AEW's women's division frequently comes under fire for not being booked or featured as well as it probably should be, and make no mistake about it, Jade Cargill defecting to WWE is a huge blow to Tony Khan's upstart company.
During a call with the media which took place the same day her signing was made official, the AEW President was asked for his thoughts on the former TBS Champion signing a multi-year deal with the sports entertainment giant.
"I have only positive things to say about Jade, she’s always welcome here," he responded. "She had a great run with us, and has a great career in front of her. Wishing her nothing but the best for the future."
You can really fault those remarks, though they seem intentionally vague. Of course, between the recent All In drama with CM Punk and the fact ratings and ticket sales are on the decline, Tony has a lot on his mind right now.
That includes another noteworthy defection.
During last night's episode of NXT, a short vignette was shown with an unknown man flicking through the channels of a vintage television. We see an "Eyewitness News at 7" news desk, talk of a Cincinnati Bengals training camp, and an episode of WCW which sees Jim Ross say, "Hello again everybody and welcome to WCW Saturday Night." With that, the screen goes black.
Those are all pretty big clues, but the fact this mystery character is wearing a t-shirt last seen on Brian Pillman Jr. when he appeared on AEW television seals the deal: he's coming to WWE.
The plan appears to be for the son of the legendary Brian Pillman to start his career there in NXT, a move which by no means should be viewed as a demotion. Bad booking in AEW hampered his run there so it makes sense for WWE to help Jr. find his character in the developmental brand before he eventually makes the leap to the main roster.
Given his father's history with WWE, it makes sense for Pillman Jr. to be part of WWE and it seems his debut is now imminent.
It feels like the tide is turning when it comes to how AEW stars perceive WWE, particularly now Vince McMahon is no longer calling the shots. With more and more contracts nearing their end since the company launched, we're expecting a lot of wrestlers to take their shot at the big time soon...