The 5 Superstars WWE Should Poach from AEW
Plenty of All Elite Wrestling's roster wouldn't want to jump to WWE, even if CEO Vince McMahon asked nicely.
The majority of AEW's wrestlers don't fit into WWE's mold of a sports entertainer. They don't have the look, the height or the aesthetic that the company prioritizes: a slow, methodical pace that values narrative over athleticism and work rate.
And for these wrestlers, AEW is the best they could hope for. It is a well-financed promotion that values diversity, not only in regard to race, sexuality and body type but also in wrestling style and philosophy.
In AEW, a lucha match can exist side-by-side with a strong-style match and a comedy match. Matches run the gamut of believability, from looking like a legitimate fight to looking a like a meta, self-aware work of performance art. AEW, as of now, embraces and promotes all types of wrestling.
But even so, a handful of AEW wrestlers would be perfect fits for WWE stardom. On this list, former WWE Superstars, most of whom left the company on bad terms, are not included. Neither are the Young Bucks or Kenny Omega, who have stakes in running AEW's front office.
Here are the five Superstars WWE should poach from AEW.
The good thing about Big Swole is that WWE is already familiar with her, to some extent. She competed as Aerial Monroe in the 2018 Mae Young Classic, where she lost her first match to Zeuxis.
But even in her losing effort, Swole stood out; granted, she looked a little unpolished, but it was nothing that some time in the WWE Performance Center wouldn't fix. An NXT developmental contract would do wonders for this rising Superstar.
There are a few factors in play when it comes to Jungle Boy. The first is that he's instantly likable; he has charisma to spare and the sort of fresh-faced enthusiasm that makes him the perfect underdog. The second is that he's the late Luke Perry's son. And if there's one thing that WWE likes, it's proximity to stardom.
The only thing that would hold him back is his relatively small size. Despite its evolving norms, WWE still has a "look" it prefers, and Jungle Boy doesn't have it.
Neither does Ricochet, and he's a breakout star on WWE's main roster. Even so, as good as he is, Jungle Boy is no Ricochet. With some additional time in developmental, however, Jungle Boy could be could be an intercontinental or United States champion who comes from behind to pop the crowd.
Britt Baker is one of two wrestlers on this list who has the total package that WWE covets. She has the look, the ring skills and the experience. And as seen above, she presents well in front of the press; being a WWE Superstar requires so many extracurriculars beyond simply being able to wrestle.
Baker was one of AEW's first signees, and there's good reason for that.
She's had one notable WWE match, as an enhancement talent against Nia Jax. She did her job well—Jax came off looking like a monster. A feud with Jax could reintroduce Baker to the WWE Universe and all but writes itself.
This one comes with a huge asterisk. Of all the Japanese stars that AEW has hired, Hikaru Shida is one of the most respected. Beautiful, charismatic and undeniably tough, her outing with Aja Kong in September 2018 is considered a modern classic in women's wrestling.
The drawback, regrettably, is the English barrier, which has led to many WWE Superstars getting their pushes derailed. See Asuka and Kairi Sane, both former NXT champions, for examples.
If signed to WWE, could Shida overcome this setback? It seems the company is finally starting to learn; it recently gave Shinsuke Nakamura a hype man in the form of Sami Zayn, and it made Paige the manager of the Asuka and Kairi Sane tag team.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman
This is it: The must-have for any wrestling promotion. Maxwell Jacob Friedman, better known as MJF, is the best heel in wrestling today, an elitist, pompous, alpha male jerk with an ax to grind against poor people and nerds.
He delivered one of the promos of the year at Fyter Fest, where he got a smark crowd to vociferously boo him. And he got involved in Cody Rhodes' match against Shawn Spears at All Out. That close proximity to Rhodes nearly guarantees him a title shot sooner rather than later.
Could WWE lure MJF from AEW? Probably not. He's knows he's in line for a monster push in the upstart promotion. But imagine MJF versus Velveteen Dream? Or MJF versus Johnny Gargano? Or MJF versus Adam Cole. The possibilities abound.