Last Saturday night at the Sears Centre in Chicago, Illinois, history was made for All Elite Wrestling.
Chris Jericho defeated “Hangman” Adam Page in a highly competitive main event to become the first-ever AEW World Champion. While his win didn’t sit well with some wrestling fans, it does make some sense.
Even though he’s 48 years old, he’s become a household name in the wrestling industry largely because of his 20-year tenure with WWE. Putting the title on the more established man will most likely help draw casual fans to AEW programming.
Now that we know who the first champion is, the next question is simple: who will be his first challenger? Let’s take a look at five potential first challengers for Jericho and the AEW World Championship.
5. “Hangman” Adam Page
Kicking off the list is the man Jericho defeated at All Out.
Page gave his opponent all he could handle that night, but couldn’t quite finish the job. He’s sure to be hungry for retribution, but whether he gets another chance or not all depends on which direction AEW wants to go with its main-event picture.
Either they can let Page have his rematch against Jericho right away, or they can refocus and have him start his redemption story away from the champion. My guess is that they’ll have Page start at the bottom again and work his way back up to a potential title shot. This could help reestablish him as a legitimate threat to Jericho’s reign and get fans firmly back in his corner.
Regardless, these two will collide again at some point down the line, and hopefully their second encounter will be just as good as the first.
4. Sonny Kiss
Up next is a pick that may come out of left field for some fans.
Kiss made his debut for AEW at Double or Nothing as a participant in the Casino Battle Royale, which was won by Adam Page. While he hasn’t been on AEW programming since he defeated Peter Avalon at Fight for the Fallen back in July, he’s quickly become one of the more popular wrestlers in the promotion.
So why not give Kiss a chance at the AEW World Championship? Nyla Rose has her shot at the AEW Women’s Championship, so having both challenge for their respective titles would help drive home the point that AEW is for everyone.
He may not be as experienced as some of the other members of the roster, but his charisma is what sets him apart from most. Even if this would be the only shot he gets at the title for some time, he still deserves the opportunity to put his name on the map early on in his AEW career.
3. Jimmy Havoc
Then we move on to perhaps the most extreme member of the AEW roster.
A 15-year veteran of the ring, Havoc was a champion in almost every promotion he wrestled in before signing with AEW. He made his debut at Double or Nothing in the Casino Battle Royale, then appeared at Fyter Fest in a fatal four-way match against Adam Page, Jungle Boy, and MJF.
He then teamed up with Darby Allin & Joey Janela in a losing effort against Shawn Spears, Sammy Guevara, and MJF at Fight for the Fallen. However, he is currently riding some momentum after beating Allin and Janela in a Cracker Barrel Clash at All Out.
His mere presence in a match changes its dynamic entirely, so just imagine what could happen if he were to go toe-to-toe with Jericho. That kind of match-up has the potential to be an instant classic, and we might be lucky enough to see it happen eventually.
2. Jon Moxley
Next we take a look at one of AEW’s top signees.
Moxley made quite the debut in the promotion, coming out after Jericho and Kenny Omega’s match at Double or Nothing and taking both men out. His in-ring debut would come at Fyter Fest, where he defeated Joey Janela in a non-sanctioned match. He was supposed to compete against Omega at All Out, but was diagnosed with a MRSA staph infection in his elbow that required surgery to remove.
Omega will most likely be waiting for him once he returns, but it wouldn’t be a shock if Moxley turned his sights towards the AEW World Championship soon after. A wrestler of his caliber should always be floating around the main-event picture, and this is no exception.
It will only be a matter of time before Moxley is able to call himself a champion in AEW, so why not start with the company’s top prize?
1. Cody Rhodes
Finally, we come to the man himself.
The American Nightmare is one of the masterminds behind AEW and a big reason why the promotion is in the position it is today. He’s proven that not only does he have the talent inside the ring, but on the business side as well.
While he’s currently in a feud with Shawn Spears, it’s only going to be a matter of time before he’s challenging for the AEW World Championship. Jericho could easily make things personal, bringing up all of Rhodes’ shortcomings during his tenure with WWE.
However, this pick might be the least likely out of the five. They will probably want to focus on other stars on the roster first before moving on to the usual suspects (Rhodes, Omega, etc.), which makes perfect sense. But at some point, Rhodes is going to find himself challenging for the right to be the face of the promotion he helped create.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Shalenehixon21. Thanks for reading!