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6 AEW Stars and why they refused to join WWE

6 AEW Stars and why they refused to join WWE
6 AEW Stars and why they refused to join WWE

Several AEW stars have received offers from WWE in the past few years, but they turned them down.

Although AEW is now a rising power in the pro wrestling industry, WWE is still the biggest promotion in the world. Many wrestlers around the globe dream of joining Vince McMahon's company. Nonetheless, a few have preferred to turn down WWE offers in favor of wrestling in other promotions.

One example of famous wrestlers who have turned down WWE offers is NJPW's Will Ospreay. WWE was interested in signing Ospreay, but the 28-year-old refused to join the company because he did not want to wrestle on Christmas Day.

Likewise, a few AEW Stars had the chance to sign with WWE before choosing to go with Tony Khan's company. However, they refused to capitalize on the opportunity for different reasons.

Here are a few AEW Stars and why they refused to join WWE:


#6 & #5. AEW Stars The Young Bucks

The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) are currently one of the top tag teams in AEW. Before joining Tony Khan's company, they wrestled in several different promotions. They also turned down an opportunity to join WWE.

The Jackson brothers had previously appeared on WWE TV. In 2008, Matt wrestled in two matches on SmackDown against Chuck Palumbo in February and The Big Show in October. He lost both bouts.

In August that same year, the Young Bucks appeared on The Miz and Morrison's Dirt Sheet show on ECW. Miz and Morrison made Matt and Nick dress up as D-Generation X before beating them up in the ring.

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Despite these appearances, WWE did not sign the Jackson brothers. They had another tryout in 2011, but the company again passed on the opportunity to sign them.

A few days before joining AEW in 2019, The Young Bucks were finally close to fulfilling their dream of becoming WWE Superstars. Matt received a text from Triple H while on vacation.

The two then spoke on the phone. After the phone call, Matt seemed open to the idea of joining WWE, as his wife and agent, Dana Massie, recalled on the Tradecraft Podcast.

Despite the positive negotiations between Triple H and the older Jackson, The Young Bucks decided to turn down WWE's offer. Matt explained their decision later in an interview with TalkSPORT.

"I was so protective of our brand because we had done so much at that point and we’d just done the All In show. So it was still scary to just hand over the keys to someone else and that was probably the biggest reason we didn’t go to WWE at the time because it was like ‘what are they going to do with this?’ We were almost over-protective of what we created," he said.

After meeting with Tony Khan, Matt and Nick decided to sign with AEW. They have excelled in the newly-established promotion, winning the AEW World Tag Team Championship once so far.

#4. AEW Star Hangman Adam Page

Adam Page kicked off his career more than a decade ago. He wrestled in different promotions before joining AEW. Before signing with Tony Khan's company, Page had an opportunity to achieve a childhood dream.

Page grew up watching WWE and dreamt of becoming one of its superstars. Shortly before signing a contract with AEW, he received an offer from WWE. However, surprisingly, he turned it down.

The 30-year-old explained his decision to turn down WWE's offer in an interview with Brian Campbell on State of Combat.

"I guess when I was a kid that was [what] you wanted to do—you wanted to grow up and be in the WWE because it's the biggest thing ever—but it just didn't feel right and didn't become a goal for me anymore. It wasn't something that became an interest to me because of the name brand alone," he said.

Page joined AEW in January 2019. He teamed up with Kenny Omega to capture the AEW World Tag Team Championship nearly a year later. Page and Omega's reign lasted 228 days before losing their titles to FTR at the All Out pay-per-view in September 2020.

#3. AEW Star CM Punk

"Our attendance, record TV ratings, record PPV buys. A live attendance mark in Chicago. All new kinds of merchandising records. Sold over a 100,000 CM Punk shirts. Sold thousands and thousands of ice cream bars. He's absolutely changed our business"Tony Khan on CM Punk in AEW https://t.co/ktwxTZHIF6

CM Punk finally made his long-awaited return to professional wrestling when he joined AEW last month.

Punk is a legend in the wrestling business and one of the most accomplished WWE Superstars in history. He left WWE in 2014 before announcing his retirement from professional wrestling. Following his departure, he heavily criticized WWE and made it clear he was not interested in returning to the squared circle.

Despite not being interested, The Best in the World remained on Stephanie McMahon's list of former superstars she would like to bring back to WWE. Earlier this month, Punk revealed that WWE approached him before he signed with AEW. Nonetheless, he declined the offer.

In an interview with ESPN, the 42-year-old spoke about why he turned down WWE's offer.

"I remember one of the first things I ever said to them was, 'Above all, don’t play games', and they played games. Some things never change… When you enter a conversation with people you have a past with and you know who they are, how seriously can you take it? I know exactly who they are and they just continue to prove it. I’m trying to be as diplomatic as I possibly can," he said.

Punk made his AEW debut on the August 20 episode of Rampage. At the All Out pay-per-view, the 42-year-old defeated Darby Allin in his first AEW match.

#2. AEW Star MJF

Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) is one of the best talents in AEW today. He kicked off his career nearly six years ago. In 2015, the 25-year-old applied to participate in WWE's reality show Tough Enough. Nonetheless, WWE did not pick him.

MJF wrestled in different promotions for the next four years before joining Tony Khan's company in 2019. Shortly before he became an AEW Star, WWE was interested in signing the 25-year-old. This time, MJF was the one who refused to join Vince McMahon's company.

In an interview with Inside The Ropes, MJF explained why he chose AEW over WWE.

"Deep down, I wanted to be part of something new and something fresh and something where I’d be able to control everything going on with me, because I knew if I went to the other place, and this isn’t me [disrespecting] the other place, it’s just a fact, they would try to change me, and there is nothing to change," he said.

MJF is currently the leader of The Pinnacle. He recently lost against Chris Jericho, the leader of The Inner Circle, at All Out.

#1. AEW World Champion Kenny Omega

Like the previous entries on this list, AEW World Champion Kenny Omega had the opportunity to join WWE before signing with Tony Khan's company.

Before joining AEW, Omega was a big star in NJPW. He received offers from both WWE and AEW but decided to sign with the latter. In an interview with the Wrestling Observer, Omega revealed why he preferred to join AEW over WWE.

"WWE’s offer was fantastic and a lot of people just know, it’s common knowledge, but they went about it in a very professional, courteous way and those guys are nothing but constant professionals in the way they dealt with me. But at the end of the day, AEW presented something that was – they just couldn’t be beat," he said.

Having his best friends with him in AEW convinced Omega to join the company, among a few other reasons.

"I’m with my best friends in the business, I have a little bit of control in the creative, which is always, of course, very important. And I really feel like it’s the true platform for me to sort of have my voice be heard and I always like challenges. And I like the prospect of this being a blundering failure," he added.

The 37-year-old is currently one of the top stars in AEW. He is the AEW World Champion and has held the title since last December. Omega recently defeated Christian Cage at All Out to retain his AEW World Championship.

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Edited by Arjun
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