From Chris Jericho to Big Show: Top 5 Shocking AEW Signings That Blew Our Minds Away

Published 02/25/2021, 7:15 AM EST


From its inception in 2019, All Elite Wrestling, aka AEW, has emerged as one of the top promotions in the world. In its short tenure, AEW is competing with the mammoth WWE in every way.

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Hence, it’s not shocking that people have discussed AEW’s success formula at length. From intriguing storylines, entertaining promos, never-before-seen matches to the newly launched “collaboration” with NJPW and Impact, AEW seemingly has it all.
However, the ability to sign household names from WWE’s roster is arguably the biggest strength of the promotion. Often, these signings happen out of nowhere, leading the fans to Dynamite on Wednesdays to learn more.

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The Superstars bring their already established fans into the new realm of AEW, which strengthens the roster and viewership even more.
Here, we will look at the top 5 AEW signings that shook the world.

#Chris Jericho (AEW Debut – January 8, 2019)

After leaving WWE in 2018 due to a creative dispute, Jericho wrestled all over the world. However, on January 8, 2019, Jericho made a surprise appearance at an AEW media conference.
Soon, he signed a full-time contract with the company for three years. Jericho later reflected on why he came to AEW.
“I’m not in AEW because I was a rebel,” said Jericho on his podcast.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 04: Chris Jericho attends the All Elite Wrestling panel during the 2019 New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits Center on October 04, 2019, in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for WarnerMedia Company)
“I’m with AEW because Vince went, ‘go.’ And then, when I went, he went, ‘did you sign the contract?’ I said, ‘well, yeah.’ He said, ‘can you get out of it?’ ‘No! You told me to sign it!” he said.
Since then, Jericho has become the inaugural AEW World Champion. Apart from his usual prowess inside the ring, the ‘Demo God‘ also mentors young talents like MJF and Sammy Guevara.

# Jon Moxley fka Dean Ambrose ( AEW Debut – May 25, 2019)

At AEW’s inaugural pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, Jon Moxley made his unannounced debut after the match between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. Moxley, who rose to fame as Dean Ambrose, followed Jericho’s trail. He also left WWE because of creative differences.
Following the surprise appearance, it was revealed that Moxley had signed a multi-year contract with the promotion. He has also gained tremendous success since quitting Vince McMahon’s empire.
Moxley is a one-time World Champion and the current IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion.
He has pioneered some never-before-seen matches such as the Lights Out, and the upcoming Exploding Barbed Wire match. He often credits AEW for giving him the creative independence he lacked in WWE.
Moxley once started hating the job, but AEW put that love back in him.
“No writers needed, no rehearsals needed, it’s live TV,” he once said.But when you’ve got two professionals, you can do that, and it’s so much fun to be able to do that stuff, to be out there winging it on live TV. It’s the greatest job in the world.”

#3 Miro fka Rusev (Debut – September 9, 2020)

Miro, known as Rusev in WWE,  became a three-time United States Champion. However, WWE fired him unceremoniously following pandemic-related budget cuts in April 2020.
Following this, Rusev made his debut on September 9 as Kip Sabian’s best man for his wedding to Penelope Ford. The duo is currently feuding with Orange Cassidy after he crashed their wedding.
“I had no doubts that I was going to get to AEW because I always admired AEW. Ever since it came out, and people may not want to admit it, but we all watched AEW, we’ve all wanted to see what it’s all about,” Miro said in an interview.
Although he did not understand the AEW style before he got there, he has adapted spectacularly and is very happy in the company.
“It’s the different styles, it’s what AEW gives you that no other company can. Because we have no restrictions. You come in, you show us your style, and that’s what you do.”

#2 Paul Wight fka Big Show (Possible Debut – March 3, 2021)

The latest name on this list is none other than the Big Show. He left WWE in 2021 because of financial disputes with WWE. And following that, AEW President Tony Khan announced the shocking news on Twitter,
“He wanted to come to AEW because he believes that we’re the best promotion in wrestling,” Khan said. “And we believe that he has a lot to offer us, both in the ring as a wrestler and also outside the ring as a commentator, host, and ambassador for AEW.”
As of yet, Wight will join in as the commentator for the new YouTube series AEW: Dark Elevation from March 15.
According to Khan, “he’s very much looking forward to studying our talent firsthand from the commentary desk in preparation for his return to the ring!”

#1 Sting (AEW Debut – December 2, 2020)

After a lackluster run with WWE in 2014, no one thought Sting would come back to the squared circle. However, the unthinkable happened at Winter is Coming.
On December 2, 2020, Sting returned to wrestling. This also marked his first appearance on TNT in 20 years. He last appeared on the final episode of WCW as he beat long-time rival Ric Fair.

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Sting then revealed that he has officially signed with the promotion. Multiple reports stated Tony Khan made Sting an offer that he could leave anytime, something unacceptable in WWE.
‘The Franchise’ and TNT Champion Darby Allin will take on Team Taz in a street fight at the upcoming Revolution pay-per-view. Thus, he came out of his 2015 retirement.
What do you think of this list? Who do you think will join the promotion next? Let us know in the comments below.

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Angana Roy

863 articles

Angana Roy is a WWE and AEW author for EssentiallySports, having published more than 800 professional wrestling articles. She is currently pursuing higher studies in English language and literature from the University of Calcutta and has over three years of experience in journalism. As a life-long fan of the sports entertainment brand of pro-wrestling, her work consists of live coverage of weekly shows, PPVs, speculating the future course of storylines and everything in between.

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