Posts Tagged ‘AEW Return’

All Elite Wrestling just announced what will be Brian Cage’s first bout on the company’s flagship show, Dynamite, in over 13 months.

As confirmed by CEO and founder Tony Khan, Cage will challenge for Wardlow’s TNT Championship on this Wednesday’s broadcast. Wardlow had previously issued an open challenge for the anniversary special, calling specifically for “Someone remotely close to my level.”

Khan confirmed Wardlow vs. Cage soon after:

30 minutes later, Brian told Twitter he was returning “to become the champion everyone else is not”:

Cage’s last Dynamite match came on September 1st 2021, where he was defeated by former Team Taz stablemate Powerhouse Hobbs. The big man had been absent from all company programming since October 2021 prior to returning on September 23rd’s special Grand Slam episode of Rampage, where he competed in a battle royal, and he has since worked a Dark: Elevation bout against indie grappler Tracy Williams.

Although he was off television at the time, AEW picked up its one-year extension option on Cage’s contract back in February. This came amidst talk that the former FTW World Champion was dissatisfied with his use in the promotion.

Konosuke Takeshita is on his way back to the United States.

The DDT ace confirmed as much during his home promotion’s Who’s Gonna Top? 2022 show in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall yesterday. Speaking following a defeat to KO-D Openweight Champion Kazusada Higuchi, Takeshita stated that he will be heading back to the USA for around two-and-a-half months before returning home, where he’ll fulfil a DDT booking towards the end of the year.

Takeshita said similar prior to Who’s Gonna Top?. Speaking at the event’s pre-show press conference on 22 September, he stated that the Higuchi bout would likely be his last for DDT before heading Stateside in October.

This will come as welcome news to AEW fans. Takeshita was initially on excursion with the Tony Khan-helmed promotion between April and August, working well-received bouts with the likes of Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, ‘Hangman’ Adam Page, and more. Beyond that, he was highly active on the US indie scene, competing for such promotions as GCW and West Coast Pro before heading home in August.

The 27-year-old’s AEW run thus far has been defined by the story of him being unable to “win the big one” against established opposition such as the names listed above. It’s likely that the company will look to pay this off in the future.

Malakai Black has claimed he will be back in All Elite Wrestling “pretty soon”, having hosted a social media live stream designed at debunking the non-existent “conspiracy” surrounding his status with the company.

Black, whose future has been the subject of mass speculation lately, claimed that he is simply taking some time off. He referenced the statement he made on the matter last week, reaffirming that there is nothing more to his current situation beyond what he has put out there (h/t POST Wrestling):

“Anyway, I will see you guys in a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months. Like I said, I’m only taking some time off, that’s it. Just taking some time off. There’s no conspiracy to this. Just taking some time off, all right? I will see you guys soon, take care of yourself. Stop believing any other narrative. Like right now, I’ve debunked it. There’s nothing going on. Don’t believe these people. Don’t write opinions, believe it, nothing. I’m fine, I’m going to be fine, everything is fine. You’ll see me right back with AEW pretty soon. I’m just gonna take some time, that’s it.”

The House Of Black leader added that he didn’t want his situation to turn into an AEW vs. WWE scenario, decrying the tribalism that defines much of modern wrestling fandom:

“… Last thing before I leave, don’t make me some instrument for this whole tribalism, us versus them thing because I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do the whole team AEW versus team WWE. I don’t play that. To me, this is a business. This is genuinely a business in the sense of the way it’s a business. This is my job, this is what I do for a living, this is how I’ve made my living for the past 12, 13 years of my life. I’ve been in the business since the 2000s. Okay, so thank you for those who have been supportive of me, thank you for your nice messages.”

Rumours that Malakai wanted out of AEW first circulated in early September, when Raj Giri reported that amidst “concerns about his mental health due to personal life” and “demoralization due to the booking and handling of his character”, the former Tommy End had asked for his release. Later, Fightful reported that some AEW talent believed Malakai had landed a “highly conditional” release from the promotion, though the door remained open for a return – although AEW had previously told the outlet that talk of Black’s departure was false.

