AEW has 1 PPV under their belt, 3 shows upcoming this summer, and a TV show scheduled to begin in the fall. Many fans are wondering what pro-wrestlers we could see debut in the promotion over the next year.
Let’s breakdown what wrestlers have expiring contracts upcoming and could possibly make the jump to All Elite Wrestling over the next year.
The Hardy Boyz
Matt and Jeff Hardy could end up in AEW as early as February 2020 if that is where they decide they would like to be. The Hardyz signed with WWE in 2017 just before WrestleMania 33, where they would win the RAW tag team championships.
Just two days prior to WrestleMania, the Hardyz wrestled the Young Bucks in the main event of ROH’s Supercard of Honor.
In February of this year, Matt Hardy noted his contract was expiring soon and he is comfortable working outside WWE. He didn’t mention that his contract contained a WWE option for a 3rd year, which they then exercised.
Not a threat at all, just a fact. I have 11 days left on my current deal. I love @WWE, but I’m 100% comfortable being outside the walls of pro wrestling’s "Alexandria" Safe-Zone. I’m a born SURVIVALIST.
My previous tweet will NEVAH face DELETION.
— The VESSEL of Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) February 21, 2019
6 days after this Twitter interaction, WWE exercised the option for the 3rd year to the Hardyz contracts. They will be free agents in February of 2020.
The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
If you are hoping for Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder to end up in AEW, you have at least 10 months before that can happen. The former RAW tag team champions have not been quiet about their concerns regarding WWE’s booking of tag teams.
During an interview with Fox Sports Australia earlier this year, the Revival blamed WWE for the lost art of tag team wrestling.
“It’s not a ‘bit’ of a lost art. It’s become Atlantis,” Wilder said.
“This is going to sound terrible, but I kind of blame our company for that,” Dawson added. “Because the individual stars made so much money, so people had that goal in mind to be an individual star here. And for us we knew that to make the most money, we needed to be a tag team, we needed to be a unit. Collectively we’re individuals but mentally we’re one.”
Also in March, the Revival were reported to have requested their release from WWE. In an interview with the Mirror, the Revival said those reports weren’t 100% accurate, however.
“Hmm, I won’t touch on it too much,” Wilder began. “What I will say is that it was lost in translation. There were some things that got out there that I don’t think people knew the full story about.”
Wilder continued to talk about if the online reports caused any frustration for him or his partner.
“I don’t think it aggravated us,” he continued. “It kind of gave us… again, we like to be angry. We like to be mad at things and have something to fight for. So that gave us more fuel for the fire and we were like… ‘we’ll have fun with the internet over that, as they don’t know what’s what, so we’re not going to tell them otherwise’.”
In March, the Revival took a selfie with a fan wearing a AEW t-shirt:
The Revival posing with a fan wearing an AEW shirt at a WWE live event tonight. #FTR
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) March 24, 2019
Dash and Dawson were also reported to have turned down 5-year deals with WWE back in April. Their contracts are believed to be up in April of 2020.
Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
Of anyone mentioned in this video, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows could be the most likely to appear in AEW before the end of the calendar year. Anderson and Gallows’ WWE contracts expire in September of 2019, meaning they could be in AEW on-time for their debut on TNT in October depending on the exact wording of their deal.
In January, Anderson and Gallows each filed for several trademarks.
Karl Anderson has filed to trademark the following:
- Karl Anderson
- Hot Asian Wife
- Machine Gun
Gallows filed to trademark:
- Doc Gallows
- Big LG
- Good Brothers
- Good Brother
- Biz Cliz
- Sex Ferguson
- The Original Good Brothers
In March, Anderson and Gallows were reported to have turned down 5-year deals from WWE. Their reasons for doing so were then covered in the Wrestling Observer.
“Many have not signed because they are waiting to see the lay of the land when their deals are up,” noted Meltzer. “For Gallows & Anderson, they’ll have a far better idea in September about their next five years than now.”
