10 Best Promos In AEW History, Ranked

Hamish Woodward

AEW

One of the selling points at the start of AEW the state of their promos. They opposed the WWE model of being handed a script and asking the wrestlers to repeat it verbatim. It may work for some people, but for most creatively-minded wrestlers, this is not the best way to do it.

A lot of wrestlers prefer to just speak from the heart. They, more than anyone else, know the character they are trying to get through via their promos, so they know the best way to say what needs saying. Obviously, this does not always work, but it certainly seems to have a much higher ceiling for great microphone work this way.

AEW employs some of the best wrestlers in the world, and equally as important some of the best mic workers in the world. The likes of Jon Moxley, CM Punk and MJF have blown people away with their trust, honesty and incredible delivery on the microphone.

AEW has so many great wrestlers on the microphone, that list of three does not even include Eddie Kingston, Bryan Danielson, Chris Jericho, Adam Page and many, many more.

There are so many great promos that have been spoken in AEW. It was tough to narrow it down to a list, but I’ve managed to decide what I think are the best five promos in AEW history. Obviously there may be some promos that you think belong on this list, but this is simply what I think are the most memorable lines spoken by wrestlers in AEW.

AEW Best Promos

10. MJF Says Adam Cole Deserves The Best Title Match

MJF’s promo to set up his main event clash with Adam Cole at AEW All In 2023 was one of the best promos in AEW history, and proved a turning point in the character of the AEW Champion.

Before he got to Adam Cole, MJF revealed a part of his childhood that explained a lot about his character. He spoke about how he suffers with Rejection Sensitive Disorder, as well as a litany of other learning disabilities and constant antisemitic bullying in high school. This explained why MJF is so hesitant to let people in and make friends, and he needed to become a scumbag in order to protect himself.

After the explanation, MJF called out Adam Cole for a talk in the ring. He said that, while he offered Cole a title shot at the AEW Championship before the pair wrestled FTR the week prior, Cole doesn’t deserve a match against him. He then hit the bait and switch and revealed that he “doesn’t deserve just any match, you deserve THE match!” referring to the main event of All In at Wembley Stadium.

This promo set up the incredible clash between MJF and Adam Cole in front of 81,035 fans at All In, with the end of that match being one of the best AEW moments in 2023.

9. Jake Roberts Debuts To Take On Cody Rhodes

One of the forgotten promos of the early years of AEW Dynamite came from an unlikely source, as Jake Roberts debuted in AEW on the March 4th, 2020 episode of AEW Dynamite. After MJF defeated Cody Rhodes at AEW Revolution 2020, Rhodes called out the young star for another confrontation, only to be interrupted by Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

Roberts immediately grabbed a microphone once he got into the ring, and said he was tired of listening to Cody Rhodes “cry and bitch”. He then explained how badly Cody was beaten by MJF, before claiming he was here to slay the “Mighty Cesar”, referring to Cody Rhodes in his infamously raspy voice.

Roberts then lamented that it took him 20-years to get clean from drugs and alcohol (to a huge cheer from the crowd), before revealing he had a new client in AEW (which turned out to be Lance Archer) and warned Cody he was out to destroy him.

The promo ended with one of the all-time great lines in AEW history. Jake Roberts said, “I’m not here in AEW to take the whole pie – just your share.” Before adding “Never ever turn your back in somebody you respect or you’e afraid of”, before tossing the microphone to Cody and walking out with his back to him,

8. Eddie Kingston Earns Himself A Job With One Promo

During his debut TNT Championship reign, Cody Rhodes hosted weekly open challenges with a variety of opponents. Some of these included unsigned talent from the indies, with stars like Ricky Starks (then with the NWA) and WarHorse being brought in for one-time matches against The American Nightmare.

Eddie Kingston was one of these chosen wrestlers. The ROH Champion was close to retiring from wrestling during the pandemic, being forced to sell his wrestling gear and boots to just keep up the payments on his mortgage. AEW was supposed to just be a stop-gap payday to tide him over, but with one promo Eddie Kingston earned himself a contract with AEW.

