Top 5 Wrestlers that Should Win the FTW Title

Jre Best 

Ask any smart mark who’s been in the wrestling fandom for more than a month to make a list of their biggest wrestling pet peeves and it’s almost an inevitability that you’ll see “too many belts” placing high. When a promotion is seen as having too many championships, the thought process usually is that having a plethora of belts dilutes their importance. Whether you agree with that idea or not it’s something that a lot of people in the wrestling community believe is a real problem. In fact, the “too many belts” problem would be ranked high by the man with the most famous list in wrestling, Chris Jericho. In a recent interview, Jericho talked about one of the things he liked about AEW, the promotion in which he is currently signed, is a small number of title belts they currently have. AEW only officially has four titles: the AEW World Championship, AEW Women’s World Championship, AEW World Tag Team Championship, and the TNT Championship. But during this dialogue Jericho did mention that he was not a fan of Brain Cage’s unofficial FTW Championship. 

“The FTW Title even is too much. It doesn’t mean anything. Who cares? That’s just me, but maybe some people care. It seems to me it’s not even a real title. So, anyway, you don’t want to muddle it down too much.” – Chris Jericho 

The FTW Championship was made in 1998 by Taz in ECW. The storyline reason being that Taz was frustrated he couldn’t get a title match with then injured ECW World Champion Shane Douglas, so he declared himself the “Fuck The World Champion” or “FTW”. The belt didn’t have a tremendously long history only lasting a little under a year and it was never recognized as an official title by ECW. Uniquely Taz himself owns the copyright and design of the belt so he decided to bring it back to give it to Brian Cage, who he currently manages in AEW. The FTW title has always been more of a way to accentuate character than an additional wrestling title, a way of communicating that the few people who have held it are dangerous, tough, badasses. Taz says it best “FTW is a mindset.” 

But just because only two people ever held the original incarnation of a belt doesn’t mean that has to be the case today. I see a lot of potential in an unsanctioned belt that the toughest and craziest wrestlers want to prove they have the FTW mindset. Similar in concept to the UFC’s BMF Championship. Brian Cage has only defended the belt once on AEW Dark but one must think more defensives are on their way. If he continues to defend it it’s only natural to think about who could potentially win it from him. So with apologies to Chris Jericho I compiled a list of wrestlers I think should win the FTW title.


Darby Allin is probably AEW’s most successful young prospect next to MJF. Within a year they’ve taken the virtually unknown skating daredevil and turned him into one of their most popular roster members. He’s a legitimate draw, a ratings mover and it only feels like a matter of time until he wins the world title.  And while I think those predictions are well-founded I believe we’re still a few years away from Darby Allin world champion. The FTW title on the other hand, Darby having a run with it opens a lot of possibilities. First, he’s one of the few babyfaces that totally fits the hard-nosed brutal nature of the belt. That could mean he’d be willing to defend it more often. Him defending the title regularly would add some prestige to the belt while also showing Darby’s capability as a champion. Lastly looking at all the other wrestlers on this list and on AEW’s roster that would hypothetically go for this belt; Darby Allin is by far the smallest. Meaning he would bring tons of match variety to the division, proving he could not just hang but win against some of the toughest in the locker room despite his small stature. Darby is currently in a feud with Brian Cage stablemate Ricky Starks which means out of everybody on this list he’s the closest to actually winning the belt.

4. Lance Archer

AEW’s presentation of Lance Archer has been extremely effective but not without issues. Since joining the company he has been portrayed as an absolute world-beater. He tore through everybody on his warpath to face Cody in the finals of the TNT title tournament. The problem is when you’re presented as strong as Archer has been, losses mean more. Archer wasn’t the right guy to be the inaugural TNT Champion; he lost a Cody and that was the right move but it’s not like that loss killed him. He was featured less on TV, showing up occasionally with vignettes of him causing destruction before being built up again to win this year’s Casino Battle Royal. While not as threatening feeling as his initial story, they have preserved his sense of danger. However, AEW is about to face a tricky situation. Lance’s victory in the Casino Battle Royal has gotten him a shot at Jon Moxley’s World title, and once again it is very unlikely he will win. Once again AEW is going to have to build up Lance to be an impressive victory for they’re babyface Champion without hurting Lance’s credibility as a monster. We’re going to need to start giving him some important victories and having him win the FTW title is perfect for his character. Lance and Jake Robert’s have always been portrayed as invaders, outlaws, people who belong in a fight club more than a wrestling ring. One of the first things we saw from Lance was a vignette of him in some lawless wrestling club that felt like it belonged in a rural district of Gotham City. Him getting a run with an unsanctioned belt and absolutely clobbered anyone who dares step up to him would do wonders for his legitimacy.

