Pro Wrestling Rankings Jan-11: Chris Jericho signs with All Elite Wrestling
With the announcement of the formation of All Elite Wrestling, if there was one name who shocked the world more than anyone by signing with the new promotion, it's former WWE Champion Chris Jericho. Jericho once famously wrote that he would never wrestle for anyone but Vince McMahon, but as the landscapes of professional wrestling changes, so do old edits.
Jericho has masterfully recreated himself as brawler and monster in the vein of legends like Terry Funk and Bruiser Brody in Japan, but what will happen when that new style is unleashed and placed front and center as AEW attempts to blaze their trail with power and influence behind it that a professional wrestling company hasn't had in decades?
When Jericho debuted in WWE in 1999, he helped usher in a new era. This past week, he may have done the same by signing with AEW.
The Man continues to be unstoppable in World Wrestling Entertainment's Smackdown brand and this week, she earned a rematch against current Women's Champion Asuka at the Royal Rumble.
Lynch has been the most popular talent in WWE in recent months, with a momentum and street credibility that can only be earned with time and passion, not dictated creatively. As WWE heads towards WrestleMania season, all eyes are on Lynch as her success or failure will certainly be a major determine factor in Mania's main event scene.
Ronda Rousey is waiting, but more importantly, so are the fans.
Only the former IWGP Champion can lose one of the biggest matches of his career yet gain additional momentum. Omega wrestled one of the longest main events in Tokyo Dome history when he faced Hiroshi Tanahashi in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 13 on FITE.
While the master of the One-Winged Angel lost an emotional masterpiece, his announcement days later that he would be departing New Japan Pro Wrestling led to an insane amount of speculation. Could he finally be heading to WWE, or more likely, will he join the rest of his Elite brethren in making All Elite Wrestling something that could truly, as they have promised, change the world?
Only Omega has the answers and if the past is any indication, he will play them close to the vest to insure maximum impact to his next move.
The newly crowned IWGP Champion once again stands tall as the Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling, ringmaster of an entirely new era that will see the promotion move forward with multiple events in the United States this year, including Madison Square Garden in NYC, Dallas and more.
As the wrestling landscape shifts, Tanahashi is the oak tree in the middle of the island, standing tall against the hurricane-force winds that beat down.
His victory over Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom on FITE emphasized that while there are many battles to come in the year ahead, including certainly Jay White and Kazuchika Okada, Tanahashi will always be the maestro that conducts the heart and soul of New Japan.
CODY & THE YOUNG BUCKS
When the Elite walked out of Ring of Honor on their YouTube series "Being the Elite", they promised they were going to change the world. Without running one event, they have done just that.
The formation of All Elite Wrestling and the announcement that they will each be Executive Vice Presidents in a promotion that has the money and power to truly bring potential change to professional wrestling makes these Three Musketeers even more important in the professional wrestling world.
They will have the ability to bring forth their vision for what professional wrestling will be, with no one to stop them and the year ahead will begin to tell the tale for how that vision will thrive or fail once fans are able to sample it.
With rumors of national TV deals, more talent signings and more, this trios, more than ever, are "All In" when it comes to creating the new landscape of professional wrestling. That is a hell of a position to stand in.
The WWE Champion continues to excel in his new role as the kingpin of WWE Smackdown.
Whether it be great wrestling performances in the ring or inspired villainous promos, Bryan has the same audience that once cried for him hating him. That is the type of work that only a master classman in his craft could accomplish and Bryan has been doing it with accuracy that sniper would be envious of.
If New Japan Pro Wrestling excels at anything, it is preparing for the future.
Since "Switchblade" Jay White has made his way to the company, he has consistently been presented and built as a threat to the natural order of things. When FITE viewers witnessed Wrestle Kingdom 13, they shockingly saw Kazuchika Okada once again fall to White. This puts the brash upstart in a position to challenge Hiroshi Tanahashi and be one of the true defining voices for one of the biggest promotion's in the world.
If there's one name to invest in this year, it's Jay White.
As Impact Wrestling continues to attempt to navigate rocky waters, the lone constant who has helped to quell those rapids has been Impact Champion Johnny Impact.
At Impact's Homecoming PPV in Nashville, he successfully defended against the monstrous Brian Cage, only to be attacked by Killer Kross. With each looking for the championship and other names, including Moose and Eddie Edwards on the cusp of title opportunities as well, all roads lead to Johnny. Indeed, Impact itself flows through him.
Whether it be punching out Vince McMahon or chasing Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship, AJ Styles has been one of the discussed personalities for the WWE Smackdown brand. He heads into 2019 with a lot of speculation about his future but also with an incredible body of work that all but predicts greatness when he steps into the ring with Daniel Bryan.
With WrestleMania season vastly approaching, how Styles is utilized for the biggest show of the year may indeed tell the tale for his future in professional wrestling, inside WWE and beyond.
WWE's Architect has continued to be involved in frenzied brawls and major feuds, bringing the audience along on emotional roller coaster rides the entire journey.
Rollins kicked off Monday Night Raw with a brawl against Bobby Lashley, pinned Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose in a six-man tag, then had an incredibly entertaining Falls Count Anywhere main event against Ambrose. While he did not walk away with the title, Rollins once again earned his title as MVP for Raw with a versatile performance that must see him placed into the top percentile of WrestleMania main eventers.