This might be the most anticipated week in wrestling history, or at least of the 2000s. WWE is set to debut on FOX while a foe finally enters the mix with a network deal, of course, we’re talking about AEW.
With an already strong roster, the company is sure to make a dent in WWE’s armor. However, there are lots of others rumored to join the company. In this article, we’ll put some of those rumors to rest by issuing names that won’t join the company. On the flip side, we’ll also discuss names that might join in 2020 or even before 2019 comes to an end.
Enjoy the article and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Let’s get started, folks!
15 Rejected - Will Ospreay
Having Will on North American television would be a dream come true for lots of wrestling fans. Sadly, like his views on WWE, Will admitted he won’t commit to a deal with AEW. Here’s what he told Wrestle Talk;
“Probably not. Unless, if NJPW does a little business deal with them. I hope they do, I really do. I’d love to do some work with AEW. But as far as ‘Would I sign a contract with AEW?’. Absolutely not”.
14 Rejected - Kota Ibushi
Ibushi joining AEW would be a dream move. Fans of the US and Canada saw a bit of Ibushi during the Cruiserweight Classic – he did not disappoint. Sadly, he is totally committed to a life with New Japan at the moment - though he was heartbroken to turn down his good friend Kenny Omega when the offer was made. He told Uproxx;
“Kenny wants to change the world with wrestling. I think to change the world with wrestling, New Japan is the best place to do that. That’s where he and I differ.”
13 Might Join – TJP
The reason for TJP’s WWE release was quite bizarre – it is said that McMahon was none too pleased with his tattoos – usually, WWE stars must gain the company’s consent.
Nonetheless, TJP made it clear that he has an interest in working for WWE’s biggest rival down the road; “In terms of AEW, they have a lot more on their plate than worrying about little old me. But there’s been a little contact and maybe something will come, and I’m only going to say that much.” (Source, Eat Sleep Suplex Retweet Podcast)
12 Rejected - Kazuchika Okada
Unfortunately, Okada is totally committed to expanding wrestling over in Japan and that sentiment won’t change for AEW despite his connections with a lot of the wrestlers within the company.
Some believe his treatment while with Impact really tainted his perception of North American Wrestling. Here’s to hoping that he reconsiders at some point down the line.
11 Rejected - Cain Velasquez
There was strong interest between Cain and AEW – the connection was first made following a tag match featuring Cody and the UFC star over in Mexico.
However, given the recent rumors, it appears as though WWE might have the upper hand. Cain trained at the PC and it is believed that WWE is currently planning a major Lesnar and Velasquez storyline in the future.
10 Might Join - Emma
Both sides confirmed interest – it is now just a matter of time. Emma wasted no time following her WWE release thriving with ROH. Since her contract came to an end, she’s been linked to AEW ever since.
It is very likely AEW squeezes Tenille Dashwood into the rotation during the next couple of years, though for now she's with Impact, recently signing a deal.
9 Rejected – Nick Aldis
According to Daily DDT, Aldis decided to keep building with NWA as opposed to jumping ship and joining AEW – this is nothing but an admirable decision and one wrestling fans must respect.
Who knows, maybe further down the line Aldis might reconsider – for the time being though, he made it clear he’s staying put.
8 Might Join – David Benoit
David Benoit might be the oddest name on the list. Given his interview with former WWE star Darren Young, he’s no longer allowed backstage at WWE after wearing an AEW jacket.
Benoit seems to be keen on improving his relationship with the company, here’s what he had to say; “I want to go to AEW one hundred percent. I love AEW. I love what they do for the boys. Take care of them.”
7 Rejected - Dominik Dijakovic
There seems to be talk of some NXT stars being frustrated with pay and pondering an AEW move. Clearly, Dominik Dijakovic isn’t one of those people. He fired back at Kenny Omega for his comments pertaining to NXT – here’s what he tweeted out:
“Hey, @KennyOmegamanX remember when my match with @RealKeithLee embarrassed yours on your PWG homecoming weekend of BOLA 2017? Tune in this Wednesday to NXT TV on USA at 8 pm so two developmental guys can show a real star how it’s done, again.”
6 Might Join - Harper
We might be reaching a little bit, though it should be noted that despite his WWE return, Harper hasn’t signed any deal or extension just yet.
This leaves the possibility of Harper jumping ship still very much on the table once his contract expires. Even WWE fans must admit, he’ll probably get better treatment on Cody’s show.
5 Rejected - Joey Ryan
Joey Ryan seems like the perfect fit for AEW, especially if the company decided to push the boundaries a little more.
However, according to Ryan, both sides just couldn’t come to terms despite a lengthy negotiation process. Fans are hoping this is a no-for-now type of ordeal.
4 Might Join - Matt Taven
Perhaps the most coveted free agent, Taven’s status remains a mystery, though some believe he’ll be sticking with ROH. Nonetheless, here’s what he told Wrestling Inc just days ago on his current status;
"The wrestling business is one of those things where you can never say, 'This is definitely gonna happen.' So, I'm leaving it at that. It's one of those things where it will be sorted out in time."
3 Rejected - Eli Drake
“We had a deal worked out. And then we didn’t And then we did again. And then we didn’t. We just couldn’t come to terms with everything. And I was like, ‘Ah, I’m gonna stay where I am.’ I don’t wanna keep being the boy who cried wolf. So I didn’t even bother reaching out to them.”
That’s what Drake told Fightful. He isn’t going anywhere for the time being.
2 Might Join - Jack Swagger
By the time this article gets published, Swagger might be the newest member of the AEW roster; current rumors circulating predict that Swagger might make a surprise appearance during the debut show.
He enhanced his name in the world of MMA and he’ll be motivated to thrive given the way his WWE run came to an end.
1 Rejected – CM Punk
It could be one giant swerve but given the recent links to WWE, we assume Punk might not be joining after all. Cody also went on the record to state that conversations with Punk didn’t go over so well;
“He did kind of make us look like dumbasses, saying we sent him a text offer," Rhodes said. "I'm sure we texted him, but we also called him. Someone also met you in a coffee shop. We made genuine efforts.” (Source, ESPN)
Sources – Fightful, ESPN, Wrestling Inc, SI, Twitter, Daily DDT & Uproxx