5 current and former AEW Stars that feuded with celebrities
AEW has a stacked roster of some of the best wrestlers in the world, and competition is naturally rife in the Jacksonville promotion. Names like CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley comprise the company's star-studded collection of grapplers.
But as big as the megastars of the wrestling industry are, there's a different feel when celebrities enter the mix. Pro wrestling being the variety show that it is, the stars of other industries have gotten involved in various storylines and feuds over the years across several different companies.
Despite only being in operation for three years, All Elite Wrestling has seen its fair share of celebrity involvement. However, some of its talent have engaged in verbal and physical altercations with stars outside the company, even years before the promotion was founded.
With that being said, let's take a look at five times an AEW star, former or present, has found themselves embroiled in a celebrity feud.
#5. Former AEW Star Cody Rhodes vs. Arrow star Stephen Amell
Cody Rhodes may want to continue his current WWE chapter without the looming shadow that was his run as Stardust, but the face-painted superstar did have the chance to play a real-life comic book villain.
On the May 25th, 2015 episode of RAW, Stardust confronted 'Arrow' lead actor Stephen Amell, who sat at ringside. Stardust initiated mind games by renaming his finisher the Queen's Crossbow; the name change was an on-the-nose reference to DC Superhero Green Arrow, otherwise known as Oliver Queen, whom Amell played in the titular series.
Alongside the feud between Amell and Rhodes, there had been issues arising between Stardust and Neville (now known as Pac in AEW), leading to a tag team bout at SummerSlam 2015. The future AEW EVP partnered with King Barrett to take on Amell and Neville, suffering defeat at the hands of the heroes.
#4. CM Punk vs. Chris Brown
Following the Elimination Chamber event in 2012, then-WWE Champion CM Punk openly questioned who his WrestleMania opponent would be. Instead of waiting for a potential opponent to show, the current AEW World Champion opted to call out Grammy-winning artist Chris Brown.
He declared that he would like the singer to "fight somebody that can defend themselves." His call-out was a blatant reference to the accusations of abusive behavior towards Rihanna levied against Brown in 2009.
Chris Brown refused to back down from the Cult of Personality, responding to Punk and accusing him of steroid use. A WrestleMania match never materialized between the two, but it was an early sign that even those outside of wrestling can fall prey to the AEW star's signature 'Pipebombs'.
#3. Paul Wight vs. Shaquille O'Neal
Back when Paul Wight plied his trade in WWE as the Big Show, the World's Largest Athlete appeared set for a colossal clash with LA Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal.
The two clashed for the first time inside a ring at WrestleMania 32, during the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal for which Shaq made his in-ring debut. The pair were unable to eliminate each other and would eventually find the collective target on their backs too much when they were eliminated concurrently.
Their definitive collision appeared to be in the works for WrestleMania 33. However, Shaq and Wight have since confirmed that the match never materialized due to revolving plans from WWE creative.
The Big Show still competed at WrestleMania 33 on April 2—albeit in a much less noteworthy match. The former world champion was again one of the combatants in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, which Mojo Rawley won.
#2. Cody Rhodes vs. Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq did have another wrestling match, though it didn't involve Paul Wight. In November 2020, current TBS Champion Jade Cargill made her All-Elite debut to interrupt Cody Rhodes, initiating her feud with him and Brandi Rhodes and teasing the arrival of the NBA legend.
The Crossroads special episode of AEW Dynamite on March 3rd witnessed the tease become a reality. Cargill and O'Neal battled Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet, who had replaced Brandi when she announced she was pregnant.
The match was a surprising hit with fans, with Cargill securing the pinfall for a debut victory while Rhodes and Shaq took an immense table bump to the outside of the ring.
In the end, the company teased O'Neal's future in-ring career when the ambulance he was taken into following the bump was shown to be empty. However, the NBA legend has yet to return to the ring since.
#1. Paul Wight vs. Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather Jr. dominated professional boxing throughout his career prior to hanging up his gloves. Even after retiring, he returned to the ring via a different outlet.
'Money' appeared at WWE No Way Out in 2008 to confront the Big Show, kickstarting a David vs. Goliath feud between the World's Largest Athlete and the boxing legend.
Big Show himself had returned to WWE to attack Rey Mysterio following his World Heavyweight title match against Edge. However, Mayweather emerged from the crowd to confront the seven-foot-plus superstar. The boxer landed several punches to Show's face and broke his nose.
Their feud culminated in a clash between the two at WrestleMania XXIV. Mayweather defeated the future AEW star via knockout with a brass knuckle-assisted haymaker.