The debuting Paul Wight confirmed that AEW will be introducing a huge new signing for their roster this coming Sunday at Revolution. The former ‘Big Show’ added a little extra intrigue by revealing that this wrestler has built a ‘Hall of Fame’ worthy career in the past, sparking speculation and an assortment of former WWE superstars and household names to be thrown into the mix.
AEW have already secured some of the hottest free agents in the industry today, but there are still those who are heavily rumoured to be in talks with Tony Khan and also a huge crop of wrestlers that have yet to cross through the forbidden door.
In this piece, I’m going to run down 5 potential wrestlers who could sign with AEW at Revolution, those who will likely break the internet in the process and continue to make this one of the most exciting periods of recent wrestling history.
1. Kazuchika Okada
One of the biggest and most obvious choices for AEW to sign is none other than ‘The Rainmaker’ Kazuchika Okada. NJPW stars have already found their feet on the AEW roster, with the likes of KENTA debuting to progress his feud with current IWGP United States Champion, Jon Moxley. The possibilities for even more of New Japan’s brightest stars to jump ship are endless, but there’s none with more promise than Okada.
With Kenny Omega set to conclude his championship series against Jon Moxley in the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch, if and when ‘The Cleaner’ walks away with the victory, he’s going to need a new top-tier challenger. What better opponent than his former rival Okada?
Bringing the Okada/Omega feud to the US for the first time would be a massive deal-breaker for AEW and would likely shift the ratings heavily in their favour. With NXT confirming their move to Tuesday nights, it’s almost like they’ve thrown in the towel before AEW have had the chance to introduce their ace in the hole.
Whether the Okada/Omega AEW matches lives up to the high standard they set in NJPW or not, we’ll have to wait and see. But if AEW manage to score a ‘Hall of Fame worthy’ wrestler like ‘The Rainmaker’, then WWE are going to have to seriously up their game.
2. Chris Hero
The Knockout artist formerly known as NXT’s Kassius Ohno has gone dark on the wrestling scene since parting ways with the company last year. Now re-dubbed Chris Hero, it’s only a matter of time before ‘The Wrestling Genius’ returns to what he does best: slugging it out with the hardest hitters from across the world. Naturally, you’d think AEW have already hedged their interests in Hero before he even returns to the indie scene, so could Revolution be his big comeback?
There’s no doubt that Hero has done enough to warrant a ‘Hall of Fame worthy’ career, he’s travelled the world and adapted his wrestling style to suit whichever audience he’s wrestling in front of. It’s a damn shame that Hero was unable to find success as Kassius Ohno, though. With so much promise that came with his return in 2017, you’d have thought he’d at least be rewarded with an NXT Championship run, or at least the North American title once it was established.
Instead, he was utilised as the token veteran, which was fine as he was still able to perform at a top level, but Hero is still wrestling in his prime and deserves to be featured in high profile matches at the top of the card. Make it happen, Tony.
3. Kurt Angle
Perhaps an unlikely signing for AEW considering that ‘The Olympic Hero’ is already a Hall of Fame inductee, but Angle has made it pretty clear that he’s not ready to completely give up wrestling. Angle’s retirement match plans were sullied by Vince McMahon’s insistence for Angle to wrestle Baron Corbin in a match that most have already forgotten. If it weren’t for it being promoted as Angle’s farewell match, chances are it wouldn’t have even made the card.
AEW seems to be the perfect place for wrestlers in the twilight of their careers to deliver one last swansong. Sting, Paul Wight, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard have all arrived in All Elite Wrestling to tick off a few last parts of their wrestling bucket lists, and they’re treated with such respect and consideration that it’s probably the safest environment for them to do so.
Kurt Angle could be the next in line of formerly-retired wrestlers to stage a huge comeback and be remembered for a match befitting of their tenure. Angle, or anyone of his status could then naturally progress onto a trainers or agent role backstage, and he’d do it all with a broken freakin’ neck, oh it’s true!
4. CM Punk
For years, wrestling fans have craved the static of Cult of Personality, they’ve craved the bitter promos and the resentment, they’ve craved the return of CM Punk. Despite making his anti-climactic WWE comeback as part of WWE Backstage, Punk has teased his relations with All Elite Wrestling on several occasions and hasn’t exactly been shy about hinting at a potential return to the ring.
I personally believe that it’d be too little too late for CM Punk, and the hype surrounding his in-ring return has been wasted away by too many years of waiting and his newfound relationship with WWE. Nevertheless, seeing him finally appear in AEW would be ridiculously huge for the industry and would likely kickstart a whole new era of wrestling.
Punk is undoubtedly Hall of Fame bound in the future, but there’s plenty of time for him to add a few more matches to his impressive resume as part of the All Elite roster. Again, much like Angle, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge that’s ready to be tapped into by the up and coming members of the AEW roster.
The question remains, which would be a bigger pop? CM Punk or the next entry?
5. Brock Lesnar
Bare with me here everyone. ‘The Beast’ has been hiding away at the farm since dropping the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre at last year’s WrestleMania. It was a perfect bookend to the career of the dominant Lesnar, who had been the on-off final boss of WWE for the last decade. With little to go on as to whether he’ll be returning to a WWE ring anytime soon, and contractual statuses still being left unconfirmed, there’s more than enough reason to believe that Lesnar could be AEW bound.
Imagine the insanity if ‘The Beast’ emerged at Revolution to challenge Kenny Omega. The wrestling world would be turned upside down as one of WWE’s biggest marketable stars jumps ship, akin to Hulk Hogan’s defection to WCW in the 90s. Perhaps Lesnar will feel more at home in an environment where he’s allowed to embrace other parts of his repertoire, rather than just running the same one-dimensional character that we’ve seen since 2011.
Maybe he’ll even finally hit that shooting star press? Who knows. What I do know is that if Brock did happen to be revealed as AEW’s latest signing, then WWE have got a hell of an uphill battle ahead of them.
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