Added: Alex Abrahantes, Alex Marvez, Angelico & Jack Evans (Hybrid 2), Awesome Kong, Brandon Cutler, CIMA, Emi Sakura, Evil Uno & Stu Grayson (Dark Order), Excalibur, Hikaru Shida, Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen (Private Party), Jon Moxley, Jungle Boy/Luchasaurus/Marko Stunt (Jurassic Express), Kip Sabian, Kylie Rae, Michael Nakazawa, Nyla Rose, Orange Cassidy, Riho, Sadie Gibbs, Shawn Spears, Sonny Kiss & Yuka Sakazaki
Wait?! Where’s July? I have some news for you. There is no July, because AEW made no talent signings or releases that month. It is one out of only two times this has happened. At least, from what I can gather.
Leading in to August, it was announced the next PPV would be called All Out. At the show, Chris Jericho became the first AEW World Champion, and the Women’s Championship was unveiled. The company was still waiting on its weekly TV show. In recent times, having only seen Tully Blanchard on Impact Wrestling managing his daughter Tessa, the Four Horseman legend debuted with AEW as a manager.
Added: Tully Blanchard
September was significant because AEW officially announced the date for the first episode of Dynamite on TNT. While adding a few more names, like the Inner Circle’s Ortiz & Santana, the month is also known for the first AEW talent to leave. Kylie Rae had a lot of support from fans, but she struggled with her mental health and the company was amicable with her release. She moved on to Impact Wrestling, and now works for the NWA.
Added: Big Swole, Ortiz & Santana, Alex ‘Goldenboy’ Mendez
Removed: Kylie Rae
Oh snap, there’s no October? That’s right, 2019 had two months of no signings or releases. You know what that means? There’s activity for every month from now on.
However, October is more important because Dynamite debuted with a viewership of 1.4m, beating WWE NXT’s 891k. The ‘Wednesday Night Wars’ began. By the end of the month, Riho was the new Women’s Champion, and SCU’s Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian were the new Tag Team Champions. Also, AEW introduced their second show, a new YouTube series called ‘Dark’. This gave many talents struggling to get on Dynamite a platform to work, improve, and impress.
With Dynamite in full swing, and Full Gear around the corner, AEW did not slow down with its talent signings. The voice of TNT, Tony Schiavone, joined Jim Ross & Excalibur at the commentary table. Jake Hager would be introduced as a heavy for Chris Jericho, while QT Marshall would later develop the training facility called the Nightmare Factory. The Dark Order was building up with new arrivals: John Silver & Alex Reynolds. And then there’s Jamie Hayter, who you should keep in the back of your mind, because she will be brought up again later.
Added: John Silver & Alex Reynolds (Dark Order), Anthony Ogogo, Jake Hager, Jamie Hayter, QT Marshall, Shanna & Tony Schiavone
Neither November nor December were eventful, but there were some interesting signings. AEW would quickly pair Wardlow up with MJF as his bodyguard. Allie found herself with husband Braxton Sutter (The Blade), who partnered with The Butcher to add more depth to what was an already incredible tag team division.
Kris Statlander is arguably the most popular signing of this group, although it took a long time for her to be noticed. The Rock praised Dasha Gonzalez for her work, after being let go by WWE for having “too much personality” to interview their superstars. Although Jamie Hayter was quietly released, don’t forget about her.
Added: Dasha Gonzalez, Kris Statlander, The Butcher & The Blade, Wardlow
Removed: Jamie Hayter
76 added to the roster in the first calendar year. How will AEW do as it heads in to 2020 with the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic?
January 2020 (79)
Looking back, many fans may have forgotten how groundbreaking the signing of Arn Anderson was. He worked backstage in WWE for many, many years, so for somebody like him to jump ship was monumental. His vast experience as a producer and coach is hard to find. Having Arn Anderson on TV gave AEW another loose connection to WCW’s time on TNT, which is good or bad depending on who you ask.
Then there’s Taz, who fans welcomed back to mainstream TV. I wasn’t a big fan because of his Impact run (he stopped caring after a while), but has since proven his worth as the manager of Team Taz.
Added: Arn Anderson (Coach), Taz, Mel
On January 15th, AEW & WarnerMedia announced a $175 million contract extension for Dynamite, along with an upcoming second show. This gave AEW the security it needed to become a mainstay on a major network for years to come.
A pretty quiet month for talent signings. Billy Gunn got his son a job, Lexy Nair is still around as a backstage interviewer, and Luther has done little of anything since his brief program with Chris Jericho.
Added: Austin Gunn, Lexy Nair & Luther
With the release of CIMA, it was confirmation that AEW was no longer working with OWE. However, the far more interesting developments were the additions of New Japan’s Lance Archer, who they had built up considerably in 2019. Then there’s Colt Cabana, who is a certified veteran, but he perhaps hasn’t made as big of an impact as some were hoping. Bringing in Lance Archer was encouraging because New Japan enjoyed cross promoting their IWGP United States title. However, he needed a legend to introduce him to a new audience.
Added: Lance Archer & Colt Cabana
The end of March marked the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crowds were no longer allowed, and many wrestlers feared for their jobs. While WWE released superstars & staff en masse, management gave the AEW roster the promise they would be taken care of, and they kept their word.
By the end of March, AEW added six new wrestlers and released one announcer. Goldenboy had made little impression, so that is likely the reason they let him go. Meanwhile, AEW kept on building its roster with the additions of Broken Matt Hardy, Mr. Brodie Lee, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts serving as Lance Archer’s manager.
Management were keen to pick up on some of WWE’s released talent, but it didn’t get anywhere near as many as it could have. With Brodie Lee taking over the Dark Order from Evil Uno & Stu Grayson, the stable began recruiting more, including Colt Cabana.
Added: Jake Roberts, Matt Hardy, Mr. Brodie Lee, Preston ’10’ Vance, Serpentico & Shawn Dean