Predicting the Next WWE Stars to Jump Ship to AEW
The war between WWE and All Elite Wrestling has been more civil than what we saw between WWE and WCW in the '90s, but that doesn't mean poaching won't take place.
As AEW builds its own stars, WWE management has to be keeping an eye on everyone to see who might be worth recruiting in the future—and the same goes for AEW brass looking at WWE talents.
The advantage Tony Khan and company have over WWE is being the new kid on the block. The organization was started by wrestlers for wrestlers, so there isn't as much baggage to deal with as there is for a WWE Superstar.
So far, the only notable names who have left WWE for AEW are Jon Moxley, Brodie Lee, Shawn Spears, Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, who used to be known in WWE as Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, Tye Dillinger, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder respectively. Matt Hardy joined them under the same name in March 18.
AEW also has former WWE stars Pac, Dustin Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes, Cody, Billy Gunn, Chris Jericho, Trent, Jake Hager and Lance Archer, along with a few people who were in the developmental system and some legends in non-wrestling roles like Jake Roberts, Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson.
While AEW has focused on building up a lot of non-WWE veterans like MJF, The Lucha Bros and Britt Baker, there are certain WWE Superstars who would likely be offered a contract as soon as they were available. Let's look at some of the WWE stars who are the most likely to jump to AEW at some point.
Cedric Alexander had an amazing introduction to the WWE Universe, making it to the quarterfinals of the Cruiserweight Classic in 2016.
After he was defeated by Kota Ibushi, the crowd began chanting "Please sign Cedric." Triple H emerged from the back as Alexander stood with tears in his eyes and gave the crowd a thumbs-up, indicating WWE was going to sign him.
The next couple of years saw Alexander become one of the faces of the cruiserweight division by putting on incredible performances on a weekly basis. He was rewarded with a reign as the cruiserweight champion in 2018.
When he first moved from 205 Live to Raw, Alexander had a hard time gaining momentum. He faced some big names like AJ Styles and Drew McIntyre, but he usually ended up losing those feuds.
His most recent attempt to gain exposure involved forming a tag team with Ricochet, but they have barely appeared as a duo since their debut together April 6.
All of the starting and stopping has to be frustrating, especially for a guy with Alexander's talent. He has the look, agility and mic skills to be a valuable asset to any promotion.
With his wife, Big Swole, already on the AEW roster, Alexander has even more incentive to leave WWE for All Elite Wrestling than a lot of Superstars.
Ricochet and Alexander could be a great tag team if WWE gave them a proper push, but the company has not used them in any substantial way since April.
The One and Only is in a similar position to Alexander. He came into WWE with a great reputation from his time with Lucha Underground and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and his first year with the company saw him have a great run in NXT.
Once he was called up to Raw in February 2019, everything changed. He was no longer the skilled veteran with nothing to lose. He was a newcomer who had to prove himself all over again.
While Ricochet has been nothing short of impressive every time he has stepped foot in the ring, he has never been given a sustained push to give him an opportunity to grow. Even his run as the U.S. champion didn't do him justice.
Many AEW fans are into independent wrestling, so they are already familiar with Ricochet and what he is capable of doing. If he made a surprise debut at an AEW event with fans in attendance, everyone would lose their minds.
For a performer like Ricochet, WWE's deep pockets might not be able to keep him as happy as the creative freedom afforded to many AEW stars.
Bo Dallas was the third NXT champion in company history. He defeated Big E for the title and held it for 280 days before losing it to Neville at NXT Arrival.
He had a great reign with the belt, but as soon as he debuted on the main roster in May 2014, it was clear his gimmick would not be sustainable.
The Bo-lieve stuff produced some hilarious moments, but it was never going to make Dallas into a top star. He eventually changed his attitude, but the damage had been done. Despite a brief return to popularity with Curtis Axel as The B-Team, Dallas has never felt like somebody WWE management wants to push.
As a second-generation Superstar, Dallas had the pressure of living up to his family legacy. AEW may give him a better chance to do that.
At this point, the only thing that might turn around his WWE career is aligning with his real-life brother, Bray Wyatt. Since this is unlikely, Dallas may want to see whether Cody has a spot for a skilled wrestler from another wrestling family.
According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc), Renee Young revealing her positive COVID-19 test result may have upset management.
This came just a day after it was reported Fox would no longer produce WWE Backstage. Young is still employed by WWE but that doesn't mean she isn't looking into other options.
WWE has taken a lot of heat on social media for bringing in friends and family of Superstars to serve as fans at a couple of recent taping sessions, especially since several WWE employees tested positive for the coronavirus shortly after.
With Moxley being such a fixture in AEW, Young would likely be welcomed with open arms if she decided to pursue other opportunities.
Young could work as a commentator, interviewer, authority figure, manager or any other number of roles her skills would work with. Her options are endless.
It would be a lot of fun if she ended up managing Moxley because it would allow her to feud with some of the other women in the company without having to become a wrestler.
Riddick Moss has had a strange WWE career. He has only ever worked for WWE in the wrestling business after signing a developmental deal in 2014.
He spent the next five years training and working in NXT without ever receiving a lengthy push. He never even worked a TakeOver special during his time with the black and gold brand.
Mojo Rawley brought him up as an enforcer January 27. Their union dissolved two weeks later when Moss pinned Rawley for the 24/7 title.
He held the title for 41 days before R-Truth pinned him March 22. We haven't seen or heard from him on WWE television ever since.
Despite being with WWE for more than five years, many fans would not call him a WWE guy through and through because he has barely been used on television. He is essentially a blank canvas AEW can turn into a star.
He combines his big physique with natural athleticism, which would help him stand out among a roster mostly filled with wrestlers who would qualify as cruiserweights. Moss would immediately be a dominant force in AEW.
Not only would everyone on this list be good gets for All Elite Wrestling, but they would also likely be treated as bigger stars and given more opportunities with the young promotion.