5 AEW stars whose WWE runs were better

Moving to Tony Khan's AEW does not seem to have been a good idea for these former WWE stars
Moving to Tony Khan's AEW does not seem to have been a good idea for these former WWE stars

WWE is not exactly known for its employee-friendly nature. It's a tough promotion to grow in, but it's worth it to make a big name there. However, the cutthroat atmosphere has made quite a lot of WWE stars jump ship to Tony Khan's promotion, which has generally favored them along with AEW itself.

People will use “AEW is WWE light” as a stick to beat it with, but nah. AEW is literally everything WWE should have been.

The first of these acquisitions for Tony Khan was Chris Jericho. Y2J was one of the biggest assets to AEW, which helped the promotion make a splash on the mainstream popularity charts.

Since then, a stream of WWE superstars have now made All Elite Wrestling their home. Big names like Bryan Danielson and CM Punk have already made their mark in Tony Khan's organization, reclaiming the legendary status they had on Vince McMahon's roster.

Furthermore, some stars who struggled in WWE, like Malakai Black (f.k.a Aleister Black), have also found more solid footing in their new promotion.

However, not everyone has had more success in AEW than with Vince McMahon and company. Here are 5 of those stars whose WWE stints were definitely better.

#5 Mark Henry was way more relevant in WWE than AEW

They need Mark Henry on every main event of Dynamite and ppvs. He's a damn national treasure. IT'S TIME FOR THE MAIN EVENT! #AEWRampage

Mark Henry certainly left a giant imprint on WWE's history with his run in Vince McMahon's company. With a plethora of achievements ranging from multiple U.S. National Weightlifting Champion titles to ECW championships, the 'world's strongest man' is certainly one of the most accomplished performers of the modern era. His run with World Wrestling Entertainment saw him inducted into the Hall of Fame before he left.

However, AEW has seemingly opted for a much different approach for the veteran. Mark Henry has served the fanbase as an analyst and a backstage interviewer of sorts, remaining away from any fighting action himself. The question of him making his in-ring debut has always been up in the air, however.

Mark Henry is being grossly underused in Tony Khan's promotion. A performer of his caliber is simply too important to be kept away from the action. Injuries to the former WWE champion have always been an issue, but fans would love to see him back in the ring at some point.

For now, unfortunately, Mark's AEW run is a shadow of his glory days with WWE.

#4 Paul Wight's legacy in WWE is much more memorable than his AEW career

Paul Wight aka Big Show joining AEW is a big deal. He's the first of any, including Jericho, to join AEW who I felt was a WWE lifer. Even if that meant not wrestling but being an ambassador. I'll talk more on this live 10:15 pm ET on @WrestlingInc YouTube/Facebook/Twitch.

Paul Wight's run in WWE has spawned one of the most recognizable wrestling personalities of all time, The Big Show.

With an illustrious career which boasts multiple title wins in a number of promotions, Wight has carved an unforgettable place in the wrestling industry. The 12th Grand Slam winner of WWE turned a lot of heads with his departure from Vince McMahon's side to AEW.

It is clear, though, that Paul Wight has hardly been able to capture the spotlight on AEW. A feud with QT Marshal did not do much for him, either.

Although the veteran has pointed out that AEW gives him much more freedom than WWE ever did, it's hard to argue with the facts. Added to that is that a heavier wrestler like Wight sticks out like a sore thumb in a promotion that generally favors more technical and high-flying performers.

These reasons make it clear that Paul Wight's 'Big Show' was a much more successful part of the big man's career than his current AEW run.

#3 Jake Hager has lost his WWE 'swagger' in AEW

Jake Hager helps Chris Jericho take out The Elite #AEWDynamite

While Jake Hager's time in WWE saw him take on the iconic role of the All-American American, his AEW run so far has barely lived up to his previous standards.

Hager's departure from WWE was unexpected. Now being part of an AEW stable like the Inner Circle, in a relatively minor role, does not help his case at all. Even though the stable is led by the legendary Chris Jericho, Hager has been unsuccessful in connecting with the audience.

Having a spectacular career in WWE has certainly not carried over to AEW for Hager. Fans can only hope that his run will be transformed into something much more impactful in 2022.

#2 Matt Sydal is not as popular now as he was in WWE

Matt Sydal's run as Evan Bourne in WWE garnered massive praise for his spectacular high-flying maneuvers. His hybrid Lucha libre and puroresu styles made him stand out - even on the talent-heavy roster of WWE during his time there. A colorful career with multiple promotions certainly helped him in building a reputation to be one of the best high-flying entertainers in the business.

Unfortunately, Matt Sydal's role in AEW has seen minimal usage. At times, Sydal has even gone to the extent of losing matches to push newer talent to the frontline.

None of that adds much to his AEW career, which seems like a step back from his WWE run. Fans can only hope that 2022 will make the high-flier more visible to mainstream audiences.

#1 Matt Hardy achieved much more fame back in his WWE days

Matt Hardy names new AEW team as his and Jeff Hardy's dream opponents

While Matt Hardy has had a lot of screen time at AEW, it is plainly visible that he has had minimal success connecting with the audience. His stable, the Hardy Family Office, has also been lost in the myriad of stables in AEW. While he still sees action in-ring, the storyline no longer revolves around Hardy in particular.

The 47-year old veteran experienced much better days in WWE. His time as one-half of the legendary tag team, The Hardy Boyz, left a mark back in the day. With rumors of Jeff Hardy possibly signing with AEW, Matt Hardy could turn his career around in 2022.

Which former WWE Superstar has been the biggest disappointment since signing with All Elite Wrestling? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Edited by Ryan K Boman