Later, Dave Meltzer reported that Black wanted to return to WWE.

Malakai, on his stream, claimed to have received death threats as a consequence of what had been reported about him:

“Death threats? Death threats? You wish death upon a person because of what someone else says and it’s confirmed? It’s not confirmed, it’s clearly not confirmed. None of it’s confirmed. There’s no confirmation because I haven’t left. Luckily, I’ve been — and that’s what this whole thing was about. I’ve been given time by Tony [Khan] to take care of a bunch of stuff. All this stuff has been cleared up like weeks, weeks ago. All this stuff was weeks ago and I posted that statement as a summary for you to understand why I took some off. Again, it’s in the statement. It is in the statement. It’s mind boggling — if this isn’t enough incentive for you guys stop believing these people then I don’t know what is… because again, if you were a part of this whole mob that went into, like I said, sending me a bunch of hateful comments based on the words of someone else and sorry but you’re dumb. You’re stupid and of course, again, does anyone understand that in the time where I’m going through this stuff and I’m kind of dealing with a bunch of stuff in a very productive manner, that-that doesn’t exactly help?”

Black called for accountability and responsibility from outlets that had published what he states was false information:

“And what I hate about it is that none of these dirt sheets will take responsibility. None of these guys will take accountability and say, oh shit, we fucked up. I’m sorry. We probably should have not said that. He’s going through some stuff. Maybe we should not, you know? Maybe we should not make all these basic assumptions because again, as it turns out, it’s not true. None of its true. Not one single thing is true. So again, if you were a part of this mob that felt the need to even send me death threats then, thank you dirt sheets because clearly, those people, they don’t care about my mental health, they don’t care about your mental health. They don’t care about your feelings, they don’t care about my wife, they don’t give a shit. All they want is dumb clicks for stuff that they’re making up because they’re trying to tie bridges between things that are no longer there. Tying things that don’t exist.”

Malakai has been away from AEW television since 4 September’s All Out 2022 pay-per-view. House Of Black stablemates Brody King and Buddy Matthews wrestled Sting and Darby Allin at Grand Slam last week, seconded by Julia Hart.

All Elite Wrestling absentee Jeff Hardy may be on the verge of returning.

Dave Meltzer reports in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Jeff is expected to leave rehab soon, then mount an in-ring return. The 45-year-old has been sidelined since 14 June, when, in the wake of his latest arrest for driving under the influence, AEW suspended Hardy pending the completion of a treatment program.

AEW founder and CEO Tony Khan commented in June that treatment was Jeff’s “last chance”, adding that the story needed to “do the right thing” if he wanted to remain with the promotion.

Jeff plead not guilty to what would have been his third DUI offense in ten years following his 13 June arrest. His two blood-alcohol tests registered at 0.294 and 0.291, which is 3.7 times Florida’s legal limit of 0.08. Per the police report, Hardy’s vehicle took time to pull over, as it was swerving across the road, with video footage of the incident showing the arresting officers drawing their weapons on the AEW star. In the same video, Hardy admitted to drinking shots of Fireball before entering his vehicle.

Hardy is next due in court for a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday 19 October. His felony charge, DUI Alcohol/Drugs Third Offense within 10 years, comes with a prison sentence of up to five years if convicted.

Double Or Nothing 2022 hosted Jeff’s last match on 29 May, with him and brother Matt defeating The Young Bucks.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman is back in All Elite Wrestling, returning on tonight’s All Out 2022 pay-per-view.

The comeback began in the Casino Ladder Match that opened the show. Before the mystery Joker could enter, a gang of black-clad unknowns assaulted participants Rush, Andrade El Idolo, Rey Fenix, Penta Oscuro, Wheeler Yuta, Claudio Castagnoli, and Dante Martin. One scaled the ladder amidst the carnage, pulling off their veil to reveal Stokely Hathaway.

