5 Current WWE Superstars who’ve been linked to AEW
AEW has taken the world of professional wrestling by storm, establishing itself as a legitimate alternative to WWE. The company is currently firing on all cylinders and has set the industry abuzz with its thrilling matches, compelling storylines, and galaxy of stars.
AEW has also added to its homegrown talent a number of performers who made their name in WWE. Superstars such as CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley have been instrumental in establishing All Elite Wrestling as the second-biggest promotion in North America.
Tony Khan has also created a more relaxed and incorporative work culture that seems to be more appealing to modern-day professional wrestlers. This means that whenever a WWE performer comes to the end of their contract, especially those with a connection to The Elite, they are linked with a move to AEW.
Here are five current WWE Superstars who have previously been linked with a move to AEW:
#5 Former WWE Champion Randy Orton
The 3 most dangerous letters in sports entertainment- #RKO
just re-signed with the 3 most dominant letters in sports entertainment- #WWE
Looking forward to pi$$ing off the #WWEUNIVERSE for at least 5 more years #WWEBACKSTAGE @FS1 @WWE
— Randy Orton (@RandyOrton) November 6, 2019
In November of 2019, Randy Orton announced that he had signed a new five-year deal with WWE. However, before he put pen to paper, Orton was willing to negotiate with AEW by all accounts.
The former WWE Champion expressed his admiration for the debut episode of Dynamite during a stream, singling out Cody Rhodes and Sammy Guevara for praise. (H/T Bleacher Report)
“That AEW looked cool, huh? Did you watch that show last night? Oh my god,” Orton said after AEW’s TNT premiere back on Oct. 2. “I’ll tell you what. It’s that big match feel, the big show feel. Cody [Rhodes] and Sammy Guevara, that kid can do some stuff! I’d love to work with that kid. They had a great match. I thought opening the show with that match was a good idea and well-received.”
He later even teased signing with AEW in an Instagram post. But now that he’s committed his immediate future to WWE, The Viper probably won’t wrestle for another company anytime soon.
#4 Former NXT Champion Johnny Gargano
Fightful Select has learned that NXT Triple Crown Champion Johnny Gargano's WWE contract is expiring in the near future.
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) September 13, 2021
According to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com, Johnny Gargano’s WWE contract is set to expire in the near future. Gargano has been one of the cornerstones of NXT since 2015 and has been involved in some of the show’s most memorable programs.
However, he’s now starting to feel out of place in the newly rebranded NXT 2.0. Gargano even recently liked a Tweet by The Young Bucks reacting to WWE’s changes to the Black and Gold Brand.
The Triple Crown Champion has the skillset to be a success in AEW as well as a history with several of the company’s stars such as Malakai Black and Andrade. Signing Gargano would be another mark of All Elite Wrestling’s decisive victory in the Wednesday Night Wars.
#3 WWE Hall of Famer Edge
Edge made his in-ring return at the 2020 Royal Rumble after nine years of being unable to wrestle. However, the Canadian Superstar was reportedly in discussions with AEW before he eventually accepted an offer from Vince McMahon.
Edge admitted that he held talks with AEW before having a conversation with McMahon.
“Some discussions were had. The one thing that I told them through all of this is: when you give me your offer, I need to go talk to Vince,” said Edge. “He’s done right by me my entire career. He gave me my chance, he gave me my shot. Trusted me to be able to pull off a lot of things, be a pillar for his shows,” added Edge.
A move to AEW would’ve put Edge in fresh territory like his friend Christian Cage, but the former World Champion has been used in a prominent role since his return to WWE, headlining WrestleMania 37 and SummerSlam 2021.
#2 Former WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens
Breaking news: Fightful Select has learned Kevin Owens' WWE contract is up much sooner than expected.
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) September 7, 2021
Kevin Owens’ WWE contract is up in January 2022, according to a report from Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select. The former Universal Champion penned a five-year deal with WWE in 2018, but it was shortened by a year due to pandemic restructuring.
Owens referenced The Young Bucks in a tweet soon after the story broke, fueling speculation of a move to AEW. According to Jon Alba, he is now expected to part ways with WWE once his contract expires. (h/t Bleacher Report)
“In speaking with some WWE sources throughout the day, there is very much an internal belief Owens is gone at the end of his WWE deal,” Alba said. “He has dropped multiple hints on social media in the last 24 hours that allude to him being AEW-bound.”
#1 RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair
When Ric Flair was recently released from WWE, several reports suggested he was on the way to AEW. On an episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer suggested that Andrade, Charlotte Flair’s partner, wanted the entire family to join him at All Elite Wrestling.
“Andrade has told people that he wants the whole family there. And by the family, it’s, you know, RUSH, Bestia, Dragon Lee, him, Ashley [Charlotte], Ric, that’s what he wants. Ashley would be a big perception get. And I have been asked when her contract ends by many inside people, not in AEW but reporters because everyone knows that story.”
Meltzer doesn’t believe that she wants to leave WWE, but landing The Queen would be a huge coup for Tony Khan. AEW’s women’s division is a work in progress and would benefit greatly from the presence of Charlotte, who is arguably one of the greatest female wrestlers of all time.