5 Big-Time WWE and AEW Trades That Would Make Both Companies Better

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2022

5 Big-Time WWE and AEW Trades That Would Make Both Companies Better

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    Credit: AEW

    Imagine a scenario where the most inconceivable Forbidden Door existed, one in which WWE and All Elite Wrestling openly traded talent in an attempt to build the best and most effective rosters for each company.

    Such a scenario would spark interest, intrigue and excitement for professional wrestling at a level it has not seen in decades while benefiting talent that may not be presented as strongly as it should be in their current situations or would be better utilized by a creative force that understands how to feature them.

    Who would make the perfect candidates for such trades and why? Find out with this look at five trades that would benefit both promotions.

AEW Receives Gunther, WWE Receives MJF

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    If there is one AEW star who WWE must get its hands on, it's MJF.

    The loudmouth, scarf-wearing bad guy is one of the top heels in the industry and a name WWE could build an entire roster around. He is a tremendous worker, an even better promo and has established history with one of the company's top stars in Cody Rhodes. 

    He is the type of character Vince McMahon would chomp at the bit to acquire and likely will throw big-money offers at him when he becomes a free agent in 2024. But why wait?

    If a theoretical trade between WWE and AEW were an actuality, McMahon would be silly not to look at his roster and figure out a way to acquire the Long Island native. To do so, he should turn to an Austrian big man.

    WWE has utilized Gunther about as well as anyone dating back to his days in NXT UK. He has been protected relatively well and presented like an unstoppable force. However, it is only a matter of time before the creative team gets too fancy and inevitably screws up his push, especially now that he is on the main roster. 

    The artist formerly known as WALTER would be an extraordinary addition to the AEW roster.

    Imagine the storytelling that could come of him denouncing the company's in-ring style. Think of what a battle between him "Hangman" Adam Page might look like. Consider the excellence of a feud between him and Samoa Joe, a dream match of sorts that we never got in WWE.

    The Ring General would provide AEW and its hardcore fanbase a star who would bring the physical intensity, genuine passion for wrestling and superb skills the audience demands.

    Would it hurt to lose MJF? Absolutely, but one battle between Gunther and underdog babyface Dante Martin would help the AEW faithful get over it fairly quickly.

AEW Receives Ricochet, WWE Receives Pres10 Vance

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    Ricochet may be the single best athlete in either WWE or AEW. He's a high-flyer who can do things between the ropes (and over them) that mere mortals could never imagine. Yet, in his current place of employment, it oftentimes feels like he operating at half-speed.

    He should have the opportunity to go somewhere that would let him be an extraordinary talent he is and that place is AEW.

    Tony Khan's company would turn The One and Only loose, letting him be the awe-inspiring high-flyer he is. In return, WWE should look toward the future and acquire Pres10 Vance.

    The powerhouse of the Dark Order, he has seen his television time shrink considerably in recent months despite having a tremendous look and a solid, power-based offensive skill set. He is young, raw and fits what WWE wants its product to be at this point.

    With other opportunities going to WWE castoffs and fellow big man Wardlow, Vance's screen time appears limited, at best.

    In WWE, he would almost certainly be brought to television and pushed from day one. That he was trained in the Nightmare Factory wrestling school and is close with Cody Rhodes makes the jump even more sensible.

    WWE would lose the aerial artistry of Ricochet in this proposed trade but when he is handcuffed as a performer and pigeonholed into the midcard, it makes sense to send him packing for a guy who could well be a consistent main event competitor once he realizes his fullest potential.

AEW Receives Io Shirai, WWE Receives Kris Statlander

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    Io Shirai is one of the great women's wrestlers of her generation but has appeared to be on a booking treadmill of late.

    The Genius of the Sky has been stuck on an NXT brand that appears to have passed her by, with no sign of a main roster call-up anytime soon and nothing of note to do on Tuesday nights.

    If the plan for her is a decided lack of one, why not move her in hopes of acquiring a fresh new talent the company can utilize on NXT or the main roster?

