Matt Hardy’s contract with WWE is set to expire and he is set to leave soon as per Wrestling Observer Radio. They report that the former United States champion will be joining All Elite Wrestling just like Dean Ambrose, aka Jon Moxley did last year.
Apart from Hardy, Luke Harper is also reportedly set to join them. He has changed his name to Brodie Lee already and is now waiting for the no-compete clause to end after his WWE release.
One of the top names mentioned is Matt Hardy, who has kept his stock up thanks to the return of his W(B)roken character in the Free The Delete episodes he’s released on his YouTube page. Also mentioned was former Bludgeon Brother Luke Harper, who was finally given his WWE release in early December after requesting to be let go back in April.
All Elite Wrestling already has a heavy presence of former WWE stars, and even more stars who made a name for themselves in Vince McMahon’s company could make the jump to pro wrestling’s new No. 2 promotion.
According to various reports, AEW is expected to pursue a handful of names who are either currently or were recently with WWE. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer has specifically listed four stars who WWE could go after in the near future: Luke Harper, Matt Hardy and The Revival consisting of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder.
None of those names come as much of a surprise, either.
The biggest star of the bunch, Hardy, is now “expected to leave WWE in March” when his contract expires, according to Meltzer (h/t SEScoops). Although Hardy was said to be close to WWE in terms of the financial aspects of a new deal, he has reportedly been dissatisfied with the way he’s been used creatively and wants to ensure that what will likely be his last lengthy pro wrestling contract will result in him being used well.
That simply hasn’t been the case in WWE, where Hardy has been woefully misused over the past two years, and with the decorated tag team champion recently revealing that he believes he could wrestle for another three to four years, it’s likely that he’d need to leave WWE to get the most out of his last few years left in the business.
As noted by Meltzer, it’s widely been speculated that Hardy may leave WWE in March and end up being revealed as the leader of The Dark Order stable in AEW. That’s a natural fit for Hardy, who owns all the rights to his “Broken” gimmick and has plenty of history with many of AEW’s biggest stars, including The Young Bucks. At this point, it would be a huge surprise if Hardy doesn’t leave WWE for AEW, although he would leave his brother Jeff behind because Jeff’s WWE deal has been extended due to “injury time” that’s been added to his contract. However, it’s likely that Jeff could eventually end up in AEW alongside his brother at some point.
Widely expected to join Hardy in AEW is another tag team specialist in Harper, who recently applied to trademark his pre-WWE moniker “Brodie Lee” and has changed his social media accounts to reflect that name change. AEW’s Cody Rhodes hasn’t been shy about his desire to bring Harper to AEW, recently saying that Harper “would be great” in the company.
Freelance reporter Tom Colohue (h/t The Sportster) has also reported that AEW World Champion Chris Jericho is a big supporter of Harper and wants him there. Meanwhile WrestlingNews.co notes that AEW is the clear frontrunner to land Harper: “With Harper having friends in AEW, the belief is that he will join the promotion.”
Harper’s 90-day non-compete clause will not expire until March 8, though, so it would be nearly two months before Harper could appear for AEW. Meanwhile, fans who are hoping to see The Revival land in AEW will have to wait even longer.
The Revival’s contracts are said to expire in April, although Wilder’s deal may lost longer due to “injury time” a la Harper. Ever since The Revival reportedly requested its release in January 2019, the booking of arguably the world’s best pure tag team has been all over the place.
Despite holding both the Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Championship since then (and also being former NXT Tag Team Champions), The Revival has since been purposely booked as a comedy tag team after turning down a lucrative contract last year. Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com posted a big update on The Revival’s status just last week:
“One WWE source said that Dawson and Dash have not outright rejected the deals, but haven’t been quick to accept them, either. The situation surrounding the two has very much remained the same, with them wanting a well-booked tag team division. The source stated that WWE is ‘throwing everything at the Revival, and they’re just saying ‘we’ll let you know.'”
The Revival is reportedly looking for WWE to commit to a more serious push of the tag team division, and the duo has long hinted at a potential move to AEW, which has a loaded tag team division that would give Dawson and Wilder the opportunity to work with The Young Bucks, The Lucha Brothers, SCU and other extremely talented tag teams.
With The Revival reportedly still not signing contracts that would earn each star at least $550,000 annually and Dawson recently saying that “money isn’t everything,” The Revival are strong candidates to join both Hardy and Harper in AEW as soon as they’re legally able to go there.
Other WWE stars to keep an eye on for a potential jump to AEW including Rey Mysterio, who has a unique contract situation (that is coming up soon) and has been named by Rhodes as someone he’d like to bring to the company, and several unnamed NXT stars, who could be looking to make the move to AEW as well.
And with AEW inking a blockbuster new TV deal, the upstart promotion now has the financial means to become a serious threat to WWE when it comes to signing top talent.