AEW/NJPW and the Conundrum of Signing Former WWE Wrestlers

April 15th 2020 will be known be the infamous name of black Wednesday, for the number of releases done by WWE due to alleged budget cuts done by WWE. The following year, WWE followed equally and released a big number of contracted wrestlers. All these releases became a major opportunity for AEW, NJPW and even IMPACT to sign wrestlers to their rosters.

At first, AEW and NJPW gaining access to all these wrestlers was a major positive, but things changed once Vince McMahon “retired” and his son-in-law Paul Levesque (Triple H) took over him in creative on the main roster. One of his first decisions was to contact some of the previously released wrestlers and plan their comeback into the fold of WWE. Some cases are very known like Swerve Strickland that was contacted by Levesque, but rejected his offer, and others like Andrade that wants to come back to WWE but because of his current injuries and AEW contract t doesn’t seem like as of now.

The latest wrestler to return to WWE is Bronson Reed AKA Jonah Rock as The Miz’s enforcer. Bronson Reed had a very good run with NJPW and even got a win over Kazuchika Okada and had a strong showing in the G1 this year. And obviously, WWE and Levesque are not done with signing talent back; with reports indicating more names are coming back.

With all these calling from Levesque and the crazy amounts of returns we’ve seen from previously released wrestlers from WWE, this creates conflict to both NJPW, AEW and even to a certain extent to IMPACT in terms of signing released wrestlers from WWE and having them join their respective rosters. These second thoughts promotions will have regarding signing former WWE roster could make things difficult for wrestlers willing to sign with these promotions, especially if AEW and NJPW want long term contracts with those wrestlers and having the fear of losing them as soon as Levesque makes a call creates conflict and puts doubts in promotions and the future of wrestlers.

But this doesn’t necessarily close the door to WWE wrestlers to promotions like NJPW or AEW; If the right wrestler is available, there’s no doubt both NJPW and AEW will move heaven and earth to get their signature, just like we are seeing with the case of Mercedes Varnado (Sasha Banks). There’s no doubt that NJPW and AEW will keep an eye close regarding any potential game-changing free agents.

This is also a double-edge sword for WWE, all these returns haven’t gone as planned, and with some reports indicated he has been disappointed with a portion of the wrestlers that have returned to WWE. These returns haven’t really helped WWE under Levesque creative and sometime feels as of Vince McMahon is still booking the main roster.

Indie wrestlers all over the world gain a lot from this; this situation gives AEW and NJPW to focus their attention to up-and-coming indie talent and opening the doors to them joining one of the two biggest promotions in the world.

Only time will tell regarding how this evolves and the perspectives of promotions like AEW, NJPW and even IMPACT with former WWE wrestlers.