    Kris Statlander, like Shirai in NXT, has been the recipient of an inconsistent push in AEW. The company tends to heat her up, then cool her off far more than it should. That she recently underwent a character makeover, only to inexplicably disappear from television is evidence of the lackluster handling of the women's division in the company.

    Shirai, though, would explode onto the scene in AEW and immediately have the backing of a fanbase that respects everything she has accomplished, both in WWE and Japan. They would demand her presence on the show in a way they have not Statlander.

    WWE would get a tremendously talented young star with a marketable look and extraterrestrial character who it could position against Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Bayley for years to come and net the rewards.

    It could also keep her in NXT, where she could become the primary foe for Toxic Attraction and the brand's last great hope at dethroning Mandy Rose.

    Either way, neither is doing much of note in their current settings, despite having abilities that warrant them consistently being on television. The trade makes sense, especially since their styles and personas fit the opposing show.

AEW Receives Sheamus, WWE Receives Wardlow

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    AEW has done a magnificent job of building Wardlow into a star of the future. He has mimicked the rise of Dave Batista from 2005 and is on the fast track to stardom, thanks to a hell of a storyline with MJF. There is reason to be excited about the future of The War Dog but as history dictates, there's also a concern.

    AEW, for all of its excellent creative, has exhibited a very real inability to utilize big men to their fullest potential. Tony Khan has failed with the likes of Brian Cage and Lance Archer, while Keith Lee is wallowing in mediocrity early in his run.

    His push has been excellently executed, but are there any real plans beyond it?

    Meanwhile, like MJF, McMahon is likely eager to throw money at Wardlow when his contract expires. He is everything WWE looks for in a star and someone the WWE chairman can already imagine stepping into the ring opposite Roman Reigns and creating magic.

    While it may not be a fair trade based on potential at this point, WWE would be wise to offer up a legitimate main event talent and former world champion like Sheamus in return.

    Fans take The Celtic Warrior for granted. He is a phenomenal wrestler who has repeatedly proven his ability to work great matches with wrestlers of all styles. Putting him in the ring with CM Punk, Hangman Page, Kenny Omega, Scorpio Sky, Sammy Guevara, Eddie Kingston and Malakai Black would result in some tremendous action.

    The company may not have his services as long as it would Wardlow, but the in-ring output would be strong enough to at least explore the opportunity to bring in one of the truly great but underrated wrestlers of his generation and letting him shine alongside some of the best in the world.

    And in the process, WWE gets a young star it can push to the moon for the coming years. 

AEW Receives Finn Balor, WWE Receives Jon Moxley

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    Finn Balor has unfinished business with two of AEW's EVPs. 

    Jon Moxley is a former WWE champion who has earned the right to return to the company and be the performer he was never allowed to be during his initial run with the promotion.

    As Prince Devitt, Balor's run as leader of The Bullet Club ended with a shocking betrayal at the hands of The Young Bucks. He then watched as the faction he built went on to greater heights with Matt and Nick Jackson included, and fellow EVP Kenny Omega at the helm.

    With the rich history at play, how could AEW not want to bring in the former NXT champion to put opposite the Bucks and Omega in a high-profile main event? Not only is Balor a main event star who cannot seem to consistently break out of the main roster midcard in WWE, but he is also an extraordinary wrestler who could hang with any of those three stars and anyone else on the roster at the top of the card.

    In return, the company would send WWE Moxley, who also has unfinished business.

    He was turned into a caricature known as The Lunatic Fringe during his singles run in WWE. As Dean Ambrose, he was the member of The Shield most adversely affected by WWE's creative process and, amid mounting frustration, left the company in 2019 when his contract came up.

    Imagine having the opportunity to return a bigger star than he was when he left as his truest self. A no-nonsense ass-kicker with a penchant for occasional violence, he would be the perfect foil for former Shield teammates Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.

    And, when the time calls, would help bring together The Shield in a big-money reunion.

    Whether Moxley would want to go back to a company that left him questioning his passion for the business the last time he was there would be the real question.