Hathaway seized the briefcase as each of the wrestlers handed business cards by him in recent weeks revealed their own faces. W. Morrissey, Lee Moriarty, Ethan Page, and Gunn Club had all been recruited for this purpose, it seemed. Seconds later, the Joker made his entrance (wearing the same black garb with a grey mask), hit the ring, and was handed the briefcase by Stokely, without revealing their face.

So far, so secretive – but a reappearance came after CM Punk’s World Championship triumph over Jon Moxley in the main event.

Audio from a voicemail message left by AEW founder and CEO Tony Khan played after the house lights dropped. Within moments, it was clear Khan was talking to MJF, as he referenced his ongoing hiatus, reported pay demands, and more, before the devil revealed himself.

The Joker put a Burberry scarf over his shoulders in a pretaped segment. MJF’s music then hit and the man himself walked onto the ramp, shouting that he was coming for CM Punk’s belt. Victory in the Casino Ladder Match guarantees him a shot, of course.

MJF had been absent from AEW programming since June, when he embarked on an indefinite hiatus amidst reported pay disputes, a festering relationship with Khan, contractual issues, and more. A fire promo surely awaits on next week’s Dynamite.

W. Morrissey is back in All Elite Wrestling, having returned to the Tony Khan-helmed promotion on last night’s episode of Dynamite.

The former IMPACT Wrestling man interrupted a segment featuring The Wingmen, who had attempted to hijack Dynamite in an attempt at grabbing more airtime for themselves. The quartet of Peter Avalon, JD Drake, Ryan Nemeth, and Cezar Bononi were taken aback when an unfamiliar entrance theme hit and Morrissey emerged from the back, destroying the enhancement stable, member by member, with big boots and Chokeslams.

Stokely Hathaway walked out as this was ongoing. Once Morrissey was done dealing out punishment, Hathaway handed him a business card, then left with the big man.

Tony Schiavone spoke with the duo on the ramp, asking Hathaway what, exactly, he was doing by attempting to recruit Ethan Page, Lee Moriarty, Gunn Club, and now Morrissey to his cause. Hathaway refused to answer the popular announcer, instead leaving with his new charge.

Although Morrissey is yet to be handed the “X Is #AllElite” that usually accompanies a full-time signing, PWInsider reports that he is “officially” with AEW.

The 36-year-old had been a free agent since leaving IMPACT Wrestling in June 2022. His run with the Anthem-helmed group commenced in April 2021 and came after a period of personal turmoil, with the former Big Cass entering a rehabilitation program, connecting with Diamond Dallas Page on his road to recovery.

The future of AEW star Maxwell Jacob Friedman — or MJF as he’s better known — has been up in the air for quite some time. The 26-year-old has been open about the possibility of jumping ship to WWE when his AEW contract expires in 2024, and his backstage issues in recent months have been well-documented.

MJF has been absent from AEW television since the episode of “Dynamite” that aired on June 1. His last appearance saw him take to the mic and air his grievances with Tony Khan for spending millions on ex-WWE superstars while leaving him in the lurch. The promo culminated with MJF begging Khan to fire him before calling him a “fucking mark.” It’s been radio silence ever since.

However, it appears that MJF could be heading back to television in the near future, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. No specific date has been reported as of this writing, though it’s speculated that he could return in the coming weeks as AEW will soon be negotiating a new television deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, and the September TV ratings could be crucial in securing acceptable terms.

The report noted that AEW’s ratings have been down in recent times and the wrestling world has undergone significant changes following the retirement of Vince McMahon. WWE has a lot of momentum right now, so AEW needs “all hands on deck” as soon as possible.

Elsewhere, the report noted that MJF versus CM Punk could be on the cards when the former returns to action. Punk tried to confront MJF following the aforementioned shoot promo on June 1, potentially setting up another angle between them. However, given that CM Punk is reportedly unhappy in AEW at the moment, there is no telling what will happen.

