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AEW Star Not Re-Signing, Why Damian Priest Ditched His Finisher

While so many are heading there, not everyone there intends to stay…and at least one AEW star is not re-signing with the company. Plus, here’s why Damian Priest recently ditched his finisher.

AEW Star Not Re-Signing

While Tony Khan seems to be collecting talent more than ever, at least one AEW star is not re-signing.

It had been suggested for a while now that Joey Janela [1] would indeed not be sticking around AEW once his contract expired.

The AEW star took time out to confirm as much, as well as explain why, via an interview with Denise Salcedo.

You can catch the entire interview here:

Janela, for his part in all of this, couldn’t help but have some fun with the teaser.

While the soon-to-be former AEW star isn’t likely seriously opening up a petting zoo, who knows nowadays, right?

Even before coming out and providing reasons, the writing was likely on the wall for Joey Janela.

Anyone who has been paying attention to wrestling over the last couple years knows a few things have been going on.

One, AEW has been growing in popularity, with more TV time and a rumored streaming deal coming.

aew star not re-signing
source: @wrestlinginc, twitter, screenshot

Two, WWE has been cutting staff left and right [8]. And when they are not cutting, they’ve seen Superstars decline to re-sign [9].

Three…those free agents, however they arrived at that status? A decent portion of them have headed over [10] to AEW.

Which means…AEW’s been getting crowded, and Janela was relegated to Dark duty.

So…while there are worse fates, it makes sense for him to see what else is out there for him.

And, for his part, he said he wants to be more independent. Which is a curious comment, considering how flexible working arrangements seem to be with most AEW talent.

Why Damian Priest Ditched His Finisher

In other news, you may have noticed one Superstar hasn’t done something recently. So why has Damian Priest ditched his finisher?

Or, has he?

And by finisher, we mean, of course, The Reckoning (or Hit the Lights, though I never remember that…).

However, if you know of that move, and are also a fan of Cody Rhodes. [11]..you’d know you’ve seen it before, called the Cross Rhodes.

And there is why Damian Priest ditched his finisher. Priest, the former United States Champion, has not used the move in recent weeks.

damian priest ditched finisher
source:@ArcherOfInfamy, twitter, screenshot

According to Fightful, [12] the absence of that finishing move is likely not an accident (per one WWE producer).

However, as has been reported for weeks now, many in WWE do not even know if Rhodes is actually still coming. [13]

Once he exited AEW officially, it seemed he was immediately heading to WWE. Now, plenty of time has transpired and still no Rhodes.

However, one cannot ignore the bread crumbs. We all know by now, Vince McMahon is nothing if not obsessed with every minute detail. [14]

To that end, in recent weeks, there have been a number of subtle, yet certainly intentional, references to Cody.

When Edge had not yet lined up a WrestleMania opponent, there was language in his promo to tease a Rhodes match.

On this week’s RAW, as things closed out, Corey Graves said that Seth Rollins’ WrestleMania “dream had become a nightmare”. 

While that could be just an expression, we need to keep in mind 2 things.

One, Rhodes is the American Nightmare, the son of the American Dream. Two, Vince is in the announcer’s ears…he’s feeding them lines, and there’s no reason to believe that wasn’t scripted either.

So, it could be coincidence, but it would seem Damian Priest ditched his finisher because the original WWE user of it is on his way back.