Jack Swagger Debuts In AEW, Finn Balor & Ciampa Return To NXT
It was a night of returning wrestlers as AEW shocked the wrestling world by debuting Jack Swagger and both Finn Balor and Ciampa returned to NXT.
Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger Appears On AEW’s TNT Debut
AEW rolled out all the big surprises for the debut of AEW: Dynamite Wednesday on TNT, including that they had signed former WWE World Heavyweight Champion and current Bellator MMA fighter Jake “Jack Swagger” Hager.
Swagger made his appearance as the end of the six-man main event tag team match between The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Ortiz, Santana and Chris Jericho, aligning himself with the group led by Jericho and also Sammy Guevara.
During the all-out-attack on The Elite, Swagger leveled Dustin Rhodes and helped with the assault on Cody. It also served as a reunion, as AEW lead announcer Jim Ross helped recruit Swagger to the WWE while both were there.
Swagger and Jericho had a feud with one another inside the WWE ring during their time in that promotion, as well.
Prior to leaving the WWE in 2017, he won both the WWE heavyweight title and ECW belts.
Finn Balor, Tommaso Ciampa Return To NXT
WWE’s NXT made its debut on USA Network with some big news, as Finn Balor and Tommasio Ciampa are returning to the promotion.
On Wednesday night’s episode of NXT, Adam Cole successfully defended his title over Matt Riddle to begin things. As Cole was enjoying his victory, though, the longest reigning NXT champion’s music hit the speakers and out walked Balor.
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Balor walked right up to Cole and said “as of right now, Finn Balor is next.”
The 38-year-old Balor had his first run in NXT start back in 2014, earning a shot at the title by winning a No. 1 contender tournament with victories over Curtis Axel, Hideo Itami and Adrian Neville. He was unsuccessful, though, in challenging then-champion Kevin Owens for the title.
He finally won the NXT belt by besting Owens in a second title fight in Tokyo, Japan. In 2016, Balor was drafted to RAW, becoming the inaugural Universal champion when he defeated Seth Rollins.
He did make a return to NXT in 2017 to assist Shinsuke Nakamura in a feud with Andrade Almas and Bobby Roode before heading back to the WWE.
Just like Balor beginning the night with his surprise return and challenge of the title, Ciampa closed the show by doing the same.
As the Undisputed Era celebrated a victory and title defense of the tag belts over The Street Profts, Ciampa music started to play and he appeared on the stage inside the Full Sail Arena. Unlike Balor, no words were spoken by Ciampa.
Ciampa signed with the WWE in 2015, first appearing on NXT before moving up to RAW in February of this past year. He was forced to undergo neck surgery and had to vacate the NXT title.