Even given WWE's recent spell of roster cuts, the news of Cain Velasquez's reported release still came as a shock to many fans. The former UFC heavyweight champion was just months into a lucrative multi-year deal with the company, having only signed terms back in October last year.
Shortly before agreeing to join WWE, Cain Velasquez reportedly held talks with several other promotions around the world - including AEW. At the time, there was speculation that WWE had hired Velasquez, as much as anything else, to keep him away from a competitor.
Upon his WWE debut, Cain Velasquez immediately entered into a feud with Brock Lesnar - playing off their fight at UFC 121 in 2010 - which Velasquez won decisively. The pair were booked to face each other for the first time in WWE at Crown Jewel 2019 in Saudi Arabia, with Lesnar's WWE championship on the line.
The much-anticipated clash, though, proved a disappointment for fans - as Lesnar won the bout by submission in just 88 seconds. A pre-existing knee injury for Velasquez meant the match had to be kept short, but there was a feeling that the Latino superstar would eventually get his shot at revenge, once healthy.
Any rematch, though, is now off the table following Velasquez's release. His WWE departure, however, should not spell the end of his professional wrestling career. The 37-year-old still has plenty to offer, in particular to AEW. Here are five reasons why Velasquez can flourish in the promotion.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article belong to the writer and doesn't necessarily represent Sportskeeda's stand.
#5 Still fresh as a TV character
Nobody will pretend that Cain Velasquez's WWE run was a roaring success. Truthfully, though, for much of his tenure, he was sidelined by injuries. This meant that his presence on WWE television was severely limited. Indeed, he never had a match on any of WWE's weekly shows. In short, Cain Velasquez did not have much of an opportunity to showcase his worth.
He only worked two official matches for the promotion: His loss to Lesnar in Saudi Arabia and a tag team victory (partnering with Humberto Carrillo) at a November house show in Mexico.
Velasquez's lack of mainstream exposure in a professional wrestling setting is positive news for AEW. He possesses the size, athleticism, and aura to be a significant player for the company. Booked correctly from the outset, AEW can quickly erase any damage done to Velasquez's reputation by his brief WWE stint.