One notable thing about AEW is the low amount of AEW wrestlers released by AEW. The company has so far been very generous to it’s wrestlers, especially by not releasing anybody from their contracts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The only people to be released by AEW so far due to a handful of factors. Talent that have asked for their releases have been granted them.
Disciplinary issues have, in extreme cases, led to AEW wrestlers being released from their deals. Nobody has been released due to a “cost-cutting” measure like WWE did over the last two years.
The lack of AEW wrestlers released makes each one that does even more shocking. Whilst some talent have been released after making very little mark on the promotion, some big names which were earmarked for greatness at the companies birth now find themselves outside the confines of the company.
Here is a list of the AEW wrestlers released by AEW since the company was founded in January 2019. This list is every wrestler who has been released by the company due to the factors mentioned previously, but does not include AEW Dark talent who weren’t signed to AEW contracts (eg. Ben Carter).
This list will be updated as more AEW wrestlers are released in the coming months and years.
AEW Wrestlers Released
When? August 2019
The first AEW wrestler released by AEW was one of the early stars of the women’s division, Kylie Rae. “Smiley Kylie” featured on the first ever AEW show, as part of the women’s fatal four way match at AEW Double or Nothing 2019. She was pinned by Britt Baker to lose the match, but was earmarked as a future star of the AEW Women’s Division.
She was booked to take on Leva Bates at Fyter Fest 2019. However, she no-showed the event, reportedly due to struggles with anxiety and mental health issues. She seemed unable to take the pressure of wrestling for AEW and requested her release from the company in August 2019, which was granted.
Her release was announced by Tony Khan on the AEW All Out 2019 post-show media scrum.
Where is Kylie Rae now? Kylie Rae later went on to wrestle for IMPACT Wrestling, but continued with her struggles with mental health issues. She quit IMPACT and retired from wrestling due to her issues, but later returned to wrestle for smaller promotions, including the NWA.
CIMA (with StrongHearts)
When? – April 2020
CIMA was one of the first big name signings from abroad when AEW first started up. The Japanese legend was known as one of the best wrestlers in the world and fans were excited to see what he could do in the United States with All Elite Wrestling.
Working with Chinese-based promotion Oriental Wrestling Entertainment (OWE), CIMA brought along two young stars with him to AEW. Along with T-Hawk and El Lindeman joined him in AEW as the tag team StrongHearts. StrongHearts were featured heavily early on in AEW, with CIMA himself taking part in some high profile matches including against Kenny Omega.
Due to the global pandemic in March 2020, many overseas wrestlers could not take part in AEW shows. Cima, El Lindeman and T-Hawk were quietly removed from the AEW roster page in April 2020 and were released from their contracts some time around that date.
Where is CIMA now? CIMA made his first appearances in over a decade for NJPW at Wrestle Kingdom 16 in January 2022. He appeared in the New Japan Rambo battle royal match, ultimate failing to win the match.
When? – August 13th 2020
Sadie Gibbs is an English wrestler who was signed early on to be part of the AEW Women’s Division. She was one of the AEW releases that came as a consequence of being unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gibbs only appeared three times on television for AEW, and was still growing as a performer during her time in AEW. Due to being unable to travel from England to the US during the pandemic, she was released from her contract and never wrestled for AEW again.
Where is Sadie Gibbs now? – Sadie Gibbs retired from professional wrestling in April 2021 to focus on her fitness career.
When? – August 14th 2020
One of the wrestlers who was released due to disciplinary reasons was British deathmatch wrestler Jimmy Havoc. The Englishman was one of the early favourites in AEW of Tony Khan, with him facing Darby Allin early on in AEW in an AEW Championship #1 contenders match.
Jimmy Havoc then struggled to find his groove in AEW before a partnership with Kip Sabian began to thrive. They challenged Adam Page & Kenny Omega for the AEW Tag Team Championships at one point, and in their last match they took on The Young Bucks in a losing effort.
