Light the fuse: The best AEW entrances of all time (2024)

A professional wrestling entrance seems simple enough. Hit the music, sweaty people walk out, crowd cheers. However, it's so much more than that. As a storytelling device and as a piece of the narrative, a fantastic entrance makes even a mundane match memorable. For the rare few, an unforgettable one makes an amazing match legendary. Such is the case with the best AEW entrances of all time.

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While one of the younger wrestling promotions, AEW has already had a number of show-stopping entrances. Whether it's the return of icons to the squared circle or a callback to past lives, the best AEW entrances all stand as declarations and character moments.

Let's take a look back at the all-time best walks to the ring in AEW history.

Best AEW entrances: 5 - The Icon arrives

The pandemic era of AEW is still one of the most bizarre in all of wrestling. In fairness, it was the wild west. No crowds, no expectations, just a need to keep some feeling of regularity in our collective lives. So, it was important to delivery when fans were finally able to return to shows in some capacity. Such is the first entrance of the recently retired, one and only Icon, Sting. Appearing at the first Winter Is Coming event in December of 2020, it's an entrance that could have failed.

After all, we had seen entrances during the "no crowd" era of AEW that came off as missed opportunities. See: Matt Hardy and the late Brody Lee. However, AEW would not miss here with the best of many Sting entrances, including the one from his retirement.

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There's no better way to debut a wrestler than interrupting a beatdown. It just so happens this one happened with multiple generations of stars all in one ring. Even if he didn't do anything, Sting eying down former foes Arn Anderson, Dustin Rhodes, modern star Cody Rhodes, and the future of AEW in Darby Allin made a statement.

4 - You think you know him

Hot take: The man formerly known as Edge has the best entrance music of all time. There's just something energizing and downright ethereal about the Altar Bridge song Metalingus. It's absolutely perfect, from it's hard-hitting opening double-bass drums to lyrics that outright declare his arrival. Such was the case at WrestleDream 2023, as Adam Copeland arrived to AEW with all the Grindhouse style he could muster.

It's funny, because this entrance--and others like it--somewhat creates narrative dissonance for fans not willing to play along with the rules of pro wrestling. "Why are those guys just standing in the ring watching this man come down?" "Why did that guy wait until the very last second to make his entrance and save the day?"

Because, that's how wrestling works. Shut up. That's why.

All the same, I was worried that Edge outside of WWE would be some kind of watered down experience. My fears were alleviated as soon as I heard those opening notes. On this day, I see clearly.

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Best AEW entrances: 3 - Showdown at high noon

I feel like AEW has completely changed in the last few years, as even this amazing entrance from 2021 feels like a distant memory. Remember The Dark Order? Remember caring about them? I do, and this entrance is a stark reminder. This Dark Order vs The Elite showdown was the culmination of stories and arcs into one major matchup.

And even if you don't remember the match or outcome, you certainly remember the entrance.

It's not often that professional wrestlers get to have friends--real friends. Heels often group up because of honor amongst thieves. However, pro wrestling tropes love to tell us that good guy faces are bad asses standing alone. The Rock, Austin, HBK, Hogan. So, when Hangman gathers his cult buddies up, shares his cowboy gimmick, and rides out together, it really meant something new.

Man, I miss Dark Order.

2 - The house always wins

We should really celebrate the homegrown talent of AEW whenever possible. One of the biggest issues levied against the company is that it's ripe with the sloppy seconds of WWE. And, while true, that ignores the fact that a lot of young talent have found their way. Case in point, Julia Hart. Once a valet and cheerleader manager for....*checks notes*... Who is 'Griff Garrison'?

Well, the Black Hart is so much more now. She isn't even "just" the House of Black's valet. A rising physical talent, she's also done the rare task of finding a unique vibe and character. Just take her mesmerizing, flesh-tingling walk to the ring as a perfect example of one of the best AEW entrances.

She's come a long way. Credit: AEW

There's a lot of small things at work here that sell the entrance. Hart singing the lyrics as she walks to the ring, yet another song with a blazing opener that declares arrival, and the blackout teleport to the ring. All of it provides a mystique and allure to a wrestler that could just be labeled as 'yet another spooky girl in AEW.'

Every time I see Julia walk to the ring I stop what I'm doing and pay attention. That's powerful.

Best AEW entrance: Miseria Cantare

One could argue that it was all downhill from here for CM Punk in AEW. After all, how do you top using a completely different era of yourself as a plot point in the hottest feud of the year? What's funny is that the use of the 'Second City Saint' persona and AFI's Miseria Cantare is a beautiful and striking bit of mind games in this feud between MJF and Punk.

As Max made it clear in the build up to this bloody and brutal dog collar match: He was a huge CM Punk fan. The entire rivalry was based around Max feeling sold out and forgotten as a fan of Punk and what that old Ring of Honor persona meant. So, it's absolutely perfect when the opening drone of the song hits, the crowd is silent, and the look on MJF's face is of pure spite.

Oh, he knew what he was hearing. He knows that song quite well.

And, man do I relate hard to those feelings. Punk was my absolute wrestling idol in the early 00s and seeing this aesthetic and song reappear made me feel things. But best of all, it was an entrance providing a perfect narrative focus.

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Light the fuse: The best AEW entrances of all time (2024)
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