In September, if they want to, Anderson and Gallows could be AEW bound.
Honorable Un-Mentions: Shinsuke Nakamura & AJ Styles
Both AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura jumped ship from NJPW to WWE in 2016 much like Anderson and Gallows did.
Neither AJ Styles nor Shinsuke Nakamura will be heading to AEW anytime soon, however. AJ Styles re-signed with WWE in March and at the same time noted that his family has adopted a new puppy:
This is the newest member of my family. Also, I’ve signed a new contract with the WWE. What a cute little guy. pic.twitter.com/PNqh9shgTH
— AJStyles.Org (@AJStylesOrg) March 18, 2019
Then in an interview with Newsweek, Styles noted the contact is likely the last of his career.
“I can tell you that this contract that I’ve signed is my last, this is the perfect place for me to be. It’s family-oriented, I have no problem taking my family to the shows. It’s a PG product, which I enjoy. I’m in the best place I can be for my career.”
As for Nakamura, there has been no official word on his re-signing with the company but his contract likely would have expired at the same time Styles’ did. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter seems confident Nakamura will not be leaving WWE, however.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) April 14, 2019
Luke Harper announced earlier this year that he requested his release from WWE.
— Luke Harper of WWE (@LukeHarperWWE) April 16, 2019
It was later reported that Vince McMahon wrote Harper a letter to tell him he would not be releasing him. Not only that, however, they were adding 6 months onto his contract for time he spent on the injured list.
Harper’s contract was set to expire in September of 2019, so now he’ll likely not be a free agent until April of 2020.
Despite this, Bray Wyatt is said to be lobbying behind the scenes for Harper to be added to his act on the FireFly Fun House.
I agree! I’m working on it
— Bray Wyatt (@WWEBrayWyatt) May 3, 2019
This one is interesting but hard to determine if it will happen or not. It’s hard to picture guys like Tama Tonga or Bad Luck Fale leaving NJPW but if AEW made them an offer they couldn’t turn down, perhaps they would.
It is no secret that Tama Tonga would love to give fans the Bullet Club vs Elite angle they never really were. Tama even offered to replace PAC against Adam Page at Double or Nothing.
— The 'Good Bad Guy' Tama Tonga (@Tama_Tonga) May 21, 2019
In December, Tama Tonga Tweeted out something which could use some reflecting on in hindsight. Just weeks before AEW was announced officially by those involved, Tama Tweeted out the following:
😎 @CodyRhodes two ideologies ….two different paths…only the future holds the answer. I’ll see you there ninja.
— The 'Good Bad Guy' Tama Tonga (@Tama_Tonga) December 22, 2018
If key members of Bullet Club, such as Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale, decide to leave NJPW for AEW it could happen around the beginning of the calendar year. NJPW often signs their talent to 1-year deals from Wrestle Kingdom to Wrestle Kingdom but have been signing talent to longer deals as of late. It’s not clear when they would be free to go, or even if they would go, but there would be a built-in angle for them immediately if they do decide to go.
Sasha Banks is unlikely to appear in all elite wrestling anytime soon. Fortunately, judging by her social media activity, Banks would like to one day perform for a less structured wrestling promotion then WWE.
Nobody knows when Banks’ contract is up and unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find a reputable source that has details on her WWE contract. The last update on Banks’ situation with WWE comes from the Wrestling Observer. Meltzer noted that Banks and Vince McMahon met and the former RAW women’s champion could be back by the summer.
“Sasha Banks and Vince McMahon had a meeting on 5/23,” wrote Dave Meltzer. “Things are said to be better and she could be back sometime this summer but nothing is official.”
Dark Horse Selection: Randy Orton
Although this seems quite unlikely, Randy Orton and Cody always speak quite highly of each other. Orton is reported to have signed a 10-year deal with WWE in 2010. Meaning, Orton is expected to become a free agent sometime next year.
Are there any names we missed? Let us know in the comments section. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out on any news or reports from Spoiler Free Wrestling.