It’s been a year since AEW Dynamite debuted on October 3rd on TNT. The company has shown since then that it is a major player. AEW has built new young stars and taken wrestlers who already had talent to show them how to take it to the next level and be stars. These are the five who stand out as the promotion’s most effective young stars in its first full year—stars that can lead them into the future. All are under 27 years old and can be rivals for decades.
AEW Young Star Tag Team: Private Party
Private Party consists of Isiah Kassidy (23 years old) and Marq Quen (26 years old), who debuted on the indies in 2015. They started in House of Glory and then CZW, before signing with AEW. They are probably one of the most improved tag teams in the promotion, especially since getting to work with Matt Hardy.
Private Party shocked the wrestling world by defeating The Young Bucks in the first round of the tag team tournament to decide the company’s first-ever champions. They have been an up-and-down tag team in their booking, but are looking at a big AEW second year.
5. Jungle Boy
Jungle Boy Jack Perry is 23 years old. He started wrestling on the indie circuit in 2015 and trained with Joey Janela. He won the West Cruiser Cup in 2016. Jack was huge in the Bay Area. AEW signed Jungle Boy in January 2019. He met and started teaming with Luchasaurus in February 2019. At a tribute match for his father, Luke Perry, he took on and defeated David Arquette in May 2019 at Bar Wrestling.
Since AEW Dynamite started, Jungle Boy has been doing a mixture of singles wrestling and tag team wrestling with Jurassic Express—Marko Stunt and Luchasaurus. His singles career has mostly been against MJF and once against Cody. While concentrating on tag team wrestling, it has been up and down, but I feel that has been because Luchasaurus got injured. He will need to concentrate on singles wrestling if he is going to be a big part of AEW’s future.
4. Anna Jay
Anna Jay is a 22-year-old member of The Dark Order. She started training with Glacier and QT Marshall at One Fall Power Factory in July 2018. Anna Jay wrestled for Georgia Premier Wrestling in January 2020. She debuted on April 1st, 2020, and after a great showing, she was signed on April 6th. Anna Jay teamed with Tay Conti in AEW Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament: The Deadly Draw. She has since joined The Dark Order. I look forward to watching her grow into her own as she continues her training.
3. Darby Allin
No AEW roster member benefited more from the newfound spotlight than Darby Allin. He caught my attention immediately when I watched the VICELAND documentary, The Wrestlers. Darby is a 27-year-old independent wrestler that many thought had a death wish and would eventually get hurt badly.
Darby Allin signed with AEW in April 2019 and debuted at Fyter Fest. He has mostly feuded with Sammy Guevera until recently when he has been taking on Ricky Starks. AEW did feature promos from him leading up to his match against Cody that showed plenty of promise and showcased a character that we hadn’t seen in wrestling before.
Darby Allin’s style allows him to display lightning-quick offense while also managing to put over just about any big move an opponent has to offer. If the dark side of his character can come out and catch on instead of staying a babyface, he can be one of the first megastars that AEW could largely take credit for.
2. Sammy Guevera
Sammy is a 27 years old wrestler that started his training through Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling school in 2012. Guevara began networking and tried to get better jobs. After a period of difficulty, he began landing bookings outside the state of Texas, but he was always having to ride the bus. Eventually, in 2015, he had a dark match for WWE. It didn’t lead to anything with them.
After being in Full Impact Pro Wrestling, Sammy had two matches for Impact Wrestling and then participated in the 2017 Super X Cup Tournament where he was eliminated by Drago in the first round. He then bounced around Evolve, MLW, and PWG. He also wrestled on the NWA’s 70th Anniversary pay-per-view show.
On February 7, 2019, Sammy Guevara was announced as All Elite. Since AEW Dynamite started, Guevara has been on fire, especially after joining Chris Jericho’s The Inner Circle. He has feuded with Darby Allin, MJF, and Matt Hardy. As he continues to mature and become less impulsive, his star will only grow.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) is a 24-year-old wrestler that Chris Jericho has said is further ahead than anyone, including himself (Jericho.) He previously performed for Major League Wrestling (MLW), where he is a former MLW World Tag Team Champion, while also being a former one-time and inaugural MLW World Middleweight Champion. He departed MLW in January 2020. Friedman has also worked on the American independent circuit, appearing most notably for Combat Zone Wrestling, where he is a former one-time CZW World Heavyweight Champion and a two-time CZW Wired Champion. Maxwell is definitely THE AEW young star of the future. Everyone can see it in him.
MJF became All Elite on January 2019. Since then he has been one of the best heels in AEW and maybe one of the better heels in professional wrestling. His catchphrase is “I’m better than you and you know it.” He has feuded with everyone from Chris Jericho, Cody, and Jon Moxley. I can’t imagine that AEW doesn’t have HUGE plans for him, especially after already signing him to a new contract.
As Bodyslam has said, “One of the most underrated aspects about AEW has to their young talent in their roster. AEW has done a great job having one eye in the present and the other in the future.” Many other promotions seem to not be able to handle both at the same time. I can’t wait to see what young stars AEW get next. Sunglasses will be worn by AEW for years to come, because their future is extremely bright.