However, Jimmy Havoc was suspended by AEW after revelations about his behaviour as part of the “#SpeakingOut” movement in 2020. The former Progress World Champion was accused of physical and emotional abuse, and even accused of rape by a former partner of his.
He was suspended by AEW and sent to rehab and attended counselling due to his personal issues. Once he had sought assistance, Jimmy Havoc was released by AEW on August 13th 2020.
Where is Jimmy Havoc now? – Jimmy Havoc is currently retired from wrestling. His current location is unknown, but last year he was pictured working for a delivery company.
When? – August 2020
Another casualty of the AEW roster during the pandemic was women’s star Bea Priestly. The girlfriend of NJPW star Will Ospreay was an early star in AEW and was one of the most recognisable stars in the women’s division.
Due to her working with Stardom, she was based on Japan at the start of the pandemic. With her being English and living in Japan, she was not able to travel to America from either country due to travel restrictions during this time.
What is Bea Priestly now? – Bea Priestly continued to work in Japan during the pandemic. She was part of Will Ospreay’s United Empire stable and helped her boyfriend become the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
In June 2021, Bea Priestly signed for WWE and was assigned to the NXT UK brand. She was renamed Blair Davenport, which she currently wrestles as. She unsuccessfully challenged Meiko Satomura for the NXT United Kingdom Women’s Champion in NXT UK.
When? – April 2021
Ivalisse was touted as a star of the AEW Women’s Division upon her signing. Along with her partner Diamante, they won the AEW Women’s Tag Team Cup tournament, defeating Allie (The Bunny) and Brandi Rhodes in the final to be crowned the champions.
However, reports of backstage issues blighted her run in AEW. She was reportedly very outspoken and hard to work with, whilst also failing to take responsibility for herself when she rubbed people the wrong way.
Ivelisse was released by AEW in April 2021, and blamed long-time rival Thunder Rosa as the reason behind her dismissal.
Where is Ivelisse now? Ivelisse currently wrestles for the all-women promotion Shine. She is the current Shine Champion and a former Shine tag team champion.
When? May 2021
Shanna was a part of the AEW women’s roster from the start of AEW, but never made a huge impact. She never stamped her influence on AEW or impressed the fans, and was released in May 2021 with little fanfare.
Where is Shanna now? Shanna currently wrestles on the independent scene and spends her time streaming on Twitch.
When? – May 2021
Awesome Kong was one of the most heralded signings at the start of AEW’s life. She was a huge star in Japan and in TNA, with her transforming women’s wrestling in America with her incredible bouts with Gail Kim.
Early on in her AEW run, Awesome Kong was paired with Brandi Rhodes in the ill-fated Nightmare Collective stable. Kong was the monster of the crew and would destroy the AEW women before cutting off their hair. It was a poorly thought out gimmick and one that made everyone look bad, including one of the worst AEW moments where they ruined a fantastic Riho vs Kris Statlander match.
Awesome Kong missed a lot of time in AEW due to her having multiple commitments in Hollywood. Back injuries also played a part in her departure, with Kong announcing her retirement soon after her release in May 2021.
Awesome Kong was one of the AEW releases that disappointed fans the most, who were fans of Kong during her time in TNA.
Where is Awesome Kong now? Awesome Kong is currently working in Hollywood and is not involved in wrestling. She was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame in 2021.
When? – November 30th 2021
One of the most controversial AEW released was when Big Swole’s contract expired in November 2021. Big Swole had an unremarkable career in AEW, despite being pushed as one of the division’s early stars. Her rivalry with an injured Britt Baker in the pandemic era showed how Baker was the star and Swole was not.
Her contract was not renewed and she became one of the AEW releases in November 2021. Her release at first was a low key affair, but an interview afterwards became one of the biggest stories in AEW.
Big Swole claimed that AEW lacked diversity and seemed to attack Tony Khan. Khan responded by claiming that Swole was released because she wasn’t good enough, saying that he “let Swole’s contract expire as I felt her wrestling wasn’t good enough”.
