisma and natural ability:

"I gotta be honest with you. The only way they can screw it up is if they run him out of the wrestling business and he doesn't want to do it because he's miserable...he's close to being bulletproof because...he's seen his dad and obviously worked out with his dad or his uncle, or both, because he didn't just learn all this in a training class...he's one of those people that have natural charisma and is going to make people react and respond...the promos he's doing already and the attitude he's got, it's a throwback in terms of 'yeah I'm a f**king meathead, I wanna stretch you.' The fans are so hungry for something like that because you can't find them anymore."

If Breakker can continue on the trajectory he's on and win the NXT title from Tommaso Ciampa, it's only a matter of time before he gets the attention of the main roster. Unless he sees AEW as an attractive destination instead.

#1. AEW: MJF, 25 years old

AEW potentially has the future face of the company in their hands with MJF. He's easily the biggest heel in AEW and has battled the likes of Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, and Jon Moxley. He's currently embroiled in a money feud with CM Punk. It's hard to believe the leader of The Pinnacle is only 25 years old. But his star will continue to rise over the next decade and beyond if AEW can book him right.

The Salt of the Earth recently teased that when his contract ends in 2024, he could end up working for WWE. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, MJF said:

"They’re just trying to make their show the best they possibly can. I’m not mad, I completely understand it. Who knows, I might be working with those two guys in 2024. That line by Punk about me being a 'less famous Miz,' that resonated because people used to actually think that. But I’m smart enough to know better. My match last month at Full Gear against Darby proved otherwise. I'm equally outstanding in the ring as I'm on the stick. That match with Darby proved I’m anything but one-dimensional."

It will be highly interesting to see which company MJF chooses to build his legacy in down the road but, right now, he's the biggest wrestling star in his mid-20s.

Edited by Abhinav Singh
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