In Japan, you designate the most important wrestler in a company as the ace. In the States, we just say the face of the company. Their way is cooler. The current Ace of NJPW is now Kazuchika Okada, but many still call the former top guy, Hiroshi Tanahashi as the ace. In NOAH it’s probably Katsuhiko Nakajima (but one could argue Naomichi Marufuji) and in AJPW I’d argue it’s Kento Miyahara, the current Triple Crown Champ. In the WWE, it’s Roman Reigns, and in ROH it’s Jay Lethal.
IMPACT Wrestling has had some great Aces in that regard.
Who’s the current ace of IMPACT Wrestling? It’s kind of a baffling question, right? In the beginning it was supposed to be Ken Shamrock (2002), then after he left, it became Jeff Jarrett’s show (2002-2004). Shortly after their debut on Fox Sports, it became obvious that it was AJ Styles and would be for years. (2004-2014).
After Jarrett and Styles both left the company at the end of 2013 and start of 2014, it was all shifted to Magnus (2014) – now known as Nick Aldis. However, Aldis was gone within two years, and lost all momentum heading into 2015. Shortly after the transition off of Magnus, it became Ethan Carter III’s job and he held it for about 3 years, (2015-2018) but he recently left to return to NXT.
Shamrock, Jarrett, Styles, Magnus and EC3; all gone. But now who’s the top guy?
Well, firstly let’s look at what all five “Aces” had in common or were supposed to provide for the company. They were all supposed to be the work-rate champions, that’s pretty obvious. They were also supposed to be draws, able to push merch, ratings and buyrates. They were all supposed to be company guys who’d be able to carry the promotion out of the ring in interviews, as well as in various media appearances. They worked, drew, talked and were ambassadors for the product.
So who’s that guy in IMPACT today?
Well, we know who it’s not. So let’s start there. Firstly you can eliminate anyone over 45. Abyss, Scott Steiner, and Tommy Dreamer are out. You can also eliminate anyone who’s not known for their promo skills. So that’s Caleb Konley, Dezmond Xavier, DJZ, Fantasma, Bahh, Homicide, Kongo Kong and Trevor Lee.
Now let’s eliminate anyone who isn’t known as a top guy yet. So that’s Chandler, oVe, LAX, Grado, KM, Kingston and Andrew Everett.
Now let’s get rid of the guys who aren’t exclusive to IMPACT and wrestle for another promotion at a high volume. Not once a month, I mean like a ROH/Lucha Underground type promotion. So that’s Austin Aries Cage, Johnny Impact, Pentagon and Sami Callihan.
So that leaves us with five names; Moose and Petey Williams.
The case for each:
– Eddie is a three time world champ in three different promotions. He’s the best worker in the group, a viable top guy for three different promotions in his time in the business. He’s also one of IMPACT’s greatest tag team wrestlers to boot. He’s their Mr. Everything. Not just that but he’s a two time triple crown winner in both ROH and IMPACT Wrestling. He’s a perpetual Match of the Year candidate and really his only issue is his promos aren’t great. But he’s on par with AJ Styles on the mic, so he’s fair game. Eddie also is the go to guy for major feuds, having had WrestleCorp Feud of the Year for 2017, and a strong candidate again for 2018. While his personality is pretty reserved and he’s mostly just known as the ‘worker’, he’s done more than enough to help raise and stabilize the profile of the company when it was in flux. Allegedly he’s re-signed with the promotion and that’s nothing but good news.
– He’s easily the best talker in the company and the most interesting interview on any given day. He’s shown in the ring that he’s worth a main event slot, even if he isn’t on the level of an Eddie Edwards. There are few on Eddie’s level, so there’s no shame in that. Many top guys in the game aren’t as good in the ring as Eli is. So that doesn’t hurt him at all. He, like Eddie, is a triple crown champion in IMPACT, having held the tag team, world and the now defunct King of the Mountain championship. He’s got the body, the look, the athleticism and the skill to be a top guy in any company but there are rumors that he might be on the way out and that hurts his stock.
– Matt Sydal is everything Eddie Edwards is, without the proven commodity aspect. Sydal has never been a top guy anywhere he’s ever gone, and in stints inNew Japan Pro Wrestling, ROH Wrestling and the WWE is often seen as just a tag team wrestler. In IMPACT Wrestling though he’s already won two major single’s championships in the Grand Championship and is (as of this writing) the current X-Division Champion. This is the first time he’s held a major singles title in any major North American promotion and that’s rather shocking to really think about. While he has a long way to go to prove he’s a top level guy, Sydal has yet to have anything but a good match in IMPACT Wrestling, at times having a Match of the Night contender.
– Moose is the least experienced on this list. He’s also the least proven to boot. He’s been the Grand Champion so far but that’s about it. He’s shown he can have good matches, working with the likes of Eli Drake, EC3, Mike Bennett, Alberto El Patron and others while having good matches. He’s still in a place where he needs a more seasoned pro to have those stellar matches but that’s not a huge issue as his game has stepped up greatly since joining IMPACT. Moose though suffers from being rather pedestrian on the mic. He’s not known for his fiery intensity, or his clever one-liners; he’s rather generic but he’s not boring. And that’s important to note.
– Petey Williams is the least likely to be named the new ace of the company, but he does have certain criteria going for him that others don’t have. He’s still relatively young, at only 36, despite being around IMPACT since the early 00’s. While he doens’t have the title history in the company that others of his ilk have, he does have some notable moments and was involved in major events. He’s known as Team Canada’s Captain and Team Canada still has a strong historical significant in the company. Despite his only two X-Division championship reigns, he had two of the better reigns. The first saw him lead the top heel faction in Team Canada, while the second saw him debut his Petey Pump gimmick, tagging with Scott Steiner. His work in the ring is as strong as ever, and his time away from the business has kept his body fresh. His Canadian Destroyer finisher is still beautiful and as the innovator of it, he gets to have that attached to his legacy forever. He’s also shown he can main event shows, working with Eli Drake in a championship match after Bound for Glory last year. What really works for his favor though is the aforementioned length and tenure with the company. He’s seen as a stalwart in the company and that’s important.
I have my own theory as to who it should be, but I’ll share that at a later date. Today, let’s have you vote and see who it should be.