10 Most Shocking AEW Signings (So Far)

Could we see another major signing make their debut at All Out?

In its short history AEW have already built a strong reputation for being able to pull off big surprises, which often manifests itself in the signing of major talent. 

Tony Khan and co. have been able to attract not only some of the top indie stars from around the world, but also legends of the industry and those who were considered 'lifers' elsewhere, for roles both in front of and behind the camera. 

With AEW's All Out pay-per-view taking place tonight, rumour has it that one more will be announced in the form of Bryan Danielson, AKA former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. 

Whether it will or it won't happen at All Out, it's bound to happen sooner or later and will be another huge coup for a promotion that is really starting to gain momentum. 

That momentum has, in part, been built by the efforts of the following ten surprising signings. 

10. Malakai Black

Aew malakai black july 2021

All Elite Wrestling

The idea of the former Tommy End/Aleister Black showing up in AEW after he was one of the many to receive a WWE release during their bit of 'spring cleaning' wasn't such a shocking one. 

He has talent, name value and being in his mid-thirties, should be in the prime of his career right about now. Plus he has friends in the AEW locker room and people in positions of power have sung his praises publicly before. 

No, the signing of Black was not shocking as much as the manner of the signing was. 

He was released by WWE on June 2, 2021 and showed up unannounced on the Road Rager episode of Dynamite on July 7. 

Most WWE performers who receive their release have to wait 90 days before they can show up elsewhere, but it was reported after Malakai's AEW debut that WWE had made a 'clerical error' when it came to his contract, allowing him to do as he pleased after just 30 days. 

Basically, WWE failed to update his deal to reflect his promotion from NXT to the main roster and his standard 30-day non-compete (which all NXT performers have) was there, waiting to be exploited. 


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Lewis Howse

Written by Lewis Howse

Features journalist for and script writer for the Cultaholic YouTube Channel.