Due to circumstances in the wider world, there have been unusually large number of high profile free agents floating around in recent months.
A number of those, such as Matt Hardy, FTR and Brodie Lee pre-date the glut of wrestlers let go by WWE in April.
Of those ‘Black Wednesday’ free agents, many have found new homes but talents like Rusev and Matt Cardona/Zack Ryder are yet to show their hand.
However, arguably the biggest out of contract names are Rey Mysterio and Tessa Blanchard.
Mysterio is in the unusual situation of wrestling on WWE TV without a deal. Blanchard meanwhile left Impact Wrestling whilst their reigning world champion after reportedly refusing to appear on shows or send in promo videos from home.
Inevitably, both of these stars have been linked with AEW in recent days. Unquestionably both would prove an asset. Mysterio has enormous star power stretching back over two decades and would no doubt add credibility, profile and no little in ring ability to the company.
Blanchard would be a huge shot in the arm for their women’s division. This division has not lived up to lofty expectations over the first year of AEW’s existence and having a star of Blanchard’s magnitude as the tent pole talent would improve their situation massively.
In an interview with ESPN, AEW executive Cody Rhodes has commented on both potential signings and did little to quash fans’ expectations about the two making the jump.
On Mysterio, Rhodes had the following to say:
“To me, the greatest luchador ever, of all time — hands down — is Rey Mysterio Jr. And he’s got friends here. Jericho and him are friends. Mysterio is not afraid to travel out there, either. He’s not a one-company individual. And I think Rey still has a lot left to give in terms of wrestling. That might be something that someone else is currently discussing with him at this point. You never know.”
A strong endorsement no doubt and a clear path for the San Diego native to make the move.
On Blanchard he was a little more coy but no less encouraging:
“I don’t know a lot about the current situation with her and Impact. Tully, her father, is in AEW. That’s more Kenny Omega, [my wife and AEW chief brand officer] Brandi [Rhodes] and Tony carving out the growing and evolving women’s division. They’d have more of a beat on that. She was part of All In for us. And anyone who was part of All In has a place in my heart. On a personal level, I always want all the second- and third-generation wrestlers to have the best experience. She has a lot, a lot of talent. I’m sure it’s something Kenny, Brandi and Tony have discussed.”
Whilst the smart money would be on both signing their next contracts with WWE, it is so much fun to have genuine intrigue about the destination for high profile talent for the first time in almost 20 years.