Where is Big Swole now? Big Swole’s current career plans are unknown. She has only wrestled once since leaving AEW, wrestling at the Black Wrestlers Matter event. It was her last match she wrestled since being part of the AEW releases, and she was one of the most high profile AEW wrestlers released by AEW.
When? February 14th 2022
Former ROH and WWE star Lio Rush had an interesting stint in AEW. He made his debut as the Joker Card in the Casino Battle Royal at AEW Double or Nothing 2021. However, he failed to win the match and suffered an injury when being eliminated.
After his injury, Lio Rush announced his retirement from wrestling after just one appearance in AEW. He did then sign a contract with NJPW. He later re-signed with AEW in September 2021. He teamed with Dante Martin for a number of months before disappearing from AEW television in December 2021.
He later revealed that his AEW was up on February 22nd 2022, and that he would not be re-signing with AEW. His AEW tenure ended as unexpectedly and more confusingly as his debut was and his mark on AEW will soon be forgotten, despite such hope when he signed for the promotion.
Where is Lio Rush now? Lio Rush is currently signed for the Jon Gresham-run promotion Terminus. He is also currently working on his music, as he is a rapper as well as a professional wrestler.
When? – February 15th 2022
One of the biggest surprise AEW wrestlers released by AEW was one of the founders of the company. Cody Rhodes was an executive vice-president of AEW and one of the main reasons behind the promotions formation and early success.
He made a huge mark on AEW in his 3 years with the company. He is currently the only three-time TNT Champion, beating Lance Archer, Brodie Lee and Sammy Guevara to win the championship. He had two Dave Meltzer five star matches in AEW, with his Double or Nothing 2019 match against he brother Dustin Rhodes, and a ladder match against Sammy Guevara in what turned out to be his final match in AEW.
Cody Rhodes left AEW on February 15th 2022 after his AEW contract expired. He revealed that he had been working without a contract since his original deal expired at the end of 2021, and by February 2022 Cody Rhodes and AEW could not reach a deal.
The main reasons being rumoured for Cody Rhodes and AEW failing to come to an agreement were AEW not offering Cody a high enough salary, and the loss of creative control that Cody Rhodes had at the beginning of his AEW tenure.
Where is Cody Rhodes now? Cody Rhodes is not currently signed to any wrestling promotion. He is rumoured to be signing for WWE and looks set to appear at this years Wrestlemania event.
When? – February 15th 2022
Along with her husband Cody Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes exited AEW on February 15th 2022. The former Chief Branding Officer of AEW had her contract expire the same time as Cody Rhodes, but neither person were able to come to an agreement on a contract extension.
Brandi had a rough time on AEW television during her tenure. Her first run as an on-screen talent came as the manager of the disastrous “Nightmare Collective” stable, along with fellow released AEW wrestlers Mel and Awesome Kong, and deathmatch legend Luther. She took part in some of the AEW worst moments in the company history and earned a lot of bad will from the AEW fans.
After that, she never received a good reception from the AEW audience. This was exemplified when she went toe-to-toe on the microphone with Dan Lambert, one of the most hated heels in AEW. Brandi tried to be the babyface in a feud against him, but was ultimately booed by the AEW fans.
This is rumoured to be one reason why she wanted to leave AEW. She was released from AEW along with her husband Cody and lost her backstage job as Chief Branding Officer in the process.
Where is Brandi Rhodes now? – Brandi Rhodes is currently not signed to any wrestling promotion.
When? – May 2022
Marko Stunt has been absent on AEW TV for many months, leading to rumours his release from AEW. His long-standing partnership with Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy) has been non-existent in that time, and they have started teaming with Christian Cage rather than Marko Stunt.
Marko Stunt was informed by AEW’s head of talent relations Christopher Daniels on March 30th, 2022, to inform him that he would be released from his contract once it expires in May 2022. He has not been seen on AEW for months and has not been backstage at AEW Dynamite since he suffered a concussion at a GCW show.
He is released from his contract in May 2022.