Kenny Omega made his hotly-anticipated AEW return on last night’s Dynamite, teaming with Elite stablemates The Young Bucks to fell La Faccion Ingobernable in the first round of the ongoing Trios World Championship Tournament.

If it wasn’t beforehand, that Omega would be the Bucks’ mystery partner was made abundantly clear on this week’s Being The Elite, which closed on a short snippet of the former World Champion’s entrance theme. So it transpired, with Omega walking out to a great reception following a typically lengthy Justin Roberts introduction.

Omega was victorious in his first AEW appearance since November 2021, picking up the pinfall on Dragon Lee to secure The Elite’s second-round passage in the tournament.

Much of the match revolved around leveraging very real health concerns into pro wrestling drama. With vertigo, knee and shoulder issues, a sports hernia, and more on his injury list, necessitating his extended time away from the ring, Omega wrestled in a back rashguard with a shoulder brace over the top, sold his knee, and kept some of his more explosive moves in the chamber. That he wasn’t operating close to 100% registered as a performance – and a smart one.

Kenny had taken time away from AEW after losing the World Championship to ‘Hangman’ Adam Page at Full Gear 2021. ‘Hangman’ will surely now factor into the ongoing Elite saga, with his Dark Order friends on the opposite side of the tournament bracket.

Ford is an AEW original, having signed with the company back in 2019. She started off as a ringside presence rather than an in-ring competitor, first as the valet to former AEW talent Joey Janela, then finding herself by the side of Kip Sabian, who she married in 2021. Shortly before vanishing from TV, Ford competed in a landmark match for herself on “AEW Rampage: New Year’s Smash,” as she teamed with The Bunny to take on Tay Conti (now known as Tay Melo after her own nuptials) and Anna Jay in a bloody street fight. Ford took part in a wild spot in that match, as Conti hit Ford with a piledriver off the apron through a table. This took Ford out of commission and allowed Anna Jay to put the Queenslayer on Bunny for the submission victory.

However, Ford has been unable to step into an AEW ring for several months. She last competed on the January 15 episode of “AEW Dark,” when she defeated Angelica Risk — since then, her presence on television since has been non-existent, causing many fans to believe she was put on the All Elite backburner. AEW President Tony Khan dispelled that notion a month back, however, saying he “can’t wait until she’s medically cleared to come back.” And if a recent “AEW Dark: Elevation” taping is any indication, neither Khan nor the fans will have to wait any longer.

“AEW Quake At The Lake” took place yesterday evening in Minneapolis, but beforehand, AEW taped its “dark” shows, “AEW Dark” and “AEW Dark: Elevation,” both of which stream on the promotion’s YouTube channel. According to in-person reports, Ford made her in-ring return at the “Elevation” tapings, meaning those fans who weren’t in the building will finally be able to see her compete again on the upcoming episode of the show this Monday.

Ford is said to have competed in singles action against Heather Reckless on the show, and came out victorious. Fans in attendance also noted that Ford had an interaction with Sabian who, as per usual these days, was at ringside with a box on his head. Sabian has been out of action since March 2021, when he was taken out by Miro in a move that served to write him out of AEW storylines due to his upcoming arm surgery.

With many wrestling fans eager to see the return to action of Kenny Omega, it looks as if we won’t have to wait too much longer to see the Best Bout Machine back on AEW programming.

Speaking on the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer stated how Omega’s return is “definitely soon”.

Meltzer brought this up while initially addressing Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly’s current injury status. While Kenny’s return seems on the immediate horizon, there was a less positive update on Cole and O’Reilly. For the (now former?) Undisputed Elite men, the Wrestling Observer founder said he was unsure when they would be fully cleared to compete again.

Of course, Cole and O’Reilly did partake in limited physicality on last week’s AEW Dynamite, where they – along with Bobby Fish – laid out the Young Bucks. Here’s hoping that, like Omega, it won’t be too long before the duo are back in action.

From what Meltzer said, he seems to be extremely confident that Kenny Omega will be back on AEW TV in time to do something at the upcoming All Out PPV on Sunday 4 September.