While everyone is interested to see where the promotion goes from here, there have been interesting instances in the past where prominent WWE Superstars who have almost jumped ship over to AEW.
Dave Meltzer recently revealed an important tidbit on Wrestling Observer Radio :
"Roman Reigns is not going to AEW, not happening. Virtually everyone in WWE, including guys who have claimed different, at one point or another have called up people in AEW trying to see what they can get, or have had interest. But Roman Reigns, and there's a couple of others, but Roman Reigns was basically, of the top guys, he was the only one who never even enquired. So he ain't going anywhere."
Now that quote has serious implications. While it is not easy for most WWE Superstars to openly voice their desire to work with All Elite Wrestling, some major stars actually have the influence to leverage it.
Rusev (Miro), The Revival (FTR), and Zack Ryder (Matt Cardona) have found a new home in AEW following their WWE releases. Almost all of these wrestlers felt underutilized and forgotten in WWE, but found a new lease of life on AEW. It would not be surprising to see more athletes transitioning in the future.
In this article, we look at 5 big names of the WWE roster who were inches away from being featured on AEW Dynamite:
#5 Randy Orton: WWE's apex predator
Randy Orton, a third-generation WWE Superstar, a 13-time world champion almost became a part of AEW? Sounds surreal, but it was perhaps the most blatantly teased move.
On October 21st, 2019, Randy Orton himself took to Instagram to post a picture with an elevator placard reading ‘Elite Level’ with the caption:
What made the move to AEW plausible was that Orton’s contract with WWE was set to expire and negotiations were rumoured to not be going ideally. Cody Rhodes, someone who has a close history with Orton, being the lead advocator for AEW, made Orton's move just that much more believable.
Many feel that this was a ploy by The Viper to gain leverage in his contract re-negotiations within WWE, which he ultimately renewed.
While many fans felt short-changed, they always knew Randy Orton leaving WWE was near impossible. This is yet another example proving that Randy Orton is in that tiny pool of prominent WWE wrestlers who can get away (get rewarded even) for doing something that would have had any other wrestler face severe implications.