Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Is the AEW Roster the Best in U.S. History?

Dynamite Grand Slam - Kenny Omega vs Bryan Danielson / AEW Grand Slam Results

With the recent major acquisitions of Ruby Soho, Adam Cole, Bryan Danielson, and most notably CM Punk, All Elite Wrestling has never been so hot and their roster has never been more stacked. But can we really say it can compete with some of the most beloved in North American wrestling history like WWE’s 2002 roster or World Championship Wrestling’s 1997 squad, what about some of the Jim Crockett Promotions lineups of the late 80s?

Whichever your opinion may be on the matter, we believe there is no denying AEW has a legitimate claim to having the best roster ever with a perfectly assembled mix of industry legends, fresh up and comers, and some of the very best talent in the business today.

To answer the title question we’ll try to put AEW’s roster under a microscope while also defining what makes a pro wrestling roster great to ultimately decide exactly how ‘Elite’ AEW’s roster really is.

To be perfectly fair, everything surrounding this topic is completely subjective and a matter of opinion so feel free to disagree with any take you see in the following article.

AEW Roster: Is It The Best Ever

What makes AEW’s roster great?

Firstly, one of the biggest strengths in the group AEW has assembled is the depth of the active roster which has barely seen any cuts from its original version.  The roster has only gotten bigger and better over time as Tony Khan has not been shy about the importance of adding both quality and quantity to your roster.

It is not only the fact that Khan has always been willing to sign wrestlers to his roster permanently but the formula around the Dark and Dark: Elevation shows has been proven a stroke of genius. Dark has allowed both signed and independent wrestlers to showcase their abilities in hopes of earning a contract maybe even a spot on Dynamite. While having currently a little over 70 male wrestlers and over 20 female wrestlers signed to a contract may be enough for your typical major wrestling company, this implementation of indie talent on the minor shows is exactly what has given AEW a feel of freshness ever since their inception. A deep roster doesn’t make a great roster but in this case, it is enhanced by a couple of factors, one of which is the great distribution of divisions all around the four weekly shows AEW currently produces.

What we mean by this is how all the divisions, from the world title picture to the women’s division and even the guys lower on the card have presented and established obtainable goals. The two singles titles, the tag team, and the women’s title are constantly being defended against an array of challengers. The ranking system for all five belts has given the roster a legitimate feel of competition in a scripted event.

Lastly in our small list of the biggest strengths in the AEW roster is the most obvious of them all, the talent. We understand it is a redundant concept but to be honest, the biggest requirement for a best-of-all-time roster candidate is how talented the roster is, and AEW has without a shadow of a doubt one of the most talented rosters of all time. Whichever your opinion may be on the style of wrestling presented in AEW we don’t think it can be denied the sheer talent the roster as a whole possesses. As mentioned before, the veterans and legends of the industry contracted to the company have been used expertly to elevate younger and unknown talent while also competing at the highest possible level inside the ring.

So after all this, we can conclusively say that the current group of guys and gals signed to All Elite Wrestling have cemented their place in the history books as one of the best and most stacked wrestling rosters ever in the U.S. But exactly, who else is in the conversation?

The Competition

To answer this question we must dive into the most beloved rosters of all time and while this is yet another completely subjective topic we have come to the conclusion that to be as fair as possible we should only mention the 1997/98 WCW roster and the 2002/03 WWE roster.

When talking about ‘97 WCW most people’s minds would immediately go to an image of either Hollywood Hogan or some iteration of the New World Order stable as the Hulkster, the faction and the company as a whole were on top of the world and had the wrestlers to back it up.

The comparison between this specific time-frame in WCW’s history and AEW ever since they got off the ground has been constantly made for years now and for good reason as there are seemingly more and more similarities between the two with even past WCW stars like Eric Bischoff and Juventud Guerrera making appearances for Tony Khan’s company.

Out of all their similarities we can fairly compare the rosters of the two and say that other than the basically non-existent tag team and women’s divisions in WCW, they have fairly similar rosters with a good mix of young, fresh stars with several seasoned veterans leading the way.

While it is not fair to directly compare the top stars in a way like Hollywood Hogan with Kenny Omega or the Outsiders with the Young Bucks because of the excessively different styles and eras they worked through but what we can say is that both companies have the distinction of respectively establishing records for non-WWE events both in attendance and buy rate.

Ultimately, it is a close call but WCW might be looked upon with a little too much nostalgia as outside of their usually stacked main event scene and constant swerves in storylines, WCW’s roster lacked the division depth and the week-to-week freshness to compete with today’s AEW.

The final contender to consider AEW’s road to having the best roster ever is another arguable one but one that we believe deserves a spot in the conversation. Following the purchase of WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling, WWE had an influx of talent that mixed with their already stacked roster to create according to some the pro wrestling roster of all time.

A roster so dramatically different to what we are discussing over in AEW that we could only possibly compare the two is in terms of star power and in-ring work. When discussing star power there is no roster that can hold a candle to this locker room shared by all-time legends like Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and The Undertaker among others.

With this in mind, we should also mention that this time in WWE was not only all about the huge stars they had but they also presented some of the best in-ring work in their history with a huge repertoire of top quality wrestling from technical masterpieces to all-out hardcore brawls.

If we absolutely had to pick a better roster between the two we could probably have to go with the All Elite roster, but to be honest, we understand this is a fight with no winner as one roster made for some of the biggest and most iconic matches in recent pro wrestling history.

After comparing the two we can conclude that while we personally prefer the product the AEW roster is able to produce, WWE was enjoying their best time up to that point and allowed us fans to bear witness to some of the best wrestling we will ever see.

To conclude, All Elite Wrestling has done a magnificent job in assembling a group of some of the most talented wrestlers in the world and while we as fans don’t have to agree on an absolute winner we can hopefully agree on the three mentioned rosters having a spot as some of the best ever and that AEW deserves all the recognition that comes their way for stacking their locker room to all-time great levels.


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