Top 5 Promotional Jumps to AEW to Date

All Elite Wrestling
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Since returning to the road in July, AEW has been on fire and continues to build momentum. A large part of their success can be attributed to the now star-studded roster of homegrown talent and major wrestling stars from other promotions.

Here are five of the biggest stars in wrestling to make the jump to AEW and how they have fared compared to their previous homes. Spoiler Alert: CM Punk will not be included on this list as I do not consider him signing with AEW jumping from another promotion. Well, unless you considered him part of the UFC as a recent promotion (something I try to forget every single day). Anyways, here are the top 5 promotional jumps to AEW so far:

1. Chris Jericho 

Chris Jericho’s tenure in wrestling has now spanned four decades and we have seen him in many different promotions throughout his career. Back in 2019 when AEW was announced, Jericho shocked the world when he signed with All Elite Wrestling, making him the first major player in the company from a mainstream perspective. His run in WWE ended two years prior before he began working in New Japan.

The former undisputed world champion made an immediate impact in AEW beating Kenny Omega in his first match and then went on to win the world title at All Out in 2019. In the early stages of AEW Dynamite, Jericho was typically one of the highlights of the show as he entertained both in the ring and on the microphone.

Chris Jericho has been one of the pillars of AEW since its inception and continues to be as his legend grows even bigger. The Demo God remains one of the fan favorites in AEW as we hear every week when they sing his entrance music on his way to the ring. Even at 50 years old, Jericho continues to perform at an elite (no pun intended) level and proves why he is one of the greatest of all time. At this point, I think it is fair to say that jumping from the WWE to AEW was one of the best decisions for prolonging his historic career.

2. Adam Cole *Bay Bay*

Did anyone see this one coming? For almost two years, Adam Cole represented the black and gold brand of NXT directly going against AEW in the Wednesday Night Wars. After doing just about everything there is possible to do in NXT, Cole was left with two choices: either join the main roster in WWE or take his talents down to Jacksonville in AEW.

Given the recent treatment of NXT’s top stars when joining the main roster (ie. Keith Lee, Karrion Kross, Shayna Baszler), this seemed like an easy decision to make. What took people by surprise was the timing of Cole’s debut at All Out, considering he had wrestled at NXT Takeover 36 just two weeks prior. This made the moment of his debut even more special as he picked up right where he left off before joining NXT by reuniting with The Elite.

It already feels like Adam Cole is one of the top stars in AEW and it hasn’t even been a month. His presence, charisma, and overall cool factor make him stand out despite him belonging to The Elite. I mean he’s already so over in AEW that his theme song is currently #1 on the iTunes metal charts! With so many potential dream matches and feuds in AEW, it seems clear that the right decision was made to jump promotions for Adam Cole *BAY BAY*.

3. Jon Moxley (F.K.A. Dean Ambrose)

Who would have thought one day that those three guys in tactical vests from NXT that called themselves the Shield would all be on top of the wrestling world? Certainly not me! For Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, that level of stardom came in the WWE, but not for the former Dean Ambrose. For Jon Moxley, it took leaving the WWE to truly become the major superstar we all know he is.

Moxley debuted at the end of Double or Nothing back in 2019 and sent shockwaves through the entire wrestling world. He became the first active WWE superstar to make the promotional jump to AEW and what a great decision that was. With a chip on his shoulder and a new bad-ass persona, Moxley quickly became one of the top stars in the company.

AEW’s creative freedom and lack of handcuffs on talent is exactly what he needed to succeed and showcased his untapped potential that we rarely got to see in WWE. Moxley has proven all the doubters wrong and has become an even bigger deal in AEW than he ever was in WWE. He won the world title and held it for almost a full year and since losing the title, has remained on top of AEW as one of the fan favorites with his best friend Eddie Kingston. Now working not only with AEW, but New Japan, GCW, and various other independent promotions, it is safe to say Jon Moxley is living his best life in All Elite Wrestling.

4. Malakai Black (F.K.A. Aleister Black)

Nobody in their right minds can say that they saw the debut of Malakai Black in AEW taking place as early as it did. Black was released from the WWE in June and showed up on Dynamite in July, something nobody thought was possible because of a 90-day non-compete clause other released wrestlers have discussed. Fortunately, by way of a contractual error, Black’s was only thirty days and made his jump to AEW even more shocking and epic.

In just over three months in AEW, Black has proven why the WWE made a major mistake letting him go. The ability for him to create his character and have the freedom for it to be the way he envisions it has definitely proven to be a success so far. Oftentimes, it felt like his persona in the WWE was very confusing and overly produced, whereas, in AEW,  he has been able to be as creepy and sinister as he wants to be.

Since debuting, Black has looked unstoppable taking out Cody Rhodes and the entire Nightmare family. He even managed to defeat Cody a second time this week on Dynamite Grand Slam and looks to continue dominating the rest of the AEW roster. I wish this was the version of Black we got to see in the WWE as I’m certain he would have gotten over very quickly with his mystique and uniqueness. His persona is unlike anything we’ve seen in wrestling in a very long time and I am excited for his AEW career to continue to build the House of Black.

5. Bryan Danielson (F.K.A. Daniel Bryan)

Back in April, Daniel Bryan wrestled in the main event of Night 2 of Wrestlemania 37 against Roman Reigns and Edge. Five months later and Bryan Danielson is facing Kenny Omega in front of 20 thousand people at a sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium on Dynamite. What a crazy time we’re living in!

One of the biggest signings in AEW history, Bryan brings a sense of legitimacy in professional wrestling to the company both in the ring and from a mainstream perspective. He became an instant fan favorite in the WWE and was always over with crowds because of the YES movement and for delivering in the ring by putting on great wrestling matches. AEW wasted no time giving fans arguably the biggest dream match that Bryan could have when he faced Kenny Omega in his debut.

Like Cole, Bryan’s stint in AEW is only just beginning and is already off to a hot start after having one of the best matches in AEW history this past Wednesday. Bryan sits on the same level as CM Punk in terms of major mainstream wrestling stars with large fanbases that can help AEW grow their fanbase and expand their reach internationally. Recently, Bryan has said that he intends for this three-year run to be his last as a full-time wrestler while also calling it the climax of his career. If that is the case, then we are off to a strong start and in for quite a treat from Bryan Danielson over the next few years.

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