5 AEW stars who must end their careers in WWE
Since the birth of AEW in early 2019, the company has become a strong competitor in sports entertainment. For decades WWE has been the only real source for wrestling fans to get their weekly TV fix. But things have changed, and while WWE is still the big kid on the playground, AEW is making moves, and fans are reaping the benefits of the All Elite evolution.
AEW has a very diverse roster. They have stars from all around the world with a variety of wrestling experiences. Some AEW stars are seeing television time for the first time, and others have spent plenty of time in the spotlight and are used to the pressure that comes with weekly shows being broadcast around the world.
When you look at the AEW roster, there is one thing that sticks out to fans, which is the amount of former WWE Superstars who have made the jump to the upstart company. Names like Samoa Joe, Christian, Malakai Black, and Miro are just a few of the stars on the AEW roster who were once WWE Superstars.
With that said, some legends came from WWE that may consider finishing their respective careers with WWE. Today we take a look at those former WWE Superstars who should find their way back home. This is our list of five AEW stars who must end their careers in WWE.
#5. 11-time WWE Tag Team Champion Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn is 59 years old but looks and performs like someone half his age. The former WWE Tag Team Champion initially signed with AEW in 2019 as a coach. He has since moved into a role as an in-ring performer, most recently competing alongside Anthony Bowens and Max Caster of The Acclaimed.
Gunn made his initial WWE debut in 1993 as a member of the former tag team The Smoking Gunns with Bart Gunn. Eventually, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg Jesse James teamed up to form The New Age Outlaws. Together they went on to become one of WWE's most successful tag teams of all time, winning the tag titles a historic 11 times.
Billy Gunn has had a great run as an AEW star. However, it pales in comparison to what he accomplished with WWE. Gunn capped off his WWE career with an induction into WWE's Hall of Fame class of 2019.
As mentioned before, Gunn will turn 60 this year, and while he is in phenomenal shape, it is obvious that his time left in the ring is limited. It would be only fitting that Billy returns to WWE to finish his Hall of Fame career, even if he assumes a role behind the scenes as a producer or agent.
#4. 3-time WWE Intercontinental Champion Dustin Rhodes
The Rhodes family is considered to be royalty by most fans and wrestlers alike. Dusty Rhodes left a legacy that will transcend generations to come. Along with his brother, Cody Rhodes, Dustin has certainly done well in an effort to fill his father's shoes.
"The Natural" Dustin Rhodes joined the AEW roster in mid-2019. He has spent his time with the company both as an in-ring competitor, as well as a mentor behind the scenes for some of AEW's younger, up-and-coming talent. Dustin has been a fan favorite and has continued to perform at a high level against wrestlers much younger than him.
Early on, the Goldust character accelerated his career to a whole new level. He had spent much of his career as a more likable, "normal" persona. Goldust stirred up controversy and intrigue and ultimately exposed his creative side like never before. Dustin seems comfortable with AEW, but a return to WWE would likely secure his spot in the Hall of Fame.
#3. 8-time WWE Tag Team Champions The Hardy Boyz
On any given day in the early 90s, Matt and Jeff Hardy would likely be found in their backyard, putting together full-scale wrestling shows on their trampoline. While this probably sounds reckless and unrecommended by wrestling purists, this was not just your average backyard wrestling federation. The Hardy's gained attention from major promotions, including WWE.
After signing with WWE in 1998, the brothers were sent to train under Dory Funk Jr. at the Funkin' Dojo. Following the completion of their training, The Hardy Boyz would go on to enjoy a legendary pro wrestling career and become arguably the greatest tag team of all time.
Matt began his AEW run in the spring of 2020. Meanwhile, Jeff had to deal with some personal issues, but the brothers would eventually reunite in the ring once Jeff settled his affairs. Today the duo is just as strong as ever, and the fans are still in love with The Hardys.
However, both brothers are inching closer to turning 50, and considering the damage they have done to their bodies, they have to be nearing the home stretch of their careers. With that in mind, WWE should be the home of the final Hardy Boyz run, and then Matt and Jeff can take their places in the Hall of Fame.
#2. Inaugural AEW World Champion Chris Jericho
At 52 years young, Chris Jericho has found a way to manipulate time and finds himself competing at the same level he did 20 years ago. Jericho signed with AEW at the beginning of the company's historic inception. He is one of the primary reasons for AEW's massive success.
At the first AEW pay-per-view event, Double or Nothing 2019, Jericho defeated Kenny Omega to claim his shot at the inaugural AEW World Championship, which he ultimately won at All Out later that year. This would be the beginning of a historic run not only for Jericho but for AEW as an upstart company.
Chris Jericho is known as a pro wrestling globetrotter, having competed all over the world with numerous major promotions. In 1999, WWE began airing cryptic countdown vignettes that mimicked the Y2K phenomenon. The countdown clock would conclude on August 9th in Chicago, during a segment on RAW where The Rock was in the ring cutting a promo. Jericho would appear, making his WWE debut, welcoming fans to the "RAW is Jericho" era.
Chris Jericho is undoubtedly one of the cornerstone stars of AEW. His presence is not only welcome in the company, but it is needed. However, the roster is full of top-tier stars who are more than capable of carrying the load in the event Jericho leaves.
It's obvious that Jericho will eventually enter WWE's Hall of Fame, but if he were to make a return to WWE sooner than later, he would still have time for a farewell run, which could culminate with a final bout at WrestleMania or another major annual event.
#1. WWE Hall of Famer Sting
Throughout the 90s, the face of WWE's greatest competitor, WCW, was the man called Sting. During this era, "Surfer Sting" was one of the most popular professional wrestlers in the world. Some of his greatest feuds took place during his time with WCW, which included rivalries with Ric Flair, Vader, Rick Rude, and many more.
Sting had his best years outside of WWE. However, when he made his WWE debut in 2014, fans were ecstatic to see his career come full circle and finally make it in front of the WWE Universe. Despite his time being limited with the company, Sting still made a lasting impression, which was capped off with his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.
Sting has nothing left to prove. He will be remembered forever as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, as well as one of the most loved and respected performers to ever grace the squared circle.
He has been extremely productive during his time with AEW, and now it would be perfect timing to see The Icon return to WWE and hang up his boots with the same company that enshrined him as wrestling royalty in the Hall of Fame.