The promo was so good that it earned Kingston a contract with AEW, changing his life forever and making him a big star in AEW overnight. He also challenged Cody Rhodes to a No Disqualification match for the title, which proved to be one of Cody’s best matches in his inaugural TNT Championship reign.

7. MJF On His Past With William Regal

MJF has had a number of promos that could top any promo list, so picking ones to fit on this article about AEW’s best promos has been tricky. However, it would be impossible to miss off the incredible confrontation with William Regal on the October 18th, 2022, episode fo AEW Dynamite.

As all great MJF promos are, this one was rooted in reality. He spoke intensely and with feeling, starting across the ring from William Regal as he opened his heart, revealing how William Regal had encouraged him to send over promos with a view of signing him. However, Regal eventually grew tired and stopped accepting submissions, telling Max he needed to improve a lot in wrestling and to stop sending him his work.

MJF tearfully claimed he was close to killing himself after one final reply, which ties into his “Rejection Sensitive Disorder” that he revealed the following year. This promo was one of Max’s best, adding to his character by adding extra layers to his personality, explaining why he is like he is and providing backstory for his feud with William Regal and Jon Moxley.

6. Cody Rhodes, on Chris Jericho before Full Gear 2019

The first “great” promos in AEW all came from Cody Rhodes. The son Dusty Rhodes learnt a lot from his father on the mic, keeping the crowd on tenterhooks and hanging on his every word whenever he had the microphone in his hand.

He had a number of promos one could consider the best in AEW. The video package before his battle with brother Dustin Rhodes, the five star match from Double or Nothing 2019, was one of the best of all time. After that match, he grabbed the mic asking for his brother to tag with him against the Young Bucks in another classic AEW promo.

However, one of the best promos in the history of AEW was Cody’s just before facing Chris Jericho. He spoke about all the greats of wrestling, like his father, whose legacies were tarnished due to their backstage roles. He didn’t want the fans to think he didn’t earn his way to the top of AEW due to being an Executive Vice-President. He wanted them to know that he earned every bit of success he had.

Next came one of the biggest bombshells in AEW history. Just months into AEW’s debut on TNT, Cody Rhodes laid down the ultimatum – if he didn’t beat Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship, he would never again challenge for the championship.

For someone who was the top face in the company and one man fans were sure was destine for greatness, it seems odd. Surely, they thought, he would defeat Chris Jericho at Full Gear 2019 to win the AEW Championship and quash the stupid stipulation.

But he didn’t. And that added more levity to the promo. He was not going to be tarnished by his job as an EVP. He was going to be his own man, and if that meant never being the top champion in AEW, so then so be it.

5. MJF’s “State of the Industry” address, on Jon Moxley

MJF was always seen as one of the top mic workers in AEW, every since his debut at Double or Nothing 2019. However, he was often seen as merely the purveyor of “cheap heat”. He would regularly insult the crowd, calling them fat usually, and insulting the local sports teams to garner boos in the cheapest of ways.

It wasn’t until his feud with Jon Moxley that he really started putting out some all time great promos. His character shifted to the that of a politician, running a campaign to win a match against Jon Moxley at Double or Nothing 2020.

One of his promos on AEW Dynamite prior to the match between the two was one of the best promos in AEW history. It was named the “State of the Industry address”, parodying the US President’s “State of the Union Address”. In it, MJF ran down Jon Moxley and how he was only given the chance to be AEW Champion due to his prior work in WWE. He ranted how Moxley, or “Dictator Jon”, was holding MJF down and refusing to face him because he was scared that MJF would take his title.

The promo was incredible, as it showed MJF’s ability to speak for a prolonged period of time without stopping to pause for thought. It’s a rare trait that few in the business possess and one that makes MJF a unique talent in wrestling.

4. MJF vs CM Punk meet in the ring

If anyone could have more than one top 5 promo in AEW, it had to be MJF. The sharp tongued yet awful human is only 26 years old but is already one of the best all-round wrestlers in the world. As soon as CM Punk returned to wrestling in August 2021, fans could not wait to see him interact with MJF on the microphone. CM Punk is an all-time great promo and putting him against MJF is a license to print money.

