10 Wrestlers With The Most Breakout Star Potential Right Now


Paige VanZant

HOOK isn't just a meme, though AEW is potentially flirting too heavily with that aspect of his popularity by programming him alongside Danhausen.

Of course, Danhausen's presence acts as a deliberate contrast to HOOK's, who is meant to look even more like a serious, ass-kicking proposition stood next to the comedy act. Regardless of your perspective on the development - too cute, or fun and undeniably over - it is a temporary diversion designed to deepen HOOK's babyface appeal and slowly flesh out his character. The fans want to cheer him. They are now being encouraged to cheer him. It makes sense, even though it's also a weird continuation of a slightly wonky AEW device. Within the stable-heavy narrative framework, certain wrestlers barely appear alongside their stablemates (FTR, HOOK, Danhausen etc.)

HOOK is more than a meme because he isn't enjoyed ironically for a brief period of time before everybody moves onto the next thing. People don't invest in memes, and HOOK at one point late last year out-sold record seller CM Punk on Pro Wrestling Tees. Another strong indication of HOOK's staying power lies in those Rampage reactions. These crowds are exhausted, so much so that AEW has taken the bleak option of sweetening their reactions - and they still go opening-match apesh*t for HOOK.

So athletically gifted and fast that he seems to glitch into phases of awesome judo-inspired offence, HOOK has fused that with his smouldering pin-up disposition to become wrestling's next big thing.


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!