3. Joey Janela 

Joey Janela Wants to Show Fans His More Technical Side | Big Gold Belt  Media | Wrestling, Movies, Comics And More!

Is it fair to say that AEW has had trouble figuring out what to do with Joey Janela? One of the first signings with the company the Bad Boy feels far removed from the wrestler that was given the chance to Main Event Fyter Fest, was prominently featured on TV during Dynamite’s early days, and was blowing away people with matches against Kenny Omega. After a few with Kip Sabian that incorporated elements of Janela and Penelope Ford’s real-life breakup, Joey largely disappeared from television. It got to the point were rumors that he was considering leaving AEW started to spread. In recent months Janela has started a tag team with Sonny Kiss but even now it feels like a far way away from what the company initially had planned for him. Janela has underrated star potential and if AEW you want me to you could be another real homegrown babyface star. The FTW title is a great way to help remind people why they liked Janela in the first place. It gives him a reason to be on TV every week, the nature of the division means that he could dip into that crazy hardcore deathmatch character they helped get him over in the indies. Iit also gives him the opportunity to show off his underrated wrestling skills he demonstrated in his matches with Kenny Omega. 

2. Eddie Kingston

Well, Eddie Kingston sure has made a lot of new fans this year. Eddie’s blow away match with Cody for the TNT title earlier this year combined with his phenomenal pre match promo earned him a full contract with the company. In the short time since he signed he’s continued to demand fans attention starting a faction with the Lucha Brothers and Butcher and The Blade. He’s established himself as a leader/ veteran who seen it all, isn’t afraid to speak his mind and does not suffer fools. If FTW really is a mindset than Eddie Kingston almost certainly has it, but just in a completely different way than the others on this list. When considering people for this list I mostly thought about establishing stars for the future but that’s not really the case with Eddie. He doesn’t really need a belt to establish himself all he really needs is a mic for that. His reign would probably be more like a classic ECW FTW reign, with defenses being more rare. He’s not on this list because the belt will elevate him, he’s here because Eddie will Elevate the belt. Having an unofficial title that is still regularly defended is going to be a hard pill for a lot of viewers to swallow and they’re going to need a reason to get invested in it. Eddie and his faction holding onto the title for a long time and having Eddie cut promos about why he wants to hold on to it is a surefire way to grab the audience’s attention. I trust Kingston’s promo ability to get over a title that isn’t officially recognized by AEW, to make it part of the show that fans come to love.

1. Tomohiro Ishii 

I was never saying I was making this list based on believability. But in all fairness NJPW collaboration is something fans have wanted since AEW started and it seems like almost an inevitability at this point. At is there any wrestler who screams Fuck the World Champion harder than Tomohiro Ishii. The way I’ve envisioned this new FTW title is very similar to NJPW’s NEVER Openweight Championship, the title Ishii is synonymous with. If AEW and NJPW were to ever work with each other they would need something for Ishii to do since he’s so popular in the United States. So why not let the master of the mean guy match mix it up with the likes of Brian Cage, Darby Allin, and Joey Janela with a short reign with AEW’s mean guys belt. Just the idea of an Ishii match being called by an irate Taz gives me a big uncontrollable smile. So yes Tomohiro Ishii is the wrestler I want to see with the FTW title the most.

Did you enjoy the list? What changes would you make? And what wrestling-related list would you like me to make in the future. Let me know @Jrebest and to see more great content from the story arc follow us @The_Story_Arc!

Leave a Reply