Fuego Del Sol and Drake Maverick were not the same situation

WWE, Cedric Alexander (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)
WWE, Cedric Alexander (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images) /

AEW has lit the wrestling world on fire yet again thanks to their new Friday night series, Rampage. And the wonderful first episode was punctuated perfectly by the fan-favorite Fuego Del Sol getting signed to an AEW contract by surprise.

Since then, many WWE fans have been drawing comparisons to the situation on NXT months ago with Drake Maverick when he was given a surprise contract. But these two situations could not be more different from each other, particularly since Maverick’s moment was far more insidious.

Fuego Del Sol takes center stage

The pandemic era for AEW had more than a few heroes, particularly almost innumerable unsigned indie talents who showed up and showed out. Week after week, they helped grow AEW’s cache when there weren’t fans in the stands.

One of those wrestlers was Fuego Del Sol, the man lovingly known as the master of the Tornado DDT and Mobile, Alabama’s greatest Luchadore. It’s hard to say how one determines or confirms such a claim, but it’s also nearly impossible to disprove.

To date, Fuego has lost all but one match on AEW programming. But fans have gotten firmly behind him thanks to his great work in the ring as well as his the part he plays on Sammy Guevara’s vlog. Honestly, it’s hard not to root for the guy.

On the first episode of Rampage, he faced Miro for the TNT Championship and an AEW contract. Fuego Del Sol lost but was still awarded a contract in a heartwarming moment that saw Guevara, his best friend, bring it down to him in the ring.

Drake Maverick fights for his life

Since that moment went down, many WWE fans have been quick to point out that a similar situation happened on NXT with Drake Maverick. In reality, they are two moments that are incredibly different from each other.

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A wrestler before he arrived in WWE, Drake Maverick was given the job of being the new General Manager of 205 Live. Given the complete lack of effort WWE generally puts into that brand, it was a dead-end for him from day one.

After the first round of pandemic-related roster cuts in WWE in 2020, Drake Maverick found himself without a job. He was scheduled to participate in a tournament for the somewhat vacant NXT Cruiserweight Championship, hoping to regain his contract if he won.

Suffice to say that he did not. Still, Triple H came down to the ramp and handed him an NXT contract which meant the man got to keep his job. On the surface, this seems quite similar to the Fuego Del Sol moment. In truth, it was much less heartwarming.

Fuego Del Sol vs Drake Maverick

Fuego Del Sol receiving that contract was the culmination of a swell of fan support that pushed AEW into giving him a chance. Drake Maverick, on the other hand, was fighting to keep a contract he already had after being unfairly cut in the middle of a pandemic.

Even worse, no one knows for sure if Maverick was even cut in the first place. It’s entirely possible that the whole thing was a work to create an engaging angle for the tournament. If true, that would be even worse as it played on a series of real cuts for a cheap pop.

Frankly, the Fuego Del Sol moment is more comparable to Cedric Alexander in the Cruiserweight Classic. He might not have won the tournament, but fan support caused Triple H to walk out and give the audience a thumbs up, indicating Cedric was going to be signed.

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The moment of Sammy giving Fuego Del Sol the contract in the ring typifies what sets AEW from WWE. One company genuinely seems to care about their wrestlers while the other makes their talent fight for their jobs.