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Bryan, Cole and Punk Have Officially Drawn the Line in the Sand—Cody Return

It seems like week after week, AEW has sincerely made a push to be the best promotion in the business, offering surprise after surprise to the adoring fans watching the product. Attention has certainly been garnered and so much more than ever before since the company’s inception in 2019.

To be clear, since they’ve debuted, AEW has been on a snowball effect of momentum, getting only bigger as time went on. But with recent signings, the company has undoubtedly entered another stratosphere altogether and all that for a company that definitely can be considered severe competition for a company that has enjoyed a monopoly since 2001.

Former dominance in the industry and a hiccup in the road

WWE, since breaking away from the NWA, established itself as the main wrestling promotion in North America throughout the eighties and nineties; at least with the most household name wrestlers. Just think Hulk Hogan throughout the aforementioned time period.

But once the company started thinking about the future and the younger wrestling stars, that’s when they ran into trouble.

WCW purchased all, or rather most of WWE’s aging roster—Hulk Hogan being the biggest name at that point (1994). And thus, WCW became the most dominant company throughout the late nineties for a two-year stretch.

via: Wade Solomon /YouTube

No, that success didn’t last too long, but they did make it through the armor of the titan company, and the rest is history…WWE purchasing WCW in 2001.

Now, yet another company, in AEW, has come around to wreak havoc on the aforementioned monopoly that WWE was enjoying.

I find it funny though, that when WWE started concentrating on yet another “youth movement,” they ran into trouble yet again.

And like in the nineties, now there is indeed a place for those disgruntled wrestlers to go and have flourishing careers, and that’s in AEW, which of course brings us to All Out and the weeks leading up to it.

The significance of All Out in the current wrestling dichotomy

WWE wrestlers have been coming over in droves (and really, since AEW’s start) and some would be a tad more critical of WWE on their way over than others. Specifically, Malakai Black and Punk were very critical of their former employer, and let’s be honest: they had reason to be.

Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson were a tad gentler on their former employers, but we can understand why…neither of them wants to burn any bridges, and Bryan’s wife is still under contract or semblance of a contract with WWE (Brie Bella). But their happiness at being there is evident in everything else they’ve been saying.

At a media press scrum, Cole stated:

“And it’s no knock whatsoever on them (WWE), I had a very excellent four-year experience. But I wanted to come back and work with a crew who I love being around 24/7, a crew that is just as passionate about pro-wrestling as I am and fans that feel the exact same way that we do. So, making the decision was a fairly easy one.”

via: Adam Cole

Bryan stated :

“WWE was so gracious with me as far as the offer that they gave me. They were gonna let me go do some other stuff on the outside, but, I hate to say this, Vince sometimes—He and I have a great relationship. I love him, I do. Sometimes he’s overprotective of me. I want to be able to push my limits. That’s one of the things that I love about this, is like the physicality of what we do out there and being able to push my limits and being able to do that here in a safe manner is one of the things that really drew me here.”

via: Bryan Danielson

If we may be permitted in juxtaposing the two timelines—the one form 1994 to now—and if Punk’s going to AEW represents Hogan signing with WCW, then Bryan and Cole coming over to AEW definitely signifies the signing of Hall and Nash to WCW.

via: WWE Inside Heat /YouTube

But really, it’s more than that overall. These two men (Cole and Bryan) were WWE guys through and through; dare we say it, perhaps even more than Punk and Black before them. Punk was always outspoken in his critique of WWE, as I’ve previously reported, and Black was dismissed so ridiculously, he had reason for a plight all his own, and we have to include Ruby Soho (formerly Ruby Riot) in that as well.

But Cole was at a Mattel/WWE event just about a week and a half ago…through and through a company man, as I stated. Bryan Danielson as well; this is shown in their positive comments.

But this is where the point lies…in black and white, staring us all in the face:

DRXPS /YouTube

When disgruntled employees leave and seek employment elsewhere, that makes perfect sense. But when happy employees are jumping ship and willing to work for the competition, that, dear readers, speaks volumes, and we have that in Bryan and Cole for sure.

Cody Rhodes set to make his return

Rhodes lost rather quickly to Malakai Black and even fictionally teased a retirement, ultimately putting Black over in a real big way. But as has been reported by and Cassidy Haynes of, he may be returning and as early as this month.

And really, why wouldn’t he? Look at what he’s coming back into. The Executive Vice President of AEW will have his hands full, but perhaps only after he settles the score with Black, who is set to face Cody’s brother, Dustin Rhodes on Dynamite on TNT this week.

NEXT: Moxley Takes GCW Championship—New AEW Action Figures on the Horizon

His exact reason for returning remains to be seen, but it’ll definitely be epic to see him face any one of these debuting ring legends, for sure.

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