AEW: Six Sleepers That Will Become Future Stars

All Elite Wrestling
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Penelope Ford

The “Super Bad” girl has been without her partner in crime, Kip Sabian for a couple of months but that hasn’t stopped her from being active.  In fact, Sabian’s absence may have been a blessing in disguise for Ford as she now can concentrate on her own in-ring development.

We recently saw Penelope team up with the Bunny and start feuding with Tay Conti.  Bunny and Ford together should be a formidable duo in the upcoming Casino Battle Royale at All Out and a strong showing in the match could lead to further opportunities for the duo.

Ford was able to get some time in the spotlight when travel restrictions and injuries ravaged the women’s division in 2020.  Ford’s best run thus far in AEW culminated with a shot at Hikaru Shida’s AEW Women’s Title at the 2020 Fyter Fest.   Ford opened some eyes during the match and held her own against one of the best in the division.

Since then Ford has stayed involved, but not so much in a positive manner.  Penelope was the bride in AEW’s first wedding, which predictably went awry.

She spent a good amount of time working more as a valet for Sabian and Miro, and when she has shared the ring with the upper echelon of the AEW women’s division she has come up short to the likes of Kris Statlander, Thunder Rosa, and Tay Conti.

Yet, it is easy to see the star quality in Ford.  She is beautiful, athletic, and carries herself with arrogance, which makes her a very unlikable heel.  Her gymnastics background is vital in her offense as she is able to perform offensive moves that less flexible performers would shy away from.

As Ford continues to work on her craft and becomes more seasoned in the ring and on the microphone there should be nothing that can stop her from cracking the top five on the women’s division on a regular basis.

Jade Cargill

Jade Cargill doesn’t exactly fly under the radar so it feels like cheating calling her a sleeper.

The fitness guru that recently turned professional wrestler has more upside than probably anyone else on the entire AEW roster at this point in her career.

From the very moment that Jade made her AEW debut, coming out to interrupt Cody’s promo, it was clear that she had that quality that is impossible to put into words but is shared by all of professional wrestling’s biggest stars.  She just has that “it” factor.

AEW should be given a lot of praise for how they have handled Cargill early in her career as well.

It had to be extremely tempting to try to push a specimen like Cargill to the top right away.  AEW’s women’s division had been struggling and someone with Jade’s star quality could have been looked at as an instant fix.

However, her inexperience would have quickly caught up with her and that could have set her back to a point in which it would be hard to take her seriously again.

Instead, the promotion has picked its spots with Cargill.  Involving her in the feud with Shaq, Cody, and Red Velvet worked really well and showed that while Jade may be lacking ring experience, she undoubtedly had the mentality and confidence to perform in big spots.

As Cargill continues to work on her new craft and gain experience, she will continue to rise up through the rankings of the AEW women’s division.  Cargill is a future AEW Women’s Champion, the only question is how long it will take her to get there.

Anna Jay

Dark Order’s Anna Jay made a surprise return to the ring this week, saving her friend Tay Conti from a beatdown at the hands of the Bunny and Penelope Ford.

Jay was truly making strides in a myriad of ways before her unfortunate shoulder injury sidelined that development in February.

Jay was getting better each and every week in the ring.  She came into AEW with very little wrestling experience and that showed.  In her first few matches, Jay looked a bit overwhelmed and it felt like she was just trying to make it to the finish line.

However, that started to change when she joined the Dark Order.

Jay started to expand her offensive repertoire and was all of a sudden telling a believable story in her matches like it was second nature.

Anna Jay paired that improvement in the ring with something that she had already shown she had, depth of character.

Jay looks like the wholesome girl next door and believably played that role for a short bit in AEW before accepting the invitation from the great, late Mr. Brodie Lee to join the Dark Order.

Once in the Dark Order Jay showed a great range of character as she became a vicious competitor that would do whatever was needed to win matches.

And she pulled off both of these personas in very believable ways.

A wrestler that has the ability to do this has the gift to keep the fans guessing because they never know which direction the performer is going to take their character.  Jay seems to have this attribute down pat already.

So much so that when Jay came out to save Tay Conti on Dynamite last week I found myself wondering whether she was there to save or hurt Conti.

And that ability to keep wrestling fans guessing cannot be overstated.  And it is part of what will make Anna Jay an undeniable star in AEW someday soon.