The pair finally locked horns on the microphone on the 2021 Thanksgiving episode of AEW Dynamite. The pair tore each other a new one, finding new and creative ways to insult each other as the crowd bayed for blood. MJF started off as the crowd yelled at him to “shut the f*ck up”. He told Punk that he was “just a minnow”, and that CM Punk’s pipebomb is equivalent to a regular day for MJF. He also tore down CM Punk for quitting wrestling 7 years ago, and his failed UFC career.

CM Punk then retorted about MJF being a fan of his for years, and being disappointed by what he saw when he finally met MJF. He even went so far as to call the Dynamite Diamond Ring winner as “a less famous Miz”, which the crowd popped huge for. It’s one of the all time great confrontations on the mic and one that has to be seen to be experienced.

3. Eddie Kingston unleashes his frustrations on CM Punk

It took exactly one appearance in AEW for Eddie Kingston to go from cult favourite to nationwide star. He was originally brought in for a one-time match against Cody Rhodes in his TNT Championship Open Challenge. Other wrestlers, like Jeff Cobb, War Horse and Nick Gage all made one time appearances in AEW, and Eddie Kingston was expected to be the same.

However, he cut an excellent promo on Cody Rhodes prior to the match, before challenging the TNT Champion to a no disqualification match. He lost the bout, but his mic skills and connection to the crowd earned him a contract with AEW, during one of the toughest times in his life.

However, even that isn’t his best promo. He’s had some incredible promos, including a set of battle son the microphone with Jon Moxley. But it was his incredible, impassioned confrontation with CM Punk before Full Gear 2021 that will go down as one of the best AEW promos of all time.

Kingston told Punk that he hated him, and has since CM Punk and others in the ROH locker room looked down on Kingston due to his life situation. It was a brutally honest and self aware promo that took real life conflict and mashed it into a pro-wrestling setting.

CM Punk tried firing back, but he was thoroughly booed as fans resonated with Kingston. The pair eventually came to blows, with Kingston being so brilliant on the mic with such a great story to tell, that he became the only man who could get CM Punk booed in AEW.

2. Adam Page’s “Cowboy Shit”, on Kenny Omega

One of the best promos AEW has ever broadcast is Adam Page explaining what “Cowboy Shit” really means before his Full Gear 2021 battle between himself and AEW Champion Kenny Omega.

Adam Page was one of the most beloved faces in AEW history, and had the crowd in the palm of his hand the entire time. Page had recently returned to AEW after the birth of his first child, and he had earned a title shot after a year of chasing Omega by winning a ladder match the year prior.

The promo encapsulated Page’s struggle to deal with his own anxieties and inadequacies, whilst showing that with the belief of himself and support of his friend, he was ready to tackle anything.He then went on to list the ways in which he embodies the concept of “Cowboy shit”, including taking time off during the peak of his popularity to take care of his wife and their new-born son.

It was the best promo in AEW history because it was so natural, personal and from the heart. Very few times has a wrestler in the ring made himself feel so relatable and personable, so it was a fantastic thing to see how much he truly moved people with his words. Watching him defeat Kenny Omega soon after to win the AEW Championship was the icing on the cake for the best AEW promo of all time.

1. MJF Bared All In Emotional Promo About CM Punk

In the wake of CM Punk’s challenge toward MJF for a Dog Collar Match at AEW Revolution 2022, the young star walked melancholily to the ring, ready to address Punk and the AEW fans, but in a much different way than they expected.

The Salt of the Earth superstar travelled back to his childhood, with an emotional tone to his voice as he struggled to reveal his past struggled with ADHD and antisemitic bullying in school. He spoke to the crowd like a true babyface, giving the AEW fans an insight into his past and why MJF is the way he is. MJF also spoke about meeting CM Punk as a child, and how CM Punk leaving WWE was the catalyst toward him quitting wrestling before he even began, before changing his mind out of spite.

He was back to normal next week, but this promo was an incredible piece of acting (if it even was acting). It is something that has maybe never been seen before in wrestling (although MJF has dipped into the emotional well since), and the shock of the ultra-heel pouring his heart out to the fans is something that nobody will ever forget.

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