Where is Marko Stunt now? – Mark Stunt is rumoured to be part of the next series of the reality signing tv show The Voice, and is heavily involved with GCW, ran by Joey Janela.
When – April 19 2022
Jack Evans was one of the innovative high flyers of the mid 2000s, and was one of the earliest signings by AEW along with his tag team partner Angelico. However, despite the duos hype from their work in Mexico, they failed to impress in AEW, with Jack Evans match with Kenny Omega early on a particular low point.
Jack Evans AEW release was announced by himself on Twitter on April 19 2022, with the star thanking AEW and it’s fans for their support over the last three years.
When? – May 3 2022
Stu Grayson was removed from the AEW roster page on the 3rd May 2022, confirming his release from the company. It was reported that Grayson could not come to a new deal with AEW after his contract expired and he was let go from AEW.
Stu Grayson was the latest AEW release after taking a backseat in the Dark Order in recent years. He is a great talent in ring, but failed to get over in front of the AEW fans and will try his luck outside of the promotion.
Where is Stu Grayson now? – he has not currently announced what he is doing next after leaving AEW
When? – June 29th, 2022
Dark Order member Alan Angels has been released by AEW after a 2 year spell with the company. He was announced as being released by AEW on 29th June 2022, making him the latest member to leave to Dark Order.
Angels most infamously kicked out of the V-Trigger against Kenny Omega, which some claimed “ruined” Omega, despite the Canadian never winning a match with the knee strike.
Where is he now? –
When? – September 1st, 2022
reDRagon member Bobby Fish has been released by AEW after the expiry of his contract on September 1st, 2022. It came just weeks after he, alongside Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole, attacked the Young Bucks, seemingly setting up a Elite vs Undisputed Era feud in AEW.
It’s now been reported on today’s Wrestling Observer Radio that, as of today, Fish’s deal has now expired and he’s done with the company:
“It looks like Bobby Fish is likely done. His AEW contract expires I believe today.”
“It sounds early because he started in October, but I know you’re right. It’s not ‘probably’ – he’s done. It’s confirmed, he’s done. Whatever the deal was, either he was not offered a renewal or he chose not to be renewed.
Bobby Fish has not commented on his AEW release as of yet
Where is he now? – Impact Wrestling
When? – January 13th, 2022
Frankie Kazarian appeared on Impact Wrestling’s Hard to Kill on 13/1/23. The former AEW Tag Team Champion revealed he been released by AEW and signed for the former TNA at the show.
Fuego Del Sol
When? – June 22nd, 2023
On June 22nd 2023,Fuego Del Sol announced his departure from AEW.
He revealed his AEW release on Twitter, saying “Thank you AEW. Though this chapter is coming to a close, this is just the beginning for Fuego Del Sol. Now accepting bookings any and everywhere!”
Brian Pillman Jr
When? – July 11th, 2023
Brian Pillman Jr was removed from the AEW roster page on July 11 2023, indicating his release from the company.
When? – September 2nd, 2023
Following on from his backstage fight with Jack Perry before AEW All In London, CM Punk was fired “with cause” from AEW, with immediate effect.
The release was announced by Tony Khan on AEW Collision, making Punk the highest-profile release from AEW since Cody Rhodes left the company in 2022.
When? – September 4th, 2023
In an update from Fightful Select (subscription required), Sonny is officially finished with All Elite Wrestling, noting that her contract had expired at the beginning of September.
Sonny had been a part of the AEW roster since the company’s inception in 2019, though only made sporadic appearances on Dynamite, mainly appearing on AEW Dark and Dark: Elevation.
Sonny had been a part of the Trustbusters stable on ROH television, with her last match taking place on the July 22 episode of the show, where she teamed with Jeeves Kay and Slim J in a losing effort to Dalton Castle and The Boys.
The list of the AEW released will continue to be updated as more wrestlers are released. Let us known which AEW wrestlers released by AEW are the biggest losses in the comments, or click below to keep reading.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.