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Backstage News On If AEW’s Rankings System Is Dead

AEW fans have been wondering whether or not the company made a choice to drop its ratings and rankings system. A backstage update on that situation.


One aspect that separated AEW from WWE was implementing and utilizing a rankings system. Still, fans have noticed that the win-loss records haven’t been discussed much on television recently. Throughout All Elite Wrestling’s early days, matches were made primarily based on win-loss records and a rankings system that was updated each week. The goal was to lend professional wrestling a feel of realism, with each victory and defeat carrying more weight than it otherwise would in WWE.

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Under Vince McMahon, the worldwide leader in sports entertainment took to 50/50 booking, where if one superstar lost a match, they’d quickly get the win back against the same person the next time they wrestled. This created a feeling where only a few stars actually felt special. Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, and pre-Hollywood John Cena would have win percentages in the 80s or 90s, with everyone else stuck in the muddy middle. AEW tried to get away from that by utilizing a ranking system based on each wrestler’s yearly win-loss split.

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Over the last two months, All Elite commentators have stopped talking about the rankings. The company has frequently booked matches that don’t make much sense, at least based on who is ranked where. A recent backstage report from Dave Meltzer provided some clarity on this front. On a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, he stated that “[the rankings] aren’t dead, but they have been toned down. There was a decision not to emphasize them as much on television, but they can always go back to doing so.


AEW Rankings Carried Pros & Cons

There’s a reason why win-loss records have never been used as AEW has tried. Sometimes, for the sake of a story, someone has to win or lose, or a match needs to happen that doesn’t make sense according to the rankings, but it does in storyline. Moreover, if the champions are only ever facing the top three or four ranked opponents, it becomes very hard for someone in the top five who isn’t a champion to pick up any momentum.

Strangely, the rankings almost made matches in AEW more predictable instead of more combat sports-like, which was the goal in the first place. However, over the last year, it has become clear that building new stars while maintaining momentum for the ones already in place is very difficult when contending with a weekly power ranking system. Storylines were frequently tipped off once the weekly rankings came out and sometimes undercut current champions. It’s tough to imagine the tag team titles meaning much until they are defended against FTR, for instance. They’ve been the No. 1 contender on paper for months but haven’t been near the title picture.

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Source: Wrestling Observer Radio


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