With a bevy of young talent, AEW has a lot of potential future stars, but which one will emerge as the breakout name in the coming year?
Ricky Starks has been rising recently within the ranks of AEW and appears poised for an huge 2023
As AEW enters its fourth year of existence, one thing has always rang true of the promotion: It's never been afraid to feature undiscovered talents. In the case of Tony Khan's promotion, it was essentially built by a roster full of names that were rising stars on the indie level. From the outset, Khan said that he had 'four pillars' that represented All Elite Wrestling's long-term future. Those performers were Darby Allin, Jungle Boy Jack Perry, Sammy Guevara, and the current World Champion, MJF. While each of them has progressed and become an asset for the organization, they're not alone in terms of upside. The youth movement continues on down at Jacksonville headquarters. Much like the NFL's Jaguars, AEW is always looking to draft new talent to fortify the roster. And while MJF may be the captain of the team right now, he can't do it alone. He's going to need a solid supporting cast around him. As we head toward 2023, it looks like that's exactly the plan in place. Over the last few years, new competitors like Wardlow, Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, and (now, suddenly) Action Andretti have taken huge strides forward. The Acclaimed have exploded in popularity and are nearly six months into their reign as the AEW World Tag Team Champions. Meanwhile, both Top Flight and The Gunn Brothers look like they have gold in their futures, as well.
In other words, the cupboard is stocked with exciting, up-and-coming athletes. That was evident on this week's episode of AEW Dynamite, which heavily featured their faces and included them in most of its important storylines. It will be interesting how much more focus they are given when the show is given its new coat of paint on January 4th.
It doesn't stop with the male side of the equation, either. Dr. Britt Baker may have established herself as the face of the women's division, but the rise of Jade Cargill, Jamie Hayter, and Toni Storm is toughening up a once-soft aspect of the programming.
All of the names mentioned are worthy of any accomplishment that Khan & Company throws their way. Many of them have stood by and waited for the right opportunity. With the dawning of a new year, the promise of 2023 for AEW should be a shift toward what lies in the future.
We've seen the exploits of names like Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, and Jon Moxley for years now. At some point, the newer, fresher talent must be phased in slowly. Out of that group, a select few w